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  1. #1
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    Lite Speed Customer Service

    Below is a list of my interaction with Lite Speed. Iíve owned a Lite Speed for 4 months.

    ß April, frame arrives at my house, the measurements are small compared to the sizing LS lists on their website. I email LS to ask how they measure their frames. They write back with a one-line email instructing me to talk to my dealer. This is poor customer service and my dealer does not know how they measure the geometer. Finally I find a 2004 catalog, which shows LS rather strange method of measuring frames.
    ß After 10 rides the frame breaks rather catastrophically. The down tube is cracked ĺ of the way around by the gusset with the head tube. Luckily I manage to avoid serious injury.
    ß I write LS to ask how we can proceed to warranty the frame as quickly as possible to ensure I donít miss many more races. They write back informing me to bring the bike to my dealer. I called since itís clear they wonít provide useful information over email. LS says they have to inspect the frame and the average turn around time is 1 month.
    ß I called LS to get update and to make sure theyíve received the frame. I left many voice mails yet no one ever returns my call.
    ß Today (three weeks since my frame was shipped to LS) I finally get a hold of a costumer service rep at LS. This rep is very helpful, yet informs me it will take another 4 weeks before LS can repair the frame. He says heís sorry about the wait but there is nothing that can be done.

    This kind of customer service completely unacceptable, especially when you list the MSRP of your frame at $2650. Iíve broken a Jamis swing arm before and Jamis shipped me a new swing arm in less than 24hour. The Jamis was a low-end bike, which cost $1600 complete. Itís almost comical that LS canít match the kind of customer service Jamis provides.

    On top of this, LSís reason for the wait is their repair shop is over worked right now. If their repair shop is over worked they should provide me with a new frame. Instead of providing me with a new frame they are making me wait as long as 2 months for a repair job. Why are they so adamant about repairing the frame, is it so they can save money?

    In my opinion this is inexcusable. If youíre going to market your company as an industry leader, then you should provide industry leading customer service.

    Sorry for the rant, Iím furious. I paid big bucks for a high-end frame for this race season. Now Iím stuck borrowing bikes from friends that donít fit properly.
    Thompson Elite Seat post 27.2 & 28.6
    E.13 SRS

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  2. #2
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    Very disappointing to hear! I've often wondered about LS after-sales service and your experience has definitely given me reservations about the future purchase of one ( I currently own a Niota Ti and a Sewanee) . I hope all works out and that I am lucky enough to never need warranty work. Please post any further developments if you don't mind!
    "Carpe diem, quam minimun credula postero"- Seize the day, trust as little as possible in tomorrow.(Horace)

  3. #3
    MarkyMark
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    I'm sorry to hear about the problems you're having with your Litespeed.

    Was this a custom frame? I've heard nightmares about ordering a custom frame through Litespeed. Essentially, there are very few people at Litespeed that know what a bike is and can actually put one together. You pay a fortune for something that is supposed to last a life-time and you'll wind-up with something that isn't sized correctly, probably not straight, etc. If my Ti frame broke at a weld after 10 rides, Litespeed would be the last on my list of places to trust to fix it. Fortunately, Ti isn't like aluminum and you can work it without affecting it's strength/longevity/reliability.

    BTW, I have a '98 Litespeed Pisgah, but it's a standard size that I bought from JensonUSA. It's a great frame and I love riding it. I just couldn't afford a Moots, Merlin XLM or Seven Sola at the time so I bought the Litespeed.

  4. #4
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    It's pretty sad to see in this era of improving customer service in the bike industry Litespeed is still stuck in the last decade. I have seen several close cases here of Litespeed's lack of after-sale customer service, problem or otherwise.

    It's nice Herbert (former ABG employee) was browsing these boards and spoke to the consumers, but little was provided where it counted- on the phone at at the dealer end. Inexcusable? Yes, especially since LS is still fixing the rep they created for themselves with the botched attempt at Al frames.

    I often wonder why anyone buys an LS, when there are several companies out there offering custom Ti for less.

  5. #5
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    I'm waiting on my second broken frame replacement in less than a year. 1st time around was very frustrating and took almost 3 months. So far this time I've been without my bike for a couple months and the estimated time I'll get it back keeps getting pushed back. I was told there is another Litespeed bike at the same shop where the rider has been waiting since January for a replacement. These bikes ride decent but don't last. I'm 145 pounds and ride about 50% fireroad and 50% single track, not someone you'd expect to be breaking frames in a few months of riding. Also, I heard the Niota TI is being switched to an aluminum rear triangle, which is what keeps breaking on the Niota AL's. Read the MTBR reviews, many of the same complaints with Litespeed/ABG. These guys show no interest in improving something that is broken. This seems to be true with both the product and the customer service. I'm furious too.
    Last edited by ThinkFast; 07-07-2007 at 11:30 AM.

  6. #6
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    You might have rights as a consumer, such as follow ups with the BBB, lemon laws, etc.

  7. #7
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    The Niota rear triangle is just a p*ss poor design, I have now personally seen 4 broken in exactly the same spot. They are supposedly working on a third redesign which will hopefully be a solution to all the problems they are having, but it doesn't exactly instill me with confidence if it they couldn't figure it out the first time.

  8. #8
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    Where were they broken?

  9. #9
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    At the part that attaches it to the main pivot. There are two "legs" that come up from a round tube to which the chainstays and the vertical strut to the linkage are attached. These legs have a sharp corner where the meet the tube creating a huge stress riser, this is where they have all cracked at the base of the drive side leg. Just a really dumb design, a radius in there would have significantly strengthened the part.

    On one of them the strut that goes up to the linkage had also cracked through, I am not sure which let go first on this one.

  10. #10
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    In case a Litespeed rep is reading this forum:
    I was considering a Niota Ti. and Merlin Works 4.0. I currently own a Dean ACE 3.0 I'm selling it because the customer service is so poor. After reading this thread I'm scratching Litespeed/Merlin and moving "Seven" to the top of the list.

    M
    "Climbers don't hurt any less than others;
    they're just more comfortable being there."
    "Il Pirata"

  11. #11
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    I don't think LS knows how to use internet. They are getting flamed on RoadBikeReview too and so far there is no response. It's a shame that their CS is so poor. My Ocoee rode so well. Carbon my have killed Ti on the road, but Ti is still great for MTBs.
    Thompson Elite Seat post 27.2 & 28.6
    E.13 SRS

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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark M13
    In case a Litespeed rep is reading this forum:
    I was considering a Niota Ti. and Merlin Works 4.0. I currently own a Dean ACE 3.0 I'm selling it because the customer service is so poor. After reading this thread I'm scratching Litespeed/Merlin and moving "Seven" to the top of the list.

    M
    If its a Ti fully that you want then take a look at Blacksheep. Litespeeds CS went completely downhill after they were bought out by ABG.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by 20_bandh
    If its a Ti fully that you want then take a look at Blacksheep. Litespeeds CS went completely downhill after they were bought out by ABG.
    Litespeed was not "bought out" by ABG. Litespeed IS ABG.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    Litespeed was not "bought out" by ABG. Litespeed IS ABG.

    Are you sure?

    The Lynskey family that founded Litespeed are back producing bikes under their own name, I guess after their non compete clause ran out.

  15. #15
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    THis was actually written in their press releases from the time. Litespeed bought all these different companies, or licensed them, such as Merlin, Tomac, Quintana Roo and Litespeed and the combined company was now called "American Bicycle Group".

    I don't know about the Lynskey family and whether they predated the new company or lasted into it.

  16. #16
    MarkyMark
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    FYI:
    I ran into a guy out on the trails that was looking at buying a Litespeed Pisgah frame. He knew more about my frame than I did. I was a long time since I bought my frame so I told him I bought it in '98 and it was a 17" or 18" frame, I couldn't remember. He told me that Pisgah came out in 2000 and I had disc brake drill holes so it was likely later than 2000. He checked the serial number on the bottom bracket and confirmed that it was a 18" frame (last two digits of serial # is the size).

    He was right. I went back and checked my receipt from JensonUSA and it was a 18" 2001 Pisgah frame which I bought in 2000. I also noticed that I upgraded everything in my original build other than the frame!


    Quote Originally Posted by MarkMass
    I'm sorry to hear about the problems you're having with your Litespeed.

    Was this a custom frame? I've heard nightmares about ordering a custom frame through Litespeed. Essentially, there are very few people at Litespeed that know what a bike is and can actually put one together. You pay a fortune for something that is supposed to last a life-time and you'll wind-up with something that isn't sized correctly, probably not straight, etc. If my Ti frame broke at a weld after 10 rides, Litespeed would be the last on my list of places to trust to fix it. Fortunately, Ti isn't like aluminum and you can work it without affecting it's strength/longevity/reliability.

    BTW, I have a '98 Litespeed Pisgah, but it's a standard size that I bought from JensonUSA. It's a great frame and I love riding it. I just couldn't afford a Moots, Merlin XLM or Seven Sola at the time so I bought the Litespeed.

  17. #17
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    Update

    Well according the tracking information from UPS the frame is in town today. Now I'm just waiting to get a call from my LBS to pick it up. I should be able to build it up tomorrow night and race it this Wednesday. Looks like LS didn't cost me my entire season, only 8.5 weeks in peak season.
    Thompson Elite Seat post 27.2 & 28.6
    E.13 SRS

    PM for details

  18. #18
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    Well today LS showed their complete and utter incompetence.


    The frame LS sent me was defective. The weld on the seat stay to the seat tube produced a large bump in the seat tube. This prevented the post from being inserted more than 1 inch. I brought the frame to my local LS dealer. They confirmed it was a defective frame. When they called LS, LS wanted to see the frame first to inspect it. They wouldnít take the word of a dealer than the seat post couldnít be inserted. My dealer told them how it wasnít fair to force the customer to wait 4 more weeks for a frame. However LS held their ground. Luckily the local LS rep was in the shop. He picked up the phone and convinced them to send me a frame neck day delivery.


    The frame was due in the shop today. Iím sad to say I was not surprised to see the frame did not arrive. At this point I called LS. They told me the frame had not shipped out yet. They have them in stock but ďdonít understand why the frame didnít go outĒ.


    The point of this thread is to keep people up to date with my struggle with LS and their complete contempt for customers.
    Thompson Elite Seat post 27.2 & 28.6
    E.13 SRS

    PM for details

  19. #19
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    Get the frame and sell yourself out of LS ownership. One is still hanging in my local store. They haven't paid the shop for some services and the shop is trying to recover some of the money they've lost carrying LS.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerk_Chicken
    Get the frame and sell yourself out of LS ownership. One is still hanging in my local store. They haven't paid the shop for some services and the shop is trying to recover some of the money they've lost carrying LS.
    It's going to be tough. I'm currently only training on the road and racing a friend bikes. I've got two important races coming up which I need a proper frame for. Doesn't look like I'll be able to sell it as new, but it will definitely be up for sale as soon as race season is over. I'm thinking of building up a fully rigid 29er, maybe a Salsa Mamasito.
    Thompson Elite Seat post 27.2 & 28.6
    E.13 SRS

    PM for details

  21. #21
    The Bubble Wrap Hysteria
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregz12
    Well today LS showed their complete and utter incompetence.


    The frame LS sent me was defective. The weld on the seat stay to the seat tube produced a large bump in the seat tube. This prevented the post from being inserted more than 1 inch. I brought the frame to my local LS dealer. They confirmed it was a defective frame. When they called LS, LS wanted to see the frame first to inspect it. They wouldnít take the word of a dealer than the seat post couldnít be inserted. My dealer told them how it wasnít fair to force the customer to wait 4 more weeks for a frame. However LS held their ground. Luckily the local LS rep was in the shop. He picked up the phone and convinced them to send me a frame neck day delivery.


    The frame was due in the shop today. Iím sad to say I was not surprised to see the frame did not arrive. At this point I called LS. They told me the frame had not shipped out yet. They have them in stock but ďdonít understand why the frame didnít go outĒ.


    The point of this thread is to keep people up to date with my struggle with LS and their complete contempt for customers.
    I had an original Merlin. The frame broke two years into AMG/LS ownership of Merlin. LS was terrible to work with......their customer service sucks eggs. Because of lack of paperwork on their end I had to pay a portion of the repair bill. It took about six weeks to get my frame back. I promptly listed the frame on ebay. It's my feeling that if you offer a warranty on a product then you need to have a mechanism in place to deal with the warranties in a timely manner. I will never buy another AMG/LS product and I will never recommend their products. I will even go as far as to say I will never buy a frame that is contracted manufactured to AMG/LS. THEY SUCK.

    I've had several friends also have problems with LS products.

  22. #22
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    I am very surprised to hear about all your troubles with ABG. I have dealt with litespeed customer service several times and they have been excellent. I have a niota AL 04 and when i called to order plastic plugs for the upper swingarm litespeed sent me a complete suspension rebuild kit free of charge and it was at my door within a week. As far as the swingarm issues go the lower pivot needs to be set up properly. I talked to a tech at ABG who gave me the torque specs and he informed me that alot of the problems associated with the lower pivot were due to overtightening the bearings causing to much stress at the pivot. I clean and repack my bearings in the lower pivot several times a year and always remove the shock to check movement. No problems so far with 4 years of hard riding on the frame.

  23. #23
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    Two of the cracked swing arms I have seen had never been touched by their owners, the pivot bolt was torqued at the factory.

    If it is simply an assembly problem why are they on their third design?

  24. #24
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    the first redesign of the swingarm was to accomodate wider tires and the change to an aluminum swingarm on the niota ti was to keep the price down, it drops the price almost 1000 dollars. As far as being torqued from the factory any decent mechanic or shop should know to go over the bike after a first ride. My intense spider needs constant attention to the pivots because they continually back out. If you don't routinely check your frame you void your warranty. You can't expect companies to warranty frames if you don't look after them.

  25. #25
    King of vegetarians
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtbkr_cookie
    the first redesign of the swingarm was to accomodate wider tires and the change to an aluminum swingarm on the niota ti was to keep the price down, it drops the price almost 1000 dollars. As far as being torqued from the factory any decent mechanic or shop should know to go over the bike after a first ride. My intense spider needs constant attention to the pivots because they continually back out. If you don't routinely check your frame you void your warranty. You can't expect companies to warranty frames if you don't look after them.
    And what was the reason for the second redesign?
    Black Sheep Dream Bike Design
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