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  1. #1
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    Paint bubbling on my Helius

    I asked Falco about this a couple of weeks back, but haven't heard from him yet (figure he might be on holiday), so I thought I'd ask what you guys think about this.

    The clearcoat of my frame is bubbling and coming off under the opening of my front derailleur clamp (Shitmano XTR). The clamp bolt wasn't torqued down overly tight, but not overly loose either, I'd say it was just right.

    It's quite a big bubble, and I don't want this to spread even more than it already has. Has anyone perhaps got any experience with something like this and maybe some tips on how to prevent this bubble becoming bigger? Ducktape it down tight? Many thanks!
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  2. #2
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    bummer on that (hopefully it doesn't get worst)....maybe you should call Nicolai if you want a faster response (late July-August is holiday month around here...so it is likely that you are right and Falco is on holidays)

  3. #3
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    Maybe your email got somehow lost on its way to Falco or at Falco's , my questions normally get answered within 48hrs max, normally within 24hrs.

    But i guess right now is the busiest time of year for Nicolai (and Universal Transmission), with preparing for the EUROBIKE tradeshow in September, getting the 2009 catalogue done and organizing a "testival" this weekend (which i wanted to go to, but i parked my car yesterday evening accidentally in a no-parking-zone and it got towed and i won't get it back before Monday ).
    Last edited by Testmaen; 08-16-2008 at 10:18 AM.

  4. #4
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    ouch! ... i am sure Nicolai will get that sorted for you, at most you might not have your bike for awhile whilst they sort it out, dont worry too much about it ...

  5. #5
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    so glad i've gone for Anodized

  6. #6
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    Just sent another mail to Falco, hopefully I'll get a response soon. If in the meantime anyone's got a useful tip to prevent this spreading (other than leaving the derailleur off and not using the bike), please do let me know.

    The_Lecht_Rocks, yes, thanks for reminding me. Too bad you can only choose from funeral black and diarrhoea brown .

  7. #7
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    Apparently my email got filtered out by Nicolai's spam filter. Eventually got through to them via Mike from Nicolai UK.

    According to Nicolai it's "mech damage" and won't fall under warranty. Thank you Nicolai. First time I've seen a front mech do something like this on one of my frames. So whatever. Good way to piss me off. I hope I won't break anything on my frame; it'll probably be deemed "rider damage".

    If the bubble spreads I'll strip all the paint and keep it raw. Quite disappointed here.

  8. #8
    wyrd bi ful rd
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    i am disappointed that nicolai will not warranty that ... if you use a mech and the paint comes off ... you would expect that ... but with bubbling like that it is like as though the frame has not been prep properly and the paint has not adhered to the frame ...

    funeral black was what i ordered ... sorry boozzz no punt intended ...

    can you not get them to strip the paint off and anodized the frame or just leave it raw?

  9. #9
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    Looks like a frame-prep or paint-prep issue- the paint has not adhered properly to the basecoat or metal and become a loose layer, which separated under pressure from the mech clamp. They don't use wet paint, do they?

  10. #10
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    Wow,wtf???

    Quote Originally Posted by Boozzz
    Apparently my email got filtered out by Nicolai's spam filter. Eventually got through to them via Mike from Nicolai UK.

    According to Nicolai it's "mech damage" and won't fall under warranty. Thank you Nicolai. First time I've seen a front mech do something like this on one of my frames. So whatever. Good way to piss me off. I hope I won't break anything on my frame; it'll probably be deemed "rider damage".

    If the bubble spreads I'll strip all the paint and keep it raw. Quite disappointed here.
    Dude I'm soooo sorry to hear that..That's such a sweet color too,I almost went with that on a 08 FR that never got ordered.(No way was I waiting another 9 weeks for a bike).BTW I paid $400 for that Sky Camo paint job on my Helius CC..If that had happen to me I'd be flying to Germany and not for strudle.. Well the good news is Boozzz It really doesn't matter what color that bike is cause at the end of the day you are still riding most likely the sickest Freeride bike on this planet.. .CF..

  11. #11
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    My god boozzz, keep us up to date with developments..... I can't believe that is not a warranty. So have you finally decided to keep it raw?

  12. #12
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    Just got an email from Dave Turner with some good advice. I probably need to take all the paint off, as water will most likely get between the paint layer and metal, pitting the frame (aka ruining it). Now that's proper customer service, for a bike that isn't even one of his.

    If I indeed take all the paint off, I'll keep it raw (at least saves a bit of weight, about the only positive thing that can be said).

  13. #13
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    Mmm Boozzz this is not good news to be reading. I have been looking at mine and no signs of any paint lifting where my XTR Front mech is fitted.
    Good luck with getting it sorted out.
    Last edited by 5c0tty; 09-25-2008 at 12:51 AM.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5c0tty
    Mmm Boozzz this is not good news to be reading. I have been looking at mine and no signs of any point lifting where my XTR Front mech is fitted.
    Good luck with getting it sorted out.
    Yeah, sucks. I think that, as Flyer pointed out, it's something to do with the frame-prep before powder coating. Maybe a spot they didn't clean or something, or who knows perhaps the entire frame. I really am quite astonished they're doing it away with as 'mech damage' (that's what Karl said, according to Mike from Nicolai UK). I think proper paint won't bubble, even if you torque the clamp down like a mofo, which I hadn't anyway.

    Btw, I also emailed Falco, got through their 'spam filter' this time, but the only thing he said was that because I had contacted Nicolai UK, they (Nicolai UK) would take care of it, and that basically it was none of his business.

  15. #15
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    Dave is the man- that is good advice. The bubbled paint will tend to pull away at the adhered layer too and as moisture gets in there, you will be shocked at how much paint will peel away.

    No offence to Niclai owners but this is an example of shoddy customer service from the company.

    Here is what I would do- short of stripping the full frame:

    Peel away the paint that is bubbling
    Scrape off the edges as well- as much as you can
    Then sand the heck out of that area- first with a medium grit and then with a fine grit sandpaper
    Clean really well, let dry for a day and then prime it with a high quality auto metal primer
    Then put a thin coat of matching paint, let dry for a day, fine sand that, and then put another thin coat.

    When I was very young, I used to have a metal cabinet painting business...also wet-painted motorcycle parts (gas tanks, side panels, etc. and one car. I am bringing my amateurish experience here. Before you all make fun of me, let me tell you that no car or cabinet I painted ever bubbled though they probably never looked as nice as a Nicolai-painted frame.

  16. #16
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    hi boozzz,
    i think you should post your problem in the german ibc forum. im sure you will get an answer. there are some people who are in close contact with nicolai. i just saw you posted your bike there some time ago. im close to buy a helius st and i want it to be powdercoated. nicolai is known for their overall quality and customer service. but that they dont warranty your frame makes me think again. good luck.

  17. #17
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    hey boozzz keep pushing nicolai uk and point out the fact that a mech will not cause such a damage like paint bubbling ... more like scarring ...

    tell them the fact that you have let some frame painters had a look at the damage and it is definitely the frame not being prep properly ...

  18. #18
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    I agree with Chinaman on this one, I also think you should take this further, get some evidence and present it too them. These bikes are not cheap, customer service and warranty should reflect that.

  19. #19
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    Thanks for the support guys. I've just fired off another email to Nicolai UK. I'll keep you posted on what happens next.

  20. #20
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    Well the guys at Nicolai UK are quite prompt with their replies, so you should get a reply today...fingers crossed

  21. #21
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    News from Nicolai. Apparently they're offering to respray the front triangle for free if I ship it to them at my cost. They also said they already told me that, while in fact they hadn't. They did offer to respray it for a 'nice price' before. Not exactly the same in my book.

    I think it's ridiculous I have to push that hard to get anything from them. Not really sure I want to have anything to do with them again. Very disappointed, considering the amount of money I paid. Next time I pay that much money for a bike, it won't be a Nicolai.

  22. #22
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    Yea I have to agree... the extra cash you splash on a Nic would make you think that they would look after you with things such as this, that are so clearly not wear and tear.

    Especially as Nic make such a big deal about their paint jobs... it is one of their USP's

  23. #23
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    Well get it done and it probably is, in part at least, due to the posts here. Agree that it is dissapointing. There is practically zero doubt that this is a paint-prep issue but the most important thing is that your frame will be repainted at not much cost to you.

    Them enjoy that bike twice as much as you do now and don't let the negative part of the experience linger. It isn't the bike's fault, after all...poor lil guy.

  24. #24
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    Well although dissapointing, at least you have a positive outcome. However, when you pay this much money for a bike, you would expect the manufacturers to bend over backwards. Not wishing to add fuel to the fire, but when I discovered a little manufacturing fault in the paintwork on my Yeti 575, the frame was replaced.....no questions asked.
    Well boozzz, at least you have a result, get it sprayed and enjoy the puppy..

  25. #25
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    I don't know how much it will cost to ship it back from your location, but you might be better served sending it off to Spectrum Powdercoating, who can do some really insane PC combos that look like airbrushing, for example.

    Check their bike gallery:

    http://www.spectrumpowderworks.com/s...&onEnterFrame=[type+Function]&fadeIn=false

    FWIW, this is stuff I used to hear about Nic back in the day, but I thought that was long in their past. I could see them wiggling out of their responsibility on this to some extent, but come on, the PC should not stretch and pull off that easily. We all have PC bikes from Yeti to Turner that haven't done this. I'd have taken a razor and cut the area in a ring around the tube to end the peeling area.

  26. #26
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    Boozzz, JC has a point. There are a couple of really good powdercoaters here in the UK that will be able to help you out. Their work is excellent and may be worth considering??????

  27. #27
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    well..according to Boozzz's profile, he's in the Netherlands, so I suppose the most cost/time effective thing to do would probably be to send it to Nicolai....

  28. #28
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    Of course, fair point there Cris.

  29. #29
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    Yeah, I think shipping it to Nicolai would be the cheapest option, bar stripping it myself and leaving it at that of course.

    Btw, there's a pretty good Dutch powder coater as well, who can do lots of special effects too. So before I do anything, I'm gonna ask him what it costs to paint the frame pearlescent white, the colour I always wanted but Nicolai couldn't do.

  30. #30
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    That sounds nice Boozzz, I am going for the Nicolai white, but pearlescent, now that sounds nice.....

  31. #31
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    go naked and join the brotherhood of bling!
    Last edited by Karve; 09-23-2008 at 10:40 AM.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karve
    go naked and join the botherhood of bling!
    Hehe, definitely still an option. It's cheapest and saves the most weight . Oh, and it won't bubble of course.

  33. #33
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    Boozzz, don't be sucked in by the naked perversion, stay viriginal!

  34. #34
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    Boozzz - Have you had the frame returned yet ? If so, what was the total cost to you for repair ?

  35. #35
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    TLR - Nope, but got word from Karl Nicolai this weekend that the frame should be back with me soon. In the end Nicolai offered me a decent warranty repair, so it just cost me the shipping to Germany.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boozzz
    ... TLR - Nope, but got word from Karl Nicolai this weekend that the frame should be back with me soon. In the end Nicolai offered me a decent warranty repair, so it just cost me the shipping to Germany ...
    glad it worked out alright for you ...

  37. #37
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    Back in business, finally. Now only for it to stop snowing outside...
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    Very cool. It simply should not have gone this far, IMO.

  39. #39
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    so did nicolai strip down the paint and gave it a fresh coat all over?

    looking good boozzz ...

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    Looking good dude, glad your all sorted

  41. #41
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    They stripped the front and gave it a fresh coat. Rear still as it was. No problems with that though.

    You're right JC, I'm relieved this is finally done with, but a very bad experience nonetheless. In the future I'll go to Nicolai Germany directly, though they weren't too great either, initially saying they didn't want anything to do with it because I contaced Nic UK. Glad I'm out of the UK in that respect.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boozzz
    Back in business, finally. Now only for it to stop snowing outside...

    cool...and don't let the snow stop you!

  43. #43
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    I'm sorry you've had a bad experience but I think we, as the UK distributors, are being unfairly criticised on this forum at the moment.

    Final decision on warranty issues always comes from Germany rather than us if it relates to manufacturing issues. In your case the answer you got from us was the response that we were given by Nicolai Germany. My understanding is that we offered you the resolution you eventually got very early on so I remain puzzled as to why you think you received poor service.
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  44. #44
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    Hey boooze, I am glad you got your rig back and all finished. I agree with JC, it should never have got this far. When you are paying these prices for frames, you should receive the customer support to accompany it. I am sure it would not have been this bad if your bike was a Knolly, Turner or a Yeti, their customer service from experience is second to none.
    But congrats on the new paint, looks good.

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by nicolai-uk
    I'm sorry you've had a bad experience but I think we, as the UK distributors, are being unfairly criticised on this forum at the moment.

    Final decision on warranty issues always comes from Germany rather than us if it relates to manufacturing issues. In your case the answer you got from us was the response that we were given by Nicolai Germany. My understanding is that we offered you the resolution you eventually got very early on so I remain puzzled as to why you think you received poor service.
    You've brought this on yourselves. I won't go quoting emails here, but suffice to say that first you told me it was no warranty job (it being 'mech damage'), only to suddenly change your mind when I started to show my displeasure on these forums and over email. I remain puzzled why you think you offered me a warranty recoat 'early on', because you didn't. Only after I put the pressure on.

    I'm done with this and hope I won't ever have a problem with this frame again. It will also be my first and last Nicolai bike.

  46. #46
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    Why does Nicolai have such bad distributors?

  47. #47
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    interesting that you complained to Gravity Sports about the incorrect front tyre supply (07 not 08) yet your using the 07, even though he sent you a replacement 08.......
    how many pairs of Gravity carbon bars have you managed to blag so far ?

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Lecht_Rocks
    interesting that you complained to Gravity Sports about the incorrect front tyre supply (07 not 08) yet your using the 07, even though he sent you a replacement 08.......
    how many pairs of Gravity carbon bars have you managed to blag so far ?
    Interesting you're talking about stuff you know nothing about. Yes he sent me a 07 tyre when I should have gotten an 08. I never pushed the matter further though, and didn't get a 08 version. FSA Gravity bars were faulty, and I have response from FSA confirming that. If you're interested I can forward that to you. Anything else you'd like to say?

    This bike has just given me a lot of headache (before you mention, play in fork/hub as well), bit of a pain if you shell out that much money.

  49. #49
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    boozzz. yhpm

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boozzz
    You've brought this on yourselves. I won't go quoting emails here, but suffice to say that first you told me it was no warranty job (it being 'mech damage'), only to suddenly change your mind when I started to show my displeasure on these forums and over email. I remain puzzled why you think you offered me a warranty recoat 'early on', because you didn't. Only after I put the pressure on.

    I'm done with this and hope I won't ever have a problem with this frame again. It will also be my first and last Nicolai bike.
    Well we can only go on the info given in this but if that happened to me after shelling out all that bunce for my Nicolai I too would not be happy.

    This is how it should have worked

    Customer: clear coats rubbish (looking at the pics it sucked super bad)
    Nic: So it is send it back we will sort it - apologies
    Customer: ok cool

    Done

    Anything less when you are paying the cash we pay for the Nic frames really isnt acceptable. It may well not be UK Nics fault but they should be able to see that the Nic Germ response should have been right first time, and understand that they will take some of the pain if the customer is not happy with it.

  51. #51
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    It's somewhere in the history, but at least one person complained about the black PC on their turner maybe in 2006 or so, and Turner got on and resolved it for them easily. Not a plug, but it simply should have been easier than that. Again, the derailleur could have messed with it, but I've never seen PC that soft before to peel up. In those areas, I've seen the PC as pretty hard and durable and well bonded.

    Good bikes and design, but they need to really work on shedding this image they have that goes back many years of bad CS, warranty, and distributors. They need to become more consistent with how this stuff gets handled and not hide behind ways out and their world of perfect frames where they actually scrap many that don't pass inspection and ano.

  52. #52
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    jerky - interesting post - booooz - you're right to be upset about QA / QC issues - I too have my own currently !

  53. #53
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    What's up with yours? You guys need to speak up and help other people look for it. Now that Nic has direct distribution in the US, along with the internet presence, it would be sensible to keep it up to help one another and have them step up their works. It can only result in better service and QC when Nic knows their customers will notice when things are wrong and will speak of it.

  54. #54
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    I am not jumping on the band wagon here and I am very happy with my FR, but if next year I decide to have something a little meatier, I will think twice about purchasing a Nicolai.
    Like I said in a previous post, whether it be the originator (factory), or indeed the distributor, when customers pay the money that owning a Nicolai commands, the customer service should be on par.
    I am no expert on powdercoating or indeed frame design, but if I, like Boozzz found that defect on my frame, I too would have reacted in a similar way to their response. I once had a paint defect on a Yeti 575, similar to Crisillos and it was rectified with a few photographs and within a fortnight, no questions asked.
    Perhaps if Nicolai read into some of these posts with more conviction, as other manufacurers do, they would revisit their customer service model and make the necessary changes. If not and they continue in the same vain, they may gradually loose this loyal customer base. Food for thought perhaps Nicolai?

  55. #55
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    jerky - enough to say that after a fraught email communication battle with nic-uk, the issue has now been promised to a resolve.
    i'll let you know if I'm let down.

  56. #56
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    I've had a good result with Nicolai Germany i think it was a huge step in the right direction Karl coming on the forum and setting things straight re. the shock issue which the distributor lit the touch paper on! Pitty the distributors havent learned ANYTHING from any of the posts on this forum! The best you get is "It wasnt me it was him...." Come on get a grip, Jesus.... This is my final comment on this unless warranted of course!

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