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  1. #1
    Fat Boy Deluxe
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well Johnny Rotten (Custom X-Post)

    I posted this in the custom section, but I'm posting it here also since it's just as much a singlespeed thing since it was the Johnny Rotten deal that was discussed many times in the old forums. I was one of the people who pulled the trigger and what happened is as follows:

    Many know what I have been through waiting for my new Ionic Johnny Rotten to arrive. For those who don't and are planning on ordering one, while I will not try and discourage you, read my experience and take it how you will.

    After exactly 18 long weeks of waiting for the bike, it shipped out to me on Monday, Feb. 9. It was supposed to arrive tomorrow, but was arriving a whole day earlier, today (Thursday, Feb. 12)! I had a lot of thinking going on in between the order and the shipping. Most people told me that you should expect a long wait from custom builders and especially from Dean, and especially if they tell you it's only going to be 4 weeks (which is what I was told).

    But after doing all my thinking and then looking at what they charged me, I came to one conclusion, something isn't right. The frame on sale is supposed to cost $550, plus $50 for the EBB/Disc option, so that's $600 for the frame. I was originially quoted $75 for the red to orange fade paint job, but was told after it was already at paint that it would be $150. Come to find out they charged me $200 for the paint. So now that's $800. Then they charged me shipping, which was an extra $25, even though they said they would waive the shipping costs and expedite it since it so long to get it done (18 weeks). So the final price was $825.

    Couple the pricing issues with the fact that every time I called it was only going to be one more week and one more week and one more week, and there are problems with the painter, and it should be here this week to ship, and one more week, and it is being treated as priority (I should add here that both Pete and James were extremely nice and helpful over the phone and I have no ill will towards either of them), and you can now see the position I was in.

    At 2:45pm I made a desperate call to Dean to find out their policy on refunds. They were willing to refund the overcharge for the paint and refund the shipping. While this would have cleared up the whole price issue, the waiting was still in me head, what if I have a warranty issue of some kind, will it be 5 months before I get the bike back? I told them what I really wanted to do was refuse the UPS package and have it returned to Dean for a full refund. They said if that's what you really want to do, then send the bike back and we will refund the money.

    10 minutes later the UPS man shows up with the frame in box. I refuse the delivery and he wisks it away. I really wish I had been able to see the frame just once. People tell you that the waiting you go through for a custom job is part of the game and it can be painfull, well this was more than painfull and I basically came to the conclusion I can't support a builder with that kind of customer service and who handles their business that way, no matter how well they build a frame. I would have been bitter everytime someone asked how I liked the bike or how it rides, etc. Sometimes the principle of the matter is just as important.

    So that's my experience, take it or leave it. While I am disappointed I won't be building my new bike this weekend, my conscious is much happier with the decision I have made. back to the drawing board.

    *I will add that I am very grateful Dean was willing to let me refuse the UPS delivery and opt for a full refund, at least that was a stand up move.

    DT

  2. #2
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    Wow!

    After all that waiting and you end up refusing to take delivery from UPS! I don't know what I would've done in your situation. The curiouity and the "damn I wanna build this bike up this weekend" parts of me would've accepted the delivery and complained later. But the "you waited an extremely loooooong time for this frame and got overcharged to boot" part would've been agreeing with your final decision.

    Although this is moot at this point, was that all they were going to refund you? Just the shipping and over-charge for the paint? I know wait times for custom is a ***** but they could've cut you a bit more slack. Mind you I don't know the whole story, though I'm not insinuating anything bad on your part.

    A 4 week wait time turning into an 18 week wait time is worth more than what they were willing to refund you if you kept the frame.

    Hope you find something worthwhile to replace it!

    James
    A good friend will come bail you out of jail.
    But a true friend will be sitting next to you saying
    "Damn... we fcuked up!"

  3. #3
    34N 118W
    Reputation: Hollywood's Avatar
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    tough one

    my first reaction to this was "are you NUTS?!"

    but then it sank in and I remembered what I just went through with Curtlo -

    I was quoted "5 -7 weeks", which turned into 5 months. 2 weeks longer than your wait. At some point in December I wanted to call him and cancel the order and just buy a Surly so I could freakin' ride something. I was driving aosty and gpsser crazy with my email rants about yet another delay. So I left a cranky message on the answering machine and that seemed to *finally* get things moving. I heard several bizarre things from Curtlo as time passed and I really thought it just wasn't worth the aggravation. And yes, I'm a little concerned about any warranty/repair issues that may come up, God forbid. Now I'm stoked that I have a fancy new custom bike, but I'd be lying if I said the wait didn't kill some of the anticipation. "Woo hoo, frame's here. Yay..."

    Builders really need to be more up front about realistic delivery dates, even if that means scaring off a client or two. I ordered in August, and heard in January that "he's finally got his tubing sorted out and is getting caught up". Huh? He's a great guy and I love his work, but man, that's a huge amount of time for a fairly standard steel frame. I'm not so pissed that I can't recommend him, but I would make sure they knew what they were in for.

    But still, refusing the box when it was right there in your hands??? Ballsy!

    good luck,
    HW
    Last edited by Hollywood; 02-12-2004 at 04:45 PM.

  4. #4
    get down!
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    I think that sounds correct. I mean waiting game is the waiting game...you waited it out, just take the refunds they give you and build the bike up. Then this post would have been a...the wait was totally worth it post. My 2 cents.
    Rudy Projects look ridiculous

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  5. #5
    No smart comment
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    I think you made the right move good on you

    If I was in your shoes and had kept it I know the frame would have been a constant reminder of the hell it put me through and the company it came.

    Even if I loved it I would feel like it was sticking a knife in my back (well ok that might be taking things a bit far) every time I rode it but good on you for standing up to them.

    Chin up, plenty more pushers out there to choose from.

  6. #6
    giddy up!
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    I think you did the right thing....

    good for you to place your ideals above instant gratification.....I would have done the same thing, If I hadn't cancelled already.....18 weeks is ridiculous! Dean/Ionic has to wise up soon, their service is at an all time LOW.

  7. #7
    "Mr. Britannica"
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    time

    OTOH, made to order and custom frames DO take time.... typically you can double or triple the builder's estimate for a realistic timeline. Paint can take a month by itself. Sadly, 3-4 months is not all that unusual.

  8. #8
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    man,

    now you gotta wait again. i would have taken the refund on paint and shipping, received the bike, be stoked and build it up.

    sometimes frames take longer than we might think, but usually that first pedal stroke will do away with all the other nonsense.

    sometimes things aren't always instant gratification, and the good stuff takes time, built by folks that care.

    good luck picking a new bike.

    over and out
    nate

  9. #9
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    i agree with you

    There is no way I would have accepted that frame. I agree with you on this one. Good job. I tryed to order a Dean singlespeed in early January but talking to them scared me off.

  10. #10
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    Good job! Too Bad JR is bad mammajamma

    I competly understand your anger at ionic/dean, was this fully custom? or stock sizes that are hand built however it is unethical for builders to give people the runaround, maybe they inbetween production runs or having problems with securing raw materials , this is not ment to relieve them of reponseability for their shortfalls, I wonder who much face would a company would lose if they just fess up that it would take along time to get you what you wanted.
    I am very lucky to gotten mine about 8-9 weeks however the LBS owner knows some people that worked there and I had also a friend inside his name is James a really good
    guy and the painter was the weak link in the chain for me.

    Good luck maybe you could get a Rocklobster or on-one there are many to choose from
    happy hunting

    Johny Rotten (AKA Jason)
    Last edited by Johny Rotten; 02-12-2004 at 10:36 PM. Reason: check for spelling

  11. #11
    Cyclist
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    I agree with you

    Quote Originally Posted by DmofoT
    People tell you that the waiting you go through for a custom job is part of the game and it can be painfull, well this was more than painfull and I basically came to the conclusion I can't support a builder with that kind of customer service and who handles their business that way, no matter how well they build a frame. I would have been bitter everytime someone asked how I liked the bike or how it rides, etc. Sometimes the principle of the matter is just as important.
    DT

    I would have done similar. I'm in the middle of getting my second custom SS frame in two years. This time, I intentionally went into the build with a very relaxed feeling and didn't want to get worked up about the wait time. I'm working with Steve Stickel and told him up front I'm very patient, just want a nice frame. It took us a month or so, just to nail down the geometry and specifics (Steve asks hundreds of questions).

    I don't think it's unreasonable to wait 8 weeks once the builder gets your deposit. Anything over 12 weeks is getting obscene after they told you a much shorter time. You put a lot of thought into that frame and it's important you feel good about it. If you feel lousy about it even before you ever saw it, then it's not good. People call me goofy, but I believe in good Karma.

    Good luck on your next build.
    Last edited by striker; 02-13-2004 at 02:18 AM. Reason: sp
    "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." -- Benjamin Franklin

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  12. #12
    I am the owl
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    For the price, I'm guessing you were getting a stock JR w/ the EBB/Disc option, no custom angles etc.

    I say go buy a Surly, it's got discs but no EBB (no biggie). If you want it to look special send it out for a custom powder job. You'll still have a bunch of money left over for beer and a bike that will be available pretty quick.

    I say you did the right thing. I vote with my dollar, which is what you just did. If some one tells you a delivery time, then continues to blow it and lie to you about new delivery times as well as the cost, they don't deserve your money.

    I had a friend go through the same thing w/ a Dean frame, plus he had to send it back and that took forever too. Sounds like they need to get their act together.
    SingleSpeedOutlaw .com
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  13. #13
    Faster Than Your TV!
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    Good job! I think you were right in line...

    Changing a price on you after quoting you a different one and getting you to commit is pure hogsh!t, even without the interminable wait. Not only did you make the best move for you, but hopefully Ionic--by eating this one--will either get their crap together or get out of the game. Being personable and agreeable on the phone is all fine and good, but you lost a lot of time waiting and have to start all over...something they can't reimburse you for.

    Good thing you didn't open the box...might have had a weak moment and kept it.

    Try Curtlo maybe?...heard a lot of good things about the dude. (On second thought, after reading Hollywood's account, maybe not!)

    Good luck.
    Last edited by iconoclaSSt; 02-13-2004 at 07:03 AM.
    "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!'' -- Henri Desgrange, from an article in L'Equipe

    Wrench In the Gears

  14. #14
    Faster Than Your TV!
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    That's just the point...

    Quote Originally Posted by roadiegonebad
    ...typically you can double or triple the builder's estimate for a realistic timeline.
    the builder should double/triple his or her estimate and then quote it to the buyer.
    "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailleur? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!'' -- Henri Desgrange, from an article in L'Equipe

    Wrench In the Gears

  15. #15
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    I think I kinda agree here....

    Quote Originally Posted by appleSSeed
    I think that sounds correct. I mean waiting game is the waiting game...you waited it out, just take the refunds they give you and build the bike up. Then this post would have been a...the wait was totally worth it post. My 2 cents.
    Of course, I don't know every detail involved. And I do realize that the wait for a custom frame can be EXCRUCIATING.

    But geez....it was right at your door! Now you gotta wait all over again! Plus, what are the odds that you'd actually need to warranty the frame?

    Anyway, you did what you thought was best, and that's cool. I hope you have endless enjoyment from whatever you decide to get next. But I guess I don't know if I woulda done the same in your shoes.

    Buen venito,

    -Que?

  16. #16
    Fat Boy Deluxe
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    Yea, right on about the voting with my dollar thing. That's pretty much how I was looking at it. I will reiterate, I'm not angry or even pissed with Dean/Ionic and I have no idea if my experience is isolated. If you talk to James or Pete on the phone, they seem like really great guys. Again they are builders, not HR guys or accountants and I take that into account. Pete actually told me he hates answering the phone and I took that to heart. He builds bikes, is extremely good at it, and that's what he loves about his job. I kind of wish Dean had someone who did their phone answering, customer relations, accounting, etc. and left the frame builders to build frames. I think everyone is aware of their wait times, so that wasn't the true big deal for me. It was more the lack of information I was given and how I was overcharged, that sort of put me over the edge. Of course I didn't get to see how much was charged until the frame had shipped, so refusing the delivery was pretty much my only option I had since I couldn't cancel the order.

    Maybe some of you could have put aside all of this when the bike arrived, knowing that you were getting a kick ass bike and that you just went through what everyone else went through, but I just didn't see it that way. I wish I could have built it up (god knows all the parts laying on my spare bed are itching to be used!) and wish I would have been able to post a "it was so worth the wait" post, but like Nikh, I would have always felt a little bitter and disappointed in myself (not Dean) everytime I jumped on the bike. I have heard nothing but 100% positive reviews about the Johnny Rotten, so obviously it had nothing to do with the quality of the bike and more with the overall experience and service. I think everytime I took the bike out I would wonder if I have to warranty it, will that mean 5 months without my bike?

    I think I made the right decision, strike that, I know I made the right decision for ME. A lot of you would have done it differently and that's YOU. Honestly I wish I felt that way and was riding my new bike today, but that's not always in the cards. It just means my temporary bike gets some more loving! I'm still gonna ride my bike and that's all that really matters right?

    Sorry to ramble, it's just what I'm good at...

    DT

  17. #17
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    Custom Builds Take Time

    It does take time to get a hand-built custom bike. As the owner of 2 TET's now, I know. But in the end, the bikes are so much better than an off the shelf bike. There are only two of these in my area (mine) and they are so sweet. Surly's are nice bikes, but I saved at least 2 pounds with the TET over a Surly - - frameset alone.

    There was a bit of an unexpected delay leading up to the delivery both times ( a few weeks though, not months) and even though I was more prepared for it the second time, there is so much emotion that builds up during the construction time. Tom never came up with an unexpected charge - - he puts together a spec for the bike and an invoice right up front. He shipped the last one even though I owed him $$$ for an upcharge I made later. (powder coat versus paint). He never even reminded me about the $$$, so I sent him a check upon delivery.

    I like instant gratification, but in the end, I was much better off waiting. I would suggest to anyone thinking about a hand built frame to make sure you have something to ride until the new bike arrives.

    Tom's stuff can be seen on www.tetcycles.com

  18. #18
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    nice move

    I can usually tell if I made the right choice or not once I can't go back on the decision....so the fact that when the UPS driver pulled out of your driveway and you still felt good about the decision would tell me you made the right decision for you.

    My custom experience....I was told by Gene Spicer a time frame (I can't even remember now....and it hasn't even been a year ago) and of course it took longer, but he and his wife were very apologetic and sorry it was taking longer than he had quoted (they had helth issues with their little baby). I finally got the frame and it didn't have as much rear tire clearance as I wanted, so he said I could send it back for a full refund. I decided to keep it and a few months later I noticed a bend at the head tube/down tube junction. I sent it to Gene and he re-did the frame for me, including putting on wider seat/chain stays. I think I payed for the materials of the new seat stays and the material of a big gussett and the shipping, and that's it....I know he couldn't have made much if any money on my frame, but he's got a very happy customer. I think almost everyone that has dealt with Gene could say the same.

    Having said that....I got a Surly 1x1 when the frame went back in for repair, and I couldn't be happier with the 1x1 (or my KM). Unless you need weird tube lengths/angles, why not get a 1x1 or Inbred or similar? You won't have near the wait and they are nice frames.

  19. #19
    34N 118W
    Reputation: Hollywood's Avatar
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    exactly my point...

    especially when you hear, several times along the way, that "it's getting close" or "it's coming along" or "it's almost ready for paint" when in fact it's none of those.

    the customer shouldn't need to apply his own formula to come up with a realistic wait time.

    Quote Originally Posted by iconoclaSSt
    the builder should double/triple his or her estimate and then quote it to the buyer.

  20. #20
    SS Chimp
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    hey DmofoT

    sorry to hear about getting shafted by dean. from related posts (Thread) you got pushed along a lot further than i did and i still place the responsibility squarely on dean's shoulders. frame builders or not, the people answering the phones need to upfront and honest and if anything they should have the most current info of the frame status. i came very close to canceling my order as the time dragged on and it got harder to get a straight answer. as i was told the tubes were cut only to find out that they did not even have all the tubes in stock...as i was told it shipped when i had not even left the shop...it goes on and on.

    you made the right decision to refuse shipment of the frame and vote with your dollar. i was not pushed quite to the brink but i did send them a letter outlining my issues with how the transaction was handled. they need to know how their actions affect the companies future. for a minute i thought about stripping all the dean decals off the bike but i decided that it was better to have people ask me what i thought of dean....great bike, piss-poor customer service.

  21. #21
    34N 118W
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    Curtlo footnote

    Quote Originally Posted by iconoclaSSt
    Try Curtlo maybe?...heard a lot of good things about the dude. (On second thought, after reading Hollywood's account, maybe not!)

    Good luck.

    I seem to have fallen into some sort of framebuilder wormhole. Others on MTBR experienced much shorter wait times than I did. One tip I'd pass on would be: if the builder lives near a ski resort, don't order a frame over the winter. ;-)

    HW

  22. #22
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    good move

    I'm not sure how much better a custom bling rig from a small builder is than an off the shelf Surly, Kona or Giant. I'd say in general not much better at all. My late kona unit was one of the best riding bikes I've ever owned - and I've owned a lot of them.

    I think bike nerds (which a lot of sser seem to be) want something cool and unique. Enter the small builder. You get a frame made by some guy, it's cool and unique, with good attention to detail and it rides nice and you're happy with it and you identify your bike nerdom to some degree with the frame. Case in point: When the kona broke the fiscally responsible thing to do would be to spend $300 on another one, but instead the bike nerd in me led me to bling out on an IF frame with very similar geometry.

    That said if you feel as though Dean cycles screwed you over I can totally understand you not wanting to ride the frame or be associated with the company in anyway, despite being back to square one in terms of waiting for another frame.

    Look on the bright side: Now you can shop around and throw your 800 bucks at some other builder that you can ( hopefully ) trust not to screw around with you.

    Later
    T

  23. #23
    Bryn Mawr Borracho
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    Talkin' custom SS Blooze...

    Heavy Bummer about your Ionic experience. If you want a sweet riding off-the-shelf frame, then look no further than Surly or Kona. But if you want some nice, customization, the boys at SOULCRAFT
    are the way to go.

    cheers,
    Hurl Everstone
    Cars-R-Coffins
    carsrcoffins.com

  24. #24
    Fat Boy Deluxe
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    Good job! Follow-Up

    As a follow-up to my situation:

    I called Dean today to start dealing with my refund. I spoke to John and everything is as it should be. He talked me through the whole refund process and how it would work. He also made sure I understood first off that there was no illwill and that they were sorry things turned out the way they did and that he hoped if there was anything they could do in future to give him a call. By giving me a full refund, they aren't just biting the frame, but a custom paint job by Spectrum (red to orange fade, front to back) and shipping both ways. I know they did the right thing and I respect that.

    So as it happens though, if anyone is in the market for a super nice disc specific, equipped with EBB, Johnny Rotten, with slick custom paint job, and you don't want to wait for it - call Dean and speak to John about it. I'm sure he can hook you right up as soon as UPS delivers the frame back to them.

    DT

  25. #25
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    Ionic false promises

    I had two friends order Johnny Rottens and they also got the run around and 18 weeks later the frames arrived. One of the bikes had a burr in the head set tube which interferred with the head set. Ionic told my friend to have a local bike shop fix it for free. I don't know any bike shop in business that does free work.................. The fellow at Ionic made this a pain in the butt that I just shaved the head set cup. After 18weeks of waiting my friend did not want to tear down her frame to send back to ionic.

    I recommend buying a frame from a company with better customer service........its worth it in this case


    Johnny your ROTTEN

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