Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service

    The Brain/shock on my SJ FSR 29 seems to be broken - blue dial on brain is stuck. I'm the first/original owner and it should be under warranty.

    After reading posts here and elsewhere I've seen quite a bit about how great Specialized customer service is and that they will send your LBS a replacement shock/brain to swap out for a faulty one and you can bring in the broken one once the replacement arrives so your downtime is minimized. I called Specialized this a.m. to find out about it and they said, no I have to take it to the LBS and they'll send it to Specialized who will then assess it and get it back to me after about a week or two later.

    What happened to this great customer service of Specialized? Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions of how to speed this up?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    that...doesnt seem all that unreasonable to me.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by GQOSE
    that...doesnt seem all that unreasonable to me.
    Whats unreasonable ? Having to wait weeks or expecting a quick swap out ?

    Someone from specialized mentioned a while ago that they were going to have immediate swap outs available and now months later everyone is saying that isn't happening.

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    I'm not saying that waiting a week (with shipping would probably be closer to 2 to 2 1/2 weeks) is unreasonable...but I've heard so much about immediate swaps that I was hoping to only be without my bike for 2 or 3 days. As 92gli mentioned, there was quite a bit of talk about immediate swap outs available....just wondering what happened to that or if there's something else that I need to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli
    Someone from specialized mentioned a while ago that they were going to have immediate swap outs available.
    It's a dream. Not real. Fox and other OEMs aren't keeping up is the rationale.

    However, some pressure on the folks at your LBS who in turn will exert some influence on Speshy through the rep might help shorten turn around. Got me a new SJ Brain in about 3 days this way.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    It's a dream. Not real. Fox and other OEMs aren't keeping up is the rationale.
    Definately a dream... Here's another. When they ordered parts for the model year they order, say, 100, or even 200 extra of the various brain shocks for the US service center. Is that too much to ask of a company that does a gigabillion in sales every year ? Oh, thats right... this wasn't supposed to happen again so they didn't think they'd need spares.

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    I guess I'm just not clear why, if my authorized dealer can confirm the shock is bad and under warranty, Specialized won't just ship a new (or even refurbished) shock to the authorized dealer who I can then take my bike to once the replacement arrives. Then I'm only down a day or two, and the dealer will ship my bad shock back to Specialized. I thought this was what Specialized was doing to show a commitment to customer service and keep their customers riding and happy! I know there have been posts in this forum saying just that.

    On the plus side...I now know to ask about OEM repair/replacement turnaround time when purchasing my next bike this Spring. It's not that 2+weeks is an unreasonable time to wait for Specialized to do the repair/replace, it just feels like an eternity to be without my bike!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJ99
    I guess I'm just not clear why, if my authorized dealer can confirm the shock is bad and under warranty, Specialized won't just ship a new (or even refurbished) shock to the authorized dealer who I can then take my bike to once the replacement arrives. Then I'm only down a day or two, and the dealer will ship my bad shock back to Specialized.
    This is exactly what my shop did for me after the mechanic confirmed too much oil was leaking by the seals from the air can but it took some pushing -- reminding the shop owner to remind the rep that my family had already purchased 4 Speshys and would likely buy more if CS was right by us, heck that we'd potentially be a customer for life. I even had to play the "my next bike likely won't be a Specialized if this isn't handled quickly" card as my shop had already made the judgement that the shock was faulty. Back on the trail in 3 days.

    Bottom line, push it a little before they have your bike in the shop for 2 weeks.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

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    The brain failed on my 2011 SJ FSR 29er, and I'm going to be down for about a month. The shop said at least 2 weeks, but when I dropped it off last week they said that Fox wouldn't touch it until after the holidays, so it will be at least mid-January before I see it again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jabrabu
    The brain failed on my 2011 SJ FSR 29er, and I'm going to be down for about a month. The shop said at least 2 weeks, but when I dropped it off last week they said that Fox wouldn't touch it until after the holidays, so it will be at least mid-January before I see it again.
    It seems the Specialized/Fox collaboration on the Brain shocks is writing the book on crap CS and how to not take care of the people who actually like and buy their stuff. Might as well just give customers the finger and tell them to go Rock Shox. Perfect.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by 92gli
    Someone from specialized mentioned a while ago that they were going to have immediate swap outs available and now months later everyone is saying that isn't happening.
    Apparently that service was stopped sometime this year. It might have applied in 2008/2009 but now.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...7&postcount=12

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...change+program

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJ99
    The Brain/shock on my SJ FSR 29 seems to be broken - blue dial on brain is stuck. I'm the first/original owner and it should be under warranty.

    After reading posts here and elsewhere I've seen quite a bit about how great Specialized customer service is and that they will send your LBS a replacement shock/brain to swap out for a faulty one and you can bring in the broken one once the replacement arrives so your downtime is minimized. I called Specialized this a.m. to find out about it and they said, no I have to take it to the LBS and they'll send it to Specialized who will then assess it and get it back to me after about a week or two later.

    What happened to this great customer service of Specialized? Any thoughts, ideas, suggestions of how to speed this up?

    Thanks!
    As of right now we are looking at about a week and a half in the service center once the shock arrives. The increase is do the the holiday break. We are working diligently to decrease that waiting time to our goal of 2 days. We do not have a temporary replacement/loaner program, although I can certainly appreciate the idea and will pass along that suggestion to the powers that be. I can assure you that as far as suspension service centers are concerned, we already have one of the shortest waiting times in the industry and again, we are working on decreasing that time further...
    Let us know how we can make your riding experience a better one. How may I help you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    We do not have a temporary replacement/loaner program, although I can certainly appreciate the idea and will pass along that suggestion to the powers that be.
    Thanks for the reply Robert. What about the Factory Service Exchange Program that Speci-Suspension tech mentioned in post #29 of this thread?:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...change+program

    Is Specialized still doing this? I wouldn't mind paying a little extra to have my bike back in less than 2 to 3 weeks!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    As of right now we are looking at about a week and a half in the service center once the shock arrives. The increase is do the the holiday break. We are working diligently to decrease that waiting time to our goal of 2 days. We do not have a temporary replacement/loaner program, although I can certainly appreciate the idea and will pass along that suggestion to the powers that be. I can assure you that as far as suspension service centers are concerned, we already have one of the shortest waiting times in the industry and again, we are working on decreasing that time further...
    You're reading a reply from a guy who had 4 specialized bikes in a row and happily sold my last one after problems with the brain shock.

    Who said "loaner" ? What we're saying is that you should have stock on hand and send a new or refurbished unit out as soon as you confirm the one you got is defective. Does anyone at specialized know how vehicle part remanufacturers operate ? They don't rebuild your alternator while you miss work. You buy one, return your broken one, and they re-use that one for the next guy. Is that so hard ?

    What legitimate excuse can you come up with that explains how this process has been frustrating people for several YEARS ? This is downright rediculous for a company of Specialized's size to do this. Spend a few bucks and buy some extra shock inventory for god's sake !

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by AJ99
    Thanks for the reply Robert. What about the Factory Service Exchange Program that Speci-Suspension tech mentioned in post #29 of this thread?:
    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.ph...change+program

    Is Specialized still doing this? I wouldn't mind paying a little extra to have my bike back in less than 2 to 3 weeks!
    In 2008 we did have a 'Shock Swap' program but the program no longer exists. I just spoke with the manager of our service center and he is saying that they are currently working on bringing the program back (it really is a good idea), but no ETA on when that might be.
    Let us know how we can make your riding experience a better one. How may I help you?

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    Robert,

    I appreciate the fact that you stopped in here and offered some info. However, why is it so tough to give a straight up and direct answer to the questions and concerns of 92gli or others here?

    What about the OP problem of a stuck Brain adjust knob? Does he have to take it by his shop so they can remove the assembly, ship it, have some tech expert at Specialized assess it and confirm "yep, it's stuck. We should/shouldn't cover it under warranty because ____________," wait for the new one to be shipped back and installed by the shop, potentially taking weeks to do so?

    What about jabrabu? A bike he's been on for maybe a couple months and the Brain fails. Why shouldn't he expect that 1. his shock will perform as designed and intended for more than a couple months, and 2. If it fails while in the warranty period, that Specialized will have the complete assembly/replacement parts in stock so they can be shipped out reasonably quick and get him back on the trail inside of a month? If you don't have the parts in stock, say so. At least that's the straight shot.

    It sounds to me like you have hide behind lawyer-speak or something and what is really appreciated around here is straight answers, which some of your competition are better at giving.

    A little real help here would be appreciated. The run-around I got with a failed from day-one Brain on my 2010 SJ sucked.

    Dave
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    What about jabrabu? A bike he's been on for maybe a couple months and the Brain fails. Why shouldn't he expect that 1. his shock will perform as designed and intended for more than a couple months, and 2. If it fails while in the warranty period, that Specialized will have the complete assembly/replacement parts in stock so they can be shipped out reasonably quick and get him back on the trail inside of a month?
    I actually had the bike about one month and about 5 rides when the Brain failed. I'm not going to rant, but I sure hope that the repaired unit is more reliable. I like the bike, but if it works for a month, then is down for a month, and so on, then I'll be looking for another bike. A swap program like you do with a car part, even if there is a core charge, would help minimize the down time.

    It's a good thing I still have my old rigid bike as a backup.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    What about jabrabu? A bike he's been on for maybe a couple months and the Brain fails. Why shouldn't he expect that 1. his shock will perform as designed and intended for more than a couple months, and 2. If it fails while in the warranty period, that Specialized will have the complete assembly/replacement parts in stock so they can be shipped out reasonably quick and get him back on the trail inside of a month? If you don't have the parts in stock, say so. At least that's the straight shot.
    Quote Originally Posted by jabrabu
    The brain failed on my 2011 SJ FSR 29er, and I'm going to be down for about a month. The shop said at least 2 weeks, but when I dropped it off last week they said that Fox wouldn't touch it until after the holidays, so it will be at least mid-January before I see it again.
    Didn't jabrabu's 2011 Fox mini brain rear shock go back to Fox rather than Specialized?

    If it's waiting at a Fox service centre over the Christmas period then Specialized aren't actually dealing with that particular shock.

    Is it Specialized or Fox's fault if a Fox manufactured brain shock goes wrong? The shocks themselves are covered by Fox's warranty, although you could argue that as Specialized designed them there's some responsibility there also.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    Robert,

    I appreciate the fact that you stopped in here and offered some info. However, why is it so tough to give a straight up and direct answer to the questions and concerns of 92gli or others here?

    What about the OP problem of a stuck Brain adjust knob? Does he have to take it by his shop so they can remove the assembly, ship it, have some tech expert at Specialized assess it and confirm "yep, it's stuck. We should/shouldn't cover it under warranty because ____________," wait for the new one to be shipped back and installed by the shop, potentially taking weeks to do so?

    What about jabrabu? A bike he's been on for maybe a couple months and the Brain fails. Why shouldn't he expect that 1. his shock will perform as designed and intended for more than a couple months, and 2. If it fails while in the warranty period, that Specialized will have the complete assembly/replacement parts in stock so they can be shipped out reasonably quick and get him back on the trail inside of a month? If you don't have the parts in stock, say so. At least that's the straight shot.

    It sounds to me like you have hide behind lawyer-speak or something and what is really appreciated around here is straight answers, which some of your competition are better at giving.

    A little real help here would be appreciated. The run-around I got with a failed from day-one Brain on my 2010 SJ sucked.

    Dave
    I apologize if it seemed as though I wasn't willing to answer questions directly. I assumed 92gli's question was more rhetorical in nature as we usually do have parts available for warranties and repairs. On rare occasions we run out of parts and they are quick to be replaced. In response to jabrabu, I don't know the whole story but he should be able to expect his shock to last longer then a couple of months. Keeping in mind that you will need to stick to the maintenance schedule of seals being replaced every 50 hours of riding and a rebuild every 150 hours or every year (which ever comes first). As long as you stick to the maintenance schedule, you will be covered by the warranty. I can't promise that I will catch every question that appears in forums; please feel free to write any time: [email protected]
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  20. #20
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    Robert, again, thanks for wading in here.

    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    Keeping in mind that you will need to stick to the maintenance schedule of seals being replaced every 50 hours of riding and a rebuild every 150 hours or every year (which ever comes first). As long as you stick to the maintenance schedule, you will be covered by the warranty.
    I fully understand the schedule and figure it is reasonable considering these are off-road machines that can be used in extreme fashion (although my wife's and dad's rigs will be the biking equivalents of the proverbial "old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays). As I understand, seals don't necessarily have to be replaced at 50 riding hour unless they are worn excessively or damaged? They are typically only cleaned, inspected and re-lubed at the 50 hour mark then replaced at the 150 hour service. Isn't that they way the warranty is worded?
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  21. #21
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    I waited on X-Fusion for 3 weeks for a warranty replacement. They were all at Crankworx during that time is what I was told by the LBS. The bike was a week old XC Comp. Rode the it twice and the shock was leaking down in minutes. Spent alot of money and couldn't ride.
    Disclaimer: Always get a second opinion cause I'm just guessing

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    Robert, again, thanks for wading in here.



    I fully understand the schedule and figure it is reasonable considering these are off-road machines that can be used in extreme fashion (although my wife's and dad's rigs will be the biking equivalents of the proverbial "old lady who only drove it to church on Sundays). As I understand, seals don't necessarily have to be replaced at 50 riding hour unless they are worn excessively or damaged? They are typically only cleaned, inspected and re-lubed at the 50 hour mark then replaced at the 150 hour service. Isn't that they way the warranty is worded?
    You're welcome, any time..
    The 50 hour 'air sleeve maintenance' by definition IS replacing the seals. The seals are designed to last a solid 50 hours, not 150. In my experience, 95% of the seals that come out of 50 hour old shocks unquestionably need to be replaced anyway. Waiting until the next 50 hour service is essentially 'double stinting' the seals and is quite risky (and will void your warranty). The 50 hour service is arguably the most important of the two services as this is the service that is going to keep things from breaking down. I'm sure you know this, but for the benefit of other observers to this post: Modern day mountain bike suspension is finely tuned, high tech, high performance stuff. Think of it like owning a Ferrari, not a Honda (no offense to Honda). A Ferrari simply requires more attention. It's the trade off you make for high performance. Seals wear out and they can go fast in the right conditions. It's just the nature of the beast...
    Let us know how we can make your riding experience a better one. How may I help you?

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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    The 50 hour 'air sleeve maintenance' by definition IS replacing the seals.
    Thanks for the clarify. When my shop did the first 50 hour fork service, they did replace the seals...now I know why. I was getting a new Brain shock at the same time so the rear service wasn't necessary. Both front and rear are coming up on the next interval soon. I sure like the way these parts perform.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    You're welcome, any time..
    The 50 hour 'air sleeve maintenance' by definition IS replacing the seals. The seals are designed to last a solid 50 hours, not 150. In my experience, 95% of the seals that come out of 50 hour old shocks unquestionably need to be replaced anyway. Waiting until the next 50 hour service is essentially 'double stinting' the seals and is quite risky (and will void your warranty). The 50 hour service is arguably the most important of the two services as this is the service that is going to keep things from breaking down. I'm sure you know this, but for the benefit of other observers to this post: Modern day mountain bike suspension is finely tuned, high tech, high performance stuff. Think of it like owning a Ferrari, not a Honda (no offense to Honda). A Ferrari simply requires more attention. It's the trade off you make for high performance. Seals wear out and they can go fast in the right conditions. It's just the nature of the beast...
    So you are stating that the shock knowingly wears out the seals every 50 hours and has to be sent in to FOX Racing Shox or an Authorized Service Center because Micro IV Shocks are not 100% user or LBS serviceable. Wow!

    I love Specialized products and my Epic but if it was disclosed (at the time of purchase) the the air can seals would have to be replaced every 50 hours 95% of the time I would have purchased another bike. (Specialized of course)

    Thanks for the honesty now

    PS: you may ask Fox to edit their definition of 'air sleeve maintenance'
    HERE
    Note: The following maintenance procedure applies only to the re-lubrication of original air sleeve seals used in IV rear shocks. IV rear shocks are not 100% user serviceable, meaning that if seals or rings are found to be in need of replacement, this level of service must be done by FOX Racing Shox service or an Authorized Service Center. If seals are found to be so worn or damaged, or have suffered any damage in the course of your following this air sleeve maintenance procedure, be advised that at this point you will need to contact FOX Racing Shox or an Authorized Service Center to schedule repair service.
    Last edited by Jacobus; 01-01-2011 at 04:24 PM.

  25. #25
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    Been down this road a long time ago with Specialized and this is one of a few reasons i don't ride their bikes any more.I've owned every epic since they ever came out and they still can't get the brain right.Like many others who have had multiple failures and poor service in the end i just gave up.Please don't tell me your SJ 29er is a 2011 bike and you are having problems with the brain.That just means nothing has changed.If i had to take my bike in every 50hrs to have seals replaced i would have to take it in once a month.

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    Mine isn't a 2011 so not sure whether things have changed or not in that respect. Although it's too bad their "Shock Swap" program has changed (ended). My brain/shock is being sent from my LBS to Specialized so I'll see in a few weeks (it kills me that I'm a few weeks without my bike) what the end result is.

    Robert, I too thank you for taking part in this discussion and adding your first-hand insight. But as far as your Ferrari/Honda analogy...yes a Ferrari requires more care and maintenance, but high-end manufacturers (like Ferrari) and dealerships also provide their customers with a higher level of service too. Maybe my expectations are too high but when I spend several thousand dollars on a bike, I don't expect to be without the bike 2 to 3 weeks while the backed-up manufacturer repairs it.

    I have to say that I too have been extremely loyal to Specialized over the years (even bought my 8 year old daughter a Specialized Hotrock for her 8th birthday). Now that I'm learning how problematic these brain/shocks are, and how long I'm going to be without my bike in order to get it resolved, I'm afraid this may be my last Specialized. I was even willing to pay to speed up this process, but apparently that isn't even an option.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by chillie
    Please don't tell me your SJ 29er is a 2011 bike and you are having problems with the brain.That just means nothing has changed.
    Jabrabu, another member who posted here about his Brain failure has the 2011. It was good for about 5 rides during the first month he owned it. Looks like same old same old.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    You're welcome, any time..
    The 50 hour 'air sleeve maintenance' by definition IS replacing the seals. The seals are designed to last a solid 50 hours, not 150. In my experience, 95% of the seals that come out of 50 hour old shocks unquestionably need to be replaced anyway. Waiting until the next 50 hour service is essentially 'double stinting' the seals and is quite risky (and will void your warranty). The 50 hour service is arguably the most important of the two services as this is the service that is going to keep things from breaking down. I'm sure you know this, but for the benefit of other observers to this post: Modern day mountain bike suspension is finely tuned, high tech, high performance stuff. Think of it like owning a Ferrari, not a Honda (no offense to Honda). A Ferrari simply requires more attention. It's the trade off you make for high performance. Seals wear out and they can go fast in the right conditions. It's just the nature of the beast...
    Thanks for the reply.

    What I always find interesting is trying to explain why mountain bike suspension service intervals have shortened so much. If a fork or rear shock from 10 years ago can work reliably with minimal maintenance, why can't a 2011 fork or rear shock?

    Reduced internal oil bath volumes to save weight, more complicated designs and seals that have low stiction but relatively short useful lives seem like the main reasons.

    If you look at the Fox recommended service intervals for 2002 and contrast them to the Fox recommended service intervals for 2011 you can see just how much they have changed. The quoted 1000 hour major service interval for rear shocks appears in the 2002 and 2003 Fox rear shock manuals. Annual fork oil changes with no stated upper limit on hours in 2002 to 30 hours between oil changes in 2011 is a huge difference.

    I've used Fox as the example because the information is available on their website.

    http://www.foxracingshox.com/fox_tec...er/manuals.htm


    Pictured below: 2002 and 2011 Fox Fork and Rear Shock Service Interval comparison
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service-fox-2002-service-intervals.jpg  

    Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service-fox-2011-service-intervals.jpg  

    Last edited by WR304; 12-29-2010 at 06:46 AM.

  29. #29
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    I say BS, there is no way a common oil seal needs to be replaced at 50 hours.

  30. #30
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    Either that WR304, or maintaining these things has become a profit center and until people stop buying them, there's no downside in telling people to get it more often - they now have an excuse to deny warranty claims and can soak people who want to keep the warranty for way more than the original price of the component in maintenance!

    The idea that these things should need to be torn apart and have the seals replaced every 50 hours of riding is absurd - the most advanced automotive and motorcycle shocks, for either on or off road, need no such thing, it's crazy.

    And on top of that to be told that even the annual/150 hour schedule is not actually enough for sending in the shock, but that it really needs that service at the OEM every 50 hours, which for many of us who would spend $4,000-$10,000 on a bike would meaning having the bike out of service for a substantial period every month or two? Unbelievable.

  31. #31
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    50 Hrs...

    I agree it seems awfully restrictive. Often, those who write warranties include an unreasonable customer requirement, when not fulfilled, automatically voids the warranty. This eliminates their legal liability by putting responsibility on the consumer rather than properly standing behind their product.

    Seals need service every 50 hours or each year whatever comes first? Seriously? Ridiculous if not absurd.

    Pretty convenient, eh?

    Quote Originally Posted by PB Matrix
    I say BS, there is no way a common oil seal needs to be replaced at 50 hours.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobus
    So you (Specialized I assume) are are making the public statement that the shock knowingly wears out the seals every 50 hours and has to be sent in to FOX Racing Shox or an Authorized Service Center because Micro IV Shocks are not 100% user or LBS serviceable. Wow!

    I love Specialized products and my Epic but if it was disclosed (at the time of purchase) the the air can seals would have to be replaced every 50 hours 95% of the time I would have purchased another bike.

    Thanks for the honesty now

    PS: you may ask Fox to edit their definition of 'air sleeve maintenance'
    HERE
    Note: The following maintenance procedure applies only to the re-lubrication of original air sleeve seals used in IV rear shocks. IV rear shocks are not 100% user serviceable, meaning that if seals or rings are found to be in need of replacement, this level of service must be done by FOX Racing Shox service or an Authorized Service Center. If seals are found to be so worn or damaged, or have suffered any damage in the course of your following this air sleeve maintenance procedure, be advised that at this point you will need to contact FOX Racing Shox or an Authorized Service Center to schedule repair service.
    To clarify, I was referring to our suspension, not Fox's. We have some 'co-branded' suspension parts which then fall under the Fox maintenance schedule, not ours. The seals and other parts involved in our (not Fox) air-sleeve service are designed to last a "solid 50 hours" as I put it earlier. meaning that if you go longer than that we cannot guarantee that you will not run into issues and will therefore void the warranty. Again, this is not to say that we engineered the seals to fail at 50 hours, only that we cannot guarantee that they will last longer than that. You may want to compare this to companies like Fox, who require their air-sleeve service every 30 hours. Both Specialized and Fox air-sleeve services can be performed at the shop level or can be sent back to us via a Specialized dealer if you prefer. Both Specialized and Fox also require an inspection and oil changes (this procedure is done at the factory service center, not at the shop level). Specialized requires this service every 150 hours or every year, which ever comes first. Fox requires this service every 100 hours or every year, which ever comes first. We can service the co-branded Fox suspension in our service center and so can Fox. When scheduling this service with your Specialized dealer, I would suggest having them check with both service centers to see which of the 2 has the shortest waiting period.
    Let us know how we can make your riding experience a better one. How may I help you?

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    . Both Specialized and Fox air-sleeve services can be performed at the shop level or can be sent back to us via a Specialized dealer if you prefer.
    I believe a 50 hour re-lubrication of the seals can be done at the shop level. If I am not mistaken worn Air-sleeve seals are can only be changed by removing the Brain (Specialized or Fox version). Wouldn't this require sending the shock to Fox or Specialized?

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimInSF
    Either that WR304, or maintaining these things has become a profit center and until people stop buying them, there's no downside in telling people to get it more often - they now have an excuse to deny warranty claims and can soak people who want to keep the warranty for way more than the original price of the component in maintenance!

    The idea that these things should need to be torn apart and have the seals replaced every 50 hours of riding is absurd - the most advanced automotive and motorcycle shocks, for either on or off road, need no such thing, it's crazy.

    And on top of that to be told that even the annual/150 hour schedule is not actually enough for sending in the shock, but that it really needs that service at the OEM every 50 hours, which for many of us who would spend $4,000-$10,000 on a bike would meaning having the bike out of service for a substantial period every month or two? Unbelievable.
    There's definitely an element of covering yourself with shorter recommended service intervals. Make them short enough and it effectively gets rid of any possibility of making a successful warranty claim against the company. Specialized have reduced direct suspension warranty claims by getting Fox and Rock Shox to manufacture most of the brain shocks for the 2011 range. The Fox and Rock Shox warranties are much shorter than Specialized's own 5 year warranty and exclude lots of wear items. If you decide to have your 2011 Fox or Rock Shox brain shocks serviced regularly it's more about performance than protecting the warranty. The short Fox and Rock Shox warranties are nowhere near as valuable.

    Even with short service intervals I think it's still fair to expect the shocks not to fail completely. An issue such as AJ99's with the brain dial seizing on the rear shock shouldn't happen.

    Motorcycle Service Intervals
    High performance motorcycle shocks have similar (or shorter!) requirements so it can't be explained purely in terms of blocking warranty claims. I'd point you to the KTM 15 hours or less for a rear shock and 30 hours or less for a fork between rebuilds suspension intervals as an example.

    http://www.ktmworld.com/ktm_article.asp?id=25

    Ohlins motorcycle shocks when used for racing or track riding are supposed to be serviced every 10-20 hours of riding, although that increases to every 30,000km if the bike is only used on the road.

    http://www.ohlins.com/Products/Owner...M_07241-02.pdf

    Specialized, Fox and Rock Shox Brain Shocks
    In terms of Specialized mountain bikes and brain shocks [email protected] makes the point that there are different servicing and warranty requirements depending upon who actually makes the shock or fork. When you look at 2011 Specialized mountain bikes with brain shocks then the 5 year warranty and 50 hour/ 150 hour requirements only apply to the Specialized own brand forks and shocks. For 2011 only three bikes of the entire range have Specialized own brand brain forks (26" Epic S-Works, 26" Epic Marathon, 26" S-Works Stumpjumper Hard Tail). None of the 2011 range uses own brand brain rear shocks.

    All the 2011 rear brain shocks are manufactured by Fox whilst most of the brain forks are manufactured by Rock Shox.

    All the Fox branded rear shocks have the Fox service interval requirements (every 30 hours airsleeve, 100 hours major service) and are covered by the Fox warranty.

    "Fox Warranty
    The factory warranty period for your fork/shock is one year (two years for countries in the EU) from the original date of purchase of the bicycle or fork/shock. A copy of the original purchase receipt must accompany any fork/shock being considered for warranty service. Warranty is at the full discretion of FOX Racing Shox and will cover only defective materials and workmanship. Warranty duration and laws may vary from state to state and/or country to country.

    Additionally, the seals on your fork are covered 90 days from the date of purchase. After the 90 day period, they are considered wear-and-tear items and will not be covered under warranty.

    Parts, components and assemblies subject to normal wear and tear are not covered under this warranty."
    Fox Racing Shox

    http://www.foxracingshox.com/fox_tec...r/warranty.htm

    I think that the Rock Shox Reba brain forks that come on many of the 2011 mountain bikes have the standard 25/50/100 hour service intervals for Rock Shox and are covered by the SRAM warranty. (Is this confirmed? )

    http://www.sram.com/_media/pdf/rocks...cal-Manual.pdf

    "SRAM LLC Warranty
    Extent of Limited Warranty
    SRAM warrants its products to be free from defects in materials or workmanship for a period of two years after original purchase. This warranty only applies to the original owner and is not transferable. Claims under this warranty must be made through the retailer where the bicycle or the SRAM component was purchased. Original proof of purchase is required.
    ...
    This warranty does not apply to normal wear and tear. Wear and tear parts are subject to damage as a result of normal use, failure to service according to SRAM recommendations and/or riding or installation in conditions or applications other than recommended.

    Dust seals
    • Bushings
    • Air sealing o-rings
    • Glide rings
    • Rubber moving parts
    • Foam rings
    • Rear shock mounting hardware and main seals
    • Upper tubes (stanchions)
    • Stripped threads/bolts (aluminium, titanium,magnesium or steel)"
    SRAM Warranty

    http://www.sram.com/_media/pdf/warra...rranty2009.pdf

    Pictured below: The suspension of a 2011 Specialized Epic 29er such as goneskiian's is covered by the Fox and Rock Shox warranty and service requirements. The suspension on this bike isn't covered by the 5 year Specialized warranty and also has shorter service intervals than Specialized own brand shocks.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service-2011-rock-shoxrebaserviceintervals.jpg  

    Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service-2011s-works29erserviceintervals.jpg  

    Last edited by WR304; 01-01-2011 at 09:34 AM.

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobus
    I believe a 50 hour re-lubrication of the seals can be done at the shop level. If I am not mistaken worn Air-sleeve seals are can only be changed by removing the Brain (Specialized or Fox version). Wouldn't this require sending the shock to Fox or Specialized?
    That is correct for the older 'Sidewinder' Epic shocks only; which came on the 07 & 08 models. All others are serviceable for the 50/30 hour maintenance at the shop level.
    Let us know how we can make your riding experience a better one. How may I help you?

  36. #36
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    These short service intervall times are one main reason for me for sticking with my HT and building a 2011 sworks ht. I thougth about chaniging to a 2011 epic but even the necessary "care-plan" for my ht is sometimes too much for me so a fully hadn`t been the right decision.

    A service every 25 hours - that would be every 4 weeks during summer months. Just impossible.

  37. #37
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    I've got a '10 FSR Expert w/ the Brain. Flawless for 8 months now...Nock on wood.


    I ran a Fox Float on my old bike (Cann. Jekyll) for 6 years, taking it apart every 6 months or so, to inspect and re-lube. Never replaced the seals and worked great.

    Every 50 hours??! Ridiculous...
    2020 SC Hightower

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by S-Worker
    These short service intervall times are one main reason for me for sticking with my HT and building a 2011 sworks ht. I thougth about chaniging to a 2011 epic but even the necessary "care-plan" for my ht is sometimes too much for me so a fully hadn`t been the right decision.

    A service every 25 hours - that would be every 4 weeks during summer months. Just impossible.
    Yeah, I was on the fence about an Epic myself but this is pushing me to more carefully consider a rigid titanium bike that can be designed with some compliance - not as much as a suspension bike of course, but a lot more than my steel rigid 26" and that I don't have to give up the bike frequently for either.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    That is correct for the older 'Sidewinder' Epic shocks only; which came on the 07 & 08 models. All others are serviceable for the 50/30 hour maintenance at the shop level.
    Correction: Here is the official list of shocks that are shop lever serviceable and not serviceable:

    09 Epic Mini – no seal replacement at shop level
    2010 and 2011 Fox SJ – air piston and backup rings only at shop level– the air sleeve seals will not fit over the BRAIN
    2010 and 2011 Fox Epic – no seal replacement at shop level.
    2007-2009 SJ – air can be slid down onto the hose, so full 50hr at shop level
    2007-2008 Epic – no seal replacement at shop level. Only inspection and lubrication at the air piston only
    2007-2009 Enduro – full 50hr service at dealer level
    Let us know how we can make your riding experience a better one. How may I help you?

  40. #40
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    What makes a shock "not dealer serviceable"?
    Special tools?
    Nitrogen charging?
    Service parts not available to dealer?
    Lack of service documentation?
    May the air be filled with tires!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Blaster1200
    What makes a shock "not dealer serviceable"?
    Special tools?
    Nitrogen charging?
    Service parts not available to dealer?
    Lack of service documentation?
    The problem for replacing the seals on the mini brain rear shocks is that the brain hose runs through the shock. The main air seal's diameter is smaller than the diameter of the mini brain connected to the brain hose making it physically impossible to replace the seal without removing the nitrogen charged mini brain and hose first.

    The pictures below show cut aways of the 2009 Epic mini brain shock. The diagram is the air sleeve instructions for the 2010 Fox mini brain shock.

    2010 Fox mini brain air sleeve service instructions (IV Inertia Valve Shock)
    http://www.foxracingshox.com/fox_tec...rod/index.html

    .
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service-2009-epic-seal.jpg  

    Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service-fox-air-sleeve-service.jpg  


  42. #42
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    In general, the more sophisticated any system is, the higher is the maintenance.

    Some of you have referenced high-priced cars and motorcycle. Have anyone of you ever owned a Ferrari or Lamborghini? or a Ducati? You crack a fender on a Lambo and you're looking at 2-3 months down, easily, as things get shipped from Italy. How about the frequent valve adjustment for a Ducati? (Honda riders, you may rejoice).

    Seriously, some of you who rant in here don't understand the notion that the higher the "performance" of anything, the higher the maintenance. High priced toys don't mean high reliability toys. If you want high reliability, consider a Walmart bike; heavy as hell, but bulletproof.

    the more I think about it, the more i want a hardtail. Hardtail is more reliable

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by chauzie
    the more I think about it, the more i want a hardtail. Hardtail is more reliable
    Certainly more simple and reliable with the necessary maintenance. This is why many of my miles this year will be on a SS rigid. Simple. Cheap. Fun.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by [email protected]
    Correction: Here is the official list of shocks that are shop lever serviceable and not serviceable:

    2010 and 2011 Fox SJ – air piston and backup rings only at shop level– the air sleeve seals will not fit over the BRAIN
    Now it's making more sense to me. My '10 Brain is now due for the 50 hr seals and service which means it's going to Specialized for who knows how long.

    BTW Robert, if I have to send this shock in at 50 hours for seal replacement, what would be the reason to have the shop do the air piston and backup rings since it would seem these would be done at Specialized with the 50 hr service? Also, can you give a ball park on the cost Specialized charges for the 50 hr service?

    I am understanding also that the required Fox fork work can all be done at the shop level... correct me if this is wrong.
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    Now it's making more sense to me. My '10 Brain is now due for the 50 hr seals and service which means it's going to Specialized for who knows how long.

    BTW Robert, if I have to send this shock in at 50 hours for seal replacement, what would be the reason to have the shop do the air piston and backup rings since it would seem these would be done at Specialized with the 50 hr service? Also, can you give a ball park on the cost Specialized charges for the 50 hr service?

    I am understanding also that the required Fox fork work can all be done at the shop level... correct me if this is wrong.
    The 50 hour/ 150 hour service intervals are only for the Specialized own brand brain rear shocks. They appear on 2009 model year and older bikes. Any bike that's 2010 model year or newer has a Fox brain rear shock and doesn't have 50 hour services - they're due the shorter 30 hour services instead.

    The brain rear shock on your 2010 Specialized Stumpjumper FSR Expert 29er is a Fox rear shock. The recommended service intervals for that rear shock are every 30 hours for an air sleeve service, and every 100 hours or annually for the major service per the Fox service schedule in post #28.

    Although the newer shocks have both Fox and Specialized logos on, you should assume that any shock with Fox logos is probably a Fox rear shock for servicing and warranty purposes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service-specialized_fox_epic_brain_shock.jpg  


  46. #46
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    @ WR304: Okay, okay, it's coming into focus even better... and getting more stupid at the same time. I guess I will roll the dice. No way that shock is coming off the bike every 30 ride hours and going to wherever/whoever services these things at 2-3 weeks and ??$$ a pop. I'll buy a Triad if this one blows. Oh well...
    Sometimes, you need to go fast enough that the trail is a blur to find clarity. -- Wild Bill

  47. #47
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    Normal riding will probably? see the seals hold up. For normal use there's likely to be a longer useful life for the seals than 30 hours. If you look at the motorcycle examples in post #34 it's repeated hard use that really heats the shock up and hammers the internals, as opposed to just riding around. 10 hours on a race track or 30,000km on the road for an Ohlins shock illustrates that quite well.

    "This image shows a stock shock (top image) run on our dyno until the shock temp ran over 245 degrees F.
    ...
    You can clearly see that most of the heat is generated in the shock body where the pistons move up and down in the body. The heat spreads as the oil moves through the shock and reservoir."
    KTMworld.com

    http://www.ktmworld.com/ktm_article.asp?id=25

    Have a look at this article about oil seals as well. It isn't specifically about suspension so you have to read between the lines a little. If the seal isn't well lubricated then it will generate excess heat.

    http://www.simritna.com/catalog/rss/seal_theory.htm

    Sending the shock away every 30 hours of normal riding is too much really. With my 2009 Epic the Specialized fork and shock were sent off regularly for the 150 hour services and that was bad enough.

    Either you or the bike shop should be able to do the 30 hour rear shock air sleeve service. All that is is unscrewing the air can, cleaning inside and greasing the seals. The instructions are on the Fox website. I linked part of it in post #41.

    http://www.foxracingshox.com/fox_tec...rod/index.html

    Pictured below: WP motorcycle rear shock thermal image when run on a dyno shows that it reaches over 118c. A mountain bike shock could also reach the same sort of temperatures.
    Oil seal material types - heat versus seal life. Note how the expected life of the seal falls drastically when used at high temperatures.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken Brain and Specialized Customer Service-seallife.jpg  

    Attached Images Attached Images  

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304
    Normal riding will probably? see the seals hold up. For normal use there's likely to be a longer useful life for the seals than 30 hours. Sending the shock away every 30 hours of normal riding is too much really. Either you or the bike shop should be able to do the 30 hour rear shock air sleeve service. All that is is unscrewing the air can, cleaning inside and greasing the seals. The instructions are on the Fox website. I linked part of it in post #41.
    I pretty much agree. For function and reliability, the sleeve service will have to suffice. If that keeps the shock eligible for warranty claims, great. I'm even okay sending the shock in annually for the 150 hour service. Thing is, with the confusion between the Specialized and Fox service intervals, I am already out of warranty compliance as I now have over 50 hours on this shock.

    ***EDIT*** Make that the 100 hour service....Fox
    Last edited by Glide the Clyde; 01-01-2011 at 10:50 AM.
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  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malibu412
    I pretty much agree. For function and reliability, the sleeve service will have to suffice. If that keeps the shock eligible for warranty claims, great. I'm even okay sending the shock in annually for the 150 hour service. Thing is, with the confusion between the Specialized and Fox service intervals, I am already out of warranty compliance as I now have over 50 hours on this shock.

    ***EDIT*** Make that the 100 hour service....Fox
    Varying warranties between Specialized and Fox shocks are the point I was making in post #35. A Fox brain shock is covered by the Fox warranty. In the US that's only a one year warranty for the shock and 90 days for the seals with lots of exclusions.

    http://www.foxracingshox.com/fox_tec...r/warranty.htm

    There's no way to easily prove exactly how many hours a shock has done. The warranty cut off point for a Specialized shock (5 year warranty) appears to be having the shock serviced at least annually. If that isn't done then you definitely lose the warranty. This can easily be checked by matching serial numbers on the shock. With a 5 year warranty it's worth trying to keep up with the annual servicing.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=665388

    With a Fox shock (one year warranty in the US) you're out of warranty after a year whether you have the annual service done or not. That makes the regular services more about performance and prolonging the life of the shock than the warranty.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by WR304
    Varying warranties between Specialized and Fox shocks are the point I was making in post #35. A Fox brain shock is covered by the Fox warranty. In the US that's only a one year warranty for the shock and 90 days for the seals with lots of exclusions.

    http://www.foxracingshox.com/fox_tec...r/warranty.htm

    There's no way to easily prove exactly how many hours a shock has done. The warranty cut off point for a Specialized shock (5 year warranty) appears to be having the shock serviced at least annually. If that isn't done then you definitely lose the warranty. This can easily be checked by matching serial numbers on the shock. With a 5 year warranty it's worth trying to keep up with the annual servicing.

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=665388

    With a Fox shock (one year warranty in the US) you're out of warranty after a year whether you have the annual service done or not. That makes the regular services more about performance and prolonging the life of the shock than the warranty.
    Ah, but will Specialized claim when you break your rear triangle at a year and a day that this is a suspension component and that since you didn't have the shock serviced, the suspension parts warranty is void? Funny how they've lumped solid parts of the frame into that "suspension" category and thus made that warranty subject to the suspension maintenance requirements too... you see, if your shock were moving properly, by virtue of having been sent back to Fox at 100 hours, your rear triangle wouldn't have broken going over that curb.

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimInSF
    Ah, but will Specialized claim when you break your rear triangle at a year and a day that this is a suspension component and that since you didn't have the shock serviced, the suspension parts warranty is void? Funny how they've lumped solid parts of the frame into that "suspension" category and thus made that warranty subject to the suspension maintenance requirements too... you see, if your shock were moving properly, by virtue of having been sent back to Fox at 100 hours, your rear triangle wouldn't have broken going over that curb.
    You read GTR2ebike's post as well?

    http://forums.mtbr.com/showpost.php?...9&postcount=27

    The US warranty information on the Specialized website currently still says that the rear triangle of a full suspension bike is only covered by a one year warranty. At a year and a day the rear triangle would be out of warranty anyway, whether it broke due to the rear shock or some other reason.

    http://cdn.specialized.com/OA_MEDIA/...arranty_r1.pdf

    In practice you'd hope that the rear triangle would be replaced under goodwill if it did break one day after the warranty expired.

  52. #52
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    Ah, whoops, no, I missed that, so one year warranty only on primary solid frame components of a $4-9k bike? Oy vey. (And even that voided if you miss the 30 hour service!)

  53. #53
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    Having different warranties for the main frame triangle and rear swingarm of full suspension bikes is standard for many manufacturers.

    Here is the Trek warranty as an example: "Lifetime" on frame main triangle but only two years for the rear swingarm.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/suppo...ited_warranty/

    If Specialized have actually moved to a 5 year warranty for the rear swingarm then that's better than the warranty on many other bikes.

  54. #54
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    I called Specialized a while ago about my 2008 AFR rear brain shock on my Epic, because the brain stopped working. They said that I needed to send it in every 6 months to have the brain re-pressurized and since I failed to do that its no longer covered by warranty and they would not replace it and that I would have to go to my LBS and hung up.
    2008 Specialized Epic
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    So just to clear this up for myself, to keep the 5 year guarantee on a shock, we have to do a 50 hour service on it, which costs money, and a yearly or 150 hour bigger maintenance deal, which also costs money? So figuring that the annual/150hr maintenance costs about $110, and the 50hr service probably costs something as well, and then adding that to the maintenance for the fork, at least in my case you're approaching the original price of the bike, which is already higher because of the costs of having shocks on a bike >
    Hardtails and rigids keep looking ever more enticing

  56. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Stig
    I called Specialized a while ago about my 2008 AFR rear brain shock on my Epic, because the brain stopped working. They said that I needed to send it in every 6 months to have the brain re-pressurized and since I failed to do that its no longer covered by warranty and they would not replace it and that I would have to go to my LBS and hung up.
    This is unusual. The main reason I am a Specialized customer for life is because of their customer service. Every company will inevitably have problems, how they deal with them is what sets them apart from the competition. In my case I always worked with my LBS. Between them and Specialized they always made it right (this does not mean free).

    I made a statement earlier in this post about buying another bike (Specialized of course) if I would have known about the frequent maintenance upfront. After riding it today I have to retract the statement, I love this bike.

    Go talk to your LBS. If you are the original owner I am sure an amicable solution will come from it.
    Last edited by Jacobus; 01-01-2011 at 09:02 PM.

  57. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by k2attack
    So just to clear this up for myself, to keep the 5 year guarantee on a shock, we have to do a 50 hour service on it, which costs money, and a yearly or 150 hour bigger maintenance deal, which also costs money? So figuring that the annual/150hr maintenance costs about $110, and the 50hr service probably costs something as well, and then adding that to the maintenance for the fork, at least in my case you're approaching the original price of the bike, which is already higher because of the costs of having shocks on a bike >
    Hardtails and rigids keep looking ever more enticing
    And it's not just that - for those of us who ride a lot, enough to consider something like an S-Works, but who don't have a huge stable of bikes, being without the bike while shocks are sent off for rework every few months is a huge deal. I've been test riding Epics recently but didn't realize that buying one would mean going without it for a couple of months a year while the shock gets sent off for g-d knows how long every hundred hours of riding. This summer I was doing 2-3 hours a day - so I'm supposed to send my shock off every month? Not workable.

  58. #58
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    Are you a professional racer?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobus
    This is unusual. The main reason I am a Specialized customer for life is because of their customer service. Every company will inevitably have problems, how they deal with them is what sets them apart from the competition. In my case I always worked with my LBS. Between them and Specialized they always made it right (this does not mean free).

    I made a statement earlier in this post about buying another bike (Specialized of course) if I would have known about the frequent maintenance upfront. After riding it today I have to retract the statement, I love this bike.

    Go talk to your LBS. If you are the original owner I am sure an amicable solution will come from it.

    Jacobus is exactly right. When I purchased my 2010 S-Works Epic I was concerned about the maintenance. My LBS, Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin, TX. Always took incredible care of me. With a little planning ahead, the 50 hour service is same day. The 150 hour service hasn't been that bad either. Out of 14 months and over 6,000 miles on the bike, I have missed maybe 3 or 4 weeks total. On most of those occasions, it has been a nice break from the bike. Usually, we have been able to work the 150 hour service into my training so it is a down time any way.

    Regardless, unless your riding for a paycheck, the time off the bike because of the service doesn't matter.

    Enjoy the ride my friends, find the joy!

  59. #59
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    whats the ballpark cost on rebuilding the rear and front shock on one of these? I'm looking at picking up a used Stumpjumper but if its 300 bucks to rebuild the front/rear shock then whats the point?

    I guess its even worse if the shocks trashed and its out of warranty.........

  60. #60
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    Fox rebuild Rear shock $80 - $120

  61. #61
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    Well I started this thread about a week and a half ago. I'm happy to report that Specialized fixed my shock and brain. The whole process from dropping off my bike at my LBS to picking it up yesterday took 11 days (less than the 2-3 weeks I was told to expect). Took my bike out for a ride today and it rode great. Specialized covered the repair under warranty and I have to say that while I would still like to see a "shock swap" program for an even quicker turn-around, overall I'm very happy with how they handled my problem and their customer service.

  62. #62
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    I took my 2011 brain shock into the LBS the Wednesday before Christmas and had it back in 8 days. I thought that was a great turn around time for being the holidays. The adjustment knob just keep turning and Specialized said that some shocks where not tightened from the factory. Still waiting to go for a ride beccause all the snow we have!!!

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