Friday, February 18, 2011

Another day, another rant

Another year has come and gone, and the bike parts I need still elude me. It all started way back in 2009. I needed to get a small replacement part for a P5 internal geared hub. No biggie the internets told me, just drop Sram a line and they'll send it to me...

The tubes were plugged or something, as Sram politely told me they only sent parts to dealers and I would need to work through a LBS. Uh-oh, warning lights start going off. My two LBSs at the time consisted of one run by a single-guy who pretty basically liked to play with his own bikes and not much else, and the other a large Trek-alized store full of pot-heads barely competent to install tires. My choices were limited, so I chose the small shop (individualized service and all that). "Uhm, yeah, I guess we can get that..." Two months later, lots of phone call, several stop bys, no parts.

I give up for a while and forget about my little IGH project. Finally think about it again as I'm cleaning out the garage and selling unused parts. Yeah, I'm not using that wheel, might as well sell it. I need to get that damn part though so I can sell it as complete/working wheel and make huge money that I can buy gold with. In the meantime, the bike shop has gone out of business (wow, who could have seen that coming!?!?), so that leaves Special-Ek as my only option.

I print out the email from Sram stating the part #. I print out their parts manual showing the part. I bring those to the shop. Guy at the shop is really trying to help, but just can't wrap his head around the idea of ordering the parts from Sram. He wastes half an hour going through a QBP parts book and trying to talk me into getting a Sturmey Archer part. I go home, get the wheel, explain how it goes together, and finally convince him the best thing to do would be to call Sram and ORDER THE DAMN PART FROM THEM!

A week goes by. He calls, says the part is in. I get over there. And massive fail. At least they didn't charge me anything.
does not equal

Fuck it, I'm just buying it online. Looks like $7 shipped from Petra Cycles in the UK.

Hopefully they won't end up sending me Shimao SPD cleat bolts.

Petra purchase of the Sram leisure rod.  Just love those British euphemisms..


Dustin said...

Been there, done that. LBSs hate the internet, but it isn't just prices that have driven bike geeks in that direction!

I'm lucky though to have a pretty good LBS not to far from the casa.

cyclotourist said...

To be honest, while I am disappointed by the incompetence of my LBS, I fault Sram. They should have simply sent me the small parts I needed and this all could have been avoided. The LBS obviously wants nothing to do with it, even if they could comprehend what I was asking for. Why force them to be part of the transaction? Contrast this experience with the one I had ordering small parts from Lake Shoe Co.:

Guess which one will have a return customer?

JN said...

Best of luck with the project, though. I ride an IGH (8-speed Shimano NEXUS) and I *love* it.

WorldviewCoach said...

I saw your rant about the LBS, and as a fellow Redlands resident, I thought I'd ask you if you know about Eddie's Bike Shop in San Bernardino. It is a 30 year old family business. The son just posted a craigslist ad, which I happened to see:

"We sell a wide variety of bicycles including Road bikes,old and new school BMX, Street, and freestyle bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, beach cruisers, tandems, three wheeler adult tricycles, low riders, vintage schwinn, and much more. Additionally, we have a very large selection of new & used parts/components for all types of bikes. Also, we offer a professional full repair, rebuild, and restore service for your bicycle and parts at a very competitive price. With nearly 30 years of experience in the field with bicycles and customer service, we can solve just about any problem that you may have with your bicycle, and usually can have the job fully completed the same day; unlike your average bicycle shop.
We are located at 608 west baseline san bernardino 92410. Exit Baseline from the 215 freeway; we are near the corner of F st. and Baseline. Shop hours are: MON, TUE, THU, FRI, SAT, 9AM-7PM, WED 9AM-5PM, and SUN 9AM-3PM.
Questions or concerns? call (909)884-9546 during business hours, or text (909)205-2985 8am-10pm (text only, no calls.)
Come in today and see why we have been proudly serving the community in the same location for nearly 30 years! Mention that you saw this craigslist add and receive a discount! note: THIS IS AN ACTUAL BUSINESS, NOT A RESIDENCE. we also sell a wide variety of vintage and modern hubcaps and wheel covers

Anyway, I checked them out, then went back today for some work on my 30 year old bike. They don't roll their eyes at vintage like the nearby LBS staff does. The repair is right up front, and the bikes are to the side and in the back. So you can sit and watch them work on your bike if you want, or you can join in.

Eddie and son are great. Give them a try.


cyclotourist said...

Hi Kate, I've definitely been there. It's like walking back in time 30 years! Nice folks there, as you said.

Philip Williamson said...

My bike shop ordered me the wrong part for my S3X (the long nut, not the short one), but they gave it to me for free, and it only took a couple of days.
I called the Sturmey Archer rep, and he called me back, was pleasant to talk to, and the only question he asked was "Where can I send the part?" So even though I had some frustration with the hub, I feel great about the company.

cyclotourist said...

The SRAM person was VERY nice and helpful, but their policy of only working through retailers absolutely SUCKS! All I needed was this cheap little part, and I had to do internet gymnastics in order to get it. Plus most LBSs are useless when it comes to stuff like this. They don't want to mess with it, it's not in their realm of normal transaction (unless you frequent Aaron's or Harris)and it's inefficient at best. SRAM should have sold (or just sent it gratis) it to me directly. Then I would be here writing praise for them like you are with S-A rather than ranting away...