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HED and quality control, customer service?????(2 posts)

HED and quality control, customer service?????Packfill
Jul 7, 2003 2:10 PM
I got a pair of HED alps, clincher version, about a season and a half ago. They were so out of true when they arrived the brakes could not be adjusted to clear the rim and still brake firmly. I called as soon as they arrived and finally they agreed to take them back. The new pair came few weeks later and they were almost as bad, but not quite and so I decided to stick with them. I didn't ride them much, mostly races, but not all races. (Also I'm 160# and easy on equipment. Total miles maybe 500-800.) The wheels seemed to get a little worse and I tried truing them; (I put myself through college in part working in bike stores.) They don't true good, I'll tell you that.

Also, little "bubbles" or deformations started to form in the carbon fiber walls. This all did not make me excited about using them so they sat for a good while.

Eventually I contacted HED, to see if they could re-rim the wheels, and offering to pay, of course. I sent a polite inquiry with specific descriptions and questions including a final, "Can you Help?" The response was "YES". That's it, no specifics to any of my questions, which seemed kind of obnoxious. It was sort of like, "yeah sure we COULD help, but we're not going to tell you any more than that." After that, repeated efforts did not even get an answer, even when asked specific questions like, "How much will it cost?", and, "How long will it take?"

Someone told me they give the good stuff to the pros and get what they can from the rest of us, with the poor quality control stuff. What have others found?
re: HEDfiltersweep
Jul 7, 2003 4:59 PM
HED is basically just a house in White Bear Lake, MN. I picked up some Alps "factory direct" that had been somehow reconditioned. I have never seen anything like it. The "factory" is literally a house- and I think somewhere, someone actually lives there as well.

There was a card puncher for employees on the wall, wheels everywhere in sight- and these were all used wheels that were being worked on, or so it appeared. I was talking to one guy who was "truing" H3s- asking HOW they actually do it. He showed me how they use shims to true them. There were several work stations scattered throughout the house. I think it was Mrs. Hed herself that rang me up. They were very cool to allow me to pick up the wheels to save a few bucks in shipping (and I work nearby... I had no idea they were built there).

My Alps are relatively true, though nowhere near as true as my Mavic Ks. Why is most disturbing is how out of round the inside of the carbon rim is. I would half expect it from a wheel with a carbon fairing, but this is a structural carbon rim.

I don't know where the Apls are actually laid up. I believe they are at least spoked in MN. I believe the H3s are made in Spain.

The other thing that is weird about the Alps is the tremendous variation in wheel weight. I just wanted something a bit different, and Alps are carried in enough high end shops that I was convinced they were the real deal, and I paid next to nothing for them.

If you need a phone number, I could try to track it down for you... they have been very helpful to me, but then again, they dealt with me face to face. Conversely, I may be giving them a bit too much credit? Regardless, they are a small-scale, literally "mom-and-pop" outfit.