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My crummy IF experience(38 posts)

My crummy IF experiencejtolleson
Feb 28, 2002 7:54 AM
Well, those of you who dissed my choice of an Indy Fab Crown Jewel Ti over Serotta (or other) may likely bask in the glory of how completely crummy my experience was with IF. I'd prefer group hugs over flames, but fire away.

I put down a $1000 deposit for an IF Crown Jewel Ti. However, I still had to choose paint. On 1/28 I send art by email. I then sent emails on 1/30, 2/6. I spoke to "Eddie" and "Matt" on the phone. "Oh, we're pulling it up right now. We'll get right back to you. Not to worry; paint doesn't need to be selected until the bike is built and shot peened." I sent another email 2/19 asking for the bid. On 2/22 I spoke to Matt who said he'd call me Monday.

On Tuesday (two days ago). I still knew nothing after 4 weeks of trying. Then -- GET THIS -- Matt tells me that he wasn't answering my emails because they didn't have an order in my name. The LBS gives me the paperwork showing that that's a bunch of hooey. The order was placed at the beginning of February.

OK, so I call Matt. "Have you EVEN STARTED BUILDING MY BIKE?" "No, because you had never selected your paint." Well, I had been TRYING to select and order the friggin' paint for a month, of course!

Jeez. And to think I chose the small granola builder in Boston because I'd get personal treatment and steady communication. What a load of crap. Whaah! So I told 'em to stick it. Of course, THEN they email me the art bid, offer big apologies. Too bad.

And now a month behind the curve on getting a bike ordered. Good thing I didn't sell the Litespeed. Sounds like I'll be riding it much of the season.
Feb 28, 2002 8:03 AM
Just had to be your first flame. Now that's out of the way, I hope you got the deposit money back. BTW, I wouldn't trust sending across the country my design ideas on painting a frame... I'd either do it myself or find somebody nearby who I could work with.
Yep, got my deposit backjtolleson
Feb 28, 2002 8:17 AM
Frankly, if I couldn't have gotten my deposit money, I probably would have groused and stayed with IF (I'm no money tree!)

As for the paint, I actually WANTED to use their paint shop because it has (supposedly) such a great reputation for innovative and custom paint, so I was going to have them paint the frame before shipping. *sigh*
Have you considered a Seven Ti Axiom/Odonata?SS_MB-7
Feb 28, 2002 9:12 AM
I have 3 custom Ti Sevens: Sola Ti geared MTB, Axiom Ti geared road and a Verve Ti disc-only singlespeed. I'm also contemplating a new Ti singlespeed 'cross/fixed-gear frameset. At any rate, I've been 110% satisfied with all of my Sevens and with Seven's Custom Fit program and customer service. You won't get the BS that IF is dishin' out with Seven.

Ride Hard,
Mike B.
Have you considered a colnago cti?colker
Feb 28, 2002 9:18 AM
colnago handling isn't that bad from what i heard. it's not custom but if you don't have abnormal body proportions you probably don't need to go custom.
ah! it's less expensive.
Have you considered a motobecane?bart
Feb 28, 2002 12:05 PM
ha ahah ahaha ha ha ha
Have you considered a Seven Ti Axiom/Odonata?SS_MB-7
Feb 28, 2002 9:20 AM
I have 3 custom Ti Sevens: Sola Ti geared MTB, Axiom Ti geared road and a Verve Ti disc-only singlespeed. I'm also contemplating a new Ti singlespeed 'cross/fixed-gear frameset. At any rate, I've been 110% satisfied with all of my Sevens and with Seven's Custom Fit program and customer service. You won't get the BS that IF is dishin' out with Seven.

Ride Hard,
Mike B.
That's a shameAlex-in-Evanston
Feb 28, 2002 8:15 AM
Too bad they gave you the run-around, cause that is a beautiful frame. I hope you haven't had any problems getting the deposit returned.

BTW - what bike now? (get a moots!)


Real ManNessism
Feb 28, 2002 8:55 AM
Sorry to hear about your problems. And just wanted to say that it takes a strong person to open yourself up to the RBR hammerheads.

By posting information like this you make the community a better place. Your post may help someone considering purchasing a frame from those guys.

And nothing urks me more than some company selling high dollar hardware that treats the customers like dirt.

Sorry, should have said WOMANNessism
Feb 28, 2002 6:43 PM
Didn't realize you are a female. My bad. My sincere appology. I guess it's true about ASSuME.

hugs are sooo much better than flames..*S*harlett
Feb 28, 2002 9:37 AM
sorry to hear what should have been a good experience went so astray-- i know the disappointing feeling of not wanting to reward bad customer service and then because of that losing something i was looking forward to-- i'll be part of any group hug to sooth those feelings--
because of the quality of all the bicycles you've been looking at it will be easy to turn this disappointment into a new opportunity though-- be that intelligent, determined and problem-solving woman that you are--
an encouraging hug to see the new possibilities--

re: My crummy IF experiencekoala
Feb 28, 2002 9:45 AM
You deserve a group hug.
re: sorry for your disappointmentdzrider
Feb 28, 2002 11:12 AM
There are lots of frame builders who make wonderful bikes. Some of them have been around long enough to survive the lean years and acquire an appreciation for their customers. Try one of them.
re: My crummy IF experiencecurlybike
Feb 28, 2002 12:02 PM
a Friend ordered a custom Ti Serotta, and it was delivered in six weeks. It was built exactly as specified. He is pleased and sends his suggestion to go there.
Boy that sucks!Len J
Feb 28, 2002 12:54 PM
I certainly feel your pain, I'd be climbing the walls of disappoinment myself, However............

Maybe there is an upside,

If your anything like me, you probably had one or two (maybe minor) second thoughts about your choices. Your subconscious has been processing this whole time. If you listen to it now (Once you get over all the emotions of your loss) you may find that you end up more comfortable with your next choice. And you have only lost 60 days. Not great but not as bad as loosing the whole season. Maybe you can have fun with this choice.

I know, it still sucks.
We've all been there once or twice

Good luck

re: SpectrumSteveS
Feb 28, 2002 1:32 PM
You might consider looking at Spectrum titanium. Tom Kellogg is a master builder and painter,would be a very fine bike.
Oh no,TJeanloz
Feb 28, 2002 2:05 PM
Then he'd be getting a POS built by Litespeed, not a Massachusetts-built Spectrum.
I admire your cancellation decision.Crankist
Feb 28, 2002 2:06 PM
Like he said.Leisure
Feb 28, 2002 2:32 PM
A month of waiting hurts when you've really got that feeling, but you're better off buying from a company that'll take you seriously. And IF will be better off knowing that they'll need to take their better off customers more seriously in the future.
Lots of other quality custom Ti builders out thereGet Dura Ace
Feb 28, 2002 2:34 PM
IF and seven are so ridiculously overated and overpriced it will turn out to be a good thing in the end. They charge nosebleed prices for a product which is no better than other custom ti builders whose frames are hundreds cheaper. It's all marketing and pricing hype to the max. Go check out a custom ti fram somebody like Spectrum. When you want a custom fit he'll actually work with you person to person in his shop watching yuo on the bike, not send you some Mickey Mouse measurement form like seven and then try to act like it's "TRUE" custom.
re: My crummy IF experiencejtolleson
Feb 28, 2002 2:31 PM
Thanks, folks. NO flames yet? Well, it is still early.

I'm torqued, but not over-the-top about the dreary experience. You are right that it gives me chances to evaluate (yet again) other prospects (and Serotta is near the top). I'm borrowing a friend's CT1 on Saturday to get a feel for that frame, which the bonus being that the stock 54 cm is exactly right according to my Size Cycle fitting, so no customization needed. Serotta I'd need only a head tube extension (so also no customization needed).

As a woman, I've learned that many bikes are too long in the TT (duh!) so whether a manufacturer charges for that is a factor.

Live and learn.
re: My crummy IF experiencetr
Feb 28, 2002 9:33 PM
You did the right thing. I am glad you got your money back and they don't deserve your business based on the way they jerked you around. Sounds like the CT1 or Serotta will be just fine.
re: My crummy IF experiencegtx
Feb 28, 2002 9:55 PM
a 54 c-t Colnago has a 54 tt and 74STA, a 55 c-t LS has a 55.5tt and a 73STA. Assuming the same saddle position relative to the cranks, the effective cockpit on the two bikes is nearly identical. So it seems to me that either your size cycle fitting was off or you haven't got your LS set up quite right.
Feb 28, 2002 3:27 PM
You're actually fairly LUCKY that you got your deposit back and can start over again with another company. They could've kept you cash and had you tied up for months. I'd say be glad that all you lost was some time and sleep and maybe learned something about the flakes in the bike biz. I'd go with either Serotta or Seven - you really can't go wrong with eitheh and depending on lead times you could be on a new ride sooner than you think. Careful about the Boston granola-head aspect, Seven is made in outside of Boston also.

Life is too short to deal with a bunch of flakes.
Sorry...Jon Billheimer
Feb 28, 2002 3:44 PM hear about your frustrating experience. However, that's not the first story of that kind I'd heard about IF. Not being very knowledgeable about these high-zoot companies I didn't want to chime in with an ill-informed opinion when you were first talking about going with IF. I hope your frustration and patience are amply rewarded with an even nicer ride in time.
get a Seven instead!the Phantom
Feb 28, 2002 5:07 PM
I ordered my second Seven on a monday, got it on friday fully assembled and ready to rock. Thanks Seven! The IF frames are nice but others, perhaps better frames are available. The paintwork is beautiful and worth the wait but why paint a Ti frame?
Independent does some nice paint jobs.Barnyard
Feb 28, 2002 7:27 PM
It's too bad you were not able to work things out. Independent is a small company, shit happens...
I would try to work it out with Indepent FabricationBarnyard
Feb 28, 2002 7:34 PM
Stick to your first choice. These communication gliches happen. At IF, they really pay attention to fine details. Their bikes are beautiful. Although I'm a bit bias, cause I've toured their factory, met the employees, and own an IF "club racer" with a beautiful paint job.
blame your LBSgtx
Feb 28, 2002 7:56 PM
Your LBS placed the order, right? They should follow up for you. That seems to be how IF is set up--you go through the dealer. If you want something like a Steelman or a Sachs, you deal directly with the guy whose name is on the frame (you can order those frames through your LBS if you want, but you don't have to). But in this case it sounds like your LBS dropped the ball. Even so, I would have been more patient. You already have a bike and IF makes nice frames.
All IF bikes are custom madeBarnyard
Mar 1, 2002 7:07 AM
Why would they start building you a frame if you have not choosen the finish product. They already have enough frames sitting around from people who could not make up their mind or have changed their mind. Your lbs should have got things straight before putting in this order.
What, do you work for them?jtolleson
Mar 1, 2002 8:42 AM
Three posts, almost in a row, defending their failure to respond to 6 emails and 3 voice mails?

Let's see. Why should they have started production? Here's why: 1) They had $1000 of my money and a full geometry spec sheet. 2) they (Eddie) told me that choosing paint "came last" and that if we hadn't finalized paint by the time shot peening was done, he'd bug me to finalize my choice.

Oh, and I love your crack about not having selected my final product. Funny that... having emailed them two proposed paint schemes I awaited only a friggin' price to commit.

It is a small company, so communication mishaps happen? I'd have bought that if it hadn't been weeks of being ignored or basically lied to. I may have even bought it if they had made a fall-all-over-themselves mea culpa. But small companies become Chapter 11 companies when they can't keep their stuff together (witness Yeti Bikes and Volant Skis, to mention a couple).

You are entitled to your opinion, but I can't help but wonder why you came back to this thread so much in defense. Something tells me if it was your order and your $1000 tied up for a month, and your long distance bill, and your ignored emails, that you'd feel differently.
Mar 1, 2002 10:00 AM
Obviously February is "Pass the Bong Month" at IF.The ball was in their court and they completely missed it. You gave them lots of time and chances to take a few swings - life is too short and money is way to scarce to be dealing with fools, unless you want to be in their club.

What I can't get is the people that fawn over botique companies with crappy customer service as if it's some mysictical expereince to give them your money and get jerked around. They probably could've gotten away without even starting your bike, but as long as they kept the dialog going you probably would've been OK with it.

If they can't get it right then the deserved to be virtually flogged and go out of business. Maybe it will save other prosepctive buyers from a similar experience.
AMEN! (nm)Sintesi
Mar 1, 2002 11:57 AM
What, do you work for them?R-I-D-E
Mar 1, 2002 10:09 PM
You go girl!

Sorry to hear about you experience. It really sucks when a company screws up like that and, for lack of a better phrase, spoils your dream. A similar thing almost happened to me with my Principia, but forntunately, someone up the ladder stepped up and has taken care of me.

You obviously did your homework, and CHOSE to spend your big dollars on an IF. A lot of these companies fail to realize that for some of us, dropping a few grand on a bike IS a big deal. For me, as it sounds like it was for you, the whole buying process is an important part of the bike owning experience.

While I have always been a fan of IF, I commend you on your decision to cancel your order. Maybe this will send them a message to get their $#!+ together.

As for other bikes, you can't go wrong it seems. You know your measurements, and now it is a matter of brand. Colnago, Seven, Serotta, Moots....great bikes all of them.


I waited 8 wks for a stock moots rigor mootis that never came...agilis ti
Mar 2, 2002 5:02 PM
had to cancel, got a litespeed in 48 hrs not as shiek but then again i got to ride a bike.
some people are never happyVDC
Mar 1, 2002 10:24 PM
They want it, and want it now. Not only that, but they want to be treated like gold. Maybe IF was busy, had illness/vacations to deal with, etc. Sometimes operations are alot smaller and less organized than you might think. And sometimes the best (or one of) IS worth the trouble and wait- but you will never know. Sounds to me like the LBS was partly to blame (lost paperwork maybe?), at the least they should have been trying to help you and get your paintjob ordered. Too bad. BTW, want some cheese and crackers to go with your whine?
I was happy to wait.jtolleson
Mar 2, 2002 11:50 AM
I was anticipate 6-8 production time. All I wanted was a return call (or email) and not to be lied to. Like gold? Nah, I actually think pretty much like a normal gal who was dropping $4700 on a bicycle.

If you think that's too much to expect, then bully for you. There are lots of businesses who can treat you just who you apparently wish to be treated.
re: My crummy IF experienceSSMike
Mar 5, 2002 5:02 PM
Hi Jtolleson, sorry if this shows up twice.

That sucks about IF dropping the ball on your frame. I have sold many IF's at a retail shop, and have met both Matt and Eddie personally. I've worked with them on many custom road frames. I won't say they've never dropped the ball on something, because they have and I'm sure your story is 100% true, but I think all custom shops on rare ocassions have an issue like yours. I wish I could convince you that your experience was by no means the norm (or even remotely common).

IF is awesome about correcting such mistakes and accomodating rider's needs when it comes to custom work. I have had customers uncertain about decals or colors, and those frames were built with a TBD note attached; that wasn't a line of bull Matt fed you. In my 12 years of experience, Matt B. is bar-none the coolest sales rep I've worked with in the whole industry. He's awesome to talk to, super knowledgable, and really, really good at what he does. He doesn't make a mistake like yours very often, and I bet if you had given him a chance(and I'm not criticizing your choice not to), he would have done whatever he could to right things for you. Everytime I call another company and mention IF (like Campy, Shimano, Spectrum, etc) someone says something like, "oh those bikes are so cool, tell Matt Bracken I said hi!" He's one of those guys that everyone seems to know, like, and respect.

I don't fault you for cancelling your order. I'd be pissed too, and you had every right to do what you did. That said, I think all the things that made you choose IF in the first place are absolutely true and that your experience was that rare tragedy that can only be explained by the cycles of the moon or something. I often buy products with my heart; I love to support the people and philosophies I like, not just the products. There's no company in the industry I'd rather support based on product, philosophy, and most of all people than IF. Sorry you had such a bad experience. ~Mike