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Totalcycling experience. FWIW.(7 posts)

Totalcycling experience. FWIW.Sintesi
Mar 5, 2002 12:50 PM
I know some of my fellow Americans have reservations about making large purchases from overseas even tho the deals are so tempting. So I thought I'd share my experience.

After hemming and hawing for a while I finally decided I wasn't going to get a better deal than Ksyrium SSC SLs for $530 over at Totalcycling in Ireland. It was the first purchase I made from these guys, which was probably pretty stupid since it was such a large one, but based on everyone's satisfaction posted here in this forum I decided to go for it. Cut to the chase, the wheels arrived today and appear to be in good condition. Packing was well done and I'm happy w/ how the purchase turned out.

But there were a few things I wish I had been aware of.

1. Not that quick. I placed the order on Wednesday the 13th they did not process the order or ship the package until the following Monday. A little slow. I had to send them an email Friday and Monday, their response was the order has been shipped, here is your tracking #, sir. Fine it's on it's way.

2. Price did not match my expectations. Using their monetary exchange converter I was expecting the price to be around $530 plus $30 for the shipping as described on the website. They billed me for $581. If there was a handling fee or VAT I wasn't notified. They do not send a receipt w/ the price breakdown. I'm asking for that today. But I don't want to quibble over $20 and it's still a good deal so I will let that go.

3. Web interface not the greatest. The initial online order process is a little awkward because when you fill out the form w/ your CC it doesn't have a field entry for the "ship to" address. You have to go back into the "You and Your Order" section and add the "Ship to" info after the order has been submitted. It was a little confusing and I was never quite sure they got the correct address until the order actually arrived. I asked repeatedly by email to confirm the address and they never did respond to that (which was strange because they pretty much responded to everything else I asked). Their carrier Parcelforce couldn't confirm this info for me either. Just a little thing that would have made the wait a little less worrisome.

4. Customs. Essentially customs at JFK is a seemingly random process that can take a day or can take a week. It was three days for me. Smaller items shipped by FEDEX sail right through but Parcelforce only delivers to JFK and hands the package for final delivery to USPS in the states. Basically, when I called Parcelforce to track the package, they said it was at JFK and it was out of their hands. No one there told me that USPS was then taking the order, I'm not sure they knew. So I didn't know who was taking the package out of customs. I emailed Mike at Totalcycling (helpful guy) a week after the package shipped and he finally told me what was going on.

5. Customs part II. $31.17. Which I had to pay the postman in order for him to release my package. I knew there was a 5% duty on the rims and 10% on the spokes, but $31.17? I don't know how they got to that figure. Very murky.

So in conclusion, all in all, things turned out well but the level of information was a little low and I would have enjoyed the experience much more if they could have described what to expect before hand. Their website says wheels are delivered in 3 to 5 business days. I placed my order February the 13th and received the wheels Tuesday the 5th of March. Basically 20 days total. The actual shipping took 6 business days. So not that bad, it would have been earlier if my order was processed quicker and USPS had been more efficient getting it through customs. I was expecting a final price in the $580-590 range but it ended up being $612 total. Again not awful I just wish they could have provided a more complete picture of what to expect.

I would use Totalcycling again, they have great prices, my problem with them was pretty minor and could be solved w/ simply better communication. The process is pretty clunky and not nearly as smooth as my experiences domestically but Ksyriums for $612 is still a great deal.

Hope someone finds this helpful.

"if the soup is good, then all is good. Yah?"
re: Totalcycling experience. FWIW.pmf1
Mar 5, 2002 12:59 PM
Well, you've confirmed my view that for a few bucks, it isn't worth messing with. I bought my wife a set of Ksyriums about 6 months ago for $600 from labicicletta. Shipping was $20 and they came in 3 days.

I agree that customs is a real 4-th dimension. We had 2 C-40 frames shipped from Italy and anxiously tracked their movement. Once they hit the airport in NJ, they got stuck there for a week. Fedex was absolutely no help. Go in one side, go out the other ... eventually, Fedex has no way to grease the gears. I finally had to call customs to get things going. I think they'd still be there if I didn't. Some form where all the t's weren't crossed.

Enjoy the wheels, they're nice. experience. FWIWJs Haiku Shop
Mar 5, 2002 1:38 PM
priced all 'round the net
couldn't beat the sdeals deal
san marco regal

sixty plus shipping!
but check that site in england...
forty with shipping

though ordering strange
payment through a third-party
transaction went through

waited for a week
then sent e-mail for status
said it's on its way

another four days
saddle, perfect condition
from G.B. to me

again will i deal
sending my money o'erseas
if they have best price

the price is a farce!
again will i buy regal
if it fits my arse
Overseas vs U.S. OrderingSlipstream
Mar 5, 2002 1:39 PM
I was looking at ordering a set of Ks from Totalcycling as well. The detailed explanation of your experience should be of value to those not familiar with ordering overseas.

If I am in a hurry for something, I will look for the best price locally or from somewhere within in the U.S. I will check with my LBS first and if they are within 10-15% on something I will usually get it there.

Another factor is that what you save by not paying local taxes can play a key determinant in who you buy from as well.

There are some great values to be had overseas. For example, I ordered a set of Campy record pedals for $140 and an Erogobrain computer (9 speed) for $81 from SquareDeals. Shipping was $10 and no other taxes. No LBS or U.S. site could touch the price.

I balance time:$:customs to suit my need at the time. You need to do your homework as well as know the lay of the land so there are no surprises. Try buying a used car overseas and have it shipped over.

Again, your post should be informative to those not familiar with the blackholes that are out there. Thx
re: Totalcycling experience. FWIW.CT1
Mar 5, 2002 9:29 PM
I just got two sets of Kyserium SL's from Total. I placed the order Thursday west coast time and the wheels were at my door on Tuesday afternoon.

Talk about awesome service!!! big :)

Jeez, rub it in!Sintesi
Mar 6, 2002 11:48 AM
Actually I'm pretty happy w/ Total and the K's look fantastic on my bike, all's well that ends well. :)
I think JFK customs in particular is horrendous. A lot of people seem to have no problems in other parts of the country. Did you get stabbed w/ the customs (i.e. $31)duties? I heard on another forum someone didn't get this charge. What did you pay total, if you don't mind my asking?
Jeez, rub it in!CT1
Mar 6, 2002 6:23 PM
Customs total was $27 per wheelset including the $5 P.O. fee. There were a bunch of tires in the order to so maybe some of the customs fees are for that too. Hmmmmm, I stopped by the P.O. and the truck was out on the route so I'll have to wait till Sat to pick them up.

Sorry, proprietary info on the wheel price. ;) Anyway, Total's pricing is VERY good if not the very best in the bus. I use them primarily because of their friendly no-nonesense approach..... and great pricing. Mike's also a good guy and I like that a lot. Don't expect a lot of chit-chat email from him though. He's in business and that means time is money. I like that actually.

I've done about $20K in offshore orders over the last 16 months and I've found customs to be a bit "spotty". About 1/3 to 1/2 of the hw that should have customs fees never gets hit. ??? Don't know why that is the case. I do know that the stuff must fly right through their office as there doesn't seem to be any delay on this side of the Atlantic. I'm also careful to keep my small orders under $200 which means no Customs fees.