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GVH Bikes-Land Sharks and Viners(14 posts)

GVH Bikes-Land Sharks and Vinerschipnseal
Apr 8, 2003 2:50 PM
Looking at these steel bikes on GVH's website. Gary has some pretty good deals going on. Anyone riding the Viner competition model he has for under $2k? I've heard good things about the Landsharks, just unsure of the Viners. BTW- is it pronounced "Viners as in grapevines" or "Viners which rhymes with weiners"?...You know we must keep up appearances, etc ;-)
A LBS used to carry themMel Erickson
Apr 8, 2003 3:20 PM
The owner was a stickler for value. He was always looking for a great bike at a great price and Viner fit the bill. The ones I saw were straight, good welds, basic paint/nothing fancy but looked good. Tubesets were all well thought out (obviously very different now than five years ago). I wouldn't hesitate to consider one.
re: GVH Bikes-Land Sharks and VinersSharkman
Apr 8, 2003 3:34 PM
Can't speak to the Viners, but I have a 2002 Landshark I got from Gary. I upgraded to Dura Ace, and price came to $2,300 to my door. The frameset alone is $1,200 to $1,500 on the Landshark web site, so you're getting the fork and components pretty cheaply.

Its been a great ride. Its not the lightest bike out there, but for criterium races and fast group rides its fine. My only regret is that I got into racing after I bought the Landshark, and am riding now rain or shine. With the Landshark being steel and all, I worry about the rain a bit, and wish I gotten a Litespeed instead, solely from the maintenance (rust) perspective.

But the Landshark is a great riding bike. Gary was great to work with, and provides tremendous value. I would not hesitate to buy from him again.

Hope this helps

Bob
re: GVH Bikes-Land Sharks and Vinerssynapselapse
Apr 8, 2003 4:16 PM
I bought a Viner (pronounced like weiner) Competition from GVH about a year ago. I basically had a good experience, and overall the bike has been a good deal for me. I have raced it in 4/5 races for the last year and I must say that it has taken all of the punishment I could manage to give it (three wrecks in races and about 8k miles of training). I'm not sure if Gary built the wheels or not (Ultegra/OPs), but they have served me well. I would not hesitate to buy a wheelset from the guy if he sold them separately.

Here is my b1tch list:

- I was a little disappointed in the quality of the paint when it arrived. The photos just can't show you how nice it isn't. (that is not a typo)

- There were a few minor mechanical problems that needed to be fixed on arrival which I feel shouldn't ordinarily be a problem, esp. for a newly built bike.

- This is a heavy frame. I know, I know, but even for lugged steel it is heavy.

- I had to hassle with frame saver on my own. I think steel frames should come with this stuff sprayed in them -- you shouldn't have to do it yourself.

Again, overall it was a positive experience, and Gary did a reasonable job of helping me pick frame/bars/stem sizes. Another positive thing was Gary's packing job. I can't imagine that anything he ever ships gets damaged...

Well, that's my $0.02
re: GVH Bikes-Land Sharks and Vinerspeter108
Apr 8, 2003 9:12 PM
I love my Viner. I got it last year with full Ultegra and Ksyrium SSC Sl's for about $1,800. As for the Framesaver.. If you request it Gary will do it for you before he builds it up.
re: framesaver and minor mech problemsJS Haiku Shop
Apr 9, 2003 5:18 AM
please specify what problems you encountered. i'm interested.

re: frame saver, Gary is happy to apply framesaver before the build if you ask. he charges $5.
re: framesaver and minor mech problemssynapselapse
Apr 9, 2003 6:04 AM
Here is the list of minor mech. problems I had initially:

1. One brake pad (of four) not adjusted to the correct height/orientation for my wheel.

2. After two (!!) rides the bottom bracket sleeve on the non-drive side worked its way loose and damaged my crank from griding against it.

3. Front brake caliper completely loose.

4. Left STI lever not tight enough. Yanking on it hard resulted in it moving up on the bars.

I do view these as minor (with the exception of the bottom bracket issue), but they are things that should be done correctly...
thanks.JS Haiku Shop
Apr 9, 2003 6:10 AM
with exception of #2 and #4, these sound like things that could have happened in shipping. as far as i know, Gary installs the bb himself, except on models where the bb was installed at the factory, or on semi-used bikes that were sold as acquired. i did also have a bb problem on a bianchi bought from him a few years ago, and it was corrected by the LBS and labor charges were reimbursed by Gary. that one was fitted "at the factory".

no offense intended, but if the bb lockring (sleeve?) worked its way off, it would be tough for me to keep riding it without noticing and either removing or affixing the part before it damaged crankarm or bb shell paint. how did that happen?

thanks.
thanks.synapselapse
Apr 9, 2003 6:38 AM
I appreciate that it might seem unreasonable for the loosening BB to damage my crank, but here are the circumstances contributing to it. This was the first road bike I ever owned, and it took me a few minutes longer than a 'seasoned' rider to evaluate that the noise wasn't 'normal'. This was basically the second ride I ever did on a road bike. At first I couldn't figure out what the noise was... When you're not familiar with bikes, sometimes it can be hard to figure out what is going on in a situation like this.

Once I stopped and really saw what was happening, I attempted to re-tighten it. Realizing that I could never get it tight with my fingers, I gingerly rode the 10 miles back to my house, stopping occassionally to re-tighten it in an attempt to prevent furhter damage. By that point though, the damage had already been done to the crank. It wasn't damaged to the point that it needed replacing, just very obvious cosmetic scratching.

I found it very frustrating. I wasn't going to mention this to the original poster, but I called Gary to let him know about the problem. I got his voice mail, and I left a detailed message about the problem. I left my phone number and indicated that I would appreciate a call back, as I felt that this was an issue that I couldn't have done anything about. I never heard from him again. That part I really didn't like.

I'm not trying to bad-mouth him. As I said before, overall the experience was good.
understoodJS Haiku Shop
Apr 9, 2003 6:51 AM
understood about being "green" when the bb problem took place. we've all been there!

it's uncharacteristic of Gary to not return your message. i can only guess that it was erased or lost, or he was on vacation or something extenuating. typically i only deal with him via e-mail, and by phone when only absolutely necessary--the way i deal with everyone else, too. :)

thanks for the insight. hopefully this was an isolated incident--likely so as folks are typically quite verbal about related experiences.

good luck!

-J
re: GVH Bikes-Land Sharks and VinersJS Haiku Shop
Apr 9, 2003 5:19 AM
I have not purchased either bike you specified, but am on my fourth from Gary and highly recommend him.
Happy with my Vinervindicator
Apr 9, 2003 7:21 AM
I bought one of the "Viner Competition with Ultegra" specials last September and it now has 1500+ miles on it and I'm quite happy.

I will say that this is my first road bike since the Schwinn 10-speed I had in Jr. High, so I don't have a lot to compare it to.

To comment on some of the problems noted previously:

1) I had only one problem with the bike when it arrived, a small crack in one of the shifter cable sleeves which happened during shipping. Gary sent a new sleeve and I had my local mechanic replace it when I took it in for its first "tuneup."

2) The paint looks good to me. It's monochromatic, so we're not talking Colanago here, but as "plain blue" paint goes, I think it looks plenty nice. Good clear coat over the decals as well, I've been able to buff out some scuffs no problem. The paint has chipped in few spots, but I don't have the experience with other bikes to know if this paint chips easier than others or if any paint would show the same chips I now have. All very minor, though.

3) The frame itself seems good to me. The lugs are plain, and not chromed, but they're still lugs and lugged steel appeals to me. The frame does not seem heavy to me. It's certainly not racing aluminum, or EOM steel, but I can't imagine there are many $600 lugged steel frames out there that are significantly lighter. It feels great, responsive, stable, soaks up the bumps, etc.

4) I didn't know anything about framesaver when I bought it, wish I'd a known and I'd have had Gary do it. When I have it overhauled the first time, I'll have framesaver put on.

5) Gary has a great "fit" program - I've changed stems now twice as I've dialed in my riding position and gotten more comfort and flexibility on the road bike. He has just swapped them out for me no charge, and hasn't even charged for shipping (tho I pay for shipping from me to him, which is fine).

All in all, my bike was just a tad over $1500 including the carbon fork and Speedplay X-2 pedals. The only thing I've seen before or since that came close to providing as much steel bike for the money was a temporary closeout bikeswholesale (I think it was) had on a Fuji 853 (tig welded) frame with Ultegra, but they had limited sizes and didn't have mine.
GVH and Landsharksjustina
Apr 9, 2003 7:51 AM
1) I have a Landshark Fixed Gear and it's outstanding. I love the steel frame. The OS tubes and slightly shortened seatstays make it very stiff, but comfy. I got mine used for a great deal, otherwise feel the frame is a bit pricey and probably wouldn't own one. But the deal at GVH (2K) makes it a reasonable value for a "boutique" frame.

2) I bought a frame from Gary. When it arrived it had numerous scratches and a couple of deep gouges (bare metal) in the paint. Not what I expect when paying $600 for a new frame. However, he did offer a full refund and to pay return shipping if I was not satisfied. I wasn't, and he honored his offer. I would have preferred a phone call to explain the frame condition rather than shipping it to me. I had to repackage, ship it back and then order another frame slowing my build and taking my precious time. I was pleased with his customer service and would do business with him again.

Good luck and enjoy
Thanks for all the great feedback!chipnseal
Apr 9, 2003 9:00 AM
I see on Gary's website that he is due back from his break...Better get the checkbook out!

Thanks for the honest replies, especially about customer service. I'm a field sales rep for a large company and take about 3-4 calls a day from customers. I do a good job, but might still have a few that slip by in a years time...Sounds like he does his best to find (and keep!) new customers so I'll go out on a limb here and guess the mixups were him just having a bad day....