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LBS Trouble...Need Advice(22 posts)

LBS Trouble...Need AdviceFranchise
Apr 30, 2003 10:18 PM

I've recently had trouble with my LBS. I brought my bike in for an overhaul, and had them build up a bike after I had purchased all of the items online. The problem is that the bike to be overhauled was still filthy when I got it back when all the parts were to be removed and degreased then reinstalled on the frame. So that was strike one. Next, the new frameset that I had built up had two small chips on the fork which were likely from pebbles from a test ride, or poor handling of the parts. So that was strike two. Finally, there are a 2 gougeson each side of my carbon fiber front wheel that was to be used for the bike that was recently built up. They were impeccable when I dropped them off, but now there are deep gouges measuring from 4-7cm on both sides of the front wheel.

I've been in contact with the owner, but I don't want to seem like a pest. He told me that he would mail me a gift certificate, but I am still upset. I didn't realize the damage to my front wheel until this evening when I was cleaning the bikes because each had tons of grease all over them(on the frameset, on the white bar tape, and on the saddles).

So, my question is, "What should I do?" I still want to maintain a relationship with their service department and this LBS, but I am really ticked off that 1-my bike wasn't overhauled in the manner it was described to me, 2-a new frameset now has paint chips in the fork, and 3-my front wheel has gouges on each side.

Am I justified in asking for something to be done? I always hoped that people would take care of my belongings as I would. I mean, paint on a bike is like paint on a car. I know that paint will get chipped, but when paint chips, especially when it is brand new, and I haven't even had a chance to ride the darn thing, I get upset. I need advice on how to handle this situation. I want to go in and demand a replacement wheel and/or my money back from the buildup($200) and/or the overhaul($155), but I am not sure that would be the most equitable way to deal with this.

I know you guys are probably asking,"Why didn't you do the buildup or the overhaul yourself," and it is because I'm going through law school finals at this time. So, I decided to have the LBS, where I have done business for years, build up a new bike and overhaul an existing one.

Thanks for your advice in advance.

re: LBS Trouble...Need Advicerussw19
May 1, 2003 12:02 AM
Franchise, I work in a bike shop as a sales guy and a mechanic and I have managed shops before too... the first thing I will say is that you are paying too much for these services to begin with. These prices are US dollars, not Canadian, right? Have to ask that first, cuz it makes a huge difference.

First rule of bike shops should be that any bike coming in the door looks better on the way out! If that means taking a quick rag and some Pledge to a bike brought in for a flat repair, then you do it. Every bike should look better leaving the shop than coming in. Yours, it sounds like, was not the case both times.

Now the overhaul first... My shop, at half the price would have gotten your bike stripped down to the frame. The bottom bracket, headset, hubs stripped and cleaned and repacked with a good waterproof grease (Either Phil or Bullseye depending on what we have, we rotate)I would also inspect the bearings and replace them if needed, you would pay for races, not bearings. Drivetrain would comeoff entirely and be cleaned in a solvent tank, dried, and relubed to your preference (wet lube, wax lube... you name it, you get it...) and while everything was off your frame I would clean it with a bike cleaner and then take a rag and some Pledge to it, clean your brakes and pads, lube the pivot points, and clean your tires as much as possible. I would recommend new tape if needed, but I certainly wouldn't get white tape all greasy at this point. Then evrything goes back on, wheels get trued and bike gets relubed and final step is a test ride. Then another go over with the rag and a phone call to you letting you know you can pick up your bike.

As for the build from scratch. The only way I would charge $200 is if all the parts were in individual boxes like a Campy set up. If each and every part had to be installed from scratch and none of it came from us. And the bike would have to be test riden eventually. Sometimes things happen on test rides that shouldn't. And sometimes the shop puts the first scratch in your bike. That shouldn't happen, but it just does sometimes. And there is no excuse for it, but the shop should tell you it happened... not just ignore it and hope you don't notice. As for your wheels, what were they? And I am thinking the shop should replace them. If the damage is bad, they owe it to you... if they say it's not bad, or aestetic only, let them prove it, have them get you a new pair, you give them the old.. they can ride them or sell them, whatever, but you should have a new wheel if that's what you walked in the shop with.

After reading your story, I think two things... first, the overhaul may have been done, but it wasn't done right... they should either redo it right or give you your money back and take the loss on a bad mechanics time for the job. The build is another story, and touchy... I think the shop shouldn't be the ones to put the first scratch on your new bike, but sometimes I drop tools, and I have been hit in a parking lot test riding a bike (luckily it was my own, and the driver paid the damage) but paint chips happen. They should pay for touch up paint for you and replace the wheel, give you the money for the overhaul, or redo it, and call it even. Or maybe even give you your next tune up on the bike they built for you for free.

You said you have been dealing with them for a long time. I have to then assume something like this has never happened before. Maybe a new mechanic? That is something you can ask the owner. But if they have never messed up before and make this situation right by you, keep going back.. if not, take you money elsewhere and make sure your friends do the same. That's all I have on this one....

By the way, where do you live? I want to know where to move and open my own shop where I can charge $155 for an $80 overhaul.

Russ, you can work on my bike anytime!Tower
May 1, 2003 4:28 AM
Sounds like you run a fine LBS. Where are you?
Russ - Thank youFranchise
May 1, 2003 4:57 AM

Thanks for your advice. It sounds like I need to move to a place where there are good people like you to work with. I live in Indianapolis, and I had no idea that the prices were outrageous. We have few bike shops(this is the only one that I know of that even uses a torque wrench!), and with the economy the way it is, most have stopped dealing and throwing in such things as new bar tape. I failed to mention that at least they checked the frame for alignment for the bike that was overhauled.

As for the bike that was built up, it was a Campy build, and the components were in separate boxes. So, this may make a difference.

I agree with you that bikes that come in should leave better. I am really ticked about the paint chips and wheel, but I just wanted them to be honest with me and let me know what happened before I found out late last night. By the way, it's nice to hear another person using pledge on a bike. I tried Pedro's bike lust before, but I keep coming back to pledge.

Thanks again for your advice. You always have great advice when it comes to component choices, frames, and just everyday occurrences. Thanks.

Russ - Thank yourussw19
May 1, 2003 10:41 AM
Have you ever had this kind of service from them before? If not, for the moment, give them the benefit of the doubt at least until you talk to the owner. Maybe someone new was working on your bike who shouldn't have been...maybe something like a simple miscommunication about if your bike was done or not took place... I know those are excuses, but until you talk to the owner, don't assume the worst. This may be a very good shop that just screwed up. It does happen. I have done it myself. But when it does happen, the first thing I do is call the customer and see how they want the mistake made right, but see how the owner wants to handle it.

About the labor rates.. well, they are high, but the past 5 years have been very bad in the cycling industry. I don't own a shop and I work for one of my friends because I love it, not for the money. Most people I know who work in shops don't do it for the money, but for the love of it and the employee discounts on new parts. So it's very easy for me to sit here at my keyboard and play armchair quarterback. I don't have to pay that shop's rent or feed the owner's family... so I really shouldn't be too harsh on his prices. On top of that, I don't live where you live so I don't know what the going rate of service is there. I live in a small college town (even though our school is getting really big, the town and it's economy is still a small town economy) and most of our customers are broke students. They scoff at 9 for a flat change with tube and labor. I had a customer chew me out for charging him $12 to replace a spoke on his driveside rear wheel and retension the wheel and take a hop out of it too. $12 for all that, and I got yelled at! So check other shops and see if the prices are crazy in your area... not compared to mine.

About building your new bike... well building a Campy bike from scratch is a fun thing... I would have done it for you for free after hours if you brought a pizza and 12 pack of Newcastle, but that's because I love Campy stuff. But the truth is if you got all the parts in individual boxes, it takes a long time to build a bike like that. So if it was done right, it may be worth close to what you paid. That and some shops charge more for Campy builds than Shimano simply because it requires different tools that they may not otherwise have to stock. I know lots of shops that won't buy a Campy tool because you may only use it once or twice before it's obsolete.

Anyways, give the shop a chance to make this right, and let me know what they tell you.. if you want my advice on if they are giving you a fair deal and trying to keep your business, or if they are just trying to get you out of their hair, I would be glad to help. It can't hurt to check out some of the competition's labor rates to do the same things you had done too, that way you know if they were fair in their pricing to begin with.

Good luck, and I hope this ends well....
If you are ever in Florida and want me to look your bike over, let me know... I'll try not to scratch it!

Russ - Thank youFranchise
May 1, 2003 11:20 AM

Thanks again for this advice. I haven't had this type of service done at this shop before, but I know the wrenches are familiar with campy stuff because the owner and most of the staff ride it. I'll keep you updated on the situation. I'm planning on going in today to meet with the owner and bring in the damaged stuff.

The paint chips aren't what bothers me, but it is the fact that I had to find this stuff out on my own last evening. If they accidentally chipped the paint, I would have had no problems with it, but since they didn't disclose that to me, I am irritated. As far as the wheel, I'm glad I found the gouge marks because I would have hated for that rim to fail while riding it.

I live in Indianapolis, but if I am ever in Florida, I'll look you up. By the way, I'll repost the results of today's meeting tomorrow.
PIZZA and NEWCASTLE!!! Thats just awful!!!hycobob
May 1, 2003 7:27 PM
The most I would ever think of paying is one or two 12-packs of Shiner Bock. Of course thats with me doing the work at the LBS head wrench's house. This usually involves lots of beer drinking, bike talk and bands like "Southern Culture On The Skids" and "The Replacements" out in the garage...wives usually don't like that kinda music.
Dang, Bobmickey-mac
May 1, 2003 7:59 PM
I wouldn't have pegged you as a Replacements fan. Nice work.
PIZZA and NEWCASTLE!!! Thats just awful!!!russw19
May 1, 2003 9:58 PM
Shiner Bock is OK... but you gotta update those bands...

While turnin a wrench or two I like to listen to Hot Water Music, As Friends Rust, Thrice, Face to Face, Nuclear Saturday, Gunmoll....

And I am not married so the wife's opinions don't matter....yet.

And actually I am a Coke junkie... Coca-Cola that is. I love that stuff... it's so bad for you, but who would have thought to mix sugar and caffine into one sweet carbonated tasty beverage. I think half of my daily caloric intake is thru coca cola. That's also gotta be why I am over 100 kilos right now. Love that Soda!

agree with Russgtx
May 1, 2003 8:47 AM
I worked in shops/was a service manager for many years. You were chargd too much and got crummy service. I can't quite picture how/what they did with the wheel, but that would be a pretty major concern for me and I'd try to make them eat it on that. And if it's a carbon fork I'd be pretty pissed off about that, too--scratched on carbon aren't good. Deal directly with the owner on this, try to document/communicate clearly what happened, and be firm. Good luck.

FWIW, in the future I would avoid "overhauls"--I think it's a pretty silly/outdated concept in this age of disposable parts, cartridge bearing bbs and headsets. I would have the shops do only the repairs you can't do yourself/don't have the tools for, and try to learn good maintenance/basic repair yourself. Plus, most shop wrenches don't have the experience to do a good job with Campy. Unless you are buying the parts from the shop and know they have a lot of experience with high end Campy stuff/bikes I wouldn't have them mess with it. Finally, loyalty is a two way street--you don't owe your LBS anything.
agree with RussFranchise
May 1, 2003 11:24 AM
I am still really ticked off at what happened. I am really irritated at the fact that no one told me of the paint chips or the gouges in the wheels. Thanks for the reality check. I feel guilty about going in to the shop with guns blazing, but this is pretty much what I've learned works from law school. I just feel that they could have told me about it before I left the shop.

As far as the wheels, they put the front wheel on bicycle hooks to store it when they were done servicing it, and it is my theory that an inexperienced wrench that does not know how to handle deep dish rims with a bike hook gouged the hell out of both sides of my front wheel. I got some information this morning from one of the wrenches that the rubber coating had worn off of the bicycle hook where my bike was stored. This is really starting to make me pissed, but I'm trying to let cooler heads prevail. I'll let everyone know what happens with a full report tomorrow, after I meet with the owner.
Who, What, Where in Indy?chipnseal
May 1, 2003 7:01 PM

I live in the Indy area and have had good dealings with a shop located on the NE side on Pendleton Pike. I hope it wasn't those guys as I would recommend them to anyone. I know the owner and wouldn't hesitate to address the issues.

This shop is also very supportive of the largest bike club in Indiana of which I am also a member. I recognize that relationship and support this shop when I can- it's just good business...

It seems most LBS's and any business for that matter work very hard finding and keeping new customers.

Good Luck!
Who, What, Where in Indy?Franchise
May 2, 2003 4:55 AM
No, it wasn't Matthew's. Or, were you speaking of BGI. Either way, I would rather not disclose the business seeing as how the situation has been resolved. Thanks for the input!
Who, What, Where in Indy?chipnseal
May 2, 2003 10:48 AM
Whew! Glad it wasn't Matthews...BGI, I have no experience with personally, but haven't heard bad things either.

Good riding!
Who, What, Where in Indy?Franchise
May 2, 2003 11:57 AM
By the way, my very first mountain bike was a Gary Fisher Tassajara from Matthew's when I began college in Indy. Great stock, great deals, but quite far from my side of town. Also, I don't think they deal with too many bikes with Campy components at that shop.
Overhaul Pricingshamelessgearwhore
May 1, 2003 1:11 PM
I recently paid $140 plus parts for an overhaul in Seattle area so I don't think that that price is out of line. The guy spent a lot of time on it and it looked beautiful afterwards, basically a new bike. So I don't think you paid a ridiculous amount (if it had been done right). Every shop around here (Seattle) seemed to charge about the same thing. It was nice to have someone else do the work and to actually have it done RIGHT instead of half-ass like I somehow always manage to do. It would have taken me a complete weekend to do most of that stuff and it wouldn't have been done right.
Overhaul PricingHeron Todd
May 1, 2003 2:25 PM
In our shop, we charge $98 for a complete overhaul, and I think that's cheap. We should probably raise it. Our overhaul takes a minimum of 4 hours labor and often more than 6. At a minimal shop rate of $40/hour, an overhaul should cost at least $160.

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
Tullio's Big Dog Cyclery
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776
what do you do for four hours?gtx
May 1, 2003 3:47 PM
Let's assume it's an AL frame with Ultegra. The only thing on the bike that would actually maybe need an overhaul is the hubs. Otherwise it's just lube the cables, maybe turn a barrel adjuster or two, either clean or replace the chain, clean and lube der and brake pivot points, and give the bike a quick wipe down. Even if you replaced cables and a bunch of parts I couldn't see it taking four hours, unless you factor in a busy day at the shop with lots of interuptions.
what do you do for four hours?russw19
May 1, 2003 10:21 PM
That's why I said in one of my other posts that if I am going to do an overhaul, I like to have it scheduled in advance so I can get someone else into the shop to cover the floor. Once I start an overhaul, I don't like to be interupted. And if I am not interupted, the longest I have ever taken was 4 hours and that was rebuilding a coaster brake hub. That hub took 2 hours alone. But there are less parts on a coaster brake bike so it balances out.

I did a guys bike about three weeks ago that was a DeRosa with full mid 80's Super Record. It took about 3 1/2 hours. I charged him $80 plus he needed new cables and housing. He was expecting to get charged well over 125 so he brought us all beer and we had a few at the end of the night and talked about his DeRosa and vintage 80's bikes in general.

Those type of bikes are why I started to work in a shop... and I think I had the biggest grin on my face for all 3.5 hours of that day.

But to answer what you do for 4 hours... you clean, you polish, you inspect, and you meticulously adjust to make sure you get things perfect. That's the point of an overhaul. If you do it, and do it right, you don't need to replace parts all the time. And how much does it cost now to get yourself a vintage Super Record Bottom Bracket on ebay and have it installed? More than $80? Yep... and that's the point. I think 4 hours is a bit much unless you are having to stop and answer the phone and help customers, but if I was paying $40 per hour to have my bike worked on, I would expect the shop would have some $5 an hour kid answering the phone while the highly paid and highly skilled mechanic worked quietly on my bike.

what do you do for four hours?gtx
May 2, 2003 7:15 AM
yeah, I started working in shops in 1983, when an overhaul made sense (my shop sold/serviced a lot of SR equiped bikes). But with today's equipment, I think it's kind of silly. The last time I worked in shops was 1995 and I was doing 2-3 $50 tuneups in an hour on mid-range Shimano equiped mtbs. And that's all these bikes needed--a tune up. There was nothing to be overhauled, except possibly the hubs. I still have one bike with full SR, but to be honest I prefer the new Shimano stuff. I appreciate a hand built frame, but parts is parts, and the Shimano stuff works great.

Shop rates are pretty outrageous. I won't let anyone I know bring their bikes into shops (most shops will screw stuff up anyway--I recently moved to a new city and have been pretty horrified by the poor quality of some of the work I've seen here). I do all the work on all my friend's bikes. I pay the guy who works on my old muscle car $30 an hour, and he brings a level of knowledge and expertise to the cars that is simply incredible.
Overhaul PricingFranchise
May 2, 2003 5:04 AM
Thanks for the point of reference. Is that all it takes, 4 hours? I was thinking it would take a lot longer because an overhaul, as was described to me, was basically a strip, degrease and regrease all parts, and build up when finished. I thought that would at least take about 6-8 hours.
Overhaul PricingFranchise
May 2, 2003 5:02 AM
I think you're right. Had the overhaul been done correctly, it was likely a reasonable price. Unfortunately, I had to pretty much do it myself.