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shop talk(44 posts)

shop talkDougSloan
Jun 18, 2003 12:26 PM
I overheard this in an LBS from an employee to an elderly woman asking about bikes, as the employee was directing her to a Giant: "Giant has many factories. Basically, unless it's hand made in America or Europe, nearly all bikes are made in Giant factory anyway."

This struck me oddly. While it *might* be true, I'm skeptical. Any truth to it?

What loads of crap have you heard in shops?

Worst one I've heard...No_sprint
Jun 18, 2003 12:28 PM
Shimano is better than Campy. :)
now thats a good laugh nmafrican
Jun 18, 2003 12:31 PM
Shimano is better.Barnyard
Jun 18, 2003 4:27 PM
Worst one I've heard...Trux
Jun 19, 2003 10:50 AM
Overheard last weekend. Salesman, "All Colnago titanium comes from Ferrari. The Ferrari Auto factory is right across the street from the Colnago factory."
You need a 19"......17" is too smallMR_GRUMPY
Jun 18, 2003 12:35 PM
We have lots of 19's...................We're out of 17's
re: shop talkGall
Jun 18, 2003 12:48 PM
I just heard a nice one about a hour ago...

The employee was working on a mt bike with XTR. He couldnt get it to shift right.

The next thing I see is him "spanking" the bike and saying "I dont care its not mine... it shifts good enough... mine would work better then this"

Thank god I dont have my bikes fixed there... I know whose bike it was that got a spanking.. I ll be sure to tell him how bad his bike was at the bike shop...

Spewing crap, from the sales perspective...TJeanloz
Jun 18, 2003 12:50 PM
A real issue with selling bikes, and probably selling anything, salesmen hyperbolize to get the point across - because being 100% truthful would make you sound like a lawyer.

In terms of the Giant statement, it is not truthful, but it isn't far off. There are really three major producers of bicycles in Asia - Giant, Merida, and Hodaka, and they probably account for 95% of bicycles coming from Asia. Giant is the largest, and best known of these three, and I think it would be in line to claim that Giant produces almost 50% of Asian-sourced bike-shop (i.e. not Pacific) bikes. Giant does produce bikes for almost every brand in the world, including some of the very best.

But the way the salesperson told it, while not true, gets the point across and achieves the goal. I'm far enough removed that I can't remember all the generalizations that I made over the years - but I know I made them. You have to realize that 99% of the bike buying public doesn't care where Colnago sources its titanium bikes from.
So where Colnago does source its titanium bikes from?bigdeal
Jun 18, 2003 1:17 PM
Internet rumor says Russia, fwiw (nm)geeker
Jun 18, 2003 1:22 PM
Nobody knows for sure,TJeanloz
Jun 18, 2003 1:23 PM
There seems to be a general consensus that, at a minimum, the tubesets are sourced from eastern Europe, and that some bikes have been welded there. Colnago purists get really mad any time anybody makes this allegation though...
Former Colnago puristPaulCL
Jun 18, 2003 1:43 PM
I have a Colnago BiTitan with a cracked frame. The frame cracked on the weld. I had an email conversation with a Colnago rep from Trialir on this frame.

I brought up the russian thing...he didn't deny it. But what he did admit was that Colnago knew or knows that the welds on several of their Ti frames were defective. He admitted that in an email! As recompense, he offered me a 2003 C-40 for $2000. I wanted more, I got nothing. The Ti may or may not be russian, but whoever does the welding is clueless.

Signed....a disgruntled Colnago owner. Just remember: there's a reason these frames are only warrantied from the factory for two years! Trialtir gives you another 2 years.

Colnago sources (and why would anyone listen toTrialtir?)lonefrontranger
Jun 18, 2003 3:27 PM
I worked for a Colnago dealer. I can tell you firsthand that Trialtir is the hands-down WORST customer service operation in the bike industry. They even beat Trek for bad attitude and cavalier dealer relations, and that's saying something.

I agree, Colnago has weird quality control issues. About the best you can do is caveat emptor, and insist you get a Made in Italy frame. The three we have are absolutely gorgeous and rock solid. They have none of the paint, straightness or other quality issues people often complain about with this line. All of them are indeed worth every cent we paid for them. You can tell the factory of origin by checking the serial# on the BB shell or dropout and emailing the Colnago website. They are very prompt in replying and I find them very honest and straightforward to deal with. Your best bet is to buy from a reputable dealer, preferably one in Europe.

One of the major issues is that yes indeed, some Colnago frames are made in Eastern Europe. These are generally intended for "second market" economies, i.e. Mexico, Poland, Russia, Africa, Asia, et cetera. It allows Colnago to cut some corners and sell a reasonably affordable product under a highly recognizable and desirable brand to less affluent markets. Unfortunately, these frames are often the source of the "screaming" price deals on the internet, and I do agree they tend to dilute brand perceptions.

I also wouldn't put it past Trialtir to sell some percentage of these cheaper "second market" frames as made in Italy at premium prices to inflate their profit margin - god knows I've dealt with enough other lies, misrepresentation and incompetence from them that I would never trust them, and never deal through them.

And Paul, I've seen two Litespeeds and a custom Seven crack. Yes they were warrantied, which your frame was not, and I agree that's a shame, but titanium welding is not a foolproof process.
Colnago sources (and why would anyone listen toTrialtir?)russw19
Jun 18, 2003 7:05 PM
Two things....

First, LFR, who is your inside Trek Rep? I worked for a Trek dealer for 8 years before going to another shop that was a LeMond/Fisher dealer... same reps... Ours are great! I think it must be either who you have as your inside and outside reps, because I have never heard people in Trek dealerships complain about them not getting what they want from Trek.

Second, Titanium must be welded in an oxygen free work area. If oxygen gets into the weld, the weld will fail. Something like 90% of all Ti bikes that crack at the welds can be traced to oxygen in the work environment.

I haven't worked in a shop for three years (but I did sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night)lonefrontranger
Jun 18, 2003 10:02 PM
It didn't matter who the inside rep was (this was back in 96-99 and in Ohio to boot), they all had a really cheeky attitude. We asked to speak to different reps a couple times to see if it was the rep. I even did a reality check and asked reps from our other suppliers if we were the ones being unreasonable. Nah, we had great relationships with Bianchi, Santa Cruz, Quality, etc... The Trek we dealt with (and perhaps they have changed) had this amazing ability to consider themselves so invaluable to the cycling market that they could treat their dealers anyhow they wanted and get away with it. Don't even get me started about their service & warranty dept. (Y-frame dual suspension bikes, anyone?... AAARGH!)

I know a bit about inert-gas TIG welding, as I worked for both GE Aircraft and one of their independent tooling contractors. My job involved (among other things) ensuring that material certification and process and regulatory documentation was received, completed, herded around on the shop floor, approved, signed off, delivered with finished goods, you get the idea. Oxygen corruption in inert gas welds is caused by inadequate flow shielding of the inert gas environment and/or lousy welding technique; we're not talking one or two stray molecules in the mix; turbulence set up by poorly regulated arc flow rates or intermittently dipping the wire into the puddle ruins the entire bead. Oxygenation in bike welds can be ruled out at the builder by the simple act of cold setting the frame for alignment. An oxygenated weld will catastrophically fail at very low torque loads. You can forget about riding it for six or seven years and several million fatigue cycles, a weld like this probably wouldn't support the weight of a rider on their first trip around the block. All that aside, oxygen corruption on Ti welds has a very distinctive bubbly "bruised" or "ashy" look that wouldn't get past your most cursory visual inspection, much less the bikeshop door on a bare Ti frame. According to statistics I am familiar with, the most common causes of high-cycle fatigue failures in inert-gas welds are lack of adequate preparatory cleaning of the joints, stock and weld wire (i.e. miniscule bits of dust or grease contaminate the weld puddle), using the wrong grade of filler wire, or tungsten inclusions in the weld from tungsten electrode starters. I'm curious, where did you find your statistics?

Titanium will in fact fatigue just like any other metal, and ANY welds, Ti or otherwise, can and will crack for reasons other than contamination, as the solder joint does lose resilience over time. Actually, one of the Ti frames I referred to above cracked at the shifter bosses and another split down the seat tube. Frankly, whether it was weld or material failure, I'm surprised that Paul's Bi-Titan lasted as long as it did, as I recall they stopped making these about seven or eight years ago. This design was a result of one of Colnago's sidetrips into art and aesthetics (like the HP) rather than hard engineering, and they were pretty prone to failure, which is why you don't see many of them around.

Bike manufacturers are notoriously unregulated in their process and make up their own rules and standards on the fly. The bigger manufacturers merely have more experience, more eyes on the quality process and a reputation to uphold, which is why they can offer warranty programs. The bald fact is that any monkey with a torch and a jig can weld a set of tubes together and call it a bicycle. There's no ISO auditor or Six Sigma Black Belt looking over their shoulder either, that I can assure.
I think you said it best...Fez
Jun 18, 2003 9:03 PM
You wrote:

"And Paul, I've seen two Litespeeds and a custom Seven crack. Yes they were warrantied, which your frame was not, and I agree that's a shame, but titanium welding is not a foolproof process."

That's the difference - they were warrantied and those cyclists got replacements. It would be foolish for me to assume that any Ti bike be indestructible and have functionally perfect welds. But I get a little peace of mind that LS, Seven, Serotta, IF, whoever will stand behind it.

Unfortunately, Paul and many other Colnago riders got the shaft. Granted, the old warranty was downright unacceptable. Even the new U.S. 4 year warranty still pales in comparison to a Trek or a Titanium lifetime warranty.
dude, you are preaching to the choirlonefrontranger
Jun 18, 2003 10:10 PM
you should have heard some of the arguments I've had with their product managers at Interbike about this. Their stance is that a bike is not a lifetime investment, and statistics show the vast majority of people trade up or trade in frames every three to five years on average.

I agree, you pay that much for a frame, you should be covered, bottom line. That being said, both my 'nags are aluminum, and I have the typical racer mindset that an aluminum frame is at best good for five years. I probably won't keep these bikes forever.

Paul's frame has to have been at least seven or eight years old. Colnago stopped making that model in '95 or '96 as I recall. IMO that's a pretty good lifetime, Ti or no, especially for a frame that has a reputation for not being the most long-lived Ti frame out there.
actually, a 1997 framePaulCL
Jun 19, 2003 7:11 AM
My Bititan was the 're-engineered' version. Where Colnago supposedly fixed the problem of breakage at the downtube/BB intersection. Yes, I did get a lot of years out of it. Yes, I got my money's worth - but ti should last forever. If I had wrecked it and then it cracked, then I would chalk it up to the fact that bad things happen. My weld crack was not caused by any 'event' just time. Luckily, a client of mine has a friend (from GE aircraft) that specializes in titanium welding of turboprop fans. He's gonna put a small weld on the crack for me. I think I'll turn it into a fixie. So how many 'Art decor' Colnago fixie's are out there????

I guess what really pisses me off is Trialtirs' attitude that that they knew of the bad workmanship way back when and tough for me. Colnago knowingly put out an inferior product and wouldn't stand behind it. I wasn't looking for a new C-40 for free...but it would have been nice.

When I went frame shopping, I eliminated any frame that didn't have at least a ten year warranty. Essentially, that means only American frames. I ended up buying an Aegis CF Victory frame with a lifetime warranty. If it cracks, they fix or replace it for free. If I break it, it is fixed or replaced at "a substantial discount to wholesale" according to the warranty info that came with the frame.

that reminds me, how's your Victory doing?kenyee
Jun 19, 2003 9:28 AM
Still love the ride?

And what was the conclusion of the chainsuck saga? Did your LBS own up to not tuning it right?
should have sold it on ebay if it was an HPkenyee
Jun 18, 2003 4:28 PM
Can't believe how much the dollar has dropped against the Euro...
ask Excel Sportsgtx
Jun 18, 2003 2:27 PM
they were selling a ti frame under their Macalu home brand that looked exactly like the Ovalmaster and had Colnago geometry.
Macalus have a Litespeed badgejtolleson
Jun 18, 2003 3:00 PM
at the bottom of the seat tube, so I don't think there's a Colnago connection. Also Colnago doesn't strike me as a company that would re-badge its bikes for a US bike shop house brand.
Macalus have a Litespeed badgegtx
Jun 18, 2003 3:07 PM
this is one frame they offered for a short period. I just checked their web site and it appears that they don't stock it. It definitely was not a LS like the other Macalus. The geomerty chart listed was identical to Colnago geometry, and the tube shaping and dropouts looked the same.
Not as I recall.djg
Jun 19, 2003 10:17 AM
The one I saw didn't have the same top tube shape as the Ovalmaster, among other things. I seem to remember a post on this board once from someone who actually owned one of the 6/4 Macalus who said it was not the same as the Ovalmaster in several regards--maybe a search would turn it up.
Spewing crap, from the sales perspective...Spoiler
Jun 18, 2003 2:11 PM
Somebody should create a heirarchy tree that shows what manufacturers make what bikes. Who makes Fuji?
quite true - nmbenja15
Jun 18, 2003 5:47 PM
Oh, please!Uncle Tim
Jun 19, 2003 7:42 AM
"Giant has many factories. Basically, unless it's hand made in America or Europe, nearly all bikes are made in Giant factory anyway."

If this quote is accurate, then the salesperson is lying.

"But the way the salesperson told it, while not true, gets the point across and achieves the goal."

This sounds like something that comes from the Bush administration.

re: shop talkMXL02
Jun 18, 2003 1:00 PM
If is my understanding that Giant does manufacture many bikes for many brands in the US, including Trek. I believe the salesperson in your vignette just gave it a bit of slant to help his sales. Giant offers some pretty aggressive sales incentives to bike shops, so it does not surprise me that the salesperson was a bit skewed in his presentation.
they don't make 1" HS spacers anymore, no one is using them NMterry b
Jun 18, 2003 1:04 PM
"all seatposts are the same length"_rt_
Jun 18, 2003 1:10 PM
as i stood there holding 2 different length seatposts.

not only did i never go back to that shop but i went to work for their competition down the street.

LBS salesperson "I love that bike. If you don't buy it , I will"Dave Hickey
Jun 18, 2003 1:22 PM
I'm 5'7" and he's 6'3"
re: shop talkbicyclerepairman
Jun 18, 2003 2:48 PM
At the Missing Link, in Berkeley, from an early twentysomething employee in a tight leopard velour tank top, when I inquired about buying clips to attach a Blackburn rack to the seatstays of my one year old Univega 12 speed: "Well, if you had your act together, you would have bought a bike with braze-ons!"
re: shop talkdawgcatchr
Jun 18, 2003 5:34 PM
There was recently an article in "Bicycle Retailer" (I think that is the name of it, it is the ~60 page Velonnews-type format that comes to my shop every 2 weeks) that was on Taiwan sourcing of parts and frames, and it stated in the article that many, if not most of, the decent frames sold in the US come from the Giant factory. That could be where the salesperson got his info. At least he knew a bit about the bicycle-most of the guys at my shop can't tell the difference between Shimano and Campy (granted, we mostly work on crappy Huffy's, and if we are lucky, a 1992 Trek Mountain Track).
Went into my LBS looking for bearings for Speedplay Frogs....Stinky Hippie
Jun 18, 2003 7:15 PM
...The mechanic had no clue as to what a speedplay parts kit was. He asked how old my pedals were.When I told him my Frogs were 4 years old, he asked, " don't you think it's time for new pedals?"
I asked him if that meant he didn't service what he sold. He told me I had a bad attitude.
Doug I'm Afraid...RCA
Jun 18, 2003 3:36 PM
It might be true. I took a welding course over the winter for fun.One of the videos we saw showed the world renowned welding prowess of the four Giant factories in and around Taiwan. The video alluded that Giant welds aluminum for 30 different companies including Trek and Specialized.The new fluid forming process is also a Giant trademark and I have seen several other bikes with the process.The video was by a welding company and they weren't pushing any brand of Bike

giant and specializedrufus
Jun 18, 2003 8:05 PM
at one time giant did make most of specialized bikes, as they also did with schwinn. but these days i would guess that specialized bikes are made by merida, since merida owns 49% of the company. and they also had their own version of the epic mountain bike before specialized brought it to the u.s.
This is on sale (ha,ha,ha,ha,ha)!Asphalt Addict
Jun 18, 2003 4:17 PM
Only to go home and check out the internet price that's $100 cheaper.
Colnagos are the most stable on descentskenyee
Jun 18, 2003 4:32 PM
because of the slack HTa. Calfees are the most unstable. Serottas crack. Trek bikes are just cookie cutter. I'd only trust my life descending Mt. Washington on a Fondriest or Colnago. That bike (a MXL) is the best bike in the world...

Really pleasant guys to talk to and no attitude whatsoever, but the guy had never even heard of Pegoretti (I asked since he seemed like an Italian bike fan) and claimed they were made in Canada...
Can anyone guess where this one came from?cyclist of all trades
Jun 18, 2003 6:42 PM
"You buy this bike, it will get you laid."

Amongst us sales reps, This is one of the most famous lines in the city. The guy that uses it sells a lot of bikes.

i'll post the answer tommorrow.
re: shop talkrussw19
Jun 18, 2003 7:13 PM
Doug, there is truth in this.. but it is also slanted.

It is my understanding (I have never been there in person to see the name on the outside sign) that the factory he is talking about is owned by the parent company of Giant bikes. They also weld furniture and baby strollers and all kinds of other stuff there too. But I think the misconception (and I very well may be wrong here) is that it is "Giant Bicycles" that makes the bikes. Again, I haven't been there in person to know for fact or not, but I believe this to be a part truth and the company is Giant's parent company which also owns a few other bike lines.

Of course I could be wrong here too and if so you can file it under more shop talk. ;-)

Your Frame Is Bentgildomilo
Jun 18, 2003 7:20 PM
"Your Frame is bent, thats why the derailer is going into the spokes" said the mech "If you put the bearing lock nut on the correct side of the frame, it would be unbent" said I as I walked out carrying my bike refusing to pay for their tune up. This was when I was 12 and had a piece of junk columbia MTB. 11 years later and I returned to the same shop out of desperation for a crank arm extractor. Never again never again.
What's Brave Solider? (nm)Fender
Jun 19, 2003 7:31 AM
even if made in Giant factory --DougSloan
Jun 19, 2003 7:32 AM
Looks like the LBS guy was half right, but still misleading. The intended implication is that all factory bikes are the same, as they are all made in the Giant factory. However, materials, tubing shapes, and geometry still vary widely, it appears. I can tell that just from walking through a shop. So, I think his message was pure B.S. from a "whole truth" point of view.

I bought my first bike (Trek Hybrid) atKristin
Jun 19, 2003 8:06 AM
J&R Cycles in Lombard, IL. They only stock BMX, comfort and low end mountain bikes. No road. I test rode the hybrid and told him I felt too up right and explained that I was interested in those rounded type handle bars--I didn't know what they were called at the time. He told me they didn't make those kind anymore.