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3rd and final revisit to the stem/LBS issue...(18 posts)

3rd and final revisit to the stem/LBS issue...filly
Sep 22, 2003 6:42 PM
Thanks for all of the responses--some very informative and some very funny. Anyhow, I've got a few minutes, so I'll try to answer most of the questions I can remember being asked. Yes, I am a newbie, if that means that I have only been riding for a little while (less than a year). Yes, I am very mechanically inclined, and I have not taken my bike back in to Trek since I bought it. I've done all tune-ups and work myself, and no, Trek did not send me out the door with that amount of handlebar drop. In fact, I removed the spacers, flipped the stem, cut off an inch of steerer tube, and reinstalled: I like a very aggressive position. Someone asked where I place my hands. I ride on the hoods mostly, but I always ride the drops when descending or when riding at a fast pace (+25 mph) while in a group. Someone asked about the bar tape--I did the bar tape job. I know I use a lot of tape (electrical, not bar) to secure it, but that's the kind of guy I am (I'm just on the edge of being an over-tightener, but I haven't crossed the line...yet!). A few people also moaned about my alleged expectations that Trek should swap out my stem after I'd been riding on it for 8 months. If these folks read my posts, I didn't say that I think they should swap it. I simply asked your guys' opinions on the matter. My only complaint was that Trek did a piss-poor fit (only adjusted saddle height and fore/aft position) and the stem would have been swapped had they done a full job. So no, I don't go around expecting LBS's to "owe" me something. The only thing I've ever haggled for was when I bought my truck. Otherwise, if I want something, I put up the cash or I don't get it--I don't beg and come up with "excuses" (I believe russw19 said that) to get something for nothing.

Now for the good news. On my way to Performance this afternoon to pick up a new stem, I stopped by the Trek store to see their policy on these issues. 10 minutes later, I walked out with a new stem, exchanged for my original one. No haggling, no begging, just a simple statement of my situation. Their response was that they are now under new management and acknowleged that I probably didn't get a proper, or full, fit done earlier in the year when I bought the bike. They said that they've since hired new fitters and would be happy to give me the stem that I should have received on day 1. In fact, they were slightly taken aback when I handed them the 130mm (no typo!) stem off my bike. They brought out a 110mm, and I said thanks.

Bottom line, it never hurts to ask, because in some instances, you, the customer, are in the right. And bravo to Trek--I can't say enough about their customer service. All three of the guys were top notch, and they even offered me a complete fit one Saturday for $20 (regular $60). What a great offer, but I'll pass, because I'm smart on the topic now, and after I slap this stem on, I should be good to go. By the way, they even said if I needed a 100mm to come in and swap out the 110. Top notch.
sorry, russw19filly
Sep 22, 2003 6:52 PM
for thinking it was you who said i was making "excuses" to get a new stem. I was mistaken. I'll leave it at that and not even address the individual who threw that at me.
sorry, russw19russw19
Sep 23, 2003 10:56 AM
No worries, but my point in particular was never directly intended for you anyways. Maybe indirectly, but it was more of a statement of my opinions of how people on this board have unrealistic expectations of what the show owes them. It was a statement of my opinion and I made a point to cover that in my post. I did try to cover the difference between what is courteous behavior from a shop as compared to what people expect a shop owes them.

If you go into a shop expecting to get what you think the shop owes you, you may end up disappointed. If you go in and ask and are polite, like it sounds like you were, you may just get what you weren't expecting. Like a new stem.

My post in your thread was really to address the issue that people shop around for the best deal on the net rather than visit their LBS first, and that's fine, but when it comes to issues like stems and warranties and things where the shop can actually help someone, then people get ideas in their head that the shop in required to fix their problems for free. It seems awfully hypocritical behavior for people to show no loyalty to a shop and then act like they are entitled to special treatment from the shop just because they graced the shop with their presence.

You have really lost in the long run!the bull
Sep 22, 2003 7:24 PM
I cant count how many times I have walked over to my little parts crate and pulled out something finish the build on a old frame. There is nothing like having a bunch of spare parts laying around to get a cap or bolt off something when you really need it! :)
True, or I could pay $0.25 for the bolt if/when I need it (nm)filly
Sep 22, 2003 8:35 PM
OR $2 for a whole roll of electric tape! : ) nmthe bull
Sep 22, 2003 9:13 PM
OR 6 rolls from Harbor Freight for $.50 (nm)filly
Sep 23, 2003 11:15 AM
Sep 22, 2003 9:07 PM
are cheap. especially OEM stems, at least from a LBS standpoint. I found in my shop years its usually prudent to take care of fit issues that come up post sale (even a few months down the road) with a no cost exchange even if you're stuck with a used stem/bar/seatpost that you cant sell as new. To give up future sales over a low cost item like a stem is a little short sighted, Im glad your shop came through.
Besides he probally got the one that other guy brought back whose stem that was...the bull
Sep 22, 2003 9:22 PM
over-tightened and messed up.After they kept stripping he traded them in.A longer bolt was put(for a mere 25 cents) and there they sat on the peg bord wall untill today......
Stem and bolts were in great shape...nice try (nm)filly
Sep 23, 2003 11:18 AM
Got that right!dzrider
Sep 23, 2003 5:25 AM
You could probably make a case that one of the ways to tell a good shop from a bad one is to ask to see their boxes of swapped stems and seats. There is no way I can think of to make riders comfortable on their bikes without winding up with stems and seats that didn't work.
I have been following this.......Len J
Sep 23, 2003 3:49 AM
thread over the past week & now have a few comments.

You cut out 2.5 cm of steerer tube & flipped a +17 stem to a -17 stem and you can't understand why the stem is too long?????

If you will notice, the head tube is angled (Probably 73 degrees). As you remove spacers and drop the stem you are extending reach. You are automatically making a well fitting stem a too long stem.

If you flip a stem from a +17 to a -17 (Any stem) you are also extending your reach. You are making a stem that may have fit to a too long stem.

Do both of these and I have little doubt that your stem would end up 2 cm too long for you (if you started with a well fitted bike).

You failed to mention in either of your first two posts that you had lowered the stem & flipped it from a riser stem to a flat stem. This was disingenuous. If you had mentioned this, you would have been told that it was your actions that changed the fit, not the LBS's.

One other thing. If I was fitting a newbie on a bike, I would probably fit them with a slightly longer stem then they appear to originally need. This is because a newbie has to learn how to sit on a bike, rolling thier pelvs forward to raise up on the sit bones. As soon as you do this, your torso moves forward & the "Longer" stem becomes perfect.

Finally, your original claimed reason for assuming that your stem was too long related to numbness in your nads. Your numbness is coming from the excessive drop you created on your bike. Don't be surprised if the new stem doesn't cure this numbness. The only thing this drop does for you is to ensure that you will never roll your pelvis properly.

BTW, the only rreason the shop agreed to swap out the stem is because they just took over the shop & are trying to build some customer loyalty (IMO). I bet that you didn't tell them that you had flipped the stem & dropped the bars (information that they would have realized indicated that the original fit was pretty close). You got lucky & probably shouldn't have gotten a free swap. I hope you choose to use this shop & give them some business in exchange.

I suspect this is a great example of not knowing what you don't know. Hope it is a lesson learned.

You're exactly right, Len, on all counts. In this instance, thebill
Sep 23, 2003 5:52 AM
business considerations made the customer right even when the customer was almost certainly wrong.
I don't blame our hero for trying, either. What the heck, give it a try. But, as Len says, count your blessings and appreciate that a good favor was almost certainly extended to you.
Read earlier post...stem was too long to begin with (nm)filly
Sep 23, 2003 11:20 AM
Read my it wasn't...............Len J
Sep 23, 2003 2:24 PM
you say in this post that your problem was solved by swapping out a 13 for an 11, a reduction in your reach of 2 cm. You increased your reach when you lowered your bars by taking out the spacers and flipping the stem by at least 2 cm. Consequently, if you didn't lower your bars & flip your stem, your reach with the 13 is almost exactly the same as it is now with the bars lowereed with an 11 stem.

I don't think you understand the geometry (or you don't buy that the changes you made increased your reach by at least 2cm, which is the same thing as not understanding the geometry.)

I'm just pointing out that if your problem was solved by reducing your stem length by 2 cm (after all the changes you made from the original fitting) your original fitting had to be close. You can disagree, but the geometry says you are wrong.

Len, you are forgetting the key point...mohair_chair
Sep 23, 2003 2:53 PM
It's not his fault because there was clearly negligence involved. Even though he took out the spacers and flipped the stem, the LBS should have told him that taking out the spacers and flipping the stem would affect the reach and mess up the fit. The LBS should have known that as a novice rider, he was very likely to remove the spacers and flip the stem, because all novices do that. You can't see it any other way--it's their fault. In fact, the manufacturer of the spacers and the stem should place warning stickers to that effect on the spacers and on the stem. They shouldn't have just given him a new stem--they should give him a new Trek bike, personally fit by Cyrile Guimard and hand delivered by Lance Armstrong, along with their apologies.

(I'm being facetious, of course...)
Sep 19, 2003 6:21 AM
3 cmDaveG
Sep 23, 2003 2:56 PM
If you cut off 2.5 cm of steerer and flipped a +17degree stem then you added 3 cm of reach to your original setup. That is a considerable amount and more likely the cause of your fit issues. You have have quite a bit of drop which could cause soem discomfort. I would recommend that you reconsider the shop's offer to refit you.