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  1. #1
    Mister Bleak! mconlonx's Avatar
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    BD bike in the shop

    A couple weeks ago, I worked on a BikesDirect bike, a Windsor Wellington 3.0. Customer needed wheels trued. While we had it in the shop, I looked the rest of it over as well, but stopped short of tearing it down completely and checking things like greased bb threads, faced BB and HT, etc.

    Can't imagine that anyone isn't familiar with BD, but basically, they buy bikes of similar spec to what bigger name brand dealers are selling, and instead of going through a dealer network, sell wholsale to the public through an online-only business. They've bought the rights to brand their bikes with traditional brands like Motobecane, Daws, Windsor, and Kestrel, even though they have no direct provenance to these classic names. Like many modern name brands--Cannondale, Schwinn, Mongoose, etc.

    Thing is, they ship bikes to customers in exactly the same state that bike shops receive bikes, before mechanics or technicians assemble and adjust them. You get the bike basically assembled, in a box: pretty much bolt on the handlebars which are already assembled with shifters and cables, install the front wheel, install seat/seatpost assembly, and the bike is ready to go. But not quite.

    There's a bunch of different things mechanics do when prepping a bike out of a box at a bike store. These are things which should be done to a BD bike, but may not, due to customer ignorance. So this was a perfect opportunity to see what was done and what was not.

    I trued the wheels, which were out by at least 1/4" each. Customer had some miles on the bike already, but these were out of true way quicker and by a lot more than wheels destressed, trued, and tensioned upon bike setup. No bearing play in the hubs while on the bike, but I forget if they are sealed bearing or adjustable and can't recall if I checked for bearing play off the bike.

    Headset needed tightening. If it was a quill stem and typical of those that come through the shop, I imagine that it would have been over-tight out of the box.

    Brakes needed to be centered and adjusted, front brake needed cable end.

    Seatpost was not greased by customer.

    Both derailleurs were slightly or grossly out of tune. Rear needed just a bit of limit adjustment, and a bunch of cable-stop adjustment. Front derailleur was way out of whack, toed-in too much by about 1/4", thus limit screws were way out, and cable needed healthy adjustment at the set screw before even getting to fine adjustments. Honestly not sure how he dealt with something so obviously malfunctioning.

    Because I was curious (and we're slow), doodrancher got a free tune-up out of the deal--brought wheels in for truing, got gratis set-up tune as well. There was nothing in the adjustments I did, nothing wrong with the bike, nothing out of the ordinary from similar bikes we get from Big Brand Name, just that a customer who was not real down with bike mechanics thought he was getting a good deal. I really can't think he was happy, riding that bike in that state of tune...

    Wellington 3.0, $450. If he'd brought it in for us to set up out of the box, $75. We offer two free tune-ups on new bikes @ $30/ea. So figure $585, total, for the bike if he'd had us set it up. Two major wheel trues and a free tune-up later, it still cost him $510. Comparable-spec bike in our lineup would be around $850. Still seems like a pretty good deal, just not quite the bargain it appears at first. Cheaper if you can do the work yourself, but I really wonder how many BD customers actually have the knowledge or take the time to do it right. This guy certainly didn't.

    Is local LBS brand and dealer support worth the additional $265? I treated this like any other repair job--are there shops out there who would refuse to work on an internet sourced bike like this?
    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus regarding mconlonx View Post
    You, I don't generally think of you as clueless. You're kind of ok.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  2. #2
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    Just as an aside, the Kestrel bikes they sell are real Kestrels, that company is are alive and well.
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  3. #3
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    Is local LBS brand and dealer support worth the additional $265? I treated this like any other repair job--are there shops out there who would refuse to work on an internet sourced bike like this?
    If the bikes were identical-same frame, components, fit, warranty service, free tune-ups, etc, then yes, it would be dumb to spend the extra $$.

    But in many cases, they aren't!

    I have no problem working on internet bikes. I just feel bad for some of the people who buy them. That is, the ones who really think they're getting the same thing as down at their local shop, but whose bikes don't work well or fit right. If you are mechanic, or married to one, then have at it.

    Besides, how many here expect a discount on their online bikes? If not, why not? The guy who owns Bikes Direct has stated he makes about the same margins as shops, and doesn't even have near the overhead. He could sell for a lot less! If you expect your shop to go lower, why not expect online sellers to do the same? Of course, they offer the illusion that this has already taken place with their inflated MSRPs, as if the bike is soooo deeply discounted they couldn't possibly go lower....

    Can they?

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWise1 View Post
    Of course, they offer the illusion that this has already taken place with their inflated MSRPs, as if the bike is soooo deeply discounted they couldn't possibly go lower....
    MSRP on so many products is absolute fiction. It's what ever the seller want to claim and there is no way to find out if anyone ever sold the item for that price.

    Jewelry and clothing are among the worst offenders. How often do you see "50% Off" sales? 50% off of what?

  5. #5
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    As I've said before about BikesDirect bikes - if you are a good enough bike-mechanic to build a bike from the ground-up (and have the proper tools), a BD bike might well be fine for you. If you are not, be prepared to shell out the extra money to have a professional build the bike for you. There is a lot more than what meets the eye.
    Last edited by Panthers007; 10-21-09 at 04:46 PM. Reason: I shouldn't post on my first cup of coffee...
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWise1 View Post
    If the bikes were identical-same frame, components, fit, warranty service, free tune-ups, etc, then yes, it would be dumb to spend the extra $$.

    But in many cases, they aren't!

    I have no problem working on internet bikes. I just feel bad for some of the people who buy them. That is, the ones who really think they're getting the same thing as down at their local shop, but whose bikes don't work well or fit right. If you are mechanic, or married to one, then have at it.

    Besides, how many here expect a discount on their online bikes? If not, why not? The guy who owns Bikes Direct has stated he makes about the same margins as shops, and doesn't even have near the overhead. He could sell for a lot less! If you expect your shop to go lower, why not expect online sellers to do the same? Of course, they offer the illusion that this has already taken place with their inflated MSRPs, as if the bike is soooo deeply discounted they couldn't possibly go lower....

    Can they?

    I think you completely missed the point of his post. He was saying that yes they are THE SAME THING as any other bike that comes through his shop. No it doesn't say Trek on the side, but otherwise its the same, is componented the same, is built the same, and needs the same amount of adjustment. They fit the same (you can get the frame geometry on every bike they sell from their site), and when adjusted properly they work fine nd the same as any LBS bike.

    The problem is the site makes it out to be that anyone can set the bike up, although they do reccomend a professional do it. Thats simply not the case. While anyone can get the bike so its rolling down the street and able to be pedaled, not just anyone can get the fine tuning that you only get at a bike shop done right. Especially if they have never done something like trued a wheel before.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member mechBgon's Avatar
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    Seatpost was not greased by customer.
    Reminds me of the time Costco got hold of some grey-market Cannondale mountain bikes. A customer brought one in to get the stuck seatpost out. Nothing doing, it was galled in place. I spent hours with a jab hacksaw sawing that post down the inside bore... and charged accordingly.

    Yeah, it might be best to spend the $75 and have a professional give the BD bike a proper start in life.

  8. #8
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
    I think you completely missed the point of his post. He was saying that yes they are THE SAME THING as any other bike that comes through his shop.
    No. I think it was you who missed mine!

    I've been in the bike business for over a quarter century. I understand what the OP is trying to say. But compare apples to apples. Until it is backed by a shop with a solid warranty, free tweaks, proper fitting, and a local bike advocacy presence, the box of somewhat mostly assembled parts the internet companies send you will never, ever be the same bike as I can offer. Which is why the internet bike companies have to spend so much time creating the illusion that it is.....

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    MSRP on so many products is absolute fiction. It's what ever the seller want to claim and there is no way to find out if anyone ever sold the item for that price.
    Many of the major brands post MSRP. These prices will either be the same as the price in the shop or higher. For the major brands, the MSRP tends to be close to the MSRP for equivalently-spec'd bikes from other brands. The BD "compare to/list" price is much more of an "absolute fiction".

    Quote Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
    Jewelry and clothing are among the worst offenders. How often do you see "50% Off" sales? 50% off of what?
    Bikes ain't jewelry or clothing.

    ========================

    Quote Originally Posted by BikeWise1 View Post
    Besides, how many here expect a discount on their online bikes? If not, why not? The guy who owns Bikes Direct has stated he makes about the same margins as shops, and doesn't even have near the overhead. He could sell for a lot less! If you expect your shop to go lower, why not expect online sellers to do the same? Of course, they offer the illusion that this has already taken place with their inflated MSRPs, as if the bike is soooo deeply discounted they couldn't possibly go lower....
    Can they?
    BD is free to sell the bikes for whatever they want. Their margins are only important (to them) in choosing a price that they can sell bikes at and maximize their profits. Clearly, their prices have to be substantially less (appear to be) than LBS prices because the LBS provides extra value (in multple ways) for their "higher" price. (While you, BikeWise1, understands that, other people here might not.)

    Internet sellers (for products that require support and service) succeed, in part, because they benefit from brick-and-morter stores but don't have to pay the overhead of the brick-and-morter stores.

    I suspect that most BD buyers visit an LBS to get sizing advice using bicycles that the LBS has in stock. This is value that benefits BD (at zero cost to BD) and costs the provider (the LBS). It's a cost that the LBS doesn't recover. Thus, BD's business model entails being a parasite on other businesses!

    If the LBS didn't also sell bicycles, they probably would not make enough in just repairs to stay in business. Thus, you'd either have no place to get your BD bike repaired at or you'd be paying much more for the service.

    ====================================

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
    I think you completely missed the point of his post. He was saying that yes they are THE SAME THING as any other bike that comes through his shop. No it doesn't say Trek on the side, but otherwise its the same, is componented the same, is built the same, and needs the same amount of adjustment. They fit the same (you can get the frame geometry on every bike they sell from their site), and when adjusted properly they work fine nd the same as any LBS bike.
    The problem is the site makes it out to be that anyone can set the bike up, although they do reccomend a professional do it. Thats simply not the case. While anyone can get the bike so its rolling down the street and able to be pedaled, not just anyone can get the fine tuning that you only get at a bike shop done right. Especially if they have never done something like trued a wheel before.
    No, you missed the point.

    In fact, he says "they ship bikes to customers in exactly the same state that bike shops receive bikes" and that this state requires a fair amount of work to get it customer-ready.

    Since little is known about the BD frames, it's hard to say whether the "similarly spec'd out" bikes have equivalent frames.

    Clearly, mconlonx is saying that, even if the bikes were exactly the same (with equivalent frames), the customer is getting extra value from the LBS and that this extra value is (part of) the reason behind the price discrepancy.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 10-21-09 at 11:17 AM.

  10. #10
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    I'm not worried and neither should you.

    The amount of people who have the knowledge, tools and experience to *properly* build a bike from the box of BD quality approaches zero. The difference between a walmart bike and the entry level loss leader at the LBS is (hopefully), proper assembly.

    That's what you're paying for.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    No, you missed the point.

    In fact, he says "they ship bikes to customers in exactly the same state that bike shops receive bikes" and that this state requires a fair amount of work to get it customer-ready.

    Since little is known about the BD frames, it's hard to say whether the "similarly spec'd out" bikes have equivalent frames.

    Clearly, mconlonx is saying that, even if the bikes were exactly the same (with equivalent frames), the customer is getting extra value from the LBS and that this extra value is (part of) the reason behind the price discrepancy.

    Plenty is known about BD frames. They are made by Kinesis and other manufacturers in taiwan and china that are the exact same contract manufacturers that many mainstream bike brands use. Not only that over in the Tri forum they even identified a Motobecane tri bike as being 100% identical (frame, build and all) to the Fuji Aloha 1.0 of 3 years ago. Other frames have been identified here as well.

    Noone has ever complained of a BD frame failure. Being that the frames are manufactured by the same company, and have been proven to be in some cases the same design, it would be safe to say that there is nothing to worry about in this respect.

    But I agree in the end clearly the additional value is in the LBS because you're getting the service and prep. But you're paying for that, and unfortunately BD doesn't make it clear to buyers that that extra service is vital to safe riding and long life, if you have no idea what you are doing.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    I'm not worried and neither should you.

    The amount of people who have the knowledge, tools and experience to *properly* build a bike from the box of BD quality approaches zero. The difference between a walmart bike and the entry level loss leader at the LBS is (hopefully), proper assembly.

    That's what you're paying for.
    I don't get the equation of bike building, setup, and prep to rocket science. In this forum alone there are tons of people who have that ability. Heck a year and a half ago I knew nothing about bikes, but I bought a BD bike, got a book, did it myself, and off I rode. Admittedly I am mechnically inclined, but there is no hocus pocus to bike mechanics, and the bike is shipped 90% built. As the OP said, regular LBS bikes come in the same way. And he said nothing to indicate the quality of the bike or parts was anything less, he even equated it with a higher priced bike his store offers.

    Finally the difference between a Wally World bike and an entry level LBS bike (and/or a BD bike) is far more than assembly. Wal Mart bikes have no name parts (or ultra low end Shimano), heavy frames, nearly fake suspension pieces, and heavy wheels. As repeated in thsi forum before, you can properly adjust them all you want, they will ride well for a while but they are still crap.
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  13. #13
    Internal gears FTW! zoodude's Avatar
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    All this aside I think that if we have the knowledge of bike mechanics and work in shops or at least can do major work we should let folks know that things over the Internet and from department stores will have the same result as being professionally built. At our shop we try to be as helpful as we can when one of these comes in and educate the customer. We do not bash the bike but we do inform them of any quality issues we may find or are worried about. We offer solutions to try and keep the inexpensive route inexpensive and from there gain a customer for the long run. Now whenever they have mechanical issues they know they can trust us and that we will do our best to solve the problem. It is through this that in the long run they buy their next bike from a shop and continue to grow in their discovery of the greatness of cycling as a whole. Most important we find that when we treat them with respect in a town that has very little for big box bikes they respond very well. How mconlonx handled this was very well in my opinion and we should not be in the business of turning folks away no matter what they have. Especially in times like these....
    Share the road!

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    A friend bought the Windsor touring bike from them. He now has ridden over 45000 miles on it. The original rear wheel had to be respoked because they were constantly breaking. The rear finally wore out and he has replaced the wheelset with one from Harris Cyclery.
    I didn't care for the hubs, they were either Joytec or Formula, But they did the job.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
    Plenty is known about BD frames. They are made by Kinesis and other manufacturers in taiwan and china that are the exact same contract manufacturers that many mainstream bike brands use. Not only that over in the Tri forum they even identified a Motobecane tri bike as being 100% identical (frame, build and all) to the Fuji Aloha 1.0 of 3 years ago. Other frames have been identified here as well.
    I wonder whether BD's typical customer knows that. Is it reasonable to say a 3 year old design is equivalent to a current design? I'm actually surprised that Fuji (etc) let them use their old designs!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
    No one has ever complained of a BD frame failure. Being that the frames are manufactured by the same company, and have been proven to be in some cases the same design, it would be safe to say that there is nothing to worry about in this respect.
    I don't have any idea of the quality of the BD frames (I have no information that indicates that their frames are bad.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
    But I agree in the end clearly the additional value is in the LBS because you're getting the service and prep. But you're paying for that, and unfortunately BD doesn't make it clear to buyers that that extra service is vital to safe riding and long life, if you have no idea what you are doing.
    Of course, you are paying for that extra service. That's why what you are getting from BD isn't "equivalent" to what you get at an LBS. BD doesn't "make it clear" intentionally.

    =======================

    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    The amount of people who have the knowledge, tools and experience to *properly* build a bike from the box of BD quality approaches zero. The difference between a walmart bike and the entry level loss leader at the LBS is (hopefully), proper assembly.
    That's what you're paying for.
    When you buy an LBS bike, you are also paying for the option to see, fit, and try the bicycle at the LBS. BD can sell bikes because there are LBS around for their clients to size bikes at!

    =======================

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
    And he said nothing to indicate the quality of the bike or parts was anything less, he even equated it with a higher priced bike his store offers.
    The LBS could sell their bikes at a lower price if they gave their customers a box with the disassembled bike!

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
    As the OP said, regular LBS bikes come in the same way.
    But the bike does get to the customer in the same way.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
    I don't get the equation of bike building, setup, and prep to rocket science. In this forum alone there are tons of people who have that ability.
    It isn't rocket science nor is anybody saying that it is. Most of BD's customers probably are not people in this forum and most of them probably don't have the experience or inclination to do the work. For people with the experience, the BD bikes seem OK.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 10-21-09 at 01:58 PM.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Leader View Post
    I don't get the equation of bike building, setup, and prep to rocket science. In this forum alone there are tons of people who have that ability. Heck a year and a half ago I knew nothing about bikes, but I bought a BD bike, got a book, did it myself, and off I rode. Admittedly I am mechnically inclined, but there is no hocus pocus to bike mechanics, and the bike is shipped 90% built. As the OP said, regular LBS bikes come in the same way. And he said nothing to indicate the quality of the bike or parts was anything less, he even equated it with a higher priced bike his store offers.
    Wrong.

    Any moron can assemble a bike. Assembling it completely and properly is a completely different matter. I was fortunate enough to work in a shop where this was one of our main selling points. If I have to train newbie mechanics for several months before they're good enough to do complete builds on their own without missing anything, joe off the street isn't going to be doing proper builds and neither will the majority of joe home mechanic. There's a huge difference in assembling a bike that works and one that a reputable shop would allow out the door.

    I see plenty of mechanics whos arrogance is not mathced by their mechanical ability. You're probably one of these people.



    Finally the difference between a Wally World bike and an entry level LBS bike (and/or a BD bike) is far more than assembly. Wal Mart bikes have no name parts (or ultra low end Shimano), heavy frames, nearly fake suspension pieces, and heavy wheels. As repeated in thsi forum before, you can properly adjust them all you want, they will ride well for a while but they are still crap.
    Wrong.

    Take a KHS brentwood. Quality of parts is equivalent to or the same as some walmart bikes that are advertised, if not worse. The only reason we could sell this bike for $100+ more than they could is because we properly assembled the bike and provided after sales warranty support. It was our loss leader and we didn't care, but every single one went out properly built.
    Last edited by operator; 10-21-09 at 01:52 PM.
    Mes compaingnons cui j'amoie et cui j'aim,... Me di, chanson.

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    The following is my personal experiences with four BD bikes I had to often fix when in school. Two belonged to profs who commuted in, and the other two to students. Basically, you get what you pay for:

    BD bikes are NOT the same. They look the same until you start finding little details, the correcting of which requires that you pay for things that end up bringing the price up to a nicer bike. The BB, in its un faced shell with rough non greased threads advertised as a name brand will turn out to be "Rong Fu" brand (ok, that was the brand on a Harbor Freight mill/drill, but you get the idea). The brake and shift housing isn't plastic lined. That fork you just bent turns out to be 1 inch threadless instead of 1 1/8. Your wheels aren't true, and your rim tape doesn't stay centered because it is the wrong size. The no name headset bearings get trashed for no reason after a year, and the seat post is seized because it wasn't greased either. You find out your axles are bending because the dropouts aren't square. That 831 steel frame is actually only 831 in the three center tubes, and the who knows what in the rest. You have a weld fail and end up warrantying your frame because you've only had it for 6 months and the paint isn't even chipped yet. You have to argue over the definition of each word in the warranty for 4 phone calls over two days before "Mike" or whoever is on the other end of the phone agrees to take honor it. A week later the wording in the online warranty is changed to omit anybody else getting a defective frame replaced the way you did.
    If a bike costs $500 instead of $800, there is a reason. You are paying 63% of what you would have, and if you're willing to get 63% of the quality, that's fine. If you want more than 63%, maybe it isn't such a good idea.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    A couple weeks ago, I worked on a BikesDirect bike, a Windsor Wellington 3.0. Customer needed wheels trued. While we had it in the shop, I looked the rest of it over as well, but stopped short of tearing it down completely and checking things like greased bb threads, faced BB and HT, etc.

    Can't imagine that anyone isn't familiar with BD, but basically, they buy bikes of similar spec to what bigger name brand dealers are selling, and instead of going through a dealer network, sell wholsale to the public through an online-only business. They've bought the rights to brand their bikes with traditional brands like Motobecane, Daws, Windsor, and Kestrel, even though they have no direct provenance to these classic names. Like many modern name brands--Cannondale, Schwinn, Mongoose, etc.

    Thing is, they ship bikes to customers in exactly the same state that bike shops receive bikes, before mechanics or technicians assemble and adjust them. You get the bike basically assembled, in a box: pretty much bolt on the handlebars which are already assembled with shifters and cables, install the front wheel, install seat/seatpost assembly, and the bike is ready to go. But not quite.

    There's a bunch of different things mechanics do when prepping a bike out of a box at a bike store. These are things which should be done to a BD bike, but may not, due to customer ignorance. So this was a perfect opportunity to see what was done and what was not.

    I trued the wheels, which were out by at least 1/4" each. Customer had some miles on the bike already, but these were out of true way quicker and by a lot more than wheels destressed, trued, and tensioned upon bike setup. No bearing play in the hubs while on the bike, but I forget if they are sealed bearing or adjustable and can't recall if I checked for bearing play off the bike.

    Headset needed tightening. If it was a quill stem and typical of those that come through the shop, I imagine that it would have been over-tight out of the box.

    Brakes needed to be centered and adjusted, front brake needed cable end.

    Seatpost was not greased by customer.

    Both derailleurs were slightly or grossly out of tune. Rear needed just a bit of limit adjustment, and a bunch of cable-stop adjustment. Front derailleur was way out of whack, toed-in too much by about 1/4", thus limit screws were way out, and cable needed healthy adjustment at the set screw before even getting to fine adjustments. Honestly not sure how he dealt with something so obviously malfunctioning.

    Because I was curious (and we're slow), doodrancher got a free tune-up out of the deal--brought wheels in for truing, got gratis set-up tune as well. There was nothing in the adjustments I did, nothing wrong with the bike, nothing out of the ordinary from similar bikes we get from Big Brand Name, just that a customer who was not real down with bike mechanics thought he was getting a good deal. I really can't think he was happy, riding that bike in that state of tune...

    Wellington 3.0, $450. If he'd brought it in for us to set up out of the box, $75. We offer two free tune-ups on new bikes @ $30/ea. So figure $585, total, for the bike if he'd had us set it up. Two major wheel trues and a free tune-up later, it still cost him $510. Comparable-spec bike in our lineup would be around $850. Still seems like a pretty good deal, just not quite the bargain it appears at first. Cheaper if you can do the work yourself, but I really wonder how many BD customers actually have the knowledge or take the time to do it right. This guy certainly didn't.

    Is local LBS brand and dealer support worth the additional $265? I treated this like any other repair job--are there shops out there who would refuse to work on an internet sourced bike like this?
    Many and many a year ago when I worked as an assembly wrench at a bike shop, the appliance megastores were running a special where you got a free bicycle with a minimum purchase of $100, if I remember correctly The bikes were bordering on junk, one step up from Wal-Mart bikes, but not very good. The owner ended up refusing to work on the bikes, or at least reading the customer the riot act about what low-quality the bikes were.

    The problem was, if someone spent $20 to have the bike shops at the bike up right, they expected perfection, since in their minds they were paying an exorbitant amount of money in relation to what the bike cost. But getting them to work properly is a nightmare, because the factory assembly was the worst I've ever seen and on top of that, the components were offbrand junk which just didn't work well. The mechanics took way too much time working on them and the bike would never work right so the customer was unhappy. It was just a lose-lose situation.

    While BD bikes in general tend to be of good quality, the people that buy them tend to be cheap and I can see bike shops getting into a situation where they have to spend a lot of time to set up a bike for an ungrateful, perfectionist customer.
    Il faut de l'audace, encore de l'audace, toujours de l'audace

    1980 3Rensho-- 1975 Raleigh Sprite 3spd
    1990s Raleigh M20 MTB--2007 Windsor Hour (track)
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoodude View Post
    All this aside I think that if we have the knowledge of bike mechanics and work in shops or at least can do major work we should let folks know that things over the Internet and from department stores will have the same result as being professionally built. At our shop we try to be as helpful as we can when one of these comes in and educate the customer. We do not bash the bike but we do inform them of any quality issues we may find or are worried about. We offer solutions to try and keep the inexpensive route inexpensive and from there gain a customer for the long run. Now whenever they have mechanical issues they know they can trust us and that we will do our best to solve the problem. It is through this that in the long run they buy their next bike from a shop and continue to grow in their discovery of the greatness of cycling as a whole. Most important we find that when we treat them with respect in a town that has very little for big box bikes they respond very well. How mconlonx handled this was very well in my opinion and we should not be in the business of turning folks away no matter what they have. Especially in times like these....
    Well, unless one's practice is to alienate potential customers, what you describe is quite reasonable.

    Of course, it's unlikely that your shop would be able to stay in business on repair-work alone. BD's business model is to cherry-pick the easy work (selling bikes) and letting the LBS deal with the high-overhead/complicated repair business. (Note that this business model isn't restricted to BD.)

    The thing is that BD is cheap because of the existance of LBSs!

    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    That 831 steel frame is actually only 831 in the three center tubes, and the who knows what in the rest.
    (This is actually fairly common. If one is told about it, it isn't deceptive.)

    =========================

    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
    The problem was, if someone spent $20 to have the bike shops at the bike up right, they expected perfection, since in their minds they were paying an exorbitant amount of money in relation to what the bike cost. But getting them to work properly is a nightmare, because the factory assembly was the worst I've ever seen and on top of that, the components were offbrand junk which just didn't work well. The mechanics took way too much time working on them and the bike would never work right so the customer was unhappy. It was just a lose-lose situation.
    At the lower end of things, things are designed to be cheap to produce and assemble without necessarily being easy to repair. That is, designing things to be easy to repair often costs more to produce! The cheapest "wallyworld" bikes are designed to be cheap and nothing else. Since most people who buy these bikes probably really don't use them, the fact that they are junk often doesn't matter. The problem is that such cheap bikes condition consumers into thinking that a reasonable-quality bike is "expensive" and a "rip off", when, for people who use them, the more expensive bike performs better and is cheaper in the long run!
    Last edited by njkayaker; 10-21-09 at 02:14 PM.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Wrong.

    Any moron can assemble a bike. Assembling it completely and properly is a completely different matter. I was fortunate enough to work in a shop where this was one of our main selling points. If I have to train newbie mechanics for several months before they're good enough to do complete builds on their own without missing anything, joe off the street isn't going to be doing proper builds and neither will the majority of joe home mechanic. There's a huge difference in assembling a bike that works and one that a reputable shop would allow out the door.

    I see plenty of mechanics whos arrogance is not mathced by their mechanical ability. You're probably one of these people.
    Wow, you're guessing that I am arrogant, but the accusation you make and tone of your post makes me KNOW youre a doosh-bag. What makes you an expert on my mechanical ability based upon a couple posts on a forum? Not only that how does calling myself "mechanically inclined" make me arrogant? You need to chill out. Bike building isn't rocket science so maybe you hired a whole lot of weetods. Did I get it 100% right the first time? NO I didn't which is why I said in prior posts that many people cannot get things moving, and especially not as easily as BD makes it out to be, its simply not the case. But your assertion that NOBODY can do it aside from a real "bike mechanic" Makes you far more arrogant than you portray me to be.


    Wrong.

    Take a KHS brentwood. Quality of parts is equivalent to or the same as some walmart bikes that are advertised, if not worse. The only reason we could sell this bike for $100+ more than they could is because we properly assembled the bike and provided after sales warranty support. It was our loss leader and we didn't care, but every single one went out properly built.
    Crap is stil crap. My LBS that I frequent is one of the largest in the country, as well the others in my area, none carry bikes that crappy. Ok so yours does, and its great that you offer good warranty support, but putting it together right isnt gonna change the fact that its still a P-O-S. Maybe our definititions of entry level are different but as far as I've ever seen an entry level LBS bike is a Shimano 2200 equipped road bike or Alivio equipped MTB. Just speaking from my own experience, maybe my LBS doesn't want to deal with the extra repairs that will be required on a bike that is a "loss leader".
    2009 BD Mercier Galaxy AL/Campy Veloce/PZ Aero Bars/Fulcrum 5's
    2008 Argon 18 Mercury/Dura Ace/Vision base Zipp Aero/Fulcrum 5's/Wheelbuilder Disc
    1992 Trek Antelope 800/Shimano 100/Some Cheap 26"wheel

  21. #21
    30 YR Wrench BikeWise1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    Any moron can assemble a bike. Assembling it completely and properly is a completely different matter.
    I agree! This forum alone has 50,208 threads with 426,041 posts. Bike wrenching might not be rocket science, but it sure seems to flummox many.

    Quote Originally Posted by operator View Post
    I see plenty of mechanics whos arrogance is not mathced by their mechanical ability.
    LOL. I've fired a few of those.....

  22. #22
    Internal gears FTW! zoodude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    At the lower end of things, things are designed to be cheap to produce and assemble without necessarily being easy to repair. That is, designing things to be easy to repair often costs more to produce! The cheapest "wallyworld" bikes are designed to be cheap and nothing else. Since most people who buy these bikes probably really don't use them, the fact that they are junk often doesn't matter. The problem is that such cheap bikes condition consumers into thinking that a reasonable-quality bike is "expensive" and a "rip off", when, for people who use them, the more expensive bike performs better and is cheaper in the long run!
    So true! We find more and more having to explain the value of a 500 dollar bike to a customer. Don't even get us started on the stuff over a grand! You get what you pay for. End of story.
    Share the road!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by zoodude View Post
    So true! We find more and more having to explain the value of a 500 dollar bike to a customer. Don't even get us started on the stuff over a grand! You get what you pay for. End of story.
    While I think the "magic" number is about $1000, you can get some pretty nice bikes for $500-600! For many, a $1000 bike would be a waste. For people who really never use it, a $500 bike would be a waste.

  24. #24
    Kaffee Nazi danarnold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jccaclimber View Post
    The following is my personal experiences with four BD bikes I had to often fix when in school. Two belonged to profs who commuted in, and the other two to students. Basically, you get what you pay for:

    BD bikes are NOT the same. They look the same until you start finding little details, the correcting of which requires that you pay for things that end up bringing the price up to a nicer bike. The BB, in its un faced shell with rough non greased threads advertised as a name brand will turn out to be "Rong Fu" brand (ok, that was the brand on a Harbor Freight mill/drill, but you get the idea). The brake and shift housing isn't plastic lined. That fork you just bent turns out to be 1 inch threadless instead of 1 1/8. Your wheels aren't true, and your rim tape doesn't stay centered because it is the wrong size. The no name headset bearings get trashed for no reason after a year, and the seat post is seized because it wasn't greased either. You find out your axles are bending because the dropouts aren't square. That 831 steel frame is actually only 831 in the three center tubes, and the who knows what in the rest. You have a weld fail and end up warrantying your frame because you've only had it for 6 months and the paint isn't even chipped yet. You have to argue over the definition of each word in the warranty for 4 phone calls over two days before "Mike" or whoever is on the other end of the phone agrees to take honor it. A week later the wording in the online warranty is changed to omit anybody else getting a defective frame replaced the way you did.
    If a bike costs $500 instead of $800, there is a reason. You are paying 63% of what you would have, and if you're willing to get 63% of the quality, that's fine. If you want more than 63%, maybe it isn't such a good idea.
    This experience makes some sense to me if we are talking about $500 'no name' bikes. But I don't see how BD or anyone who's been in business very long could get away with selling a well known model, such as a Kestrel RT800SL with 'all Dura Ace 7900' with the other components specified precisely. Unless the Dura Ace parts are excellent counterfeits, a knowledgeable consumer should should detect the scam very quickly.

    As I understand it the online shops ship bikes that are already assembled, except for pedals, stem, seat and post, and wheels. This shouldn't take more work than you do when you order brakes or a dérailleur or other component and swap out the parts yourself. I suspect the majority of those on BF have been doing that sort of thing since they were kids. My experience has been that the higher quality the bike, the easier it is to work on.
    DISCLAIMER: Nothing here should be taken as legal advice, even if it seems silly enough to have been written by a legislator, and especially not if it appears (by remote chance) to display any evidence of erudition.

  25. #25
    It's MY mountain DiabloScott's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
    Many and many a year ago when I worked as an assembly wrench at a bike shop, the appliance megastores were running a special where you got a free bicycle with a minimum purchase of $100, if I remember correctly The bikes were bordering on junk, one step up from Wal-Mart bikes, but not very good. The owner ended up refusing to work on the bikes, or at least reading the customer the riot act about what low-quality the bikes were.

    The problem was, if someone spent $20 to have the bike shops at the bike up right, they expected perfection, since in their minds they were paying an exorbitant amount of money in relation to what the bike cost. But getting them to work properly is a nightmare, because the factory assembly was the worst I've ever seen and on top of that, the components were offbrand junk which just didn't work well. The mechanics took way too much time working on them and the bike would never work right so the customer was unhappy. It was just a lose-lose situation.

    While BD bikes in general tend to be of good quality, the people that buy them tend to be cheap and I can see bike shops getting into a situation where they have to spend a lot of time to set up a bike for an ungrateful, perfectionist customer.
    Sounds like the FIRENZE GL5000 Buy a car stereo get a free bike!
    The Yellow Pages for bike shops frequently had a "NO FIRENZES" line in their ads. They were truly awful and ubiquitous.

    http://diabloscott.blogspot.com/

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