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Old 11-02-09, 10:28 PM   #1
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New wheelset not to spec--How upset should I be?

I'd like some input before I go back to my LBS.

I picked up a new wheelset tonight. I gave them only a cursory inspection at the shop before we swapped my tires and cassette, mounted them and I rode them home--three whole miles.

When I got home, I discovered three things:
  1. I specified double-butted (14/15) spokes all around. On the front wheel, the rotor (non-drive) side has straight-gauge spokes.
  2. I specified Avid G3 rotors. The front is an Avid G3, the rear is an Avid G2.
  3. The rear wheel is more than slightly (and less than greatly) out of true. It's out enough to be visible to my untrained eye.

FWIW, this is a 700C road disc-brake wheelset. Intended primary use is four-season commuting. The rest of the build spec is:
  • Velocity VXC hoops,
  • Velocity 130mm rear road disk hub,
  • Shimano Alfine front dyno hub,
  • DT Competition spokes, and
  • Avid G3 rotors.

I paid $720.

On the spokes, if there's a mechanical or safety reason why the 16 front rotor-side spokes must be straight-gauge, I'll have to be okay with it. And if that's the case, I'd also like to know the reason why double-butted are okay for the rotor-side of the rear but not the front. But I'm upset that I wasn't told about it at all and had to discover this on my own.

On the rotors, I can see no reason for this substitution when I specifically asked for stainless-steel rotors, identical front and rear, except Centerlock in front and ISO in the rear. Avid G3, was recommended by the LBS as the only ones that met this spec. I approved the quote with a pair Avid G3, not a mismatch of G3 and G2.

Truing--I understand that true may need to be touched up after everything settles in. This is more than a touch up IMHO, and after only three miles?

At this point I'm pretty steamed about this. All the new wheel warm fuzzies I experienced on the ride home have gone right down the toilet. I'm feeling screwed over.

But, in case I'm the one who's out of line, I need some input here. My expectation is that for $720, the wheels should meet the spec I gave, the quote I approved, and stay true for a bit more than three miles.

Last edited by tsl; 11-02-09 at 10:32 PM.
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Old 11-02-09, 10:40 PM   #2
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You need to bring up your concerns with the LBS. And don't go in with guns blazing. They may have had good reason for some of it. Talk to them.

There's no wiggle room with the trueness issue though - if you can see that it's out visually without a stand, that's unacceptable.
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Old 11-03-09, 12:18 AM   #3
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It's things like this, and it's happened to me, that have convinced me to never, never, NEVER let a bike-shop, of unknown caliber, touch or build wheels for myself/friends. I do my own. But if I didn't know how to build wheels proficiently - I'd look for people who specialize in wheelbuilding in my area and read some reviews.

If I specified precisely the build - materials and all - I wanted, and they handed me something else, I'd stop payment and return the merchandise as soon as the discrepancy was known to me. Politely, yes. But no wriggle-room either.
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Old 11-03-09, 12:46 AM   #4
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If you made you requests as explicit to the bike shop as you did to us, and they gave you something else, that's an issue. It may have been the case that they were out of whatever part, and just substituted in, but doing that without informing you is pretty...not good.

I'd definitely talk to them, but give it a day or two so your less steamed. You are right, and they did mess up, but yelling won't solve anything.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:01 AM   #5
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... My expectation is that for $720, the wheels should meet the spec I gave, the quote I approved, and stay true for a bit more than three miles.
^^^ this, as you wrote... anything else is unacceptable and lousy business...
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Old 11-03-09, 07:13 AM   #6
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You have a right to be upset but don't be combative or incensed, at least not at first. Give the shop a chance to correct the problems. If they are unwilling or uncooperative, THEN it's time to be more agressive. If you paid with a credit card, your card carrier may be able to help if the product is deemed unsatisfactory.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:20 AM   #7
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Nice Spec by the way. You should be very happy once these issues are resolved. IMHO, these issues need to be resolved to your satisfaction. You are not out of line at all. On the Rotor sub, you might find that it was a simple oversight. On the rotor side spokes, I have heard that straight gauge spokes are often used but this should have been discussed before the build and if you wanted DB, you got DB. For that sum, you should get what you ordered - end of story. As far as the out of true issue, I would be questioning the quality of the build. Were they stress relieved? This indicates a lack of attention to detail which for me is the main reason I build a custom wheel outside of a particular combination of components (like yours). See the LBS and respectfully request a correction or refund.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:25 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by operator View Post
And don't go in with guns blazing. They may have had good reason for some of it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuzz2050 View Post
I'd definitely talk to them, but give it a day or two so your less steamed. You are right, and they did mess up, but yelling won't solve anything.
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Originally Posted by HillRider View Post
You have a right to be upset but don't be combative or incensed, at least not at first.
Perhaps I gave the wrong impression. Anger is not an excuse for bad behavior.

However, this is the second time this year with similar difficulties at this shop. I'm not going to behave like an idiot, but I'm angry enough to cease doing business with this shop once this is settled.

In my OP, where I really need direction is item 1, the spoke substitution. So far, here and on another board where I cross-posted, no-one has said that double-butted spokes should not be used on the rotor side of a front wheel.

I *am* aware, BTW, that according to DT Swiss, DT Revolutions (my first pick) should not be used with disc brakes. On DT Swiss' web site, there is no such indication with the DT Competitions.

While I'm certain there's plenty of speculation, any experience there?

Last edited by tsl; 11-03-09 at 07:31 AM.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:45 AM   #9
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I've been running a Shimano Dynahub disc with DT 14/14/15 on my commuter for 1.5 years, no issues. For $720 you should be very happy, not dissapointed. Any reason why you haven't learned to build your own wheels? I'd expect you could buy everything off the web including a Park Truing stand and dishing tool for less than $720.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:49 AM   #10
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However, this is the second time this year with similar difficulties at this shop. I'm not going to behave like an idiot, but I'm angry enough to cease doing business with this shop once this is settled.
I agree, once you get this settled (and I hope you do) I would never use that shop again.
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Old 11-03-09, 08:41 AM   #11
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If they had any issues with the parts you spec'd, they should have brought that up *before* building them.
You didn't get what you paid for.
They need to either do the job as spec'd, or give your money back.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:09 AM   #12
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Sounds like a shop that doesn't have a spoke machine...i.e., when what they need doesn't match what they have in stock - they substitute thinking the customer won't notice or won't know better.

Double-butted spokes (most but not all) can be reduced 10mm without issue on a spoke machine.

Next time you visit - see if they have a machine lying around...

=8-)
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Old 11-03-09, 09:28 AM   #13
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You didn't get what you paid for.
They need to either do the job as spec'd, or give your money back.

+1. It's simple - and I would be upset. There's no reason to avoid using Comps on the rotor side. Good luck and let us know what happens.
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Old 11-03-09, 10:57 AM   #14
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Let me guess: Part of the issue is that you have a relationship with the bike shop that you don't want to upset. Assuming that's the case, I'd give them a chance to make it right.

The bottom line is that they didn't give you exactly what you specified. If, for any reason, they were unable to provide exactly what you specified, or if they felt it was an unwise specification, or if they couldn't get the right part in the required time frame, they should have called. Period.

If you were willing to settle for "not exactly what you wanted," you could have bought off the rack. While such detailed specifications can sometimes turn into a PITA for the shop, that's what they agreed to do and they didn't do.
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Old 11-03-09, 11:06 AM   #15
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At $720, you have a right to be extremely picky. If it were a small amount, I would say let it slide. You gave them a lot of money, so they should give you a lot of satisfaction.

I wouldn't hesitate to go straight to the owner if the first person doesn't show a strong commitment to giving you utter satisfaction.
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Old 11-03-09, 12:13 PM   #16
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Thanks all for your comments.

They don't open until noon on Tuesdays in the off-season. This morning before leaving for work, I sent an email--a very nice one--to the manager and CCed the owner. I told them I'll be stopping in to discuss this on the way home this afternoon.

I'll report back later.
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Old 11-03-09, 12:28 PM   #17
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Yeah, they should've built what you asked for, or else raised their concerns before proceeding if they didn't think it was a good spec. Regarding spoke gauge, 14/15 should be fine.

When the tires are installed and pressurized, it changes spoke tension a bit. If possible, I throw on a tire & tube, inflate to maximum pressure, and give the newly-built wheel another round of stress-relieving and final truing. It usually pays off.
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Old 11-03-09, 12:31 PM   #18
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My expectation is that for $720, the wheels should meet the spec I gave, the quote I approved, and stay true for a bit more than three miles.
Yup. Take em back, and be emphatic. You paid a lot of money to not get what you specified.
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Old 11-03-09, 12:56 PM   #19
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Yes, it's reasonable to expect that they would call you if they couldn't build it as specified. Did you put a time limit on the build, ie. "I have to have them by...." I don't know those rims but I wonder if they are as true as other rims at the seam. I could see someone building disc wheels to have as even tension as possible while sacrificing some trueness yet stay within the trueness of any tire put on it. With rim brake wheels I sacrificed some even spoke tension to have the least wobble and hop as possible.
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Old 11-03-09, 12:59 PM   #20
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Not only that, since they used cheaper components than specified, they should not only have notified you before proceeding, they should have reduced the price. The fact that they didn't implies that maybe they didn't have the best of intentions.
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Old 11-03-09, 01:36 PM   #21
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Consider it in terms of any other custom purchase. Would you accept the work if a mechanic put solid rotors on your car when you specified slotted? How about cherry instead of maple when refacing your cabinets; they're both hardwoods, right? No big difference...
Unless, as you questioned, there was a structural reason for using different components than specified, it should be built exactly as you requested it. If they want/need to make substitutions, it should be cleared with you first.
I'd go back, ask about the discrepancies and how they intend to fix the issue(s).
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Old 11-03-09, 02:34 PM   #22
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I've heard of businesses swapping out to *better* components without calling because they were out of stock. I that case, hey, be my guest!

But there are multiple problems with this behavior as outlined - swapping out on a custom order, downgrading materials without authorization, and charging for high end components while using cheaper stuff.

To me, there's two possibilities: 1) they're trying to rip you off, or 2) they had a less-than-competent wrench build your wheel, who might not have known the difference in the materials.

Hopefully it's the honest mistake. But even then, if they're letting a less-experienced wrench work on a $700 wheelset, he should be supervised.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:36 PM   #23
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Reporting back

There's plenty of error to go around on this one.

At the LBS this afternoon, the owner didn't even let me park my bike before he took it off to the work stand. They were feeling plenty embarrassed and the apologies began even before I had my helmet off.


The spokes are fine. We all checked and double-checked. Then we measured. Sure enough, the micrometer shows the spokes are double-butted. I was the only one who couldn't see or feel the transition at the outer end of the spokes on that side of that wheel. I hadn't tried the head end before, but I can feel it there.

Why I can clearly see and feel the transition on the thread end of the other three sets but not this set, no-one knows.

Clearly, I'm wrong on that one. The spokes are correct.


The rotors were ordered in special, and never checked on arrival. They built with what was shipped. Whether the error was made in ordering, or when the supplier pulled the order, we don't yet know, and at this point I don't really care.

It has been suggested that the G2 and the G3 look similar enough that a mistake is easily made. I agree with that since I didn't it notice myself until the bike had been sitting in my living room for a couple of hours.

A new 160mm G3 in ISO was ordered while I was there and should be in on Thursday. Between their off-season schedule and my work schedule, it won't be until Saturday after work before we can swap it.

This one seems like an honest mistake.


That leaves the truing. In the stand, it was really out of whack. They apologized profusely and spent over a half-hour truing that wheel. I'd have been happier—and it probably would have taken less time—if they'd completely de-tensioned and re-tensioned it. But I'll give it a go and see what happens. They also checked the front and gave it a little tweak.

This one is still in the WTF category, as in, how could that have happened? Although it's been made right for now, I'll be keeping a close eye on it.

Their test ride, and my ride home in five o'clock traffic with a 20-25 mph tailwind, (Yee haw!) have revealed no more issues. I'm cautiously optimistic.


Thanks again for all the comments and support.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:53 PM   #24
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I suspect it will work out in the end. Thanks for updating us.

I'm really amazed at how much this stuff can cost. I used to work in bike shops, and this is pretty surprising. Then again, this probably better stuff than anything available back then.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:55 PM   #25
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A ride home with a major tailwind can help make the world seem like a nicer place.
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