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Old 05-13-08, 03:15 PM   #1
iamstuffed
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My experience with Bike Fridayís customer service

At the end of April, I purchased a used Bike Friday Tikit from the shop in College Park, MD. It was sold to me at a good price, and Iíve had fun riding it over the last couple weeks. After all the rave reviews about Bike Fridayís customer service, I expected something spectacular, but I am not impressed.

For the past few weeks, Iíve been trying to register my Tikit. Why is it so difficult? My bike doesnít have a frame number, or rather, it doesnít have one that I can see with my eyes. Iíve taken several pictures, examined it closely in the daylight, with a flashlight, and with my camera and flash. I donít think thereís a frame number on the bottom of my bottom bracket shell. Bike Friday seems to disagree and says the frame number is there.

Last week I called the bike shop and asked them for some help, and they told me it may never have had a serial number. Iím not sure I believe that, but whatever. They also told me that the bike was a preproduction bike and was one of the first two Tikits sent to the Mt. Airy, MD store. Even armed with this helpful information, Bike Friday just canít seem to help me out. Iíve called them more than five times, Iíve emailed them several times, Iíve emailed them pictures, and Iíve asked them for pictures of other Tikits (to see where the serial number exists and what it looks like). Everytime they tell me theyíll call me back but they never do. They havenít sent me pictures either.

Another possible location of the frame number, according to their website, is under the folding stem. The problem with my bike, if that were the case: the hyperfolding stem was upgraded before I picked it up. Iím not sure what was involved with upgrading the folding to the new style, but if the serial number is still there, I canít see it. If the stem was replaced to upgrade to the new style, then the serial number is no longer there. Maybe a blue Tikit wasnít an early color? I have no idea how they came to the conclusion that the serial number has to be on the bottom bracket shell (since their website states the folding stem as a possible location as well).

This is so frustrating. I canít believe they canít take the time and effort to research this more.

Can anyone post a picture of their frame number? Blur it out if you want, I just want to know how big the lettering is, where it's located, and how deep the recesses are in the paint.



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Old 05-13-08, 05:21 PM   #2
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You're not alone. My tikit is an old model, and I too have no visible serial number (and I didn't even before I upgraded the stem). However, when I called and asked them about the tikit, I think they just registered me on the phone.

One of the salesmen, Dave, told me that the early tikits (and yours is, like mine, the original blue so it could be an oldie) had serial numbers on the rear dropouts or something inconvenient like that. I haven't had a yen to take off my rear tire, but I may to finally settle this question for myself.

Try calling and asking for Dave the salesman at BF, and tell him that you'd heard from another customer in the same situation that he'd mentioned this and see if you can jog his memory. I'm only suggesting this because as far as I know, I'm in their system and I've never provided any numerical information about the bike, just my name address, and the new stem I'd asked for.

I've also heard that a couple of people, including the product mgr for the tikit can be difficult. Talk to someone else if that's where you've landed.

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Old 05-13-08, 05:51 PM   #3
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Finally, I got a blurry picture of the serial number. I definitely don't have a serial number or anything resembling the pic they sent.
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Old 05-13-08, 05:56 PM   #4
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I've been dealing with Bruno & Hugh at Bike Friday regarding my Tikit and they have both been really helpful.

I had a look at mine [bought in Dec 2007] and I can't find any serial numbers in either of the spots you mentioned.

I'd do what Peter suggested and call one of the folks he or I mentioned - they'll take care of you.
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Old 05-13-08, 06:20 PM   #5
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I believe Bike Friday has some really nice bike concepts. The reason I don't have a Tikit is because of the rumors of poor C. Service for the "low end" bikes they sell.
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Old 05-14-08, 09:56 AM   #6
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Hi there,

I'm sorry you haven't been able to get the satisfaction you should from us here at BF - we strive to serve our customers and consider our reputation very important. Indeed the early tikits did have the serial number stamped on the inside of the folding stem hinge; your bike would be from this era and if the shop did not transfer the number across to the new stem when the upgrade was done then you will have a bike without a number. We then changed to stamping the number on the bottom bracket shell. However, this is currently under review as we have had several reports of it being very hard to read - a combination of a curved surface to stamp on, thick powder coat and having the hyperfold cable running over the surface.

Looking at the history of bikes that Mt. Airy purchased this time last year I can take a good guess at which one you have, but without knowing more about it I can't say for certain. At any rate, having the serial number or not will not affect the service you can get from BF.

I hope you are enjoying your tikit!

Rob English
tikit co-designer and production manager, Bike Friday
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Old 05-14-08, 11:29 AM   #7
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There now. That's a nice ending, isn't it? And it looks like a nice bike too.
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Old 05-14-08, 11:56 AM   #8
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I believe Bike Friday has some really nice bike concepts. The reason I don't have a Tikit is because of the rumors of poor C. Service for the "low end" bikes they sell.
That hasn't been my experience, and I've never bought a new high end bike from them.

Examples:
* They sold me a replacement fork and stem for a 15 year old model at a very good price. A friend repeated this experience with his Family Tandem about a year ago.
* They gave me a discount on my first Tikit due to customer referals, even though I had never bought a new bike from them at that point.
* They sent me the steerer hinge upgrade kits on both of my Tikits with no real questions asked.
* Small parts (like the plastic bits to hold the stem in place on the early Tikits) would also be sent easily.

I had a similar problem registering my Tandem Two'sday with them. Note that this was back around 1999 or 2000. They were able to figure out which bike it was after I described it to them, and put the serial number back in place when it went in for a repaint. That bike was easy to describe though because it was built for a Bicycling Magazine review.
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Old 05-14-08, 12:07 PM   #9
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After a 1/2 season of riding, Bike Friday sent me a new bottom bracket while trying to diagnose a sound that occurred while pedaling. Turned out to not be the source of the problem; but they never asked for any compensation. There was a small problem with a component for a bike they built for us. They fixed the issue with no questions asked. I bent the front derailer mount on the NWT while folding the bike. Hugh and the staff helped me address the issue as well as avoid future damage.

Considering the number of customers out there -- we outnumber the staff by a lot -- I have always received excellent service.
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Old 05-14-08, 12:44 PM   #10
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It has a happy ending. My bike should be registered soon. I'm sure I'll continue to enjoy my Tikit, and I have more faith in the customer service now. I go to pick up my dad's brand new Tikit tomorrow, so he'll get to enjoy it as well.

Now I just need to figure out a way of switching bikes with my dad...

Mike Bennett spoke with me and told me they've stopped production of the Tikits for a few days until they can find a suitable place for the serial number. It seems even if the frame number is on the bottom bracket shell, the powder coating and the rubbing cables makes the frame number very difficult to see.
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Old 05-14-08, 01:19 PM   #11
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Now I just need to figure out a way of switching bikes with my dad...


That is funny. But I am glad that you had a good experience with Larry Black and College Park/Mt Airy Bicycles. I am surprised that they failed to take care of this for you.
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Old 05-14-08, 01:36 PM   #12
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That is funny. But I am glad that you had a good experience with Larry Black and College Park/Mt Airy Bicycles. I am surprised that they failed to take care of this for you.
I had a pleasant experience with the College Park store (Charles?). My dad, however, has not had a pleasant experience with the Mt. Airy store. It's quite embarrassing actually, since I suggested the shop to him. I figured they would have more of a selection of folding bikes.

He ordered a medium black Tikit2Ride, with a showercap and rear rack (because "Jon" told him it didn't come with a showercap). They ordered a medium blue Tikit2Ride with no rack. I actually had to call Bike Friday to figure that out, since they kept telling my dad it'd be there by a certain date and that date would pass. The Mt. Airy store didn't order the bike until last tuesday, even though my dad spoke with them the week prior. Whoever my dad spoke with also seemed to imply black was a stock color, which is why he ordered black. As long as my dad gets the Tikit, I think he'll be happy. I just don't think he'll ever go back to the Mt. Airy store. Serious lack of communication, and my dad called like every other day (he was giddy and happy to be getting a Tikit).

My dad called earlier and said Jon was nice on the phone, so I guess everything is okay, but he isn't getting the bike he wanted, or the accessories he asked for. I'll find out how the shop is whenever I go to pay for it and pick it up!
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Old 05-14-08, 02:48 PM   #13
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I have my registration form filled out but I haven't sent it in the mail yet... I didn't know that you had to put the registration number on the form... in fact, I just checked... there isn't any option for that. I went to check for a registration number on my Tikit that I bought in april, and infact there are some numbers just barely visible on the bottom bracket. I had to hold a flashlight obliquely to be able to read the last two numbers, the other ones are "erased" by the scuff marks of the cables passing by. So, yes, another registration numbering method would be a good idea.

For warranty registration, would sending back the receipt/purchase-order be a good idea? I'll probably wait also until I have a postcard of me and my tikit on the TGV in France.

And now that Rob English is a BF (Bikeforums) newbie, is this where we will go for customer service? Seems to work well for me!
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Old 05-15-08, 08:54 AM   #14
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I believe BikeFriday does try to provide good customer service. I have had numerous problems with my Pocket LLama and they have always tried to help. Unfortunately they have had limited success. I had bent chain ring issues when ever I flew with the bike. While on vacation they tried to send me a new chain ring. Didn't happen because FedEx screwed it up. The part ended up getting lost and never made it to me, or back to BikeFriday for that matter. I ended up have to pay to have the chain ring bent back while on vacation, wasn't perfectly flat but lasted long enough to make the end of the trip. Got toally bent on the flight back home. The failure of FedEx asn't really BFs fault but the fault of the service they insist on using. I have asked them to use another courier but they will not, I ALWAYS have problems with FedEx.

Their solution to my chain ring problem was to send me a new chain ring when they got the one sent to me on vacation back from FedEx, along with self extracting crank bolts so that I can remove the crank every time I fly. Not the most elegant solution but sometimes you have to deal with the only solution available, I'm cool with that. They sent me a new chain ring months later along with the self extracting crank bolts, but only after I had to call them back and remind them that I still had a very expensive (by my standards) bike that was unrideable. Unfortunately I was sent no instructions on how to remove the cranks or install the bolts. I have removed cranks on older bikes before but my crank puller didn't fit this bike. I have decided that I am probably better off relying on my own ability to figure out how to fix the bike than call up BikeFriday anymore.

One thing I have noticed is that they are particularly bad at returning phone calls. I've called on several occasions and for what ever reason had to get them to call me back. More often than not I was the one who had to call them back. They are helpful when you can get a hold of them but not returning phone calls really sends a message that they don't really give a crap what happens to you and your bike. maybe that's not their attitude, but it is the message that's sent.

My point is that I think they have some knowledgable people there, and their hearts are in the right place, but I think they have some real issues about being able to deliver good customer service. That being said, at least they will try to provide you with customer service, which is more than I can say for some other companies.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:31 AM   #15
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I have owned 3 Bike Fridays and have never had an experience of bad customer service. I have found them very knowledgable, friendly, prompt and willing to help. Maybe that is why I am a a repeat customer.

Richard
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Old 05-15-08, 09:36 AM   #16
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I had a pleasant experience with the College Park store (Charles?). My dad, however, has not had a pleasant experience with the Mt. Airy store. It's quite embarrassing actually, since I suggested the shop to him. I figured they would have more of a selection of folding bikes.

He ordered a medium black Tikit2Ride, with a showercap and rear rack (because "Jon" told him it didn't come with a showercap). They ordered a medium blue Tikit2Ride with no rack. I actually had to call Bike Friday to figure that out, since they kept telling my dad it'd be there by a certain date and that date would pass. The Mt. Airy store didn't order the bike until last tuesday, even though my dad spoke with them the week prior. Whoever my dad spoke with also seemed to imply black was a stock color, which is why he ordered black. As long as my dad gets the Tikit, I think he'll be happy. I just don't think he'll ever go back to the Mt. Airy store. Serious lack of communication, and my dad called like every other day (he was giddy and happy to be getting a Tikit).

My dad called earlier and said Jon was nice on the phone, so I guess everything is okay, but he isn't getting the bike he wanted, or the accessories he asked for. I'll find out how the shop is whenever I go to pay for it and pick it up!
That is surprising. I met Charles at College Park several times and he was helpful for matters unrelated to the Bike Friday. Larry always answered e-mail promptly. I have never shopped at the Mt. Airy store. I think if you complain a bit, Larry will order what your father wants instead of giving him the alternative.

-G
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Old 05-15-08, 02:40 PM   #17
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And now that Rob English is a BF (Bikeforums) newbie, is this where we will go for customer service? Seems to work well for me!
I expect that he jumped over because someone told him about this thread. I've seen him post more regularily on <a href="http://www.bikefriday.com/mailman/listinfo/yak">yak</a> (which is a mailing list run by Bike Friday), although Walter and Lynette post there the most.
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Old 05-15-08, 02:52 PM   #18
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I expect that he jumped over because someone told him about this thread. I've seen him post more regularily on <a href="http://www.bikefriday.com/mailman/listinfo/yak">yak</a> (which is a mailing list run by Bike Friday), although Walter and Lynette post there the most.
Good to see Rob here, but I just want to try his fancy bike.
http://www.bikefriday.com/node/6056
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Old 05-20-08, 12:13 AM   #19
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After being stranded in Puerto Rico on the first day of a bike vacation with a non-working tandem - and being able to reach the Bike Friday mechanics in one phone call who understood exactly what I was describing and were able to advise me how to repair it right there in the city square (a problem I'd caused, not a bike failure) - I was dang happy I owned a Bike Friday. And that doesn't even count the fact that when I first called them to ask about buying one, they searched out local owners so I could testride, then even told me one was willing to sell theirs - the one I later stranded on vacation. So, I gotta say hands down, their customer service is the best I've ever been near with a bike company.
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Old 05-20-08, 02:21 PM   #20
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Maybe I'm really wrong-headed, and not up to speed on what to expect from Bike Friday, specifically. And very glad to see that you got things worked out.

But.

You contact a company you have not spent a dime with in respect to the bike in question and expect them to step-n-fetchit with free research and information? If it's something they have at their fingertips and can supply without great difficulty, great, but maybe asking for more is being a bit overbearing or expecting a bit much? I don't know of many companies that would go out of their way to provide such service for free--doesn't Waterford charge for a provenance report?

I'm super happy that BF is willing to go out of their way to do this service for you--good on them!--but dang, I think sometimes people expect a bit much...
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Old 05-20-08, 02:38 PM   #21
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Maybe I'm really wrong-headed, and not up to speed on what to expect from Bike Friday, specifically. And very glad to see that you got things worked out.

But.

You contact a company you have not spent a dime with in respect to the bike in question and expect them to step-n-fetchit with free research and information? If it's something they have at their fingertips and can supply without great difficulty, great, but maybe asking for more is being a bit overbearing or expecting a bit much? I don't know of many companies that would go out of their way to provide such service for free--doesn't Waterford charge for a provenance report?

I'm super happy that BF is willing to go out of their way to do this service for you--good on them!--but dang, I think sometimes people expect a bit much...
eh?

*To be clear, the bike wasn't used in the traditional sense. It was a demo bike that had never been purchased*

I bought a Bike Friday Tikit from a Bike Friday dealer and the dealer couldn't help me. By your logic, any customer who buys a Bike Friday bike from a dealer shouldn't get any support from Bike Friday.

In the end, I'm happy with the Tikit and they did help me.

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Old 05-28-08, 04:17 PM   #22
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One thing I have noticed is that they are particularly bad at returning phone calls. I've called on several occasions and for what ever reason had to get them to call me back. More often than not I was the one who had to call them back. They are helpful when you can get a hold of them but not returning phone calls really sends a message that they don't really give a crap what happens to you and your bike. maybe that's not their attitude, but it is the message that's sent.


nevermind...the above isn't my post...copied by mistake....disregard

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Old 05-28-08, 04:54 PM   #23
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I've worked with Hugh in the past, and he has always been super helpful and has always returned calls. It's a shame you have had trouble, but make it a point to talk to Hugh next time, and I think you'll be taken care of.
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Old 05-29-08, 11:33 AM   #24
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Finally, I got a blurry picture of the serial number. I definitely don't have a serial number or anything resembling the pic they sent.
Where did you find your serial number? I have an "Ebay bought" Llama and I still can't find the number.
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Old 05-29-08, 11:39 AM   #25
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On the regular Fridays they stamp the serial # on the bottom side of the bottom-bracket BEFORE they powder coat the frame, so they are not always easy to read.
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