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-   -   Downtube Folding bikes - Beware! The Owner Yan DOES NOT CARE about his customers! (http://www.bikeforums.net/folding-bikes/933282-downtube-folding-bikes-beware-owner-yan-does-not-care-about-his-customers.html)

nigelme 02-19-14 06:53 AM

My experience with Downtube (I'm thinking of turning it into a mini-series) - When my DT IX FS arrived all of the Bolts and nuts were overly tightened and the derailleur hanger was very bent - Fortunately I have the equipment and knowledge to deal with these - However, the right folding pedal did completely collapse within two hours of light use which at the wrong moment on a busy junction could have been dangerous - I did email Mr Lyansky regarding the pedal alone as setting up the bike is the buyers responsibility - Did he care? My conclusion was, no - As I was probably going to replace the pedals anyway I let it ride.
Not by any means a tragic series of events.

I can understand the OP being peeved and indeed emotive but it's the kind of feedback that I want from forums like this, to get real consumer experience not just hype and bumf.

Would I buy another Downtube? Well! a resounding maybe (despite the imploding pedal) It was a reasonable price and the frame is still fine after 5 years of enjoyable pootling.

kcorfognik 02-19-14 08:37 AM

There seem to have been a lot of DT customers with less than ideal experiences, here's something to redress the balance.
I'm in the UK and bought my bike from Yan through eBay. It needed setting up and some fairly dry bearings regreasing. I was realy pleased with the bike.

After a couple of weeks the bearings in one of the pedals disintegrated - I emailed Yan and he responded to say he would replace it. A pair of folding pedals duly arrived from the USA a couple of weeks later.

A couple of months later the bottom bracket started making creaking noises. I disassembled it (non cartridge type), greased it and reassembled. Still creaking. - I emailed Yan again and he mailed back to say he would replace it. Again, a week or two later a Shimano cartridge BB turned up. Result! An upgrade.

Two weeks before the 12 month warranty expired I found a hairline crack in the frame close to the seat tube clamp - I emailed Yan and he said mail him that part of the frame (which is pretty small on an IXFS). He confirmed receipt of the part and mailed me a replacement frame part.

After more than 5 years and 12k miles my Downtube was beyond practical repair, and I had by then amassed a small stable of folders so did not buy another. But not for one minute do I regret the purchase.

Just as an observation, I find Yan's writing style short, curt and to the point - definitely no flowery language - and I think some people mistake this for rudeness. But I just put it down to the way he communicates electronically. Why waste words? ;-)

Would I buy one again? Without a doubt yes if the UK price was better and I had space in the garage.

jefmcg 02-21-14 09:24 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffsnavely (Post 16502733)
OP Jeff again:

Downtube's full-suspension model for $580 w/shipping is one of the only 20" folders with suspension unless you spend well over $1000.

Seriously? You spend half the price of the next cheapest model, yet you expected full customer service? Where do you think the savings come from?

If you want the level of customer service you seem to be expecting, spend the $1000.

cplager 02-21-14 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jeffsnavely (Post 16502733)
OP Jeff again:

Downtube's full-suspension model for $580 w/shipping is one of the only 20" folders with suspension unless you spend well over $1000.

This isn't quite true. Origami Bicycles has several full suspension models for $3xx. The Downtube bikes do have nicer components (so I will won't claim they aren't worth the price). You can go really cheap on Ebay where you'll almost have to replace the components, so it isn't at all clear this is a good route.

mconlonx 02-21-14 11:11 AM

I will certainly take this opportunity to point out that this is what you (can) get when you deal manufacturer direct.

Buy from a decent LBS, and you should have a shop going to bat for you regarding inconsistencies like this. Buy direct, and you are the shop, you get to deal with warranty and return headaches.

You do pay a premium over direct from manufacturer (importer) purchase buying from a shop, but you also get a de facto mediator along with the deal. Most of the time it's something you'll never need to take advantage of, and in most cases such a shop premium over manufacturer direct pricing overpaying, but for situations like this, it might have been helpful.

Of course there are also shops out there who wouldn't do squat for you. Know your dealer...

crackerdog 02-21-14 11:19 AM

When I got my Downtube Mini years ago, the seat post bent. I emailed a photo to Yan and he sent me a new one. I put a broomstick in it so it wouldn't bend again. So I wouldn't say he doesn't care about his customers. I've had stores that I disagreed with also and went away unhappy. It can happen with any two humans.

Bikeman58 02-27-15 05:07 PM

Yan makes okay bikes, but doesn't stand behind them any more than he has to
 
The frame cracked on my 6 year old lightly ridden, well maintained, Downtube 9. There was no accident, no neglect on my part. Since I got the bike, Yan has even modified the design using fatter tubing and reinforcing the area where my frame broke. Clearly Yan knew this was a weak point, otherwise, why beef it up and add weight to the frame. Yan said he would sell me a half frame... then said he didn't have any as he had given them all away to cut back on storage. I was a professional bike mechanic all through high school and college and have owned dozens and dozens of bikes. Never had a frame just spontaneously fail before... not even cheap dept. store type bikes (I've had a few as guest bikes or to modify, etc).

I asked Yan for a $100. credit towards a new bike... he said he would not give me anything. And that was the end of my relationship with Downtube. In addition to my bike, I purchased one for my wife, her sister, got my brother to buy one, and talked Downtube up to interested people every time I went riding. Other friends I know who also have Downtubes were turned off by the response I got from Yan and may not buy from him again.

When you don't stand behind your product, you lose loyal patrons. I gave Yan so much free publicity, and he just threw that away. I have been holding out on buying a new folder, but am leaning towards HASA... they give a lifetime warranty on their frames.

Hope things worked out okay for you.

FlowerPedal 02-27-15 06:02 PM

You asked for a partial refund on a six year old bike? Wow. Just ... wow.

rhenning 02-27-15 06:10 PM

If you had a Bike Friday they would have just given you a new frame no questions asked. You got what you paid for. This is also a bit of a Zombie thread. Roger

downtube 02-27-15 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by FlowerPedal (Post 17590623)
You asked for a partial refund on a six year old bike? Wow. Just ... wow.

This is not exactly correct. The bike was a VIII which was produced in 2005 and 2006. Hence this issue was about a 8 or 9 year old bike. It was purchased on ebay for some amount under $300. I do not believe we offered warranties longer than 90 days on ebay purchases. I naturally refused to offer any incentives for this behavior.

I wish Nick well with his future purchases.

Thanks
Yan

cplager 02-27-15 07:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by downtube (Post 17590750)
This is not exactly correct. The bike was a VIII which was produced in 2005 and 2006. Hence this issue was about a 8 or 9 year old bike. It was purchased on ebay for some amount under $300. I do not believe we offered warranties longer than 90 days on ebay purchases. I naturally refused to offer any incentives for this behavior.

I wish Nick well with his future purchases.

Thanks
Yan

Bikeman58 says in his post it's a 9, not an 8. (I haven't seen a picture or the bike, so I don't know).

It sounds like you're suggesting he bought them used (did he)? What behavior are you trying not insentivise?

(I'm not trying to take sides, but rather reconcile the two stories).

downtube 02-27-15 08:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cplager (Post 17590866)
Bikeman58 says in his post it's a 9, not an 8. (I haven't seen a picture or the bike, so I don't know).

It sounds like you're suggesting he bought them used (did he)? What behavior are you trying not insentivise?

(I'm not trying to take sides, but rather reconcile the two stories).

I never saw the bike, so I don't know for sure. However during our conversations last year I recall it was an 8sp front suspension VIII purchased new on ebay. He claimed it was 6 years old at first, but I recall concluding it was much older and he did not disagree. He also claimed he never rode the bike, then he admitted it had at least 2,000 miles on it.

I took many calls from Nick about this matter, I always accept calls from customers. I assume he saw it as a sign of weakness....it wasn't.

I did not want to give incentive to a customer blaming me for responsibilities that were not mine. If I bought a bike with a 90 day warranty, 8+ years ago for under $300, and rode it for over 2,000 miles I would be appreciative. I still can not understand his position, and I am not sure I want to understand it.

Thanks,
Yan

Pinigis 02-27-15 08:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bikeman58 (Post 17590507)
I have been holding out on buying a new folder, but am leaning towards HASA... they give a lifetime warranty on their frames.

Hope things worked out okay for you.

HASA only warranty their frames against manufacturer's defects. I would be hard pressed to call this a defect if it lasted six years and thousands of miles, so I think you would still be in the same situation (regardless of changes made to the design since this one was produced).

Pine Cone 02-27-15 09:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by downtube (Post 16498462)
I will respond to this only once because I find the concept of this posting disturbing.


#3 Jeff claimed a link to a page by Scott Holman's has wrong information. I have not received a link but I trust he is correct. He never claimed our information was faulty.

I believe I could have handled this better but I think Jeff's intentions are questionable. If he was unsatisfied with the bike he had an extended window to return it. I wish him the best but I am moving on from this thread.

Om,
Yan

Since I have been mentioned a couple of times in this post I will state the obvious. I have never bought or attempted to fit a Downtube Full Supension bike into a Dahon Airporter suitcase.

I did fit a different model Downtube (VIIIH model) folding bicycle into a different model suitcase (Samsonite Oyster). There are pictures to prove it.

I found another link on the Downtube site that shows a Downtube VIIIH (different model bike) will fit into an American Trunk Upright suitcase (different suitcase).

The link you posted no longer works, so I don't know if it once claimed that a Downtube Full Supension bike would fit into a Dahon Airporter, but it seems clear that there have been different models of Dahon Airporter suitcases with different dimensions.

I am sorry you bought a Downtube Full Suspension bike that wouldn't fit into the suitcase you bought. I'm glad the Dahon you bought does fit the suitcase.

I have bought 3 bikes from Yan and have no complaints. They are relatively inexpensive and are a good value.

Having worked in bicycle shops for years back in the 1970s I appreciate how customer and seller viewpoints can differ on what seem to be simple issues.

Yan should have kept the posted bike dimensions current with his current product line. At least that seems to have been updated on the current Downtube website.

More importantly, welcome to the world of folding bikes. I hope you and your wife are having a great time riding whatever it is you manged to take on your trip. Folding bikes add lots of options to travel to near and far away places.

Pine Cone, aka Scott Holmen

Bikeman58 02-28-15 08:52 AM

Disappointed with Downtube
 
Appreciate your perspective, Pinigis, but I disagree. I may be a "newbie" to this forum, but I have a lifetime of experience with bicycles. The bike in question was lightly ridden. I didn't even burn through a single pair of Hookworms on this bike... maybe 4000 miles.

As a mechanic and part time manager, I dealt directly with lots of distributors and manufacturers, and this is exactly what a manufacturer's defect is... a failure that results during ordinary, intended usage. Clearly accidents, abuse or extreme wear would not be covered. True, my experience was back in the 70s and 80s, and perhaps manufacturers were more generous or ethical then. Although I recently helped someone with a wheel issue on a bike that was 7 years old... and the manufacturer offered to replace the wheels. Now that was what I call customer service.

My Gary Fisher Supercaliber is around 20 years old, aluminum, trail and street ridden and no frame issues. Frames do not spontaneously break under casual, normal riding unless there was a material or design defect. So I suspect HASA would honor their warranty. For the record, almost every warranty states that it warrants against manufacturers defects. No one covers you for a crash, even in the first week of use. The presumption is that unless there is evidence of accident or abuse, failure is a result of manufacturer's defect.

As regards my Downtube. The multiple changes Yan made in his frames... particularly at the location where mine failed, indicates he was experiencing failures or anticipated them. Why increase tubing diameter, and add angle supports, if there is not a design issue. Failures, excessive stress or flexing which will lead to failure. Adding weight where it is not needed would be poor design. It is my opinion that some small makers (and perhaps large ones too) design their frames by trial and error, and some of those errors hit the showroom floor. I attended the annual cycling show in Anaheim a couple of times in the early 90s, and the variety of frame designs, especially for suspension, was insane. Most of those designs were scrapped before they reached full production. As a small maker Yan may not have the luxury of thoroughly testing all his designs... but he ought to stand behind them, imho.

Bikeman58 02-28-15 10:26 AM

To clarify, the bike is a Roman numeral nine (XI) that was purchased new directly from Yan by a friend who was into folders. He didn't like the reach and convinced me to take it, so he could buy another bike from Yan (DT got 2 sales out of the deal). I subsequently bought two more Downtube Novas... one on Ebay, and one directly from Yan. And talked Downtube up to everyone to expressed interest. I NEVER told Yan I didn't ride it. Just that it was gently ridden. I estimated 2-4 thousand miles of around town riding. My estimate is based on the type of riding I use it for and the fact that I haven't used up one full set of tires yet(Hookworms). Frames used in the type of riding this was used for should never spontaneously break(IMHO as a bicycle mechanic), and certainly not with less than 10-20K miles on them, and I was nowhere near that. Where my bike broke, ALL Downtube frames are now reinforced. I don't think this is a coincidence.

These days my street bike is my lugged, vintage 1980s rigid Stumpjumper. That frame is never going to break. Still, I am looking for another folder.

Yan has misrepresented a lot of our communications. I just reread our old email thread, so I know how it went down. I also sent him pictures. (one correction from a previous statement - the seat tube cracked just above the top tube, and below the stays). All you have to do is look at the changes he made between the two versions of the nine frames and you know he had or anticipated a problem.

We don't have to rehash it. I wish him well, but the idea that a warranty is somehow absolute is absurd. Just ask automobile and airbag manufactures. If bicycle makers received the level of regulation that cars do, most bike makers would be out of business. I don't want this for sure. But I can't recommend Yan's bikes or his customer service skills. I never view customer service as a sign of weakness. That self perception may in fact be why Yan is so adversarial. As a customer, I do feel it is my responsibility to let manufacturers know about problems with their products. Many are happy to replace a defective product, especially as that feedback allows them to build a better product in the future.

Bikeman58 02-28-15 10:42 AM

I don't understand you either
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by downtube (Post 17590957)
If I bought a bike with a 90 day warranty, 8+ years ago for under $300, and rode it for over 2,000 miles I would be appreciative.

Cost over $300. and came with a full warranty, but WOW... are you really saying that Downtube riders should be appreciative if they get 2000 miles out of your bikes? A bicycle that breaks after a few thousand miles of around town riding is hardly something for the maker to be proud of. Or that if someone bought their Downtube from your EBAY store, they should expect a lesser product? That's more of a knock on Downtube's bikes than anything I have said.

Bikeman58 02-28-15 11:14 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by downtube (Post 17590750)
The bike was a VIII which was produced in 2005 and 2006. Hence this issue was about a 8 or 9 year old bike. It was purchased on ebay for some amount under $300. I do not believe we offered warranties longer than 90 days on ebay purchases. I naturally refused to offer any incentives for this behavior.

A few corrections: 1. Bike is a Downtube Nine (XI) 2. purchased a couple of years later than Yan states(mid 2007 - early 2008) The bike broke mid 2014, so it was 6+ years old.
3. Believe this model was closer to $400 at the time, and 4. It came with a full warranty.

For those who are interested, attached are photos of the break, as well as the subsequent modifications Yan made for the Downtube Nine (9).

And I am not sure exactly what "behavior" is being referred to. Yan offered a replacement "half-frame" for $50. which I agreed to. Later he said he had given them all away all his older frames for free to a friend. That's when I asked for a discount on a new bike.

Dannihilator 02-28-15 05:36 PM

This has gone on long enough.


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