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  1. #1
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    Used KHS F-300 folder, horrible KHS customer service

    Hello all,

    I'm new to this forum and, more than that, new to the cycling hobby. I made my first purchase this week - a KHS F-300 folding bike, which cost $75, used, on Craigslist. The bike was actually in very good condition, aside from a rear brake that kept getting hung up and rotten tires. I possess mechanical aptitude and like working on power equipment/small engines, so taking apart the bike came naturally to me. I plan to stop at a local bike shop this weekend, pick up or order the parts I need, and start working on the bike by the beginning of next week, having already stripped off the old stuff to be discarded or, when possible, re-used. I love to customize stuff, so two birds with one stone - restore the bike and add my personal touches.

    Anyway, I am not able to find any info for the F-300 on the web, which is crazy. From what I've read, it's the same model as the "Mocha", so I've pulled the specs for the Mocha from KHS's website and I'm going to double-check measurements personally. I was a bit annoyed that KHS does not offer any online support for the F-300... I don't even know how old the bike is, but I imagine it's old enough for them to not list any information.

    I emailed KHS's technical support email today, requesting basically ANY spec/technical info I can get for the F-300. I was informed by the replier, Roger Johnson, that KHS does not evaluate or identify used bikes/frames. He encouraged me to speak with the previous owner for technical info, since that person owned the bike and is familiar with it. He also provided two web links for me to search info on my own. Wow, what a joke, in terms of customer service. I replied sarcastically, rhetorically asking if KHS does not offer technical assistance for its older bikes. Mr. Johnson replied, informing me that KHS only provides support for new, original owner bikes.

    Now, I am new to the bike community so I don't pretend to know a lot about the sub-culture. So, I wonder, is this sort of reply from CS for a bike company normal? Am I an idiot for buying an old bike, with the expectation that the company which produced it would retain spec/parts info? I am not new to being a consumer, fixing up old equipment, utilizing customer service/parts departments, etc. To me, the reply from KHS I just described is as worthless as it gets. It also tells me that KHS is a company I will NEVER give any money to in the future, as my interest in cycling expands and I want to purchase something brand new. Lack of support for an old or used product is a mortal sin, imo. I am still able to get ample parts support for my 1989 36" eXmark walk-behind mower.

    tl;dr version: I bought a used bike and the company that made it can't give me a single piece of info about it because it's used and/or older.

    Also, I don't feel like I have to explain myself but, to clarify, I bought a folder because ease of transportation is important to me and I don't have to contend with many hills or rough terrain. It was a perfect fit.

  2. #2
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    Yes, it is normal for a bike company to refer you to other sources for help with restoring an older model, especially a folder which was most likely a KHS sticker slapped on a Europe- or Asian-market product originally sold by other companies. I just saw a KHS folder on Craigslist which looked to be 10-20 years old; I doubt there's anyone currently at KHS who even remembers it.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Remi View Post
    Yes, it is normal for a bike company to refer you to other sources for help with restoring an older model, especially a folder which was most likely a KHS sticker slapped on a Europe- or Asian-market product originally sold by other companies. I just saw a KHS folder on Craigslist which looked to be 10-20 years old; I doubt there's anyone currently at KHS who even remembers it.
    That speaks volumes about a company building and understanding its own products, instead of re-branding stuff it can't stand behind. Can you imagine buying a car and being told, 10-20 years down the road, that there is no information available for it, and you should conduct your own research to restore it? Completely irresponsible and a disservice to the consumer.

  4. #4
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    i guess you are complaining about not being able to get an owner's manual from KHS. there probably was a printed manual that came with the original bike but, i would be willing to bet it was generic and applied to the various configurations of this bike type (if; even). the f300 has rear suspension which appears to be the primary difference between it and the mocha. the rest of the specifications are probably very similar.

    FYI: interesting stats: in excess of 100 million bicycles will be produced this year. as of today, more than 68.3 million bicycles have already been made since 1 january. KHS alone produces up to 67 models of bicycles every year. the bike that you purchased is most likely 5 - 10 years old.

    you received an almost immediate response to your inquiry from an actual human being who offered a reasonable suggestion and provided you with links to continue your search for data. seems like pretty good customer service (and you're not even a customer) to me.






    Last edited by smallwheeler; 06-28-14 at 06:15 AM.

  5. #5
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by culturejamming View Post
    Can you imagine buying a car and being told, 10-20 years down the road, that there is no information available for it, and you should conduct your own research to restore it? Completely irresponsible and a disservice to the consumer.
    I know a motorcycle manufacturer that's starting to do this. Some Harley shops won't work on pre-Evo Harleys,despite the fact that the motors are very similar. They also won't take them on trade-ins. So you're not alone.

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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    you received an almost immediate response to your inquiry from an actual human being who offered a reasonable suggestion and provided you with links to continue your search for data. seems like pretty good customer service (and you're not even a customer) to me.
    Answer to the question right there.

    The OP likely hasn't tried to solve an issue with older versions of Microsoft operating systems and packages. Maybe he should try, just for laughs, and see what sort of short shrift he gets from them.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    I know a motorcycle manufacturer that's starting to do this. Some Harley shops won't work on pre-Evo Harleys,despite the fact that the motors are very similar. They also won't take them on trade-ins. So you're not alone.
    I could imagine there are several factors here. People doing their own, unauthorised mods that end up being a liability for the dealership in either trying to fix or to on-sell. Or crash damage that hasn't been done by the book.

    Usually, these sorts of policies are put in place for a reason. And most often that reason relates to experiences with bad customers.

    And it's not like the OP has a huge financial stake in this. At $75 purchase price, the KHS rep has probably spent that already in his time reading and replying to the emails he has received. Someone has to pay for customer service, and currently, that is coming out of new bike sales...
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  8. #8
    jur
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    If I got a query about one of our battery chargers from 20 years ago I would be silly spending much more time on that query than a polite email that those products are now obsolete and no longer supported, and tell the person on the other end what our current range of products are. If my ceo found me spending chunks of time on something that won't earn money, he would speak sternly to me.

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    I guess the takeaway message from this thread is that the bike industry is one that does not place any real amount of significance on support for older or preowned models. Fair enough. It's news to me and I suppose a learning experience, albeit not a desirable one. I cited parts support for my very old lawn mower as an example. Power equipment, especially lawn mowers, is an industry in which any worthwhile company will stand behind its products, even one from 1989, because that develops loyalty and trust with consumers. I like knowing that a good dealer is willing to help me find, say, a mulching kit for something which is almost as old as I am. It assures I will buy a brand new eXmark when I have the money and it's time to replace the old one (which, btw, is an investment of at least $3500). The way KHS has handled this makes me think it is a fly-by-night company (probably not and I'm sure someone will chime in to defend its legacy). If they can't back up a bike from potentially "5-10" years ago... well... I don't think that's too much to ask on my part. Btw, the OS analogy isn't so good. Microsoft supported XP up until recently and, although I never needed to call in for support, there is a very large body of information about the OS available on the internet, unlike the F-300 folder. Googling the F-300 yields a handful of topics, most of them simple mentions without any accompanying spec info.

  10. #10
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    instead of continuing with the righteous indignation, why don't you take advantage of the many hundreds of years worth of combined knowledge of the contributors to this forum? if you have questions about the bike, just post them here. pics are helpful...

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by smallwheeler View Post
    instead of continuing with the righteous indignation, why don't you take advantage of the many hundreds of years worth of combined knowledge of the contributors to this forum? if you have questions about the bike, just post them here. pics are helpful...
    Exactly. Most of us have learned how to understand and work on bicycles
    via forums and other sources, and it can be great fun. There is no point in continuing to harp on KHS for not having documents available for this folder. Start reading, get some tools and get to work!

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by culturejamming View Post
    I guess the takeaway message from this thread is that the bike industry is one that does not place any real amount of significance on support for older or preowned models. Fair enough. It's news to me and I suppose a learning experience, albeit not a desirable one. I cited parts support for my very old lawn mower as an example. Power equipment, especially lawn mowers, is an industry in which any worthwhile company will stand behind its products, even one from 1989, because that develops loyalty and trust with consumers. I like knowing that a good dealer is willing to help me find, say, a mulching kit for something which is almost as old as I am. It assures I will buy a brand new eXmark when I have the money and it's time to replace the old one (which, btw, is an investment of at least $3500). The way KHS has handled this makes me think it is a fly-by-night company (probably not and I'm sure someone will chime in to defend its legacy). If they can't back up a bike from potentially "5-10" years ago... well... I don't think that's too much to ask on my part. Btw, the OS analogy isn't so good. Microsoft supported XP up until recently and, although I never needed to call in for support, there is a very large body of information about the OS available on the internet, unlike the F-300 folder. Googling the F-300 yields a handful of topics, most of them simple mentions without any accompanying spec info.
    KHS is far from being a fly-by-night company.

    Maybe you should sit and observe for a while -- like several years -- before you start with your sweeping denigrations.

    You bought a used bike, for cheap. You aren't the original owner, so KHS has no obligation to you under the terms of most if not all bicycle warranties.

    The OS analogy is excellent -- because as you point out, there is a large body of information about the OS available on the internet. Based on the overall number of buyers/users of the XP system, and the number of buyers and users of the F300, the amount of available information for each is about par. And I don't see Microsoft offering much for new problems, based on this household's recent experiences... again par with yours with KHS.

    The advice about posting your questions here is the soundest you're going to get on the subject.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  13. #13
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    I agree with the op to some extent. The manufacturers can give a bit more frequently with out fobbing off potential customers. The op has been put off considering this brand again. That's the op call. I was put off by folding bike support on several ocassions and sometimes accessoriy manufacturer seem determined not to help you buy therir products. A little time building up good reputation is not time necessary wasted by employees. Depends on their judgement call. Its not allways about money.

    I don't always claim for overtime that I could have avoided doing. I sometimes want to see a patient again for my satisfaction or learning, I want to make a ddifference in peoples lifes at a difficult time in their lifes. I have the knowledge and the time. Its again about a judgement value.



    However, Its also nice to get away on time...........
    Last edited by bhkyte; 06-28-14 at 04:09 AM. Reason: brompton bais me surely not.!
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  14. #14
    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by culturejamming View Post
    I guess the takeaway message from this thread is that the bike industry is one that does not place any real amount of significance on support for older or preowned models. Fair enough. It's news to me and I suppose a learning experience, albeit not a desirable one. I cited parts support for my very old lawn mower as an example. Power equipment, especially lawn mowers, is an industry in which any worthwhile company will stand behind its products, even one from 1989, because that develops loyalty and trust with consumers. I like knowing that a good dealer is willing to help me find, say, a mulching kit for something which is almost as old as I am. It assures I will buy a brand new eXmark when I have the money and it's time to replace the old one (which, btw, is an investment of at least $3500). The way KHS has handled this makes me think it is a fly-by-night company (probably not and I'm sure someone will chime in to defend its legacy). If they can't back up a bike from potentially "5-10" years ago... well... I don't think that's too much to ask on my part. Btw, the OS analogy isn't so good. Microsoft supported XP up until recently and, although I never needed to call in for support, there is a very large body of information about the OS available on the internet, unlike the F-300 folder. Googling the F-300 yields a handful of topics, most of them simple mentions without any accompanying spec info.
    There is not one thing about this bike that you could not easily either figure out how to fix yourself or find out with a small amount of research. There are great forums on this site (and in others) that will help you problem shoot the bike. There is a vast amount of data on the web on bikes and there is nothing that complicated about a bike.

    You don't start with googling the bike. You google the various parts. You google components such as square taper bottom brackets, headsets, hubs, etc. That's the way you find out the specs. If you knew something about bikes, you wouldn't feel this way about KHS (which is a fine company) and you would not try to figure out the specs on your bike by googling the model name of the bike.
    Last edited by bikemig; 06-28-14 at 04:33 AM.

  15. #15
    jur
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    You don't start with googling the bike. You google the various parts.
    +1

    An almost universal truth is, bikes are proprietary frames hung with common parts. There are of course exceptions but they are not that common. Bikes are known by their frame names.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    You don't start with googling the bike. You google the various parts. You google components such as square taper bottom brackets, headsets, hubs, etc. That's the way you find out the specs. If you knew something about bikes, you wouldn't feel this way about KHS (which is a fine company) and you would not try to figure out the specs on your bike by googling the model name of the bike.
    Trust me, I learned to do that almost immediately. There is essentially zero information about the F-300 online; barely more about the Mocha, which I assume is a close enough equivalent. The whole "You can learn to do it yourself" and "Just figure out what parts it needs on your own" advice from everyone is goofy, even if it's good. As I noted, I have mechanical aptitude, so that's how I'm gathering specs and documenting parts - by checking them out/measuring them myself. From the majority reaction I've gotten here, I understand now that this is fundamentally what the bike community and manufacturers are like. It is what it is. If I hope to be at all successful with this hobby, I'll accept that. But it still seems... off... that a company cannot retain an iota of information about a bike "5-10 years old", which would assist hobbyists in restoration projects. Or provide a little CS beyond "Do the research on your own about a product we made but don't have enough pride in to support". It's really not that hard to publish that sort of stuff online, compared to what it's like for a consumer - especially a beginner - to figure it out on one's own. Then again, as I noted earlier, that's what happens when a company re-badges something it knows pretty much nothing about, or pushes a product it doesn't expect to build any type of heritage with. But that's the difference between bikes and literally every other mechanical product which costs any significant amount of money. Big culture shock for me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    The OS analogy is excellent -- because as you point out, there is a large body of information about the OS available on the internet. Based on the overall number of buyers/users of the XP system, and the number of buyers and users of the F300, the amount of available information for each is about par. And I don't see Microsoft offering much for new problems, based on this household's recent experiences... again par with yours with KHS.
    Nah, it still doesn't make any sense. Your point with the analogy was that it is difficult to get support for an older product, so you cited old operating systems. I could easily look up "Windows XP" and discover a large amount of information from either an official source or the myriad communities devoted to computer support. With the F-300, there is almost zero information from communities and literally zero information from the company. The proportions of support are irrelevant to the analogy - only the connect you tried, but failed, to make is important.

    I'm going to stop harping on KHS now. I posted the experience here to be judged on its own merits. If you guys don't see it as bad CS, then that's fine. I don't need the validation from everyone. I am a big proponent of posting reviews of products, services, etc. so that's why I did it. Support for the F-300 was a corollary point to this thread but, right now, I think I have all the info I need and the bike shop should fill in the blanks.

  18. #18
    Senior Member badrad's Avatar
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    Lesson learned, next time save yourself from aggravation and stick with Brompton, Bike Friday, or Dahon.

  19. #19
    Senior Member bhkyte's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by badrad View Post
    Lesson learned, next time save yourself from aggravation and stick with Brompton, Bike Friday, or Dahon.
    Folding forum Faciast approved bike purchases only please... lol
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  20. #20
    Senior Member smallwheeler's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by culturejamming View Post
    ... With the F-300, there is almost zero information from communities...
    you're right. there is so little info about this bike available online that this thread is now at the top of search results for the F300.



    information or "support" regarding this bike was only a "corollary point" of interest for you. interestingly, it seems you now have the unique opportunity to turn this thread, which was initially only intended as a public complaint about a company, into a useful database regarding all you may learn about the F300 that might benefit anyone else who may come along looking for documentation, peculiarities, modifications, etc.

  21. #21
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    I could imagine there are several factors here. People doing their own, unauthorised mods that end up being a liability for the dealership in either trying to fix or to on-sell. Or crash damage that hasn't been done by the book.
    Except this is not the case for other companies like Honda and BMW. You can order parts fiches and parts from Honda going back a long way.

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    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by culturejamming View Post
    The whole "You can learn to do it yourself" and "Just figure out what parts it needs on your own" advice from everyone is goofy, even if it's good.
    Not really. The only things unique to that bike are the frameset and hinges. The BB,crankset,drivetrain,shifters,brakes,wheels,etc,are all off-the-shelf components. The derailleurs and brakes are adjusted the exact same way as they are on 'regular' bikes,because they are the same components. That bike uses the same chain and brake pads as other bikes,and the same tires and tubes as other folders of the same wheel size.

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    Quote Originally Posted by culturejamming View Post
    Nah, it still doesn't make any sense. Your point with the analogy was that it is difficult to get support for an older product, so you cited old operating systems. I could easily look up "Windows XP" and discover a large amount of information from either an official source or the myriad communities devoted to computer support. With the F-300, there is almost zero information from communities and literally zero information from the company. The proportions of support are irrelevant to the analogy - only the connect you tried, but failed, to make is important.

    I'm going to stop harping on KHS now. I posted the experience here to be judged on its own merits. If you guys don't see it as bad CS, then that's fine. I don't need the validation from everyone. I am a big proponent of posting reviews of products, services, etc. so that's why I did it. Support for the F-300 was a corollary point to this thread but, right now, I think I have all the info I need and the bike shop should fill in the blanks.
    You miss my point entirely. The OS whatever it is, is used by millions (billions) of people around the world. The KHS model is used by ?? -- not very many in comparison.

    You paid $75 for a used bicycle and want the world. Let me just point out that $75 is not a significant amount of money in the cycling world.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  24. #24
    jur
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    @culturejamming: I also started from essentially zero knowledge and mech aptitude. I will undertake to answer any specifuc questions you have, no matter how detailed or mundane.

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    I go off to the bike shop today to pick up parts. I'll hopefully get a pic of them and the bike some time soon. Also, it would be nice to turn this thread into a reference for the all of 25 F-300 owners in the world, so stay tuned, guys. I'll see what I can do.

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