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Old 09-10-06, 04:32 AM   #1
bikesdirectsite
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Motobecane bikesdirect frames and warranty

Hi
I responded to a post on another forum
and a customer sent me the request below as he is a member of this forum and likes it
so I am posting here below his request my original post

-----------------
"Dear Mr. Pratt,

I purchased a Motobecane Super Mirage from you in 1998 and rode if for several years with zero problems and eventually sold it, which I regret at this point because it was a handsome lugged steel frame that I wish I still had. Just last week I encouraged a close friend to buy your Immortal Force special offering, which she did and we are both anxiously awaiting the bike to arrive.

With that background in mind, I would like to share some thoughts with you.

First off, I greatly appreciate your detailed explanation of your sources and philosophy on putting together you bike offerings, it puts to rest much speculation that I have seen here and on bikeforums.net. I would highly recommend you provide the same/similar information in a post at bikeforums.net as well.

Secondly, both here and on bikeforums.net newbie posters with no other comments ever made in the forums will pop up with bikes directs related posts along the lines of, "Looking for a new bike, what do you guys think of the "fill in the blank" at bikesdirect. This begins a long flame filled thread with shill accusations and statements that BD bikes are crap and there is no warranty. You state that you are not behind these posts, and I take people at their word unless proven otherwise and have no reason to believe you aren't being truthful.

Bottom line, I think you provide a valuable service to the cycling consumer, and from my first hand experience, I believe your offerings are high quality and good value for the money. I think you should be more proactive in defining your business model and practices as you did on your post here to forestall the naysayers and the damage they maybe causing your business. I am certain that no matter how many bikes you are selling now, that you would like to sell more!

I will close by asking you once again to post a similar statement at bikeforums.net where you will find numerous members own your bikes, and sometimes more than one. These owners make a good case for your bikes but there positive messages get lost in the din of dissension from the BD detractors.

Best regards,

Brad"

-------------
"Mr. tsalconoci4891, thank you for your purchase. I am not sure which le Champion you purchased but I am sure you will love it.

Your detailed purchase experience was bought to my attention by an employee who forwarded the link. You bought up several issues that I would like to address but I do not know your e-mail address. If you wish to have more details than I provide here, just e-mail us.

This is my first entry on roadbikereview and will probably be my last. My attitude is that our products speak for themselves. HOWEVER, since I strongly believe in our company my entry here may sound like a sales pitch. I understand that; so I will try to tone it down.

SHOPS – I am very sorry you have trouble in your area with bike shops. You are not alone, unfortunately. I own several bike shops. Over the last 30 years my shops, my staff, and the bicycle business has changed a lot. Most of the changes in equipment have been for the better. Most of the changes in the retail shop business have been for the worse. I think all ‘old-hands’ in the cycle business would agree.
For years I owned the largest chain of bike shops in the country. And I was very proud of the service and value I delivered to customers. Today, I only own the number of shops that I think I can maintain my ideal of customer support in.
There is not enough room here to discuss the issue of what has happened to the retail specialty store business. Some may think the internet is the problem. That is clearly not the case; the problems in bike shops started in 1982 before the internet had any impact. The summary is; owning a bike shop is not as much fun as it used to be.
I would like to add, all customers should get great service. But my major concern has never been that the bike enthusiast who spends a lot and understands his equipment is short changed. My major concern has & is that the mom who wants tp spend $300 to have a bike & baby seat to safely take her kid for a ride can not get anyone’s attention. My employees know that I expect customers who really need our help will get it.

WARRANTY – Mr tsalconoci4891, the main reason I am writing this is your concern over warranty. Secondly I am writing over your concern about frames. Warranty is an important feature on a bike. Bikesdirect gives full warranty support on every bike we sell, period. If there is a defect on a bike we sold, we will fix it. If there is defect on a bike we sold and it is beyond the stated time limit of the manufacturer, we will still fix it.
As you know, it is easy to have UPS pickup things and bring them to us. And easy for us to send them. We handle any and all warranty issues quickly and always give the customer the benefit of the doubt. In fact, I would say 50% of the issues we fix are not defects anyway.
The truth is high grade bikes from anyone have very very few defects. In addition, I always pick the highest level of item in bike spec where there is a choice [told you it might sound like a sales pitch]. But think about it, handling warranty issues is expense; picking the high grade part vs the lower is a slight difference. I also like using name brand items from Shimano, FSA, Ritchey, American Classic, Sram, where I know the support is solid.
The chance you will ever have a defect is way less than 1 in 1000. The chance that we would handle it if you do have a defect is 100%.

FRAME – Mr tsalconoci4891, the frame you have is from Kinesis. Unless your bike is a le Champion SL; in which case it is a frame from Alu-Mate that we share with Fuji. Le Champion models use the most expensive aluminum with carbon SS frame made by Kinesis. The SL model is made by Ideal [owner of Fuji] and shares the frame of the old Fuji Team SL. I like staying with proven frames unless there is a reason to change. Both of these frames are proven by thousands of happy customers.
Kinesis is the largest frame maker in the orient. Their frames are used by just about everyone. They manufacture in a large plant in China and a smaller specialty plant in Taiwan. Le Champion frames are from Taiwan. We have never seen a defect on a le Champion frame. If your frame is the first, it will be replaced for free just like any other customer. I will not sell a bike without free lifetime warranty frame defect protection for the customer.
Bicycle Frames are one of the marketing successes of the specialty bike business. Manufacturers have marketed the frame as the most expensive and technical item on the bike. However, most frames are very inexpensive compared to cranks, wheels, shifters, etc. This is not to say the frames are not valuable; but the way they are produced brings the cost way down. {Frames are the highest markup item sold by any manufacturer; many are sold at over 10 times their cost**
Most Aluminum Frames are $20 to $40 OEM, most Aluminum Frames with carbon rear SS are $60 to $80 OEM, most full carbon frames are $230 to $300 OEM. Compared to a nice set of wheels or cranks; the frame is easy on the designer’s decision process. In my case it is easy, I always take the most expense frame in its class. {the entire long story of my attitude involves Phil Wood, a guy who wrecked his tandum I sold him in ft worth, a bunch of lawyers, and several other shops and insurance companies. I can just say I will never be put in a position to answer a question about why I decided to save $10 on lower grade specs.**
Bottom line on frames and other components for me is clear. If I can save $100 a bike by not running an 800 line and put it in better equipment, I will. If I can spec a carbon frame from Taiwan instead of China and pay for it by savings on operating expenses, I will. And this attitude has always been the same; even before the internet. In the ‘old days’ I used to sell full Campy Record bikes with Colnago, Mercian, Viner, etc frames for $995. I was about $1000 under other shops; all of the discount was due to high volume, excellent buying, and low overhead. {This may also sound like a sales pitch; but it is just true. Even if you dislike Wal-Mart as I do; they are lower priced on CanadaDry GingerAle than other retailers; Why? high volume, excellent buying, low overhead**.


Mr tsalconoci4891, I am glad you bought a Motobecane. I have been involved in Motobecane design since 1979 and I very happy with the current offerings. I do not think there is any bike in our price ranges that give you more bang for the buck.
Your choice over a Felt is to my benefit and I think yours. But I would like to comment on Felt as responses here are not completely as I would see things. FELTs are great bikes; everytime I see Bill I tell him his bikes look great. I think he is doing a great job. Felt bikes are high quality and good value.
Felt’s aluminum frames are Kinesis, I do not know who makes the Carbon fiber ones {I think ADK, which is an excellent builder**]. I am sure Bill would never spec a risky low grade frame to save $10 and thus the comments about frame failures on Felts should not be taken as indicative of the brand’s quality. I am certain the chance of a Felt frame failure is exactly equal to the chance of any other brand having the same. Plus Bill is a standup guy and I am sure will handle any true defect professionally and fairly.
Plus Bill’s best employee Penny is the only person I have ever let watch my kids at the bike show out of my sight. And I am the most overprotective parent on earth.

Mr tsalconoci4891, you and I know that any comments here about you being a so-called shill are completely ground-less. And any one who knows me knows I would never pay someone to sound off about my business; I would put the funds in better specs which can speak for themselves.

mike Spratt
CEO - bikesdirect"
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Old 09-10-06, 04:36 AM   #2
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Not familiar with format, rules, etc

I must admit I am not up to speed on this forum. I have no intention of breaking any rules with this post or 'advertising' my company. I assume I can just have my advertising department e-mail for info on advertising here. Might be a good idea.

So I hope there are no rules I have broken with my post; if so I hope the administrator will e-mail me with advise.

thanks
mike
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Old 09-10-06, 10:36 PM   #3
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Why don't you [cough, cough] pay the site administrator and then advertise that way?
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Old 09-11-06, 12:30 AM   #4
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Nice, my post gets deleted without even a note. And the guy with the clearly offtopic and commerical interests gets to stay. Woohoo!
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Old 09-11-06, 06:55 AM   #5
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This shady Moto marketing makes me embarassed for owning one.
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Old 09-11-06, 07:05 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bikesdirectsite
I must admit I am not up to speed on this forum. I have no intention of breaking any rules with this post or 'advertising' my company. I assume I can just have my advertising department e-mail for info on advertising here. Might be a good idea.

So I hope there are no rules I have broken with my post; if so I hope the administrator will e-mail me with advise.

thanks
mike
I've always found that in ethical situations like this, if you have to ask, then you already know the answer.

If the person on this forum wanted to post your response to him, they would have.
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Old 09-11-06, 09:19 AM   #7
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Mr. Spratt has posted under his own name, and made clear that he owns BikesDirect, and is speaking for the company. These are the sorts of posts that Bike Forum members ought to welcome. Over the past year or so, a representive from Kryptonite has posted to answer questions and provide information about Kryptonite locks, always making clear WHO is being represented.

And, I wish representatives of Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Giant, Shimano, and SRAM would participate in the Forums. And, of course, it would be nice if companies in the bike industry would help finance the costs of the Forums. Bike Forums is helping "grow" the number of people who are active in the cycling sport, and the Forums is a good advertising investment for the industry.

Posts in which industry reps discuss their business and their products, making clear WHO they are, and WHO they are speaking for are helpful. What are not helpful are posts from people who pretend to be "Joe Customer" providing a link to an E-Bay auction, or to a website where products are sold. Bike Forums gets far too many of the "pretend customer" posts that are poorly concealed attempts to hype a product, and far too few posts where experts in the bike industry discuss their products openly and honestly.

So, Mr. Spratt, I hope you will do two things. One, become a financial supporter of Bike Forums. And, two, post from time to time to provide members information on the products your company offers, and to address questions that come up that related to your company or to the cycling industry in general.
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Old 09-11-06, 09:35 AM   #8
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Yes - as soon as I learn how

Quote:
Originally Posted by alanbikehouston
Mr. Spratt has posted under his own name, and made clear that he owns BikesDirect, and is speaking for the company. These are the sorts of posts that Bike Forum members ought to welcome. Over the past year or so, a representive from Kryptonite has posted to answer questions and provide information about Kryptonite locks, always making clear WHO is being represented.

And, I wish representatives of Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, Giant, Shimano, and SRAM would participate in the Forums. And, of course, it would be nice if companies in the bike industry would help finance the costs of the Forums. Bike Forums is helping "grow" the number of people who are active in the cycling sport, and the Forums is a good advertising investment for the industry.

Posts in which industry reps discuss their business and their products, making clear WHO they are, and WHO they are speaking for are helpful. What are not helpful are posts from people who pretend to be "Joe Customer" providing a link to an E-Bay auction, or to a website where products are sold. Bike Forums gets far too many of the "pretend customer" posts that are poorly concealed attempts to hype a product, and far too few posts where experts in the bike industry discuss their products openly and honestly.

So, Mr. Spratt, I hope you will do two things. One, become a financial supporter of Bike Forums. And, two, post from time to time to provide members information on the products your company offers, and to address questions that come up that related to your company or to the cycling industry in general.
mr alanbikehouston

Yes - I agree with you. I just learned of this forum a couple of days ago. My employees have probably know about it for years. I did not know there was an opportunity to 'support' or 'advertise on the forum.
Assuming the price is fair; bikesdirect is interested. Can you send me details? Or is there a place to click and buy ads? I am very new to forums like this, having spent most of the last 30 years studying bikes.

I will also ask my advertising department to look into your site

Thanks

Mike
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Old 09-11-06, 09:46 AM   #9
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Mike,

The best advise I can give is to send a Private Message to Joe Gardner, the owner and operator of BikeForums. I'm sure he will be happy to assist you in becoming a supporting member of BikeForums ($25 to become a 'red star' member).

As alanbikehouston has pointed out, it has been the experience of many members of this board that there have been very frequent posts by people acting as new riders asking about and posting links to motobecane and bikesdirect. This has unfortunately led to a large degree of distrust of just about any new member making references to your company. As a friendly suggestion, I would, in your shoes, inform your employees that this should not be an acceptable marketing tactic.

Lastly, welcome to BikeForums. I rode this weekend with a rider in town from the Austin area who brought his Motobecane Singlespeed/Fixed Gear bike. Along with a handful of other Motobecanes I have seen in person they appear to be well equipped bikes. There are a number of BikeForums members who ride and enjoy their Motos.
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Old 09-11-06, 10:26 AM   #10
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I notice, a lot of discussion about Bikesdirect becomes a pissing contest between People who have never owned one of your bikes, bashing the bikes and your web site, and Customers who have actually bought your bikes defending them. Someone posts a picture of their new Specialized, or Trek, people respond with "Nice Bike" Someone posts a pic of their new Motobecane and people respond with "Shill!", and there has been some obvious shill posts, a new member joins and their one and only post is a post about how great their Motobecane is., so I think some Bikesdirect people are partially to blame. I think having someone like yourself who we know is affiliated with Bikesdirect and can answer questions and address issues from time to time would be a great asset to both this forum and your company.
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Old 09-11-06, 11:09 AM   #11
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Ugh.....
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Old 09-11-06, 12:30 PM   #12
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Thanks

i have sent a message to Joe to try to lineup running ads; I think that is more important to the site than me becoming a member [which I am do also - once I figure it out]

Thanks for the link
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Old 09-11-06, 12:32 PM   #13
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good suggestion

I may get someone on the staff to monitor the forum and answer questions. of course, I have several people answering direct questions to the site everyday. however, public answers might be evfen better.
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Old 09-11-06, 06:27 PM   #14
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http://www.bikeforums.net/payments.php <-- link to where to become a paying member of the forums. After payment is made, you may want to PM Joe again stating that you did to ensure that he turns on the red star member stuff which has to be done manually.
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Old 09-11-06, 09:22 PM   #15
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The more the merrier. Welcome aboard!
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Old 09-12-06, 01:33 AM   #16
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this should be interesting
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Old 09-12-06, 10:56 AM   #17
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thanks again

I did PM Joe and tell him I wanted to buy advertising. He said he will look for some space and e-mail me. Once he does; we will advertise on the site. And I will become a member too; but I do not know how often I will get time to visit; but i will try. Thanks again
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Old 09-14-06, 01:28 AM   #18
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Glad to see the CEO of Bikesdirect post on the forums.
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Old 09-14-06, 03:17 AM   #19
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Glad to see the CEO of Bikesdirect post on the forums.
+1 Thanks to the gentleman and I wish more industry folks would also post.
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Old 09-14-06, 03:31 AM   #20
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Great stuff !
For those of us who live in a place where the closest shop is 40 miles away
or have had no good luck with the almighty LBS, or think a _ _ _ _ with sora
components isnt worth $500.00 , you are providing a valuable service !
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Old 09-14-06, 03:32 AM   #21
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WoW! pretty cool thread... this is great! i really wish other companies would post here on BF!

but alas, 'customer service' seems to be more of a cliché nowadays...

:-(
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Old 09-14-06, 12:46 PM   #22
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Mr. Spratt, welcome to the forums. I just purchased a Mercier Galaxy from your site, received it last week. None of the shops in my area carry steel frame road bikes as I wanted one as an additional commuter to supplement my aluminum Trek hybrid. The bike rides great & I couldn't be happier. As stated it's nice to see company owners on BF's & I'm sure BF would appreciate the ad revenue as well.
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Old 09-14-06, 06:01 PM   #23
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Thank you

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidLee
Mr. Spratt, welcome to the forums. I just purchased a Mercier Galaxy from your site, received it last week. None of the shops in my area carry steel frame road bikes as I wanted one as an additional commuter to supplement my aluminum Trek hybrid. The bike rides great & I couldn't be happier. As stated it's nice to see company owners on BF's & I'm sure BF would appreciate the ad revenue as well.

Thank you for buying a Galaxy. I love steel bikes and we will stick them as long as there is any demand. Of course, we sell more aluminum; but I think steel still has it's place.

I am just waiting to hear how to advertise here on BF. It seems lots of our customers already visit here; so we should be present too.
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