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  1. #1
    Member cheeken's Avatar
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    What should I expect from my LBS mechanic?

    Last week, I broke a spoke on my road bike. I'm fairly new to the biking thing (I got it used on Craigslist and took it to a different bike shop than the one in question for the initial once-over and tune-up), and this was going to be my first time taking it to the LBS for any kind of repair work.

    I figured that fixing a broken spoke in the rear wouldn't take long, so I took it in first thing last Friday morning (10am), and figured that I'd wait around or go get some coffee and it'd be done in an hour.

    The mechanic told me that "it's a pretty busy time of year" and that they'd be able to have it ready by Tuesday at 5:30pm (today). I asked if it was possible, since it was just a spoke, if there was any chance of squeezing it in that day, and he reiterated that it was a busy time of year, so Tuesday it was. I asked him if he'd also include a Check Over of the bike since it had been about 700 miles since I've gotten it.

    So, today (Tuesday) I went into the LBS at 5:30 with my work order receipt in hand and explained that I was here to pick up my bike. A couple mechanics looked around for a few moments, and then one came and said, "Oh, he'll get to that right now. It won't take too long, you can just look around the store and we'll have it in a few."

    One Hour Later, after circling the store several times, and having a couple different employees tell me that "it's almost done," they brought out my bike and rung me up. Twenty bucks for labor and $1.50 for the spoke.

    I guess my question is, since this is really my first foray into LBS bike maintenance, should I be frustrated that they had my bike for three full working days after they told me they couldn't repair it the morning I brought it in, only to have them fix it in an hour while I hiked around the store, or is this just one of those things that I should learn to expect in having my bike maintained by this LBS? Like when I take my car in for an oil change and I just take a book and plan to be there for awhile.

    Also, I'm betting that they didn't do much of a Check Over. Maybe they did?

  2. #2
    moving target c0urt's Avatar
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    depends on the lbs really dude. some are more customer focused than others. some can get by on just selling new bikes and accessories. some have to focus on repairs and service after to sell. you can tell this by visiting them and hwo they treat you.

    talk to cyclist in your area and find out what shops they frequent, also visit several shops in your area to see which one you prefer the vibe of. just like underwear every shop is different.



    I actually like doing spokes and truing wheels
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  3. #3
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    That's pretty crappy. Then again, I pretty much never take my bike in without making an appointment on the phone first. "I have a broken spoke, can you fix this on the spot today?" I can't *stand* being without my bike - especially for something so minor.

    At the opposite end: LBS where I bought my bike, somehow a mechanic stuffed up with the pedals, and a pedal came off within several Ks, stripping the crank thread. I understand, mistakes happen. I take it back, head mechanic is very apologetic (not so nice to the junior guy who did it), tells me it's going to be a few days to get new cranks. I mention that I kind of need it to get around. He tells me to go get a coffee, takes the cranks off another customer's bike that was in for service, puts them on mine, then orders a new set for the other customer. *That's* service.

    Steve

  4. #4
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    I try to do quick stuff like a broken spoke on the same day. However If I am really backed up and have somone that cannot grasp they may have to wait , I offer the twenty plus repairs already in line so the guy that needs his repair right now can call those people to let them know they will have to wait for their repair because they are less important.
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  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    It would be nice if LBS bicycle mechanics would actually fix my bicycle when I bring it to them, but more often than not that seems too much to ask.

  6. #6
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    At the opposite end: LBS where I bought my bike, somehow a mechanic stuffed up with the pedals, and a pedal came off within several Ks, stripping the crank thread. I understand, mistakes happen. I take it back, head mechanic is very apologetic (not so nice to the junior guy who did it), tells me it's going to be a few days to get new cranks. I mention that I kind of need it to get around. He tells me to go get a coffee, takes the cranks off another customer's bike that was in for service, puts them on mine, then orders a new set for the other customer. *That's* service.


    If I were the other customer, I would not be pleased about that!!!!!!

  7. #7
    Member cheeken's Avatar
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    Rev. Chuck, I totally get that. In fact, I was fine with waiting until Tuesday. I guess the thing that irked me is that they didn't have it ready when they said they would, three days later, and still made me wait around an hour.

    Also, c0urt, I'm making this my mantra: "Just like underwear every shop is different."

  8. #8
    The Red Lantern Rev.Chuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cheeken View Post
    Rev. Chuck, I totally get that. In fact, I was fine with waiting until Tuesday. I guess the thing that irked me is that they didn't have it ready when they said they would, three days later, and still made me wait around an hour.

    Also, c0urt, I'm making this my mantra: "Just like underwear every shop is different."

    As much as I hate it I have had this happen at my shop. When the employees do not communicate with each other or do not write the repairs out fully, it happens. I prefer to write all my repairs but it does not always happen. Sometimes an employee will promise a repair for a certain time but make no mention of that time on the ticket. When I go thru the schedule I prioritise the schedule by how quick the repair should be(Better eight pepol happy than one, and it often comes to that) but if someone needs their bike by noon and it is on the ticket, the bike will be ready by noon.
    As shallow as it is, there is an employee(the manager) at my shop, that because he does not get commison on labor(he does no repair work) refuses to order parts for repairs, and does not complete repair tickets. As he has some kind of balckmail on my employer, there is nothing I can do about it, except work around him. This happens at more shops(and many other retailers) than you would think. Store politics can hurt your repair. Pretty annoying.

    As for removing parts from another customers bike. That is messed up. I have pulled parts off of a new shop bike but never a customer bike. As a customer the **** would hit the fan if I found this had happened to me.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member Bill Kapaun's Avatar
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    They should deliver as promised, but this time of the year, sometimes promises fall by the wayside.
    If they are busy selling new bikes, the mechanics are busy putting them together, while repairs take a back seat.
    In my neck of the woods, you can pretty much get instant repairs.... in January!

  10. #10
    Keep on climbing
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post


    If I were the other customer, I would not be pleased about that!!!!!!
    Uhhhh, yeah. Anybody who did that (i.e., took the cranks off my bike to put it on somebody elses) would have one unbelievably mad customer on their hands.
    "There is more to life than increasing its speed" -- Mahatma Gandhi

  11. #11
    Senior Member akatsuki's Avatar
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    Happens all the time at the shop I go to... I get there and the bike is only half done at best. They do a decent job, but I will probably switch.
    Current: Lynskey R210 | Miyata 610
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post


    If I were the other customer, I would not be pleased about that!!!!!!
    You take your bike in to get your pads changed, and when you pick it up they say "by the way, we put brand new cranks on, for no extra charge"? Why not?

    Steve

  13. #13
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    Anyway, I'm not certain that it was a customer's bike - it's possible it was an employee's. Also possible that it was just a bike in stock, and I misinterpreted.

    Steve

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevage View Post
    You take your bike in to get your pads changed, and when you pick it up they say "by the way, we put brand new cranks on, for no extra charge"? Why not?

    Steve
    Why not? Because they touched a part of my bicycle which I did not authorize them to touch. They could have potentially messed something up with the way I've got things set up, and it would also make me wonder what else they messed with. If I found out a shop had done that, I would never bring my bicycle back there again ... I couldn't trust them.

    And the other thing is, would they replace the cranks with the exact same ones as before? Maybe, or maybe not. I know where I live the one and only shop doesn't stock much of anything so they will put whatever they've got on hand on your bicycle, or whatever is easiest and quickest to order ... not necessarily what you want or what you had on there ... and they'll tell you that they are terribly sorry but that's all they could get.

    I have also had an experience where the shop removed the Ultegra front brake from my bicycle and replaced with a lesser quality V-brake. I had the bicycle in the shop to change the fork from carbon to steel and they told me the Ultegra brakes wouldn't work with the new steel fork, so they gave me a V brake of about equal quality, and new ...my Ultegra brakes were a couple years old. I didn't know much about bicycle components so I trusted them and let it go. In talking to several people later, I found out that my V brakes are not the quality of what I had on there, and that they should have been able to work with the Ultegra brakes. In other words, they scammed me.

    So no ... if I'm in there for brake pads (which, incidentally I wouldn't be because I can change my own brake pads), they had better not lay a hand on anything else.

  15. #15
    Keeping A Low Profile
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    Why not? Because they touched a part of my bicycle which I did not authorize them to touch. They could have potentially messed something up with the way I've got things set up, and it would also make me wonder what else they messed with. If I found out a shop had done that, I would never bring my bicycle back there again ... I couldn't trust them.
    I'm with you Machka!! That switch, even tho I'm getting 'new' components . . . would really tick me off. Just one reason I do all my own bicycle work. And yes, I've spent a fortune on all the right tools. Doesn't matter if I only need a $400 tool once . . . I'll buy it. I'm a tool junkie.
    The older I get the less future there is to worry about!

  16. #16
    Senior Member Fredmertz51's Avatar
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    Sounds like your average LBS. Don't expect much better anywhere else.
    Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand.

  17. #17
    Two H's!!! TWO!!!!! chephy's Avatar
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    I must say that this IS a pretty bad time of year to bring a bike in for repairs. Which does not excuse the shop, of course.
    Stomping as lightly as I can...

  18. #18
    That's disgusting! darkfinger's Avatar
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    Yeah,

    If someone switched a part out on my bike without asking me, there would be hellfire and brimstone and....lava maybe? raining down on that shop.

    This is a seriously busy time of year and at my shop where we offer free tune ups for up to a year, the place is mental so it`s hard to get things done on a same day basis, however we get stuff done by the time we tell the customer we`ll have it done by.
    "When I see someone commuting in a downpour on a touring bike with a pie plate and no fenders it makes me want to weep." - Bikesnobnyc

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