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Old 06-07-12, 08:38 PM   #1
mechBgon
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So you're getting a bike from BikesDirect. Suggestion:

...check your derailleur limit screws, particularly the Low screw on the rear derailleur (Park Tool's how-to). Because reasons.





This was an expensive oversight, I think the final bill is around $300 (including a tune-up to fix a bunch of other assembly/tuning issues).



I also suggest removing the bottom bracket and liberally greasing the threads. No big surprise to find they're bone-dry raw aluminum (after all, grease is really expensive in China )

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Old 06-07-12, 08:58 PM   #2
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When ever you get a bike online or LBS you should always inspect it yourself, bikesdirect is no different.
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Old 06-07-12, 09:05 PM   #3
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From what I have seen in person, if you are not a good bike mechanic, don't ride it until get a bike shop to check everything.
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Old 06-09-12, 04:43 AM   #4
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China does put lead in your paintjob for free.
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Old 06-09-12, 05:21 AM   #5
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China does put lead in your paintjob for free.

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Old 06-09-12, 07:05 AM   #6
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I recently ordered and assembled a BikesDirect bike and can honestly say it needed no more work than the thousands of bike I assembled in my shop days.
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Old 06-09-12, 07:25 AM   #7
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...check your derailleur limit screws, particularly the Low screw on the rear derailleur (Park Tool's how-to). Because reasons.

This was an expensive oversight, I think the final bill is around $300 (including a tune-up to fix a bunch of other assembly/tuning issues).

I'm unclear if this is your bike or a customer's.

If this is your bike I'm sorry to hear of your bad luck.

If it's a customer of yours, I'm surprised that you believe that they did not mess with those little screws that don't seem to do anything. ;-) As you gain experience in customer service, you'll find that people strategically forget anything they've done to contribute to the problem.

Re the bottom bracket: Dry lube is usually used in that type of factory setting. I'd expect those general assembly factories (used for ~90% of bikes sold through LBSs) use the same procedure.

FWIW, of the half dozen BD bikes I've assembled, none have had the limit screws off far enough to drop the chain. Only slight adjustment to them or the RD has been needed for them to work to my standard.

The front usually required more attention, but again, not the limit screws.

Last edited by rogerstg; 06-09-12 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 06-09-12, 07:44 AM   #8
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I "test" ran the only two BD bikes that I bought while they were still on the stand, to make sure that the OP's mechanical issue would not happen to me. My problem with the two online bikes wasn't so much mechanical, but their poorly designed frames, wheels, stems and forks, in their having excessive flexing issues, that one cannot really deduce from photos, and only from an actual test ride. Needless to say, I now buy from my LBS, so I can physically check out and maybe test ride the bike first.
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Old 06-09-12, 08:28 AM   #9
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If you're buying from Craigslist, a department store, a bike shop that hasn't already proved their reliability, or any other less than fully trusted source, check everything.
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Old 06-09-12, 11:38 AM   #10
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I "test" ran the only two BD bikes that I bought while they were still on the stand, to make sure that the OP's mechanical issue would not happen to me. My problem with the two online bikes wasn't so much mechanical, but their poorly designed frames, wheels, stems and forks, in their having excessive flexing issues, that one cannot really deduce from photos, and only from an actual test ride. Needless to say, I now buy from my LBS, so I can physically check out and maybe test ride the bike first.
I test rode a new bike from a LBS. It seemed fine at the time, but the more I rode it, the less I liked it.
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Old 06-09-12, 11:42 AM   #11
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If you're buying from Craigslist, a department store, a bike shop that hasn't already proved their reliability, or any other less than fully trusted source, check everything.
+1
Real cyclists check their bikes frequently anyway.
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Old 06-09-12, 12:57 PM   #12
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I test rode a new bike from a LBS. It seemed fine at the time, but the more I rode it, the less I liked it.
What you have to do is stop by the LBS to take the bike out every day for 2-3 weeks to make sure it fits well before you decide if you really want to buy it.

Come on guys, lighten up if you want to order from Bike Direct, you need to be somewhat knowledgeable in bicycle repair.
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Old 06-09-12, 01:26 PM   #13
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I'm unclear if this is your bike or a customer's.
It's a customer's, sorry I was vague

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If it's a customer of yours, I'm surprised that you believe that they did not mess with those little screws that don't seem to do anything. ;-) As you gain experience in customer service, you'll find that people strategically forget anything they've done to contribute to the problem.
Well, I've been doing this since the '80s and there's some truth to that Could be the customer wanted to adjust the indexing, and thought the limit screws were the answer... I didn't talk to him/her in person, I'm just the mechanic.

Quote:
Re the bottom bracket: Dry lube is usually used in that type of factory setting. I'd expect those general assembly factories (used for ~90% of bikes sold through LBSs) use the same procedure.
It's our policy to remove and grease bottom brackets on new assemblies at our LBS, and it varies from model to model. We carry Trek, and most of them are lightly greased, but some models do come bone-dry (MT220, for example). In some cases they're also fastened so tightly that we're using a ~1-meter pipe for leverage, and this bike was nearly that tight on the driveside, but undertightened on the non-driveside.

Anyway, as per my normal policy towards a customer-assembled/tuned bike from any source, I gave it the same TLC as one of our own, including reducing the housing lengths about 4" each, lubing all the cables, and a test ride. Should be a reliable bike now Unfortunately we made $280 off this one due to the parts, instead of just a $65 tune-up.
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Old 06-09-12, 02:09 PM   #14
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Anyway, as per my normal policy towards a customer-assembled/tuned bike from any source, I gave it the same TLC as one of our own,
I wish you were near me. I do this as a hobby, but have a few people I'd like to send your way.
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Old 06-09-12, 03:20 PM   #15
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I wish you were near me. I do this as a hobby, but have a few people I'd like to send your way.
Thanks I know some LBS staff (particularly store owners) have a sour-grapes attitude towards BikesDirect/etc bikes, but that's foolish of them. If the buyer brings in their BD bike for an assembly/tuning, the LBS makes about $50 in net profit on the labor, which is a similar net profit to selling one of our own $1000 bikes. We don't have to invest capital, and we have no further obligations such as warranty support or 30-day tune-ups. And the customer gets their bike off to a good start in life. I think it's a win-win.
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Old 06-09-12, 03:43 PM   #16
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I would do a full disassembly and inspection, full adjustment and shakedown.

Yikes, that's an expensive OOOPS right there.
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Old 06-09-12, 06:52 PM   #17
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China does put lead in your paintjob for free.
I think most frames BD sells are made in Taiwan. But you already knew that.

As for the original post, who would mail order a bike and not check the assembly and setup?
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Old 06-10-12, 04:01 AM   #18
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Thanks I know some LBS staff (particularly store owners) have a sour-grapes attitude towards BikesDirect/etc bikes, but that's foolish of them. If the buyer brings in their BD bike for an assembly/tuning, the LBS makes about $50 in net profit on the labor, which is a similar net profit to selling one of our own $1000 bikes. We don't have to invest capital, and we have no further obligations such as warranty support or 30-day tune-ups. And the customer gets their bike off to a good start in life. I think it's a win-win.
The net profit on a $1000 bike is only $50? How the heck did I get a bike for 35% off SRP? I know it was new old stock from 2 years prior, but that would represent a giant loss especially since the bike was basically unchanged for 2 years.
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Old 06-10-12, 05:09 AM   #19
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The net profit on a $1000 bike is only $50? How the heck did I get a bike for 35% off SRP? I know it was new old stock from 2 years prior, but that would represent a giant loss especially since the bike was basically unchanged for 2 years.
That's what I was thinking....if they're only netting $50 they're not doing it right.

I know how you got 35% of your bike but it's too much for me to type at 7:09.
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Old 06-10-12, 08:44 AM   #20
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The net profit on a $1000 bike is only $50? How the heck did I get a bike for 35% off SRP? I know it was new old stock from 2 years prior, but that would represent a giant loss especially since the bike was basically unchanged for 2 years.
They took a net loss on it to get it off their floor (unless it was part of a closeout special purchase). It's not good to tie up one's finite amount of showroom space with old-stock bikes sitting alongside their updated versions. The operating overhead at a typical LBS is about 35%, so in the big picture, if we mark a bike up 40% and sell it at $1000, the LBS only keeps a small slice of the pie as net profit (which is gross profit minus overhead). And of that pie, we'll have to give back part of our slice when the customer comes back for their free tune-up.

Markup is a bit higher on accessories. There are some bike models that are "accessory magnets" and can make us more net profit on the accessories than on the bike itself, e.g. a Trek 7.1FX hybrid that goes out the door with a computer, fenders, a rear rack, bags, a mirror, a toolkit, lights, and maybe clipless pedals/shoes.

To give a specific example, let's say there's a bike we buy for $715. The "advertised" MSRP is $1200, but the "real" MSRP is $1100 (don't ask!). At the "real" MSRP, gross profit is $385. But overhead costs mean that our landlord, the power company, UPS, our insurance company, payroll, etc get most of that $385. What's left, that's the net profit that the store itself has to show for its efforts. It's not a lucrative biz. And we have competing dealers of our brand who'll undercut us to get the sale. Yay.

Anyway, you see the main point: We sell the BD customer a $65 tune-up. I get ~$15 (paid by the hour), the LBS gets ~$50, we didn't have to stock anything, and the customer ends up getting very good value from the tune-up. So it's a win-win. And if we do a good job, that customer may be back for lights, a computer, etc.

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Old 06-10-12, 05:21 PM   #21
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It's not a lucrative biz.
Then your doing it wrong.....
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Old 06-10-12, 05:33 PM   #22
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Then your doing it wrong.....
Most small retail doesn't make a huge amount of money for anybody these days, and it isn't a matter of doing anything wrong it is just the markets and the attitude of the consumer that lowest price is all that matters, as well as trying to complete against volume where the profit margins are even thinner but they make up for it in sheer volume.

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Old 06-10-12, 06:34 PM   #23
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Then you're doing it wrong.....
I plead no contest, your honor

But it would be interesting to hear your take on something. You have a bike that you're supposed to sell at $800. You have it in-stock. It's the current year's model, not leftovers.

A customer comes in and wants to buy THREE of this bike in sizes x, y, and z. You have them, ready to go. But the customer tells you that a competing dealer a few miles away is willing to give them the same exact bikes for $600 each. He doesn't even have them, he'd have to order them.

What do you consider the "doing it right" approach here? Sell the bikes for a huge net loss, to gain the customer? Let the customer go to the competition?

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Old 06-10-12, 08:50 PM   #24
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I plead no contest, your honor

But it would be interesting to hear your take on something. You have a bike that you're supposed to sell at $800. You have it in-stock. It's the current year's model, not leftovers.

A customer comes in and wants to buy THREE of this bike in sizes x, y, and z. You have them, ready to go. But the customer tells you that a competing dealer a few miles away is willing to give them the same exact bikes for $600 each. He doesn't even have them, he'd have to order them.

What do you consider the "doing it right" approach here? Sell the bikes for a huge net loss, to gain the customer? Let the customer go to the competition?
I know you already mentioned this, but a lot of people think that if the shop buys a bike for $200, an sells it for $300, that they made $100. It seems to confuse a lot of people. Most big business (not bikes) end up with about a 5% profit in the end for the year. After starting with a 50% markup.
It seems that only people in the bike biz get it. ???? Or any business for that matter.
A lot of people just guess at what they think running an insured bike shop with employees really gets in the end.

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Old 06-10-12, 09:47 PM   #25
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The net profit on a $1000 bike is only $50? How the heck did I get a bike for 35% off SRP? I know it was new old stock from 2 years prior, but that would represent a giant loss especially since the bike was basically unchanged for 2 years.
To start with, shops don't typically sell at SRP. Also, it's better to sell something at a loss than have it around until all the new models make it undesirable. In this case it's too late.
Two model years makes that bike very hard, if not impossible, to sell anywhere near the newer bike prices. If it is discounted and on Display it makes the new bike prices seem too high to a customer. And about a million other things. Just sitting in the shop, means the shop has to pay inventory taxes on it too, every tax year. Also, in a small shop it takes up space for a newer bike, that will sell easier. Too many possibilities to even list. Paying taxes on something that gives you no profit for two tax years, is also what happens to other older unsold new bikes if they have a few. It adds up. The profits and taxes, and hidden cost can be very complicated. Each situation can be different too. What one shop, or one shop owner, or one forum member knows about this can be very different in other places (I don't mean mechBgon is inaccurate, he knows exactly what he is talking about). But I'm thousands of miles away, the environment, the local prices, the cost of living, the owners ideas, even the wholesale cost can be hugely different. The shipping to one coast of the USA and the number of bikes ordered all at once on one truck changes the shipping price hundreds of percent. This shop here gets bikes from New Jersey and shipped to Rhode Island. If that distributor ships a bike to the middle of the USA or the other coast, the shipping cost can be huge. If one shop has to special order one bike, the trucking cost can be the same cost as a truck with 50 bikes all on one truck. Then the shipping is spread over 50 bikes etc. etc. etc. Once in a while New Jersey does not have a bike available. They may have to ship from California. If this shop here is paid up on the bills the shipping can be free. Or shipping can be 25% of one bike. That may take all the markup away. Just gone.....
The shop owners do what they think is right, not what another shop does. Many things don't have global rules, things change.
It is true that other shops discounting so much they don't make enough to sustain the business ruins it for other shops in the area. They may be starting out, hoping to get a good reputation at a loss of profit, or going out of business tomorrow. We'll never know. Or just run by an owner that does not understand what he is doing, and he ruins it for any shop in easy driving distance.

There's no end to this list, it can fill a book.

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