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  1. #1
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    Poor Service / No Service?

    As a cycling newbie with no knowledge of bike - mechanics (I've not owned a bike since my youth) I purchased an ex-rental 2013 Trek 7.2 FX from my LBS a few days ago. I collected the bike from the store the day after purchase as I was told that a) the rear rack needed to be removed as it did not come with the bike, and b) they would service the bike for me.

    When I eventually got the bike home however I've discovered several problems with the bike.


    (1) The front mudguard / fender was rubbing against the front tire for the complete revolution of the front wheel. I noticed this at the bike shop when I was there and pointed it out to the assistant. He suggested it was something to do with quick-release stays. I seems to me now that this was a nonsense as there doesn't appear to be any quick-release feature to the stays (and why would there be?). Nevertheless it wasn't important to me at the time as I lacked any technical knowledge and fully expected the problem to be fixed when I picked up the bike.

    As it turned out I fixed the problem myself. One of the stays was slightly bent which pulled the fender to one side, but it was still possible to adjust their length to resolve the problem.

    I cannot however understand how a LBS could both service a bike and either fail to notice a fender rubbing against a tire or to regard the problem as so negligible such that they just ignored it. Is this normal?


    (2) Once of the front brake pads was rubbing against the rim for a small portion of the wheels revolution.

    Although a total noob, I decided to research this problem myself and learn how to adjust single-pull v brakes. Although I seem to have successfully fixed it now, in so doing I noticed that the wheel was not 100% true. Of course no wheel will ever be perfect, and the buckle that this one has is so minor that I can only detect it visually by getting up close and paying attention to the distance between the pad and the rim as the wheel turns. There's a movement of maybe 0.5mm, maybe less.

    Is this type of "buckle" within the tolerances of what in practice can be regarded as a true wheel alignment, or is it something that the LBS should have fixed?

    Is it normal for a LBS to service a bike and yet not properly adjust brakes such that the brake-pad doesn't rub against the rim?

    disclosure: I removed and re-attached the quick release front wheel before having a chance to check-notice this problem. I believe I did so correctly though such that this wasn't the cause of the rubbing.


    (3) When down-shifting, the rear derailleur jumps two or three sprockets / gears. Upshifting is fine.

    I tried to resolve the problem by turning the barrel-adjuster anti-clockwise (it was already turned clockwise as far as it would go). This didn't seem to have any effect.

    I can't detect any warping of the derailleur, but can't be confident that my very untrained eye would be able to anyway.

    The b-tension screw was tightened as far as possible such that it was in contact with the frame / dropout. The installation manual for the derailleur however states that "When installing, be careful not to let the B-tension adjustment screw come into contact with the dropout tab, otherwise deformation may result." What am I to make of this? Is this significant and something I should be worried about?

    Is it normal for a LBS to service a bike and yet not ensure the gears are properly adjusted? Is it possible to service a bike and not notice a problem such as this one.


    I've other minor gripes such as not getting a manual with the bike even though it's a Trek dealership and the manual states that "This manual is considered a part of the bicycle
    that you have purchased. If you sell the bike, please give this manual to the new owner." Basically however I'm just not sure what I should have expected when they told me they were going to service the bike. Although it wasn't dirty when I got it, I noticed that it hadn't been cleaned. This didn't bother me and I just assumed that cleaning an already relatively clean bike wasn't perhaps something to be expected from a service.

    Badly adjusted brakes, gears, and fenders are however something that I did expect a service to fix. The fact that they weren't leads me to suspect that they didn't bother to service the bike at-all. Is this a reasonable conclusion to come to? Should I complain, and if so what should I say?

  2. #2
    Senior Member bghill1's Avatar
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    "Let the Buyer Beware". I am sure all those little problems were factored into the price. it was a used rental after all. This is your chance to learn wrenching.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by bghill1 View Post
    "Let the Buyer Beware". I am sure all those little problems were factored into the price. it was a used rental after all. This is your chance to learn wrenching.
    Thanks! Very helpful of you.

    As much as I've relished learning the art of "wrenching" and attempting with some success to fix these problems, it seems to me that the question of whether they're "little" or big problems remains unsettled until their cause is identified.

    Are you suggesting that because it was a used rental "after all" that when the LBS contracted to service the bike they were not contracting to service the brakes and gears? Perhaps these aren't important components, and not really part of the bike? What would a noob like me know after all?

    I'd be much obliged if you could give me a complete list of all the parts of a bike which are not really parts of a bike and which are thus exempt from bike-servicing.

    Ta

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    I would return the bike. If they refuse to take it back, I would explore options such as contacting the credit card company about a defective purchase. Barring all else, you can take them to small claims court as a last resort.

    You have documented your problems in detail. Yes, you should have inspected the bike more closely before purchase, but they also misled you.

    Get a refund. And avoid that shop in the future.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by bghill1 View Post
    "Let the Buyer Beware". I am sure all those little problems were factored into the price. it was a used rental after all. This is your chance to learn wrenching.
    That's a bit of the blame the victim mentality. This is a complete newb who trusted the shop to deal with him honestly.

    Now that he knows better, it's unwise to accept a defective purchase.

  6. #6
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Return the bike. You should not be put into the position of having to fix those items. If the LBS would have put this in the stand they would have noticed and fixed these issues. If they were up front and said "Off the floor, as-is" then that's what you got.

    If there is a return policy take it back unless you feel that even after all that you got a great deal. At the very minimum I would go in with a list of the issues you had and fixed and ask if they can go over the bike and actually service it, maybe take care of that wheel true issue.

    What they should see is a potential long term customer that is just getting started and help you out.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    However.... you did learn a little something about wrenching, didn't you? Shouldn't have had to learn it that way though.
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  8. #8
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    I personally would expect a bike to be sold to me in excellent, roadworthy condition *unless otherwise specified*. If it was sold at a substantial discount I'd be annoyed with the shop and probably wouldn't go there again but I'd probably keep the bike and fix it myself. Otherwise I'd take it back, speak with a manager or owner, and ask them how they are going to make this right. Politely but firmly.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator no1mad's Avatar
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    Hmm, the only LBS near me that rents bikes doesn't put racks on them...

    Did they specifically tell you that it would be serviced as part of the purchase? Or did they tell you that the bike has been serviced? If the former, see if they will correct the issues to your satisfaction- that wheel if nothing else. If the latter... it was a rental bike- other than keeping the air in the tires, put lube on the chain, and ensure the brakes work when pressure is applied, it's doubtful it would see any close inspection unless someone reported an issue (which is doubtful, because the reporting party may think they may be on the hook for repairs).
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    The REAL question is: "What should you do now?"

    Do you still want to keep the bike?

    Returning the bike is an obvious option but it doesn't accomplish your objective of obtaining a bike for the price of this one. I assume you'd be happy at that price if everything was right or you wouldn't have made the deal in the first place.

    If you decide to keep the bike you still have options:
    1. Make a list of everything you perceive is wrong and ask the seller to make it right. That would put you back to where you originally planned to be. Probably the most logical choice.
    2. Fix it yourself. It does builds a little resentment but you will both learn about dealing with other people and learn about bike mechanics in the process. Honestly, that's probably what I would do because it keeps me from having to deal with those jabronies anymore.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  11. #11
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    The best option is to return it for a refund. There are probably a lot of other issues with the bike: bearings in the hubs, bb and headset are probably not in great shape, tires are probably due for replacement and the bike has generally been abused and not maintained, even if the issues in this already long list are addressed.

    Get your money back in full, cut your ties and call it even. Never deal with this shop again and go find a bike at a quality shop.

  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    management choices differ .. that the only shop in town?

    the LBS here is different.



    FWIW, Its K.I.S.S.

    the summer rentals , coaster brake cruisers , get sold in the fall-winter here .
    Last edited by fietsbob; 03-25-14 at 01:55 PM.

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    Thank you for the input everyone!

    To clarify a few points / answer questions;

    Before I payed for the bike I was told that they would service it for me the following morning (not that it had already been serviced), and I could then pick it up. As a result I think the service was "part of the deal".

    In the absence of the problems I mentioned I'd regard this as good value and convenient purchase for me at this time. Given my budget I really felt that 2nd hand / ex-rental would get me the best quality bike. Living in a remote and rural area of the UK, there are very few LBSes, and most ebay sellers in the country seem to offer "collection only" yet are too far away to make this practicable for me. Wanting a 22.5" frame as a minimum further restricted my 2nd hand buying options. I felt that the apparent good condition of the bike, its relative newness (a 2013 model), the addition of fenders, saddle bag, water bottle holder etc made this a good buy for me at a 33% discount from the rrp / msrp - especially considering that it might take me some time to find another suitable purchase nearby.

    I enjoy tinkering with stuff, and learning how stuff works. I've built several high spec PCs and feel the skill set involved isn't wholly divorced from that of bike mechanics. It's been fun trying to fix these problems myself, but feel I should not have been put in this position. I also feel that if this bike requires the wheel to be trued or if the derailleur is bent, then this will be beyond my abilities not to mention tools at the moment. And I want to ride it now!

  14. #14
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    and with whom did you deal for the sale? upper management, owner, or flunkie? not all employees are created equal. maybe the big boss has no idea of what went on? the employee may be turning away business left & right.

    and for what it's worth, (some - qualifier!!!) bike shop employees are not any more involved in their job for more than a few bucks at the end of the week. I don't believe it's an occupation that people do (successfully) without a 'love of the game' attitude. not many become financially well off, and if one can pay the bills and come out a few bucks ahead at the end of the season, it's considered a going concern.

    for supplemental information: Sheldon Brown-Bicycle Technical Information this has been a great help to me.

  15. #15
    I heart moonsaddle cyclebee's Avatar
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    I would file a claim with the credit card company

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misanthrope View Post
    I purchased an ex-rental 2013 Trek 7.2 FX from my LBS a few days ago.

    ...

    I've other minor gripes such as not getting a manual with the bike even though it's a Trek dealership and the manual states that "This manual is considered a part of the bicycle
    that you have purchased. If you sell the bike, please give this manual to the new owner."

    Badly adjusted brakes, gears, and fenders are however something that I did expect a service to fix. The fact that they weren't leads me to suspect that they didn't bother to service the bike at-all. Is this a reasonable conclusion to come to? Should I complain, and if so what should I say?
    1. I've never seen a bicycle manual. I don't think that's a common thing which gets included with a bicycle. For one thing, if you really want one, you can likely download one from the internet. But somehow I have my doubts you'll find it particularly useful. You'd do better picking up a Zinn and the Art of Bicycle Maintenance or similar.

    2. If you feel it wasn't serviced/adjusted, you don't need to go to drastic measures. Just take it in and nicely mention the issues you're having. Maybe they didn't service it. Mistakes happen and it could have been missed. Or maybe they did service it ... it is a rental after all, and that might be the best they can do.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by misanthrope View Post
    Before I payed for the bike I was told that they would service it for me the following morning (not that it had already been serviced), and I could then pick it up. As a result I think the service was "part of the deal".
    Wait... To me it sounds like you picked the bike up before it was serviced. Is sugar what happened?
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  18. #18
    Senior Member spdracr39's Avatar
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    I would discuss the issues with the LBS and see how they handle it. If you were under the impression these things would be fixed but they were selling it as is with a service perhaps there is just a mis-communication. Services are basically lube and basic adjustments with a mention of any obvious impending failures. As is means no repairs unless originally negotiated with the price. None of my brand new bikes ever came with a manual only some safety disclaimers. As far as the shifter goes on the down shift, full stoke does shift two gears and half stroke for one gear. It sounds like it is working perfectly. Again please communicate with the LBS and address your concerns. If they blow you off then you can get mad.

  19. #19
    Senior Member rydabent's Avatar
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    The fact is that if you buy something that has some moving parts, for continued usage it will probably demand service. That brings you to a hard fact, there are two kinds of service, bad service and good service.

    I was a service engineer for a large computer company for 47 years. I never left a machine unless I personally felt that it was serviced right. I prefered to do the job right the first time. I found out early it was better to run machines rather than having them run you. Customers can see and know if you do your job right. It was amazing to me to see how many customers wanted me back when I worked in another guys territory.

  20. #20
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    I expect that if you take it back and ask them to true the wheel and adjust the shifting, they will. Be nice. Things get overlooked, there can be miscommunication. Give them the benefit of the doubt if you want to deal with them in the future. Don't be the obnoxious customer they wish had never entered the shop. That said, get the Zinn maintenance book and use the Park Tool website and learn to do these minor adjustments yourself in the future. It's a great hobby, welcome to the forum.

  21. #21
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    I wouldn't worry about the fender. They get bumped, knocked, stays get out of adjustment, etc, all the time, and the way to fix it is to just tug the stay back into place. I suspect that what they told you about the quick release was because they assumed that the wheel wasn't all the way in or something.

    As far as the shifting issue and the brake rubbing, that should have been adjusted and it should only take a few minutes. It sounds like someone just dropped the ball and forgot, or someone did it who wasn't very good at it. Stuff falls through the cracks sometimes, especially if the shop is just starting to get into their busy season. If you call the shop and tell them about it, they should just tell you to come by and they'll adjust it for you, and it shouldn't take a long time. If you can come by at a time that's not busy (i.e, not a sunny saturday afternoon) they should be able to do it while you wait, or nearly. You don't need to accuse them of selling you a shoddy product or not doing their jobs or anything; just tell them it's not shifting right and they should take care of it.

    The rear rack needing to be removed is understandable if they put racks on their rentals, since racks cost $$ and they'll probably just put it onto another rental bike.

    The wheel being a wee bit out of true is about standard for a bike in that price range, particularly a used one. It's not a problem unless spokes start breaking. It will be fine. But even if you do start breaking spokes, that's not really anything that the shop could have predicted or prevented short of putting much more expensive wheels on the bike. Although if the variance is really 0.5mm that's pretty decent anyway.

    As far as the manual goes, you don't need it. It doesn't say anything useful, and the shop probably tossed it out with the packaging material the bike came in. The only time anyone cares about the manual is if it's some special vintage item where having the original manual is cool.

    Usually, bike shops include a certain amount of service when they sell new bikes, which basically means adjusting shifters and brakes after the bike has been ridden a bit. Policies vary more with used bikes, but I wouldn't get too bent out of shape about this case unless they refuse to fix it or try to charge you for a tuneup.

  22. #22
    Senior Member WonderMonkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
    I expect that if you take it back and ask them to true the wheel and adjust the shifting, they will. Be nice. Things get overlooked, there can be miscommunication. Give them the benefit of the doubt if you want to deal with them in the future. Don't be the obnoxious customer they wish had never entered the shop. That said, get the Zinn maintenance book and use the Park Tool website and learn to do these minor adjustments yourself in the future. It's a great hobby, welcome to the forum.
    Good advice for dealing with things in general.

    This Zinn maint book.... is it THE book on how to do things yourself?
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  23. #23
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WonderMonkey View Post
    This Zinn maint book.... is it THE book on how to do things yourself?
    I think so.

    Way back in the late 60's, when I was learning to ride and fix bicycles, I bought a copy of "Anybody's Bike Book". It was very basic and straightforward and had some simple line drawings of the various components that showed how they work.

    Zinn actually has 2 books, one for road bikes and one for mountain bikes. They have that same kind of charm. Don't expect them to tell you everything that you'll need to know but they'll get you started.
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    I like the Zinn books, there is one for road bikes and one for mtb. Well written, nice diagrams, can be entertaining.

  25. #25
    RIP Sonny RaleighSport's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bghill1 View Post
    "Let the Buyer Beware". I am sure all those little problems were factored into the price. it was a used rental after all. This is your chance to learn wrenching.
    Just curious how you arrived at this conclusion... after all it was a rental bike, the LBS in question would have been required to maintain it for safety and done constant maintenance to keep it in service and useable as a rental bike.. upon selling it, it should have been fully tuned up and any problems that dropped the price beyond normal wear and tear disclosed.. if not the LBS could easily be on the hook if something happened. This isn't like a private CL transaction at a rock bottom price or anything.
    "Seriously is what I want to be, so I put on spandex and show off my gear, my junk, my thing, yes my ding-a-ling."

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