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Old 05-05-06, 02:31 PM   #1
fthomas 
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Find a good LBS - REI Is Not It!!!!

There are number of posts today about the Randonee, which I own and is a nice bike.

As a long time member of REI (long long time) - I have to say that I have been very disappointed in the performance of one of their bike shops. The other REI stores around here are new and do not seem to have any serious, well trained bike mechanics on staff.

LONG LONG Wait - Two Weeks for Minor Tune Up / Check Up
Incomplete Work - even with a detailed work order filled out and signed by me and them.

Makes me question their skill level and professionalism.

I will use a good Local Bike Shop in the future even if it costs me more. At least I will know that it was done, done right and finished somewhat on time.

Last edited by fthomas; 05-05-06 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 05-05-06, 02:37 PM   #2
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I buy my bike electronics at REI... so if they crap out (common) I can get new ones, no questions asked.

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Old 05-05-06, 02:49 PM   #3
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I don't disagree with purchasing at REI. I've averaged well over $ 2,000.00 a year for the past three years buying from REI. Their warranty and return policey can not be beat. My bike shop experience almost put that warranty and return policey to the TEST!!!!

Their bike shop here is the "PITS".
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Old 05-05-06, 03:31 PM   #4
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Hum...

I actually attended their Bike Maintenance Clinic a few weeks ago in preparation for our tour, and got a behind the scenes look at the San Diego REI bike shop. In the two nights clinic we used the shops tools, took our bikes almost entirely apart, inspected the pieces, fixed any problems and put them back together.

Roy, the master mechanic instructor, was exceptional. His knowledge of bike problems was encyclopedic and he had the ability to make me understand (not a small feat) how to fix things.

While there I got the impression that these guys love (and I don't use that word lightly) to help people make their dreams come true. Roy offered (I didn't even ask) to send me parts anywhere in the world. Now that is what a co-op is all about.

I am sorry you didn't have the same positive experience. Perhaps you should call the manager or headquarters. You may just save one of us from the same problem.
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Old 05-05-06, 03:54 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losligato
Hum...

I actually attended their Bike Maintenance Clinic a few weeks ago in preparation for our tour, and got a behind the scenes look at the San Diego REI bike shop. In the two nights clinic we used the shops tools, took our bikes almost entirely apart, inspected the pieces, fixed any problems and put them back together.

Roy, the master mechanic instructor, was exceptional. His knowledge of bike problems was encyclopedic and he had the ability to make me understand (not a small feat) how to fix things.

While there I got the impression that these guys love (and I don't use that word lightly) to help people make their dreams come true. Roy offered (I didn't even ask) to send me parts anywhere in the world. Now that is what a co-op is all about.

I am sorry you didn't have the same positive experience. Perhaps you should call the manager or headquarters. You may just save one of us from the same problem.
You have described my past experiences with REI in all regards. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of meeting and working with Roy. Sounds like the kind of guy I would enjoy, respect and refer anyone to. From experience, I do not believe there are enough Roy's at REI's bike shops (not in Orange County, CA for sure). In all fairness, maybe this is one of those experiences that only get repeated once in a life time. The normal / regular guy at this shop was sent off to teach a new crew at a new REI with little regard by management for ongoing operations at the local store. P... Poor Prior Planning - as they used to hound us with in Army Flight School.

I have, very succinctly, described my experience to Novarra and REI and hope that should others experience the same thing that they will politely and thoroughly state their case. I did not expect any remuneration from REI for my experience and paid for labor and parts as normal.
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Old 05-05-06, 05:00 PM   #6
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Note that there are many REI stores and they vary A LOT from store to store with regards to service level. Each store is dependant on their own store managers, department managers, and employees for the service level. My local REI has a very good reputation for its service department.

Saying that REI has lousy service is like saying LBSs have lousy service. They are all different. Perhaps it would be more helpful to tell us which branch gave you lousy service instead.
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Old 05-05-06, 05:08 PM   #7
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Did you know when you paid for it that the job was not done completely and correctly? If so, why did you accept it?

REI is normally very good about resolving problems. If you tell them there is a problem instead of paying for the work as if nothing was wrong, then complaining about it later, of course they can't make it right. You didn't give them a chance.
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Old 05-05-06, 05:58 PM   #8
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My LBS pisses me off, they charge a mint for repairs, and always have a surly attitude. Thats why I buy my stuff at pricepoint and install it myself. For some reason I've noticed that alot of bike stores don't care at all about customer service.
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Old 05-05-06, 07:55 PM   #9
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I've had good experiences with our REI stores. Englewood and the Flagship store.
However, I like my LBS down the street better for maintenance. The wrenches there are a bit more adept at working on bikes. Plus they trued my wheel for free.
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Old 05-05-06, 07:58 PM   #10
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Do your own work. It's a simple machine...really.
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Old 05-05-06, 10:34 PM   #11
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No complaints about REI bike service here in Bend, Oregon. They opened their new store back in November '05 and the bike crew is first-rate on bike work & service. Just ran a Bicycling 101 clinic that was excellent! REI had a $25 tune-up special for members--manager worked on it himself because he loves the Bridgestone MB-1s. I was very impressed with the work done! I'll be back!
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Old 05-05-06, 10:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fthomas
LONG LONG Wait - Two Weeks for Minor Tune Up / Check Up
Incomplete Work - even with a detailed work order filled out and signed by me and them.
Two weeks isn't an unusual wait for mechanic time at any shop some times of the year. Did you talk to the management about the second problem?
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Old 05-05-06, 11:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkrownd
Two weeks isn't an unusual wait for mechanic time at any shop some times of the year. Did you talk to the management about the second problem?
Thank you Hawian Jesus dude!
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Old 05-05-06, 11:59 PM   #14
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Have you guys thought about working on your own bikes? After all this is a touring bike section, and on the road you'll need to have some skills, because in the middle of nowhere you can't call a bike repair/tune-up guy for road service.
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Old 05-06-06, 12:24 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by karmantra
No complaints about REI bike service here in Bend, Oregon. They opened their new store back in November '05 and the bike crew is first-rate on bike work & service. Just ran a Bicycling 101 clinic that was excellent! REI had a $25 tune-up special for members--manager worked on it himself because he loves the Bridgestone MB-1s. I was very impressed with the work done! I'll be back!

Very OT I am afraid (sorry) but I love the MB-1s, too.

http://www.pbase.com/jblish/image/59132178

http://www.pbase.com/jblish/1991_bri...e_mb1&page=all

Cheers.
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Old 05-06-06, 12:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_Fart
Did you know when you paid for it that the job was not done completely and correctly? If so, why did you accept it? ...........
Of course. I did not pay for the service when it was not complete and left the bike and expected them to complete the job in a "Workman Like Manner".

They did, BUT - management (IMHO) is ultimately responsible. The buck needs to stop somewhere and REI is a Co-op. I'm an owner just like every other member.
As time passes REI gets further and further away from that "Ideal".

It is better to do some of the work yourself. If I mess it up - then who is to blame?

If two weeks is a reasonable time then we are not demanding much for our dollar.
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Old 05-06-06, 12:51 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by fthomas
If two weeks is a reasonable time then we are not demanding much for our dollar.
It seems to be a seasonal crunchtime thing. I was pretty floored when a bike shop that sold me a $$$ bike said they couldn't box-and-ship it to me for over a week because the shop was booked up. This was after the two sales guys spent hours chit-chatting with me at the counter about the thing and found time to tune it and put on new tires etc. Once another store plain refused to schedule me at all because they were too booked up. All in the April-June period.
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Old 05-06-06, 06:38 PM   #18
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Some of us don't have the time or are mechanically inept. I'm the former. Sometimes I am the latter
When my bathroom remodel is finished, I plan on rebuilding my workbench and work area in the garage. Planning on including a second table for my cycling stuff. Throw a repair stand in and a truing stand and on and on and on
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Old 05-07-06, 11:01 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by fthomas
From experience, I do not believe there are enough Roy's at REI's bike shops (not in Orange County, CA for sure).
I have had only good luck dealing with the shop guys at the Huntington Beach REI. You've had less than quality service there?
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Old 05-08-06, 09:17 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old_Fart
Saying that REI has lousy service is like saying LBSs have lousy service. They are all different. Perhaps it would be more helpful to tell us which branch gave you lousy service instead.
I agree that they're all different, but perhaps the nature of REI (there's definitely a difference between a nation-wide chain of stores, or in this case even of co-ops and a locally owned and run LBS) necessarily means you are likelier to have a better experience at a shop that is even OWNED by pros.

I haven't had much experience with them yet (but will as one of my bikes is in their shop right now), but here in Minneapolis we have a local bike co-op as well as REI and plenty of LBSs. I've got a hunch, and already some minor experience, that the local bike co-op is more likely to have better customer service as all the "wrenches" there have a hand in the ownership as well (and therefore the customer care).

I have to say that I've had mixed feelings about the professionalism of the shop (at least at the Bloomington, MN location) of REI. I have had people there tell me that I needed a frame that I knew to be too small for me, repack the rear hub because of wobbling issues then send me on my way without noticing that the axle itself was bent (which to their credit was pointed out by one of their guys when I took it back in because it still wobbled after a day of commuting, however he then told me that it would be over two weeks to fix it).

I don't mind getting gear there, usually, but for service I'm definitely shopping elsewhere. I did just buy an REI (Novara) bike that came out of the storage room for me with flat tires. They filled them up, but two days and NO riding later, the back tire is flat again. I trust that they'll replace the tube for me for free, but if I end up keeping that bike, they won't be the ones doing any repairs on it.
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Old 05-08-06, 02:25 PM   #21
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I have a few close to where I live. Kudos to the mechs at REI in Fremont, CA. Regarding the one in San Carlos, CA, I dunno. One of the mechs there tried to swap my '90s XT brake components with some cheap ones thinking I wouldn't notice. It was not even in the work-order. He claimed it was in bad shape so I demanded to speak to his super. He then brought out my original parts and apologized. Never went back there again. I did report it to corporate.
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Old 05-09-06, 05:52 AM   #22
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My local REI, the Buford, Mall of Georgia store has never charged me for the little things that I have required. And when they are backed up or someone else could be quicker, they tell me.

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Old 05-09-06, 02:44 PM   #23
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I noticed the last time I was in their flagship store (Seattle) that there was a lack of really knowledgeable help. Told them I was looking for a bike face mask they sent me to the ski departmentand all they had were fleece. When I returned I told the guy I was looking for one made out of the same material as my arm warmers. He said " Is that neoprene?" I just walked out of the store and went to Performance. I will continue to buy at REI but most likely mail order.
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Old 05-09-06, 02:48 PM   #24
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Duplicate thread
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Old 05-09-06, 10:49 PM   #25
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AHum AHum!

The REI in Durham, NC has the most complete, well run shop in my area. Master Tech Curtis Dobbins is 1st class in his ability and mentoring skills to all the mechanics that work there. Have had nothing but great experiences with them. My guess is that some REI's are just like some LBS's. Some great and some not so great. In the end it's the people that make the place.

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