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Department Store Bike Assembly Fails (pic thread ?)

Old 09-23-21, 08:13 AM
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DMC707 
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Department Store Bike Assembly Fails (pic thread ?)

Was in a sporting goods store shopping for something else entirely when i spied the bicycle aisle and thought - "Why not take a look -- there might even be a beach cruiser there that would be interesting "

--- so just past the budget grade elliptical machines, and displays of "Copper Fit" compression sleeves and crochet backed weightlifting gloves was the bicycle area.
I spied a Gira full suspension machine that appeared to be a -- errrr -- not too bad by department store standards knock-off of an old Santa Cruz single pivot machine

Then what do my wandering eyes spy?

Too much fun !

If you have some pics of some assembly fails - post 'em up



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Old 09-23-21, 08:20 AM
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Lol!!!
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Old 09-23-21, 08:37 AM
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In the 1980s I worked in a bicycle shop near t strip mall. The bicycle shop owner was approached by the manager of a department store asking if he could send customers wanting their bicycles and other assorted things like barbecue grills assembled to us. We did this work for near a year until corporate took on somebodies scheme to use professional assemblers at there stores nation wide. We thought that extra work was gone but we were wrong. Our boss asked if we wanted to fix the poor assembly jobs off the books for cash. He let us do this after hours and some work we did at home.
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Old 09-23-21, 08:39 AM
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Reversed forks are probably the most common disaster I see on box-store bikes. But not the only one. I'll have to take pics.
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Old 09-23-21, 08:42 AM
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Old 09-23-21, 10:08 AM
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Everybody knows that the front brake cable goes on the right, and the rear cable on the left.
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Old 09-23-21, 10:18 AM
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disc brakes help reveal quickly the mechanically inclined. Although, some are determined to have a front rim brake assembly face behind the fork.
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Old 09-23-21, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
Everybody knows that the front brake cable goes on the right, and the rear cable on the left.
True if youre in England, or have a strong motorcycling background (i raced motocross for 30 years and cant abide having the front brake on the left myself --- but admittedly im the odd one out in the cycling world )
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Old 09-23-21, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
True if youre in England, or have a strong motorcycling background (i raced motocross for 30 years and cant abide having the front brake on the left myself --- but admittedly im the odd one out in the cycling world )
I meant where the cable attaches to the brake, not the lever.

As a side note, I have ridden motorcycles longer than bicycles with hand operated brakes. I simply must have my front brake operated by my right hand.
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Old 09-23-21, 01:08 PM
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Some poor sod is probably riding this around now wondering why the steering feels a bit scary!
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Old 09-23-21, 01:20 PM
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I'm most fascinated by the brake rotors and calipers mounted on different sides, front and back wheels.
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Old 09-23-21, 01:46 PM
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The determining factor on "department store" bikes is the store's bike techs.

When I retired I needed something to do to fill time, so I worked for 7 or 8 years as a bike tech for one of the big sporting goods stores. There were several stores in our region, and I estimate that about half their techs were bikers who actually took pride in their work. My basic standard was that any bike that I touched had to be safe enough that I would allow my only grandson to ride it. As a result the store got a good rep for bike sales and service, and we built a steady repeating customer base.

But - the regional management had a fixation about bikes in boxes. They insisted that stock bikes be built as fast as possible, that there be no empty spaces in the display racks and that the storage racks in back were full. If they saw boxed bikes in the back room they would almost have a hissy fit. As a result, the store managers and techs were pressured to build bikes fast. Our store hired one guy part time to just build bikes - and he built junk. Fast - but junk. Nothing he built was rideable or safe. Anything he built had to be completely examined and fixed before it was safe to sell. Fortunately the company policy was that no bike left the store without a final inspection and sign-off by a tech, so the junk didn't get out the door. (Some of the big box stores just let you pick a bike of the rack and go. On time in Target the customer in the checkout line in front of me was buying a bike with two flat tires!)

I complained several times about the junk bike problem but the store manager was so happy that he was building bikes fast (and keeping the regional guy off his back) that he ignored the issue, hoping we would catch the problem bikes when sold. The guy finally quit, but we were still cleaning up after him for several months.

A year or so after I finally fully retired my daughter and son-in-law decided to buy a couple of bikes for recreational riding. I suggested bikes that I knew would be a good fit and just happened to be on a great closeout sale. When they brought them home I did a complete checkout of each bike. The brakes and shifters on his bike were not adjusted properly. Her bike would not shift the rear der - when the store "tech" installed the kick stand he clamped the cable under the mounting bracket.

Poor training by the company? Inexperience? No pride in their work?
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Old 09-23-21, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by PeteHski View Post
Some poor sod is probably riding this around now wondering why the steering feels a bit scary!
It increases the trail, so it's more stable. It doesn't seem to be too much of a problem because assemblers at department stores have been putting the forks together backwards for a very long time.
And the customers don't know enough to switch them back.
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Old 09-23-21, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
It increases the trail, so it's more stable. It doesn't seem to be too much of a problem because assemblers at department stores have been putting the forks together backwards for a very long time.
And the customers don't know enough to switch them back.
Having ridden a bike with the fork reversed to see what it was like, it was *not* more stable, it was squirrelly as hell. Downright dangerous handling and a significant toe overlap problem. I'm not sure how you could say it doesn't seem a problem unless it's because anyone with the forks reversed will give up riding shortly, either because it's no fun at all, or because they're seriously injured.
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Old 09-23-21, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
True if youre in England, or have a strong motorcycling background (i raced motocross for 30 years and cant abide having the front brake on the left myself --- but admittedly im the odd one out in the cycling world )
Nah...I still am stuck on the same thing as you are.
clutch left, front brake right
I am forever scarred and a danger to myself.
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Old 09-23-21, 03:03 PM
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I used to build department store bikes. We had a good lead that was either way smarter or just better than me at it.
One guy drove me nuts with crooked handlebars 1/2 inflated tires. seats not on right, peddles not tight. Gears off.

Sometimes the parts were a problem....a handle bar stems were a big worry for me. On some models they would feel tight until a good wrench or jostle then they would go loose.
We had a model where the gears just never shifted right; what a nightmare.

Bought one last night....I made sure to check everything myself; just like I would if it was a LBS.
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Old 09-23-21, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by MNebiker View Post
The determining factor on "department store" bikes is the store's bike techs.

When I retired I needed something to do to fill time, so I worked for 7 or 8 years as a bike tech for one of the big sporting goods stores. There were several stores in our region, and I estimate that about half their techs were bikers who actually took pride in their work. My basic standard was that any bike that I touched had to be safe enough that I would allow my only grandson to ride it. As a result the store got a good rep for bike sales and service, and we built a steady repeating customer base.

But - the regional management had a fixation about bikes in boxes. They insisted that stock bikes be built as fast as possible, that there be no empty spaces in the display racks and that the storage racks in back were full. If they saw boxed bikes in the back room they would almost have a hissy fit. As a result, the store managers and techs were pressured to build bikes fast. Our store hired one guy part time to just build bikes - and he built junk. Fast - but junk. Nothing he built was rideable or safe. Anything he built had to be completely examined and fixed before it was safe to sell. Fortunately the company policy was that no bike left the store without a final inspection and sign-off by a tech, so the junk didn't get out the door. (Some of the big box stores just let you pick a bike of the rack and go. On time in Target the customer in the checkout line in front of me was buying a bike with two flat tires!)

I complained several times about the junk bike problem but the store manager was so happy that he was building bikes fast (and keeping the regional guy off his back) that he ignored the issue, hoping we would catch the problem bikes when sold. The guy finally quit, but we were still cleaning up after him for several months.

A year or so after I finally fully retired my daughter and son-in-law decided to buy a couple of bikes for recreational riding. I suggested bikes that I knew would be a good fit and just happened to be on a great closeout sale. When they brought them home I did a complete checkout of each bike. The brakes and shifters on his bike were not adjusted properly. Her bike would not shift the rear der - when the store "tech" installed the kick stand he clamped the cable under the mounting bracket.

Poor training by the company? Inexperience? No pride in their work?
And this is why we don't buy bikes from department stores. Not only is the engineering on them crap so is the assembly. Double craptacular.
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Old 09-23-21, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Frank S View Post
Everybody knows that the front brake cable goes on the right, and the rear cable on the left.
Front brakes shouldn't be installed at all ... they are deadly.
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Old 09-23-21, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by MNebiker View Post
Poor training by the company? Inexperience? No pride in their work?
Working for min wage, being held at 31 hours so the company doesn't have to pay any benefits, constantly being asked to do unpaid "incidental' overtime, sudden schedule changes ...... can't pay your bills, can't get assistance, can't get a second job because the hours change all the time without warning ..... When someone shows you "I don't give a frog about the lowly employees" the employees tend to return the feeling.

Look at your situation .... being ordered to do a crappy job in a situation where it actually creates more work, because the bikes have to be built twice ..... Getting yelled at for taking the time to do a good job .... and likely getting yelled at for not doing a good job when you work to the time limits. The only people who can tolerate that stuff are the people who truly do not care much about anything.
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Old 09-23-21, 06:49 PM
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I once applied for a seasonal job assembling bicycles for Toys R Us. Apparently having experience wrenching at a bike shop is so undesirable that they won't even give you an interview.
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Old 09-23-21, 09:14 PM
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An NYC assemblyman or whatever they are called in that city rides a bike with the fork backwards. He has done it for years apparently.
To each their own, I guess.
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Old 09-24-21, 03:04 AM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
It increases the trail, so it's more stable. It doesn't seem to be too much of a problem because assemblers at department stores have been putting the forks together backwards for a very long time.
And the customers don't know enough to switch them back.
Yeah, but it also pulls the front wheel way back behind the head axis (crown and hub offset both reversed), so the whole bike becomes unbalanced. Have you ever tried it? I have for a laugh when I was a kid. They ride like total crap.
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Old 09-24-21, 04:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Maelochs View Post
Working for min wage, being held at 31 hours so the company doesn't have to pay any benefits, constantly being asked to do unpaid "incidental' overtime, sudden schedule changes ...... can't pay your bills, can't get assistance, can't get a second job because the hours change all the time without warning ..... When someone shows you "I don't give a frog about the lowly employees" the employees tend to return the feeling.

Look at your situation .... being ordered to do a crappy job in a situation where it actually creates more work, because the bikes have to be built twice ..... Getting yelled at for taking the time to do a good job .... and likely getting yelled at for not doing a good job when you work to the time limits. The only people who can tolerate that stuff are the people who truly do not care much about anything.
obviously speaking from experience
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Old 09-24-21, 06:06 AM
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Originally Posted by urbanknight View Post
I once applied for a seasonal job assembling bicycles for Toys R Us. Apparently having experience wrenching at a bike shop is so undesirable that they won't even give you an interview.
Where I work, we used to have a guy who occasionally worked part-time for Toys R Us assembling bikes. He liked the job because he could start at something like 7PM and work until closing time with little or no supervision. He was an avid cyclist and had several super-high-end bikes himself. The bikes he assembled at Toys R Us were fantastic.... But he built them so slowly it took him about a week to do each one. So after a few weeks, they usually fired him. But next season, they'd hire him back! A careful and fastidious worker but his real problem was laziness.
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Old 09-24-21, 08:08 AM
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Reversed forks are a common problem with department store bike assembly. Bikes are shipped in boxes with the fork reversed to minimize the overall length of the box. An inexperienced assembler just pulls the bike out of the box, slaps the front wheel into the fork, and calls it a day.
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