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LBS Damaged Our Bike

Old 04-23-22, 10:04 AM
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Equinox
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LBS Damaged Our Bike

I brought our tandem in to a different LBS for a tune -up. My usual shop is very small and cramped and it's a hassle physically bringing it there. It's a one man shop. He's very good, very busy and very overcrowded. The place I brought it to has a good reputation and it is more "up-to-date". The owner was thrilled to get our tandem. "This is one of the coolest bikes I've ever seen". He remarked about how well cared for it was. We set up for a thorough going over, and we were all set.

Yesterday, I got a call. He said his technician clamped the top tube and bent it. Ugh. I know next to nothing about bikes, but the one thing I do know is, you don't clamp the top tube. I have not seen the bike yet, and I don't know what "bent" means. The shop owner told me that he has been in contact with CoMotion, and the repair time is 10 weeks. He also said that both he and CoMotion have declared the bike safe for use.

Since 10 weeks is virtually our entire riding season, the plan is for us to use it until the weather gets bad, and then send it to CoMotion for repair.

Part of me wonders if shops are insured for this kind of thing. I'm not really keen on riding my tandem with a damaged top tube, and I don't know what to expect after the repair. Does it have to be re-welded? Should we total it and work out a settlement?

Not sure what to do just yet. He's finishing to tune up, and I should see it in a few days.
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Old 04-23-22, 10:41 AM
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Polaris OBark
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It sounds like the shop owned up to their mistake and wants to make it right. That is really good (and increasingly unusual.)

I'm not sure where else you would clamp a tandem. I have never worked on one, but putting it on a stand presents some unusual problems.
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Old 04-23-22, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
I know next to nothing about bikes, but the one thing I do know is, you don't clamp the top tube.
i thought I knew things, but you're not supposed to clamp the top tube?
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Old 04-23-22, 10:59 AM
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I think Co-Motion could easily swap a tube and repaint. The bike shop having insurance for this is very possible I guess. How old is the bike?
Edit: Good on the shop for owning this.

Last edited by FBOATSB; 04-23-22 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 04-23-22, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
i thought I knew things, but you're not supposed to clamp the top tube?
You have to know the bike your dealing with. Some are treated like egg shells.
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Old 04-23-22, 12:54 PM
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Equinox
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
i thought I knew things, but you're not supposed to clamp the top tube?
I normally clamp the seat post when I work on it.
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Old 04-23-22, 12:59 PM
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Equinox
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
I think Co-Motion could easily swap a tube and repaint. The bike shop having insurance for this is very possible I guess. How old is the bike?
Edit: Good on the shop for owning this.
That makes me feel better. My bike is about six years old. I can't imagine it being an option for a shop that damaged customers bike to NOT take responsibility. "We damaged your bike. Sucks to be you." Is that a possibility?
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Old 04-23-22, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
I normally clamp the seat post when I work on it.
And that's where you're supposed to clamp it to avoid this happening. Maybe they were training a new wrench?
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Old 04-23-22, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
That makes me feel better. My bike is about six years old. I can't imagine it being an option for a shop that damaged customers bike to NOT take responsibility. "We damaged your bike. Sucks to be you." Is that a possibility?
More likely to get, "what do you mean? that's how it was when you dropped it off."
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Old 04-23-22, 02:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
That makes me feel better. My bike is about six years old. I can't imagine it being an option for a shop that damaged customers bike to NOT take responsibility. "We damaged your bike. Sucks to be you." Is that a possibility?
Take this with a grain of salt, but I've read lots of threads in here over the years to the tune of "Your beat up six year old bike is too old to fix, not worth it", or "Obviously damaged before you brought it in", or "Sorry, your service ticket you signed doesn't cover accidents but we can give you a credit if you buy a new bike here", or "We can only give XX$$ for this unfortunate accident, but we'll have to keep the 6 year old bike". I'd think an offer of shipping a tandem frame to the manufacturer for repair of a dent would be wonderful. Now whether they are going to strip the tandem and just ship the frame or ship the whole thing to Co-Motion is something that needs to be worked out to your satisfaction, but it can be worked out.
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Old 04-23-22, 02:10 PM
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Dent? Sounds like the tube is bent.
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Old 04-23-22, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
Take this with a grain of salt, but I've read lots of threads in here over the years to the tune of "Your beat up six year old bike is too old to fix, not worth it", or "Obviously damaged before you brought it in", or "Sorry, your service ticket you signed doesn't cover accidents but we can give you a credit if you buy a new bike here", or "We can only give XX$$ for this unfortunate accident, but we'll have to keep the 6 year old bike". I'd think an offer of shipping a tandem frame to the manufacturer for repair of a dent would be wonderful. Now whether they are going to strip the tandem and just ship the frame or ship the whole thing to Co-Motion is something that needs to be worked out to your satisfaction, but it can be worked out.
The guy was marveling over our bike when we brought it in, and it is in "like-new" condition. We spent a half our talking. He showed me pictures of a roached tandem he restored. He did a cursory once-over. There was no way he could have passed off the damage, but you do bring up the importance of pre-op pix. He was VERY apologetic on the phone. Almost too much so. He said he would assume full responsibility. Tear down, shipping repair. He said he wasn't going to charge me for the tune-up even. I am also a small business owner, and we live in a small community where word of bad service would easily get around. I will absolutely insist on paying for any service unrelated to the damage. I DO feel it is his responsibility to make the damage right, though, not matter what it takes. I would be open to contributing to some extent, but only as a gesture of mutual good will.
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Old 04-23-22, 03:08 PM
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Bike obviously should have been clamped by the seat post. Good on the shop owner for taking responsibility. If both he and the builder say it's fine to ride, then ride it. Get it fixed when you're done riding for the summer. Not really sure why all of this needed to be posted, I guess there might be some question as to the process but it's been explained pretty clearly.
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Old 04-23-22, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Not really sure why all of this needed to be posted.
Agree, but it sure beats another Larry S thread.
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Old 04-23-22, 04:54 PM
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Tandems are a Pia to work on for sure. Takes two people to put on in a work stand, and the front wheel must be supported while in the stand, or have the front wheel on the ground. Not fun to work on when dialing in the drive train, and typically we had two people, one working the shifters the other spinning the pedals and making adjustments to the shift mechs.
Unfortunately the shop clamped the TT, but all is not lost and it can be repaired. Good to know that there are no perfect people in this world.
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Old 04-23-22, 07:00 PM
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Make sure you get them to give you something in writing that they will fix it over the winter.
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Old 04-23-22, 07:14 PM
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Yet another reason to do all your own work.
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Old 04-23-22, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Equinox View Post
I brought our tandem in to a different LBS for a tune -up. The place I brought it to has a good reputation and it is more "up-to-date".

Y.
Took, not brought.
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Old 04-23-22, 08:01 PM
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Yeah unfortunately a lot of mechanics do sometimes think it is OK to clamp anywhere but the seatpost and the ones who at least know they really shouldn't will always say "well it is fine just for this" or something of that nature. It was a poor decision on that mechanics part but I do know on bikes they don't work on often that are like that it can be hard to know really a good place to clamp that won't cause imbalance and while they should never have done it is good they are owning up to it and actually reached out to everyone to get it fixed and make sure it is good to ride. I would say if they didn't own up to it and try to make it right there would be a solid complaint but they were human and they made a mistake, realized the mistake and sounds like they are doing right by you. Sure they shouldn't have done it in the first place but we have all done things we shouldn't have done it is part of life. It is not to say it is right or wrong it just is what it is. If they keep doing it then there is a problem.

Mechanics can sometimes get cocky I know a lot of them that just say "I got this" and they really don't or they try and rush for a customer maybe they both speak the same language that isn't English in a typically English speaking shop or they have some sort of interest in the person or bike and just ram through it and make mistakes. Every good mechanic should take their time and do it correctly and if they don't know how to do something they should always ask questions no matter what the question. One cannot know everything (except maybe Sheldon Brown but I am sure even he had to ask a question once and a while) and those who understand that can be really great mechanics or just great at life in general. You have to be thirsty for knowledge and be willing to learn new things and old things and know when to do something and when to stop and say let me ask a co-worker or call another shop or call the manufacturer.

Co-Motion makes great stuff I have a single Cascadia from them and it is fantastic but I would one day love a tandem and someone who would willingly ride on the bike with me...LOL
I would trust them if they say the bike is safe to ride but I would certainly make sure to get it in the shop when you can and maybe see if you can schedule something so you can leave it for less time. It would be an excellent chance to get the whole thing overhauled anyway and fully refreshed. Good luck with everything!
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Old 04-23-22, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Tandems are a Pia to work on for sure. Takes two people to put on in a work stand, and the front wheel must be supported while in the stand, or have the front wheel on the ground. Not fun to work on when dialing in the drive train, and typically we had two people, one working the shifters the other spinning the pedals and making adjustments to the shift mechs.
Unfortunately the shop clamped the TT, but all is not lost and it can be repaired. Good to know that there are no perfect people in this world.
For drivetrain work, and not just for tandems, wouldn't any wheel-on trainer be about perfect -- clamping in to a steel axle/QR? One of my past gripes is that shifting adjustments are oft made with zero resistance when a bike is clamped up in the air. Having a drum roller against a wheel and seeing if the shifting is still just as good at 100-200 watts I think is helpful. Likewise, any or all of those complaints about clicking noises that only happen when pushing harder -- more easily addressed if LBS's had a trainer setup to work on?
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Old 04-23-22, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by FBOATSB View Post
You have to know the bike your dealing with. Some are treated like egg shells.
Is it a Carbon Fiber thing or do people clamp the frame like it holds the Earth on its axis?

I can't imagine the force needed to dent my frames.
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Old 04-23-22, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by CrimsonEclipse View Post
i thought I knew things, but you're not supposed to clamp the top tube?
Some bikes will have warning stickers telling not to do various things on the top tube.

If it tells you not to sit on the top tube, it's probably safe bet not to clamp it either.
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Old 04-23-22, 10:59 PM
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When Co-Motion fixes your bike, you will never be able to tell it was damaged.

My wife's Co-Motion touring bike was damaged shipping it home from a tour. We were supposed to start on another tour in about a week, and I didn't notice the damage until I servicing the bike. I called them and asked if they could fix it in time for the upcoming tour. Co-Motion's shop is about 40 miles from us, and I have good relationship with them.

They told me to bring it in the next day. They did the repair which required some brazing, but did not have time to repaint the rear triangle. They put a coat of primer on the repair and repainted it when we got back a couple of months later. They are a great bunch of folks!

That 12 year old touring bike had 26,939 miles on it after today's ride
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Old 04-24-22, 06:51 AM
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karma, huh?
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Old 04-24-22, 11:02 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
karma, huh?
How so?
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