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"PERFORMANCE" The "Wally World" of the Bike Industry!

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

"PERFORMANCE" The "Wally World" of the Bike Industry!

Old 07-03-08, 08:23 AM
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TomWilson
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"PERFORMANCE" The "Wally World" of the Bike Industry!

In April 29 I bought myself a new birthday present. I decided at 45-years-old I'd by my first bike since childhood. Having no experience I went to the local "Performance Bike" and purchased one I found on there web site at what I figured was perfect for commuting heck part of the name was commuter so it had to be good for that right. I went into the local shop and said I think I want this bike and they had the same sale as online and the guy said ya its the best deal for what you want to do and you need a medium, but we don't have one built. If you come back anytime on Saturday we will have it all built for you.

That was Wednesday so come Saturday after getting all the "honey does" done in the afternoon I headed to performance and sure enough it wasn't ready and would be for at least an hour. I said that okay there’s some other things I'll need to buy so I bought a pump, panniers, an expensive headlight, a cyclocomputer, etc. Before I left with the bike they hadn't even suggest I ride the bike first or check my fit.

Soon enough out rolled my shiny new "...Commuter!" Then I got it home and it wasn't shifting perfectly, but the performance shop is over 20 miles away from me and gas is $5.00 per gallon. So I'll wait till the cables have a chance to stretch and just ride it in the one gear I'm comfortable with and can get a good spin and most of my ride is very flat. I did find I need to shift in won area going up a small hill.

I have to bring it into them within to weeks, because it is not set up right, needed to be adjusted to fit better as the improper fit has caused me to develop handle bar palsy. When I explain that do the you man who greets me when I enter the "Performance" Bike shop he looks at me like I've lost my mind. Finally after 2 people try to adjust handle bar height a third one figured it out. They never even suggested changing the seat position or height. I end up leaving the store feeling like they had no real interest in assisting me or had a clue how.

300 miles and 2 months later I think I might need to take it in to be adjusted, because it won't shift gears completely. Then everything in the headset has become dangerously loose. So last night I took it in and since I'd emailed their corporate head quarters about my first experience of bringing it for adjustment let’s just say they knew me and the treated me like I was royalty. Even gave me some great discounts that were considerably better than those already in place. When the mechanic was done with adjustments he had me ride it to make sure it shifted properly. However while commuting to work I discovered the Handlebar was out of alignment so I quickly road home fixed it myself however when I got about a block from where I catch a bus for part of my commute the bus left before I could get there and that was the last bus to where I go to work. So I had to turn around and head back home to drive my truck that only gets 13 miles per gallon to 20+ miles each way to work and home.

Last edited by TomWilson; 07-04-08 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:31 AM
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So, it's Performance's fault that you bought a bike without even giving it a test ride? I agree that they aren't perfect, but there seems to be blame to go around here.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:34 AM
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Outside of the cruddy service, this sounds fairly typical of the new bike experience. It takes time for a bike to "break-in" and will often need to be adjusted several times within the first 1000 miles. Plus, your body starts to get in better shape and your fit needs begin to fluctuate. This is all normal.

Now, that doesn't dismiss Performance from treating you well. The lousy service you received combined with the break-in added up to one bad experience. But, as long as they fixed the problem, you should be good to go.

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Old 07-03-08, 08:35 AM
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If you explained it to them as clearly as you've dictated it here, I can't imagine where the problem would be.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:37 AM
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Its all about the employees that work at a shop, big or small. I had some of the best service I have even had at a bike shop at the Colombus area Performance...

http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread.php?t=435171
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Old 07-03-08, 08:41 AM
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Is this post even related to road cycling? This looks more like a rant for the commuting sub-forum. OP - your problem was not asking for LEW wheels. That's the secret sauce.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:41 AM
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They could've done a little better, but seriously, as hammond said, you bought a bike w/o test riding it?? A test ride is almost self-explanatory.

And those shifting/headset issues are quite typical - that's why shops offer free tuneups. I had almost identical shifting and headset issues (loose steerer, headset, etc) with a Bianchi that I bought for I'm sure two or three times as much as your commuter, and from a high-end bike shop.

In other words, I'm sorry about the troubles, but half of it there you just gotta suck it up and stop *****ing. I don't mean that personally, trust me - I've been through the same frustration and it's tempting to heap the blame on the easy target. But from someone who has done this longer, don't.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:43 AM
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The bike shop with the best prices isn't going to have the best mechanics. Nor is the bike shop with the best mechanics going to have the best prices. You need to choose which shop to go to based on what you need right then. Best price or best service. Your situation is slightly different since you are in the warranty/new bike adjustment period. Still, for the money you've spent on gas going back and forth, you could already have bought a minimal set of tools and done all those adjustments yourself in 5 mins.

I've bought bikes at Performance and learned not to take them there for service. I've also learned how to service my bikes myself over the past 5 years or so. It's not that hard, it's just a bike. IMO Performance is for people who know what they want and know how to do it. It's not so great for the inexperienced.

BTW, I've also had issues at the "Neiman Marcus" of bike shops too.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:49 AM
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The variation in quality of service at performance is no greater than the variation across shops in general. Not that that says a whole lot for them, you'd think a big corporate entity could manage a little more standardization, but a lot depends on the store manager.

Also, try walking into 10 different bike shops complaining of "handle bar palsy," I'd put the over-under for how many times you get looked at like you're crazy at 7.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:54 AM
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Make sure you take it in on a Saturday. They should have plenty of time to fix 'er up for you then.
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Old 07-03-08, 08:57 AM
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I've used two PB shops regularly, one in Charlottesville, VA, and one in Reston, VA. Both shops had good mechanics and customer service. The other day I came in to fix my rear derailleur cable, which had snapped during a race. The bolt that attaches it was missing - they not only gave me a new one, but they also helped with some of the installation (at no cost). Basically, I am agreeing with what most people said, occasionally you get a shop or employees that are sub-par.
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Old 07-03-08, 09:02 AM
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I'm not getting what the big deal is here. Bikes need to be adjusted to fit you, and need to be tuned as they break in (cables stretch, etc). You took the bike home without a test ride and it wasn't perfect, took it back and talked with the floorwalkers and they new nothing, then got with the mechanics and they did.
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Old 07-03-08, 09:11 AM
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Preformance = Wal*mart?

They do have a good return policy, but they don't have "Rock-Bottom Prices Everyday".


(misuse of "everyday" is ironic, BTW.)
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Old 07-03-08, 09:14 AM
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The Evil Empire strikes back, again.
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Old 07-03-08, 09:20 AM
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Sounds like a LOT of bike shops...not just Performance.

For all of our praise on this board for the LBS...I don't find many that offer better than that. But BF stays up and running on the traffic of desperate people looking for the info their LBS couldn't help them with.
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Old 07-03-08, 09:41 AM
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and don't forget that the sale prices on the web don't always coincide with the store. So I always print out the web prices and they'll honor it.

I don't expect a lot from Performnance other than good prices at times. So I learned to adjust stuff myself. The Park Tools website is a great tool, better than their actual repair book.
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Old 07-03-08, 09:42 AM
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Like I said in the first paragraph this was the first bike I had purchased since childhood. I never imagined there is as much to proper size and fit as I've learned from this forum. I wouldn't even have known there I was having a size and fit issue if it were not for BF.

Heck I didn't know what I should do, I had no idea I needed to do a test drive after all I wasn't buying a motorized vehicle. That may sound stupid to all of you however I spent more of my life in a western saddle following cattle most of my life then I have a bike saddle. Like I said I hadn't bought a bike since childhood and I hadn't ridden one since then either.

Matter of fact I didn't even come to BF until after I decided I like cycling so much I am going to invest in a better bike and buy it from some where that does things like they should.

Last edited by TomWilson; 07-03-08 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 07-03-08, 09:46 AM
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i shop at both. they are what they are. of course, i have my own personal mechanic when it comes to bike issues. later.
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Old 07-03-08, 09:47 AM
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I hate to say it, but you were/are a perfect candidate to go into a bike shop and say "I have such-and-such a budget, and I would like to get a bike for xxxxx. I don't know much about bikes or how to shop for one. I'm going to several shops asking the same questions so that I can compare answers and results. Would you help me make a proper selection?"

Being up front about what you need, and what for, along with your budget, and the fact that you might not buy today and are checking at several shops SHOULD get you good, honest help. It does work. And is a great approach for when you take up something new.
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Old 07-03-08, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by TomWilson View Post
Like I said in the first paragraph this was the first bike I had purchased since childhood. I never imagined there is as much to proper size and fit as I've learned from this forum. I wouldn't even have known there I was having a size and fit issue if it were not for BF.

Heck I didn't know what I should do, I had no idea I needed to do a test drive after all I wasn't buying a motorized vehicle. That may sound stupid to all of you however I spent more of my life in a western saddle following cattle most of my life then I have a bike saddle. Like I said I hadn't bought a bike since childhood and I hadn't ridden one since then either.

Matter of fact I didn't even come to BF until after I decided I like cycling so much
I am going to invest in a better bike and buy it from some where that does things like they should.
Still not following. How many miles do you have on your current bike? You are saying you want to go to a shop that will charge a lot more but hopefully provide better service? Performance does things "like they should" - cheap bikes for the masses and a much better option than a generic discount store or sporting goods store.

Would you be on a bike today if not for Performance?
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Old 07-03-08, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by JoelS View Post
I hate to say it, but you were/are a perfect candidate to go into a bike shop and say "I have such-and-such a budget, and I would like to get a bike for xxxxx. I don't know much about bikes or how to shop for one. I'm going to several shops asking the same questions so that I can compare answers and results. Would you help me make a proper selection?"

Being up front about what you need, and what for, along with your budget, and the fact that you might not buy today and are checking at several shops SHOULD get you good, honest help. It does work. And is a great approach for when you take up something new.
I did that when I went to performance. However I got the feeling that their only interest is in getting my money. When I went into LBS closer to me I felt about the same, matter of fact they even came accross like they are doing our town a favor by being there. Since buying this bike and deciding on purchasing a higher end Road Bike I've spoken to experienced and knowlegeable cyclists I know and they have all confirmed my feelings about the LBS's in our rural town. And all recommended driving into the nearest city to the bike shops there.
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Old 07-03-08, 11:45 AM
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Here is an paradox that will keep you from shopping at certain LBSs in the future:
1) Some cyclists (including some bike shops) like to treat cycling as a secret society of "people in the know." You, being new, might not get much benefit from talking to this type of shop.
2) These same people still harp on the fact that people should support their LBS.

The result? In your case you would have been better off buying everything at a discount online and buying a manual.
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Old 07-03-08, 12:18 PM
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This is a silly thread, which pops up far too often around here.

You had a bad experience at Performance. Congratulations! You could've gotten one of those anywhere. As a few have already mentioned, your bad experience does not reflect on the entire corporation. It was due in part to sub-perfect service by shop workers trying, I might assume, to deal with the droves of customers that show up at Performance on the weekends, but really you were hoist by your own stupid shopping. They didn't suggest you ride the bike? That's because you went to another shop and convinced yourself (AT ANOTHER SHOP) of what size you needed. Why would they suggest anything? If you had a customer ready to buy a bike, on a busy workday, when you've got a dozen other similar numbskulls pining for your attention, would you? You wouldn't.

And the epilogue? You go and whine to corporate, because your $500 means you "deserve" to be treated like royalty, and they give you the consumer equivalent of a nice, hearty reach-job. Corporate time is wasted, but much more importantly, your discounts mean less money to the company, and less money to the cursed soul who had the bad luck to have to deal with your wretched self, and who, coincidentally, will probably also have to waste his time calling or emailing you to apologize to you for your mistakes.

I didn't think it at the beginning, but that's absolutely infuriating.
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Old 07-03-08, 12:21 PM
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EDIT: my apologies... i misread your quote.

+1. If you walk in, ask for a bike in a medium and when it could be built up by, as if you knew exactly what you wanted, and then whine when they didn't ask you test ride it, then I think this is not really Performance's fault at all.

And if you're 'so new to biking' that you don't even know about test riding, then I hardly think you have the right to be judging Performance the "Wally World" of the bike industry.

Sorry. I don't want to be an a-hole, and I don't want to turn you off of riding, because anyone on a bike is a good thing in my books. But yeah.

Last edited by the beef; 07-03-08 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 07-03-08, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by the beef View Post
+1. If you walk in, ask for a bike in a medium and when it could be built up by, as if you knew exactly what you wanted, and then whine when they didn't ask you test ride it, then I think this is not really Performance's fault at all.

And if you're 'so new to biking' that you don't even know about test riding, then I hardly think you have the right to be judging Performance the "Wally World" of the bike industry.

Sorry. I don't want to be an a-hole, and I don't want to turn you off of riding, because anyone on a bike is a good thing in my books. But yeah.
"and the guy said ya its the best deal for what you want to do and you need a medium"[/b]

The above is a quote from the first paragraph of the beginning of this thread. What part of that leads you to beleive I said I need a medium. I had no flipp'n idea what size I needed. I told him what I though might be good and asked his opinion.
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