Monday, February 2, 2009

Bring the Bike In

Bring it in, bring the bike in,BRINGTHEBIKEIN. Please just bring me the freaking bike.
There is something about bringing a bike in to get a issue looked at. The need to not bring this malfunctioning heap in increases as the ability of the owner to describe the problem decreases. There is also a correlation between how annoyed a customer gets with you and their inability to describe the issues at hand.
Recently we have had a spate of customers with issues that were not willing to bring the bike in to get a diagnosis.
In one case it was just the frame. That should fit in just about any car, it would be easy to carry, and they even let you take it on the bus. He did bring the fork in, he had tried to JB weld the steerer back on after cutting it to short(This is not a good idea. Do not do this) He needed a headset after trying to knock out the old one with a screwdriver(also a bad idea) and cracking the cup. We gave him a new one based on his info and the fork he brought. The headset did not fit. So he made a trip back with the serial number from the frame. We called the Man. and got the "correct" headset. Oops, still wrong. Finally he brings in the frame, I make a few measurements, and a few days later we have the right parts in the door.

Next up.
The girl that wants to put brakes on the flat part of her drop bar. We tell her she will need cross levers. These are more than she wants to spend, so she goes to a shop that tells her what she wants to hear and sells her a BMX lever. This, surprise, does not fit, just like we said it would not. Neither shop has seen the bike. She buys some Crosstops from us then returns the BMX lever to the other shop. Shows back up at our shop a day later, again with out the bike. The crosstops don't fit, the bolt is to short. Now,..I am pretty sure the reason the bolt seems to short is because the lever clamp(This clamp is hinged)is a pretty tight fit and you have to spring it. I could confirm this, but again, no bike. We show her the tight fit, she waves it away and says she wants a longer bolt. We install it on a handlebar in the shop and show that the bolt will bottom and the lever will be loose. This is ok. Read that again, the floppy brake lever is OK. What? Quote: "It can be loose, I just need it for emergencies" Awesome, if the standard is low enough, anyone really can fix a bike.

Another:
Phone rings.
Me-Hello, The bike Shop, this is Chuck, how can I help you?
Her-I need a commuter bike but I don't want to buy one. Can you set one of my bikes up with a rack and fenders?
Me-Probably. What have you got?
Her-A Giant.
Me-Which one?
Her- A mountain bike, I got it from you a couple of years ago(This is what customers call "narrowing it down")
Me-Does it have rack eyelets?
Her-Huh?
Me-Eyelets. They are threaded holes near the dropouts and up near the seat post. The rack bolts on to them.
Her-I don't know.
Me-Maybe you should bring it in. Then we can find the best solution and show you the racks, fenders, and panniers.
Her-What is a pannier?
Me-It is a basket that hangs from the side of the rack. It comes from the french word for bread. Why don't you just bring it by?
Her-It's raining, I don't want to get it wet. Can I just take a picture of it?
Me-How about tomorrow then? A picture might work but it would be better if we just had the bike.
Her-No. I want to have it ready for tonight(OK, you don't want the bike to get wet driving it over here, but you want to put a rack and fenders on it so you can ride it around tonight, in the rain?)
Me-O..K... Why don't you just come by and we can show you what we have. Then you can decide what will work.

Last one(These all happened over about ten days)
The customer has spent about ten minutes inspecting our brake pad selection and finally selected a pair. She buys them and leaves. About an hour later she is back. These pads are wrong and she needs the correct ones, "thinner". We ask what she is putting them on. It is a road bike, she is holding road pads. We go thru a back and forth trying to figure out if she has some really old bike with an odd set up or if it is a touring bike with cantis. After some deliberation, we determine that she has regular road calipers.
We also find out the bike is about a hundred yards away on a parking rack. We ask her if she can bring it in. "NOPE, it has my groceries on it and I can't bring it over here" WTF? How will you be able to ride it home if you can't walk it a hundred yards? I end up up getting my walk in going back and forth between the shop and the bike, several times. Turns out the bike is a Co-Op special with parts from a half dozen bikes on it. This includes a touring fork with lots of tire clearance and shortest dual pivot road brake ever. Some how she managed to wear a set of pads down by rubbing them against the tire without cutting a hole thru it.
We had the correct brake caliper, but she seemed determined to continue her search for "thinner" pads.

So, could you just bring the bike in? I promise to not hold it hostage. I might even fix a minor issue for free.

4 comments:

Devin said...

the movie i was trying to think of was 'tampopo'
it's the first japanese noodle western!

Devin said...

also, here are some pics from the criterium, i saw brian from the bike shop there. anyways:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dgmckim/sets/72157613876401795/

Devin said...

http://www.flickr.com/photos/dgmckim/sets/72157613876401795/

Devin said...

fuckin eh, just go to:
http://www.flickr.com/dgmckim

you'll see the set