Never knew i had it

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Chuckabutty, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    Been riding a Specialized Fatboy since I bought it new about twenty months ago. Put about five thousand miles on it, and the only problem I'd had with it, was when the BB cartridge decided to start squealing ten miles from home. I think the Shimano factory ran out of grease when it was being assembled, I removed the cartridge and the seals, and stuffed bearing grease into it with my fingers. 3,000 more miles on it and no more squealing. But that's beside the point.

    Apart from regular chain service every hundred miles, I've haven't had to do much to it. Yesterday, the chain kept jumping from one cog to another in the higher ranges, and adjusting the top end barrel adjuster on the fly, didn't make it any better.

    Got it up on the stand, this morning, tightened the cable and noticed that the chain was on the ninth (smallest) sprocket. Clicked the shift lever but it wouldn't go onto the tenth sprocket. A simple adjustment took care of that. So I've not been aware that I wasn't using the highest gear. The next gear up was really enough, getting me up to 20 mph, and I'm not sure I'll ever use that tenth sprocket.

    I don't know who was responsible for not setting it up right, whether the factory or the bike shop. Being that I've had four botched jobs from the same bike shop, I now do all my own wrenching, and that includes wheel truing and spoke tensioning (on another bike).
     
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  2. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    It's a good thing you know how to work on your own bike! A lot of bike shops don't have qualified bike mechanics because they have to hire high school grads or college students, and those people don't stick around long, so what little they learned is now gone and new person starts that doesn't know anything and the owner has to train all over again. As crazy as this sounds, a lot of bike shop owners like the idea of owning a bike shop but don't have the necessary mechanical skills to work on a bike so they try to hire someone who claims they have the experience but probably doesn't have as much as they claim.

    Fortunately the main mechanic at my LBS has been on the job for at least 15 years, unfortunately for him he never aspired to become more, but I guess he likes his job that can't afford even a cheap house where I live, and where I live you can find houses for under $60,000.
     
  3. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    Born out of necessity, but I like it. I've done mechanical work on the side for fifty years, working on people's cars. Worked on motorcycles, too, so a bike is basically a simple machine.
    I've seen one mechanic who, I suppose is a qualified mechanic. Professionally trained? I don't know. There is another guy who wanders in and out of the repair shop with a smile on his face that looks like he's high on pot. I don't think the owner of the LBS knows everything about bikes because of a private message I once sent him. The response I got showed me he didn't know what he was talking about.

    I believe you. Being retired, I have time to spend learning from videos and articles. I've stripped both my bikes down to just parts, and put them back together. I bought the necessary tools to do it. I wish I had the money to open a small workshop and repair people's bikes for nothing. That's just a dream, though.

    I have wondered what kind of money bike mechanics make. At my local LBS, the owner spends most of his day at a computer on the front desk. He has a partner in the business who does some occasional work. Then he has the main mechanic and the guy with the smile. I'm not sure about any of their mechanical abilities. Four botch jobs on three new bikes, five if it was them who set up the derailleur on my fat bike. And the main mechanic has snapped at me on two occasions, without any kind of provocation. The first time he did it, he was explaining wheel measurements. I tried to ask him a question about how the tire size relates to the rim sizes. He cut me off and shouted, "I don't care what it says!" I was shocked but let it go.

    It was about 18 months later when he snapped at me, again. In February, 2017, I went into the shop to buy two sets of rim brakes with replaceable pads. He only had one set which I bought. He said he'd order more and call me when they come in. Six weeks later, while riding by the shop, I stopped in to ask if the brakes were in. They said they'd call me when they come in.

    Another six weeks after that, I stopped in again. It's three months, now. I spoke to the main mechanic, this time. He turned his back on me, threw his hand up in the air and snapped, "We'll call you when they come in!" He then disappeared into the work shop. I stood there, bewildered and humiliated. I decided that I would not ask them a third time, but wait until they call. I also decided that I would not use that shop again because if that mechanic snapped at me a third time, I'd ream him a new butt. So October came around and still no call from them. I found what I needed online, and had them in two weeks.

    Since then, I've seen his Facebook page. Two women who bought bikes there, said how patient and kind the mechanic is. I guess he's patient and kind to only women. I've not posted any negative reviews of the business, anywhere, because I may just be the only unlucky customer, and I don't want to harm his business. If I told the whole story about the botches, I know they'd be very upset.

    I'll post another message about the botches, tomorrow. Then you'll see why I won't deal with them again.
     
  4. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    The average bike mechanic only makes $22,000 a year, and where I live I bet they make less money. I actually think that's terrible income for that job, I know it's not rocket science mechanics but still it's a job most people don't stay with because the income is so bad, which is odd considering how much money the bike manufacturers make. Even the average bike shop owner doesn't make a lot money at around $50,000 a year which is actually up from just 15 years ago when it was about $24,000! Maybe I'm crazy but I think the average mechanic should be making $35,000 a year which is just on the high side of the low income threshold, but of course in order for that to happen the owner would have to make more money so they can pay the mechanic more.

    The main mechanic at my LBS treated me like a jerk because of his elitist attitude which is weird considering how much money he makes, anyway he use to say stuff to me whenever I came in with one of mine 80's era steel lugged bikes that were in excellent condition. He would say stuff like: "when are you going to get rid of that old thing and get a new bike?" he said little snide remarks like that whenever I came in. On day he pushed too far, I came in to buy some patches when it was really busy with customers, and he said when he saw me come in with one of my old bikes real loud so some customers could hear him: "Let me guess it's broken and you want me to fix it?" So I said back even louder: "No, this bike doesn't break like that crap you sell here made in China!" Not only did the customers hear it so did the owner, after that he has no longer handled customers, he just stays in the back room working on bikes, which is a good thing considering his lack of people skills.
     
  5. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    The botches. First, a new cruiser bike. After 1,000 miles, the derailleur wasn't working so well. I took it to the shop and pointed out that the derailleur was hanging outward at the bottom. The mechanic agreed it should be straight down. He checked the chain and said it's shot. He installed a new chain and freewheel, and straightened the derailleur. Later that summer the chain snapped. I went to the shop and bought a new chain. On getting it home, it was eight inches too short, so I took it back. The owner said the cruiser has a longer frame and they had to add a piece of chain. It clicked, then, that the piece they had added on, was the piece that broke off. I guess they pushed the pin in too far.

    The second problem with the bike was that the front brake kept snatching, badly. The mechanic told me all front brakes do that, and how I should clean the rims. I took his advice but it did no good, so I went into the shop and ordered some better quality rims. The mechanic said it won't make any difference, and the brakes will still snatch. I ordered the wheels, anyway, and the brakes gave no more problems.

    Second botch job. Bought a fat bike from them. It had a hub gear but I noticed it had a bracket for mounting a derailleur. Paid $100 for them to customize it. Took it home and found it wasn't rideable. The lowest gear was equivalent to fourth, so I could use only three of the seven cogs. They didn't test ride the bike because if they had, they would have found it wasn't right. The chain ring was too big. Several weeks later, they got and fitted the right chain ring.

    Third botch job. The first time I cleaned the bike, I noticed something odd about the back disk brake. They had sandwiched an adjusting washing between the caliper and the mounting bracket, just one washer under one end of the caliper. I found that if I removed the washer, the caliper bit down onto the rotor and locked the wheel. I'm not a bike mechanic but I could see the mounting bracket was adjustable, so I removed the washer and moved the bracket. Success! These post mount Tektro brakes do not need adjusting washers, and there is no place to put them, anyway, other than what the LBS did. This was a brand new bike on the shop floor. Whoever put it together, didn't have much idea.

    Fourth botch job. Bought a new Specialized Fatboy. First time I cleaned it, I noticed the strange look of the back disk brake. The two mounting bolts were sticking way up in the air. I removed them and found they had put a 3/4" stack of washers on each bolt because they were too long. Their mechanic was too lazy to either find the correct length bolts, or cut the long ones down. I cut them down and threw the washers away.

    I never made a fuss about their lousy mechanical work, but I did contact the owner about the stacks of washers on the back brake, and I suggested that he check every bike that comes in for repair, and check it when it goes out. And check new bikes to make sure they are assembled properly. He brushed me off and said the washers were there to adjust the caliper. The design of the caliper did not require any washers for any reason. Apparently, he checks nothing and depends entirely on the skill of his mechanic who is the one who twice snapped at me and gave me wrong information twice. That mechanic also told me chains only last for 800 miles.
     
  6. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    He sounds just like the mechanic who twice snapped at me. Maybe they're stressed because of financial problems. I don't see how they can live with such low wages. And I don't see how a bike shop owner could afford to pay them more than minimum wage.

    I did a lot of business with my LBS. Apart from three bikes, I bought fenders for the cruiser, a rear bike rack, lights, tool bag and tools, white walled tires, heavier duty tubes, tire pump, bike computer, better quality wheelset, rim brakes with replaceable pads, and high quality handlebar grips that are made to rest the heel of your hand on. I bought two more computers because one got damaged in a crash, and the other I gave to a friend.
    Then for the fat bikes, I bought rear racks, lights, bike computer, steerer extension to raise the bars, tool bag and tools, and different tires for the Specialized Fatboy. I knew the LBS was competing with online sales, but I decided to support them, and spent a small fortune with them. Now, I'll just join the rest of the riders who buy online.

    I took a friend there to buy a bike. He settled for a comfort bike for $600. I know bikes can be bought for a third of that in Walmart, and from what I've seen, the comfort bike from the LBS was no better than Walmart bikes.

    I bought a Schwinn 5th Avenue hybrid from an online dealer for $199, knowing it would need some work. I fixed it up with better tires and tubes, and swapped the cup and cone BB for a cartridge. Also needed a new crankset. By time I was done, I guess I had $400 tied up in it, and it was as good as my friend's $600 bike.

    One thing that entered my mind was this: The papers that came with the Schwinn said that in order for the warranty to be valid, it must be assembled by a professional bike mechanic. So I had no warranty because I put the bike together. But how about the bikes that were put together (and botched) at the bike shop? Their warranties were valid.
     
  7. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Geez, you had a lot of crap happen at that LBS. Is that the only LBS in your town? I'm shocked that they're still in business! I would find another even if that means in another city near you.

    I think if an LBS paid mechanics more they may stay around longer than just a couple of years which means they will become better mechanics as they learn more.

    I think you need to do ALL the mechanical work yourself without those idiots touching your bike.
     
  8. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    There is actually another bike shop a quarter mile further down the road. I was new to Florida at the time I decided to get a bike, and my local LBS was the first one I came to. They had a row of bikes, outside, so I stopped to talk to the owner. I was impressed, at the time, but then I was totally ignorant about bike shops. So I bought my first bike there. It was quite a while later that I needed a new derailleur cable because I had lubed the original one (as we used to do years ago), and that caused the cable to jam up in the housing. I bought a coil of housing, and replaced it. The LBS didn't have a long enough derailleur cable (the frame was longer than normal), and they recommended the bike shop down the road. That shop was a lot smaller but they had the cable I needed. Still I stuck with the first LBS until last summer when I finally had enough of them.
    Their main mechanic has been with them for a lot of years. It's a family owned business since 1979, but I don't know if the mechanic is a family member.

    You got it! It was during the couple of years that I began to see how bad they were that I got into learning from online videos, made by bike shops. I put into practice what I learned until the final straw broke the camel's back. I'm usually easy going, and take a lot before I lose my cool. I could have posted bad reviews on Google, Yelp, and their own Facebook page, but judging by all those reviews, there was only a couple of bad ones; the rest were very good. That made me wonder if perhaps I was just an unlucky guy. Or maybe other customers didn't notice anything wrong on their bikes. I don't like to do any harm to a business that may be struggling.

    Magazine articles always promoted supporting the LBS because they were the people you could go to when you had a problem. Online dealers and Walmart wouldn't provide a service like the bike shops. I even did what the magazines said about taking a case of beer to the mechanic. I took a case of 24 beers to the shop, but that was in the early days before all the negative stuff came down. What really killed it was that mechanic's tendency to snap at me.
     
  9. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Business is business, if you can find parts and supplies cheaper on the internet then buy it from those places. Trust me, LBS's will not go bankrupt because you did business via the internet, the internet is only taking about 1.5% of all cycling related sales, hardly significant enough to put a dent in any shop. Besides like I said, business is business, if bike shops want their customers business then they have to change their business profile to make that happen, it's not any different than when Walmart or large home improvement places exploded on the scene, a few small places were able to change their way of doing business and survived and in fact flourish while others couldn't figure out how to think outside the box and closed their doors.
     
  10. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    Now that the states can demand taxes be paid on goods bought over the Internet, it's leveled the playing field with the brick and mortar shops. That seems to have been a bone of contention for the LBS. We'll be paying a bit more, online, so I won't feel bad about buying online now, especially being that I no longer need mechanical service. I got used to no sales tax in Delaware, then going to 7% in Florida, so I'll get used to online sales taxes.

    Last year when my BB began to squeak badly, I searched online for a new one. I found a press fit kit that would have been good, and the cost was $74. The company I contacted was a chain bike store in several states. The guy who answered me, didn't answer my questions, and told me to go to my LBS and buy it. I wasn't going to do that because of the already mentioned problems, so I wrote back to him and asked him my questions, again. Once again, he put me off and told me to give the business to my LBS in case something isn't right. I told him I know what I want, and I'll buy it if he just answers my questions. Still he refused, so my last message to him was, I'm sorry you refuse to sell me the parts I want. The website invited questions about their products, but this guy would not answer me. That was a strange thing to do for a business which sells bike parts.

    Anyway, I solved my problem by taking the BB cartridge out, removing the seals, and stuffing bearing grease in with my finger. I figured it would do temporarily until I find out more about the press fit BB, but it hasn't given me any more problems.
     
  11. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    Charging taxes hasn't level the playing field much at all, I still buy on the internet and with taxes and even the occasional shipping charge I pay quite a bit less money then going to my LBS.
     
  12. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    My former LBS posted a note on their Facebook, that the online taxes now level the playing field. Whether it does or not, as long as they're happy with it, I guess it's okay believing it will help. I think a lot of people are going to buy online because it's more convenient.

    I've tried to figure out how a bike shop makes a living. First, you have to rent or own a shop. Then there's insurances on the building, the stock of merchandise, and liability. Next, the payroll and paying someone to maintain company records, unless the owner does that, himself. They're going to have to sell a lot of bikes, or repair them, to make enough to live and pay income tax. In the case of my former LBS, they took to selling scooters, and that's the part of their business that gets the most negative Google reviews. One guy who bought a scooter and had work done on it, said they should stick to selling bikes. Others have said they will never go to that shop again. The bike part of the business reviews are 98% positive. I had posted a positive review in my early days with them because they were friendly and prepared to answer question and provide advice. I removed the review, later. Being nice guys isn't enough to earn good reviews; the mechanical side needs to be taken into consideration.
     
  13. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    what pissed me off is that I found a tire for my grandsons bike and the price was about $1 more online then at the LBS, which was odd but due to shipping that was the price difference, the online place had 2 to 3 day shipping, the LBS didn't have it in stock even though they carry it so they had to order it...2 weeks AFTER I order from the LBS I finally get the tire yesterday! I can't believe that it would take 2 weeks for the LBS to get it from their supplier yet I could had the tire over a week ago from an online store and my grandson could have been riding his bike. Next time I have to order something from either online or from the LBS I'll just order it online even if it cost me a dollar or two more. Every time I have to order something from my LBS it takes 2 to 3 weeks, like I said I can't understand that if I can get someone else to mail it to me in less than a week free or paid shipping. The longest it ever took anything I ordered online was 5 days, why can't the LBS be the same?
     
  14. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    I've taken that into consideration when I buy parts, now. For me, it's a 14-miles round trip to the LBS. If I don't need a part in a hurry, I'll go online. If I have to spend another dollar online, well, contrast that with the money I'll save in gas, and my time driving.

    My former LBS told me they get their parts from the warehouse. I thought they had a warehouse of their own. Being a Specialized dealer they get their parts from the Specialized Warehouse. I found it, online. The LBS once got me some parts in two days, via UPS, yet other parts took several weeks. I bought a Brooks saddle, online, which had to come from England. I had that in just under one week.

    One place I don't like ordering stuff from is Amazon. If I accept their Prime, I can get stuff in two days. If I don't accept it, two weeks. That was the case last year, and the parts were from a third party dealer. I'm sure the dealer doesn't want to hang on to orders, and would like to dispatch them as quickly as possible. If that is the case, then it means Amazon held off with passing the order on to the dealer. And if that is so, it means Amazon is punishing buyers who don't accept their Prime.

    Save your time time and gas by not having to drive to the LBS. It balances out.

    Good question!
     
  15. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    I don't have Amazon Prime and I've never received anything that took longer than 5 days unless it wasn't in stock which is rare, in fact on average it's 3 days, and on occasion I got stuff the very next day.

    I live in NE Indiana and anything I send to southern states it will take an average of 1 1/2 weeks to get there, and 1 1/2 weeks to get back, but anything I send to western states or eastern states it will take 3 to 4 days even as far as California/Oregon which is over twice as far as stuff I send south; I don't recall if I've ever received anything on Amazon that came from a southern state, it all seems to come from the west and the midwest mostly and some from the east so maybe that's why I get stuff so quickly, plus I'm only 45 minutes from the I80 freeway which goes all the way across the country so maybe that's part of the reason too. What's weird if I send anything to someone in my city where I live it will take 2 to 3 days...about the same as if I sent it to California!!
     
  16. Chuckabutty

    Chuckabutty Active Member

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    Sometimes I send stuff out and it never gets there. About five years ago I sent a nice video camera with spare battery to a friend in Pennsylvania. I forgot about it after, and she never acknowledged it. It was only recently that it popped into my mind so I asked her if she got it. She said she wondered why I never sent it. Made me feel sick to think that some jerk got it. It's possible that it was left on her step, and a porch pirate stole it.
     
  17. Froze

    Froze Well-Known Member

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    If I'm sending something valuable I send it next day air because the chances of it getting stolen or coming up missing is extremely less likely, plus it's less likely to get broken. There is another weird thing I learned, if you insure something it's best to have whatever mail thing your using to package it the way they see fit because if you package it and something breaks they'll blame the packaging and not pay out on the insurance. So have them package it up and keep the receipt for proof they packaged it.
     
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