Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Buy good (American) stuff, it pays.

Hard on components? Buy the nice stuff from the old U.S. of A.

Today I received a brand new, FREE Thomson post in the mail, to replace this one:

where the anodization started to flake off. The post is just one item in the long list of parts I've trashed and had replaced free or at substantial discounts with minimal hassle by respectable U.S. bike manufacturers (Stan's, Thomson, WTB, SRAM/Avid/Truvativ, Specialized, Santa Cruz, Fox) who seem to enjoy my business and would like to keep it. This is a sharp contrast to my foreign friends, Shimano, Tune, Time, and RaceFace who have all either given me a hard time (no pun intented), ignored my emails or told me to stick it altogether. Of this group RaceFace finally came through after a week of harassment by the buyer from the largest shop in New England, and Time did send me something back, though it wasn't what I broke and it came with a rather disparaging letter:

"...if you have worn out these pedals to this point in about a years time, then in all honesty, you should consider sticking with our pedals that uses an aluminum body or a different brand of pedals that use a metal body..."

...or you could make pedals that don't suck.

Tune sent me a great one after I broke their crappy headset:

"Hi, You can still use that plastic ring, it dont looks so bad! If not, tell me again, and i will look what i can do!

best regards

[Tune Guy]"

To which I responded something along the lines of "Are you SERIOUS??" And got the reply:

Hello, pleace contakt fairwheelbikes, they can help you. when we send you a new ring it is very expensive. pleace try this first. when we send it direkt , it costs 20 € . you have to pay first.


[Tune Guy]"

...and so it continues. At least the people at Fairwheel Bikes are nice, though they're expecting a 4-6 week lead time to get the thing if they can't dig one out of the back, which they're working on, or so they say. No hurry though, Mr. King will be taking your starting spot henceforth.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Haha. Old vs. new world, hmm. Actually, to my knowledge, Tune has a bit of a notorious reputation when it comes to replacement of parts; in particular with respect to how fast they can or want to replace it. I have not had any problems with them so far, but then again if I did as much hardcore riding as you do I would probably not use Tune, for it is too expensive to replace parts. They are, by and large, great for XC racing, but not for daily use and abuse; even though most parts should, in theory, should also survive a number of years of good usage.

Overall, there is indeed a big difference between the customer service culture in the US and Europe. While I tend to prefer the US service, I am actually not sure if some of it makes sense from a business point of view, eg when one has lifetime warranty on some LL Bean boots and can always send them in for replacement or one's money back. I guess it works for some companies and products to create high degrees of customer loyalty but ultimately you also have to draw a line of what you are happy to replace and what not; otherwise the company will not last very long. I am not suggesting that your claims were unwarranted, but I would rather prefer a product that is well engineered and lasts for a number of years than a shitty product that has fantastic customer service but needs to replaced all the time. I guess the best combination would be both a great product and great customer service. Maybe Mr King fits this bill. Ultimately, though, I do not understand why you have not been hired as a test rider yet…:) Next time you write to Tune (if ever) include a note that you would be keen and highly qualified!!!