An Equal Opportunity Offender


Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The mail bag.

Discovered your blog a few months ago and have been following.  Thought you'd appreciate these gems that passed through our shop recently.

The first two pictures are of a Superfly hardtail a customer brought in a while ago.  To give some background, this customer treats everyone at the shop like shit and appears to do the same to his bikes.  He does by bikes from us though, so we roll with it (for some reason).  He came in this past fall with the hopes of warrantying a beat to shit, old-ass Trek 6000 mountain bike that he had been attempting to free-ride with.  Against our better judgement the bike was warrantied and he chose to take a credit to apply to a new bike instead of just a new frame.  We explained to him at least a dozen times that he would be best served by a full suspension trail or all mountain bike for his riding style (and gross lack of ability).  Of course, he is the most unfortunate breed of asshole - the stubborn asshole... And an uninformed one, at that.  As much as we warned against it, he bought a carbon race bike because it was the lightest one we had on the floor that day.  We told him he would break it.  He refused to believe us.  

Two month later he brought the bike back completely unmaintained.  Drivetrain hideous, headset ridden while quite loose, fork leaking oil, everything caked in dirt.  There were two really special things about the bike.  One, he had come down on a rock and smashed in the down tube (pictured).  Second, he converted his crankset to a double by not removing the big ring, but by cutting it off around each bolt (also pictured).  Ironically, if he had still had a big ring, he would have hit that and not his down tube.  The best part is, he berated us about how he noticed the damage while "meticulously cleaning" his bike as he "does after every ride".  The bike showed no signs of any cleaning except an occasional power washing, of course.  Side note: on the carbon guard there is a distinct impact mark with scratches leading directly to the carbon damage, evidence of hitting a rock and sliding off of it.  He then told us how the damage was not from an impact, but from his sheer power.  "I must be too powerful for carbon", he told us.  He continued on to inform us that Trek should stop making carbon mountain bikes if they break just from strong riders.  This is the same guy who argued with me about a tubeless conversion and said that what the internet told him made me wrong.  He, of course, has never attempted a tubeless conversion nor has any experience with mechanics but the internet makes him a better mechanic than I, apparently.

In the end, Trek sold him an aluminum Superfly at a crash replacement price.  I'll give it six months, max.  

The third picture is an example of the good old "JRA"  He claimed he was just riding along on a fire road when his bike felt "really squishy" and he looked down and saw both chain stays cracked straight through.  Trek thought the story was legit, so whatever.  The fun part will be the parts conversion.... nothing is compatible; I'm sure the customer will be thrilled.  Either way, this bike is fucked.

The last picture is a prime example of why you buy bikes from bike shops, not Wal-Mart.  A friend who lives out of state sent me pictures of his first time mountain biking and the bike he bought.  I almost cried.  The fork and handlebar are the most noticeable mistakes.  If that went unnoticed during assembly, who knows what else slipped by.  I'm amazed he survived his ride.  

Anyway, keep the good stories and pictures coming, I'll send along the few that pass my way.


  1. Full disclosure: I'm NOT a mechanic. The mechanics at my LBS give me a bottle of wine each year at the holidays to thank me for keeping them busy. I'm poorly skilled at bike hygiene and tuning and have simply found that they earn their keep doing it for me. It works for them and for me. My Surly LHT has never left me stranded. I give the team at the LBS full credit for that.

    But I DO understand that industrial strength cutting tools have no place near my chain rings. I enjoy your stories and have even managed to learn a few things reading along. Thanks.

  2. Best post yet. I, fortunately or unfortunately, do know a few people like this. I get sad when they ruin their bikes, but it usually makes for a good, hearty chuckle when their backs are turned.

  3. Best post yet? I guess that's bad for me, but thanks, haha...

  4. I think the mongoose backward fork and handlebars are a very common occurring thing.. At the Campus I go to school at I have seen 4 or 5 with the forks on backwards.. The arch clears the downtube by about an inch..