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New Ethan post // Bicycle Sport Shop service experience

1578 Views 9 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  banks
I'm posting this thread because it's apropos to those of us who build (i.e., fillet braze steel) bikes for a living, as well those of us who appreciate a terrific LBS experience from time to time.

Long story short: My wife gave me a complete blank check to take my 07 Durance to Bicycle Sport Shop in Austin, Texas for the complete spa treatment. (Those of you who don't know me please note that I shattered my left tib/fib in 7 commutated fractures last March and am just beginning to get back on the trails again.) So I felt pretty OK letting someone else work on my bike as a treat to myself.

Items of work were:
Overhaul DUC32 (I had all new spares supplied to the shop)
Overhaul rear strut (again, had all new spares, including seals and o-rings supplied to the shop from my personal inventory)
Front and Rear wheel true (Chris King / Mavic 819 USTs)
Front and Rear brake bleed and new organic pads (my own pads still sealed supplied to the shop)
Headset adjustment

After a bunch of line items later, and chatting with Ethan on the phone it totalled a whopping $409 in service: and everything but the brake fluid and shock oil was my own.

I've always done my own bicycle maintenance. Not because I don't trust other people, or for the price, but because I love to work on my bike. When I screw something up, I instantly know it on the trail and can fix it immediately.

During the course of my conversations with BSS there were a lot of items missed: I replaced my BB spindle with a Ti spindle 15 months ago. They never even removed the crank arms to reapply Ti anti-seize. I keep my rear cassette lubed in-between the cogs withh Phil Woods. It was just as dirty when I brought it home as when I took it in…. Still creaky. I took it apart and regreased it (15 min) and it's like brand new.

My headset has creaked from day 1. Chris King doesn't make an integrated HS for my bike (although they DO make a 24/7 front hub) and so the FSA Carbon Orbit still creaks after several hours of shop tweaking — this is especially troublesome since I specifically told them to change to a Cane Creek or another FSA or Campy HS if the problem continued. The problem continues.

Front and Rear 203mm Rotors are tweaked. No kidding? Have you ever ridden a mountain bike across 11 states and gone from 100º F to −10 Fº in less than a week? rotors warp. 2 finishing wrenches and a handsome touch is all it takes to re-align them if they aren't grooved.

The kicker is this: BSS had to send my DUC32 into Maverick for a complete overhaul service. In the past I have sent my DUC to Ethan on 1 occasion when I couldn't replace a damper bolt. It was fixed, tuned and returned a day later. I paid all the shipping charges, but Maverick picked up the rest. AWESOME.

So BSS can't seem to work on my DUC32. It's a routine job, but they send it to Mav anyway. I talk to Ethan on the phone and the damper tube is blown. He gives me a screaming deal on a refurbished tube and sends it back: quote to me is $35 bucks + shipping. Awesome! Just what I expect from Maverick. The BSS gives me a bill for $205 + $9.95 for the work Maverick performed as part of their "20% markup on dealer returns". Where then I question a big WTF!!?

I mean, it's one thing if I send the DUC to Maverick and get a bill for $35. But it's a whole different deal when the SS marks it up 200%.

Finally, I got a chance to ride my bike tonight. It rides better than the day it was new. Was it worth $400? I could have spared myself a lot of heartache and even given myself some full-frontal therapy doing the work myself.

Lesson learned. Perform your own maintenance if you're capable. It will make you and your bike feel better about each other. BSS did a good job, but at a price that's out of the stratosphere.

— Font9a
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To be short, find a better bike shop.

Square taper crank arms have a life span when removed, average about 5 times, before the square hole is stretched and your chain line is ****ed.

Did you ask for a tune up? Overhaul? What level of service other then the suspension overhaul, brake bleeds headset adjustment-which should be included with the fork being sent out, and the wheel true?

Most of my Maverick clients spend roughly $750 for suspension service + parts, overhaul of BB and Monolink, headset, brake bleeds and tuneup, etc. I am able to do 99.9% in house. I never mark up sublet labor or parts, as a courtesy to the customer. They pay shipping & insurance, parts & labor + tax.
banks said:
...I never mark up sublet labor or parts, as a courtesy to the customer. They pay shipping & insurance, parts & labor + tax.
That's because you're awesome, unfortunately not everyone is. :thumbsup:
Hi Banks, Ethan if your listening,

I asked for a front & rear shock overhaul. I had all the spare parts, so I wasn't charged for any spares. As I think I said in my earlier post, Ethan hooked me up with a refurbished damper on the DUC32, which is a big savings. The total F/R suspension costs came to less than $300, including shipping back to Maverick (and not counting my initial spare parts costs, but that's not really a big deal since I like to have a lot of spares in my kit.)

The last time Maverick serviced my DUC32 was one or two rides before I shattered my tib/fib when I slipped a pedal on a five foot acid drop. (I do that drop almost every ride, and never blew anything up before). Anyhow, judging from your $750 number it seems like one might be better off just buying a new DUC32 and getting the rear strut overhauled at Maverick.

I'm not so stingy on the price, but I feel badly that I know I would have done an equally good job on my bike with patience and a tolerance for volatile organic compounds on my wood floors :)

— f9a
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Now if BSS were still a Maverick dealer...

one can wonder. Or anyone else in Austin, for that matter.

Glad yer back, Carl!
I feel like I took this thread down a rabbit hole.

There are several terrific independent LBSs in Austin. We're grateful they exist. Each has a different character — some cater to the masses, some to roadies and tri-atheletes, some to BMX, etc.

@Banks: I think you're right to bring up what an average customer spends on a Maverick service. The pro wrenches who love bikes and love to work on them deserve a ton of credit. The service they provide should be worth a premium when the work is done right.
I actually just had a discussion of similar topics. After going to a LBS where the employees knew nothing I was saying well, if you want to pay a lot more for parts and so on then they can hire competent people, but the problem is people just don't want to pay for that it seems.
I had a lbs try to charge me 50.00 for putting fresh oil in my duc.I dropped the bike off to have the service done,drove 3 blocks(and asked myself wtf I was thinking) and picked it back up.I then proceded to buy my own fork oil(NOT at the lbs) and it took me all of 10 minutes to get er' done.Lesson learned.
Now my lbs is 3.5 hrs away,but worth the trip!!....Thanks Scoty! :)
Overall, there needs to be education about Maverick with all sides. Great example
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