Monday, June 21, 2010

View from the Bike Shop

New Bolt Kit
On Saturday I published a lengthy post about Giant Nerd's so-called "Pro Build." Today I'm following up on that post with all of the information I found out when I took my brand new Zeppelin Elite in to get overhauled.

The mechanic at the LBS (Local Bike Shop) I visit has been in the industry for a long time, and is very good at what he does.  He's a great guy, and always shoots straight with me.  Here's his diagnosis of and solutions to the problems I was encountering:
  • Clunk in the rear end--I had emailed the awesome guys at Airborne about this, because it's the first thing I noticed right out of the box.  They sent me a new bolt kit for the shock.  My mechanic at the LBS tore it down and remounted the shock using the new kit I got in the mail.  Apparently one of the bolts/spacers that was originally mounted was the wrong size--just a hair too small.  In all honesty I'm not sure whose fault that would have been, Giant Nerd's or the factory's. But if Giant Nerd had done a real pro build on the bicycle, they should have noticed and fixed it before it had gotten to me. It's a good thing I brought it in to the LBS when I did, because if I had kept riding it the way it was, it would have wallowed out and done real damage. Now, the clunk is gone, and everything is right with the world!
  • Creak in the headset--My mechanic completely overhauled my headset, lubed it, and reinstalled it. He said that nothing on the bike looked like it had been prelubed.  The maintenance on the headset worked: completely creak free!
  • Faulty shifting--This is the biggest deal breaker as far as Giant Nerd's "pro build" goes.  Whoever had installed the shifters and derailleurs had routed the shifter cable incorrectly inside the shifter.  When my mechanic pulled it out and showed me, there was a big crimp in the shifter cable.  If routed correctly through the shifter, the cable should be mostly straight, with a slight curve in the end.  According to my local guy, any mechanic worth his salt should know how to route a cable correctly.  Apparently the "master mechanic" that dealt with my bike before I got it was no master at all.
I wanted to keep everyone informed of the progress on how the bike's running. Hopefully this is constructive information and can lead to positive change.

The Zeppelin Elite is in brand-new operating order and is ready to rip some singletrack!  I will post regular updates (probably every Friday) about how the Zep is riding and what the Flight Crew is up to!

Your Turn: How do you personally judge a good bike mechanic? What criteria goes into your thought processes when you choose a bike shop?

Update #1
I took the Zep. out this morning and shredded 8.5 miles of dirt and rock, and it is riding like a champ!

Update #2
Another one of the Flight Crew members weighed in on the topic of the so-called "pro build," bringing the total number of responses up to 6 out of 10 members.  He noted many of the same issues everyone else was having, including a very loose crank, which he noticed right before entering a downhill race.  He commented that he was very put out, as having a crank fall off in the middle of a DH race would probably lead to serious injury.  So far, 100% of the 6 responses on the topic have been negative.


    Daniel June 21, 2010 at 11:01 PM  

    Glad its working better for ya!

    Finding a decent bike shop is a big deal too me. Traveling as much as I do one of the first things I do when I get to a new area is find a shop or two and at least go BS with the guys (or gals) there. Since starting to do most of my own mechanic work what I really need is just some support in the way of parts or an answer to a stupid question now & then. I try to stay away from the real large shops, generally the Specialized dealerships, and go for the small, privately owned shop where you can talk to the guys who actually own it and want your business. Asking about the local trails I have found is a good way to see what kind of people you are dealing with. If they ask me what kind of riding I like or what kind of bike I have first that’s a good thing. If they give me a ‘brush off’, generic type of answer I usually will say thank you but will look for another shop. Lets face it; I don’t really look like a hard core rider so when I walk into a shop if I happen to get the ‘old guy brush off’ that will send me searching also-

    Greg Heil June 23, 2010 at 8:22 AM  

    Hm, good thoughts Dan. I really found the "asking about the local trails test" interesting.

    I definitely agree that going with a smaller shop were you can actually meet the owner who wants to provide quality customer service is a huge bonus! Plus, you're supporting small business too and not one of these massive chains like REI or something like that (not that REI isn't sweet).

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