Wheelin and dealin

You know how just last week I wrote a post gushing about my new bike?  Well, I’m sad to say that my new bike has already fallen apart.  Don’t worry, it hasn’t completely fallen apart, but two of the major components are in a state not normally found in a bike that is two weeks old.  Both of my wheels had buckled and and needed to be trued.

If you aren’t familiar with how bike wheels work, the tension of the spokes is what will maintain the roundness.  I could feel both of my wheels wobble, and it was really obvious when watching them spin.  This means that some of my spokes were pulling too hard or too gently in one direction or the other.  Closer inspection showed at least 4 completely loose spokes on each wheel – completely unacceptable in a new bike.

Now I could have fixed them myself, but it takes the right combination of equipment and skill and I didn’t just pay a lot of money for a new bike only to have to fix a structural problem within the first 75 miles.  So I took it back to the shop to complain, and the guys agreed this kind of thing shouldn’t happen.

Now the Brits aren’t particularly well-known for their customer service, so I wasn’t sure what to expect.  They logged my complaint and said that they would get back to me on what was probably a warranty issue.  Four days after not hearing as much as an idea of when to expect a resolution, I wandered back in to the shop.  And what did I find?  My bike was fixed and had two brand new wheels.

And not just replacements of the originals, I had been upgraded.  My lovely new bike now sports a new pair of Mavic rims that even contained an upgraded hub.  These rims are much stronger and designed to take the beating of a daily commute on roads that aren’t always smooth.  Unfortunately in this case, the tradeoff to strength is weight, and these are a little heavier than the ones I used to have but I’m sure they will be just as fast and I’m much happier knowing they are built to last.  And the best part?  I got £180 worth of new wheels on someone else’s dime (Specialized).

This post fits into the category of Life Lessons because I have a good one to share: support local bike shops.  I know they can be overpriced, and I don’t often follow my own life lesson as many items are more easily found and cheaper online.  Three weeks ago when I went bike shopping I had every intention to find the bike I wanted locally and then buy it for less online.  I do this with almost everything that I buy and it has treated me well so far.  After taking my bike for a test spin I found it priced a little cheaper in a quick Google search on my phone and was sure that I’d buy it online.  I was close to telling to guy that I’d have to think about it and leaving, but something in my head said that it might be worth buying it here.  Maybe it was the two free services and the idea that I could come back in should anything go wrong, or maybe it was my need for instant gratification that I couldn’t leave the shop that day without my new bike.  I don’t really know.  Probably a mixture of both.  But I do know this, the guys over at Beeline Bicycles on Cowley road have done right by me so far and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a nice bike here in town.

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