Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Those wacky Keystone shops

There's something wrong with bicycle retailing today, down here in my neck of the woods.

Last week I asked my local shop to the north to order me a set of Avid V brake inserts, in the red 'wet conditions' compound. For the unwashed out there, Avid is a company, and V brake is a type of brake, and inserts means the little rubber part, and they are now designed to simply slide on and off for easy replacement of worn pads, without the need for tools. Well, I got a call from the shop on Thursday telling me that the pads were in, and so today after my road ride I stopped in to pay up and take them home, and dammit if they didn't order the wrong stuff... some random red brake pads, complete, not slide on inserts, and from the brand Jagwire and not Avid. This is a pet peeve of mine about this shop, so I told them the parts would not do and I left. They were surprised that I didn't just pay and take them. I know its not a big deal, and most people would have just bought the damn things and most of the time I seem to, but as I've had this problem with the shop before... three times as a matter of fact, the last time it happened I told myself I would never again pay for a part I didn't order.

SO...Note to Bicycle retailer, ORDER THE PART YOU ARE ASKED TO ORDER. I don't want the equivalent, I want what I want. I can get what I want from the Web, and if I never seem to get satisfaction from you guys, even paying Keystoned prices, then I'm going to the Web and I don't want to hear the 'support your local shop' BS.

Round Two...

Related story... I just came home from a trip to South Carolina, where I was visiting some buddies and riding the trails around Greenville. While riding Paris Mountain, on the first day of the trip, I slashed a Continental tire and had to swap in a loaner from my buddy Paul. Finished the weekend and gave him back the tire.

So late this afternoon, I tried to buy a tire from my local shop to the south. They are a Trek store, so that means that essentially the only tires that they are allowed by Trek to stock, are Trek's Bontrager brand tires, in many different tread patterns. I'm mildly irritated at that, as I think Trek is a dastardly nasty company to deal with, and newer Bontrager stuff sucks big green monkey wee-wees. The worst part though, is that the Trek/Buttranger tires they do stock are...get ready...dry conditions and hard pack conditions tread designs! I live and ride in a swamp! YOU sell bikes and parts to people in a SWAMP! I want SWAMP tires, guys! Where's yer brain?

Anyway, off the rant box. I really do want to support the local shops, and I try all the time but they don't make it easy. Either they don't stock anything but crappy heavy shrader valved tubes and little bells and rubber toot-toot horns shaped like tree frogs and little pink pigs, or they only stock what Big Brother Trek says they can stock, and if those reasons aren't enough to spark some hate, they offer to order anything I want, as long as that means 'anything we determine is a suitable substitute.'

Makes me almost want to pay overnight shipping from PricePoint. Almost.


Steve Reed said...

And this is why Internet retailing is booming!

(Well, that and the fact that it comes right to your door.)

I know what you mean about trying to support the little guy and being frustrated. I've occasionally bought something CLOSE to what I want merely to support the small stores, but sometimes you just want what you want.

(I'd never heard of "keystoning" -- that's a new word for me!)

Paul said...

I like little pink pigs.

Dan O said...

I've already caved and bought a complete bike from PricePoint. Entire 29er that rides incredibly well for less the I've paid for frames alone. Sad, but true.

It hangs next my Yo Eddy in the garage, like two different planets from sorta the same universe.

utahDOG! said...

Might as well, Dan O. Lord knows those Sette frames probably come off the same line as some Specialized costing 3 times as much.

Save your dough if you know what you want, and just order it. There's a place for shops that really want to make a customer base, and then there's the dumb luck chumps that lecture and keystone, lecture and keystone. "Buy local!" Yeah right, not if you don't want to try to sell. Like you say...sad but true.

Dan O said...

You're right about the Sette frame - made in Taiwan - probably the same factory that spits out frames for many other companies as well.

We do have a few good shops here in the Seattle area. I pulled the Sette trigger simply for dough reasons - single paycheck family of four - days of throwing down $3500+ for a bike are over for awhile.

It was also an experiment of sorts. I've purchased production bikes off the shop floor, built a bike from frame up with all purchased from local shop, complete spec'd bike from mail order, have bought used bikes, and built up various bikes with a mixture of new and used parts.

The Sette was the first online order, with frame branded by them. No complaints from me. Boxed well, assembled correctly, 30 day return, 5 year frame warranty. It rides and handles just like the Niner, Specialized, and Scott 29ers I demo'd with a similar build kit - for about $700 - $1000 less.

A crazy good deal.....