Never piss off the dumb bike mechanic
Recently I had a flashback to the old bike shop days. I spent 17 years in the trade and never made much money and never felt like I had any say in the industry. But when I look back I realized that on a few occasions I wielded some serious weight with drastic consequences for one particular bike company. Here is the story that tells why bike companies should be kissing the collective asses of the shop employees.
The year was was 1986, I was a teenage kid making $3.15 an hour. I had just ordered an aluminum frame from a new start up company that was mass producing frames in Pennsylvania. I was excited to build up my first ever 20 pound bike with this new frame. It was Sea Sprite green and very flashy. I slapped a beautiful Superbe Pro grouppo on it with some Mavic 330 tubulars. Back in the day this would be the equivalent of a $11,000 race machine in todays standards, so suffice to say I was STOKED! But there was a problem, a tiny error with huge implications. The rear triangle was not straight. WTF!
No matter how I tried the rear wheel would not sit properly in the frame. In the end the only thing I could do was overdish the wheel by nealry 3/4" to keep it from rubbing the left side stay. Then there was another problem, the rear drop outs were too soft, and every time I stood to sprint the wheel shifted.
To say I was a bit pissed doesn't do justice to the situation. I of course contacted my rep and after a long process he only said there was nothing he could do, I was stuck with this P.O.S. I the vowed to do my best to never sell any product form this company again. That company will never know just how much money they cost themselves by F'ing me over.
To start with, I always recommended other brands to customers. I didn't bad mouth the company, I just steered them in a better direction. Then when I moved to Florida I took over the management of a bike shop. I had free reign to to as I pleased so long as I showed a profit. This shop was already a dealer of this aluminum bike brand, and had quite a bit of product on hand. I called the rep and told him never to come back in because I was dropping the line and clearing his crap out. I sold every bike just over wholesale and picked up other brands to sell.
When I look back back over all those years I can say with conviction that I persoanlly cost that company well over $200,000 in sales, all because they wouldn't warranty my frame. So all you bike companies with an ear hear this, treat the shop employees well or you may just feel the wrath of the lowly bike mechanic.