Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A bent wheel and customer service

My friend, Jeff, who recently bought a brand new Trek 29-er mountain bike took it out for his first ride at Luton Park last week and experienced a bent wheel just over a mile into the ride. Not cool. He took it back to Kentwood Cycle and Fitness, where the first thing they asked was, “What did you hit?” Nothing that should have bent a wheel, that’s for sure. So, they trued up the wheel for him, and sent us on our way.

Throughout this week, Jeff has been riding the bike, putting it through the bumps and surges that should be well within its tolerance. Then yesterday, we headed back out to Luton to try to boldly finish the trail. Unbelievably, Jeff’s wheel bent again after just a couple miles.

The loops of the Luton Park trail are ranked Easy, Intermediate, and Advanced by the MMBA website. We were on an intermediate trail when the wheel failed. However, I would not consider any of the loops at Luton particularly intense. There are no big drops, no big climbs, no big rocks. There are no logs to bunny hop over. There are some small roots and lots of twists and swoops and narrow passes between trees. In fact, I would consider Luton to be the easiest biking trail in the West Michigan area – technically speaking. Don’t get me wrong… It’s interesting to ride, but it doesn’t present anything that should cause damage to a mountain bike.

With the wheel bent a second time, we left Luton without completing our ride AGAIN, and returned to Kentwood Cycle. When Jeff walked in the door, the sales guy again asked, “What did you hit?” I’m not impressed. You sell a bike for mountain biking (not the bottom of the line either, just to be clear). You know the area trails and what obstacles they offer. And you question whether the bike you sold can handle it? Not cool.

But they redeemed themselves when they turned around and offered to replace the wheels with a better model (through the Trek warranty, of course). That was the thing to do to make this right by Jeff. I’m eager to see how the new wheels hold up when he gets the bike back in a few days.

If Kentwood hadn’t upped their customer service, I was ready to take Jeff straight to my preferred bike shop – Village Bike Shop. Charlie and the guys at VBS have treated me extremely well over the past few years, and I swear by them.  But I’ll give Kentwood Cycle a chance to see how these new wheels perform. If they fail, VBS is getting Jeff’s business from now on. If not, I’ll speak well of Kentwood’s customer service.

The quality of the stock wheels on this bike model is still questionable, however. :)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Mountain Bike turned Road Bike - 17.1 miles
Started out mountain biking at Luton Park and had to cut the ride short due to Jeff's mechanical issue.  We then returned home and went on a road bike ride to get some more exercise.

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