[Home]Why I'll Never Shop At Wheatridge Again

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I paid about $2500 for my Trek 5200. It was an open-and-shut case -- an easy deal for Wheat Ridge Cyclery. However, the 2000 Trek 5200 came with Rolf wheels. Yeah, the type of very cool-looking low-spoke-count, deep-section wheels that bike manufacturers tend to put on their bikes these days.

I thought they were cool, too, until I broke a spoke nipple within about 1000 miles. When the nipple broke my ride was over, because due to the high tension on the spokes, the wheel warped badly and would no longer turn within the stays. When I took it back to have the nipple replaced (the wheels are built to a very high tension, which makes a home repair difficult), I was treated to some punk kid's wisdom about wheel building and spoke (and/or nipple) breakage: "oh yeah, spokes break all the time - 1000 miles is a lot to expect". I tried to explain to this idiot that spoke breakage should be a rare and traumatic event, but he wasn't having any of it. He even gave me some of that "oh, but you must not have been a cyclist for very long" business. Of course, I'd been riding for longer than he'd been on this earth (which hurts to say). It was a very condescending delivery that this guy was giving me, and on top of that, they charged me for the spoke/nipple replacement. I'd only had the bike for a couple of months. However, I did get the chance to talk to a manager, who promised to "make it right" if I had more trouble.

A short time later I took the bike on the Courage Classic bike rally. At the end of day two of the rally, near the finish, I broke another spoke nipple. Again since the wheel wouldn't turn with a broken spoke, I had to half-carry the bike to the finish, where I had the nipple replaced, with great effort, by one of the event's service folks. So, I took the wheels to Wheat Ridge again. This time I went directly to the manager who'd promised me satisfaction. Of course, once faced with acually having to deliver same, he got all weird and said basically "so what do you expect me to do?". When I suggested a wheel replacement, he hemmed and hawed and tried to make me feel like a heel, but eventually agreed. I basically asked for a set of wheels that were equal in value to the Rolfs, and suggested that it would be fine by me if the shop wanted to build them -- whatever it took to save them money.

So, they built me a set of Open Pros on Dura-Ace hubs. A great setup. But (all good tales have a big "but"). The build on the wheels was horrible. So bad in fact, that on my maiden voyage on these wheels I broke a spoke. At least with reasonable wheels like these, I could tighten up the adjacent spokes and finish the ride. But I did not return to Wheat Ridge to have the wheels repaired. I figure that if they couldn't build the wheels right the first time, they certainly wouldn't rebuild them properly.

I took the wheels to Vecchio's in Boulder and had them rebuilt at my expense. At least that way, I knew a pro would be building the wheels, and that I'd have a guarantee. This rebuild ended up costing me about $140, so I was pretty steamed about the whole affair as you might imagine.

So: I'll never shop at Wheat Ridge Cyclery again. They treat you without respect, and then do crappy work.

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Last edited September 5, 2004 3:35 pm by Mike (diff)

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