Proper Negative Reviews For Boutique Parts

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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KWalker
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by KWalker

Years ago I unintentionally (I swear) started a shit storm with a negative review about a carbon frame that I had from a then small-ish boutique company. A few others that owned the brand had had similar cracking issues and a well-known WW forum poster and builder had told me privately later that he had warned the company against using the specific modulus they had as it was stiff and light, but brittle.

When I posted my build thread debacle I again received around a dozen PMs of horror stories from owners or friends of owners for that builder. Since then I've had three acquaintances and myself have massive delays and cracking/QC issues from a boutique component and frame builder.

Yet no negative reviews anywhere on the internet. I get it, we shouldn't roast the builder as an improper review could really sink them and sometimes things happen that shouldn't. I regret wording my Guru review as harsh as I did as that ended up becoming a distraction from the key issue.

When someone wants to buy a high end or boutique frame it's rare that they will always have the ability to take a bunch of time and find owners on various forums and solicit questions. Most boutique sales go to people that don't post on forums as is. So with no unofficial record online, these people could spend a shitload of time and money on something that might have a decently high problem rate yet no documentation of it.

Forums aren't supposed to be the Yelp of bikes, but this info should be shared. There is a way to do it- something that is more proper than what I did, but what is it? After hearing another person have an expensive, lightweight custom component crack (third in total) I went to look for reviews of similar occurrences and just found postings from the same fanboys over and over. This really skews the market when the same forums have hundreds of posts that roast Specialized and Trek, who actually publicly acknowledge their issues and rectify them for customers.
Don't take me too seriously. The only person that doesn't hate Froome.
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wheelbuilder
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by wheelbuilder

Great post with valid point.

by Weenie


antonioiglesius
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by antonioiglesius

The problem is that people who are happy with what they bought usually just ride their bikes instead of positing negative reviews. Negative opinions can skew public perception in this case. I think what's needed is information that reflects the overall situation, e.g. >95% of the product is working just fine, the remaining 5% needs sorting out. I don't know how to achieve this other than the company itself revealing the info, which I doubt will happen.

An individual review that shows balance might also be more acceptable, e.g. "I really like this bit, but, this other bit is a negative. Overall, I like it." It shows that the reviewer is calm and objective when writing the review.

RyanH
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by RyanH

It's not just frame builders but also component makers that get a pass as well. There's quite a few in our space that I know have had issues but you won't see any of that posted here. It's a bit hard though cause if they take care of everything to make it better, are you okay with still going through and posting a negative review?

I mean, a shop could have a really high failure rate yet they are really good at customer service and then none of it ever makes it out to the public. That's the danger of dealing with boutique shops, there's this unwillingness to confront or be responsible for tarnishing their relationship single handedly. It's easy to complain about the large companies though because we're anonymous, just another number to them.
Strava
Current Stable. The Snob Machine
The Ex's. LS Siena: 6.21kg | Parlee Z5 SLi: 5.9kg | LS Xicon: 5.76kg | C59: 5.7kg | Cervelo R5ca: 5.09kg | Fuji Altamira SE - 6.2kg | Scott Foil - 6.2kg | Evo - 5.18kg | LS Classic - 6.7kg | The Crumpton - 5.9kg

spud
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by spud

hard to do, as I'm guessing that often, people wait until they have exhausted the warranty process before they just have to vent. Or they lay the story out and get flamed for not allowing the mfg to address the issue, or they are afraid of pissing off the mfg by stating the problem on a forum.

Ideal scenario would be an easily searchable thread title such as "broken x frameset"
Then the pertinent facts ONLY - mileage, use, problem description, and indication that you are working through dealer/distributor/mfg to address the issue.

No name calling, editorializing etc. Undoubtedly some fanboys will get involved, but don't address them. Update the thread as situation changes, allow the mfg to step up and address things. If not, simply say that they will not warranty. Leave the flowery language out.

AJS914
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by AJS914

We also have the situation in cycling where people pay an absurd amount of money for an ultra high end bike or part and they will only give it a glowing 5 star review because it justifies their over the top purchase. You never seen someone buy a $8K custom frame only to say that "it's just ok" or it's not any better than their off the shelf Tarmac or whatever.

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ms6073
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by ms6073

RyanH wrote:It's not just frame builders but also component makers that get a pass as well.

This. A couple years back I purchased a bottom bracket from a company which shall remain nameless (suffice to say, the company raves about how infinitely better there part is), but when I purchased one to try and solve some creaking issues, despite following the instructions to the letter, I narrowly missed destroying a carbon bottom bracket shell. As I did not have an air hammer, I had to get really innovative to remove the part and afterwards posted my concerns to an on-subject thread on a very popular triathlon forum but was immediately blasted by a principle of the company for failing to follow the directions. I am guessing mine was not the only negative experience as I note the company has since posted a tech video on how to clean up the races in a carbon bottom bracket shell with a Dremel tool before installing the part.
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RyanH
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by RyanH

AJS914 wrote:We also have the situation in cycling where people pay an absurd amount of money for an ultra high end bike or part and they will only give it a glowing 5 star review because it justifies their over the top purchase. You never seen someone buy a $8K custom frame only to say that "it's just ok" or it's not any better than their off the shelf Tarmac or whatever.


This probably goes further to any component that one plans on selling because it didn't meet their expectation. A little hard to rail on a component and then turn around and sell it on the same forum. I've been guilty of that myself although I do try to sell stuff I dislike on other forums :beerchug:.
Strava
Current Stable. The Snob Machine
The Ex's. LS Siena: 6.21kg | Parlee Z5 SLi: 5.9kg | LS Xicon: 5.76kg | C59: 5.7kg | Cervelo R5ca: 5.09kg | Fuji Altamira SE - 6.2kg | Scott Foil - 6.2kg | Evo - 5.18kg | LS Classic - 6.7kg | The Crumpton - 5.9kg

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53x12
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by 53x12

I think reviews/warnings/concerns about Ciamillo's offerings have saved plenty a potential customer a headache. Especially those willing to do research ahead of time.

There is a difference in bashing a brand or product vs. sharing one's experience. The sharing of experience, especially from long time members is very valuable. Even from new members it can be valuable, but sometimes you have to sift through things to see if they have an agenda (yes this can also take place with long time members). I try and judge each review on its own merits and whether it is trying to be informative and helpful, or bashing the company. This forum is a great place for reviews on high end components, don't know of any better on the web.
"Marginal gains are the only gains when all that's left to gain is in the margins."

Ahillock
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by Ahillock

KWalker wrote:Years ago I unintentionally (I swear) started a shit storm with a negative review about a carbon frame that I had from a then small-ish boutique company. A few others that owned the brand had had similar cracking issues and a well-known WW forum poster and builder had told me privately later that he had warned the company against using the specific modulus they had as it was stiff and light, but brittle.

When I posted my build thread debacle I again received around a dozen PMs of horror stories from owners or friends of owners for that builder. Since then I've had three acquaintances and myself have massive delays and cracking/QC issues from a boutique component and frame builder.

Yet no negative reviews anywhere on the internet. I get it, we shouldn't roast the builder as an improper review could really sink them and sometimes things happen that shouldn't. I regret wording my Guru review as harsh as I did as that ended up becoming a distraction from the key issue.

When someone wants to buy a high end or boutique frame it's rare that they will always have the ability to take a bunch of time and find owners on various forums and solicit questions. Most boutique sales go to people that don't post on forums as is. So with no unofficial record online, these people could spend a shitload of time and money on something that might have a decently high problem rate yet no documentation of it.

Forums aren't supposed to be the Yelp of bikes, but this info should be shared. There is a way to do it- something that is more proper than what I did, but what is it? After hearing another person have an expensive, lightweight custom component crack (third in total) I went to look for reviews of similar occurrences and just found postings from the same fanboys over and over. This really skews the market when the same forums have hundreds of posts that roast Specialized and Trek, who actually publicly acknowledge their issues and rectify them for customers.


I dare you to buy the Allied Echo frameset. Double dare you.

by Weenie


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