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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 6:51 pm 
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Location: New York, NY
Even though Ted is a pleasant, accommodating guy (he never seemed annoyed that it was "me again" on the phone), I feel I am doing both the cycling community and him a disservice by not adding to this post.

I had a set of Negative Gs whos springs went limp after two years so I reached out to Ciamillo via email in October 2011 to see what options I had for service.

After not hearing back after a couple of email follow-ups I just took the brakes to my LBS in December 2011 to have them deal with the communication with Ciamillo. LBS warned me that this service could take a while so I planned to be without them for the winter. No problem, I thought--5 months should be plenty of time to swap some springs out.

No word for a month so I called LBS in February 2012. They said they'd follow up.

No word for another month so I called LBS in March. They haven't heard so I took the baton back and started emailing and calling Ciamillo since the weather was starting to thaw out.

Most of March was me dealing with Ted's full voicemail box. Finally got through and learned about a new spring manufacturer in Chicago which provides the right tensile strength (these new springs are supposed to be "lifetime" springs), broken down machinery, staff turnover.

Ted offered a set of GSL's for ~the price of the tune up. I said yes not just to get the upgrade, but I figured he already had some on hand and that this would expedite getting them mailed to me. The only special note was that I wanted my brand new all-condition salmon pads transferred from my old set to the new ones. I paid online that day.

Two weeks later (mid April) no tracking # and nothing had shown. Ted called to see if I had received them. I had not. He does not remember a set going out with salmon pads so someone screwed up. Offered two sets of black kool stops. Fine.

Another week later and still no tracking #. Called and it appears that my box (and a handful of others) failed to ship and were still lying around the shop!

April 24: Box arrives at the wrong address, but luckily it's my PO box so I eventually get it. There is a lock ring missing from one of the calipers. Call Ciamillo.

April 28: Amazingly, Ted turned around a ziplock bag with a lock ring and QR within a few days. I installed it and everything is as it should be.

I wish I had made this story up but it is true. What should have been probably a two week process including shipping both ways took 6 months and nearly 20 phone calls and a half dozen emails.

While I LOVE the weight savings and slightly prefer the Negative G modulation to DA if these ever need servicing again I am tossing them in the bin and checking out the eebrake. Life's too short to spend it chasing around hopelessly disorganized uncommunicative people.


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PostPosted: Mon May 28, 2012 7:33 pm 
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Maybe Ted needs a good Operations Manager and an Office Manager who will attend to whatever details are needed for a smoothly functioning operation, with efficient and effective customer interface and service. Were these positions among those which "turnedover" and for whom replacements are not yet in place?


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Posted: Mon May 28, 2012 7:33 pm 


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:26 am 
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at this day and age this should be intolerable. there are so many lightweight options with better service.

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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 3:03 pm 
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Location: New York, NY
HammerTime2 wrote:
Maybe Ted needs a good Operations Manager and an Office Manager who will attend to whatever details are needed for a smoothly functioning operation, with efficient and effective customer interface and service. Were these positions among those which "turnedover" and for whom replacements are not yet in place?


Yes. As I understand it this was one of the key roles lost. That said, as a small business owner you've got to suck it up and work out a system until you can get someone in that you can trust. It doesn't have to be complicated. A spreadsheet in google docs could do. Yes, the admin work slows the process but it keeps everyone informed which REALLY helps for customer relations. If you make a great product people are willing to cut you some slack if they know what's going on. Radio silence gets people to wondering what you're doing with their money.

aeroslave wrote:
in this day and age this should be intolerable. there are so many lightweight options with better service.


Yes, many lightweight options though not all are great. It would be nice if velonews did an updated brake review like this: http://eecycleworks.com/VNJune%20BrakeTest.pdf


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 4:23 pm 
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You need a system . Ted you need a system . It's the only way . A system . If you don't have a system then it all goes wrong and people don't get there stuff . System. I really like the Gravitas brakes ,but with out a system I can't risk the purchase.


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PostPosted: Tue May 29, 2012 5:39 pm 
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I really considered getting Gravitas brakes for my build but after reading all the horror stories I'll pass. To bad they look fantastic.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 8:14 pm 
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Have a look at Engage brakes they look awesome.


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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2012 9:09 pm 
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Location: Houston, Texas
Is that a reference to the Engage Gavial Carbon Road Brakes from AX-Lightness?

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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 7:51 am 
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ms6073 wrote:
Is that a reference to the Engage Gavial Carbon Road Brakes from AX-Lightness?

those look sweet!


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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 6:55 pm 
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ms6073 wrote:
Is that a reference to the Engage Gavial Carbon Road Brakes from AX-Lightness?

Yes sir:
http://www.engage-bikes.de/


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PostPosted: Thu May 31, 2012 7:42 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jun 25, 2004 8:32 pm
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Location: the Netherlands
Brakes look good but the Ax-lightness part probably means even worse customer service and no guarantee at all.......


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 12:20 am 
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coppercook62 wrote:
I really considered getting Gravitas brakes for my build but after reading all the horror stories I'll pass. To bad they look fantastic.


Horror stories is stretching things a little, isn't it? There have obviously been customer service issues, but only a small amount as far as I can tell and lets face it, the brakes are very, very good. From what I've read and know, it wouldn't stop me buying Ciamillo brakes. I'm still pondering getting a set of GSL's, one day :D


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 6:54 am 
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Location: Simi Valley CA
GSL in chrome! Sorry about the quality of the pic.

Image

The GSL's will be revised to take wider rims.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:17 am 
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I need to agree with Stephen on this. Yes Ted had some issues and suffers from the same problems allot of small companies suffer from. If you search the threads even many big companies have issues and failures too its just the overall number. Here everyone is pretty vocal but the number of issues to the number of components Ciamillo has on the street is pretty small.

If I were in the process of another build I would have to put the Gravitas SL's on the build list. I've tried many brakes, and for me, they appeal to me in lightness and performance. I've waited much longer for other boutique components other than Ciamillo brakes and was happy in the end. I always view a weight weenie project as a long term project and never really done since once the build is done I'm always looking for ways to reduce weight and improve performance. Almost 30,000 miles later my R320 is still not done. :beerchug:

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Posted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 10:17 am 


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2012 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2012 7:27 pm
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Location: New York, NY
artray wrote:
You need a system . Ted you need a system . It's the only way . A system . If you don't have a system then it all goes wrong and people don't get there stuff . System. I really like the Gravitas brakes ,but with out a system I can't risk the purchase.


Couldn't have said it better myself.

If these brakes were being made by some dude in his garage as a hobby I could understand the lapses in communication, but Ted is not a dude and his brakes are not a hobby. Ted is a professional and Ciamillo is a company. They employ people. They manufacture product.

As a boutique I don't expect them to compete on price, but they are in a position to give BETTER customer service than, say, Amazon.com who must rely on a ticket system and overseas customer service reps that aren't in touch with how their business runs.

It probably wouldn't take much. Hell, get an intern in for the summer for college credit and get them to sort this mess out. Take a shortcut and put a blog up on the website so the intern can post machine-shop updates to save on sending individual emails during times of crisis.

I really LIKE Ciamillo stuff but not putting pressure on them to *fix* these customer communication issues is akin to not putting your alcoholic/drug addicted family member into rehab.


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