Guru custom bikes, opinions?

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
yeagermeister
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:55 pm
Location: New Jersey

by yeagermeister

Hey guys, so I'm looking at a custom frame and my local shop carries Guru, I'm looking at the Photon. Does any one have experience/ opinions on these either good or bad?
Thanks

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HammerTime2
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Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 4:43 pm
Location: Wherever there's a mountain beckoning to be climbed

by HammerTime2

Well, at least one poster had what he considered a bad experience, although the thread is not without controversy. Long Term Review: Guru Photon- The Dream Bike That Isn't

crohnsy
Posts: 439
Joined: Mon Aug 16, 2010 6:43 pm
Location: Canada

by crohnsy

HammerTime2 wrote:Well, at least one poster had what he considered a bad experience, although the thread is not without controversy. Long Term Review: Guru Photon- The Dream Bike That Isn't



He seems to have a lot of equipment issues....

yeagermeister
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:55 pm
Location: New Jersey

by yeagermeister

Wow I just read that thread, tons of controversy. The OP seems to contradict himself alot. However it looks like Guru's Customer service is excellent.

gumgardner
Posts: 3553
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:47 pm
Location: Pittsburgh

by gumgardner

Consider the source

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jmilliron
Posts: 2014
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:03 pm
Location: San Francisco Peninsula

by jmilliron

I know a lbs that had bad service from Guru so they dropped them. Crazy slow turn around times. One frame they waited like half a year on, showed up in the wrong color.

Perhaps things have improved?
2013 Wilier Cento1 SR || 2009 Ridley Crossbow || 2011 Yeti AS-R 5 Carbon

gumgardner
Posts: 3553
Joined: Sat Jan 06, 2007 9:47 pm
Location: Pittsburgh

by gumgardner

6 months for a custom frame is not a long time to wait. The wrong color is unacceptable though.

Zigmeister
Posts: 921
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 8:09 pm

by Zigmeister

Take this story with a grain of salt, I never owned one personally. But ...I know a local bike shop owner who also races Cat 1, he has a Guru Photon amongst other bikes.

He is a Scott dealer too. He was the only shop to get several new Scott Foils in, a Premium, Team, 10/20 models at the same time. He setup the Scott Foil Premium and brought it out to the local Sunday training ride a few months back to get some time/experience on it.

I was chatting with him about the Foil, and asked his thoughts on it. He responded begrudgingly with seeming regret in his voice, likely due to the high price he paid for the Guru: "I think I like it better than my Guru."

That is all.....
Last edited by Zigmeister on Tue Feb 28, 2012 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

KWalker
Posts: 5858
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:30 pm
Location: Bay Area

by KWalker

Well since my character is being called into question I feel the right to reply.

I have had equipment issues with my Photon frame, my dragging King hub that was rebuilt incorrectly by my LBS, and my steerer tube cracking on my SL3, which was warrantied. I've ridden my CAAD, my SL4, and several other bikes up and down everything from the Alps to dirt fire roads in rural WV. I've never had a frame issue with any of those bikes and I've put them through their paces more than I did my Guru.

In addition, I have sold dozens of parts, frames, and wheelsets on this very forum and not a single person has ever had an issue with anything I've sold them. I don't consider myself abnormal in how I treat my equipment and if anything I'm paranoid of things going wrong because I'm a bit overly analytic.

A few LBS' used to carry Guru and no longer do because of shoddy service. I've spoke to several custom carbon builders, one of which taught Guru how to do tube-to-tube construction and advised them that the modulus they were using was stiff, but brittle. This same framebuilder is all but worshiped by customers, including a poster in this thread that has one of his custom bikes. In fact, he bought my old frame for a "wall of shame" and we had a nice conversation about how poorly Guru treated him.

We also had a customer last week who has had a Photon for a year and loved it. I thought mine rode OK and it was light, but it was not anything amazing considering the hassles. When my ISP almost snapped off, their solution was to cut it off, ream the seattube, and put a post in. This wasn't a bad solution, except for the fact that they didn't ream far down enough so almost no posts would actually work. Little oversights like this made me suspicious, but the second crack was what made me doubt the durability of the frame. When I contacted local former Guru dealers, they had several QC issues and ended up dropping the brand because of it. The shop I bought the frame from ended up dropping Guru as well. The most common complaint was poor paint, which I can attest to because both of my paint jobs flaked off. Guru claimed that they rushed the curing process, but that must have meant they rushed it the first time as well.

If it wasn't for these problems I would say that I generally thought the bike was good for the price I paid, but I would expect a bit more from custom. They try to claim that it was because they didn't suggest the geo for me, but I've ridden a BMC with the SAME exact geo and the bike was stiffer, more compliant, and handled better, so it wasn't the fact that I didn't go through their custom program. My frame weighed 900g even and had the extra layup to stiffen it up. It would have been a great grand fondo or training bike and truth be told I would have had no problems keeping it for quite a long time if it didn't have so many issues.

I have no doubt that they can probably make a great bike for a customer, but I would shy away from this particular model. After talking to a half dozen custom carbon manufacturers, it seems as if the problem lies in the material, not the methods.
Don't take me too seriously. The only person that doesn't hate Froome.
Gramz
Failed Custom Bike

vtrich
Posts: 7
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 9:36 pm

by vtrich

My experience is very short term. I recently purchased Photon and found Guru to be great to
work with and the frame was delivered within their estimated time frame. I got the frame
in just shy of 2 months after ordering. I have only ridden the built up bike a very short
distance and it feels reasonably stiff, but again, way too early to comment too much on that.
But the finish looks really great so I'll be interested to see if I have any of the
problems Kwalker mentions. Also, I think they have eliminated the ISP, not sure, but as I wanted
to run a full post, I didn't care either way. My bike weighs in at 14.4lb with pedals, cages and
a heavyish rear wheel. The bonus is color. I choose a funky green and was not confident I'd
like it, but when it arrived, it looked much better than I expected, softer green and somewhat
pearl,...kinda neat,...well,..I think anyway.
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KWalker
Posts: 5858
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:30 pm
Location: Bay Area

by KWalker

and FWIW, they have changed the paint and finishing a lot since mine was built. Perhaps other things have changed as well.
Don't take me too seriously. The only person that doesn't hate Froome.
Gramz
Failed Custom Bike

artray
Posts: 1365
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:08 pm

by artray

I ride a photon guru ,Its awesome, they are custom bikes so it depends on how you want the bike to feel. Mine is light, fast and really responsive and also very stable in decents and cross winds which can be scary on a sub 800grm bike. Im from london uk and found there customer service first class and always had a quick reply to any emails I sent. Yorik dealt with my bike and he was excellent. PM me and I will send you some photos
Last edited by artray on Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Alex_ucsb
Shop Owner
Posts: 244
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:31 am

by Alex_ucsb

kinda tri-geeky.

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maggierose
Shop Owner
Posts: 153
Joined: Thu Aug 19, 2010 11:32 pm
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Contact:

by maggierose

I'm going to open up a can of worms:

In January of 2011, I was contacted by Guru about becoming a Guru dealer. They only required one frame to become a dealer so I decided "why not? "A the time, KWalker was bashing his second-hand Photon here on ww so I requested that they respond to his claims; I thought Guru performed an adequate job of defending themselves.

I also stipulated that my "demo" frame would be under "x" weight as specified by Guru's management team during a conference call. After a couple of months, I received my frame. Immediately, I stripped and weighed my Photon: heavier than promised.

I told my rep that this was unacceptable as I had stock Parlees that undercut the Guru's weight. Guru responded appropriately and let me keep the frame while a replacement was built.

Too much time passed while I was waited for the new frame. One day, while waiting for the replacement, a customer told me that another LBS owner had recently ordered a Photon. I didn't want to carry a niche brand that a competitor was carrying and blatantly told my rep that it was me or them; no in between. I was assured that all was well. If memory serves, it took 3.5 months for the replacement frame to arrive. I stripped and weighed it and this time Photon 2.0 met the weight requirement. I built up the bike and put about 1000 miles on it. The paint was not pretty. I'd label it as sloppy and I'm sure it was heavy (stock paint scheme). Paint dripped into the cable stops requiring some reaming to run cables and the excess made running full length Nokon cables impossible without the over-spray digging into the the housing. The seat-post diameter was also out of tolerance and required over-torquing of the seat-post collar and CF paste.

I enjoyed riding the bike (video of me descending Hog-Pen in Dahlonega GA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6T1QMDexH4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;) but I did the geometry to my spec. I thought the bike rode well and liked it.

Shortly thereafter, I attended a training crit and was chatting up a local doctor. He told me he was buying a Photon from my competitor after I was told I would be the town dealer. I spoke with my rep and reiterated my stance. I ended up sending the overweight and underweight Photons back to Guru and chose not to be a dealer.

So in conclusion:

The Photon is a nice bike; I don't have anything bad to say about it.
The paint is marginal.
The wait times for my frames were too long.
I didn't approve of Guru's business practices.
Guru's QC is questionable.

YMMV.

KWalker
Posts: 5858
Joined: Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:30 pm
Location: Bay Area

by KWalker

Guru's argument never flowed to me, although people thought it was awesome:

1. I bought a floor model bike with the same exact geo as the bike I had at the moment. Built for the same weight rider, with the same riding style and exactly the same measurements to the nearest 2mm. Had I custom ordered it would have been exactly the same, which is why I didn't.

2. Bike rode fine, then the ISP cracked.

3. Replacement took 2.5 times as long as expected. Repair was shoddy, paint was abysmal. They blamed me wanting the bike back fast but never told me that if I would wait another month the paint would be fine. Considering I had a cross bike to ride I really wouldn't have minded waiting.

4. Only accepted 40mm of seatpost, which rendered most brands unusable and I had to cut everything I had down to fit. Also had to shim the seattube because it was not reamed to spec.

5. Completely different area of the bike cracked within 4 weeks. I spent most of that 4 weeks riding indoors on a trainer, or on normal smooth roads.

6. Unhappy with the response about service and them wanting to repair a frame that obviously had structural flaws I posted my story and comparison to the other bikes that I had ridden or demo'ed. Guru could have made me a custom frame, but considering that I had their stiffest layup and the geo I wanted I'm not sure what would have been different. I would have spec'd the same measurements and geo and the same layup as well as the exact same color scheme.

7. Guru's argument hinged on it being a floor model as if that somehow negates their poor construction, bad QC, and poor response times. People agreed that because the bike wasn't custom ordered and built to spec that I was to blame. At 165lbs I've never cracked other frames or ISPs.

8. Questions about the Photon's construction were raised on this forum when the frame first debuted, by several renowned custom builders. A simple search can find the thread, the questions, and the response.

So unless they use a different modulus carbon on custom orders and treat custom order customers differently then perhaps I am wrong. All of their arguments do not negate the complaints about their construction methods on this particular frame and what former dealers have expressed privately to me via email or in person. I've worked at a shop and dealt with Specialized, Parlee, IF, BMC, and a dozen other brands on several types of warranty claims and never has a single company ever suggested that any of the things Guru said about me would influence their decision to warranty a frame. We have had customers come in with second-hand custom Parlees and IFs with QC issues or defects that were warrantied no-questions-asked without having to wage a huge battle on a forum.

I would suggest finding someone with a Photon that is roughly your size and ride it. Take the reports on here to heart and decide what you want out of the custom process and go from there. I'd personally go Crumpton and never look back if I were to go with a niche builder again.
Don't take me too seriously. The only person that doesn't hate Froome.
Gramz
Failed Custom Bike

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