Archive forJanuary, 2010

Swobo Adventures Pt 5 (Why I’ll Never buy Another Swobo Nor Another Bike from Wheelworks Ever Again)

(part 4)

Some time later, I found myself waiting for news on the shipped bike, and looking at a calendar that read December 15th. I called Ace, asked for lady.  We were now two weeks since the bike supposedly shipped from Swobo, and it is not at Ace. Lady rep asid she will “send them an email” to find out what is going on.

December 16th: lady rep called back (she’s so much better about this than other Ace folks), they have the frame at Ace! But: she wasn’t sure where the parts were. I assured her that Ace has the parts somewhere (feeling a bit like a mother by this point). She put me on hold, went to investigate, and returned with a confirmation.  She said,

“I was just given a frame and asked to deal with!”

There was no cost to reassemble the bike, which was good news. I then asked if I could pick it up that night, she said,

“Probably tomorrow,” and “we’ll call you when it’s ready.”

Tomorrow came. No longer surprised to not hear from Ace. My patience was running very, very low, but I gave yet another day, true to my padding technique. Wouldn’t you know it: the padding needed its own padding. On the 19th I made another call to Ace. They

– Didn’t know where the parts were and still haven’t located the parts, which meant
– No progress was made.

The original rep said:

“There’s some confusion on where the parts are after they were taken off the frame. You don’t have the parts, right?”

“No. and that was two days ago when you couldn’t find the parts.”

“Right. We’ll have this taken care of today, I will give you a call back.”  Yeah ohokay.

Original rep was probably surprised to hear me calling after all this time concerning that same issue he handled, and that it was still unresolved. Whatever the reason, he indeed called me back an hour later, to tell me that the parts were located and a mechanic was already working on reassembly.

Two hours later :  Mechanic called to tell me that the bike was ready, and within 5 minutes I was there. 15 minutes later I was taking photos, documenting.

Here’s repair, seat stage seen from above:

Seen from below:

Read on for Moral of the Story…

(part 6)


Swobo Adventures Pt 4 (Why I’ll Never buy Another Swobo Nor Another Bike from Wheelworks Ever Again)

(part 3)

Two weeks later. Nothing – no surprise there. Maybe three weeks later? Nope. I gave my week of padding, for good measures, and called Ace on Nov 30th.

The original sales rep answered. He recognized my, took a message and said he would find the status. Another rep called me back, the second time I’ve received a promised call-back (whoa) snce this whole fiasco began. She said,

“They have the bike over at Swobo, and I will find out what the status is and call you back. ” She did so later that same day (double whoa) and asked:

“Swobo says they can fix the frame. They said ‘It won’t look right, but we can fix it.’ They want me to ask if you would be ok with that.”

“No,” I said, “that’s not the warranty. I’m not ok with that. The warranty is a new frame.”

“Ok. I will tell them.”

Another weekend (4.5 weeks since bike went to Ace) went by and I hear nothing. When I called Ace again on Dec 7th, lady rep put me on hold to gather her notes (ie. there was progress but I had to call to prompt the update), and returned to the phone with:

“Now, I’m only a messenger: …”

According to lady rep, Swobo had went ahead with the repair and shipped the bike back. She couldn’t tell me exactly when this happened, but she believed it was either on Dec 1 or 2nd. She also gave me a Swobo phone number and name to call, and said that they would be happy to talk to me about that repair. The bike should be en route to Ace.

Since they’ve already shipped it, I just wanted it back. I asked how much the shipping cost would be, and lady rep couldn’t tell me that, either, because the person in charge of that (manager’s mom – don’t know why this info was important) is on vacation (and I guess neglected to delegate her responsibilities while she was away).

In this same conversation, I expressed my disappointment with Swobo, and that I had planned to buy the Sanchez. Lady rep then began to suggest (sell) some models of Specialized. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that I was also disappointed with Ace’s’ customer service and will not be buying bikes from them again (she was perfectly sweet and she called me back two out of the three times promised. That’s pretty good for Ace).

I asked lady rep to keep me posted as soon as the bike arrives. At the time of this conversation, I had been without a bike for exactly five weeks.

(part 5)


Swobo Adventures Pt 3 (Why I’ll Never buy Another Swobo Nor Another Bike from Wheelworks Ever Again)

(Part 2)

I’ve been a regular customer of Wheelworks since about 2005.  If I had to write a Yelp review for it as of August 09, I would’ve given them 3-stars: The staff is pretty friendly, and a select few employees are quite knowledgeable if you’re lucky to be helped by them. But the repair work is inconsistent, and prices are rather high for the work done.  What boggled me was this: when they say they’ll call, that your bike will be ready in a couple of days, they really mean that there’s a 20% chance they’ll try to remember to call, at which point you may or may not get your bike back.  I know this well, so I always give extra padding when dealing with Ace.

So a week after the Dixon went in and I’ve heard nothing, I figured it was time to take the initiative. I called, and the manager said:

“We called Swobo. They’re not getting back to us.” and that was where the original sales rep left it. No progress. Manager promised to continue to contact Swobo, because he had “a great relationship with Swobo – it’s not like them to ignore me,” and the bike stayed at Ace in the meanwhile. He said he’d call. I said, “Ok.” and thought – “We’ll see if you do.”

Another week went by, no word from Ace. I called, got the manager on the phone. He said he will follow up with Swobo again, and that he will call me back “today.” At about 6pm I got tired of waiting for his call so I went to Ace to find out what the status was, since it would be harder for him to ignore me if I was staring right at him.

“Oh, [manager] left for the day.”

Crud. I almost lost it here, because it was one thing if you don’t call ’cause you don’t have an update, it was another to OFFER TO CALL and then leave me hanging (I sometimes refer to this as “lie”).  I asked,

“Could I have my bike back, at least? I’ve gone two weeks without my main mode of transportation. I sort of need it. If there’s no update from Swobo, and I know the bike is ride-able, I don’t see why you have to keep it here.”

A bit of waiting around and a few phone calls later, I got my bike back. Unimpressed, I asked to be kept posted of their attempt to reach Swobo, they agreed, wrote something down, and I left Ace annoyed but happy to have my bike.

Yet another week later (if you’re keeping track, we’re going into fourth week of trying to contact Swobo). Nothing from Ace. Time for another call to the manager. He said:

“Swobo is still avoiding calls and emails. We’ve sent photos to show them the damage, this should be a no-brainer, it’s a warranty replacement,” etc.  He said he would prod again and call me back.

Later that day: Success! Swobo gave the ok to swap frame. This was the first phone call with Ace where they dialed my number. Well, bygones, I thought, I’m going to get a new frame! Manager said,

“You can bring bike back at any time, now that we know Swobo will honor the warranty.”

I asked,

“Since Swobo has agreed to honor the warranty and send a new bike, couldn’t I take a bike from your stock, and you’d take the incoming bike?”

No such luck, because  “if Swobo doesn’ send a bike then we’re out a bike.”

Well, isn’t that interesting. Did they agree to honor the warranty or not? I think Ace didn’t know, either.

The night before Hub on Wheels, I went in to see if I can get a fender in place.  Manager offered to put a clip-on fender in place, and did so. Things were looking up! Ace was re-earning its gold stars.

I knew that I needed the bike through October as my main transport, so I decided to wait until the first week of November so that I could ride more before the snow hit. Ace manager said that this would be fine, and I could make the exchange whenever I was ready. In one of the earlier conversations, another employee had told me to allow 2-3 weeks for turn-around time.  I added some padding to this estimate, made plans for transportation, and said goodbye to the Dixon on Monday Nov 2nd.

(part 4)

Comments (1)

Swobo Adventures Pt 2 (Why I’ll Never buy Another Swobo Nor Another Bike from Wheelworks Ever Again)

(part 1)

I will preface with this: I have no hard evidence.  I’m writing this entirely from my perspective, and I am telling these facts as I experienced them. With that in mind, here we go –

September-ish. I was on my way home from work when I heard an uncomfortable scraping sound coming from the back of my bike. An investigation found that the my fender was dragging on the rear tire because the mount on the seatstay bridge was hanging by a tread, which disengaged itself along with my fender as soon as I stopped. I tucked the fender into my backpack and rode home sans butt coverage.

H4ckw0r+h and I examined the damage and we were pretty certain that this was a defect in the frame, and would be covered under their warranty. Under that assumption, most manufacturers we’ve dealt with would replace the frame.  No photo of the damaged frame was taken. I do, however, still have my fender with the connector attached, and can show the piece the broke off the frame:

Close-up of the mount, where the frame failed:

Detach the fender from the screw for better view:

Same piece, underside:

Now, the Swobo seat are neat, with a built-in light in the seat post that I adore.  But my short little legs require the seats to be low, and there isn’t enough room for my old fenders to attach to the seatpost. So Wheelworks recommended the fender above, and even helped me install it.  In retrospect, that mount was the only thing holding the fender as it bounces up/down during my rides, which probably put more strain on the mount than it was meant to handle.

Because of my work schedule, H4ckw0r+h was kind enough to bring my purchase receipt and Dixon to Wheelworks on 09/02/09. They checked it out, said it was cool and it makes sense to do a warranty frame-swap, took the bike and said they’d keep us posted with updates from Swobo.

I wait.

(part 3)


Swobo Adventures Pt 1 (Why I’ll Never buy Another Swobo Nor Another Bike from Wheelworks Ever Again)

August 11, 2009 (posted to, a review I wrote for the Dixon):

Picked up this bike last fall. 10 miles daily, all-weather riding around Greater Boston (also added studded tires for winter riding). Took it in for tune-up this week:
– replaced brake cable
– new chain (I’m terrible about wiping off salt/water)
– new brake pads/brakes adjustments

Other cyclists stop and ask about it often. One friend called it “mean,” in a good way.

Minor complaints:
– Higher gears are noisy
– Seat tends to slip unless I get a uber Allen wrench for more torque to tighten

Looking at the Azure blue Sanchez as my next bike!


Less than a month after this post, I decided to never buy another Swobo ever again.

(part 2)

Comments (1)

Your Foot Here

One of my co-workers sent a link to me showing bars for stopped cyclists to lean on, in Copenhagen. It made me very happy, because it assumes:

– People are riding bicycles in the city,
– People are stopping at red lights, and
– People are fitted properly to their bicycles so that their feet don’t reach the ground when they’re stopped.

I’ve always  said that if you give people things, they will ask for more. I proved this true myself: What about tall bikes?  It’s even more crucial to have something to lean on when those are stopped. Imagine a city of tall bikes as main mode of transportation. Sweet!

In other news, on my ride into work today I saw a pretty Asian woman battling her adorable medium-sized black lab in on the Boston Common. I think some words like “Bad Dog!” “Behave!” and “No!” were shouted in Cantonese while the very happy/excited doggy dragged the owner around by the leash. It was rather entertaining.

(My Swobo is back! Story of its absence coming soon…)