Here’s What They Should Be Talking About At Interbike

09.27.2005 | 8:39 am

Interbike—the biggest annual bike business trade show in the U.S.—is in full swing right now. I suspect that while there, the bike manufacturers will proudly display their latest 14-pound road bikes, and their latest 36-inch-travel mountain bikes. I wouldn’t be surprised if both Shimano and Campagnolo announce (coincidentally, natch) that they have innovated a new 11 cog cassette. And I would be astounded if these same two companies did not announce that this year’s cranksets are (at a minimum) 30% stiffer than last year’s models.

If I were in Las Vegas attending Interbike, I would make a special point of walking up to the bike manufacturers, giving them a firm handshake, and saying, "Well done, bike manufacturer."

And then, once I had them comfortable and feeling good about themselves, I would grab them by both shoulders and shake them soundly while I shouted, "But your stupid-light, crazy-expensive bike innovations don’t mean a thing if you haven’t mastered the very simple task of actually shipping that bike to your customers." I would be very careful to become red-faced while I said this, and I would foam at the mouth a little, too.

I Am a Patient Man
About a month ago, I got really excited about buying a track bike. I looked at what I could afford, and decided on a Bianchi Pista. I then went to my local bike shop and pulled the trigger. They said I would have the bike in a week. That was August 29. A couple days later, the bike shop guy called and said that Bianchi didn’t have the bike in the warehouse they thought they had it; it would be a couple weeks before I got the bike, instead of one.

And then nobody called ever again.

So after three (not the promised two) weeks elapsed, I called the bike shop again. He apologized, and said that Bianchi didn’t have its act together, that it turns out they didn’t have any 2005 Pistas anywhere. They’d be getting me a 2006 model instead, and it should be here at the end of the week.

And then another two weeks elapsed.

Yesterday, I called the bike shop again, and he said that this time he has a tracking number, and that the bike would arrive and be built sometime today. I have elected to not hold my breath.

But Not That Patient
Meanwhile, Bianchi is two days shy of taking an entire month to ship a bike. Let me rephrase this so as to make my astonishment and frustration clear: Bianchi, a company whose sole business is to sell bikes, has taken a month to sell me a bike. During that month, the great weather of September—during which I had planned to ride my bike—has come and gone. I’ll get it in October (if I get it at all), which is not exactly a prime outdoor velodrome riding season here in the NorthWest.

So there goes the Cyclingnews series, "Track Racing for Absolute Beginners" I was going to write. Too bad for Bianchi.

I’m pretty sure it’s not just Bianchi that’s doing this, either. If you don’t want what’s in stock at the bike shop—and if you’re looking for anything special, that’s going to be the case—you’re going to have to wait for it. And wait for it. I don’t know any other industry that keeps its most important clients dangling like this.

OK, I’m nearly done venting now. I mean it, though: Bike manufacturers, stop spending quite so much time telling us about the wonderful bikes you make, and consider thinking about how you can actually deliver them on a reasonable timeline.

[Update: 20 minutes after posting this, I got a call from the bike shop. My bike is ready to go. I should point out that I have no gripe whatsoever with the bike shop that sold me this bike -- they've been very good to work with.]

PS: If you’ve had a good or bad experience with ordering a bike, post a comment. I’m riled up enough right now that I’m thinking of emailing a link to this post to a number of different manufacturers. They should know who’s doing well, and who’s not.

PPS: Why I am I so grouchy today?


  1. Comment by Mathias | 03.1.2008 | 8:27 am

    I ordered a Cannondale Cross Bike from the bike shop and cannondale had it there in 3 days!

  2. Comment by David Schloss | 03.1.2008 | 8:56 am

    Several of the folks in my bike club ordered Bianchis and the same thing happened. Took about three months, the local rep couldn’t find the bikes anywhere. No one orders Bianchi around here any more.

    C-dale’s got a really pretty track bike out this year.

  3. Comment by cheapie | 03.1.2008 | 9:03 am

    sweet. a post from the “pre-famous” fatty. i can pretty much guarantee that if he wanted one now, it would be at his house within 12 minutes. and they’d be apologizing for the delay.

  4. Comment by Mike Roadie | 03.1.2008 | 9:13 am

    The original 2005 Pista is waiting for you at Disney.

  5. Comment by leroy | 03.1.2008 | 9:23 am

    I believe this is why Bike Snob tracks the Pistadex.

    At least it explains why folks try to sell used Pistas for about what one would cost new.

  6. Comment by fatty | 03.1.2008 | 10:08 am

    leroy – i should probably let BSNYC know that a few months ago i sold my pista for $300, in order to finance my new lemond ss road bike. not sure how / whether a pista sale in ut (where there’s no velodromes for hundreds of miles in any direction) would affect the pistadex, tho.

  7. Comment by Buddah on a Bicycle | 03.1.2008 | 2:00 pm

    I had similar trouble getting my Jamis Aurora when I ordered it. It didn’t take a month though, more like 2 1/2 weeks. My main problem was finding a bike shop that would order me one though. Ended up having to order it at a shop almost 40 miles away since none of the five local shops dealt with Jamis.

  8. Comment by aussie kev | 03.1.2008 | 6:42 pm

    ordered a new set of tyres for my bike ( and paid for them) before christmas – recieved them late january – awesome tyres though !!!!

  9. Comment by Big Boned | 03.2.2008 | 4:26 am

    I work at a LBS, we have a great relationship with Cannondale. We can normally get ANYTHING they sell within 3 days. It helps that they are only 2 1/2 hours up the road, but still, I think that isn’t bad. We’ve driven up there to pick one up for a customer before so they wouldn’t have to wait for shipping. Some of our other brands are a bit tougher, but in general I think this problem is getting better. Now if we just could just keep all the companies from “closing out” 2008’s in June…We actually have a couple 2009’s in the store already!

  10. Comment by RachelGio | 03.2.2008 | 6:27 am

    I had a WONDERFUL experience when I bought my SEVEN. They said the bike would be ready on X date (sorry, it’s been a few years, so I don’t remember the EXACT dates anymore) but my first Olympic tri and last big race of the season was 3 days before X date. I said, “Oh, that’s too bad. I was hoping to have it for the tri. Oh well.” The bike shop called Seven, they moved me to the top of the list and got me my bike 2 days before the race. SEVEN ROCKS!!!!!!

  11. Comment by sfcgijill | 03.2.2008 | 6:59 am

    OK, I have to leave a good news story- last year, I found year old (but new) Fuji Finest all over eBay at $900. I went to my bike shop, who called Fuji- and got me that price (retail was supposed to be like $1700). And they shipped it so fast from California to Kentucky that I was riding the bike within 4 days. Kudos to Fuji for excellent service, a great bike at an extremely reasonable price, and superfast shipping. And superkudos to Mike at Outdoor Adventures in Radcliff, KY, who made it happen and put the bike together so fast it made my head spin. Hooah!

  12. Comment by Windbreak | 03.2.2008 | 1:16 pm

    My local shop who is a long time Bianchi dealer as well as Giant can’t get any Pistas or the Giant Bowery to his shop. In the meantime, the Origin 8 folks now sell a single speed with flip/flop hub, cowhorn bars and cool brown leatherette bar tape and saddle for approx $500.
    If your buying Bianchi you’re on Italian time.

    I think the bike industry overall is having a tough time delivering. Electra is making some good-looking cruisers but the shops can’t get them because Electra is trying to maintain quality while ramping up volume. The customer suffers because they can’t get the bike but if Electra sacrificed their principles and delivered crap the customer would be perturbed.

  13. Comment by axel | 03.2.2008 | 4:37 pm

    they are italian – give them a break.
    if you want things on time buy a swiss bike.

  14. Comment by Robyn | 03.2.2008 | 4:53 pm

    I’ve been waiting for a Cannondale for the last five weeks. The LBS has now done the 5-7 day routine 5 times. Not exactly sure who is shining me on at this point but the LBS hasn’t exactly been volunteering information. Nobody ever calls to update me. If I never called them, there’d be no contact at all. If I ran my small business like this I’d be closed by now. It’s pathetic.

  15. Comment by Harry | 03.3.2008 | 12:41 am

    Listen to a little Fugazi and the bike will be here before you know it.

  16. Comment by Mr Bill | 03.3.2008 | 6:17 am

    Had a similar experience last year. I ordered an Orbea Orca in Orange at the end of December 2006. I was told that it would be about 3 months. Well, living in the northeast, I wouldn’t be riding it for the first 3 months of the year anyway so I went ahead. The end of March rolled around – No Orca, but an assurance that they were about ot ship. The end of April, No Orca, but it might be a couple of weeks. The end of May, No Orca, but they were to ship in a week. June 15 – Ordered a Specialized S-Works Roubaix. I got that in about 8 days in the new Quick-Step Innergetic paint. At 14 lbs and top end components I couldn’t be happier. I really wanted to support Orbea, but they couldn’t deliver. I really think 7 months is sufficient time for a company to deliver its products.

  17. Comment by kathy b | 03.3.2008 | 6:57 am

    sorry your are still waiting.

    my husband bought a track bike from a good friend many yearsago. WE call it the tricked out track bike. Apparently this means it is really cool. Is my translation correct?

  18. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.3.2008 | 12:50 pm

    My family ordered me shoe covers (a particular brand & model) for Christmas in early December. Finlly, after no less than three trips into town, they got the wrong size in about December 23rd.

    I just picked up the correct size on Saturday. If you ask me, 3 months for a set of shoe covers is worse than a month for an Italian bike. But perhaps no so bad as 7 months for an Italian bike.

  19. Comment by Bluenoser | 03.6.2008 | 5:37 pm

    Okay fatty I know you don’t pay much attention to us canucks but listen up. I have Dupuytren’s disease. They call it the the ‘Disease of Northern Europe’. It takes the desendants of Northern Europians. What happens is that the sheath underneath the skin on your hand shrinks and your hands close up into two fists. Enough said.

    My Doc who is now retired operated. They cut your hand open and cut out this sheath and free up your tendons. There are two ways to do this. Knock you out for three hours with all he complications that come with it or take a nerve block.

    For a nerve block they go in through your armpit and find the nerves to your hand and freeze them. Works like a charm. You are awake the whole time and watch what they do and don’t feel a thing. The best part is there is no recovery room. You get up put on your cloths and go home.

    What they do tell you to do is don’t move a thing after the three hour operation for two days and keep it up on your shoulder. And then a week after soak it once a day in hot hot water for forty-five minutes.

    Thirty stitches and after I did what they said, was up and riding my bike in three weeks after the operation.

    Do what they tell you and you’ll be fine. Don’t be the doctor and listen.


  20. Comment by Drew | 06.23.2008 | 8:21 pm

    Bought 3 different Treks, 3 different years at 2 different shops and waited less than a week all three times. Very pleased with both the quality and promptness that the bikes were shipped.

  21. Comment by Margaret | 08.3.2008 | 6:17 am

    Bluenoser–A North European biker I know recently learned he has Dupuytren’s. Apparently your doctor doesn’t see a connection with intense use of the hand and Dupuytren’s, fortunately, and he’s probably right. If there is any research done on a possible connection it isn’t easily available by Googling. Does anyone know to the contrary?


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