I have decided to copy over my postings on my experiences with Fleet Cycles at Fremantle and Perth, here in Western Australia. The actions of Fleet Cycles have from my personal perspective cost them the sale of three new bikes. They had a roadie I was very interested in but since it was Fleet and given my experience with them I brought my Look 555 from TBE Belmont instead. My experience with Fleet Cycles also contrasts with my very positive experiences with Bike Force Fremantle.
My first and main postings on Fleet Cycle are repeated below. The first posting was originally posted in the Bicycles Network Australia forums on June 11, 2007. If interested you can click through for the remainder of the discussion.
Having just brought my first serious bike (Giant CRX 1) I thought I would share my experience with bike shops and Fleet Cycles in Fremantle in particular. I should qualify this posting in that I am a raw newbie when it comes to cycling and had a Giant CRX 1 in mind based on advice from a couple of serious cycling friends. The purchase whilst being considered for some time, was a “spur of moment” thing on the day. That is decided to go look at bikes and walked out with a long cash-receipt docket. Before going to Fleet I did drop in on two other bike shops in Fremantle, Bike Force and the one in South Street near the hospital (name escapes me). The South Street bike shop had nothing to compare to the CRX 1 and indicated nothing was coming in. That ended things. This surprised me a bit as I have brought a bike for my son from them in the past and found them more informative at that time. I then dropped into Bike Force. No Giants, fair enough. Asked about alternatives. “Yeah we have this this Trek – $1600.” That it? “Yep.” That was about the end of the conversation. Again didn’t seem interested in selling it to me or maybe I came across as not interested. Don’t know but found them really not interested in treating me as a serious customer. This lead me to Fleet. Big bike shop, lots of options. Had Giant’s including a CRX 1 but not in my size. Salesperson was very helpful, went over the bike, compared it against about three others for me. Highlighting positives and negatives. Had me try a couple for size so we worked out I needed a 55 CRX 1 if I was interested. He then went through accessories options (some I raised, e.g., panniers, shoes) and some he suggested. Felt he was trying and was giving reasonable advice given my experience and riding expectations. Overall found him helpful with respect to advice and the selling price and pricing was good I think. Plus Fleet offer 10% off on all future purchases.Now the downside. I picked the bike up on Saturday.
- No effort was made to confirm that the seat hike was correct (it was and probably from the trying of bikes the week before) but would have liked this checked I think;
- No advice given on rider adjustments, e.g, seat angle was not correct;
- Clipless pedals not adjusted to the shoes I brought at the same time nor was I shown how to adjust them. I managed to work this out before my first ride but it was a frustrating 30 minutes.
In hindsight and this is partly my fault but I felt the advice on a computer and lights could have been better. I am already looking to upgrade the lighting and the computer after a week. Ah well. Just pays to do the research first I guess.Summary: Good sales process, reasonable pricing, reasonably good advice given, but very disappointing in terms of setting up bike at pick-up.
My second and last dealing with Fleet Cycles was in August 2007 when I had my rear derailleur snapped and I leant first hand the experience of being treated by Fleet Cycles with contempt. The thread related to this discussion can be found in the Bicycles Network Australia forum.
My opening posting in respect to my issue with the derailleur follows:
On my run from Joondalup to Fremantle this evening I managed to snap off completely my rear derailleur and snap my chain. Not 100% sure what happened but was coming up a short steep hill and I think I had just changed down a gear as there was a dad and his kid to get around while still putting on pressure for the climb. Anyway the whole (dÃ©railleur) snapped and then the chain popped a link. I am interested in knowing what I did or what could have caused this to happen and secondly if it is likely to be a warranty repair? The later question really drives where I take it to get repaired. If not warranty I will go to my local LBS [Local Bike Shop] otherwise I need to take it into town to Fleet Cycles (more hassle). Followed by this posting a few days latter: Bike is two months old. Bike was serviced by Fleet Cycles last Friday. Bike is back in to Fleet Cycles today … bill is likely to be around $200. All they are offering is 10% off which I get as a bike purchaser anyway. Will it ever go back to Fleet Cycles . Not unless it is a clear warranty issue. Will I ever buy from Fleet Cycles again or recommend Fleet Cycles , no. Just one to many “issues.” This may or may not have been their fault. I don’t know, but there is just something about their approach … It does not work for me.
And again later on:
But the bike was serviced by Fleet Cycles on Friday so why would the dÃ©railleur be misadjusted as per the manual? I have told manager that I was very disappointed, will tell all and sundry of my experiences, will not purchase a bike from them, etc. Response was …. well basically there wasn’t a response. They also reckon the bolt holding the guide pulley was pulled out when the chain jammed. I need to check the derailleur for any evidence of thread damage. I have decided to pick up the bike and the damaged derailleur from Fleet first thing Friday morning, pay the bill, check it as carefully as I can, and then lodge a formal compliant with the DECP and Giant. If nothing else it will give them the hassle of responding to this and they will have to demonstrate that they handled the service correctly and follow-up correctly. BTW they also said the rear wheel was loose when I took it in last Friday. I hadn’t touched the rear wheel at all (all my punctures to that point had been the front tire) and saw no sign of this. Given the skewer lever sits in a formed locking point, can they come loose without intervention?
If interested I suggest you follow the links for the full thread.
Update: March/April 2011. It appears that Fleet Cycles at Fremantle is under new management, however, the management philosophy does not seem to have changed for the positive if the goings on at Freo Wheelers are anything to go by.