Chain Reaction Cycles

Posted by on May 8, 2013 in Ride and Rant | No Comments

If you want what you ordered when you ordered it, do not use Chain Reaction Cycles. Despite their best efforts, they did not ruin my ride from London to random farm in Normandy, I did that all by my self by being aggressively out of shape.

I started riding on bikes with coaster brakes as a kid, and then got my hands on a mountain bike as soon as I could. Rode those for ages, then, after moving to London, purchased my first road bike, which I quickly converted to fixed gear. I never got comfortable with the dropped handlebar position, and thusly, always threw a pair of risers onto whatever I was riding. After moving here to the Netherlands, I found my local bike shop didn’t stock a 25.4mm clamp riser bar. And as such I was forced out into the world of the internet yet again.

I recently have been riding with a set of dropped bullhorn bars from Mavic, and they are fairly comfy, though when adding weight in the form of a back pack and distance in the form of 109 km from London to lost to Brighton they tend to fatigue the wrists. In an attempt to alleviate this, I sought out some riser bars, and I found a set that fit the bill on Chain Reaction. I will give credit where it is due. Chain Reaction had the cheapest price for these bars, and was able to get them to me in 2 days had I ordered them not on a Friday and not on a Friday before the weekend of a Dutch national drink and party day. I ordered a set of XC bars, tripple butted, last year’s model, 50% off, and importantly a 25.4mm clamp to fit my retro 80s quill stem.

This is where the fun bit comes in, I leave for London at around 7:30 AM on Thursday, so I place my order on Friday evening. My fault really, but I paid for the fast delivery and so I hoped it would get there on Monday, and baring that, Tuesday allowing me to fit them to my bike take them for a little ride and cut them to length. So Monday was Queens day here in NL, and as many things that can be closed without shutting down the country are closed for the day, including DHL delivery drivers. The bars arrive Tuesday, and to my dismay, they are not what I ordered: they are Funn bars, and they are white; they have the same rise and are the same length, but they are the downhill version with a 31.8mm clamping diameter.

Shit, well I called them up straight away, hoping that they could 24hour me the proper bar in exchange for me shipping out the bar they sent me. As with most customer service centers, they are swamped with similar issues and other mundane things that would probably make my head explode if I had to deal with it on a daily basis. This however, made any chance of redemption before I left for London disappear. Again, Chain Reaction deserve some credit here: their solution was to just let me keep the bars they sent me by accident (the cost of them having to ship them back would be more than their wholesale value) and they would ship me the proper bars by 24hour currier to the address where I would be spending the night in London. Sweet, good on them. Except for a couple things: First, I had to explain to them they they were going to have to physically check to see if they had picked the right product for shipping because the whole problem was that they had mislabeled the bar’s packaging, even the the bar had painted on it what it was, they had stuck their own, mislabeled label right next to the actual product information, so if a product picker scanned it, it would show a fals positive and though it is easy to spot the difference in clamp sizes, in general the two bars are pretty similar. And Second because this was going to take some time, they might miss the end of day pick up for their chosen currier service. Which they did, as by the time we sorted the new address out and making sure they had the right bar, it was the morning of my flight, and I still had not received a notification that the bars would meet me in London.

Our scheduled departure time was 9 am on Friday for Brighton, and after learning that the bars had only just been picked up in Belfast at noon on Thursday, there was little hope of them arriving. This hope was completely lost when we took off at 10, I stalled long enough to aggravate my fellow riders, and then departed. I received word, 20 miles later, that the bars had arrived. So now the bars I wanted and paid for are in London, and I am at home, holding a useless tube of high quality aluminium.

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