An Open Letter to Cannondale and Freshbikes Cycling

April 18, 2013

Update 4/23/2013: After sending this along to Cannondale and to Freshbikes, I've been able to communicate with Jason@Freshbikes to a good resolution. They're going to refund me the cost of the Cannondale seat post, since Jason agreed that they should have provided this, though he did state that this seems to be standard practice in the industry. His example was to me, imagine this happened on your Cervelo R3, and they changed the Bottom Bracket on you. Cervelo would expect you to have to buy a new bottom bracket and hardware even though the issue was with their frame, so this isn't just Cannondale, this is the Bike Industry in General. In a car dealership, when they bring you in for a warranty repair or a recall, the manufacturer issues the car dealership a credit for the labour work; bicycle companies don't do that. Also, they're going to provide me with an additional component clean and adjustment, since the bike was less than 60 days old, it really didn't make any sense for them to do so, and had they told me when I dropped off my bike, I would have said something to this effect, as the reason I was bringing my bike in was for a covered cable/derailer adjustment.
Dear Cannondale and Freshbikes Cycling (formerly Contes), If you've read any of this blog, you can see just how excited I was to finally buy a real road bike. I sweated over many a different bike, looking at the frame build, reading reviews, trying to find the perfect bike. Perhaps I was too naieve, or just fed up with the artificial process I placed myself in, but I believed, in all my readings and interaction with local cyclists, that it really came down to picking a Local Bike Shop and not really the manufacturer. It seems I was wrong on both counts. My buying process initially was to go to FreshBikes, see what was in stock on an Ultegra carbon framed bike with a price tag close to $2000. If there was nothing there, I was going to move on to Spokes, Etc., and then either Cyclelife USA, or Bonzai bikes, as Bonzai is the closest shop to me. So we went out that fated Sunday, and I bought the first bike I test rode. I guess that's my fault, because I was sold a lemon. Hindsight being what it is, I realise this bike was the shop test bike. It really didn't dawn on me until the grip tape was re-rapped for me. tape Garmin & Strava have me as riding this bike 344 miles in total. I've spoken with my friends and though they all caution against white grip tape for this reason, they're all amazed with how dirty that is for less than 2 months of sparse riding. Also, when I initially brought the bike home, my wife was quite upset with just how dirty it was. It had globs of sticky resin or something on various parts of the bike, that I ended up having to get some goo-be-gone to clean them off. But it was my new bike, and my new baby, and I overlooked those flaws. I rode the bike a few times with the flat pedals I broguth home from Freshbikes, then went in for a fitting. I ended up walking out of there with a $200 pair of Specialized road shoes, and a retail price set of 105 SPD-SL pedals. Hey, I was supporting local business and bike shops, right? I've since realized I could have bought those same pedals for 1/3 of the price online. Add in the price of a Park Tools pedal wrench, and I've come again to the realization that I'm getting taken advantage of. But that's not where my displeasure begins, it comes with what happened next. I was starting the process to clean my chain, casette, and crank, when I spotted something wierd at the base of the seat tube/down tube/bottom bracket. _DSC3703 The next day I took it into the FreshBikes in the Mosaic District in Merrifield, and Greg stated that this was most likely a cracked frame and that Fresh Bikes would take care of everything. I asked for a Warranty card, since I didn't get one when I bought the bike, Greg said that I didn't need that, everything was in the system. At no point in time did Greg state that there was any cost to this service, so I handed over my bike, took off my seat back, and other assorted things, and bid my 50 day old bike adeiu. Through email, after my prompting, Greg said that most likely Cannondale would replace the frame. A few days later, he told me that they did not have the 2012 Liquigas/Cannondale frame in stock anymore, and that I would need to choose between two different 2013 frames. I chose the white color for the Synapse 3. Greg also stated that the seatpost changed from 2012 and 2013, and that most likely Cannondale would send that as well. However, Cannondale did not see fit to send a replacement seat post. So, due to a structual failure in the carbon fiber Synapse frame of the "New but well used" bike I bought, I was going to have to pay for a replacement seat post. I was given two choices: pay $80 for an aluminium seat post (which wasn't a true replacement, the 2012 SAVE seat post was carbon fiber), pay $120 for a used scratched carbon fiber seat post, or $215 (-15% off discount) for a brand new Doric LTD carbon fiber seat post. I opted for the Doric, as I didn't want to buy a scratched used carbon fiber seat post. So much for Cannondale standing behind its work. Alex at Freshbikes Mosiac didn't even offer me my original seat post back, so I'm guessing he'll sell that to someone else, as was the offer with the used seat post earlier. So, 16 days later, I went to pick my bike, only to find out that the cost of a warranty rebuild was $220 on top of the seat post, which put this fine warranty fix of a 50 day old new (used) frame to $411.89 tax included. If I had known that within 60 days of buying a new bike, I was going to have to pay an extra $400 for it, I would have bought a 2013 bike. Now I have a 2013 Cannondale Synapse 3 frame, a non-matching Seat Post, a Non Matching 2012 Liquigas coloured Fizik saddle, with lower-end DT-Swiss wheels and lower-end Shwalbe tires compared to what comes stock on the 2013. All at a price that is the EXACT SAME NOW AFTER PAYING TO REPLACE THE FRAME as the 2013. A gullible naieve bike owner am I. I still don't have a warranty card, either. Once again, I point out that at no time did Greg or anyone associated with Freshbikes Cycling state that there was a charge for labor. Had I known there was a charge, and what the charge was, I would have taken my bike elsewhere for tear down, and brought Freshbikes a frame. I've inquired to the other local bike stores. I've been given quotes for a teardown, frame replacement, and rebuild from $90 to $180. None of them are over $200, and definitely not near $220. Needless to say, I write you this letter as a very disgruntled bike owner. I've gone from loving a bike, being a fan of the Cannondale Pro Team, to questioning my purchase, questioning even if I should continue to own a Cannondale, and a feeling of being completely taken advantage of to the purpose of profits instead of building a long term relationship with a bike company and a bike shop. At this point in time I do not believe I will ever own another Cannondale, and I will most certainly never spend another dime at FreshBikes Cycling. I'm now wondering why I didn't go to Spokes Etc and by a Trek or Specialzed there. For $2600, I now have a much less valuable bike, thanks to Cannondale and Freshbikes. Had I gone to REI and purchased a retail cost $2600 Synapse 3 they had in stock at the time, I would have been able to return it for a full refund. Had I gone to Performance and got the Fuji I had my eye on, I'd have been able to return it for a full refund. I'm not so sure I buy the LBS propeganda anymore.

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