Specialized - too special?

j-sworks

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#1
Hey All,

Since moving to Japan I have found it difficult to find specialized parts, dealers, and service. For example I am now out a rear wheel while specialized in Shibuya tries to hunt down a few parts for a 2009 Roval wheel, this is something that would have been fixed in the time takes to put back two beers back home.

Moreover, I have noticed that many shops either are not authorized dealers (ie no bikes or anything) or they only carry a lame selection of commuters and one or two pairs of shoes. I have noticed this online as well, nobody sells s-works or decent Specialized gear online or in stores.

So is Specialized just not carried or well supported outside of north America or are they just too cool for school and make you come to their one concept store in Japan?
 
Jan 14, 2007
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Noda
japanichiban.com
#3
Specialised have quite strong sales systems where if a shop orders one bike they are kind of forced to order at least 5 of the same model over the year to get the price reductions. (this is how it was explained to me once so maybe slightly second hand info).
Trek tried the same type of thing.
Buy one, pay through the nose...promise to buy in bulk and get the big discount.
There is a specialized shop near me but I'm sure they are struggling.

This makes it hard for a shop even with a Specialized customer base as they may not be able to sell 5 of the same bikes with in the year. Some end up sitting on the wall into the next year where they are forced to sell it cheaply just to get it out of the store.

With so many shops all over the place it makes it harder and harder to stock all the necessary bits and pieces that may never sell.

Too much or too little Specialization can send a shop bankrupt.
 

j-sworks

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#4
Yes I've heard about this and perhaps this is why Canadian shops do just fine, there has been a real explosion in the road bike industry and most shops are back ordered before the summer is in full swing.
 

GSAstuto

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#5
Exactly what part are they looking for? There is nothing much to change in a Roval except for bearing and spoke. And those are stock items (NTN and Sapim or Pillar) If something is buggered in the hub - the only thing else is the axle, freehub assy and the spacer nuts. Maybe freehub would need replacing after a couple years of hard duty .. but even it just takes standard bearings, and unless the rachet ring or pawls are severely worn, no reason it can't be serviced 'in house' without special ordering any parts.
 

j-sworks

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#6
The Roval is hand adjustable, and the rear cone dose not sit properly in the hub. The mechanic said it may either be the actual cone or the axel, but before he gets into it he needs to make sure that they can get the parts.

Does this sound strange?
 
May 22, 2007
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#7
I'd be tempted to take it to the Specialized Store in Jingumae, and not leave until I got some satisfaction.

However I have been known to get fitted for shoes at said store, and then walk across the road to Nalsima where the same shoes are JPY 1,000 cheaper. I did say I was going to do this and gave Specia' the opportunity to match their kitty-korner kompetitor's price. They declined.
 

j-sworks

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#8
It's at the spec store right now, their mechanic told me that he needs to verify that they can get a new cone or/and axel - if they can then he will be able to fix it. But they need to contact head office for that, so no reply from them likely until Monday or Tuesday.
 
May 22, 2007
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#9
Ooops. I failed to infer that from your OP.

If they can't help, I'll bet Tim S (GSAstuto) can fix it for you, in return for... I dunno... a donation to his Tyler Foundation Charity Haute Madness. However if you get near his workshop you risk dehydration from drooling at all the bling he has hanging from the curtain rails, light fittings, etc.
 

j-sworks

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#10
Yeah I'll keep that at front of mind, I'm just sitting here hoping this isn't a wheel killing issue. When I though it was the bearing that had gone they told me that Specialized does not produce replacement bearings for this wheel anymore, so I am thinking that possibly they will not be able to get this part either...

Odd, you'd think that they would support their own product or have a secondary manufacture handy.

If this all goes wrong then I likely won't be buying another Specialized wheelset.
 

j-sworks

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#12
Ok so looking at that guide for the Roval I can tell you that the issue is with the axel cap moving about, I was told that they do that when the wheels are not locked into the dropouts, but this movement should stop when you secure the quick release.

I was also told that these wheels are adjustable by hand and it seems to me that in that tech sheet you use a wrench and alen key, so it seems these guys were possibly wrong...

If they are wrong then what? Can I bring this wheel to you?
 

j-sworks

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#14
Ok so the wheel is just sitting at the specialized shop so I'll go pick it up, and yeah how much would work for you, when, and where?
 
Dec 31, 2009
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#15
Bike mechanics are like doctors. None of them are 100% right all the time. That being said, it is important when you find one that truly cares about you that you stick with them and show them your support and also recommend them. This is why everyone recommends Tim. Even if he doesn't have the part you need he will set you straight an probably knows where to get the part you need.
 

j-sworks

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#16
I know that for sure,and I always take care of those that take of my baby;)

And I'm glad to see that others here think so much of Tim, I can tell from his post's that he knows is stuff.
 

FarEast

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#17
Hey All,

Since moving to Japan I have found it difficult to find specialized parts, dealers, and service. For example I am now out a rear wheel while specialized in Shibuya tries to hunt down a few parts for a 2009 Roval wheel, this is something that would have been fixed in the time takes to put back two beers back home.

Moreover, I have noticed that many shops either are not authorized dealers (ie no bikes or anything) or they only carry a lame selection of commuters and one or two pairs of shoes. I have noticed this online as well, nobody sells s-works or decent Specialized gear online or in stores.

So is Specialized just not carried or well supported outside of north America or are they just too cool for school and make you come to their one concept store in Japan?
ROVAL is made by Novatec - parts are 100% interchangable so very easy to find online or through the Novatec Japan office.
 

j-sworks

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#18
Ok that's good to hear, getting these wheels fixed seems to be a real issue.

Seems like another vote for Dura Ace as my next wheelset
 

GSAstuto

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#19
Like FE said - these wheels are very 'standard'. Actually, only a few wheels are really hard to get parts for - and mainly they are ones using 1-off hub assy or spokes. Mavic can be a pain in the you-know-what, too - but mainly because their local distributor support is poor.

But what really goes 'wrong' with a wheel anyway?

1) Bearings - if they use sealed bearing, you can get them locally. No hub that I know of (except GoKiSo) uses anything other than std ISO size bearing. Sure, some have ceramic refits - but even those are std size and could be replaced with an off shelf NTN. If they aren't sealed - then 'loose balls' are gonna be either Shimano or Campy. Lots of those around. Cups and cones - well, there are replacements for those, too.

2) Freebody - the spring / pawls can take a beating. And the splines as well. If they are too hammered, then you need replacement. FWWI both Novatec and Shimano are really good on obtaining spare freebodies.

3) Spokes - if it's steel, it's real. Most standard J-hook or straight pull spokes will be fairly easy to source either same or similar. Common are DT, Sapim and Pillar. I believe the Rovals use DT, but many also came with Pillar.

4) Rims - if you've taco'd a rim or smashed it hard, it may be un-truable. But don't count it out! Oftentimes you can get replacement rim for about 8000 yen or less - if the wheelset costs more than 25,000 yen - hey, this is worth fixing!

Some of us 'old schoolers' learned how to do all this stuff econo. This means being able to steal from other parts, make your own, re-purpose, etc. Probably guys like Pro-Race have seen and fixed more different wheels in a week than half the mechanics in Tokyo have in their lifetime. Mechanics here in the big 'T' just tend to toss it away and buy new. THe customers don't really mind - they'll just follow whatever the guy at the store says. If he says - sorry - you need new wheel - then that's what happens. Unfortunately alot. But, at same time, the customers will ride their rigs into the ground! They are picky SOB's when it comes to spotting the tiniest scratch or finish flaw - but once they have the bike rolling - somehow neglect seems to be the modus rideus. I see so many EXPENSIVE bikes that mirror the chicks - from 50m they look OUTSTANDING , then up close and personal - COYOTE DATE!

Honestly - I think it gets back to a lack of facilities to do easy 'home maintenance' and , again, a lack of decent mechanics to service the bikes properly, or just simply, the 'throw it away and buy a new one' mentality prevails. So, the mechanic's job is really just to tell you to 'Get a new one.' Not 'I can fix that'.


Ok that's good to hear, getting these wheels fixed seems to be a real issue.

Seems like another vote for Dura Ace as my next wheelset
 

j-sworks

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#20
Well I can attest to the "just get new parts" mentality, the whole reason that I am still sitting here with no rear wheel is because I have had to almost argue with the Specialized shop to look at the document that you found for servicing that bloody wheel... They just wanted to ask the head office if they can get new parts without even trying the service instructions or taking it apart.

Unbelievable