Saturday, March 06, 2010

Taken care of

So I was out for a ride last weekend on a rare day that allowed for skinny road tires in February. About five miles into the ride I was climbing the col d'overpasse when the paddle on my rear shifter suddenly broke loose. Hmm...

I stood on top of the col and wiggled the paddle around, which seemed to be held in place only by the slight tension in the rubber hood. It was too cold to fidget much more and there was no obvious solution, so I proceeded home with one gear. Surprisingly the shifter didn't altogether fail and dump me into the 12 for the trek home, but my 16 wasn't terribly comfortable either at this point.

When I got inside and could feel my hands again I started to look more closely at the problem. I've heard of people tearing out the innards of Sram shifters in order to run a 1x10 setup for 'cross, but I have never been bold enough (or had reason to) inspect the guts of one. After removing the shifter from my bike and took off the hood I could see plainly what had happened.

The inside of a Sram shifter is remarkably simple in design. The paddle is connected to one central post via two circular collars, allowing it to rotate on that axis. Quite simply both of the collars (metal) fractured, allowing for the paddle assembly to fall out. Interestingly, the mechanism that holds the gear up on the cog was not affected by this, hence the broken shifter being able to keep the gear I was in at the time of the break.

So the good news was that I diagnosed the problem without having to completely rip apart the shifter. Now I was prepared for the bad news - trying to get this taken care of by Sram.

My phone conversation lasted 2 minutes 38 seconds. It went something like this:

Me: "Hi, I have an issue with my rear Rival shifter, is that something you can help with?"

Sram Guy: "Sure, what's the problem?"

Me: "Well I was out riding yesterday and the shift paddle came off - it looks like the collars snapped. This shifter isn't 11 months old and I wasn't at the top of my gear range when it happened."

Sram Guy: "Not a problem, we'll take care of it."

Me: "Really? Just like that? Where should I send it?"

Sram Guy: "Take it to your LBS and have them give us a call, we'll get a new one out to you asap."

Two things struck me about this. First, I expected to be transfered eight billion times to the next department trying to find someone that would help with the problem. My phone call was short and sweet, speaking with someone after two rings. No elevator music while I waited for a customer service representative in some foreign country to help. Second, this arrived THREE DAYS LATER:

So long story short, the problem was taken care of in record time. It is sad that my initial reaction was negative, as I assumed this would be like every other warranty claim I've made in my life, trying to get the company to take care of what's wrong. Not this time. Sram was all over this, and consequently re-earned my business. Not only are the based in Chicago, but they take care of their customers. Four total days from break to new shifter is amazing. I couldn't expect more from a company.

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