Saturday, September 14, 2013

Musing on a quiet day

The nice thing about working with a guy who has traveled to many distant countries with sketchy sanitation is that you can produce the worst fart in the eastern North America and he doesn't even bat an eye. He's hard of hearing, not hard of smelling. But experience has brought him worse olfactory experiences.

I would worry about offending customers, but there are no customers. The day turned sunny, but no one has even rented a bike. We've done about $2.50 in business. Okay, maybe more than that. But dayamn is it slow today.

I'm waiting for a tool to arrive from Stromer for an electric bike I've been working on since August 29. Two of the e-bikes arrived that day in boxes for assembly. One was good.The other was cursed. They both seemed ready to go by Friday that week, but the cursed one barely got a couple of miles (if that) before it went dead. The two sisters who had ridden out on the bikes walked back.

Thus began a long diagnostic process. I had already replaced a main power cable in a bike of the same brand for another member of the Seasonal Resident E-bike Society. He used to be number 368 on the Forbes list of richest people in America, although I did not see him on the list last I checked. Suffice to say he has the funds and corporate clout to get results. We get parts shipped overnight-Saturday delivery for e-bikes belonging to the S.R.E.S. I say this not to brag, merely to marvel at the level of attention enjoyed by the rich and powerful. It's not US they're shipping the parts to. It's the agents of the former #368, who just happen to be us. Us be them. Take that, grammar!

For some reason we don't seem to get real overbearing wealthy snobs in here. The rich we do get, while prone to occasional outbreaks of unbecoming chiseling, have largely learned that we don't respond well to that, and we do provide competent, conscientious service. The ones who just want to sling their money around never bother to come in here. What do they need from a bike shop anyway?

There are some riders in town who simply must own better bikes than we sell. We are but yokels after all. Some of those riders we only see when we chance to look out the window at the precise moment they ride by. Others of them might come to us to get a shift cable or have a flat fixed.

I've learned one thing about e-bikes from my encounters with them over the years: Every part of them is heavy. And you will have to lift the heaviest parts over and over in the process of figuring out what's wrong and fixing it. The Stromer rear wheel, with the motor in the hub, weighs 23 pounds. I know that because I just installed the new one Stromer sent after we isolated the problem that kept the bike from working at all. It had other problems we fixed en route, but that hub motor had definitely stiffened right up. I had not been looking forward to muscling that thing around, but you do what you have to do.

Now I'm waiting for the special freewheel tool required to change the gear clusters, because the replacement wheel came with a 9-speed and the shifter on the bike only goes to 8. We didn't have an appropriate 9-speed shifter hanging around, and it should really be on Stromer's dime, not the customer's, so I called the hot line one more time. The tool is on its way. At least I hope so. I'm looking forward to taking this hot rod for a derby once it's fully functional.


Janice in GA said...

That's one thing that's kept me from buying an e-bike: weight. Also difficulty of getting it serviced.

Ok, that's two things. O.o

cafiend said...

In addition to the difficulty of getting it serviced in general you have to worry about the loss of product support in the all-too-likely event that the company that made it goes belly-up.

Steve A said...

But hey, it's a bargain compared to a Segway!