This ‘Seals the Deal’ ChainLinkers Are ‘Full-On Pantywaists’

Background Reading


The ChainLink Crowd goes from being assholes who hate the wealthy for driving fancy cars to behaving like Divas with Beards! Check that make it Trust Fund Babies who are tightwads. Get over yourselves folks. These crappy bikes you fly around on need service from time-to-time. But squeaky brakes are something you can take care of yourselves. You pinch pennies as if Abe Lincoln was some sort of fetish and then when you run into a soul mate with a soul patch like your own and see in his behavior a reflection of your own you have a melt down.

Get a friggin’ bit of steel wool or very light sand paper and clean off the surface of the pad to make sure that it is not the problem. Also check that the pad is flexible. The way you tight ass suckers pinch pennies it would not surprise me that those pads are a decade or more old. When the rubber oxidizes beyond a certain point they squeal asshole.

Also check that the rim surface is clean. Use some Orange Peelz and remove any dirt or grime that might be causing the problem. Finally get your hands dirty and check the alignment of the pads. They should be flat on the rim when fully engaged. If that is the case then fine. I know that some folks like to angle the pads a bit to allow for flexing in the brake arms. But for now just make certain that when the pads come into contact with the rim they are parallel.

Finally if guys like you were half the cyclists you think you are you would be too ashamed to write a rant like this one. I kept waiting for you to start bitch slapping everyone in sight just to make your point. But that would probably have caused you to break a nail. Ever think of getting a job as a real diva where this bullshit performance is generally tolerated?

I’m sure one of the Kardashians could use a stand-in on her days off.

By the way you missed a bit of stubble on your legs when you were shaving them this morning!

unfortunate experience with REI bike service
Posted by igz on August 30, 2013 at 12:06am

Bad Hair Day! © Aaron Karnovski

Bad Hair Day!
© Aaron Karnovski

ill start by saying that i love REI. i am a member, i take advantage of the scratch and dent section, i have always had awesome customer service getting help with gear for some of the best trips of my life including backpacking the adirondacks and the great canyon. but yesterday, on wednesday, i had my first negative but impactful experience. i say impactful because it still lingers with me to this moment and i feel the need to share it. it still angers me.

im going away this weekend on a fun trip. but i had to get some basics – freeze dried food, a new fuel canister, a new pair of swim trunks that didnt “dig-in in unfortunate ways”. while running in, i figured i could take care of a minor issue on bike while i shop around for a bit. you see, i hate brakes. not because of their function, but because i always seem to have a difficult time with their maintenance. when i purchased “the joker” from my girlfriend in late winter/early spring, the bike was ridden for the first time in about 10 years, maybe more. the brake pads were completely dry rotted. so i replaced them.

yeah, its an easy fix. heck, ive built entire bikes, i built my own wheel with the guidance of west town bikes, ive maintained my year round ridden bikes for 6 years. but them brakes, GAH! i couldnt get them to stop squeaking. yes, ive adjusted them, yes, i sanded them, yes, i rode on them, yes, ive cleaned the rims. i’ll just let REI deal with them while i shop.

back to the situation. i walk up to the bike service counter. a nice lady approaches me. “do you need any help?” yes, i do my brakes SQUEAK. they work fine otherwise, they just squeak. she asked me to recreate the situation. i asked if i can ride it there in the aisle to demonstrate. “sure”. the brakes need the velocity to show it. the brakes stop the wheel fine if you hold the bike up, spin the tire, pull the brake. i rode and she quickly acknowledged the squeak and accepted the bike for service. we wrote up a ticket after a few more questions, and she determined the service was “brake adjustment”. i clarified the brakes were fine as function, just the squeak. but “squeak” is not an option in the book, so sure, brake adjustment it is.

i leave the joker with the service team and go shopping.

i spend the next 20 minutes or so shopping for camp food, picked up the fuel canister, found a slightly too big but ok pair of swim trunks, and found a really cool button down on sale. i checked the returned gear section for a possible foam sleep pad (my inflatable big agnes has a leak, and they had one last time i looked) but no dice. back to the bike service desk.

i find my bike leaning against the counter. but no employees, no maintenance techs, nothing. i think, ok, someone can grab the bike and leave with it. i stand around a minute and decide to check the work on the bike. i get on it to ride it 10 feet or so to get that velocity, pull the brakes and SQUEEK. god damnit!

i put the bike back against the counter and wait for someone to come by. no one. i walk to the walkways to hope to be spotted by an employee. a guy towards the front of the store sees me and slowly walks towards me. “can i help you?” in a tone that came off as if he was annoyed he had to help. not sure if i just read it wrong, but whatever. i explained my front brake still squeaked and now the rear brake, tho it didnt squeak anymore, it barely gripped. and then he went a bit defensive on me. he said, well, you know your wheel is a bit out of true and the brakes arent rubbing. my brakes were never rubbing, my brakes worked fine other than the noise. then he said i need to clean them and my rim. i had to explain i came here to fix the squeak.

i still have a squeak and a less functioning rear brake now.

i went to demonstrate as he continued to dismiss my repair needs and expectations, got on the bike to show him the severity of the squeak. the pitch does hurt eardrums now. he said “uh, you need to get off that bike, you cant ride in here, a customer might come out of the isle and you might hit them”. i clarified i just tried to show him that i still have a problem, showing him the same way i showed the other employee.

he said “hold on, ill call the tech”, still in his fussy attitude and tone. calls him, and says – still fussy – “the customer is complaining about the work you did, the front squeaks and the rear squeaks worse. can you come back here. he is still complaining”. i corrected him about the rear brake, he rolled his eyes at me and remitted the correction to the tech.

the tech comes and adjust the brakes without talking to me. now, speaking with him for the first time explained why my bike is in the shop. not for rubbing brakes, but for the damn squeak. i thanked him on the rear rim, but explained it wasnt gripping properly. he adjusted both brakes. he said “here, go try it now”.

i grab the bike and head outside, but i quickly get stopped by fussy attitude guy saying “uh, you need to pay for that!”. i explained to him im merely going outside to test the repair and the rest of my purchase is right behind him, ill be right back.
i go test the bike. SQUEAK!

back in. maintenance tech asks if he can take for a test. by all means, please do.

he comes back saying “i wasnt really able to recreate it unless i really pulled hard on the brake. i dont know, it is what it is. just give yourself more room to stop. and so you know a brake adjustment doesnt cover squeak.”

i underline to simply remind the reader that i HAD A DAMN SQUEAK, the whole reason i handed them my bike.

by that time, i was rather irritated. i spent way more time than i had there trying to resolve the problem, my girlfriend was awaiting my help to move boxes, and i just needed to get back home. i paid $130 and change for the camp gear, some clothes, and the damn “brake adjustment”. oh, and i cashed in my $17 dividend.

the more i thought about it today, the more irritated i got about the situation. i didnt like the unnecessary attitude, i didnt appreciate being talked to like an idiot, i didnt appreciate the “not covered” part. i would have been fine if they told me they were just going to replace the pads. but instead, they said i could do that if i wanted to install it myself. i actually entertained that thought for a moment but quickly remembered thats what brought me here in the first place. i asked the employee ringing me up to set aside that pad set from my pile. i wasnt buying it.

i should have gone to comrades like i planned in the first place.

so…anyone have a good experience there?

Follow-up Observations

I really dislike the fact that on issues like this one some 50 replies have been generated thus far. On weightier issues you can barely find anyone with either an opinion or a cogent argument to submit. But that’s the Urban Cycling Community, all bluster and very little in the way of anything other than passion. You can get these guys to go just about anywhere and do anything if beer or sex is involved. Oh, and they would kill their own parents for a chance to appear in a photo op for the nightly news.

Look, there is one and only one cause of brake squeal. It is what is happening between the brake surface and the rim surface. The brakes squeal when they grab (brought on by hand pressure when squeezing the brake levers) but do not hold and instead the rim slides past emitting the squeal. It is that simple.

You have to look for simple stuff first. That is probably why these folks are so very perplexed by this problem because it takes some degree of troubleshooting to diagnose the cause.

  • First, make certain that your brakes pads are new enough to warrant worrying about the squeal. If you have had them on for a few seasons it is probably time to change them. The rubber oxidizes and gets brittle and that means it will not maintain a flush contact with the rim, ergo a squeal.
  • Second, check the rim to make certain that nothing is adhering to its surface that might make the brake pad lose traction. If for instance you lube your pivot points on your brakes and the oil gets onto the rim, you may generate a squeal. So I suggest using a strong solvent like Orange Peelz to clean the surface of the rim.
  • Third, assuming the brake pads are relatively new you might have gotten some foreign substance on the surface of the pads that come into contact with the rim. You can use a solvent there or if you prefer try a bit of very light sandpaper to clean up the contact area.
  • Fourth, how old is the rim? If you have been riding that wheel for a few seasons (especially in wet weather on dirty streets) your brakes have probably scoured enough metal off the rim walls that there is not a smooth surface for the pads to grab. Consider replacing worn out rims. Some riders take a bit of emery cloth to the rims to even out the grooving that results from braking in weather weather with sand and grit on the roadway.
  • Fifth, your pads really need to be adjust initially so that they rest flush on the rim when the brakes levers have pressure applied. Don’t get fancy trying to toe-in the pads just get them flush. That should take out their adjustment from the equation.

You really ought to try and get around to clearing up these problems with enough lead time so that either a wheel can be rebuilt (should the rim be the problem) or the pads replaced. Any shop needs enough lead time to get things right and most I have encountered take their time to get things right. Walking into REI and asking that your brake issues be resolved in 20 minutes is well, arrogant.

Look there have to be people whose bikes have been there for a few days or perhaps even a week. The mechanic is probably backlogged. In you walk and want instant service. Urban Cyclists always complain about the arrogance of upscale foreign car owners. But their own arrogance escapes them entirely. What is more the problem is relative low-level in nature and really should be scoped out at home before you bother heading into the mechanic.

If you folks are as cool as you think you are then what the heck are you doing discussing brake squeals and hissy fits over something that was not resolved in 20-minutes? Come on! Get over yourselves and get a life.

As a group you are among the cheapest bastards on the planet. But ironically also among the most demanding. You are the kinds of assholes who borrow folding bikes from strangers and then don’t have the sense to protect it from theft while it sits outdoors. Then as a group you want to demand that REI be more careful in how it stores customer bikes. Sheesh!

This from a group that is losing bikes to theft at an alarming rate and hold their breath until blue because the cops are not protecting their private property. And as far as private property goes you as a class are the very worst at honoring that concept:

Parking In The Bike Lane

Parking In The Bike Lane

Cut the TrustFund Baby act and fix your own fucking brakes! And while you are at it rather than lecture REI about private property turn that wrath on yourselves.