Ritchey Wheel Bearing Problem and Lousy Ritchey Customer Service
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  1. #1

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    Ritchey Wheel Bearing Problem and Lousy Ritchey Customer Service

    I have a set of Ritchey Protocol WCS wheels. I've had them for 3 years and put over 7000miles on them. The bearings in both wheels have gone out. I found the bearings for the front wheels on line and have replaced them.

    Shortly after replacing the front bearings, my mechanic noticed that the rear wheel was making a noise. He took the wheel apart hoping to replace the bearings, but he couldn't find the bearings locally. He's a one-man operation and he asked me if I could do a search and find the bearings and then order them so he could replace them. Every place I checked was either out of stock for these bearings or overseas. My mechanic, who is a Ritchey dealer, gave me a phone # and asked that I call Ritchey and order the bearings direct. If need be, I would have the bearings shipped to my mechanic. Simple enough, right? No.

    I called Ritchey and spoke to a customer rep. As soon as he found out I was not a dealer, he just wanted to get off the phone. All I wanted was to find out if they had the bearings for the wheel. He said they had a 'kit'. Fine. I wanted to check the bearing size to make sure we were on the same page. He wouldn't even tell me. I tried to explain that I was doing the leg work for a small shop. His reply: Crickets. You just gotta' love that kind of customer service.

    If I need something I can't get locally I just order it on line and wait for it to show up. These bearings are different. They're some kind of proprietary bearing that aren't widely available. I can't even order them from Ritchey's web site. VXB bearing has them, but in ceramic or ceramic hybrid at a cost of $60 + dollars each. I need 4 and would order 8 to have them on hand in case the bearings fail again.

    If you have this wheel set you should know that you could be in trouble if those rear bearings need to be replaced. The bearings I need, and you may need as well, are 15x26x7 2RS. Maybe you can find them online for less than $60 each. I haven't checked since my shop has them on order. It's been two weeks and they still haven't shown up. Since this is my only set of wheels, I'm riding them with that one failed bearing and it makes quite a bit of noise. My mechanic did repack them and assures me I'm doing no damage to the rear hub in riding them but I guess at some point that bearing is going to completely give out. Hopefully the replacement bearings will have arrived by then.
    It takes forever to reach a destination that does not exist.

  2. #2
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
    Reputation: CleavesF's Avatar
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    Umm... your Ritchey dealer, the "one man operation", shouldn't make YOU do the work in getting your YOUR parts.

    When I asked for proprietary spokes for my EA90 wheels, I didn't call Easton, my Easton dealer did.
    '09 Voodoo Wazoo
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    1 hour of running = 1 hour of wasted time when you could have been riding. - Alaska Mike

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by CleavesF
    Umm... your Ritchey dealer, the "one man operation", shouldn't make YOU do the work in getting your YOUR parts.

    When I asked for proprietary spokes for my EA90 wheels, I didn't call Easton, my Easton dealer did.
    Let me explain: I live up north where our road bike season begins, if we're lucky, in early April, and extends, if we're lucky, to late September. My mechanic is one of the better ones in town, if not the best. He does everything from fixing bikes to answering the phone. The bike rack outside his shop is always crammed with bikes in need of repair and it's not uncommon for him to be building a couple of bikes while trying to work on others.

    Because our season is so compressed, everything that needs to get done needs to get done in that compressed time, and more so early in the season. To cut down on turn around time, it isn't at all uncommon for customers to do some of the leg work since the time my mechanic spends on the phone is time taken away from fixing bikes.

    In the end, my mechanic did have to call Ritchey to order the bearings.
    It takes forever to reach a destination that does not exist.

  4. #4
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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    All I'm saying is... I understand Ritchey (and other companies) will never deal with customers directly without going through a dealer.

    This is to make sure you went through "proper" channels in getting your equipment. I tried calling Truvativ to get new chainrings when my Rouleur dropped the chain repeatedly until the chain guard pin broke off! They did the same to me.

    Yeah, it's stupid and mean, but you can't blame them for just following company policy. Other companies are nicer, some even have reps checking out these forums which is awesome (eg: Look, Bikesdirect, Zen, etc...) and are willing to deal with you directly. Either way, different companies, different policies.
    '09 Voodoo Wazoo
    '08 Pedal Force RS2
    '06 Raleigh Cadent 5.0
    '01 Trek 4300 MTB
    '93 Norco Nitro MTB Touring
    '88 Schwinn Prelude Fixie
    1 hour of running = 1 hour of wasted time when you could have been riding. - Alaska Mike

  5. #5
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    Ritchey should make it easy

    I respectfully disagree. IMHO Ritchey (or any other manufacturer) should make it as easy as possible for people to get the replacement parts that they need. Regardless of where the customer may have acquired the equipment, IMHO they have an obligation to respond to the customer's needs. This is especially true in the case of items that (like the bearings in question) are hard to acquire from another source. As I do all of my own mechanical work, for something like this my default would be to go straight to the manufacturer for the parts. If I found them hard to deal with, I would think twice before purchasing that brand again.
    The avatar is not me; just cool and suitably old skool.

  6. #6
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    I can understand why a manufacturer would not want to deal with end consumers. While I know that I am mechanically competent, they don't. If they sold me parts I might screw up the installation and blame them. Or, more likely, I would take up their tech's time with dumb questions for a small sale.

    Some manufactuers, mostly smaller boutique ones, do deal direct with customers. I always appreciate the ones that do, and buy from them.

  7. #7

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    I don't have a problem with Ritchey not wanting to sell to me. I'm sure they have agreements with their dealer network that prohibits them from doing so. Okay. I get that part.

    But I just wanted to ask some questions to make sure the bearings I needed were available. The wheels came with my bike, which was purchased in 2006. The wheels could have been made any time before that. What if the wheel design has been changed in the mean time using a different set of bearings? The rep said they had bearing kits for the hubs, but would they have bearing kits for my specific rear wheel? That's all I wanted to know and Ritchey's reply: Crickets.
    It takes forever to reach a destination that does not exist.

  8. #8
    BirdieBogey
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    I'll revive this discussion 15 months later to gripe that I am having similar problems with Ritchey over a fairly well known free wheel hub problem. The website lists "authorized" Ritchey dealers, but most are just LBSs that service all sorts of products are are not spontaneous with the nuances of a particular problem. They can just order parts from Ritchey.

    If a manufacturer is going to hide behind a dealer network, it ought to have a consumer friendly website for parts and service so that the mechanically minded can educate themselves about a problem. This is one thing I like about Shimano. You can't get a person on the phone, but they post the technical specifications of most all their products online, right down to exploded engineering drawings, parts numbers lists, and compatibility charts. This makes matching up parts and maintenance a whole lot easier. Ritchey's website has a couple of pathetic disassembly tutorials but not much else.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    If Ritchey, or any other manufacturer for that matter, had any desire to deal with the public/end user they would bypass the dealer network and go customer direct. This would result in them making way more money too. But they don't want to do that. Not many companies do. Cause it's a PITA and not worth the money to deal with these types of phone calls.
    Ritchey's bearing are not proprietary, you just don't know where to look. Your mechanic is too lazy to pick up the phone himself and call Ritchey. If he's too busy, he could fall off of his wallet and hire some seasonal help.
    Let me ask you a question. If the alternator blows on you car would you call Ford directly, or would you go to a athorized dealer or aftermarket parts shop?
    In short, this is not a Ritchey customer service issue, it's a "you" issue. Actually, it's your lazy mechanics issue.

  10. #10
    BirdieBogey
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    I did go to four different LBS's on my Ritchey hub issue. One guy replaced a bearing which solved half the problem, one could not take the hub apart, one was backed up for a week. The last one seemed to know what he was doing and reconditioned the hub and repacked it. No new parts needed, at least not yet. I disagree that this is a "me" problem. I am just a bike rider trying to educate myself to problem that a few board posters claimed Ritchey knows about, but could not get any reliable information on it. Maybe they were wrong. In the end,however, it's not worth too much of my time and money to obsess over these things.

  11. #11
    Ritchey Design Rep
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    Hi all,

    If you have specific questions about Ritchey parts and accessories, post them on the "Ask the Ritchey Rep" Thread. I try and check it regularly and answer as many questions as I can.

    BirdieBogey, wheels are a complicated beast. There are many different factors that can cause a wheel to fail. We lean pretty heavily on local bike shops because they're our eyes out there and they're typically the best place to start when accessing an issue. I'm sorry to hear about the poor experience with your wheel. If you have any further questions about it, please let me know.
    Last edited by Ritchey_Dave; 10-07-2010 at 08:02 AM.
    Dave Law
    Ritchey Design Representative

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oversane
    The bearings I need, and you may need as well, are 15x26x7 2RS. Maybe you can find them online for less than $60 each.
    http://www.lmgtfy.com/?q=bearing+15x26x7+2RS

    You seem to want to help yourself, but by calling someone else and expecting them to help you. Might as well just go all the way and purchase the bearings yourself from whomever you choose and leave Ritchey out of it (unless it is a warranty issue).

  13. #13
    BirdieBogey
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    Just some afterthoughts. After the rear hub started making noise I went to a Ritchey approved LBS to have it serviced. The one bearing they replaced did not solve the problem. A second LBS was not able to help, so I got on the Internet (including this board) and found some posts suggesting there was an inherent flaw in some Ritchey hubs of this vintage and that several customers had received new hubs from Ritchey. I went to a different Ritchey authorized LBS and discussed my findings with them. They had not heard of any such problem, did not seem interested in contacting Ritchey, and simply repacked the hub and sent me on my way. The noise problem is still there. So I did not start out to involve Ritchey. I only became frustrated and tried to research the problem for myself. In the meantime, I bought a new set of wheels and am happy with them. I will have probably another bike mechanic that I trust completely disassemble the Ritchey hub and let me know what I am up against.

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Ritchey bearings

    Don't know if anyone is still interested in this thread, but if you don't mind getting your hands dirty and fixing the bearings yourself, Billys UK lists bearings of the right size here:

    http://www.billys.co.uk/english/grou...prod=bg-sealed

    4 quid each, plus postage from UK. Don't know how good they are-just ordered a couple.

    Cheers,

    Nitram

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