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I have a Sturmey Archer 3-speed hub on an ex-single speed. I got a flat on my way to work and couldn't ride any more. So I jumped on the train and took it to the bike shop near work (the shop who fitted the hub was too far from my work) to get them to fit a new tyre and tube. They've generally seemed pretty knowledgeable and competent when I've used them in the past.

When I picked it up, they'd removed the changing cable and shaft (sorry, I don't know what this is called) that triggers the gear change from the hub and when I pointed it out they didn't even think that was a problem. So I assume they aren't exactly familiar with Sturmey Archer hubs.

Unfortunately when they re-fitted the axle nuts they cross threaded it. So the nut was completely stripped and now I can't properly thread a new nut onto the axle, as the thread on the axle is also damaged.

My first thought is to take it back and get them to fix it. But if the fix necessitates a new axle, I don't trust them to do the work. So I guess I should ask them to pay for me to return the hub to the shop I bought it from so they can repair it, but I doubt they'll agree to that.

What is a reasonable expectation? How should I proceed from here?

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They owe you a new axle. Then fix it yourself. –  Daniel R Hicks Jul 15 '12 at 10:23
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I'd recommend talking to the owner and not the mechanics. Any respectable mechanic will own up to their mistakes, but if they didn't do it when you left, there is a good chance they won't now. Did you point out their mistake while you were still there? –  WTHarper Jul 15 '12 at 13:23
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2 Answers 2

up vote 7 down vote accepted

First thing always is to take it back to that LBS and talk to the manager or owner. At the very least that way you know that they know you're unhappy. Probably they will offer to fix the problem for you (or get one of their mechanics to do it). From working in a bike shop we always took those return/re-repair jobs quite seriously, because one angry ex-customer will tell 100 people but a happy customer might tell 2.

Getting them to pay a competitor to fix your bike is harder, especially if you want to take it there yourself and get reimbursed. Generally they will get a better price than you will just because they're another bike shop, so it's better for them to send the job through. Which they will do if they can't do the work themselves. Small shops often do this with stuff like suspension rebuilds that require specialised tools and knowledge. But for a simple wheel install? Unlikely.

(edit)But now that it's an axle replacement you might have more luck. This is likely to be tricky anyway, since axles for some older SA hubs aren't made any more (AFAIK), so it might come down to who actually has the part. Your best bet might be to find a shop that does deal with older hubs and get a quote from them. Tell them you're going g back to the first shop, so they don't write "replace type 253a axle in SA 3xHD hub" on the quote (because that would let any monkey buy one on eBay). That way you're just doing work you'd have to do anyway, and you might get the actual repair done free. At the very least you have some idea of how hard it's going to be to do the work and what it will cost, for when you're negotiating with original shop.

The question for the shop is whether you be significantly less annoyed if they do this than if they just offer to fix it themselves, and how will that story play out to people you tell it to? Unless you lie you're going to be telling potential customers "they screwed up, and when I took it back they offered to fix it but I wanted to have them pay another shop to fix it and they wouldn't do that". Not something that would put me off using that shop.

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Thanks for the comments... however it's not just a simple wheel install. Replacing the axle would require disassembly and reassembly of a Sturmey Archer hub and I wouldn't trust that to anyone who's not familiar with it. –  Mac Jul 15 '12 at 23:10
    
You're right, I forgot that bit. I'll edit my answer –  Kohi Jul 15 '12 at 23:18
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Just eat the cost and take the bike to a shop you trust and have them fix it properly. It's probably way more hassle to deal with a shop that sucks if it's not a major repair.

Second step should be to be prepared to fix a flat at any time. I never ride without

  • A patch kit
  • Tire levers
  • Multi-tool
  • Mini-pump or co2
  • Tire boot
  • Usually a spare tube as well.

    All of this stuff fits comfortably in a small under-seat bag, there is never any reason not to have this stuff all the time.

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    It's not fair that the shop messed up something on your bike. However, I doubt any shop would pay you to get something fixed elsewhere. They would probably just tell you to sod off by even proposing it. –  Benzo Jul 16 '12 at 13:15
        
    I do have the gear and tried to change it but the tyre was too damaged. –  Mac Jul 16 '12 at 22:49
        
    But you're probably right that it's not worth entrusting the bike to them –  Mac Jul 16 '12 at 22:51
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