Your LBS to the rescue

January 25, 2013 § 26 Comments

A lot of the time I write about things that never happened outside the four corners of my skull. Rarely do I write about things that really did happen, just as they happened. “Rarely” as in “Never.”

The other day, though, I posted a rant about night lights. The object of my derision was Nite Rider and the cost of replacing the power pack, which was more than the entire unit. I switched to Serfas for my headlight, as I’d had such great results with my Serfas taillight.

Naturally, a few days after getting the new headlight, the Serfas 500, and being very pleased with it, I became very displeased with it. It had the dangerous and terrifying defect of shutting off every time I went over a bump.

“Well,” said one useless biker friend, “quit going over bumps.”

It also shut off at high speeds from road vibrations. Same friend: “You shouldn’t be going fast at night.”

So I went off for a bit on Serfas in a blog post, never expecting that Serfas would get in touch with me to remedy the problem.

And they didn’t.

However, a day or so after excoriating the product, my phone rang, or my email rang. I can’t remember which.

“Hi, Seth. This is Bob down at Bike Palace.”

“Hey, Bob.”

“You know that Serfas light you’re having trouble with?”

“Do I ever.” For a few seconds I wondered why he was calling about the light. To complain, maybe, about my rash treatment? After all, I’d bought the light from the PV Bicycle Center, which was now shuttered.

“Why don’t you bring it down to the shop and let me swap it out for you?”


“Yeah, we’ve got several in stock. Just drop it off and we’ll give you a new one. They’re great lights and it sounds like you got a dud. Glad to put you onto a new one.”

“Wow, Bob,” I said. “Thanks.”

“You bet,” he said.

A few days later I was down at the Bike Palace in San Pedro, where Bob and owner Tony Jabuka took back the light they had never sold me, and put a new one in my trembling little hands. “Ride safe,” said Bob.

“Thanks, man. I will.”

When’s the last time that happened with a bike shop that you only patronize on the Internet? Right. Me, either.

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§ 26 Responses to Your LBS to the rescue

  • Darwin says:

    Looks like a trip to Bike Palace is in order. I’m buying a new bike in the next few weeks and they have two of the brands I am considering.

  • dan martin says:

    I dont know why they would bother reaching out to some wanker. Not as if the kook might mention them in a blog that people actually read. Not good business at all.

  • Mike says:

    The Bike Palace people always are giving that little bit extra.

  • Leo says:

    I moved to the Southbay area from Lake Forest 3 years ago, thanks to my marriage to my lovely wife Randy. I know all of the LBSs in Orange County and I can tell you that The Bike Palace is right at the top with customer service. If they don’t have what you want, Tony can get it no matter what. And you should see my new Venge (Black/White/Red) with new 2013 SRAM Red and the new Specialized CLX60 wheels. Thank you Tony.

  • CB says:

    I can’t say enough about Tony and Bob at Bike Palace. They’ve always taken good care of me. Jose, Cisco and TJ are great also.

  • Josh says:

    Damn straight!
    The Bike Palace is awesome!

    I may not ride for them this year, but I’m still a member of their club.

    Great people and a good selection of top notch equipment.

  • Erik Braucht says:

    Seth, my name is Erik. I am the product manager here at Serfas. Next time, contact us. I am glad that Bob and Tony went out of their way to take care of you. Our dealers are awesome and they go out of their way to make a difference. They also know what kind of company we are and how we stand behind our products and always stand behind our Retailers. Hope you are liking the light, and if you ever want to give any feedback shoot me an email at

  • John D says:

    First and foremost, thank you to both Bob and Tony for giving a solution to the customer. I would like to say what The Bike Palace has demonstrated, is top notch customer service, from what so many other retailers could learn from.

    My name is John Denson, General Manager at Serfas. I’ve been with the company, since it started in 1993. I’m bummed that Seth did not reach out directly to us in the first place, as we would have handled this situation from the get go. Remember, lights are electronics, and nothing in electronics is 100%. The same reason Boeing has all of it’s 787 Dreamliners grounded at this time. We’re all human, we all make mistakes, but it’s how we resolve the problems.

    I noticed a comment above about this being a bad business decision. I don’t think this was a bad business decision at all. The retailer understands the customer, is who keeps it’s doors open. I know it sounds so complicated, but Tony and Bob understand the importance of service, and maintaining a high level of service to keep their customers coming back.

    Kudos to The Bike Palace!

    John Denson

    • Admin says:

      The “bad business decision” was facetious. Dan’s funny that way. The point of the post and the comments is that the LBS is awesome. The way they handled this was an example, and it gave everyone a chance to see how awesome Bike Palace is. Also, it speaks for the confidence dealers have in Serfas that they’ll warranty an item they didn’t sell. Kudos to you and them.

      The “we all make mistakes” is bullshit, though. I almost got killed by a car that didn’t see me when the light went out descending Highridge. Nor is the Boeing example a good one unless you’re prepared to ground the entire Serfas fleet of lights until the problem is found and fixed.

      Some products you depend on with your life; headlights are one. Anyway, no harm done and I’m looking forward to trying out the replacement light. Thanks for the personal and public response!

  • +1. The Bike Palace folks are top notch. Tony and crew were always open to my sweetie riding his bike right through the doors and into the back for who knows what, needed out of a junk drawer. And my S -Works Roubaix came from them, and it is a beloved ride.

  • Tony Jabuka says:

    Thank you everyone for the kind words. We try our best to make you all happy. Some days we are better at it than others.
    Go Fly a Bike!

  • Mark Lacaillade says:

    Which brings up a question – for those of us who have almost exclusively patronized PVBC over the last X number of years, where do we go now? Sounds like Bike Palace is a good candidate – any others?

  • Sounds like a trap. Only go if they promise to meet you in a public place.

  • Ward Thompson says:

    I started using the net for bikes after spending mucho $$ at the LBS & they never remembered my name. So I bought a bike & wheels from an internet outfit. When I broke a spoke they sent me some replacements …Free! They sent me a multi tool …Free! (“we appreciate your business”), and finally, a comp. Subscription to PELOTON mag. Happily, there are 2 LBS’s in our town now & competition has them both trying harder.

  • John Kranzler says:

    The power of a great blog shown here!

  • JP says:

    That little shop in Pedro opened the door to a much needed 180 in my health and life in general. It also introduced me to a community of friends and wankers alike that I’m lucky to know today. Tony, Bob and all the guys in that shop are incredible people, honest/hardworking/ detailed mechanics and love the sport. Couldn’t be prouder to wear the canary blue, well….at least until our new kits come in. Really lucky to have my LBS, as we all are, no matter which you call yours.

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