Behind the Scenes: SRAM's Colorado Development Center

Sep 16, 2013
by Rachelle Frazer  
 
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Colorado Springs. You might be pressing to conjure images of what you know about this small city nestled at the southern end of the Rocky Mountains. Well, it sits an impressive 6,010 feet above sea level, which attracts many elite athletes to come and train in the sparse amounts of oxygen it offers. Being based at the foot of the Rockies it also provides an abundance of outdoor activities to indulge in from shootin’ guns to riding bikes. It’s the home of the United States Olympic Committee and its original Training Center, as well as five different military installations including Cheyenne Mountain Complex, a command center that was built deep within a granite mountain during the Cold War to monitor the global airways for ballistic missile attacks headed towards North America. Enough about that though, what you might not know is that Colorado Springs is also home to a large development part of SRAM Corporation. The mountain biker's dream factory.

Colorado Springs it s pretty easy on the eye.

So why Colorado Springs?
Back in 2000, looking to reduce its production costs by moving out of the expensive Bay Area the American born and bred suspension company RockShox moved their operation and 50 staff from San Jose and Santa Cruz to the unassuming city of Colorado Springs. With terrain that was appropriate for a suspension company to test their product on, plus lucrative tax breaks that ushered in big name companies that were bustling from the dot com boom such as Intel, Colorado Springs was experiencing vast growth not seen since the days of the gold rush in the late 1800’s. A year and a half after RockShox settled in to their new locale SRAM came onto the scene. The bicycle component company was looking to expand its brand and with financial struggles still at RockShox, SRAM took over ownership of the iconic brand. Over the next year and a half production was sent to SRAM’s Taiwan factory and RockShox was scaled back to around 25 development employees. However, over the next ten years with the success of SRAM and RockShox product, plus further acquisitions of AVID, Truvativ, Zipp and Quarq, coupled with the introduction of new product development groups such as MTB Wheels it didn’t take long for the SRAM umbrella to grow into the vast behemoth that it is today. Now with around 80 people on staff, the SRAM Colorado Springs office started to burst the seams of their original RockShox location and so in 2012 a task force was assembled to source an appropriate space to operate and grow into over the next five years. After six months of canvassing different options around town a nearby call center was chosen to be turned into the sleek facility that now houses the ever growing company.


The Space
The 9000 square foot space was gutted of its call center set-up and re-fitted to house several groups from within the SRAM family. These groups include the development teams for RockShox, AVID and SRAM MTB Wheels as well as SRAM Techinical Universtiy, the Technical Communications Department, SRAM Race Team, a machine shop, a test lab and a document control department. With so many different groups to cater to the task force was challenged to keep all parties involved happy, and after the struggles associated with moving were overcome Building Manager Mark Winter believes that the new location has been well received.

When we visited it was a blue sky week, warm and sunny and from the outside there is no clear giveaway that the ordinary brown industrial park building houses a veritable feast of bike development activity. Only when we entered into the hushed and almost sterile lobby were the first SRAM markings seen, with a World Bicycle Relief Bike propped against one wall and a SRAM pART piece along with a few photographs of SRAM athletes along another. Once you’ve made it through the guest entrance the buzz of office life can be heard and the real SRAM distinction that has come to be expected of the brand hits you. The open concept space is highlighted with red feature walls and branding logo’s emblazoned across others.

  Mike Levy, is that you?


  Secret stuff that you and I can't see lives in the big red lockers next to each product development teams. The future of SRAM is actually hidden in the RedBox, before becoming BlackBox.

Culturally SRAM doesn’t separate management from the rest so everyone has the same desk set-up as the next person. Private conversations and phone calls take place in one of the nine meeting room spaces.

Every meeting room is named after either a local riding location or trail which the staff picked during a voting process.
  Every meeting room is named after either a local riding location or trail which the staff picked during a voting process.

  This common area is affectionately known as "The Holodeck." It can't transport you to other places specifically, but you can watch The Tour, Crankworx or Red Bull Rampage from here.

Being a bicycle parts manufacturer means that extra thought has gone into the building to provide for the fact that well, there are a lot of bikes and riders to be catered to. Most of the long hallways in the building are lined with vinyl flooring so that bikes can be ridden and moved around on them. Any carpeted zones mean strictly no bikes allowed. There are a few Razor scooters scattered about the place that some injured employees use to commute from one hallway to the next and others use just to amuse themselves. A special galvanized tin has been applied to the lower half of the walls so that handlebars don’t cause dings and scratches in the paint. No tin, no bike leaning.

How could you resist pulling a manual on these perfect hallways Lunch time rides seem to end with the habitual hallway wheelie down The Brown Mile .
   How could you resist pulling a manual on these perfect hallways? Lunch time rides seem to end with the habitual hallway wheelie down "The Brown Mile."


The Commuter Room
SRAM weren’t messing around when they turned this old utility room into the commuter room. With bikes that go out for testing and people riding to and from work it’s pretty important for things to stay clean. A special slab of concrete was laid for the bike wash zone and a drainage system was installed that includes a sump to separate any oil and debris from going into the sewer system. In the old building bike washing was done in the car park, so during winter months a virtual ice skating rink would form. Now there is hot and cold water which can be accessed out of the retractable hose system attached to the ceiling, an air drying system and plenty of space on the racks for almost 50 bikes. With all this riding and testing going on, SRAM needs to keep its staff clean too. The facility is equipped with a locker room, showers and a towel service for the employees.

There s no excuse not to ride your bike to work with this set-up.

Yeah that s right. Hot and cold baby
  Yeah that's right. Hot and cold baby!

The Machine Shop
This room is where the design teams dreams become reality. The engineers from each of the product teams will send their designs to the machine shop to be made into small runs of prototypes. The machinists will then program the parameters into their software and send it to the lathes and mills to be made. It might take several versions of product to be made to smooth out any kinks in the design but once good results are received from the test lab and field testing the final designs can then be sent to the manufacturing team for production.

  The machine shop has three full time employees that turn engineer's designs into reality.

From programming to the lathe to reality. Caesar has made it all.
  From programming to the lathe, to reality. Caesar has made it all.

When Pinkbike visited, Caesar was making a run of eight pistons. This work took 30 hours to complete from programming to production. Caesar says that after putting in long hours perfecting his product it’s a tough pill to swallow when the prototypes get sent to the Test Lab just to be tortured to death. Partly as a vigil but also as reference Caesar keeps a drawer full of every part he has ever made.

The Test Lab
   If you want to know what's going on behind these doors you have to be an employee. We would love to show you what's inside, but we just can't.

Unfortunately there are just too many secrets in the SRAM test lab to show you, but what we can tell you is this: The machines in the test lab combined can perform over 150 different tests. These tests are designed to give performance and life span characteristics for all of the parts that are built in the machine shop, in the factories and of course by the competition. Each machine can tell you how hard it pushed, how far it pushed, how fast it pushed and how many times it pushed. All of that data is recorded and then given back to the engineers for analysis who will then give a pass or fail criteria output for that particular test. Often, a machine does not exist to run the tests the engineers desire, so SRAM custom builds its own machines. In fact, there is a team of four engineers attached specifically to the test lab to work with each of the product groups to design machines and tests to assess the product.

The Race Room
This 3000ft space has the look and feel of your buddy’s awesome pimped out garage, but better. It’s the type of place that you’d just love spend the afternoon in, dorking out on random bike parts and drinking beer whilst listening to metal. In fact that kind of activity often goes down in here on a Friday afternoon as the folks unwind from the week amongst the old school athlete jerseys and kitschy event posters in the lounge. Yeah that’s right, the Race Room has its own lounge.

Welcome to the lounge beers are in the fridge.
  Welcome to the lounge, beers are in the fridge.


Sooo many bikes parts things
  Sooo many bikes/parts/things!

This new room is about twice the size of the old warehouse with higher ceilings as well. With rows and rows of shelving that almost reach the roof the amount of product in here is somewhat overwhelming. The Race Program has a ton of stuff stored here which ends up on your favourite rider's bikes and on the truck for event support, so the need for space and organisation is vastly important. At the time of the move into the new building the race team were actually on the road, so it’s taken some time for them to get settled into their new digs after a busy summer of travel.

HB is a bit of a legend around these hallways it s only fitting that he should adorn them.
  HB is a bit of a legend around these hallways, it's only fitting that he should adorn them.

Palmer was here.
  Palmer was here.

It s a really good question.
  It's a really good question.

Race Team Manager John Dawson happened to be sporting his best Pinkbike wear when we visited.
  Race Program Manager John Dawson happened to be sporting his best Pinkbike wear when we visited.

The Race Truck is where the team spends most of their time when they’re on the road. The big rig gets emptied, cleaned and flipped of product after each event. Then she’s re-stocked and re-loaded to head out on to the next gig.


Bryan and Keaton were giving the truck a good once over after returning from Sea Otter.
  Bryan and Keaton were giving the truck a good once over after returning from Sea Otter.

STU also send out Ride Experience vans to events all over the country.
  The Ride Experience vans are also based out of Colorado Springs.

The Engineering Shop
Another dream boat scenario to the lay person - this room was tailored so that each member of the product development groups would have their own workstation. This ensures that every team member is hands on during the entire development process. Each product group has their own area and throughout the day there will usually be a few people in the room tinkering, testing and tapping away at work.


A monthly workshop clean-up was in progress when we visited so things were looking pretty neat and tidy around the shop.
  A monthly workshop clean-up was in progress when we visited so things were looking pretty neat and tidy around the shop.

SRAM Technical University
SRAM Technical University or STU as it’s commonly referred to is the group that is in charge of dealer training and demonstration fleets. A full workshop is set up for on-site training sessions as well as a fully equipped classroom for hitting the books.

  Dealers will fly in from around the country and around the world for product training sessions held in this workshop.

  STU were leading a tour of at risk local teens around the facility when we visited. The aim: to help the group envision a brighter future for themselves.

The Loading Dock
The loading dock is a shared space and therefore is run pretty strictly with each product group having a designated area to store their goods. Stuff comes in and out so often that there is a full time employee to manage the shipping and receiving and the orderliness of the place.


The Lunch Room
After a hard morning of work there’s the killer lunch room to take a break in. Fancy some foosball? No problem, play a round while your lunch warms up. There were so many different flavours of creamers in the kitchen that it was necessary to have more than several coffees to try them all.

Take a close look. The drink dispenser was especially designed with SRAM branding. Even the plate ware is red.
  Take a close look. The drink dispenser was especially designed with SRAM branding. Even the plate ware is red.

The Culture
So we know that SRAM has a really cool new building. But what about the people that populate it? Who are these mythical folk that design SRAM product and what are they like?

Not only do they ride bikes to work they raise money to ride bikes to work.
   Not only do they ride bikes to work, they raise money whilst they ride bikes to work.

Ladies who lunch. And also ride bikes.
   Ladies who lunch. And ride bikes

The lunch time ride not only exists but thrives. One of the requirements for the new office was for the location to be close by to good rideable terrain not only for lunch rides but for easy access to testing. The nearby Ute Park was full of SRAM employees when we went for our midday spin.

There s no discriminating on what type of riding to do here either as Tuesday road ride season was also in in full effect.
   There's no discriminating on what type of riding to do here either as Tuesday road ride season was also in full effect.

They injure themselves riding bikes.
   They're human! They injure themselves riding bikes...

On our visit there were two knee re-constructions, a broken neck and a broken ankle. Jed actually broke his neck testing product. It’s safe to say he stuck his neck out for you, what a guy.

It s not all bikes all the time. These guys play in the local softball league too... Can you pick the engineer from the marketing guy
   It's not all bikes all the time. These guys (and gal) play in the local softball league too... Can you pick the engineer from the marketing guy?


SRAM is very dog friendly. Joplin guards the rear shock teams work stations whilst the other dogs have their favourite zones throughout the building. Left to right is Hayden from the machine shop Cha Cha is grand dame of the Race Room Stella is RockShox Hoo Hoo Dilly is still learning how to hang in the Race Room and Apollo resides with the Technical Writers. Tootsie not pictured was un-available to take photo s during Pinkbike s visit.
   SRAM is very dog friendly. Joplin guards the rear shock team's work stations whilst the other dogs have their favourite zones throughout the building. Left to right is Hayden from the machine shop, Cha Cha is grand dame of the Race Room, Stella is RockShox, Hoo Hoo Dilly is still learning how to hang in the Race Room and Apollo resides with the technical writers. Tootsie, not pictured, was un-available for photo's during our visit.


They re really passionate about the company they work for and some of them really like cougars.
   They're really passionate about the company they work for and some of them also like cougars.

With SRAM's strength in marketing and branding it's easy to wonder if it's more than skin deep. From visiting from the Colorado Springs location it’s easy to see that the culture and pride is rooted deeply within the staff's passion for the company and the sport. SRAM has a very low employee turn over rate and in Colorado Springs alone there is a large group with tenures of 13 years or more. We guess they must be doing something right.


Select images provided by SRAM, Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau and Jesse Parker.
www.sram.com
www.visitcos.com
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103 Comments

  • + 48
 Those stools Drool
  • + 19
 I just wanna know if they bounce!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • - 55
 I wish they would stop wasting there time making those stools or covering there pickups in stickers and make a 140mm pike fork for 26" wheels god damn you.

also Neil S is putting everyone to shame on the commuting board.
  • + 31
 They did, they called it the revelation
  • + 4
 What does Aron P doing here, not commuting?
  • + 4
 they did. its called the Argyle RCT*. It is the pike and it is for 26" wheels.......
  • + 6
 They are rad! that building is like a temple of awesome bikes! How cool?!?
  • + 2
 THAT EVIL REVOLT IN THE SHIPPING AREA PICTURE Drool Big Grin Razz oooooffft
  • + 2
 That hole building is bike part heaven
  • - 1
 I think mines abit better haha, (see pics)
  • + 1
 You do have a sweet setup, but this looks way more organized and professional
  • + 1
 EFfin' dream office!!!!
[Reply]
  • + 26
 Which one of those nuggets decided on the price of XX1 components?!
[Reply]
  • + 16
 Yo RockShox... any place for a self made visulizer + industrial/autmomotive designer with some secret design ideas?
  • + 1
 Made a product that lasts. Hint hint SRAM
[Reply]
  • + 9
 I would so sell myself for a job there. Not only the product perks or the industry fun, but it's CO!
  • + 2
 Its rad. Also my dog and Joplin are buddies!!!
  • + 1
 hah, It's interesting for me, what happens, if they buy fox/MZ instead of rock shox, shimano instead of sram or other brands instead of truvativ? do they get fired as betrayals?))
[Reply]
  • + 7
 Why is John Dawson snacking on dog food?
  • + 1
 hes not they allow ya to bring in ya dogs wish my work would allow that lol
  • + 1
 I don't know, his head's cocked a little to the side and he's got a bit of that crazed dog look in his eyes!
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I live about a mile down the road from this building! I've tried to walk in and look around but they seem to shut me down everytime haha. I also have ridden in ute valley park 15000 times and i see the SRAM guys in there all the time! I always try to talk to them but they're too fast for me to catch them Frown
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I like the service from SRAM compared to other bike companies.
But they dont pick up the postage price for warranties which is not the best. Why should I pay for your design flaws, which you should have picked up in fea or accelerated life testing. I guess you need more robust protocols moving forward.
Now I work in R&D for a very large company and we offer free returns.
Our customer service makes SRAMs look very poor and slow. Because of what we make it has too (still consumer products).
I do understand the pressure of pre and post release support, you have to love being a development engineer.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 It would be nice if the Rider /builder could actually buy a replacement part from them. Instead you need to drive down to the dealer and spend the time and gas money to order a 10$ part . Chances are the shop will order the wrong one and a month later you still have a broken bike ..Total inefficiency. We need to scrap the middle man and have access to the main man.
[Reply]
  • + 3
 Sram all the way! Always wanted to work for these guys my dog would it right in!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 Ok so... is everything in this story under 3 feet of water now?
  • + 2
 Actually no that area did okay in the flooding, most was up north near the boulder area or in manitou springs a few miles away Smile
  • + 2
 Wonder if any bike companies got hit bad...or breweries, I might cry if Ska had to close...
  • + 1
 I think durango is still good
  • + 1
 huh... for some reason, i thought Ska was in Colorado springs...
  • + 1
 Some breweries in CO like left hand got it pretty bad. SRAM is in a pretty blood safe area though.
  • + 1
 arggh, I love Lefthand!
[Reply]
  • + 4
 All we sell in my shop is Sram its the best we love it
[Reply]
  • - 1
 SRAM customer service is pretty terrible. Two years in a row at Sea Otter they straight up refused to work on my ride that was having drivetrain issues year one and brake issues the next. 2012 Sea Otter, and I quote the head DH/4x team mech, "You should buy a new chain every race to solve your drivetrain issues." Srsly?

2013 Sea Otter, I brought my bike by on Thursday to have the brakes adjusted knowing how busy it gets. I couldn't get the brakes to stop rubbing and my race was the next day. Refused to help me and didn't even bother to ackowledge i was standing there waiting for help. Came back after qualifying Friday at 9am and had finals at 1pm. And I quote: "dude no way we're gonna get that back to you in time for your race or even today. Try tomorrow." Complete d*ck attitude for a simple adjustment.

After SRAM drivetrain very likely cost me a Cat 1 DS collegiate SECCC Championship with slipping chain and cassette (yes, they were both fairly new), I will never run their junk on my bikes.

I should also mention I had to warranty three SRAM DH cassettes after breaking them including shearing off a cog in a DS race. Not to mention three snapped SRAM chains that year. however, Saint/Ultegra works awesome. Go figure.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Wait wait what am I seeing her? Lycra all over. I thought it was a european specialty?! Or so it looks each time you publish something about interbike...
[Reply]
  • + 2
 SRAM....I can wash that truck if you want me to....just get me a job there!
[Reply]
  • + 1
 I am moving to Colorado and looking for a job, I have a MS in Finance and worked in PE for acouple years, looking for anyone to help you with M&A's? Smile
  • + 0
 Go to their website and apply, anyone can talk out of their ass on PB
  • - 1
 I don't understand what talking out of their ass has to do with me asking if they are hiring?
  • + 3
 Why would you apply in the comment section? Does that really make any sense? I was saying its much more credible and professional to apply via their website the proper way.
  • + 1
 An MS in finance???? ya a test engineering facility will hire you right up......
[Reply]
  • + 2
 So this is where they figure out how to keep avids from leaking hydraulic fluid when you store your bike vertically
  • + 3
 Mine don't, and Ive never heard of any that do, when was the last time you serviced the caliper?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 I would love to raid their trash dumpsters geezzzzz
[Reply]
  • + 2
 yeahh ute valley park.... my old backyard, good shit
[Reply]
  • + 1
 SRAM I love you - I would sire children on your behalf - Can I have an XX1 groupset now please?
[Reply]
  • + 2
 The teleporter is NOT located on the holodeck.
[Reply]
  • + 2
 every single part on my bike is sram. its good stuff.
[Reply]
  • + 1
 Instead of a softball team and a beer lounge, perhaps they should focus on making brakes that work correctly, bro.
[Reply]
  • - 2
 To SRAM: Instead of showing us awesome headquarters and try to impress people with hyper expensive new products, please get back to the basics = customer service. You offer no email address to reach you on all your website, there is absolutely no way to contact you to address a complaint about your products. When finally I got a contact to a senior management person in your headquarter a year ago, even nobody took the time to sent me back a follow-up message or an acknowledgement. This is scandalous nowadays to ignore customer with such arrogance. I am strongly dissatisfied with your products: all your rear derailleur X7, X9 are expensive and weak. I do not count anymore the broken derailleurs. All my friends and me next are moving to SHIMANO which offers a similar range of price, better quality products, long-life and especially a better customer service.
  • + 16
 Take it to the shop. SRAM takes great care of their consumers, however have a shop call them. They replace damn near anything. They are literally known for their warranty.
  • + 11
 "...there is absolutely no way to contact you to address a complaint about your products. When finally I got a contact to a senior management person in your headquarter a year ago..." So there was no way to contact them...until you contacted them?
  • + 1
 I blew a shock three times being an idiot... all three times they warrantied it. BUT. The third time, they upgraded me to a top of the line shock and gave me a free heavier 500 lb spring. I wasn't setup right, somehow they knew from rebuilding it what weight coil I was running (coil removed for shipping, they didn't see it).... and they hooked me up. Since getting the proper sized spring, I have had no problems in 1.5 seasons of DH and the thing is still butter. That said, I had purchased it online, so I paid a shop 10 bucks each time to warranty it which kinda sucked and I got to feel like a dick that never buys from the LBS. The in shop warranty kinda sucked... but I imagine the labor they save by not having a public interface makes them able to have a liberal warranty policy. Know them, love them, take the bitter with the sweet cause it way more sweet and butter than bitter. If I was running it, not sure id do it different. Stuff rocks.
  • + 0
 To david719... there is no email address available to contact them (no trace of email address on their webpage, etc..). Many people reported similar concerns: By chance, someone from US on a discussion forum about this gave me the email address of a senior management person (who he knew works at SRAM).
  • + 3
 To Kuris... oh, and here I thought you had given up on the email route and called one of the three phone numbers they have on their website.
  • + 2
 Follow proper channels; like DualsuspensionDave said, take it to the shop.
SRAM has the best customer service from a major component company, maybe even any company, but they want to be certain you work with your LBS. I have had many parts warrantied sight-unseen, they send me a new one and a return label for the old one to minimize turn-around time. They cannot do that if you don't have an account to back up the product they send you. Their brakes are almost without exception POSs, but the remainder of their product line is consistently improving.
So, if you have issues- go to your shop and let them handle it, because in the end... you're just a pinkbike troll.
  • + 1
 So sick of the LBS customer service cop out. Most shops could give two f**ks about my product issues and always push new product instead of going through warranty proccess. Always have to argue to get warranty. ALWAYS.
  • + 8
 There are two possibilities here; 1) you order all that nice stuff of yours online which provides little motivation for a shop to do anything for you. 2) your shop sucks.
As a shop owner, I would show you, at least once- why you want me to be your purveyor of fine bikes/parts and not the WWW. Yes shit is cheaper online SOMETIMES, but that is because they don't install it, warranty it and service it. I deal with sooooo many guys that roll in with web-parts that are incompatible or require specialized tools/skills to install. That 20% you saved goes to me to install, but you aren't paying me $30 for 15min of work- you are paying me $30 for the 20+ years it took me to acquire the skills that allow me to perform nearly any repair swiftly and competently for the person that ordered the part online to save a couple of bucks instead of coming to my shop and supporting a guy chasing his childhood dreams.
Oh, and about #2- your shop is not my shop.
  • + 1
 I've had x9 type two derailleurs fail, brakes fail, and posts fail. Most brakes i've replaced were on a local rider's bike who was sponsored by sram. They can be a good company if they changed a few key elements. Explain technology, develop a tech site like shimano. develop a better, stronger brake. Taper bore doesnt work. the bleed never holds, even when you follow the tech video step by step. Stop using DOT 5 and use mineral oil. build in a master cylinder, so that as the pads wear, the lever feel doesn't change. Use ceramic pistons on everything, so that the heat generated from the brake doesnt get into the fluid and stiffen lever feel. Change the reach adjustment so that we dont have to use a ball end allen key to change it. make it tool free. Hire me. I want avid, sram, RS to be more consistent and stronger. But for as long as things break and the solution is, "send it back and we'll send you a new one" its never going to get better. People want a product that has a low failure rate, and a durable feel. not a pretty box and a shine coat of paint. I know that sram can be better and I know its a matter of time. I just want to see it happen soon. I have a full x9 drive train on my bike and i hate it. And i'm a mechanic. I know how to set it up right, and yet i'm still not impressed. DO BETTER SRAM... I'm not mad... just disappointed.

Also support your LBS and make sure you find a good one. There are far too many pretentious shops/shop employees out there.
  • + 1
 Yes your LBS luvs it when you take in a broken part that you bought from them and reply this part is crap!. The shop owner does not make a dime off of your warranty part. In fact if you included all the shop owners time involved he looses money! Ever wonder why it takes a very long time to get a replaced part under warranty through a bike shop?
For god sake if you send in a part for a warranty repair....Be very nice to your LBS owner. Hell buy him a case of beer. You might just get your part back in a week instead of two months lol.
Oh and GOD shes black ha ha .
  • + 2
 So if my shop sucks, SRAM is off the hook for providing warranty? This doesn't seem fair. "Take it to your LBS" is the most frustrating thing you'll ever be told when your shop too lazy, greedy or dodgy to help you. Sure, I wont shop there anymore, but it doesn't change the part that I just got hosed on a warranty issue with no recourse. I think what Kuris is trying to say is that SRAM needs a more efficient method for customers to directly communicate concerns. SRAM relying on some random guy at a bike shop who they do not employ to do their customer service just seems like a cop out. The reality is that many shop staff legitimately try to help customers, but so many others don't, and when you run into one of the latter, it leaves the customer with a bad taste for both the shop and mfg.
  • + 2
 I work at a shop and deal with sram a lot.. Not because they are heavy warranty items but because they are so useful. I ocationally have a warranty issue, when I do I give them a call, give a quick description of what is going on and get an RA number to return the product when the replacement arives. They are very quick and a lot of the time don't ask questions.. I remember on case in perticular that a customer brought in a 2011 boxxer wc that had been lightly riden but had stanction wear from a "faulty bushing"-as we called it- we were not expecting much, maybe a new stanction an bushing kit but they went ahead and sent out a brand new fork (even gave an option for a keronite!). Then we had a bit of a problem in that the customer needed it for a race that weekend so we called up sram to see if they could expedite the shipping, the customer was willing to pay for overnight shipping but the person I spoke with just got it out overnight no charge-that shipping must have been $80 in itself!

Moral of the story is that Sram is an amazing company and their lack of direct contact with the customer might not be a bad thing. If they deal through a shop it makes thing much easier and faster. Plus what would you expect them to say? I would bet they would ask you to bring it into the shop
  • + 2
 markw please read my comment carefuly. And yes the corporate giant Sram does not wish to deal with you personaly. Reward your LBS owner for going to the trouble of dealing with your warranty repair or chances are he will ignore you.
  • - 1
 USA123, I'm in Breckenridge and i see more sram/avid parts fail than any other brand. they are very quick with the warranty, but most of the time its the same proble. ie: xx brakes failing because "the DOT eats away the magnesium internals" thats word for word what sram told us. I've seen derailleurs developing play in the cage, ive seen the same guys that have gone shop to shop trying to get a better bleed on their brake. and how do i tell them that their brakes arent ever going to feel good without replacing pads again? their brakes need improvement, and the taper bore technology is hit or miss. Come to breckenridge and ask any random person on the street how they like their avid brakes and sram drive train. the answers will surprise you.
  • + 1
 Well if the shop is trying to recommend other brakes instead of warranty'ing your avids again it might be good advice. Most of their products are good and reliable but I've come to the conclusion their brakes have a defective design, and the problem is not enough oil in the system, which causes over heating on long descents and air is forced into the system. That is why when you change the pads the pistons won't go all the way back in often. That's my theory.
  • + 1
 You guys are just proving my point...I paid for a part that has a mfg warranty, but to claim it, I have bring you beer first? If you are an official SRAM dealer I shouldn't have to do goddamn thing but bring in my broken part and watch you send it off. Why should I have to reward you? Why should I have to argue with you? You signed up to deal SRAM, so take the responsibility? This is the attitude that is destroying the LBS.
  • + 2
 Koris is somehow right, B1K35w I do agree that going throught the proper channel (local shop) will give better results, but that's only in the US or Canada or Europe, i dont know how it is in Japan, but some other places their local shops are extremely expensive, between 40 to 50%, that definitely makes us buy things online and install them ourselves, when a problem comes that we need Sram or many other OEMs brands support, you call them and they treat you like if they owned mountain biking and are doing you a favor.
  • + 1
 I agree with you Markw if you sell a part you should believe in that part and back it 100%. Unfortunatly this is not the case. Im just sayin.........If you send in your broken part to your LBS and just bitch. You will wait a looooonnnnnng time to get your replaced part. Be thankfull and considerate (and shell out ten bucks for some beer) you will get service.
Yep it totally sucks! its a f.cking joke! Yet I always get exellent service for any broken part under warranty. Diplomacy brotha. It goes a long way.
  • + 2
 Moth, I do see more of their produducts fail in the brake segment but thir new stuff is worlds better an that is what they are using to replace the older warrentied products.. I have bled so many old and new avids, they are still a little more of a hassle compared to shimanos or other brands but you can get the new ones feeling perfect with one bleed no problem. The old ones needed 2-3 bleeds before they were good. Every company's product have defects and designing issues, avid brakes more than others.. I have had problems in the past, personally with avids on my bike but sram helped me get over it. I agree they need to pick up their game in the brake segment but especially with the newer gen the have taken a step, they just need to start running to catch up.
  • + 4
 So in other words buy shimano components
  • + 2
 I think that Kuris wants to point on the fact that it’s unacceptable for a BIG compagny like SRAM to ignore the customers concerns.
They don’t make any effort to communicate directly with their customers and delegate this task to their dealers who are not all able to do it.
They really have to improve ( create??) this service and work on the development of affordable quality parts designed for DH/ freeride. I personally had many issues with SRAM derailleurs, brakes and cranks… If you cannot afford X0 then forget the x7 or x9 (derailleurs) for dh/freeride.
Also prices are ridiculously expensive at our local shops (exepted Shimano of course) that’s why we buy online. We are not all living in a country where you can negotiate. In here, if you break something they just suggest you to buy a new one (even to pump your tires… it’s charged 1USD).
  • + 2
 The retail pricing is what shops are supposed to charge. Where I worked we would give people deals if we could. It's like a "Hey, you came to us, let us order it and install it. you go take it easy at your 9-5 while we deal with the bike industry." and unfortunately, yea, if you brought us beer we loved you. It's not something you have to do but its like bringing your teacher an apple. The point I've been trying to make is that customers get frustrated when the same derailleur breaks 2 times in a row. Whether its Shimano or sram people dont want it to break from the get go. and the fact of the matter is, Sram sends out alot more parts than shimano does. And god help you if they find out that it broke by user error. You dont get anything if that happens. even if it was a poor design to begin with. Some LBSs do suck. Alot of them have a high and mighty attitude about them. When people say go to your LBS they dont mean go to the shop that is rude to you. Unfortunately those shops are putting the rest of us good guys under, and creating a bike shop stigma, that frankly, just isnt true. go online if you must, just dont write off bike shops.
  • + 1
 moth423 -> Off topic. It’s not about bike shops or 2 broken derailleurs.
FYI we ride for about 20 years and have have quite good knowledges about how it works in this industry.

The subject is -> SRAM customer relation service.
  • + 1
 I did get off on a bit of a rant there. www.sram.com/contact the chicago number is the same number we use at out shop. If they dont answer we leave a message, and they get back the same day. They've got one of the best customer service departments than most bike component companies. I hate the products they make, but they have great customer service.
  • + 0
 If their parts weren't reliable overall they wouldn't survive, but they seen to be thriving, in part because of gocod marketing and warranty. Their suspension business is better than FOX overall, considering reliability and value. I prefer Shimano shifting, but sram has beat them badly on price , so all bikes come with sram shifting so not so many shimano warranties for shops
  • + 1
 Whoa! This thread is climbing the ranks! It has Protour on it now!
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  • + 1
 All of my sram, rock shox, and avid products have let me down.
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  • + 1
 Everyone knows shimano's for girls and SRAMs for boys Smile
  • + 2
 I guess Steve Peat is a girl, along with Gwin ETC
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  • + 2
 Dream Jobs. Sign me up
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  • + 0
 I don't think shimano would be quite so dog friendly unless they were in a bowl of noodles.
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  • + 2
 Lol nice posing Jimmy Wink
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  • + 1
 I need one of those knee braces!
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  • + 2
 It's Santa's work shop!
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  • + 1
 SRAM or Shimano???? That's the big question!!!
  • - 8
 Shimano are too busy creating awesomeness to mess around with chairs, charity or softball...
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  • + 1
 Damn, why our office doesn´t look like this?
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  • + 0
 I still love Marzocchi suspension & Formula brakesSmile
sram, you won't brake me)))
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  • + 0
 Sweet office... would love the warehouse manager's job.
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  • - 3
 When ya go public. Public image is how you please the stock holders. Corporate giant. Your choice who you give your money to.
Bet all the employees make ten bucks an hour. Still want a job there?
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  • - 3
 Not sure what they meant by "With terrain that was appropriate for a suspension company to test their product on" Colorado springs dosnt have much for trails...maybe this will incite building!
  • + 1
 Dude, what are you talking about? We got fantastic trails! You need to get a proper guide next time you're here, there's a ton more than just cruising around garden of the gods, you know.
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  • + 1
 Nice article Ginger!
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  • - 3
 +1 ON KURIS. SRAM is code for suck. Every time I ride I curse my components and if they don't fail I am so surprised I drink myself giddy.
  • + 1
 totally agree with you!
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