Since first discovering Ventana Mountain Bikes USA back in the late 90’s, I’ve always been impressed with how well they support their customers when ‘stuff happens’ to their bikes. More importantly, given that Sherwood was a cyclist before he was a builder — and because he knows just how hard off-road enthusiasts can be on their equipment — he and his team at Ventana know that ‘stuff happens’ for a variety of reasons and work with Ventana owners to fix stuff when stuff needs fixing. In short, Ventana ‘gets’ customer service.
While I could recount several stories from over the years, it suffices to say the recent episode reported by Julian — a new member of the Double Forte ‘wrecking crew’, i.e., off-road tandem enthusiasts who have successfully wreaked havoc upon their off-road steeds while pursuing their passion for riding a twofer off-road — does an exceptional job of walking readers through a quasi-typical encounter with the wonderful folks at Ventana. (Our thanks to Julian for allowing us to reprint his posting to DF)
Ventana Day Spa and Resort
After returning home from our trip to Bend, Oregon, I set down to give the tandem a thorough cleaning. I typically clean the bike after every other ride, but with four rides under its belt, the bike was looking filthy. With a few hours set aside to clean and rehabilitate the bike, I took extra time in cleaning.
When I tried to wipe away a black mark on the bottom of the stoker’s bottom bracket, and the mark didn’t wipe away, I knew something was wrong. A more careful examination revealed a crack in the powdercoat. Now, I may not know much, but I know that if the powdercoat has cracked, that’s because the underlying metal has cracked. My cleaning job turned in to a disassembly job. Within an half hour (first time) I had the rear suspension removed, exposing the area underneath the lower suspension arm. Cracked, for sure. A quick second with a wire wheel to remove the powdercoat showed the crack in all its ugly glory. I took a picture and e-mailed Teresa at Ventana. Our bike was mortally wounded.
Teresa got right back to me and, although Sherwood was out of town, the frame needed to come back to Ventana for repair. Sherwood would call me when he returned to the shop to discuss the failure. He did so, promptly just after opening Monday morning. The owner of the company calling me to talk about the failure and the repair, diagnosing a lot of granny-gear action on some steep trails (guilty). Then he asked where we rode and I started to describe Sycamore Canyon and, wouldn’t you know it, he was even familiar with the area.
For the repair price of near $500, the frame would get stripped (Exfoliated!), the bottom bracket would get cut out and replaced (Nip and Tuck), the frame would get heat treated again (Tanning Bed), and finally it would get a new coat of powder (Hair Coloring). Unbeknownst to us, our frame had gone to the day spa.
The quick turn-around saw our frame back in our hands a little over a week and a half after we sent it out. Now, while $500 is a chunk of change, we had no qualms with the money knowing all that Sherwood and Co. were going to do to the frame. And, as a silver-lining sort of thing, since they were going to strip and re-coat the frame as part of it, we got to choose the new color. We sent them Cosmic Blue frame, and what returned…
Well, it took me a few minutes to figure out that they’d actually sent back our original frame. The work done was impeccable, but Sherwood even fixed the slight gouges on the bottom of the head tube gusset caused by our fork caps. At that point I had to look at the serial number to verify they’d actually reworked our original frame.
It took me a little over two hours to build our bike back up in all its Ferrari Red glory. While it looked stunning in Cosmic Blue, it looks angry and hungry in Ferrari Red. Ventana, Sherwood, Teresa, and Co. are another, if rare, example of a company that provides the utmost customer service. And satisfaction. A long-winded thanks, but we’re excited to hit the trail tomorrow morning!