Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Broken Bike Trainer - Awesome Customer Service

Now despite the continued abuse that I get from my Canadian Twitter buddies I still swear by my one (and soon to be two) indoor turbo sessions per week. They're part of my Ironman training plan and they are a miserable painfest workout - my favourite kind of workout.

Basically after a warm up you do maximum resistance intervals at a super slow cadence of 50rpm - not much choice on the rpm anyway, as I mentioned they're maximum resistance. Finish off with a cool down.

The whole idea is to engage ALL of the muscles in the legs which helps create awesome leg strength. The only problem is that by 50 minutes into a 91 minute session you would happily take a bullet between the eyes to put you out of your misery rather than even contemplate finishing. Of course I always finish and feel like a superhero for doing so.

I was a few minutes in to a session about three weeks ago and the drive band broke between the roller and the magnetic resistance. So you can imagine I had rather mixed feelings of relief and loss.

The trainer is a Minoura that I bought in Australia over ten years ago. I've rarely used it until the last couple of years but I have found it invaluable once I worked out what training to do with it and why. (Most people use a turbo because it's too cold, wet, icy, windy, dark etc but in Malaysia there's no winter and not much need for a turbo other than for strength sessions and single leg drills, I've never done the latter but know I should).

So I went onto the Minoura website and was impressed to see all of their obsolete models listed for the last 10 years as well as their current models. Ah-ha, mine was so old it wasn't even listed. So I emailed their USA and Japanese offices. The USA office was closed for two weeks but they still replied to me the next day! They asked if the band had teeth or was smooth. I replied it had teeth and they wrote straight back apologising that they no longer made that band. They did say the smooth band might work but they couldn't promise.

In the meantime Takashi Minoura wrote back from Japan asking the same question and my address. I explained that the band had teeth and he replied that they didn't make that anymore but he'd send me the smooth one anyway without charge. He didn't remember whether it would work or not.

It arrived a couple of days later, I fitted it and it worked. What a result! You'd think so at any rate, HOWEVER, half way through the session the resistance knob broke - I guess I can't complain with such an old machine - I've had my money's worth.

However, I wrote back to Takashii and explained the problem and insisted that I'd pay for a replacement. His reply was unbelievable, he'd sent one straightaway by courier and once again free of charge. Don't worry about it just tell your friends about us he said.

It was on my desk when I came into the office this morning, so I'm telling you about this amazing experience, not so much as returning the favour to Takashi Minoura but because this type of service is almost unheard of these days and I think many of you would like to know and I suspect will take this into account when you buy your next turbo. I know I shall.

Minoura trainers can be found in Malaysia at: -

MALAYSIA Gin Huat Cycle
Selangor / 03-6038-3703

KSH Bicycle
Selangor / 03-7877-0450

Montana Cycle
Kedah / 04-7143071

Their website is
Their facebook page is Minoura CO., LTD.

The only other similar experience I've had was with Cat-eye the bike light and bike computer maker. Funnily enough another Japanese company!!!!


Cheong said...

I almost gave up on buying a Minoura trainer because the warranty information I ask from their local authorised channels were either conflicting or no response over email.

I wrote to Minoura USA / Japan to inquire if the warranty & parts info published on the website would be honoured in Msia. I also told Minoura about the above mentioned problem especially the local authorised dealer not responding my email inquiry despite resending my email many times over 2 weeks.

Takashi Minoura san answered my email within a day and gave me an assurance about honouring the warranty and the parts info published on their website. He went a step further to say that Minoura will review the performance of the local dealer & willing to switch them if I continue to encounter a similar problem with them. He was serious about maintaining the co reputation.

It is because of Takashi's seriousness in customer service and maintaining his co brand image that I eventually bought a Minoura trainer - one of their high end models.

By the way, the local authorise dealer said their email server was down. I must say that I am rather surprise the dealer's business could still function with their email server down for 2 weeks!

JohnP said...

without a doubt - our next trainer will be a Minoura now!

What a great experience!! I love that they helped despite the age of the unit. wow!

Bryan Payne said...

S, if you weren't such a strong cyclist I'd not believe you about the indoor trainer. And don't think you impress us with your ability to "hulk out" and continue to break your trainer. I had a minoura and I broke it too, even made a video of it on You Tube. I think it's time you pick some more walnuts in the field or optium, or what ever your agricultural job is in Malaysia and buy a Kurt Kinetic. As you go faster the resistence gets tougher and it's a lifetime warrantee.

Although, I will say, you have changed my mind on Minoura, they sound like a good company, I used to think their stuff was cheaper grade, now I know if you can break the trainer regularly, it MUST be cheaper grade, but at least they have great customer service. haha


Outsource Call Center said...

Good for you! that was a great experience of good customer service. I just wish all business has a good customer service like that. Anyway. thanks for sharing.