Be your own brand.

Your mileage may vary :-)

grainy_bw_spanner1It’s always good to check out what other people’s experiences have been like so I keep an ear to the ground on the interwebs….

This exchange caught my eye from the Mtbr.com forums posted by ‘syc’. It’s an interesting comment on what happens if you ask Porter ‘awkward’ questions – and also gives the experiences of a shop that decided to order a batch of frames.

It makes me wonder if they use different people to build the batch frames compared to the ‘one-off’s’ as I’ve heard similar ‘quality’ issues with people that bought Setavento (RIP) frames, but that’s a story for another post…

XACD – obnoxious?

I wasn’t going to post anything about this, but Porter is being really obnoxious and I thought I would share my experiences, as a warning for others.

Originally, I was pretty excited about getting a custom Ti frame from XACD. The price seemed great. So I started working with Porter at XACD on a Ti frame spec. – Porter would occasionally come across as rude or sarcastic, but I figured that was the price for getting a good deal.

After going back and forth a while and getting the spec for my ideal bike, I was about to send in my money, when I tracked down someone on a mailing list who had spec’d almost the exact same bike, about 2 years ago and ordered a run of them made.

I sent him email asking about his experiences, originally only curious about the tubing spec, because I wanted a very compliant ride. Here’s what he told me:

Quote:
Hi Steve- No, I never did figure it out. I sold the frame. It cracked
pretty severely within the first few months the new owner had it, on
the chainstays on both sides. I ended up working out a deal for repair
by a local Colorado titanium builder, but it wasn’t cheap. Yes,
could’ve been the fork, that’s a possibility. I’m still not 100%
convinced it was just the stiffness. Maybe it was something else, but
I just didn’t like how it rode. Harsh. Weird, given the large tires.Let me just chime in with some unsolicited advice- in my experience,
the XACD stuff is absolute crap. Just about every order I made had
SOMETHING wrong with it… headtube out of spec (both too small and
too big happened frequently), brake bridge in the wrong place,
seatpost size off, or what was sent was not what I asked for. So,
advice #1- get something else. I sold a couple of dozen of their
frames, and had three as my personal bikes. I replaced the road bike
with a Romulus, the mountain bike with a Waltworks, and the touring
bike (in question) with an old Fat Chance and I am MUCH happier with
these bikes. If there is anything wrong with your XACD frame, Porter
will deny it. Flat out deny it. Nope, it’s fine. Never mind what it
measures, it’s fine. If you can budget in buying TWO of his frames,
you might have a fair shot at getting ONE decent one. Seriously. And
the one decent one will still have a off-sized seatpost. I used 27.2
posts (it was supposed to be this size) and they always slipped unless
you totally reefed on the bolt. I think 27.4 might be too big- I never
tried one. I think he specced his frames with a 27.4 ID there, saying
that was correct for 27.2. I think this might have just been because
those were the tubes he had and he didn’t have to do any reaming.

If you STILL gotta go with XACD, make sure you specify absolutely
EVERYTHING. Don’t assume any measurements will be standard or OK or
what you want. This includes head tube ID, seatpost ID (as stated),
brake bridge placement, water bottle placement- everything you can
think of.

So I decided to cool off and think about it some more, maybe order the frame through one of the companies that sell rebranded XACD frames, so that I would be covered in case the frame had issues.

Porter, as expected, followed up after a while and asked me what the deal was. Here’s his reponse to my email:

Quote:
Hi Sir:
About you said these:
Hello Porter,
I was ready to buy the frame, however I spoke with another
customer of yours, who ordered many frames of the same type and he
told me that he had 50% of the frames with problems. One frame cracked
at both chainstays, and other frames would not hold a headset
properly. He suggested that I buy 2 frames, so that one of them will
be work right.
I think your words is very ridiculous! Our frames never have
any problem! And our all customers never tell us the problem
you said! Why do you so said? Please you tell us the name
of our customer you said! So we will can check it! I hope you
don’t make lie!
XACD doesn’t have guarantees,
How can do you know we have not the guarantees?

so I am worried that the frame will have problems, and I will not have any way to
fix them. You of course tell me that the frame will be fine, but your other customer
says that he had quality problems with the frame, and you ignored him.
As above,again,your words is very ridiculous! Our all customers
never tell us the problem you said! I think you are making lie!

XACD does the frames for other companies, who handle guarantees.
So maybe I will contact Habanero and work with them for a custom
frame, then they can take care of any warrantee problems. Probably
XACD will make the frame anyway, but I am willing to pay more money to
have better support.
However,I think you are a cheater! You cheated we made the frame
drawing for you! You kill your trust,forever nobody can believe you!

Regards!

Porter

I tend to be pretty up front, and tell people whats going because I’d rather have the issues get dealt with up front than dance around. However, with Porter, it seems to have resulted in personal attacks, because apparently, XACD only produces perfect frames, and anyone who says differently is a liar, a cheater and ridiculous.

I would have been happy to just leave it at that, except that Porter seems to randomly send me obnoxious emails. He had a fit, and sent me about a half dozen emails like that one, and I figured he was just getting it out of his system. Looks like it wasn’t out of his system because 10 days later, he’s still venting:

Quote:
date Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 8:54 PM
subject Re: hiHi Cheater!
Do you still want to cheat?

Porter

So maybe Porter will eventually chill out, but who knows, maybe he’ll send me more hate mail. Mostly I’d just like to share with the online bike community that Porter claims his frame are perfect and never have issues, and that if you irritate him by saying otherwise, he’s going to spam you and be obnoxious.

I was actually prepared to reconsider XACD if I asked around and got some more positive responses, but Porter’s immaturity and inability to accept any flaws in XACD workmanship tells me that if something went wrong, he’d just call me a liar, a cheater or ridiculous. He’s never going to get a single penny of my money after this.