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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been thinking. I love my X. I mean, I miss it when I'm gone. I pamper it when I'm home. But the dealership is such a pain. I'll tell you right up front, I live in the middle of Harley country; just outside Milwaukee, WI.

There must be 8 Harley dealerships within a 20 mile radius.

It seems like my Honda dealership, which of course carries other lines as well, is so distracted selling wave runners, 4 wheelers, and all kinds of other toys, that they don't really care a whole lot about me and my X.

I'm not a wrench like a lot of you guys here. I bring my bike in with a wobble or a buzz and they give me a line of sh#t, tell me its not covered, and I go home with my tail between my legs.

Any thoughts from the rest of you out there? Do I have a uniquely crappy dealer or does this pretty much match up with the rest of you?

It kind of sucks.
 

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Well, the Harley guys get the same kind of crap from the HD dealers. The best advice you can get is to pick up a service manual, and ask questions here on the site. There are lots of folks here that will be happy to help you out with questions and you'll get the satisfaction of knowing you did the work yourself. Then you can tell the dealer to go pound sand.
 

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Well, the Harley guys get the same kind of crap from the HD dealers. The best advice you can get is to pick up a service manual, and ask questions here on the site. There are lots of folks here that will be happy to help you out with questions and you'll get the satisfaction of knowing you did the work yourself. Then you can tell the dealer to go pound sand.

+1 I've saved tons of money already doing stuff myself. Sure from time to time you may mess something up, but guys on here can help. Also, I know from watching lots of M/C mechanics that they don't always take the time to do it right the way like you would since it's YOUR bike. It's not always fun tearing the bike apart, but you learn stuff and save money and you know it was done with care.

Curtis
 

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Yep, yep...time to do some learnin'. :wink: For me, just the amount of time involved going to a dealer is enough to get me motivated! And the aggravation :evil: :evil: , no thanks, I'll do it myself and have the satisfaction of doing it myself. 8) :wink:
 

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Re: Dealerships - Might this be the one advantage to a Harle

magoudz said:
I've been thinking. I love my X. I mean, I miss it when I'm gone. I pamper it when I'm home. But the dealership is such a pain. I'll tell you right up front, I live in the middle of Harley country; just outside Milwaukee, WI.

There must be 8 Harley dealerships within a 20 mile radius.

It seems like my Honda dealership, which of course carries other lines as well, is so distracted selling wave runners, 4 wheelers, and all kinds of other toys, that they don't really care a whole lot about me and my X.

I'm not a wrench like a lot of you guys here. I bring my bike in with a wobble or a buzz and they give me a line of sh#t, tell me its not covered, and I go home with my tail between my legs.

Any thoughts from the rest of you out there? Do I have a uniquely crappy dealer or does this pretty much match up with the rest of you?

It kind of sucks.
Hey magoudz, are you talking about the dealer right in town there? I almost bought my bike there, but the salesman came off as the type of guy who would tell you anything just to get a sale. I bought mine from a dealer in Johnson Creek, let them do my first checkup. I intend to take care of everything else. I am somewhat mechanically inclined, got questions, feel free to drop me a line. Like others have said, the wealth of information on this board is incredible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I just really lack experience and most of all confidence in my mechanical skills. The first successful thing I ever did mechanically was the Clayton mod.

The other thing that gets me pi$$ed is that I bought this bike new in April, its an obvious flaw and they're giving me crap at the dealership. Like someone else here said with the wobble, "what it would have cost them maybe $5.00 more at the time of manufacture to put in roller bearings instead of the cheapo ball bearings." So now I have to order parts, and push the envelope on my mechanical skills to fix something they didn't do right in the first place.
 

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I know it can seem over your head at first doing your own work, but we all started somewhere. Working on your own ride inpowers a person. I am of the mind that someone else was able to put it together I can figure it out and do the same. All you need is the desire. Once you get into these bikes there really is not much to them.

It is all about knowing the parts and what they do. When I was a kid growing up my old man and uncles were always tear'n somthing apart. I grew up knowing how and engine functioned. A few years ago I did'nt want to pay the money to buy a built computer. I did some research and figured out what all the components did and built my own from scratch. It just like building a motor and it's all about knowing your parts.

The service manual has alot of direction and information. And the fellows on this sight are a huge database of expierences. I've only been frequenting this sight a month or so, and this has got to be one of the most helpful groups I have seen on any forum for any type of media.

It is'nt somthing a person has to be raised on. If a person is willing to do some learing and research anything is possible, and can be very rewarding.
 

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One other thing that comes to mind as I sit here thinking about his issue is the view of most dealerships on Service. Most, any dealership of any kind, car, bus, truck or bike, treat service as a production line. Actual service tech's that are doing the work do no check their work, much less have someone looking it over to make sure of it's quality.

These folks do not have the same comitment, in most cases, to you ride that you do. I don't mean to sound sore abou this but a true good mechanic is hard to find. Not to mention one that does'nt have his hands tide by a service manager.

Just my 2 cents, I'll step away from the soap box now :lol:
 

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It is my general opinion for dealerships I have visited that MOST Motorcycle dealers have the customer service skills of Don Rickles. A perfect example is my friend went into a dealer asked if they have any add-on helmet locks for his bike. The guy behind the counter says he would have to special order it direct from the Manufacturer. My friend says "No, an add-on helmet lock" THE GUY SAYS THERE AINT NO SUCH THING and laughs at him.

Another friend goes into a harley dealer to buy a tire for his Truimph Bonneville because this HD dealer changes tires while you wait. When the guy behind the counter asks what type of bike, my friend says "Triumph" The guy says "WE DON'T SELL ANY TRIUMPH TIRES" and laughs. THEY HAVE THE SAME SIZE TIRES ON SOME OF THEIR HD MODELS ON THE FLOOR!

All it takes is a little NON-ARROGANT customer service attitude and people will DRIVE FOR HUNDREDS OF MILES just to do business with someone who treats them like a valuable customer.
 

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As has already been noted, many dealerships from all the makes give terrible service. I have a friend with a Harley that bought a top box for a little extra luggage space at the HD dealership, and let the guys at the dealership install it. He noticed during the ride home that the thing was making an awful vibration. When he got home, he took it apart only to realize that the dealership mechanic had installed the bracing backwards. He had to switch it around and re-install it himself.

Before you spend a WAD of money on any other bike (assuming the bike is not the problem), check into another dealership, or ask around about some private shops in your area. We've got a private shop locally that is out of this world. The owner is factory trained, plenty experienced, does excellent work, and actually values his customers.

Good luck with it.
 

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I never had an issue with harley dealers as I have with Honda dealers, I guess is just luck.
 

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Had tire and wheel in hand and two metric dealers one a Honda said it would a day maybe two days. This is a ten minute job including balancing. Take it to the HD shop that has installed my tires before and I was out in ten minutes, just like before. The $29 is a bite but they are use to working with chrome wheels and take the extra care. The only Honda dealer experience I've had was a complete disaster and they only had my wheel. I would hate to think what would happen if the entire bike was there.
 

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Re: Dealerships - Might this be the one advantage to a Harle

magoudz said:
I've been thinking. I love my X. I mean, I miss it when I'm gone. I pamper it when I'm home. But the dealership is such a pain. I'll tell you right up front, I live in the middle of Harley country; just outside Milwaukee, WI.

There must be 8 Harley dealerships within a 20 mile radius.

It seems like my Honda dealership, which of course carries other lines as well, is so distracted selling wave runners, 4 wheelers, and all kinds of other toys, that they don't really care a whole lot about me and my X.

I'm not a wrench like a lot of you guys here. I bring my bike in with a wobble or a buzz and they give me a line of sh#t, tell me its not covered, and I go home with my tail between my legs.

Any thoughts from the rest of you out there? Do I have a uniquely crappy dealer or does this pretty much match up with the rest of you?

It kind of sucks.
Here is MY opinion on dealers....unless there is money in it for them, they couldnt give a damn if you are on fire...they wont help ya.

That has held true on every vehicle I have owned so far......including Hyundai, who we thought might be different.

The domestics all suck.....the imports all suck.....Now, maybe the high end dealers are better.....

I havent found a dealer yet that isnt crappy. And that is from over 20 years of experience....you might find one that is marginally helpful now and then, but if it isnt in writing or if it isnt making them money, forget about it.

My Honda dealer where I bought mine, Rainbow Honda in Richeyville , sucked.

Sure, they loved me while I was thinking of signing the papers....but once I bought it, they couldnt be bothered with real customer service. They even tried screwing me on the Honda bucks I was entitled too...and then when they finanly gave them to me they insisted I could use them ONLY for accessories bought at their shop, which I later found was NOT true.....and they charegd me full retail on the parts.

Never again.

Ever notice that "car dealers", "bike dealers" and "drug dealers" all share a common word??
 

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I work at a Honda dealership.

Last year, we had our best year ever in service.

This year, we had our staff of 3 techs cut down to one with me (service "manager") expected to pick up the slack.

We pulled it together and are exceeding last years gross sales figures with less call backs -

Last year, we had three techs, one from tech school and two good old boys (kids) with some mechanical aptitude.

Thanks to senority, the tech school grad was laid off in the winter. One tech left for another dealer that paid a living wage, as did the same right as the season started.

We were able to hire back the tech school grad (on a living wage actually) a few months ago, that took some of the heat off me. We did hire one mistake, and that cost us in a lot of ways.

Our days are totally booked solid, for more than a few weeks out.

When someone comes in with a tire they did not buy from us to be mounted, we mount it, but dudes, we can not drop everything to do it - I will not pull myself or my tech from a complex job, and that effects quality.

When I get a call, like I got last week, "Hey, I've got a VTX1300 with 2000 miles on it with warranty issues I want you to fix now, its warranty. I stopped at a dealer in Iowa and they said its warranty, blah blah blah, it's not runnin' right" I get a little miffed. When I inquired about who did the 600 mile service, the customer arrogantly said he had a buddy do it, great, this is the same guy who traded in a POS Sportster that never ran again after he rode it in, yeah, fun stuff, how would you like to deal with that?

We are overwhelmed, yes, not your problem, but we do the best we can and when our computers crash many times a week, we can not access the internet for information (PCIII Map the other morning) or any number on little things out of our control, yeah, I blow it. I admit, and I am trying to get better.

And unfortunately, while we are putting out quality work, the customers that are compassionate are welcomed back and the arrogant ones are given a list of other dealers in the area, I'm human, and have found my limitations in the real world of a motorcycle service department.

Now, we have plans to build a new building and expand, add staff. All that stuff, but without a commitment to service by management, it will only be same old same old. Sales are all that matters to many dealerships, that's it, service is the bastard step child.

Now, we have shown the owner we can hold our own, turn a profit - but it takes customers willing to see and pay for the value. It is expensive to run a service department, very expensive to run a good one.

It seems most people are not willing to pay for what it costs.

Buy the manual, do it yourself, just do it right. And remember, when you get good at your machine, try doing what you do to 50 other machines that are wildly different with totally different designs and spec's. It's a challenge and a half. Do it with the phone ringing, customers walking in wanting service, salespeople wanting favors, management throwing gas on fires and about a dozen other instances, not to mention trying to repair the machine your working on, within a timeframe.

My eyes have been opened, and my body, hurts.....

That's it for my first ramble, my name is Steve.

I hop to be able to contribute to these forums, in some small way.
 

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Face it guys, and girls, the days of the customer is always right are gone. I find my self to be gullible and too trusting. I want to believe people are good hearted, but that is not the case! I am not mechanically inclined, but with the manual I down loaded for free, (should I feel bad to admit that?) and the patience and knowledge of the people on this board, I took my bike apart Monday. Well partially and performed the scar mod on my bike. I also removed my stock pipes and installed HK 2.5s on fathers day. Not a big deal to most but an ego boost for me. And to think I almost didn't buy my X because the dealer was a pr!ck! This site has been a god send! And I thank you all. You are the good people i have been looking for! Sorry to get mushy on ya, but I love you guys! :oops:
 

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Hey Steve....

Please don't misunderstand my comments.....I dont use "tech" in the same breath as "dealer"...two different things IMHO.

There are good techs and bad techs........it is up to the dealer who they hire, how many they hire and how they staff etc......

WHen a warranty customer comes in, it may not be YOUR first prioroty to serve them, but it should be the first priority of the DEALER to do so......the warranty is as much a product that was paid for as was the bike......the warranty says "You buy this machine for $X and we will fix whatever might go wrong with it for X amount of time."...it is part of the sales agreement........and it should be as important to a dealer as is a new sale.

Do I expect a tech to drop everything to mount my tire for me??

No.

But I expect a dealership to staff so that when I walk in with an issue or service request I get a reply other than 'We cant get to you until a month from now."

IMHO, that is just an irresponsible way to run a business...at the least, it is not customer-centric. Because I , as a customer, will go where I am able to spend my money with the least amount of hassle.

It makes good sense for a dealer to staff accordingly and fall all over themselves trying to serve customers wanting service.

As far as the fellow downloading service manuals for free...well, to each his own.

$40 on ebay to me wasn't a lot of money to spend when it can save me a lot of time and worry.......and my concience is calmed knowing I have a legit copy of the manual...I wouldnt even consider walking into a book store and stealing the manual, so getting a "free" copy of it online isn;t in my list of options. But again, IMHO and YMMV.
 

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Generally speaking, I've found our local HD dealers to be better in the "service" area. Really just not happy with the Honda/Yamaha/Suzuki/whatever dealers (as a whole).

One thing to think about is that the HD dealers are working only on Harleys, and these bikes are very similar in many respects. They don't work on four different brands of bikes and four different brands of ATV,s and waverunners, and whatever else.

This means that the HD mechanics are are a lot more familar with the bikes they work on, and it also means that there's a much better chance that the parts are "in stock". This little fact seems to move the "satisfaction curve" up a couple points.

Most motorcycle dealers in this area have signs that read "We will not mount tires bought elsewhere". My local HD dealer does it with a smile (and $30) :wink:

Disclaimer: I currently own two Harleys. (and a Honda and a Yamaha)


Opinions by Kevin - your mileage may vary.
 

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Steve, I don't expect the service department to drop everything to do what I want. What I do expect is that when I order a part from a dealer not only will it be for my bike but it will be the brand I ordered. I also expect honesty and not to have to chase people around to get answers.

I just had to take my bike in for repairs and took it to a private shop instead of the dealer in my area due to their incompetence. The guys at the shop are friendly, helpful, and honest. It's a pleasure to work with them.
 

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I guess I am lucky, I have had mine for 5 years and it has never seen a dealer or repair center. I am NOT mechanically inclined, I had to gather up the courage to do the deep clayton mod lol. The damm bike just keeps running and running :)
 
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