ISOTUNED Suspension aka drakethomas (threads merged)

Discussion in 'Bike Shop Reviews' started by 92se-r, Jul 9, 2009.

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  1. kjmtbkr

    kjmtbkr New Member

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    ISO TUNE = Drake Thomas is a rip off - DO NOT USE THIS GUY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He stole my fork and won't return it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I sent this guy my DT Swiss 150mm fork for service in June 2011 and got it back no problem. But within three months the seals was leaking. Okay, Drake says "no problem, just send it in you are under warranty". So I did... That was November 2, 2011. I have called many, many, many times and he won't answer his phone. I don't have my fork and today is April 4, 2012. I count that as 5 F-ing months. Drake Thomas ripped off my fork - stole it. I haven't had time to drive out there and TAKE IT. But I will very soon.
     
  2. proraptor

    proraptor The Bikes & Brew Crew

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    He still owes me shock spacers from over a year ago.....i want my money back you scumbag
     
  3. doublewide

    doublewide Ride Life....Ride GIANT

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    I don't understand why you people just don't go get your shit. It's yours, right? How do you let it go for that long?



    shitty
     
  4. jasonmason

    jasonmason inebriate savant

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    Gotta agree with Shitty...I mean, 5 months before threatening to go pick up your fork? Needing shock spacer for over a year?

    You can't either need it all that bad or be all that upset if you're just going to leave it there that long.

    The guy's communication sounds like crap, but c'mon.
     
  5. commplex

    commplex SSuper SSlacker

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    I am so impatient when it comes to my bike stuff I cant even wait five minutes. Perhaps this is why I do ALL of my own bike maintenence and ride a rigid single speed.:lol:
     
  6. proraptor

    proraptor The Bikes & Brew Crew

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    He supposedly had to mill me some shock spacers, never rcvd them. I run a different frame now so that frame sits in my garage.

    It isnt about the part cause I dont really need them anymore, its about warning everyone else about him so they dont get screwed like I did
     
  7. Knuckledragger

    Knuckledragger New Member

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    He's been building my forks for years now. Forks that are raced and recieve insane amounts of abuse and they are always in top notch working condition.

    Cheers,

    C.K.
     
  8. doublewide

    doublewide Ride Life....Ride GIANT

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    Maybe you get better service from Drake because you're on the cover of magizines. :-k Just sayin..... :lol:



    shitty
     
  9. fatguy1

    fatguy1 Active Member

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    if i had to wait more than week for my stuff that was supposed to be sent to me i would be in my truck and paying a visit to this dude. maybe thats just me!! but a year? or five months....REALLY?? dudes go handle your buisness.........
     
  10. rojomas

    rojomas A.K.A The Oxx

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    I smell a troll. No thanks given or received since 2008? Then comes out of nowhere to talk sh!t?... I call B.S.
     
  11. Drakethomas

    Drakethomas New Member

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    I have not posted on STR in a while, not for any other reason other than we have been extremely busy. I was let aware of this forum by a good friend. Here is my honest ISO story.
    We opened ISO as a community resource for the fellow MTBer , given that I had the tooling, knowledge and connections to make this work. I wanted this to be a great thing, so in 2009 my wife and I ventured out on our own. I had 15 years in the technical side of bikes, whether service or manager. I had worked at every position in the industry, other than owner, I thought we can do this. Southern California has a huge bike market, I thought if we could centralize our location, advertise to local riders, and post up freetech info and knowledge we would be successful. So in a pretty short amount of time after meeting several riders locally and on webforums we began to garnish a reputation, it was small, but nonetheless , we had one. Then STR came along, not in a bad way, a very good way, here we had a true target audience, usually better educated in the industry, better product knowledge, etc. Once again in a short time we began to gather a little more audience,which in turn told friends and family. Gradually STR page views went from 1K,to over 20K, It was great, then the bad news, we had literally risen to superhuman status, the reputation we had created was becoming extremely hard to keep ,we made some customer service stumbles,tried handling each one, one at a time, a few got ugly and the super hero status which I have to admit was self- created by myself, started to slightly fall .But it was me the whole time who did the amazing service, I was the customer service, I was everything, and as our workload increased, our work quality increased, but our communication started to be affected. It was becoming very difficult to keep up with the huge influx ofwork, whether local or referral from the major companies who make the things we service and tune. I had created a monster. When in reality, all I wanted was a place we all as riders could take a product, get it serviced quick and timely, in a clean organized professional atmosphere . Emails began to pour in, sometimes 200 a day. It took a little while to literally look at what we had started and rethink or restructure. That’s when it all needed a redo. Realization kicks in and I hire help.lol.
    During that time I personally want to saysorry to anyone who I( Drake owner ofISO) did let down.
    This brings us to today, three years later and we are once again expanding, actually a lot faster than ever imagined. Yes we have had a few stumbles. In the three years open I have come to realize a few very importantthings.
    Business is way harder than anyone of of you could ever imagine unless you have done it yourself.
    No matter how hard you try to make everything perfect, something will arise which allows the best to be only 95%
    Preparation pays dividends
    Websites are absolutely not proof of a legitimate business , I am proof positive as I don’t have one, and have not the whole time we have been open.
    Reputation and quality work are great advertisement.

    I still enjoy what I am doing.
    You are only as good as your product.
    So as I sit here and ramble we need to get a couple things straight. I would never try to ruin a customer relation on purpose, we strive very hard to make everyone happy, If I don’t,please let me know how I can help, I am human as well. I am not perfect, never said I was. I am a MTBR, just like you.The only difference is , I have been flooded with info, tools, connections. I live and breathe this each and every day. But we are the same, we share the same feelings for the sport. If we didn’t,we would have never found STR, Pinkbike, etc. My point is this, I have been in business for 3 years, made thousands of transactions, had literally 6 returns, less than 25 warranty items, and numerous return customers. My question is this, how the heck could ISO, open its doors every Monday if all we were doing is bad work, and such. I don’t have a website and I have zero magazine ads. I have only my reputation, I trust in it, my customers trust in it, I know without adoubt I do solid work. In all reality I am what we together have created. I am a tech, an owner, a proprietor , a husband, a dad, a tinkerer, and friend. Really nothing more, I am human, I make mistakes, I learn, listen and understand.
    Nick, the one who swears I trashed his 40,please make sure you get your story straight. If you don’t recall, we made an appt .which means you were there , test rode the fork and were stoked. I have the sign off , and the cost of the fork($400) ,which was due to both stanchions needing replacement.The tooling marks you are referring to is the bladder ring with helps hold the bladder in on theFIT 40 damper body, yours if you don’t recall was half way broken and jammed,which required retrieval , and were pointed to for reference. We then gave you a free lower base valve , because of damage you did from lower bladder ring failure. I absolutely remember the transaction as you were the only ever, to bring in a shuttlebuddy. The price you were charged included a factory service, sag set up, and 2 new stanchions. Not cheap, sorry, but I did not damage it. You brought it to me for us to fix. I am sorry we treat every job this way. I can’t guarantee seals and work ,on something which is obviously ruined prior to meeting me or my shop. Trust me I still remember you, I credited your card 2x , only 2x, because we could not verify USPS shipment, so we credited your card upon you coming back in town. Sorry we couldn’t get ahold of you while you were vacationing.
    The proraptor guy, I have no idea, but have no problem figuring out why you hate ISO so much. If we owe you money , how much and what items, I have no problem ,and never had a problem returning peoples stuff.
    After looking into the DT fork, we have had a DT in for months, we have left messages for the gentleman who works at the LyndonGroup, at least the contact info for customer is that. I looked at tag tonight and actually 5 messages have been left. One informing of issue with top dial sourcing, again less than 2 weeks later. Sorry yes it looks as though afew weeks went by before we once again called and were doing so to let you know sourcing issues on top cap. The last message was left on 3/2/12. I am sorry butI have not been let known of any messages or emails in regard to this. Can we try to solve this . I have never stolen anyones product , I have no need for your fork, I am sorry, I don’t need it, nor want it, I would like to however find the top dial or get a call as to what youwould like to do 619-760-6261 or email @ [email protected]
    Once again here is my formal apology , I have let a couple customers down apparently so I am here trying to rectify the situation or at least let everyone know where I am coming from. Thanks for your time. Thanks to STR for allowing me to become prosperous, without you guys I would not have the loyal customer base necessary to open our doors .


    Drake @ ISO
     
  12. pmortuary

    pmortuary They call me D2

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    Nice reply. Sounds like you're getting a handle on things.
     
  13. TreeTopMike

    TreeTopMike New Member

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    I considered ISO for my recent fork rebuild but opted for push because of the bad reviews the company had received as of late. It should be mentioned that my service from push was excellent, and exactly as described. I am also a business owner and remember how hard it was at the beginning to jump through ever-increasing hoops with just one set of legs. Great post, Drake.. ..and I'm looking forward to reading the posts and reviews from here on out. Your service is desperately needed on a local level if the turn around is quick and the service is as promised.
     
  14. giantschwinn

    giantschwinn Member

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    Seals are wear items, I am surprised he gave you a warranty on that. I always pay for service using my credit card, if something goes wrong, a call to the credit card company resolves the issue. There is a reason credit card companies charge those outrageous APRs, put them to work for you. I'd always pay off the balance every month though.
     
  15. giantschwinn

    giantschwinn Member

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    Sounds like you take on more than you can handle. Sometimes it's better to turn away business than take on too many customers especially you are a one man company. I find it hard to believe that as your workload increased, your work quality increased with it. Normally it's the other way around, just saying.
     
  16. fatguy1

    fatguy1 Active Member

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    Wow!!! There you go. Drake stepped up and I making it right with the peeps that feel they were wronged. That right there is a buisness man. Owning a few companies in my time ,I know what you are going thru......honestly you can't please everybody and some customers just can't be pleased. Good to seeou come on and say what's going on. Owning a buisness can be overwhelming and you can forget what's happening around you and before you know it thing.s like this happen......trust me I have been there!! You can only try so many times to make someone happy before you have to throw in the towel and then its just buisness......good luck drake, I'm sure you will do well. As for the few guys that have issues like i said before go handle your buisness....looks like you all have a invitation to settle up with ISO.......so do it and move on!!!
     
  17. zioncoming79

    zioncoming79 Old Man Dead

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    Drake,

    Although I don't know you, it is great to hear ISOtuned is soaring! Good luck with it all, but I do have some advise.

    Although I don't own my own business, I act as if I do. In my profession if you are any good, you will always have clients because of your reputation and expertise. Early on in my career I advertised with postcards, flyers, newspaper ads, etc. Over the course of the years, I developed a solid client base and referral sources which will kept me really busy (referrals, expansions, etc.). When I changed banks (yes, I'm an evil banker), I didn't anticipate clients following me so quickly, and I began to advertise and network again. But they did follow me, and I quickly realized I need to set priorities/catagories:

    1st- long time clients (business owners) because of their loyalty AND clients handed over to me when I joined (need to keep the back door closed)
    2nd- new clients referred from my old clients
    3rd- relationships and loans which make me the most $$$ (I have a family to provide for and an expensive hobby).
    4th- anything else that comes my way which doesn't fit into the above

    There is a lot which falls into the 4th catagory, and candidly I have a difficult time maintaining the 1st -3rd. But I tell the person/company which falls into the 4th catagory 1) a time frame of which I can give them my attention, and stick to my promise or 2) a referral to a colleague who is not as established but is "good".

    Again, it's all about priorities and promises. Stick to both and you will be successful.


    GOOD LUCK AND BLESSINGS!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 5, 2012
  18. proraptor

    proraptor The Bikes & Brew Crew

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    Hi Drake,

    After initially calling you and driving down to your shop on a Sunday (pretty dang far from my house) to drop m dhx5.0 and buy new shock spacers you told me I would have had the shock back in my hands by Thursday which was awesome. You said you would call me by Tuesday to confirm the shock would be done. I never got a call. I ended up calling you Wednesday and you said you didn’t have the spacers which was no big deal you would still rebuild the shock and send it to me so I could ride that weekend. I called Thursday and you said you haven’t even started rebuilding my shock. I told you I was getting off work early and was going to drive out there ONCE again to Murrieta to come and pick up my shock because I couldn’t wait another any longer as I needed the shock by the weekend. I drove out there and paid $120 for the rebuild and the shock spacers. You said the shock spacers you ordered were the wrong ones so you would mill them down to fit my frame and would send them to me within a week.

    My DHX 5.0 air lasted 3-4 rides and then seemed to start working horribly. The rebound wouldn’t work and I wasn’t getting any travel out of the shock. It felt like the shock was permanently locked out. I spoke with you over the phone about this situation and yes you said I had the option to send it back in which I decided not to based on my previous experiences with your company and I still didn’t receive my shock spacers. The last thing I was going to do was send my expensive shock back out to you and not know when or if I would ever see it again. Instead I sent it to another shop and it worked well until I finally got rid of it (new bike).

    To this day, I was never satisfied with the rebuild you performed on my shock, I really think it should have lasted more than 3 or 4 rides especially for the money that was spent to get it done and the extra time/gas to drive out there to pick it up as you were running past your deadline that you quoted me. (The shock was supposed to be shipped to me Wednesday.) I also never received any kind of shock spacers from you as paid for. So I paid you $20 for spacers I never received and then had to shell out another $20 for spacers from another company because I never rcvd the ones you were supposed to provide.

    Now do you see why Im not thrilled with your company? Missed deadlines, a shock that worked 3 or 4 rides, and product I paid for that was never received which lead me to have to spend more money to buy the product from somewhere else.

    I see that you are trying to remedy these issues and that’s great. I would love to see a local suspension tuner succeed in southern California. We really do need one out here with all of the mountain bikers.

    I decided to document my situation in this forum and also email this to you to try and remedy this situation.
     
  19. badbadleroybrown

    badbadleroybrown New Member

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    Still Satisfied

    I posted awhile back about my first experience using Drake and stumbled upon this forum again today... I saw there's been a lot more feedback, both good and bad, about ISO so I thought I'd share my experiences since that initial post...

    It's been close to two years now since I took my old Kona Stinky to him to have the '09 Roco WC & '09 888 tuned. In that time, Drake serviced each of those again about a year after the initial tune... just maintenance as they were both still performing perfectly. I've also bought two bikes from him (M9 FRO & Tracer 29'er), countless miscellaneous parts, had several other shocks and forks tuned, and even had him do a full SRAM Red gruppo & Syntace cockpit replacement on my road bike. Drake did such an outstanding job with my Roco that when I bought my M9, I passed on the CCDB and had him tune a Roco for that bike as well... along with a 888 Evo2, both of which perform better than anything I've ever ridden. He's done the Roco WC & the Totem on my 7 Point as well as the RP23 & Reba RLT on my Tracer 29'er. Earlier this week, I replaced the RP23 on the T29 with a Monarch and plan to have him tune that as well... All in all, I couldn't be happier. In every instance, he's taken the time to listen to exactly what I want out of my bikes and had the expertise to undertake all the changes necessary to make them perform exactly like I've asked for them to. At nearly ever dealing I've had with him, he's also found or done something above and beyond what I was there for just like he did that first time two years ago when he noticed a problem with one of my Code brakes and got it warrantied... I literally can't count the number of times I've picked my bike up after having it worked on to find that a wheel's been trued or some other task performed that had nothing to do with why I dropped it off in the first place proving that he continues to show, even now under what sounds like an often overwhelming workload, that level of detail and attention that so impressed me in our first meeting. I'll continue to take my bikes to him for anything I need and wouldn't hesitate to recommend him to anyone looking for service of any kind for their bikes. I would also second his statement that as his volume has improved so has his quality... It could just be that the newer suspension is just that much better but the difference between my more recently acquired and serviced suspension and those first two that Drake did for me is really impressive.

    As for the people having issues... Things fall through the cracks sometimes. I'm not going to name names and derail this thread but I've personally been waiting since February 2nd (2 months + now) for a very popular and busy North County retailer to get me a road jersey... a jersey... something that requires literally nothing more than them making a call to Assos. I've called probably a dozen times and had them fail to return my call at least a half dozen times. I've been told easily as many times that "it'll be here this week" and had it not be... I've been told that their buyer was on vacation, that he quit, that their sales rep was on vacation... you name it. Me freaking out about them trying to "steal" $200 from me isn't going to get me my jersey any quicker. People just need to learn some patience and recognize that things are tough all over and everyone from manufacturers to retailers are doing what they can to save money and stay profitable in this economy which often leaves us as consumers waiting on back ordered parts or services thanks to "streamlined" production and staffing. Sometimes the people you're calling are simply at the mercy of some manufacturer... Sometimes it's a clueless new employee dropping the ball... Sometimes it's a fully competent employee trying to figure out where things are after someone else left... Sometimes it's just a choice between getting through 20 shocks and 20 forks that people are waiting on or answering 200 emails and returning 20 voicemails... Throwing a digital fit and shaking your fists at the heavens bemoaning your lot in life isn't going to get anything accomplished but raising your blood pressure. I can assure you that Drake has no interest in "stealing" your fork or anything else... if anything, he's giving away advice and services he should be charging more for. I've had zero issues and have on more than one occassion left him in possesion of literally $10k+ worth of my bikes and gear and wouldn't have any qualms about doing so again. If it's important to you, then do something about it... take a drive down to his shop and I can promise you that you'll find him to be more than willing to take care of whatever needs doing or whatever issues you're having. That said, expecting him to make your fork his top priority day in and day out when you're one customer among many and haven't even made it a top priority yourself just isn't reasonable.
     
  20. bloose

    bloose New Member

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    No one else touches my bikes.
     
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