Fail: Rockshox Reverb

It’s time to tell the story of my Rockshox Reverb experiment.

UPDATED MARCH 21 with a resolution.


Background
I’ve been a huge proponent of remotely adjustable seatposts since the original Gravity Dropper. I strongly suggest that most riders adjust their seat height for different situations. In order of awesomeness:

• On-the-fly adjustable seatpost with a remote. That’s the best. You won’t believe how often you use it.

• On-the-fly adjustable seatpost with a lever under the seat. It’s not as slick on trail, but it’s easier to switch bikes. When I travel for NICA coaching, I bring my original issue Maverick with me.

• Quick release lever. It’s 2013 for goodness sake. I can’t believe people ride mountain bikes with bolt clamps.

Over the years I’ve spent significant time on Gravity Dropper, Maverick, X-Fusion and Specialized posts. So far the only post that has never become a liability is the Specialized. I currently own several Command Posts from various generations, and my two main work bikes have current Command Post BlackLites. By the way: I pay for these posts.

But people have been raving about the Rockshox Reverb. Because I believe so strongly in remote posts, and I want to be able to advise my clients and readers as well as possible, I bought a Reverb last year. I used my money. I neither asked for nor received a bro deal from Rockshox. The guys at The Fix Bike Shop installed the Reverb on my 2010 Enduro Carbon. The post felt great in the parking lot.

Fail 1:
I took the Reverb to Left Hand Canyon and … the post didn’t work. It went down and stayed there.

Thank goodness I have a Stumpy 29 with a Command Post BlackLite.

Brought the Reverb back to The Fix, and they bled the post. It felt great in the parking lot.

Fail 2:
I took the Reverb to Winter Park and … the post didn’t work. It went down and stayed there.

Thank goodness I have a Stumpy 29 with a Command Post BlackLite.

Brought the Reverb back to The Fix. They got a warranty rebuild kit from Rockshox and rebuilt the post. It felt great in the parking lot.

Fail 3:
I took the Reverb to Left Hand Canyon and … the post didn’t work. It went down and stayed there.

Thank goodness I have a Stumpy 29 with a Command Post BlackLite.

Brought the Reverb back to The Fix. Steve said they’ve been having lots of problems with Reverb reliability, and that Rockshox is clamping down on the warranties. Never mind that this post has never seen dirt. I asked him to contact Rockshox and see what can be done.

I have not published anything about this situation because I realize things happen, and every company should have a chance to work through issues. Well …

Fail 4:
Today The Fix called:

Rockshox says the post is beyond its one-year warranty (the serial number is from 2011), and they can’t do anything to help me make the post work.

Never mind that the post has never been ridden, and that Rockshox has been contacted at least twice about this specific unit.

I’m lucky enough to have other bikes, so these failures are more annoying than catastrophic. But I did spend hundreds of dollars, couldn’t ride a fantastic bike on sick trails, experienced extra stress and basically feel ripped off. Not to mention the strain this puts on a small business like The Fix.

I suppose I’ll get the Reverb repaired (if that’s possible) and sell it. Cheap.

Lee

UPDATE MARCH 21

Today Mike at The Fix found out about this situation, checked the sales records and called RockShox.

He told RockShox while the Reverb might have been manufactured in 2011, I bought it in April 2012, and he would be happy to send proof.

RockShox said they will honor the warranty and send a new post.

Sweet! I did not expect this, nor did I want to ruin anyone’s day. I’m just another end user who bought a product from his local bike shop. Things happen. That’s normal. It’s cool to see people try to make it right.

This is one reason why it’s awesome to work with your local bike shop. I’ve been a customer of The Fix for years, and they’ve always taken great care of me (and I try to help them, too). In this situation, Mike’s knowledge of and concern for his customer (me) saved the day.

Thanks Mike!


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23 replies
  1. Tea Party says:

    What a bummer Lee! Sorry you and The Fix have had to deal with all of that…pretty crappy! I suppose you can get a “lemmon” in just about anything. I wish the customer service would have made up for your lemmon though! On another note…my reverb has been flawless!

    Reply
  2. Armin Engel says:

    Working in a bike shop, I can only agree to Lee`s experiences with the Reverb. Up to now, we sold 6 units of the Reverb seatpost, and all customers regularly come into the shop, to get it fixed. Most times, it`s only an issue of bleeding the system, but I also had problems with leaking hoses (esp. at the hose entry at the bottom of the post), complete fails (the post didn`t move up again because of two much mud – and there`s actually a lot of mud on the trails here in Germany). Personally, I ride with the Crankbrothers Kronolog and I`m very happy with that seatpost. After one year of extensive enduro riding it has a little play, but it never let me down. It`s lightweigt, reliable and even if there would be a problem with the remote – most riders carry a spare shifting cable in their backpacks, but who takes a bleeding kit out on tour?

    Reply
  3. Rivers says:

    This sounds A LOT like my experience with the KS i950-r. I really hope that someone get’s it right soon. As of now I am back on a standard seatpost and waiting to see what Thomson has up their sleeves….

    Reply
  4. Brian says:

    Strange story all around. Their warranty is very specific about being 2 years from original purchase date. Feel free to read that here: http://cdn.sram.com/cdn/farfuture/skwUf0ZGRyfSPE45L8PLolJf0lUgUfXW3Z2eVhG3cpI/mtime:1341959041/sites/default/files/gen_0000000000562_sram_warranty_-_rev_e_0.pdf

    I got one of the original problematic Reverbs with the silver collar and it blew up right away like everyone else’s. They immediately replaced with a brand new version (pretty much standard SRAM customer service in my experience) with the black collar and it’s been awesome. I probably raise and lower the thing a good 50 times on an some rides. Only thing I had to do was add some PSI initially and it’s been great for over a year now with no service. Have you been given any idea what the issue actually is? Did the shop sell you a really old stock one with the silver collar? The first run product from 2011 isn’t representative of the current product at all.

    Reply
  5. Ben says:

    Sorry about the bummer experience there Lee. Nothing like crappy customer service (RS, not Fix) to further cement a bad experience!

    The Reverb has to be a product with one of the weirdest, most checkered histories ever. I got mine a while ago, within 6mos of when they were first shipping. It was sluggish at first, but I bled it and it’s been solid and dialed ever since. Only issue is on brick cold days where it does need to cycle a few times to warm up. I’ve recommended them in the past, but I’ve got a hard time continuing to purely due to the issues I’ve heard about, your’s added to the list…

    Reply
  6. John K. says:

    I occasionally have the same problem as described in this article, but so far I’ve always been able to resolve it with a bleed. I usually do this 2x a year. Fortunately, bleeding a Reverb is simple. My Reverb is two years old now and it’s still working.

    It seems to me that every single remote seatpost out there has issues, and you can get a lemon from any company. What’s really weird to me is how inconsistent the seatposts are from one customer to the other. I guess the companies are still working out the kinks with this technology?

    Reply
  7. leelikesbikes says:

    I think there are lots of variables, one being the difficulty of scaling up production. To make a few things really well is hard. To make lots of things really well is even harder.

    Reply
  8. Kaj says:

    Why would you sell it, just return it. We see failures of the reverb, but A LOT fewer than we saw in 2011. If you have a 2011 version and just bought it, you should return it.

    Reply
  9. Kenny says:

    I had a 2011 Reverb and it was awful after about 6 months. I had to bleed it once a week as the post would get slower and slower and then get stuck down. I finally sent it back last year through Alpha Bikes in Littleton. I got a brand new one back with no questions asked from Rock Shox. So far no problems.

    What I really like about it is you can set it anywhere, not just all up or all down.

    I would have the Fix sent it back anyway. My guess is Rock Shox knows about the problems and will take care of it. They won’t say yes unless you ask.

    Don’t you get free stuff from Specialized?

    Reply
  10. Derek says:

    Dam Lee that’s Harsh. I love my reverb and have thrashed it into the ground for nearly 2 years now. It finally gave me grief the other week which was easily resolved with a bleed. The process for bleeding is a bit of a muck around and if the seat isn’t in the right position you have dramas. Maybe they have been bleeding it incorrectly?? Just a thought. Just Youtube the videos.

    Reply
  11. Kirk says:

    Thanks for the report, Lee. I am going to pull the trigger on an adjustable this year and now I know what to watch out for.

    Reply
  12. Pascal says:

    Did SRAM know they were dealing with the great Lee McCormack. In theory they should treat all customers equally, but seems to me it would make a lot of business sense to be sure one of MTB’s most influential individuals has a functional seatpost…

    By the way, my Command Post BL is A-OK!

    Reply
  13. JoeG says:

    What timing!

    I was reading reviews on the interwebz yesterday for different dropper posts and had decided to give the Reverb a try for my first dropper. As I was shopping for the best deal on the Reverb, you posted this on FB. Good thing that I read your post before I bought it.

    Reply
  14. leelikesbikes says:

    Hi all, thanks for the comments.

    See the update above.

    In this case I was just another bike nerd buying a product from his local bike shop. In the end, Mike at The Fix knew and cared about his customer (me) — and he got everything taken care of.

    Reply
  15. Ben says:

    Glad to hear about the update Lee. I’m planning on putting a dropper on my hardtail and while I’ve loved my Reverb, definitely going to peep out the other options. Just spotted the carbon KS prototypes from the Taiwan show…. Hmmmm…

    Reply
  16. SeanH says:

    Another essential bike skill: Establishing a good relationship with a local bike shop.

    It sounds like your headaches would have been worse without your guys going to bat for you.

    Reply
  17. Chris Q says:

    RE: Quick release lever. It is 2013, but it is crazy how many QR clamps won’t hold your seat up unless you crank the bolt up so tight that you can’t use the QR. I thought crank brothers might have nailed it with the split lever QR, but that turned out to be more useless than a standard QR. But it isn’t all doom and gloom for QR’s, Hope make an amazing one that actually works. You can do your seat up tight and still use the lever!

    Reply
  18. feldy says:

    So, I read through this post pretty quickly and saw that you thought “…it felt great…” Sounds like a good product! How’s my comprehension skillz?

    Reply
  19. Mark B says:

    Reminds me of my brake situation. New bike has Shimano XT’s that everyone raves about. I’ve had more issues with them in 1 yr, including warranty return that cost me labor charges, than I had in 7 yrs of riding Avids. This is opposite of most folk’s experience apparently.

    And I am a happy Reverb owner for the past year by the way!

    Keep up the good work Lee. Always enjoy reading your stuff.

    mb

    Reply
  20. darryl says:

    so this tale a good reason why it be good to do biz with yer lbs? hmmm. i live on the dark side of the moon (well actually australia) and ordered my american made dropper post direct from the manufacturer who earlier responded to email questions immediately. it arrived promptly, works great, simple design, neverfail, safe to ride days out back. people sing about the manufacturers warranty responses, although hard to imagine needing one. made in america. respect.

    Reply

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