M1, 70Mph and plastic mud guards.

2004/08/18 23:02:00

If you are traveling down the M1 near Sheffield and see a section of black plastic bike mudguard do me a favor and pick it up!

I got me a bike rack for the SMART and to prove it I decided to pop the bike on and go for a trundle. This is where I learn’t that my plastic mudguards were never designed to do 70mph and certainly not sideways!

After a lot of thought I decided to shell out the mortgageable price for a smart bike rack. A while ago I asked at Mercedes in Sheffield how much it would cost and was told, all in £65. Super, I thought, get me one now. But in the back of my mind there was a nagging doubt that this was not quite right. So after a bit of reading and some more phone calls I found out that the bike rack is just £65 but you have to attach it to the £140 basic rack! “Oh a cabriolet sir”, ( Slaps a “VIP - Charge me more” sticker to his chest), “Well that’s an extra £45. No I thought I am going to get this so I stumped up the reddies after confirming that it would be no problem for me to fit at home. So it went on order at Mercedes and within a few days I went in to pick it up. After the shock of having to sign for that much, ( Yes sign, I have still not memorized my new Chip’n'PIN) I confirmed with the guy that it was just a couple of screws and then I would be wizzin’ about with bikes on board.
So home it was that evening and after some stumbling with the instructions thinking that you could only have it attached with the hood down, I realised that where it said “Get the grommets fitted by your SMART dealer” thats exactly what it meant. So next day I booked up to get them fixed. I dropped the car in a couple of days later and they did it in during the morning and I dropped back at 2-ish to pick it up. I was in a little rush because an Engineer was coming to work to replace half the parts in our main server. Then came the crunch. It took the engineer three hours to fit it and that would be £150 plus VAT. I might add that after that he was probably to tired to brush off the filing from the side of the car or rub his grubby fingerprints off the knob. Think Mercedes, Think Quality!!! What do you expect for only £50 an hour. It was at this point that I pointed out to them that I had already paid the fitting charge as shown in their catalog. What followed was an hour or so of various managers trying to persuade me that I was mistaken and thinking that knocking £30 of would be OK. So after reading the catalog to them for the tenth time and still remaining very calm they eventually called Bob in Parts and he said that they would pick up the charge. How kind, I thought, as there was no charge to be picked up.

Well after all that I was a little miffed and as I walked out of there I made a point of stepping over the door plate with the intention of never going back. I have always thought that they are too expensive and now I know that their quality is pretty poor and their customer service is even worse.

It’s all setup now and it looks pucker, the attention to detail is really nice. You can put the hood up and down with the bikes on, there is a small rubber tape where pedals might rub and the build quality is really good. It’s only let down by the fact that it uses three different sizes of Allen key to install! On the road you hardly notice it a small amount of wind noise at speed but no rattles or knocks. I think that it feels a bit lighter on the steering at 70 but that may be because there are usually two people plus luggage when I am on the motorway.

That turned into a bit of a rant, sorry about that. I have put most of it behind me now and I really like the rack. If you are thinking of getting one just make sure that you clear up with the Merc dealer before hand that fitting is included in the price as stated in the catalog.

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