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Old 07-11-2012, 08:55 PM   #1
vtbob OP
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trails end BMW

FWIW When we were in Fairbanks 3 weeks ago, Trails End BMW blew my friend and his new R1200GS adventure off.

The story: My friend got a new R1200GS adventure this spring for our trip to Alaska. He got the first service done at our local dealer but planned to have the 6000 mile service done a Trails End.

Accordingly, before we left on the trip in contacted them to make sure it was ok. They said yes fine. Infact he had some late farkles sent to Trails End to pickup when he got there. There were a couple of other emails , etc all confirming the plan.

After doing the Top of the World, he called in from Tok, letting them know he would be in the next day for the service. Yep everything ok.

It was a good day and we made it to Trial End the same evening, stopped by to again confirm, pick up the package and confirm the schedule for the next day.

Oooops, first red flag...there is no appointment, first come first served. First thru the door in the moring gets first service!!!

My friend is up and at the first at the gate at 7;30....and first in when they open. Yep 6000 mile service will be done around noon. My friend leaves to go down town, etc.

About 11 he gets a call, Trails end can not do the 6000 mile service but they might be able to change the oil in the after noon.

He, and we are a bit up set....he calls the dealer he bought the bike from,,,the dealer say let them keep their oil in alaska, just make sure it is topped up and he will do the the full service on return.

Bottom line...don't count on trails end BMW.

I feel that they a Harley Dealer first, and a BMW dealer in name only. A harley guy who came in after my friend got his service, what ever it was done.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:12 PM   #2
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It would have been nice to have been informed that service is first come first served, but would you really have wanted the available Harley tech working on your new Adventure? I wonder what disaster the BMW mechanic was tied up with. Personally I have seen the Trails End guys work pretty hard to keep the flood of summer adventure seekers on the road. Welcome to the Great North where the grapes grow sweeter than in New England.
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Old 07-11-2012, 09:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cubdriver View Post
It would have been nice to have been informed that service is first come first served, but would you really have wanted the available Harley tech working on your new Adventure? I wonder what disaster the BMW mechanic was tied up with. Personally I have seen the Trails End guys work pretty hard to keep the flood of summer adventure seekers on the road. Welcome to the Great North where the grapes grow sweeter than in New England.
Well said CubDriver. Trails End has worked their tails off for me and the Hubs. Nick, Dimitri, Jerry, Clark and all the other guys have gone way out of their way to help and get us back on the road quickly. Yes, we were locals, but no longer, and they have done an outstanding job! With the small crew and the flood of travelers and bikes of all types it is amazing the amount of work that goes through their doors. Thanks guys! Keep up the good work and the Free barbecues!
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:56 AM   #4
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I've had great service from Trails End.

During the summer they are often faced with sorting out issues that are ride ending events for riders from all over the world. While your friend was disappointed by not getting the service he wanted when he wanted it, his disappointment did not mean his Alaskan adventure was over. There may have been other riders who had serious mechanical issues or damage that required Trails End's limited resources or their trip was over and they would have to fly home and ship their bike. They try to do their best at doing the triage required to keep as many people riding as possible. Personally, I don't think it is appropriate to blast a dealer in an open format like this forum and provide one side of an issue that is probably more complex than either you or your friend even know. I do wish you and your friend a good and safe adventure while in Alaska and on your way home.

PS. Instead of riding home with the old oil, why not change it yourselves or have one of the independent guys in town do it? Not a hard job. Perhaps Adventure CycleWorks could do it or a local inmate will let you use a garage. Asking for help and or advice would likely get you multiple responses that were constructive; attacking the dealer seems to have gotten you nothing you probably think is fair or helpful.
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:18 AM   #5
vtbob OP
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Glad all you guys have good results from Trails End.

Their Rules...first come first service....They DID NOT meet this commitment.

The 6000 service on a BMW R engines is pretty easy...yes evan a harley tech can do it.
The bike was and is running fine, just finished a 1000 in 1, on the way home. The service was mainly to keep the BMW warrantee gods appeased.

They gave no indication that they were having some internal melt down that made working on the Adventure difficult.

Trails End strung us along ...when they could have more honestly said...too busy or harleys are always first, or what ever!

The 3 of us would have likely not gone into Fairbanks but would have likely gone up some where around Livengood for the night...and on from there.

yah we know snafus happen....but others should be aware it is not all peaches and cream at Tails End
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:23 AM   #6
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Is George still there?
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:40 AM   #7
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When George had Trails End - things were a lot different - sometimes you got some lip but his stories were always great to listen to and the service he gave was always outstanding and you left reassured that it was done right!!! He had done some amazing repairs that no one was willing to even take a look at and his word was his bond - a true gentleman in every sense of the word.
These guys at the "new" dealership are their own worst enemy - give them enough time and they will run themselves out of being the BMW dealer.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:02 AM   #8
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I was in there on a rental with my 12 year old (at the time) daughter and we made the BIG mistake of walking on his precious patch of grass and got hollered at. Comical once I realized he was serious about his green patch. I got to witness him griping about BMW and all their rules, and just missed getting beaned by an airborne wrench. He worked with a sense of urgency though, " we have to do this with natural light, natural light is the best" said several times. Had a great time watching/helping and coaching my daughter to stay off the grass. He must have liked us because he gave us a Trails End license frame even though the bike was a rental. Turned out to be one of those places and people you don't forget on your travels. Being from Illinois I really had no clue green grass was important, but I still don't get the sense of urgency about natural light availability in July and August.

I take it George is no longer affiliated with Trails End?
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bobrestore screwed with this post 07-12-2012 at 09:04 AM Reason: spelling audit
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:22 AM   #9
KHuddy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NorthernStar View Post
- give them enough time and they will run themselves out of being the BMW dealer.
Yup, it will end-up being one of those places where nobody goes because it is too busy. It appears to me they are selling more BMWs than ever, business is good and they have a fairly high customer satisfaction rating.

George sold the dealership in 2007. He still consults with the new shop on some mechanical issues from time to time. He now sells Royal Enfields from his place just as he did with BMWs. Locals still bring their airheads to George for repair and he is still the lovable fuzzball of a guy he always was. By the way, you may see him cruising around on his 06 V-Rod, lest you think that even he was all BMW all the time.

He may have lost a step, but he can still ride. This is from a gathering about 18 monhs ago. 15 or 20 riders all at an inmate's house. Who was the only guy to ride a bike up the mile-long snow packed road to the gathering.... take a look.





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Old 07-12-2012, 03:54 PM   #10
TheSeeker
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Cool2 Well, well, well...

Hello there ADV'ers, I'm Justin and I am the BMW Manager at Trail's End BMW. I manage the ordering, sales and marketing for the BMW brand in our dealership.

Nothing like being on the firing line.


They say "Bad Press is better than No Press!" Yet, I would like an opportunity to defend Trail's End BMW's reputation here on this incredible forum.


I do remember this group of fine individuals from the Lower 48. Actually the "friend" with the GSA was a really nice guy. I won't publish his name out of courtesy (mostly because I'm curious if he even knows his "friend" is lambasting us on his behalf). But this fellow from Vermont emailed me to see if I would be willing to receive a package at our shop for him.


I warned this gentleman that we are a large multi-line dealership that sees heavy summer loads. I instructed him that I would receive his stuff if he was sure to clearly address it to me.

I also let him know that our Service Department does not schedule service appointments because travelers often arrive at different times than they ANTICIPATE because of WEATHER and ROAD CONDITIONS in addition to CHANGING PERSONAL ITINERARIES.


We kept in contact via email, so I could keep him in the loop on the tracking of his parcel since it was going to be arriving right around the time I was due to depart for Dust2Dawson.

I will skip getting into what particulars in the shop that prevented us being able to do his 6000 mile service on a one-day turnaround. I'm pretty sure we were able to service the other two in his group and they left ahead of said GSA owner.


We DO NOT give preference based on brand. We service Harley-Davidson, Victory, Honda and BMW. Not all of our techs are trained to the same level and we only have one BMW MOSS computer system. We see loads of overland travelers every year in a 3.5 month period of time.

Loads? Yes like 150-200 motorcycle tourists coming through the shop from May 1st - mid-August. Unfortunately we could not do the GSA 6000mile service in the time period the customer was bound to.


-Would we have liked to have the ability to forsee the problems that prevented us from meeting his schedule? Of course.

-Would we like it if all travelers met their anticipated schedules so we could schedule set appointments? Of course.

-Do we sincerely try to service as many bikes as possible in the limited time we have in a summer? Of course.


Just the other day we had to turn away a BMW K1200LT owner on a power windscreen failure... I explained that we had bikes that were not in running order that had to take precedence to his comfort issue. Was he happy about it? NOPE.


We do what we can, as best we can. AND we are always trying to grow and become a better running operation.


I really hope that the GSA owner of topic here had a great ride home and can come back soon to Fairbanks and the great State of Alaska. (And I kind of hope his "friend" stays home. )


Come on up and see us or better yet... come up and ride with me. We can GS everything from singletrack to slab, whatever your pleasure... all in the beauty of Alaska and it's weather!


Lastly: To GSA owner's "friend": I'd like to hear your suggestions for how to better run a powersports business that sees 85% of it's motorcycle business in 3 months time. trailsendbmw@gmail.com


Cheers all and be safe out there!

-Justin
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Old 07-12-2012, 04:05 PM   #11
TheSeeker
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Cool2 And by the way...

A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR REGULAR CUSTOMERS WHO SO QUICKLY STEPPED UP TO PUT IN A GOOD WORD FOR US!!!!

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Old 07-12-2012, 06:36 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KHuddy View Post
PS. Instead of riding home with the old oil, why not change it yourselves or have one of the independent guys in town do it? Not a hard job. Perhaps Adventure CycleWorks could do it or a local inmate will let you use a garage. Asking for help and or advice would likely get you multiple responses that were constructive; attacking the dealer seems to have gotten you nothing you probably think is fair or helpful.
I'd have to agree with KHuddy on this one... I too went to Trails End a few weeks ago anticipating an oil change and a few other minor maintenance items. When I arrived, it was clear that the service department was way overloaded and prices quoted seemed a bit on the steep side. So, I just found a place to change my own oil, made the maintenance adjustments myself and was on the road - probably much faster and happier than waiting around for service and being out $200 to boot... Had a nice steak dinner that night on the savings and still had a bit of change.

I think fair market dictates and I completely understand the need to make a buck when you can. I think that the time around the D2D was a bit crazy for all the shops in the area - my attitude is simply that if I don't like the price or the timing - just do it myself - good habit anyway. Think you need to consider the onslaught of transient riders at this time and shops in AK need to take care of their "regulars". I was initially a little offended but at least one shop that has a "tourist" rate and a "regular" rate ( I saw the manager picking the items off of the computer menu for billing when looking over his shoulder waiting for my invoice), but then considered the number of missed appointments, quick turn around requirements and generally poor planning by transient riders and guess I gotta be lumped somewhere...
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:00 PM   #13
TheSeeker
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TSD View Post
I was initially a little offended but at least one shop that has a "tourist" rate and a "regular" rate ( I saw the manager picking the items off of the computer menu for billing when looking over his shoulder waiting for my invoice), but then considered the number of missed appointments, quick turn around requirements and generally poor planning by transient riders and guess I gotta be lumped somewhere...

Just for clarification Trail's End BMW does not charge a different rate for "Tourists" vs. "Regulars"... but I did get used to this practice while traveling through Central and South America...
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:24 PM   #14
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Yikes, some pretty heated debate in here.

Blasting someone on an internet forum is pretty spineless. Better yet, tell them to their face, or tell the brand. All of my OEM's have customer feedback lines and if you have anything negative to say, guess what, I get an email/call about said independent.

All brands these days are very perceptive on customer satisfaction and are very diligent on completing the customer experience.

I've never been to Trail's End, wanting to go, but our seasons are identical. I imagine their season is just as boom and bust as ours, maybe even worse. If you've never worked in the powersports industry where 100% of your annual income is made in a 4 month period, then you have very little bearing on what's it's like in said industry.

Having said that it should go without saying that anyone not able to cope with the variable service/customer load isn't really cut our for our industry, at least for the long haul.

Trust me, I hate turning business down, more than anyone, but sometimes you have to tell someone what they don't want to hear. I guarantee you Trails End would have loved to take care of that gent, especially since he emailed a while out (that means so much, seriously!), but guess what, a game day decision was made to take care of someone else with a more pressing matter. Tough luck.

Could a Harley tech do the BMW work? Given how specialized brands have become, technically it may be possible, but I'd rather have my guys stick to what they know. That helps guarantee quality of work even under stress. When you start asking out of one's specialty then things can go awry.

One other thing to keep in mind is during that particular day, perhaps tempers flared. This is just gas on the fire. If a shop is under stress and can't present a calm, cool, collected face to a customer facing some bad news, you've got a problem. Escalating situations are often the cause of such forum outbursts, it's amazing what a couple breaths and count to 5 can do for one's patience and understanding.

Last point:

I sympathize for both parties, only because I've turned many services down in the past. They take time, and that's one thing I don't have. It's not that we don't want the work, but there are only so many hours in the day. Perhaps Trails End could have said "Hey, I'm really sorry, we're totally slammed today, can't get that 6k, but I can do an oil and filter change, and check the old girl over once it's on the lift. I know it isn't what we talked about, but that way you've got some fresh oil to take you back home safely."

Perhaps that would have helped, but who knows. I've certainly had guys happy enough to get a drain pan and piece of cardboard to offset the people irate that I can't fit in their 36k service, tire change, wiring problem, warranty "issue" etc.

JUST REMEMBER, none of us are in the business to piss people off, we're in the business of motorcycles! Motorcycles are fun, so everything else should follow suit!!
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:28 PM   #15
dapman
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Well said...

Nice reply Justin... Not everyone is going to be pleased 100% of the time at any dealer/restaurant/store/etc. the important thing is friendliness and respect. I experienced that at your shop by the 4 or 5 different people who made sure that any questions or help was given, in fact, not one employee passed me by without asking if there was anything that they could help with... rare today. Nice clean store, helpful employees, seems to be on track to me... just sayin'
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