Radon-Bikes and Bike-Discount: a tale of terrible manufacturing, poor assembly, creaking noises and unprofessional customer support. AKA Why you should not consider buying from Radon-Bikes.
While you can find online reviews about how good Radon-Bikes are, this is my brutally honest opinion after purchasing and using one of their recent models, witnessing the staggering decrease in quality over the years (I am a recurring customer) and having to deal with its Customer Support. Sadly, it was a very unpleasant experience, at the end of which the problem was not resolved. Hopefully, by the end of this long article you’ll have new information that will help you decide whether you should spend your money on this bike brand, or look somewhere else. Grab a drink and read it carefully.
- A quick introduction about what is Bike-Discount and Radon-Bikes.
- About myself.
- The poor assembly quality of the bike that I received.
- Creaking noises.
- Customer Support’s unprofessional behavior and flawed testing methodology.
- The shipment mismanagement.
- Terrible manufacturing on the bike frame.
- Another round of Customer Support’s unprofessional behavior.
- Confirmation about their non-existent quality control.
- Possible solutions to the creaking noise.
- Riding feelings after more than a 2000km.
- Conclusion – TLDR
What are Radon-Bikes and Bike-Discount?
Bike-Discount is an online shop that offers everything to do with bicycles. It is also the owner of the Radon-Bikes brand. Quoting it:
An established name in mountain biking and our greatest bike pride and joy: RADON. Originally a niche brand for individual XC mountain bikes, RADON has developed into a highly popular top player of the bike scene. Thanks to our combination of innovative bicycle concepts, high-end equipment, and excellent manufacturing standards, we have regularly been voted test champions in Europe’s most important bike magazines…
From the Radon section:
Radon believes in new developments, unusual approaches and creative thinking, but never loses sight of the principle that has made the brand what it is today: to offer as much bike as possible for as little money as possible! This is how Radon has become one of the biggest direct mail order bike brands in Europe.
In essence, Radon-Bikes can be purchased from Bike-Discount. If you have problems with the bike, you’ll deal with Bike-Discount’s Customer Support.
Whenever possible I do bike maintenance myself. Not because I don’t trust local shops, it’s just that I usually do it faster on my own. Consider this: remove the wheels, load the bike and parts into the car, drive to the local shop (15-20 minutes for a one way trip), explain the problem, come back after a few days to bring it home. It just doesn’t make sense to me… After more than 17 years of riding and self-maintenance, I consider myself a half-way decent bike mechanic.
Back in 2015 I bought my first Radon-Bikes, the ZR 8 Team for about 1600€ (including VAT): I can’t speak highly enough about that bike and its aluminum frame. I rode it everywhere, I rode it hard, and I definitely went to a lot of alpine trails where that bike was not supposed to be used in. In May 2022, after more than 31000km and over 800 thousand meters of elevation gain, I discovered a couple of cracks on the frame, so I decided it was time for a new bike.
Considering my positive experience with the aforementioned bike and that many major bike brands were still suffering from supply chain delays, I went to Radon-Bikes website looking at their offering. On June 2022 I bought a brand new Radon Jealous AL 10 with a price tag (including VAT) very close to 1900€. As the name suggests, it has an aluminum frame. The package was shipped with DHL Freight and it arrived at my location after 9 days (on June 24th).
Poor assembling quality
Out of the box, the bike came with the following problems:
- the decal on the non-drive side of the fork was ruined.
- missing end-cap on the left handgrip.
- missing stem bolts: effectively, I could not fix the handlebar to the stem.
- cable management was awful.
- Rear brake hose is externally fixed on the frame with small bolts. Those bolts were clearly used.
- One of these bolts was improperly tighten slightly off-axis: as a result, the thread was stripped on the frame and the bolt didn’t go all the way in, ultimately causing a rattling noise as the hose hit the down tube of the frame due to vibrations.
- Rear brake hose was at least 10cm too long, so the cable was constantly rattling against the handlebar and it also interfered with the front light. They probably did that for packaging reasons, as the handlebar must be secured to the frame and the shipping box has limited space. However, they could have achieved the same goal with a better approach: cut the cables to the proper length and move the brake lever and shifter towards the middle of the handlebar, leaving to the customer the job to move them into the correct place (which is an action that customer has to do it anyway, as their position is very subjective).
- Front brake hose is also too long and has been installed with a very weird twist, resulting in the hose to rub against the fork on two different places, eventually scratching it.
- Gear cable and rear-brake hose have been fixed to the bottom of the chain-stays with tiny cable ties rather than more sturdy cable clips. As I would later find out, rocks can jump towards the chain-stays, snapping a cable tie, resulting in the brake hose to rub against the rear wheel, a situation that would have never happened if cable clips were used in the first place as they are more robust.
Those were my first impressions about the bike:
- “has the bike been used before???? I’m sure I paid for a brand new bike…”.
- “whoever assembled this bike must have been in a rush”.
After carefully inspecting the bike and parts for scratches and signs of use, I could not find any, except for the ruined decal on the fork and the used bolts. So, I ultimately settled with the most plausible explanation: not enough care and/or incompetence by the guy who assembled the bike.
So, I weighted my options:
- do I return it to Bike-Discount and get my money back?
- do I fix those issues myself? After all:
- Handle grips were too hard for my taste, so they needed to be replaced anyway, thus requiring a new order.
- I could live with a ruined decal.
- I could reuse the stem bolts from my old bike.
- Luckily, I had the proper tooling to fix the ruined thread, thus securing the brake hose to the frame.
- Eventually, I could also shorten the brake hoses and fix that weird twist, though it would require a new order for the necessary parts. Therefore, those fixes should have waited at least a few days.
I went with option 2. Considering the poor assembling job, I made sure everything was properly greased, double checked the torque applied on every bolt and implemented the most critical fixes (stem bolts and broken thread).
Definition: a creaking noise is an audible manifestation of movements between two or more parts.
The day after I received the bike, I went for the first test ride: 45km long (50% tarmac, 50% gravel), elevation gain of 1300m. On the middle of it a creaking noise appeared while pedaling both on the saddle as well as out of the saddle: apparently, it came from the bottom bracket region.
Once I got back at home, I went on with a game of guesses and exclusions:
- Since the bike creaked even when pedaling out of the saddle, seat-post and the saddle could not be the problem.
- No noises were produced when applying load and torque to the handlebar while standing still. This excluded problems with the handlebar, headset and fork.
- No noises were produced when riding nose-press (lifting the rear wheel and riding only on the front wheel). This excluded the fork and the front wheel as well.
- Standing still next to the bike, I grabbed the frame and applied lateral loads to the rear tire looking for plays on the rear axle: couldn’t find any.
- Replaced the crank-set (and pedals) with compatible ones. Creaking noises were still present while pedaling. Hence, the new crank-set and pedals were fine.
- My next guess was that the bottom bracket shell tube was manufactured with wrong tolerances, leading to movements between the bottom bracket and the tube itself. Welding process tends to deform the pieces: hence, a tube with a circular cross section might end up having an elliptical cross section, which doesn’t bode well with circular cross section of the bottom bracket. Since I didn’t have a spare bottom bracket around in order to test for my theory, I didn’t took any further actions. However, I made sure that bearings were rolling smoothly and that there was no slippage between the bearings and the crank axle.
- There could also be small cracks not yet visible along the welds of the frame. This is very difficult to spot as it requires specialized test equipment, which I didn’t have access to. Nonetheless, after a quick visual inspection no cracks were found.
The next day I went for an all-tarmac, 20km long ride. The more I pedaled, the louder the creaking noises developed. Eventually, the noise was so annoying that I had to capture it into a video. Mind you, I used my smartphone with no fancy microphone: hence, the higher the speed, the more wind noise covers the creaking noise. Still, creaking noise is really loud and annoying:
On top of that, creaking noises also appeared when applying the rear brake: that was scary! After checking (again) that the rear brakes bolts were correctly tighten, considering the origin of the noise I was left with the impression that a crack must have been present on the frame, specifically on the weld between the bottom bracket shell tube and the lower-left tube going towards the rear axle: my theory was that under loads (pedaling or braking), there would be movement between the surfaces of the crack, thus creating noises. So, I took down the rear wheel and carefully inspected that weld: I couldn’t find any visible crack, but again, it could be a very very small one.
Then, I wrote to Bike-Discount’s Customer Support to inform them about the issues, showing them videos of the creaking noises as well as pictures of the main issues listed above. Regarding the creaking noise, they asked to pack the bike and send it back. After agreeing on a pick-up date, I thoroughly cleaned the bike, packed it up, compile the return form explaining in detail what was wrong and away it went on July 8th.
Customer Support’s unprofessional behavior and flawed testing methodology
The bike reached its destination on July 12th. The shop gave me 2 options:
- They would take the bike back and refund the total amount minus about 10%, because
there were traces of smell. I replied that it was impossible, since I did a very thorough bike wash. They replied back saying that
they shifted, they meant
traces of use.
- They would repair the bike and send it back. Of course, I chose this option: after all, I bought the bike because I needed it.
This is were the bullshit starts. Minutes after I confirmed that I would like the bike to be repaired, they replied that
they will fix the wheel and that the frame is very unlikely to be defective.
My reaction: wait, what? Who on earth mentioned any problem with the wheel? And which wheel? Last time I checked, both wheels were perfectly fine, so there is absolutely nothing to fix there. Considering that the creaking noises are coming from the frame when pedaling and braking, I politely replied that the frame is the source of the noises, and that it should be replaced because my safety and the safety of the people around me was on the line. They replied back that they will fix the wheel and that the frame is unlikely to be the problem. The day after, Customer Support replied with this:
As I suspected, there is nothing wrong with the frame. Only the headset, seat tube and crank threads had to be properly greased again.
To be on the safe side, we did several test rides and could not find any faults.
The bike will be shipped again shortly.
A few impressions and observations quickly came to my mind:
- When I packed the bike it was creaking like hell. How on earth didn’t they find any faults?
- I mentioned earlier that spotting cracks on aluminum requires specialized equipment. Either the crack is big and visible to the naked eye, or you go for a CT scan, or use color penetration testing. Either way, it requires well formed personnel, time and money. The fact that they said there is nothing wrong with the frame less than 24 hours after receiving the bike, it suggests to me that they didn’t even look at it. In fact, they didn’t even try the bike, otherwise it would have creaked like hell.
- What about the wheel? They were so keen to fix the unbroken wheel and they didn’t even mention it on the report?
- They did several test rides without finding any faults. Jesus, this bike creaks only with me… Am I cursed or is there something flawed with their testing methodology?
The bike was shipped back to me on July 14th and it arrived on August 5th (more on this later): this time they included the stem bolts and the left hand-grip cap. After checking that everything was greased and tighten correctly, away I went for another test ride, 40km long (90% tarmac, 10% gravel), a 1000m of elevation gain: less than 10km into the ride, the bike started creaking again. The more I rode, the louder the creaking noise. Needless to say, I was extremely disappointed.
So, based on my experience this is how Bike-Discount’s Customer Support works:
- When you write about a problem with the bike, they ask you for evidence. If the supposed problem is big, they ask you to pack the bike and send it back for inspection and eventually corrective actions.
- Once they receive the bike, they ignore altogether the evidence of the problems that you provided (in my case, videos showing how badly the bike was creaking).
- For no reasons at all Customer Support’s mechanics are allowed to test the bike out of the box in order to verify that the problems you mentioned effectively exist.
- Instead, Customer Support will come up with bullshit reasons even without looking at the bike (in my case, broken wheel and the frame is unlikely to be the problem). Why are they doing it? Easy: to save money… If there was a problem with the frame, customer might want it to be replaced, hence a cost of a few hundred euros for Radon-Bikes, on top of the eventual cost of spotting the problem. At this point, there is nothing you can do to change course: they are going to do whatever the hell they want, giving you the middle finger.
- Now, a mechanic is allowed to implement the fixes ordered by Customer Support, which in this case are something like
grease everything, include stem bolts, include left hand-grip cap and most importantly, don’t look at the frame otherwise you might spot the problem!
- Let the mechanic test the bike, obviously following Customer Support’s directions, which probably sounds like:
do not use pedals nor rear brake. Only one trip around the work stand, ok? Let say, 10m long ride to say the most… Do not try it too much, otherwise you might find the problem and we don’t want that because we would have to spend money, which is unacceptable!
- Finally, pack the bike and send it back. Problem unsolved and everyone lives happily ever after… Well, everyone at Bike-Discount and Radon-Bikes anyway, not the customer. But, who cares about the customer nowadays?
The shipment mismanagement
The bike was shipped on July 14th with DHL Freight, but Bike-Discount didn’t provide me with a tracking code. On July 28th having not received it, I asked them information about the bike’s whereabout, at which they gave me the tracking code: the bike was sitting at a warehouse 150km away from my location. It was there from July 21st.
On August 1st, finding it strange that a shipping company took so much time to process the package, I wrote to Bike-Discount for them to solicit the shipping company to deliver the package: they didn’t reply. On August 2nd, I called the warehouse asking for information: they told me that the package couldn’t be moved without further paperwork from the shipper. So, I wrote another email to Bike-Discount soliciting them to fix the paperwork: they didn’t reply. On August 4th, 3 weeks after the bike was shipped, 2 full weeks after the bike was sitting on the same warehouse, I was extremely pissed off: I spent a couple of hours looking at DHL’s website for a way to contact some higher up: fortuitously, I found an email address hidden into an How-To documentation PDF. I wrote an email explaining the problem and, an hour later, they replied they were going to look into it. A couple of hours later, Bike-Discount finally replied back:
they were sorry for the inconvenience.
On August 5th I finally received the bike. Was it not for me that I went looking for an improbable email address into some hard-to-find How-To guide inside DHL’s website, I would still be waiting the bike today; of this I’m sure. Thanks Bike-Discount’s Customer Support for ditching my emails: if you were looking to further ruin your reputation on my eyes, you managed to do that, congrats, job well done.
So, almost one month went by in which I could not use the product I bought, and those idiots didn’t even try to solve the problem. Great…
After the new test ride, considering the awful experience with Customer Support I decided that it was pointless to waste any more time with them until I was able to accurately pinpoint the problem. So, I looked around in my area for businesses capable to identify cracks on metals. It just so happens that August is vacation’s time in Italy: after emailing a couple of them and receiving automated replies, I decided that it was time to put some miles on the new bike: if there was a crack in the frame, it would have likely grown bigger with usage. Maybe it could grow big enough to be visible to the naked eye. If there was not a crack, maybe the problem would have become apparent with mileage. In the meantime, on August 6th I converted both wheel to a tubeless setup: no scratches were visible on the axles, as the bike had little more than 100km of easy riding.
What about safety? If the frame is cracked it is unsafe to ride, I hear you say… Radon-Bikes/Bike-Discount clearly don’t care at all about customer’s safety: if they did, they would have took the problem seriously in the first place, thoroughly inspected the frame and made the proper corrective actions; they did not. So I took a calculated risk: considering that most of the time I ride alone in the middle of the mountains avoiding people, if the frame was to suddenly and catastrophically fail I would only hurt myself. From experience with my previous bike, it takes some time for the crack to grow big and the frame to fail. So, I rode the bike hard: put every Watt I could into the pedals, every bump was a jump, every rock was a target to hit. Creaking noises were loudly audible when pedaling or applying the rear brake.
On August 15th, Bike-Discount emailed me asking if I received the bike. I told them the frame was creaking like hell. They asked me to provide photo evidence of the crack, after which they would have ordered a new frame. There you have it, dear Reader: you’ll have to bear the costs of providing evidence. And even if you do it, they are likely going to ditch them, like they did before with my videos about the creaking noises. So, after 10 days and about 300km ridden, just out of curiosity I took down the rear wheel in order to inspect the frame: looking at the concentric circular marks on rear axle conical head, I got an Eureka moment in which I suddenly understood what the problem was.
Usually, it is perfectly fine to see uniform diffuse discoloring over the conical surface: it means that there is a good surface contact with the frame. However, in this case the marks are much more localized to specific locations and they are deep into the material.
To understand what’s going on, we need to look at the rear axle, where:
- The threaded end is going to be screwed on the drive-side threaded slot of the frame.
- The conical head is going to be compressed against a conical slot on the non-drive side of the frame. Conical surfaces are used to make the axle self-centering. Assuming that both conical surfaces are perfectly smooth, once the axle is getting tighten against the frame the resulting locking force will be uniformly distributed between the threaded and conical surfaces. Hence, at the prescribed torque value, the axle will be locked to the frame: there won’t be movements between them.
This is only true if the frame has been manufactured correctly, i.e. the slots on the frame are perfectly aligned and the conical surfaces are perfectly smooth.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how the non-drive side conical slot has been manufactured on the Radon Jealous AL frame.
The picture is rather flat. However, concentrical “marks” distributed at different radial locations are clearly visible: those are bumps. Each sign starts at some angle (along the circumferential direction) and ends at a different angle. The height of each bump is not uniform along its path. Moreover, each bump has a different maximum height from the others. This is a very rough surface!
The component of the frame with the conical slot is manufactured at the beginning of the production line, because it is easier to lock it onto a flat surface and machine it with a countersink drill bit, thus getting a very good alignment. I can see only two options to explain this manufacturing fail:
- The countersink drill bit has been used well past its end of life.
- In order to save time and money, the countersink drill bit has never been cleaned before: it is a well known fact that when machining aluminum, it tends to stick to the surfaces of the tooling. If the tool is not cleaned regularly, the aluminum accumulates over the tool surface creating a rough surface, which in turns prevents a smooth cutting.
Either way, the result is the same: extremely poor manufacturing.
Let’s quickly analyze the consequences of that rough surface. In the static case, the locking force is distributed only on the small contact surfaces of the bumps touching the conical head. The pressure on the small regions of contact might already be so high to cause permanent damage on the surface itself: the bumps on the frame are digging into the conical head.
Now, let’s look at the dynamic case. We can apply loads by:
- pedaling: in this case the entire frame is going to deform (mainly by bending and torsion). When a leg is pushed down on a pedal stroke the two rear triangles deform differently from each other.
- rear braking: the rear brake is attached to the non-drive side chain-stay. From a structural point of view, applying the rear brake is equivalent to apply a load through the non-drive side chain-stay: the non-drive side rear triangle deforms differently from the drive-side rear triangle.
Once the rear triangles deforms differently, the conical head is also going to deform in order for the axle to remain as straight as possible. However, thanks to the poor contact surface between the conical head and the frame, we have that:
- The conical head of the rear axle moves against the bumps as it deforms. This will move the grease away from the contact regions.
- The bumps on the frame dig even more into the conical head of the axle, producing creaking noises. Since the frame is composed of aluminum tubes, the non-drive side chain-stay acts like a resonant chamber, thus moving the creaking noises closer to bottom bracket region.
- The functional objectives of the conical surfaces (locking the axle to the frame and self-centering it) are compromised: there is movement between the parts even at the prescribed torque value.
- The bumps are stress concentrators: on the long run, they are likely going to generate cracks on that part of the frame (and on the axle too).
Customer Support’s unprofessional behavior – the return
Augutst 15th was the day that I finally found the potential source of the creaking noise. I properly greased the entire rear axle, mounted the rear wheel and away I went for another test ride: 53km long (50% tarmac, 32% gravel, 18% trails), 2000m elevation gain. No creaking for the first few kms. Then, in the middle of it the frame started creaking again: the more I rode it, the more intense the creaking. On the next ride, the frame was creaking as loud as before. Once I got back at home, I took down the rear wheel, greased the rear axle again and repeated the tests: same conclusions. So, I definitely pinpointed the source of the creaking noise.
On August 22nd I informed Bike-Discount about my findings, providing videos and photos evidence. They requested to send the bike back to them. After the previous experience (almost one month without a bike), I informed them that I would send back the frame and rear axle for a replacement. After riding the bike for almost 700km, the frame was sent back on September 1st and they received it on September 6th, after which they immediately replied with:
we have checked the frame. There is everything fine.
These are only minimal manufacturing tolerances that have no effect on the function. The frame must always be sufficiently greased at this point.
I couldn’t believe my eyes, in spite of solid evidence they were giving me the middle finger again: in the meantime I tested all other components on a different frame with no creaking at all. This shows without any doubt that Customer Support’s job is not to help customers. Instead, it is to pretend that they are helping, while wasting customer’s time!
Let’s brake down their statement:
The frame must always be sufficiently greased: the bike came twice from their shop greased correctly, yet after a few kms it started creaking. Every time I applied grease, the frame started creaking after a few kms. According to their statement, I should bring with me a tube of grease; when the frame starts creaking I should stop, take down the axle, grease it, reinsert the wheel. After a few kms, repeat the process. What the hell is this???
These are only minimal manufacturing tolerances that have no effect on the function: thanks for letting me know that you use terrible manufacturing tolerances. They definitely have an effect on the function, since they are preventing the proper locking of the rear axle.
Are they saying that to discourage me from requesting a replacement (hence save them some money) or is every frame manufactured with such a low quality? Let’s find out.
I replied with a shorter version of the above analysis, after which we exchanged several emails in which they came up with a lot of bullshit in order to avoid replacing the frame: the frame is unlikely to be the problem… they mounted the bike and tested it around the work-stand with no creaking noises… they could send the frame back to the manufacturer for testing but they think it won’t be successful… they asked me how they should proceed (for real!). I kept hammering them down requesting for a replacement. Eventually, they agreed: they ordered the new frame and I received it on September 27th.
Non-existent quality control: confirmed
Out of the box, I first checked the serial number: it was different from the previous one, so it was a different frame. Then I checked the conical surface of the slot in the frame. Surprise, surprise: there are still bumps all over it, albeit the heights are smaller than on the previous frame. I told myself: maybe, just maybe, those bumps are low enough to get more surface contact between the two conical surfaces; maybe I could get away with a non-creaking frame. So, I assembled the bike, making sure everything was greased and tighten correctly.
I also found another issue while tightening the mini-pump mount under the bottle-cage: the distance between the two welded screw mounts on the frame was 1.5mm shorter than what it was supposed to be. While the bottle-cage slots were able to compensate for it, the mini-pump mount with its two circular holes was not: ultimately, I had to enlarge one of its holes. For your information, that mini-pump mount worked perfectly fine on three different frames: another display of bad tolerances from Radon-Bikes.
Less than 200km after, the bike was creaking again. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an improvement over the previous 5-15km without creaking. Still, those bumps will drive me crazy and eventually they could generate cracks.
It is confirmed: quality control doesn’t exist on Radon-Bikes manufacturing lines: everything goes. Strict tolerances? Not today. Who cares about quality nowadays? The important thing is to squeeze as much money as possible from customers and denying the existence of any problem.
At this point, I know for a fact that Customer Support is unwilling and unable to help. Customer is left with two options:
- If the bike was paid with Paypal, just return the frame and try to get back as much money as possible (look for Paypal security for buyers and sellers to know more about it). For your information, back in June 2022 there was no way to know the price of a Radon-Bikes frame. As of February 2023, we can find the prices on their website. Jealous AL frame is listed at 299€. Moving down the Paypal road, after getting the refund you’ll be able to buy a frame from a more decent bike brand or builder. The more Radon-Bikes loses businesses, the sooner they will fix their behavior and problems.
- Alternatively, you can try to fix it yourself. Mind you, you’ll void the warranty: not that it will change anything, as Customer Support was unwilling to replace the frame in the first place. If you believe this is an easy fix, it means that you don’t fully understand the problem. The part containing the conical surface slot is manufactured at the beginning of the production line so that it can be easily locked onto a flat surface to get a perfect alignment for machining. Once that part is welded on the frame, it is impossible to lock it onto a flat surface and get a decent alignment because of the thickness of the welds. Optimistically, you can use a countersink drill bit to create a smooth surface, but you’ll definitely drill off-axis into the material. The result: you will lose even more the self-centering property of the conical surface, meaning the rear axle will always be slightly misaligned. Alternatively, you can use sandpaper but it will take you hours of work and the result is likely going to be a wobbling conical surface because it is difficult to maintain constant pressure while sanding a small circular area. It’s a clusterfuck.
Riding feelings after more than a 2000km
Let’s assume for a moment that you’ll receive a decently manufactured frame . How is the riding feeling? I’m a tall rider and I weight 71kg, so I bought a size 22”, hence my opinion is only valid for this size!
This is by far the most compliant frame I have ever ridden, especially the rear triangles: this is most likely due to the fact that there is no arc connecting the seat-stays, hence they flexes more. We could argue about this design choice: ultimately, Radon-Bikes did it because the frame is cheaper to manufacture.
If you are mainly riding on very smooth gravel roads or trails and your weight is close to mine, than the riding feeling is good: the frame is very comfortable. However, once the roads get bumpier and rockier, the rear triangles flexes too much. I have found that it is not a problem for high speed downhill sections. However, I’ve ridden some technical uphill trails and it was really weird to feel that much deflection as the rear wheel went over rocks and obstacles: to be honest, I don’t like that feeling at all.
The frame also comes with a low bottom bracket (2.5cm lower than my previous bike). On the one hand, the lower center of gravity makes the bike very stable on steep descents. On the other hand, the bike come with 172.5mm cranks: I keep hammering them over rocks in the trails while pedaling: that’s not good in the long run. I believe 165mm cranks-length would have been the best choice, but those are money you are going to spend after purchasing the bike…
If you are heavier than me, I strongly suggest to look for a different frame.
Conclusions – TLDR
Let’s summarize my findings:
- Radon-Bikes buys frames from some eastern manufacturer which surely uses terrible manufacturing tolerances on aluminum frames. They probably do that to keep up with production and minimizing costs. As a consequence, customers will no doubt experience loud and annoying creaking noises. After receiving two frames having the same problem, I can confirm the low quality of the product.
- Radon-Bikes most likely doesn’t have any quality assurance procedure: the proof is in the second frame, which manifests the very same problem of the first one.
- Radon-Bikes’ mechanics do a poor assembling job. In order to keep up with demand, big bike brands usually impose time constraints on each bike build, which is a recipe for bad quality. However, in my case we are way beyond bad quality. Cables to long? Check. Not including fundamental parts in the box? Check. Stripping threads on screw mounts? Check. Wasting working time using cable ties instead of cable clips? Check.
- Customer Support objective is not to help customer. It is to pretend that they are helping while wasting customer’s time. Denying the existence of a problem in spite of actual evidence? Multiple Checks. Ditching customer emails? Check. Avoid replacing a frame when a fundamental problem has been found? Check. Come up with tons of bullshit instead of recognizing the problem? Check. Give the middle finger to customers? Always!
This experience makes me strongly reconsider the direct-to-customer approach:
- I won’t be buying Radon-Bikes ever again: that’s a fact.
- If I was to order all the parts from the store, I would spend around 2150€ (which is about 250€ more than buying the complete bike). However, considering the bad assembling job and that I had to spend money and time in order to fix it, buying all the parts actually makes more sense than buying the complete bike, as I would definitely do a far better assembling job. Alternatively, also considering the bad assembling job, the 250€ difference actually put them into competition with major bike brands and traditional bike stores. At least, you can verify the quality of the build before bringing the bike home. Also, if the local bike shop has a solid reputation and you build a two-way trust relationship, you’ll definitely have better luck in case of defective products and warranty claims.
- Economically, the best option might be upgrading (if compatibility is not a problem and you do the work yourself). Just stay away from Radon-Bikes frames!
In light of this systemic bad behavior that run all across the company (Radon-Bikes and Bike-Discount), I strongly suggest you to avoid them.