I'm a 30-year hardcore REI fan who retired recently and have spent a big percent of my retirement income on REI products, most of which I love...
I recently bought two high end mountain bikes online as wedding gifts for my daughter and her fiance--one from REI and one from Backcountry.com (both on the same day), both for nice discounts from list price.
This being in the middle of the covid shutdown, I was not surprised that both companies said it would be a couple weeks before the bikes would arrive at my house, although REI said they'd have it to me a couple days earlier. Both shipments missed the mark--Backcountry by a day and REI by a week.
Backcountry, though, had an employee contact me by text and kept me abreast of the shipping status and offered to help with any issue. He also explained the process of how bikes were fully assembled, ridden for a few minutes to make sure everything was good, disassemble enough to get it in a box and ship. The Backcountry bike arrived several days earlier, and the process went exactly as described, including Stans in the tubeless tires (as any experienced mountain biker would expect). It took me less than an hour to assemble the bike in time for a ride with my daughter that day. I was very impressed.
Now,the REI experience: It was packed a bit less bulletproof, and a few items shifted in transit, although no major issues. I did notice that the tires were flat, which seemed a bit odd since the Stans would tend to leak in that case--then I realized that the bike had been shipped WITH INNERTUBES (even though the tires were Stans-brand tubeless ready), meaning I had the time and expense of trekking to a bike store to buy sealant and valves in preparation for the huge hassle of ripping the tubes out and converting to tubeless (anyone who has had the experience of getting tubeless tires to seal will know what I'm talking about)--really someone buying a $3500 mountain bike should not expect to have to do. In addition, the back wheel was absolutely cranked down at approximately 3-4x the spec (took me 20 minutes to get it off--completely frustrating for someone who works on bikes for all my friends and neighbors--I'd imagine someone with less time or inclination would have had to have a bike shop do the work). Also, once I got the tire situation in hand (including taking off and discarding several reflectors (which the Backcountry bike didn't have) to take the bike for a spin, I noticed the steering was incredibly tight and I had to back it off to keep the bike from being unsafe. It was apparent that nobody at REI had taken this bike for a spin and that it had basically been assembled at the level I used to expect from Toys-R-Us. All-in-all, it took me 4.5 hours to prep this bike, skipping dinner to get the bike ready for a family group ride the next morning.
When I offered feedback to the REI online bike group, I basically got a shrug--seemed that nobody was going to take my comments seriously, so I'm posting here in hopes that someone at a management level will see it. In my mind, someone at REI should order a bike from Backcountry to learn how things should be done correctly, and then make a checklist to see that it is actually followed through on. Needless to say, I won't be ordering another bike from REI (and I've got a couple more weddings coming up...) until it's clear to me that the process has been brought up to Backcountry.com's level.
@SurferT Thanks for reaching out and for being a member of our co-op.
We are sorry your new mountain bike was delivered to you in a state that fell short of expectations. One of the things we are most excited about this community is the ability to hear feedback from our customers. At REI, we take pride in our products and services. Thank you for helping us learn and do better. We appreciate you providing the feedback to us, we will make sure we pass it along. We would like to follow up with you via direct message to get a few more details.
Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us!