Why doesn't an expensive bike come with a half-decent manual?

Launce

New Member
OK, I just bought a Cannondale Synapse Neo, and it's wonderful. It may approach bicycle perfection. But -- I have one major gripe.

How can you pay $4500 for a bike, and not get a decent user manual, that's written for that bike?

All they do is tell you to download a useless generic manual that covers every bicycle ever made. Like how to use your coaster brake. It's like you bought a Prius, and the manual said, you may have a hybrid gas/electric motor, or you may have a V8, or a straight-6 diesel, or perhaps you have a pickup or light truck, and you should just figure out what applies to you and what doesn't. I tried to figure out how the paddle gearshift works. I gave up. Guess I'll try YouTube. Or trial and error.

And then you sit down with your spec sheet and hunt online for the "e-bike supplement" -- which is nothing but disclaimers written by the legal department -- and the manuals for all the separate components: the drive assist, the motor, the shifters, the disk brakes, the computer, the derailleur, the pedals (oh wait, for some unknown reason they don't give you pedals) ...

No! All I want to do is read about how to ride and maintain my bicycle. Not my kid's dirt bike. How hard can that be?

And it's not just Cannondale.
 

ruffruff

Well-Known Member
I bought a BH bike and it had a nice looking book in the startup box. UMMMM 50 pages of warnings about 1 page of very basic bike info that wasn't even specific to my model.
 

indianajo

Well-Known Member
The purpose of a manual is to prevent the purchaser from winning a lawsuit. Using the product would just wear it out before the warrenty period ends, so it is in the interest of the vendor to prevent you from using the product.
OH, BTW all products are made in a foreign country, so If you do win a lawsuit you win the telephone the PC and the copy machine of the US sales office. Everything else is another corporation not liable for any damages in the US. Savvy corporations rent those items from another corporation to prevent their loss.
Welcome to the United States.
I've invented several devices in my lifetime. I make one for my own use, and refuse to advertise or sell any others, to avoid supporting some ne'er do well and his lawyer the rest of my life.
People are now making a living suing the maker of a weed killer I have used for 30 years. It causes cancer. Where's my cancer? I want my cancer, now! They neglected to put the cancer in my 100 gallons.
Lawyers are making a living suing the maker of a powder product my father used daily the 48 years I knew him. Why didn't he get cancer?
 
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Cyklefanatic

Well-Known Member
OK, I just bought a Cannondale Synapse Neo, and it's wonderful. It may approach bicycle perfection. But -- I have one major gripe.

How can you pay $4500 for a bike, and not get a decent user manual, that's written for that bike?

All they do is tell you to download a useless generic manual that covers every bicycle ever made. Like how to use your coaster brake. It's like you bought a Prius, and the manual said, you may have a hybrid gas/electric motor, or you may have a V8, or a straight-6 diesel, or perhaps you have a pickup or light truck, and you should just figure out what applies to you and what doesn't. I tried to figure out how the paddle gearshift works. I gave up. Guess I'll try YouTube. Or trial and error.

And then you sit down with your spec sheet and hunt online for the "e-bike supplement" -- which is nothing but disclaimers written by the legal department -- and the manuals for all the separate components: the drive assist, the motor, the shifters, the disk brakes, the computer, the derailleur, the pedals (oh wait, for some unknown reason they don't give you pedals) ...

No! All I want to do is read about how to ride and maintain my bicycle. Not my kid's dirt bike. How hard can that be?

And it's not just Cannondale.
I couldn’t agree more! In this day and age you would think a PDF file online for each specific configuration would be a cinch. Instead we are left searching the web for relevant manuals from suppliers.
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Doesn't take much content to tell someone how to turn on a bike and change assist levels.

If they venture into the service relm like the do with cars then the manual will be seriously long but most ebikes are services like any other bike and the drive system companies seem to not want owners to be servicing the motors or battery packs which I don't agree with (bean counters drive how "service-able" the drive systems are and they all seem to want them to be as proprietary as possible.
 

Cyklefanatic

Well-Known Member
Doesn't take much content to tell someone how to turn on a bike and change assist levels.

If they venture into the service relm like the do with cars then the manual will be seriously long but most ebikes are services like any other bike and the drive system companies seem to not want owners to be servicing the motors or battery packs which I don't agree with (bean counters drive how "service-able" the drive systems are and they all seem to want them to be as proprietary as possible.
When I bought my bike I struggled with how to adjust the forks, chain tension, maintenance, brake adjustments, tire pressure, proper cleaning products for the paint, misc. oiling all the things a bike owner is expected to do. I don’t need to know about fixing the motor or electronics just all the maintenance and replacement parts. The industry assumes that every rider knows this stuff but from talking to riders it’s obvious there is a knowledge gap created by the bike manufacturers.
Also the rack on my bike only fits certain bags but the manual doesn’t tell you that.
This forum has plenty of posts about how important maintenance is if you want your bike to last but the manual has nothing just lawyers warnings wasting 30 pages.
 

PDoz

Well-Known Member
As an exercise, try writing a service manual for your particular bike.

You'll need all the generic stuff, warnings about be carefull not to ride, but be carefull to ridd enough to know how to ride, but be carefull that when you ride you ride safely enough in the correct direction to find a cheap lawyer. If in doubt, contact our service agents for lawyer suggestions.

Oh, still reading?

Now....what's different about your bike.....bugrit, lets save the planet and go online

generic bike stuff https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/ask/.
second opinions on generic bike stuff https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/general/

Cannondale specific generic bike stuff https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/cannondale/

How to void your warranty but at the same time put your lbs out of business stuff https://electricbikereview.com/forums/forum/maintenance/

Admittedly it'd be nice if they had a few basic links to reputable advice - but even something as easy as how to oil the chain results in pages of advice of varying personal safety. Imagine trying to give that advice knowing that someone of limited cognitive capacity will eventually squirt infected blood in someone elses eye and you'll get sued for causing hepatitis
 

rich c

Well-Known Member
This is what I got with my Haibike. I guess you didn't buy the right brand if you wanted manuals
IMG_1275.jpg
 

Ken M

Well-Known Member
Haibikes come with very good documentation but I believe there is a legal disclosure that they are not responsible for people not being about to follow the instructions. If you leave a wheel loose only lawyers feel that it's the manufacturers fault.
 

bikeman242

Active Member
Most bike manuals just say to get it serviced by a professional technician every 3 months or 300 miles.

If you follow the manual's instructions, that should be all you need.

A copout, yes, but c'est la vie.
 

steve marino

Active Member
"Using the product would just wear it out before the warrenty period ends, so it is in the interest of the vendor to prevent you from using the product."

Thank you for this concisely worded (dare I saw lawyerly) insight. I suspect most things are like this, which explains a lot about life.
 

Stefan Mikes

Well-Known Member
The user manuals I got from Specialized were: a 2007 (!) general bike user guide and the MY year current e-bike manual that mostly consisted of warnings.

Nowhere in the documentation it was explained how advanced features the shifters include or how to adjust the suspension fork.
 

Launce

New Member
Admittedly it'd be nice if they had a few basic links to reputable advice - but even something as easy as how to oil the chain results in pages of advice of varying personal safety. Imagine trying to give that advice knowing that someone of limited cognitive capacity will eventually squirt infected blood in someone elses eye and you'll get sued for causing hepatitis

Yeah. But somehow auto manufacturers still manage to sprinkle some useful information in amongst the disclaimers. Bike manufacturers could at least pull together all the links for all the components of your bike into one download, instead of making you waste hours hunting them all down.

So, the paddle shifter -- I press one clickstop left to shift up and two clickstops left to shift down, right? That seems to be how it works, based on my on-road experiments (which included riding up a bunch of hills in high gear, before I hit on the trick of it, by accident).






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byunbee

Well-Known Member
I’m not saying what the manufacturers are doing is necessarily right, but it may be that they are assuming specific instructions on how to use a gear shifter is similar to teaching someone how to drive a manual in a car. They are expecting that most consumers know how to use different types of shifters.

For other components like adjusting brakes, maybe they are thinking that’s the job of a bike mechanic. You can always learn to do it yourself, but that’s on you, like learning how to do an oil change in your car.

Just offering a different perspective.
 

Launce

New Member
The shifter is a SRAM Apex hydro disc, 11-speed.

And my car manual does tell me how to use the gear shifter!

Annotation 2020-07-04 123221.png


By contrast, this is what my bike manual says:

Annotation 2020-07-04 124057.png


So I guess I should write to REI, where I bought the bike online.

On the plus side, my manual does tell me how to use a coaster brake:

Annotation 2020-07-04 124023.png


At least, they could provide access to all the manuals that pertain to the components of your specific bike in a zip file for download, instead of making you spend hours laboriously compiling them.
 

Launce

New Member
And, after searching endlessly through this:

Annotation 2020-07-04 131309.png


I finally found this:

Annotation 2020-07-04 131121.png


Which does in fact tell me, wordlessly, how to shift gears (except that my paddle is on the right side, since I don't have a front derailleur).

There's got to be a better way.
 

Nova Haibike

Well-Known Member
I do not really have an answer. The generic manual has been a part of the bicycle industry forever, or at least as long as I can remember (over 40 years). It used to be even more generic; the manual was written by an industry coalition, not the manufacturer...you would often find the identical manual in many different brands of bicycle.

Sometimes a manufacturer will throw in a few of the specific component manuals from Shimano or whatever, but often those manuals do not give you the info you want; they just have warnings.