SkibumsmithThis is a problem I'm faced at least once a year. I break a buckle, head into my local shop and the best they can do is sort through a parts bin and hope that they can jerry-rig something together. When this doesn't work, the arduous process of contacting the manufacturer begins, typically waiting 3 to 4 weeks before new buckles arrive. Broken buckles are a fairly common occurrence, especially if you work on the mountain, yet there remains to be a good system in place for getting replacements. Bike shops on the other hand are able to order any part you could ever need fairly quickly. Minuscule pieces required to rebuild a shock damper show up in a matter of days. For those of you who work in shops can you please enlighten me on why this process is such a pain in the ass.
It's a pain in the ass if you're looking for a SPECIFIC buckle.
The chain of command is like this.
Customer > Shop Employee > Person who makes orders in shop > Brand Sales Rep or Brand Distribution/Warranty office > Distribution centre.
that's a long chain of command for a buckle. And some chains are longer, or more arduous. Some sales reps are garbage at their jobs, and some distribution centres are slow, understaffed, or have no idea what you're even talking about because your boot is 5 years old by that point, and don't bother to communicate.
Communication is good in the bike parts world, because it's used to it and it requires it. Tons of parts break or have issues or get customized or get replaced repaired or whatever.
The ski world? Not much breaks really.. besides small things like boot buckles or binding parts.. or in some cases (most cases for folks on this site..) entire skis. Most of which usually are sorted out via a warranty dept. which is even slower and useless. I literally have no idea how certain people break buckles so often, but that's a different story I suppose.
One route i've gone in the past in a lot of cases is to order buckles from Sidas, or see who's selling buckles from sidas on amazon or wherever..
Some brands are pretty good about parts.. such as Scarpa.. but others just sorta shrug off your problems.. in my experience Head/Tyrolia has always been pretty problematic, and extra annoying because they use the spine style buckle. Either way, you're usually waiting at least a 7-10 day period unless your shop has some keen relationship with the brand of boot you have.
What I've done in the past in my shops.. is, whenever a customer comes in with a broken boot, or some old boot that they don't want anymore, we will rip the hardware off the boot, and recycle the shell and liner, or use it for practicing punches upon with new or inexperienced bootfitters. all the boot hardware goes into some sorting bins and we can ghettorig your broken buckles if you're someone who keeps breaking them..