Cycling clothing cheers and jeers; Garmin Virb on the cheap.
It’s interesting to note the big differences between companies when it comes to the quality of their products, and how they stand behind them.
In general I like Pearl Izumi, but over the last couple of years I have noticed an increasing trend towards shoddy workmanship. I had two pair of gloves (both were the Elite Gel Glove) that had poor stitching and came apart after a few weeks to a couple months of use.
A little over a year ago I switched to the Louis Garneau 12c Air Gel Gloves, and they have been awesome. Very comfortable, and good quality workmanship. I highly recommend the LG gloves.
I own seven pair of Pearl Izumi’s Men’s Pro In-R-Cool Bib Shorts (2013 model), and two of the bibs have stitching that is coming loose. These are Pearl Izumi’s top of the line bib shorts, and so a 29% failure rate is a little hard to accept. Actually “failure” is a bit harsh–the shorts are still wearable–but the issue gets worse with each washing, and they will not last as long as the others.
My favorite bib shorts are Primal Wear’s Men’s Evo Bib Cycling Shorts. My club kit came with these bibs, and I was so impressed with them that I picked up another pair. The Primal bib shorts are extremely well made, and they are ultra-comfortable. In fact, the Primal Evo bib shorts are noticeably more comfortable than the Pearl Izumi Pro bibs, and on long rides I always make sure I’m wearing the Primal shorts. Primal, if you happen to be reading this, please don’t change a thing with the Evo bibs. They are perfect.
Back to Peal Izumi. I bought a pair of arm warmers (the Thermal Lite Arm Warmer) a season ago, and they are already worthless. I live in Florida, so these have seen minimal use, we’re talking maybe 6 or 7 wears, and always air-dried after washing (click to enlarge):
Because I love their gloves so much, I’m switching to Louis Garneau Arm Warmers. Hopefully they will last much longer than the Peal Izumi stuff.
Okay, so here’s Pearl Izumi’s warranty information:
“PEARL IZUMI® brand product is built to last a lifetime, and this is how long we will stand behind it. PEARL IZUMI® brand product purchased from Pearl Izumi or an authorized dealer is fully warranted to the original owner against defects in materials and workmanship (proof of purchase may be required). If a product fails due to a manufacturing or materials defect, even after extended use, then Pearl Izumi, at its option, will replace or repair it to restore the original function without charge. This limited warranty is not transferable by the original owner. This limited warranty does not include product failures resulting from accidents, misuse, improper care, modifications or normal wear. Any alteration of PEARL IZUMI® brand products will void warranty coverage. This warranty supersedes all previous warranties.“
On the surface that sounds pretty good. But notice the line, “This limited warranty does not include product failures resulting from accidents, misuse, improper care, modifications or normal wear.” Obviously “normal wear” is open to interpretation, and that interpretation is made by the manufacturer. So that’s their escape parachute.
I contacted Pearl Izumi about the defective bib shorts, and I was told to return them at my expense (insured), and the product would be evaluated and possibly replaced or repaired.
I like that Pearl Izumi stands behind their products, but it sure seems to me that the quality of their cycling apparel has been going downhill. Returning things is a pain, and while I’ll probably go ahead and get this stuff replaced since I paid for it, I’ve sort of become soured on the Pearl Izumi brand. I would rather give my money to companies that make products that last.
Most of you are familiar with Hammer Nutrition. I use some of their nutrition products, and with one of my orders awhile back I also picked up one of their jerseys. I like the jersey: it looks good, it fits well, it’s comfortable and it was surprisingly inexpensive.
About a week ago the metal zipper pull on the jersey came apart (click to enlarge):
I managed to snap the zipper pull assembly back together, but it came apart again the next time I pulled it. I contacted Hammer by email, and they sent me a brand new jersey at no charge. All they asked is that I return the defective jersey in the postage-paid envelope (provided with the replacement jersey). That’s pretty darn good customer service!
Another company who’s customer service has impressed me on several occasions is Garmin. I own about a half-dozen Garmin products, and every time I’ve had an issue (and one of those issues was caused by a mountain bike wreck), Garmin has gone above and beyond to make things right.
I’ve had my eye on Garmin’s action camera offerings, the Virb and the Virb Elite, for quite some time. Well, it looks like Garmin is preparing to announce the Virb 2, as they recently discontinued the Virb. The price of the Virb has fallen to about a hundred bucks on Amazon, and that’s an insane value on a great camera. The Virb Elite has not (yet) been discontinued, but it also saw a price drop to about $250.
This is a great time to pick one of these action cameras up, and you may find that the basic Virb does everything you need–for a hundred bucks! For more information on what these cameras can do, and the differences between them, see my recent article, “Why I won’t be getting a GoPro Hero4 (and what I will be buying).”
I wouldn’t wait, I suspect the remaining inventory is going to go quickly.