January 18, 2015

Stages Power Meter Review - Warranty Experience

I bought a stages powermeter early on when they first came out. Price was right (and still is). Use it on four different bikes - commuters and racers. I won't review the performance of the unit, that's been done many times. The system works, enough said.

Well, after a few years of perfect performance, the plastic housing popped off the crankarm and I only noticed just as I was heading out the door. I zip-tied it and got one more ride out of it before it crapped out.

I did buy the extra warranty coverage when I purchased the unit. Well, I emailed Stages and relayed my unfortunate situation. Guess what? They simply sent me a new crankarm, just like that. They didn't even ask to see the messed up crankarm. So now I have yet one more Rival crankarm sitting around, just in case I ever need it someday.

I'm sure the extra warranty coverage helped, but I'm also pretty sure they would be just as courteous with whomever. I also know that the early crankarms did have some issues with the glue failing. But ain't it nice when a supplier works with you? No excuses, no delays, just prompt courteous service. Highly recommended.

January 06, 2015

Cheap Chinese Titanium Quick Release Skewer Review

Example of cheap titanium skewer
Some Chinese stuff is good, some Chinese stuff is crap. But it is all cheap, as every brand of everything knows these days. Without trying it, or finding someone who has tried it, you can't tell - good or crap. Well I can help you out on this one.

The titanium skewers you see on Ebay look pretty decent in the photo and even in the hand. And they are cheap, sometimes ridiculously so. You have to use them to determine if they actually work though. I did and they didn't. The critical flaw is the little plastic ring that the lever presses on when shut. That plastic is not the right plastic. It deforms, the wheel slips, you tighten it harder, it slips, etc., etc. Now I didn't try every single version on Ebay. There may be one that works, maybe two. But I think that unless you win the lottery, you are unlikely to find the winner, if there is a winner.

Eventually you end up with a scarred, beat up plastic ring and a useless skewer. I couldn't figure out any alternative use for them, so essentially they are garbage. Cheap garbage, but still garbage. DO NOT BUY. If you have your heart set on this style of skewer, get a reputable brand instead. I've basically abandoned this style of skewer in favor of Shimano skewers. I find the washer type skewers all tend to slip a bit under hard use but the Shimano skewers don't. I have eliminated the deadly creak by simply putting in a better skewer. Read this before upgrade your skewers - a very nice review.
Check out the deformed plastic on this skewer.
It no longer keeps the wheel tight in the dropout.