23 July, 2008

VO Saddle Problems, UPDATED

As we get into the VO Saddle shipment we are finding serious quality control problems. Some of the leather is too soft and some is incorrectly riveted. I've decided to pull the saddles off the site and we won't be selling this shipment. Of course anyone who ordered one can get a refund. That's the way it sometimes goes with new products. Sorry.

I should note that the VS-6 saddles are the one model that seems to be okay, so those may be for sale again soon.

UPDATE: It took a long time but the rivet placement problem and leather issues have been solved. The new saddles are due in spring 2009. The model 6, 7, and 8 saddles were not affected.

31 comments:

hal said...

Chris,

Thanks for doing your own quality control. Too many vendors would just go ahead and sell them and then wait to see if they got returned. I very much appreciate your approach to this.

hal.

Yohann said...

I agree with Hal. Thanks

Chris Kulczycki said...

What really surprises me is that this company has a really good reputation in Japan, or so I was told. And we know how the Japanese are about quality.

Felkerino said...

Chris, thanks for working on this issue. The longer rails are a big plus for me and others and I hope your supplier comes through in the end.

Ed Felker

Jack said...

Chris, I got my VS-2 saddle today, it was ordered before your decision to stop selling it. The leather is much softer than my Brooks saddles (but that might be a good thing!). I don't see any problems with the rivets. I'm optimistic that my saddle will work well for me, so I'm gonna give it a trial. I just did a short ride and was pleased with how it felt. I assume if it proves unsatisfactory, I can return it within a reasonable length of time for an exchange. I appreciate your quality control efforts.
Jack

Anonymous said...

That really sucks. I appreciate your honesty. I wish more businessmen had the sense of ethics you do. Maybe we can drill the message into those corporate CEOs that they can be successful even if they...naah...it won't work.

Joel said...

Chris: If the problem is with the leather, it may well be out of the Japanese company's immediate control.

Environmental and employee welfare costs associated with leather are so high that all but a few high end leather tanners have moved operations to China. Even with all the cows we have here in the US, there are now only one or two high end tanners that actually process the leather in the US.

There are some high end tanners in the UK and Europe, but they charge so much it is not likely the Japanese factory buys for them. On the other hand, Brooks probably does, part of the reason Brooks' stuff is so costly.

K Matthias said...

Sad to hear it, Chris. I hope they work this out with you. I know how important a product like this is to your business. I'll wait for the corrected saddles and then still purchase. Cheers.

lamplightsg said...

Chris,
Was there also some issue with the standard VO 1" threaded headset? I ordered one but when I got the shipment notification I noticed it was not listed with the other items I ordered. Then I noticed it is no longer on your site. Just curious about it; it's no problem since it will just give me an excuse to splurge for the Levin headset. :p

Tim Mac said...

"Employee welfare costs???" Oy.

Ivana RIDEMYBIKE said...

"Environmental and employee welfare costs..... "

translate: corporate greed has forced tanning to China, because it can be done cheaply there, as labor is cheap and don't give a damn about their environment.

Anonymous said...

Some companies would simply slash the price to get sales without disclosing the problems. Kudos to Chris for not going this route.

Cottered Crank said...

Ouch! Oh well, I will still look forward to trying one of the new saddles. I like the look, and it sounds like they might be even more comfy than a Brooks. I still have a bike or two with plastic saddles, and it becomes very obvious after about an hour on one of those bikes, that I still need to upgrade.

Anonymous said...

You should sell us the messed-up ones cheap! Unless you can get your money back for them, I guess. I always wonder what happens to all these parts that people refuse to sell because of quality issues. Harris does this a lot. I'm less picky than most and would probably take a bargain over perfection.

Joel said...

If the less than perfect part breaks, injuring you, would you promise not to sue?

Chris Kulczycki said...

I've thought about selling them for a very low price because it seems wasteful to ship them back only to have them thrown away. There is nothing dangerous about them, it's just that I wonder how long they will last and if they will be comfortable. Perhaps we could blow them out for $25 each or something, but no returns; you take your chances. At that price we would recover a little of the cost and no one should complain if a $25 saddle is less than perfect.

I've given some of the saddles to local riders and we'll see how they feel about them after a few weeks. Then I'll decide.

Jack said...

I hope you will offer them for a low price. As I said in my post yesterday, I just bought a VS-2 and intend to give it a trial. While you say they aren't up to your standards, that doesn't mean they aren't useful - I have a fleet of bikes that I ride only occasionally and they would benefit from one of these saddles.
I look forward to your next shipment and hope they will meet your high standards.
Jack

Yohann said...

Just as Jack said, if you sell them at such a price, I'll probably give a try. And besides I certainly will want to buy a new and perfect one from the next shipment. I have two old bikes with 2 cheap saddles. So they need a serious upgrade and the so-called non perfect VO saddles will do the job perfectly well.

Anonymous said...

I was going to go by your shop today, actually I thought I was near it but did not see it. Is it near the post office off of west and chinquipinn ( sp? ) . I was down in the corner where your old business is, and did not see it on either side of the street .

Anonymous said...

there are no perfect parts...

and if it's engineered by human beings, you can be sure it can break...(and even something like the climate, which wasn't so engineered, has been affected by humans!...)

Anonymous said...

the Brooks saddles are pretty darn near close to perfect. as are sugino cranks, and .....

Anonymous said...

Chris,

How would you like those of us who have received a saddle to handle this. I put the sprung single-rail saddle on my bike, but it's been pouring ever since, so I haven't had a chance to test it out. Would you prefer I simply return it or that I try it for awhile? (If you're going to sell out the remaining stock at a substantial discount, would you offer a rebate for the difference to those of us who've already purchased one--perhaps in the form of store credit?)

I certainly appreciate your candor in dealing with this issue, as well as the excellent service your site has provided.

bonechilling said...

If you blow these saddles out cheap, then you not only make some of the money back, but you also get some opinions about them, which you can pass onto your supplier. However, given the condition of these saddles, perhaps this feedback won't be particularly useful.

Personally, I'm bummed that the VS-6 arrived unscathed, because that's the only one I would be interested in, having three B-17s already.

ChrisCullum said...

Sorry to hear about the QC problems. BTW has anyone checked out the Cardiff Gull on the Riv site? Grant says it's not the same as the V/O saddles but it looks *identical* to the VS-6, I mean *identical*.

Jonathan said...

Sorry to hear about the bad string of saddles Chris! Man, I was JUST coming over to the site to buy one for a build I am creating. Love the look and can't wait to try them out! Thanks though for really reaching your promises of only selling the best product. Keep us informed when we can actually get our hands on these beautiful saddles!

Jonathan

jmp said...

Hi Chris,

I'd be delighted to try out a VS-5 with slightly softer leather than expected!

I've been riding (various) Brooks' for years, and my new B17 on my new Big Dummy is giving me a PITA. Like sores! (Sorry if that's too much info!) I never had so much saddle trouble before, so I'd like to try some alternative.

How will I be able to find out if you're going to offer these for sale?

Joel

Scrmblr said...

I would love to purchase 2 of the factory seconds, let us know when you make a decision about selling them.

Anonymous said...

I had ordered a VS-5 and when I read about the saddles QC problems and received a refund the same day, you went up many notches in my book. Thanks for having the cahones for pulling the saddles if you felt that they weren't up to your standards. I wish my employer had that kind of integrity.

Randy said...

I've been a lurker for some time, love the site Chris. I'd be happy to 'long term test' one of these gorgeous saddles.

Kudos to you, good luck with the move.

Randy

Anonymous said...

I think you might be over reacting not selling them. Growing up almost every leather saddle I rode was softer leather than on a brooks and they were plenty comfy.

Anonymous said...

just another person who felt compelled to comment about their disappointment; love the look of these saddles and was coming over to buy one and discovered, alas, they were gone. guess i gotta stick it out on the excruciating selle for awhile longer. my butt will have to deal.

thanks for being an honest retailer.

alex