I am really happy with Chain Reaction Cycles right now. Remember how one of my new Schwalbe Marathon Winters had a cut in it? I said I would report on the customer service I got. The news is very good.
Here's the timeline:
Tuesday, Oct 16, 12:01 PM - I emailed CRC a filled-out warranty claim form (easily found on their web site) and a picture of the cut tire.
Tuesday, Oct 16, 12:02 PM - I receive an auto-reply from their "Warranty Team" saying that based on current volume I could expect a reply to my specific claim within 2 to 3 working days. Fair enough, I thought.
Wednesday, Oct 17, 11:04 AM (the next day) - I receive an email from a real person:
Thank you for your email.
We are sorry to hear that your tyre is damaged. On this occasion we are sending you a replacement and there is no need to return the faulty item.
This should be dispatched within the next 24 hours.
We trust this helps.
I had mentioned in my original claim that there was no way I had cut the tire by accident or anything. Still, I was super pleased that there wasn't any nonsense at all from CRC. They simply said sorry and were sending a replacement. Perfect.
Yesterday, Tuesday Oct 23 (one week after sending my first email) - The replacement tire is delivered to my house. No duties, taxes or shipping charges because they filled out the paperwork properly. I pay nothing.
Call me crazy, but 5 business days from warranty claim to complete replacement and resolution, from a company based in the UK (as in across the Atlantic Ocean) seems pretty stinkin' good to me.
Now, some would say that I simply got the good customer service we all deserve, and I suppose they would be correct. The fact is, however, that in my experience things rarely go this well and I truly appreciated it. I've been aching to ride this bike before real winter snow and ice comes, so that we're really good buddies by the time we need to trust each other.
I mounted the tire last night and rode Mutant Winter III to work today. I must say that after riding fixed all summer, gears sure are weird and fun! Here are some pics of this year's winter bike:
I decided to skip real fenders on this one (sorry, fellow fender freaks). The tires will clear their treads of snow better, and the clearances with this frame and the 35c tires were kind of tight anyway. I strapped a flexible plastic fender I had lying around to the downtube as a kind of crud guard for the drivetrain, and the rear rack / plastic tub blocks spray from hitting my bum or back.
I can't wait to see how the "skinny" 35c tires do compared to wider MTB tires. It is my hope they will cut through snow to find hard surfaces for the metal studs to grip. We shall see.
R A N T W I C K
PS - I think I'll send the warranty people at CRC a link to this post. It is important to praise good work, especially if you want free reign to complain about just about everything else.