The wall seal on my KickPed’s rear wheel roller bearing broke last week. In fig.1 you see an example bearing with wall intact, in my pic below the interior is exposed—not an ideal condition for something packed with greased bearings a couple inches above churning road grit. I’d remove the wheel for a full view of the bearing but as you will see below, I don’t want to provide a pretext to void my warranty. In my earlier review I noted that the rear wheel bearings began to whine 4 months after purchase whenever I rode through the rain, so they were not watertight from early on. The bearing filled with grit and degraded quickly after the wall broke; a couple of days after the breach the collar holding the bearings skipped off and the whole wheel slid on its axle up against the frame, so that the friction made it almost too hot to touch after a fast 3 minute ride.
Yesterday I called the NYCeWheels store, which sold it to me just over a year ago when it hit the market. I told the guy on the phone that I’d need to bring in a KickPed for warranty service, and when I bought it. I explained the failure, and he supposed that the bearing had been defective when it left the factory, or the installer had hammered it onto the tire too hard, weakening the wall seal. “Thousands of scooters have been out there with no problem,” he added, and said they could replace the bearing in an hour. I could drop it off and pick it up the next day if I didn’t have an hour to wait, and that they’d loan me a scooter to get back to the train (a 10-minute walk from the store). I had thought I’d have to lug the KickPed while riding my troubled Xootr just to save on 50 minutes (total) of walking.
MAINTENANCE FREE, LIFETIME WARRANTY
At the store, 2 guys were at the desk. One was blond, one brown haired, neither was who I had spoken to. Both looked at the damage. “Blond” said maybe I said on phone that I wanted warranty service to a Xootr, which I hadn’t, and which wouldn’t have made sense anyway since the KickPed is NYCeWheels’ product (with GoPed). In fact the website encourages users to bring it in for free biannual safety checks as part of “free lifetime service.” They call the KickPed “100% bullet-proof,” “indestructible,” and go so far as to say: “This is a kick scooter that you buy once and never have to worry about breaking or needing repairs.” Yet Blond added they might not have the wheels in stock, which I thought odd because it’s their product. Maybe they don’t carry them because the KickPed is “maintenance free.” Blond left the shop to ask someone if there were wheels in inventory. He returned and said they didn’t have the wheels there.
“Brown” told me I could get wheels online and they were “only about $55.” But, he added, if I had the shop install them, with labor I was “already halfway to the cost of a new scooter, so I might as well buy a new scooter.” At my incredulity, Brown told me that the warranty only covered the frame, and gestured at the KickPed on the counter to encompass the handlebar/stem assembly, deck, and chassis. Blond added cheekily that I “should have read the fine print.” When I complained, Blond had the balls to quip, “Maybe it’s time for a bike!”
I had to get to work and clearly the situation was deteriorating fast. I asked if I could just replace the bearings, and Blond said sure, I could get them at any skate shop. I picked up the KickPed and left, planning to check NYCeWheels’ website when I arrived at the office.
Of course I had read correctly a year ago. As an editor, it’s impossible that I hadn’t “read the fine print” when spending $250 of my hard-earned—editors are often as poor as they are punctilious. I called back and spoke to Alex, who was probably “Brown” because he was sitting at the counter nearest the computer and phone 45 minutes ago. I asked him to send me a link to the language stating that the lifetime warranty only covered the frame, and there was a 30-second pause during which I heard several mouse clicks. Finally he said dully, “We’ll honor the bearing repair for you.”
“You can’t send the language because it’s not there!” I said, “Then I’ll bring it by.” I’ll post whatever comes of that, if they don’t rig the KickPed to spill me in traffic.
And here: the thrilling conclusion to this weeklong saga traversing 2 counties and 3 trains.
By contrast, Xootr customer service has always been exemplary, even across great distances. For example, The ex3 was their short-lived nickel metal-hydride battery scooter with electronics from Nova Cruz. At $900 it was like buying a used car you could fold up. It went 17 mph for up to 2 hours and had an innovative regenerative brake, which converted braking power into energy fed back into the battery/ies. It was hella fun but developed battery problems, and Xootr always honored a 3-month battery warranty via an independent repair guy in Queens. He was himself an enthusiastic F-scooter rider. I took the ex3 there 40 minutes on the train, 3-4 times to have the $200 battery replaced, and each time he’d swap it out only for it to fail within the 3 month warranty. I gave up after a while, and because I moved and didn’t have to ride 4 miles to the train on something smaller than a bike, I never got it fixed. A couple of years ago I eBayed the ex3 to an electrical engineer specializing in batteries. FWIW, Nova Cruz LLC ultimately went bankrupt.
When I got a Xootr MG in 2007, it eventually exhibited some mystifying problems that persist today. The specifics are beyond this post, but my first service was 3 years after I bought it, and warrantied because they decided it was defective. A year later I had to send it to Pennsylvania again (at $25 each time), but bought the KickPed to cover me. They sorted what appears to be a defect promptly and sent it back—3 years after purchase, despite a 1-year stated warranty. The decision is at their Xootr’s discretion, but compare their engineers’ discretion to the cavalier fuckery of NYCeWheels, and caveat emptor.