Friday, August 15, 2008

Keep away from RaceProducts

I'm a nice guy who just hate to flame but sometimes you just have to at least to make people avoid doing the same mistakes as yours. So take this as a piece of advice, not as a free blame act and moreover make your own opinion.

I ordered RaceProducts( a complete race fairing for my former track bike (a 2004 Honda CBR 600 RR) back in February. At the time of buying "complete" meant upper cowl, lower cowl, rear seat unit and tank cover. RaceProducts also told they provide a seat foam for free to go with the rear unit. "Great deal !" I thought when I saw the price was a bit lower than other providers. And here starts the story.

Shipping :
The problems began even before receiving the race faring. On their website RaceProducts provide a couple of shipping costs for mainland UK, so you can make yourself an idea of how much you'll be charged to get these at your door. Since I'm in France, I knew I'd be charged more than these pretty cheap examples. But what I didn't know is that they would charge my credit card without notice of the exact total amount of my order (fairing + shipping). The shipping costs ended to be more than £190 (yes uk pounds !). They did NOT ask if I agreed with this before. With as much of extra charge, that's something others do. And once charged, there was nothing I could do about this ...

Quality :
Well, nowadays there can be no miracle : when you pay less for something, you get less of something ... This is what happened, but I've been shaved off of too much. As already stated, the fairing price was a bit lower than everywhere else ... a bit I said, so I didn't expect the quality to be that poor. In fact, at the time I opened the package, I didn't know and could not compare with any other race fairing for the same bike. But now that I've been forced to search for another one, I can say that, any other problems apart, quality of these RaceProducts fairing could be the main reason why you should keep away from RaceProducts. By now, I've seen a couple of other fairings that really have a greater quality and aren't more expensive.
So what's wrong exactly with RaceProducts fairings ? Well they are roughly finished and as flexible as old bread. They would definitely break too easy instead of bend a little. Guys, thickness is no synonym of quality.
And since we were talking about the package, let me just say it was good. Fully filled with paper that would prevent any damage to the fairing. But once again, there was a little problem : the box did not contain the seat foam that should have come with the rear unit ... At first I thought I had made this all up and the seat foam was not included as part of the fairing. But then I checked my emails and found back 2 messages where I was asking RaceProducts to confirm the seat foam came free with the fairing. I've been answered "yes" in both.

Fitting :
Fitting is a pain when you battle with a not that flexible fairing. Moreover when the parts you try to fit are not designed for the bike ... Again, I remember having asked ReaceProducts if the fairing would fit my 2004 stock CBR (I could find emails about this in seconds). "Yes, of course", I've been answered. Well no, there was no way this fairing would fit my bike. Especially the lower cowl that was WAY too narrow.
At first and despite my pretty good experience in fitting race fairings, I thought I was trying to fit the fairing the wrong way, so I asked RaceProducts for some tips. They told me there was no reason the fairing would not fit my stock bike if I followed some simple steps procedure. I did that and It didn't help. No matter how the parts were presented to the bike, there was no chance them to match any hole of the bike's fairing brackets. I even came to realize the one piece rear unit had to be heavily drilled to fit. I do understand now why other manufacturers rear unit come in 2 pieces (HRC style) for these bike.
RaceProducts advices were very defensive. They would always tell the fairing is designed for the bike and they had fitted hundreds before, which didn't help fitting mine anyway.

After sales :
After a couple of unsuccessful attempts and 2 weeks spent on thinking about different approaches, I decided to stop wasting my time with something that really didn't deserve it. So I informed RaceProducts I was not happy with what they provided and asked for a refund. First I've been answered it was not possible ... Then, when asked a little firmer, I've been explained how I should proceed to get my money back. Reading the refund process made me realize I could NEVER get my money back (not even a single penny). I had to :
- send the fairing back to them and pay shipping costs that they would not refund
- wait for their decision to accept the refund depending on the fairing's condition (I suspect they know this part of the process always end up on "no we won't refund", because one would always try to fit the fairing first before asking for a refund)
- accept to only be partially refunded (something like 60%)
- pay for the "restocking fees"
- accept the initial shipping costs not to be refunded
I gave up. They had won. They took my money for something that was not complete and not worth how much I paid for.

I always stayed cool and smart when dealing with them. I could not believe this would end up like this. So please be aware and keep away from them.

I had to buy another complete race fairing from a serious guy in Belgium. You're looking for real quality fairing made by a guy that passionates to his work ? Go see PlasticWorks.

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