Thursday, January 24, 2008

Beaten, Bruised, Back for More...

The other night, upon returning home from the latest TNS ride, I was greeted at the doorstep by a white padded envelope.

Inside was a pair of refurbished Crank Brothers Eggbeaters—the original stainless steel model (now called the "SL") I bought too long ago to remember—along with a checklist from the "Pedal Spa" (I shit thee not, that's how CB refers to what I assume is a subdivision of their customer service department) indicating the type of maintenance they had received.

I arranged this relaxing vacation a couple months earlier after one of the pedals, perhaps weary of being trod upon for years, revolted by breaking free of its spindle in mid pedal-stroke, all but stranding me some three miles from home on a chilly evening. I finished my ride by leaving the cage clipped onto my shoe and pedaling with a deliberately inward pressure on the stroke to keep the damn thing in place. A slow journey, to be sure. And none too safe on a fixed gear.

I knew that this scenario would eventually play out, because it had happened to several of my friends over the years, usually under less than ideal circumstances. So you would think that being aware that each additional ride1 on these things brought them that much closer to self-detruction would make me consider swapping them out as a sort of preemptive strike against failure. Alas, I am a cheap and lazy bastard sometimes, and pulling off another successful ride on aging components (worn tires, threadbare sidewalls, decrepit carbon fiber bits, etc.) is like the taste of stolen candy or the apples you'd scrump as a kid from a crotchety neighbor's tree: somehow, the risk involved made it all the more sweet. Just ask DimminentfailureT about that—he'll tell you.

Although any warranty on the pedals had long since expired, I figured what the hell and sent off an email to Crank Brothers explaining the situation and asking about my options. To my surprise, a representative by the name of Anka Martin responded by telling me that CB would be happy to warranty the pedals. All I need do was mail them and CB would take care of the rest.

I did, and they did.2 Nice to know that Crank Brothers has yet to go the way of some other companies (read: Avid) whose level of customer service seems inversely related to their profit margins.

1. To their credit, these pedals have truly taken a beating. They've kept me attached to the bike through countless stints over rocks and roots and through mud and snow, and along endless miles of macadam and crushed stone, in weather good, bad, and ugly, under conditions of steely sobriety and wanton drunkeness. I forgive them their one indescretion.

2. From what I understand, CB has redesigned the cage/spindle interface on newer Eggbeater models to preclude the sort of malfunction described above.


Hilton Meyer said...

Been thinking of getting a pair so may reconsider after hearing about their reliability. How long was it before they gave out?? Have they improved your ride though other than that??

Icon O. Classt said...

Let me begin by saying I love Eggbeaters; the look, the design, and the performance. I have them on my 4 bikes that are active: 2 rigid single-speeds and 2 fixed-gear road/cross bikes. In fact, I just bought a pair of their road pedals for the latest fixie I built; you can see pix of them in this post. Their performance, especially in muddy/snowy conditions, is unsurpassed, as is their ease of use.

I've had the pedals mentioned in this post for at least 4 years (they were on a full suspension Ellsworth Isis for a year before the SS), through pretty abusive conditions, and mostly on a fully rigid single-speed (suspension takes some of the beating on behalf of the pedals and extends their life a bit). They were from the first year CB introduced Eggbeaters, and I never broke them down for cleaning/lubing.

This post wasn't meant as a slam; quite the opposite. As I mentioned, I believe CB has since beefed up the pedal-cage/spindle interface so that this situation isn't likely to happen again. And, though my case may have been an exception, it sounds like the warranty is pretty much unlimited.

From my experience, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Eggbeaters to anyone.

Walker said...

Indeed, it seems that once you've beaten eggs, nothing else will do.
I used to be a big Time fan, but CB took all that was good about the ATAC, and left out the bad.
Thanks for that testimonial, Icon.

Walker said...

"Eat drums, eat drums."
"No, Animal, beat drums."

Barter-town is the place to live.

Anna Kelso said...

Way to work the system! You're inspiring me. I sent my fork to the Fox "Fork Spa" last winter but they wanted $$$...I think it needs a second visit.