Monday, January 09, 2012

Gerbing Electric Gloves: A Pleasant Surprise


My electric gloves are dead.  They died a slow death over the past couple months but last week during an 8F morning ride I knew they were done.

My friend Paul gave them to me for Christmas in 2007 and in the subsequent four years they have seen a lot of use; probably more than most riders ever use them.  I wrote of that joy in a post titled 18F and Gerbing Electric Gloves

As I was preparing to toss them in the trash I decided to check to see if the heating elements could be repaired.  Or even easier a bad connector.  Being of sound mind I retrieved a little used multimeter from the toolbox and set to work to determine if something was wrong with the gloves themselves or the connector coming from the battery.

A strong arc on one of the probes indicated to me that I was getting power to the connector so I abandoned that line of research.

A quick continuity check on the gloves themselves indicated failures in both.  Checking for repair service on Gerbing's web site indicated a lifetime warranty on the heating elements.  A LIFETIME WARRANTY!

My sense of joy was dashed when I read that I would have needed to register the purchase four years earlier.

Shit -- I never register anything.  Still, I had to try.

An extremely pleasant voice answered the phone at Gerbing customer service.  I described the problem and asked about repair service since I knew I hadn't registered the gloves.  When the woman on the other end of the line said she would check in the database to see if I was registered I knew I was done.  A new Aerostich catalog had just arrived, maybe they have some new electric gloves.

"Steve Williams" I sheepishly responded when asked for my name.

"Gee, we have a lot of Steve Williams's in our database." she replied.  

Williams is a terrible name to have if you're trying to get a handgun or wade through registrations of any type.  The first because mostly we're criminals and second because there are so many of us.

"What state do you live in?" was her next question.  

When I answered she proceeded to recite my address, phone number, place of employment, blood type, sexual preference and favorite chocolate.  I looked out the window and thought I saw the sunrise.

"Holy shit," I thought. "I must have registered the gloves."  

Great news from Gerbing.  They gave me a return number and said they would either restore the gloves to their previous toasty state or replace them with a brand new pair.

A real surprise to someone who is always expecting to get ripped off at every turn by capitalists everywhere except for L.L. Bean and Walmart.  Always bring Vaseline to Best Buy.

So the gloves are now in Tumwater, Washington and I am roughing it with conventional gloves until they return.  So far the temperature hasn't dropped below 25F, easily managed for the comute to work.  But longer rides will have me on my knees praying at the muffler.

Still, I'm a happy camper.  I'm getting something for free!

25 comments:

bobskoot said...

Steve:

Quote: ". . . my address, phone number, place of employment, blood type, sexual preference and favorite chocolate. . ."

wow, that's a lot of information to give them. They are very thorough to make sure you are the right person. BTW: what is your favourite chocolate, or is that too personal . . . ?

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

Richard Machida said...

I have heard many stories of their wonderful customer service. It has made for many loyal customers and ensured that folks like me would put them at the top of the list if I were looking for heated gear.

Richard

Steve Williams said...

bobskoot: I have a variety of favorite chocolate depending on the situation. For afternoon tea I prefer a Figaro -- a locally made layering of light and dark chocolate.

With evening tea it's Cadbury Milk Chocolate with Roasted Almonds.

During the workday a Hershey Bar is fine...

Steve Williams said...

RichardM: The Gerbing gear is great stuff. I definitely keep them at the top of the list.

Bryce said...

Hershey chocolate of this day and age is not the Hershey of old. Mind said chocolate name wasn't even seen in Canada for years and years. Then the parent company established at Smith Falls in eastern Ontario.
http://www.hersheycanada.com/en/discover/canada.asp

---as to Gerbings had a pair for years and years. And like you never registered them or so I thought. When the Goldwing was reluctantly sold, let them go with bike; after ten years they still worked.

The days of forcing myself to ride in cold weather are long gone. No need to prove to myself or others
I could still ride and not be a wimp.

BTW Have you been enjoying the mild temperatures of the last few days??

Rogier said...

If you really want to warm up after a cold ride get Cote d' Or Chocolate from Belgium. The old paper packaging . Pure with Expresso. Or Milk with a Lathe :-)

Dar said...

Very cool that you are getting your gloves fixed or new. I've been tossing around the idea of getting heated gloves, but I have been making due this winter. Good customer service is rare nowadays.

Electrical Service Indiana said...

Gerbing Electric Gloves STRONGLY recommend the use of a temperature controller with this product, failure to do so may cause burns.

Steve Williams said...

Bryce: Generally, I agree with your comments about Hershey bars -- they aren't what I remember from youth. And I become especially peeved when I buy one from a store and it has melted and rehardened leaving you with a discolored gritty mess. There is a local store that has a whole box of melted bars. I bought one, took it back immediately, and they balked at an exchange not thinking it was a problem. They are what we call in the trad "chocolate idiots".

But there are times when you get a fresh Hershey bar, you have the right air temperature, and the exact perfect mix of hunger and sugar desire, well, then it is magic and transports me back to the river bank of the Ohio as a kid.

Riding lately has mostly been utilitarian -- to work, for errands, to get from A to B. It is nice to have days in the forties though!

Steve Williams said...

Rogier: I had not heard of Cote d' Or Chocolate and had to use Google to educate myself. Six milk chocolate bars for 30 dollars on Amazon.com. Looking further I find the company owned by the makers of Velveeta cheese -- Kraft Foods. Is that a good thing?

Either way I might try that stuff. Thanks for the head's up!

Steve Williams said...

Dar: Kim and I had a discussion about customer service and found we have different perspectives. I feel it's in a companies best interest to take back and exchange stuff for whatever reason. It's just bad business to create unhappy customers. Whatever loss is involved is just a cost of doing business.

Kim thinks too many people will take advantage and small businesses, unlike LL Bean and Walmart types, can't absorb the costs. She may be right.

I think can't afford the bad juju -- especially small local stores.

Regardless -- Gerbing was fantastic. The only thing that could go wrong now is they tell me there is nothing wrong with them.

Steve Williams said...

Electrical Service Indiana: I almost deleted your comment seeing the name thinking you were spam. Good thing I read it first!

I do have a thermostat for exactly that reason. Or at least that was the warning that got me to purchase it. I was looking forward to heat so great that burning was a danger.

The reality was I always ran on the highest setting and there was no danger at all of a burn. I'm certain the gloves never got near the 130F. They were definitely warm but didn't generate the heat I feel on a BMW heated grip. Maybe they were sort of defective from the start??

Looking forward to what I get back and the need for a thermostat!

Charlie6 said...

Steve,

It's always great when you find a company that stands behind their product!

Dom

Redleg's Rides

Colorado Motorcycle Travel Examiner

Kathy H, Delray Beach FL said...

Sometimes it's good to be a pessimist. We're usually plesantly surprised!

Robert Wilson said...

True story. My father is named Joe. His father and his father and his father before him and all shared the same name. I, being the first born son expected this tradition to continue and when I was old enough to ask why he broke with it...this is what he said.

"Because ever Tom, Dick and Harry is name Joe." "Dad," I asked "why in the hell did you name me BOB then???"

Toadeus Maximus said...

Rode my old GSX-R1100 from Boston to Houlton, ME on Sunday. Snow kept me from pressing on to Madawaska. 22F out but through it all my hands and body were toasty thanks to Gerbings.

Feet were cold so the heated boot insoles are on the way now.

... word verification "gosycle"! Indeed

David Masse said...

Steve, there may be a common thread with electrical heating appliances for riders. I just ordered heated grips from Hot Grips in New Hampshire. Jim Hollander, I presume Jim is the owner based on their website, traded e-mails with me on a Saturday evening to assist me in ordering their product, and suggested I buy the grips from Lockitt.com. I also got similar stellar ordering help from the folks at Lockitt.com. My new heated grips are on the way, courtesy of the USPS. I hope they do for me what your Gerbings do for you.

Warm regards,

David

PS: another funny contextual word verification "harrush";

Steve Williams said...

Dom: It is nice to run into companies who are committed to their products. No one can be perfect but it is nice when someone makes it right.

Steve Williams said...

KathyH: But the surprises are too far and few. I try to be optimistic as much as I can. But there are days...

Steve Williams said...

Robert Wilson: Because he could!

Toadeus: You're doing some serious riding up in Maine. Glad to know the Gerbings hold up for the long rides too.

Those word verifications are often strange.

Steve Williams said...

David Masse: Let me know how those heated grips work for you. I wish I could have both but the Vespa doesn't have the power.

I'll take a look at lockit.com and see what else they have.

Brian said...

Side note: Gerbing is bringing back all of their manufacturing to the USA! Specifically Stoneville, NC I think it is.

http://www.news-record.com/content/2011/04/21/article/150_jobs_coming_to_rockingham_county

Brian said...

That news link didn't come through in my post. Trying again:

http://www.news-record.com/content/2011/04/21/article/150_jobs_coming_to_rockingham_county

Orin said...

Tumwater, eh? Just south of Olympia, on the I-5 corridor.

I just can't get past my fear of hot wires anywhere near my exposed flesh. I did today's errands on the GTS, under 35F overcast, and my snowboarding gloves did the trick once again. No electricity required...

__Orin
Scootin' Old Skool

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Steve Williams:

While I have not had the opportunity to give my Gerbings gear the workout I intended, I am delighted with the NuBuck gloves I got from them last year, and the heated, micro-fiber liner, with complete coverage in the sleeves and collar.

However, I find the arrangement they have for for placing the heat controller can be dramatically improved.

On my bike, the power cord goes into a plug on the lower left side. This is a standard SAE plug on its own fuse. To this is attached a coiled-cord extension that I got from Gerbings. Instead of hanging the controller under the flap of my jacket, where I can't easily reach it underway, I had a nice lady sew two belt loops to the left LEG of my riding jeans (Defenders from Diamond Gusset), about two inches above the knee. I thread a little strap (with a Velcro fastening)through the belt loops and hang the controller from that.

The result is that I can easily reach the knob on the controller, and turn it, while wearing gloves, and while under way. The strap is loose enough not to constrict my leg, and tight enough to hold the slack in the coiled wire.

In the event of a flying dismount, the Velcro will just tear away.

Fondest regards,
Jack/reep
Twisted Roads