Un-Happy Trails Skid Plate - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 01:51 PM Thread Starter
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Un-Happy Trails Skid Plate

A few weeks ago I ordered a skid plate from Happy Trails. At first everything went well as the kit arrived in a reasonable amount of time (about a week). But then things went quickly downhill.

I don’t need to have instructions for something as simple as a skid plate installation, but I did read them. I’m not quite sure how to describe the “language” the instructions were written in. The best I can come up with is that they sounded much like what a poorly educated 10 year old would write if describing the installation process. But that was ok.....I could live with that.

I was next disappointed to see that the bottom and front plates do not have the holes, which attach to the rails, pre-drilled (8 holes total). You must do that yourself. Why they are not pre-drilled is a mystery to me? But again....I could live with that.

Where things totally fell apart was when I tried to mount the rails to the engine mounts on the bike. Both the left and right rails were off (basically too big from not being bent properly by about Ĺ inch). And to make matters even worse, one of the mounting holes, instead of being horizontal with the engine mount bolt, was twisted by about 20 degrees.

I suppose I could have borrowed my friend’s torch and bent and hammered and twisted the rails to make them fit, but why? I didn’t pay $200 to do my own fabricating......and I knew there was no guarantee I’d be successful in my attempt.

I next e-mailed Happy Trails to tell them I’d be returning the skid plate (they charge a 25% “restocking” fee by the way). About a week and Ĺ later I did receive a reply and return mailing label, but by this time I had already mailed the plate back to Idaho.

It’s been over a week since I mailed the plate back and I have yet to receive a refund. I’ve e-mailed them once again, but have not received a reply. At this point I’m now out $200 for the skid plate + $14 shipping (to me) + $18 shipping (back to Happy Trails). $232 total..............for nothing!

I now have a very bitter taste in mouth when it comes to Happy Trails. The only thing they seem to be professional and adept at doing is taking money......they certainly don’t have any fabricating and customer service skills.

This story does have a happy ending of sorts, however. The day after I tried to install the Happy Trails plate, I bought a "gravel guard" (he insists it not be called a skid plate) from fellow forum member Tinner. His instructions are well written. The guard is very well made and went on the bike easily. And it looks fantastic on the bike! Thanks Tinner!

Last edited by Bluegenes; 08-10-2011 at 01:55 PM.
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post #2 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 02:51 PM
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Thanks for sharing. How about a pic of tinner's "gravel guard?

Michael
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post #3 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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Here's some pics of Tinner's gravel guard.

In theory, because of the way it's mounted,the Happy Trails skid plate is tougher and more robust than Tinner's gravel guard, but the latter will actually fit the bike. The Happy Trails skid plate won't do me any good sitting in pieces on my garage floor.

In reality, for the type of riding I bought the gravel guard for (forest service and dirt roads), it will serve it's purpose well.

Just to let you know. The gravel guard does still allow access to the oil drain plug. However, in order to access the filter I'll have to either take off the guard or the black plastic fairing.......I'll likely do the latter, as it's just three easily removed screws.
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post #4 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 07:27 PM
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Due to this thread they will not be getting any of my $. Too many people waiting too long for marginal equipment. Yes there are some who love them and will speak highly of them but it does not take many negative experiences for me to decide to take my business elsewhere.



Post up what happens with your return.
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post #5 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 07:45 PM
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@Bluegenes,

I am glad it worked out well for you. And you are correct it is NOT a Skid Plate.

Sorry about your dealings with the "other guys". It really is a shame.

Ride Safe!

BTW
My Ultra Classic has more forest roads and gravel mileage than my Versys has. Other than getting stuck a few too many times the only damage it has sustained is a drive belt last summer out near Beartooth and Chief Joseph.

LOL

Ride em if ya got em!
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post #6 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-10-2011, 08:24 PM
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Not only does the happy trail part suck...but they def shouldn't charge a restocking fee on a defective/poorly made item
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post #7 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 12:56 PM
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I have been very satisfied customer of Happy Trails for many years. OP should have followed instructions and common sense with order. If item did not fit then he should have telephoned Happy Trails immediately and received return shipping instructions. To bad mouth a very reputable supplier over one insignificant item is uncalled for. And to other forum members do not hesitate to try Happy Trails for all adventure touring needs.

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post #8 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldturtle View Post
I have been very satisfied customer of Happy Trails for many years. OP should have followed instructions and common sense with order. If item did not fit then he should have telephoned Happy Trails immediately and received return shipping instructions. To bad mouth a very reputable supplier over one insignificant item is uncalled for. And to other forum members do not hesitate to try Happy Trails for all adventure touring needs.
" one Insignificant item" ????
So what would you consider...Significant???
And I suppose not addressing the customers complaint immediately ( a week and a half is not immediate), is "Insignificant" also?
And I wouldn't call being out over 200 bucks (for a poorly engineered product) insignificant ...Let's hope 'happy trails' ponies up a full refund plus all the shipping.
If "Happy Trails" is truly as YOU say...it's the very least they should do.


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post #9 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 01:21 PM
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There have been more than a few complaints about Happy Trails posted here in the last few months.

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post #10 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 01:42 PM
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Agreed, I've heard many complaints about happy trails across multiple forums, but that's not even the point. The OP spent his hard earned money on a product that he was not happy with. When he tried to resolve it he was unhappy with the company's handling of the situation. It is absolutely his right to voice his disdain at the top of his lungs from the highest mountain he can find. It is up to the responsible reader to take it for what it is, do their own research and make their own decision. Personally, I've heard about one too many problems with their products, horrible turn around times, and handling of issues.

Mike
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post #11 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 02:06 PM
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I am inclined to agree. 200$ is not an insignificant investment and neither is a week and a half turn around. I'm simply not going to take my chances on getting a product like the one he described.
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post #12 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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A short update:

Late yesterday I received an e-mail from Happy Trails, in response to an e-mail I sent to them asking "When should I expect a refund?" (Keep in mind I put the skid plate in the mail....first class.... last Tuesday.....mailed from Oregon to Idaho, which are adjoining states).

The e-mail said "We will be watching for your package." Again, I'm just shaking my head, and have come to the conclusion (and accepted) that I'm more than likely out over $200.

I would like to point out, as well, that I'm not the sort of person who constantly complains about things I buy. Companies, and the people who work for them, are not perfect, and I do realize that mistakes happen (God knows I've made errors myself). However, when I make a mistake, I bend over backwards to rectify those errors. And I have great respect for those who do likewise.

This is only the second time I have written, on this forum (or any other), about a product I've bought. The other time was in regards to a Nolan helmet, in which I praised both Nolan and Revzilla (the company I bought it from).

A few days ago I searched this and a few other forums to see what others have to say about Happy Trails. It's kind of funny.....people either think they walk on water or think they are one of the worst companies they have ever done business with. It's a strange phenomena and it rather baffles me.
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post #13 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 02:55 PM
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Sorry you had a bad experience...I have avoided them because of all the negative comments about customer service. I have bought most of my stuff from Twisted Throttle and have been 100% satisfied with the customer service. I know some have had issue but they always treated me more than fare.

I hope you get your money back....

do you have any recourse through your credit card company??
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post #14 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately, I used my debit card for the purchase. Yet another lesson learned the hard way!
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post #15 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 03:09 PM
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Same here, almost all of my purchases have been from Twisted Throttle and Revzilla. Actually went up to the Revzilla store in Philly last summer (man is that place in the wrong side of town, lol). Those guys are first rate though, phenomenal customer service. Both them and Twisted Throttle.

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post #16 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 05:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldturtle View Post
To bad mouth a very reputable supplier over one insignificant item is uncalled for.
You obviously didn't read my post above linking to this....

These complaints are very significant.

The reason I am staying away from them is I have read WAY too many stories of what I would call "bad business practices" to even give them a chance. I do not want to roll the dice with a few hundred bucks and hope my order arrives within a few months, with all CORRECT hardware, and then have it fit. I have read too many stories of contacting HT on the phone and getting the runaround.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oldturtle View Post
to other forum members do not hesitate to try Happy Trails for all adventure touring needs.
I also mentioned in my post that there are people like you who love HT. I am sincerely glad you have great luck with their products and hope you continue to do so.
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post #17 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-11-2011, 06:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldturtle View Post
I have been very satisfied customer of Happy Trails for many years. OP should have followed instructions and common sense with order. If item did not fit then he should have telephoned Happy Trails immediately and received return shipping instructions. To bad mouth a very reputable supplier over one insignificant item is uncalled for. And to other forum members do not hesitate to try Happy Trails for all adventure touring needs.
Mr. oldturtle, I am a HT customer and I have Teton panniers and HT crash bars and skid plate. I love the products but HT has the poorest service and support that I've experienced in the motorcycle aftermarket. I actually love their products, but they'd be even better if they implemented some quality control. The customer impression would improve if they provided legitimate install documents. I've seen where some folks have said "well you really don't need instructions to install it". That is bull their documentation is the poorest I've come across and I doubt they could make it worse. I've communicated with HT via e-mail and phone and the impression I always got was they just weren't concerned about what I thought. So, I'll not be buying anymore products from HT. You can find more of my story in the Happy Trails BS Rant that Capn Kirk has already shared with you.
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post #18 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 12:20 AM
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Reading this thread is bumming the hell out of me... I've been looking at & researching rear-side racks & panniers and I like what I see & read about the Happy-Trails Teton pannier set up. I spoke with Bob (HT install tech guy I think) at Happy-Trails and he was very helpful answering my questions. I want to get their set up but now I'm nervous about getting it right without any hassles & disappointments...

Are the troubles with all their products? Everyone I read about the quality of their racks & pannier systems has been positive...

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post #19 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 08:55 AM
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Quote:
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Here's some pics of Tinner's gravel guard.

In theory, because of the way it's mounted,the Happy Trails skid plate is tougher and more robust than Tinner's gravel guard, but the latter will actually fit the bike. The Happy Trails skid plate won't do me any good sitting in pieces on my garage floor.

In reality, for the type of riding I bought the gravel guard for (forest service and dirt roads), it will serve it's purpose well.

Just to let you know. The gravel guard does still allow access to the oil drain plug. However, in order to access the filter I'll have to either take off the guard or the black plastic fairing.......I'll likely do the latter, as it's just three easily removed screws.
That Tinner gravel guard looks good. In fact, that design looks very familiar and if I searched the forum Iím sure I could come up with the guyís name that used to make one similar to them. Anyway, how do we get one of those gravel guards? As far as HT, never bought from them and sounds like a good thing that I didnít. Iíve always felt that how you treated me after the sale was more important than how you treated me before the sale, a true measure. I hope you get your money back.
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post #20 of 33 (permalink) Old 08-12-2011, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by duster_71 View Post
That Tinner gravel guard looks good. In fact, that design looks very familiar and if I searched the forum Iím sure I could come up with the guyís name that used to make one similar to them. Anyway, how do we get one of those gravel guards? As far as HT, never bought from them and sounds like a good thing that I didnít. Iíve always felt that how you treated me after the sale was more important than how you treated me before the sale, a true measure. I hope you get your money back.
Tinners guard is "similar" to the algard engine guard that is no longer available. If your looking to purchase one from him i believe he just has a couple left, send him a PM he's a great guy to do business with.

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