Bell u-lock: hilarious packaging

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Noah Mustion
Participant
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I saw this at a Super K recently and the example photo on the package made me laugh. Unfortunately this is the only photo I could find of it on the internets.

It’s hard to see here, but the u-lock is only around the front wheel. Good one, Bell marketing dept.


dwillen
Participant
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While their marketing department might be clueless, I have been extremely impressed by other aspects of the company.

I got a Bell Citi helmet online last spring, and wore it all summer long. This fall, moving between hat, no hat, hood, no hood, I had to adjust the size a lot. At some point, the symmetric gearing on the adjustment knob at the back became asymmetric. Like it skipped a gear on one side, but not the other. Helmet still fits okay, and doesn’t feel any different. Only trouble is I can’t open it up all the way now.

I emailed those photos to their customer support email a couple days ago, and described the problem. I fully expected some canned response educating me on helmet adjustment. Instead, I got a real person replying a few hours later, asking me what color replacement helmet I would like. They are fedexing me a new one, and letting me send back the broken one with a prepaid label after I get it. They didn’t ask for proof of the purchase date (helmet has a 1 year warranty), a credit card number, or require I ship them the broken helmet at my expense. That level of customer service for a $35 helmet is unbelievable. I will buy from them again.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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Impressive.

I think their helmets are decent. Those and innertubes are about all I’d buy from them. Everything else is meant to break.


edmonds59
Participant
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The helmets are definitely their main line. You can have a years old Bell helmet, and when your fit pads get worn out and scurvied, just contact them with the type of helmet and they’ll send you new pads.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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I found this interesting when I discovered it, though it’s not really surprising. Easton Bell makes all kinds of stuff, including cycling products under the Easton and Giro and Blackburn brands.

http://www.eastonbellsports.com/

From their website though, it doesn’t look like they make locks. I wonder if they license their brand to other companies?


joeframbach
Participant
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Wow, my Bell is doing the same thing! I have it taped down to fit. I’ll email them and see what’s up.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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From their website though, it doesn’t look like they make locks. I wonder if they license their brand to other companies?

i’m almost certain that is what’s happening. i have a few master locks that were made in china, but the model numbers of which can not be found in master’s catalog. they were made in china, i think. this sort of explains why the the bolt to hold the lock in the mounting bracket is about an inch too long and has a lock nut, so you can never get it anywhere near tight enough (lucky for me, there’s always kraynick’s).


RickyTickyTac
Participant
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In my experience Bell’s customer service has been overwhelmingly awesome. A few years ago when I first started commuting by bicycle, I bought a set of cheap Bell lights. About a week after I got them the front one flew off when I hit a pothole, and was promptly smashed by a passing car. I emailed Bell about it, and they offered me a free set, no questions asked. They even sent me a better light set than my original one, not that it was really any good either.

Also, is that how the key was packaged with it in the store? Seems like it would be easy to lose them that way.


Nick D
Participant
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Keep in mind, it is not uncommon for branded merchandise in stores like that to not be made by the brand, but only labeled as such.

Stores like K-Mart, Target, Walmart, etc, go to manufacturers and negotiate prices for products, if the desired price point is lower than the manufacturer can manage with their current product line, they will contract a 3rd party manufacturer and have them make a product for them and have it branded and labeled similarly to how the brand name manufacturer would.

At this point the name brand manufacturer becomes a distributor–look on the back of the label, it reads: Distributed by: [brand name] or Licensed by: [brand name]

For a good example, go to Walmart and look at the On Guard locks they have. They carry a “OG series” U-lock and cable combo for $14.96. Look anywhere else and the regular retail for On Guard’s bottom end U-Lock is $20-$30, and it will be a “Bulldog Series” lock.

The reason is simple, Walmart wanted a u-lock combo for under $15, so On Guard did what they needed to supply it.

After all, who is going to say no to Walmart (especially to a potential half-million dollars in revenue*).

The retail industry is extremely complicated these days…

*This is assuming that Walmart’s product margin is a generous 15%, and all 8,6xx stores stocked 4-5 U-lock combos… $500,000 from just on product.

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