I am not a hateful guy, generally. I stay fairly happy, am ready to accommodate, and don’t go bat-shit crazy at small things. Sometimes I do flip out and write articles like this. This post, however, is not hateful. It is an honest, to-the-point writeup of my after-sales experience with Spartan ProGear. Spartan makes a lot of nice stuff, and they have a lot of satisfied customers. I, on the other hand, am not one of them. Please do not take this as an absolute judgement on Spartan, go through the post, ask other people, and make your own opinion.
Which Spartan product do I have a problem with?
Spartan Odysseus riding pant. I bought it in July 2013 for my upcoming Ladakh ride. Paid 6,000 bucks, and made the mistake of not taking it on a short ride before the big one, I was too happy, and too busy with other stuff to think that things could go this wrong.
What seems to be the problem?
Problem 1: Extremely uncomfortable around the knees
I wore the pant for the first time while going from Chandigarh to Manali. Just about an hour after the ride started, I could feel the discomfort in my knees. The area around the knee guards is just too damn tight, and the normal riding position of legs going backwards only compounds the problem. I rode in great pain for those 10 hours, didn’t have any other option as fixing the problem would have involved removing the pant to take out the knee guards, and I just couldn’t go butt-naked in the middle of nowhere.
Reached Manali, and took off the pant to find both my knees severely bruised, almost bleeding. For the rest of the trip, I had no option but to remove the knee guards, even though it fucked the whole point of wearing a riding pant in the first place. I also gave a thought to my body taking some time to get used to the pant, like a helmet or a glove does. After the Ladakh ride, I tried wearing the pant on many occasions, only to curse myself, the pant, and everyone around me.
Recently I tried to fix this problem by replacing the KNOX knee guards with ones from a DSG Triton jacket. The KNOX guards are too fat, the ones from the jacket are flatter, so I thought my knees will get more space and will probably not get that much damaged. It did help, but not much. I rode 1000 kms in 15 hours with this new setup, and the picture shows how my knees looked after that. It may not look like much, but trust me, that burns like a hot iron to your ears. Also, imagine how it looked like with the original KNOX guards, I had actual blood spots in there.
Problem 2: Not waterproof
Yes, Spartan doesn’t claim on its website that the pant is waterproof. What they do claim is that you can get “Removable thermal and rain-proof liners”. When I bought the pant, I got only a thermal liner. Till now I haven’t found the rain liner anywhere, physical shop or online. This is a major problem, because the pant is not waterproof from a very weird angle.
When I went to Ladakh, I was pretty confident of my gear as I thought everything was waterproof. We didn’t encounter much rain till Talang la pass, but when we reached there, all hell broke loose. There was heavy downpour, ice-cold, plus hail. I was still feeling relatively cozy, and we decided to carry on. Suddenly I felt a searing pain in my balls, like someone had jammed up an ice pack up my butt. The pant was leaking in water from the rear ass-patch, and that is not comfortable, at all. There was little I could have done about it.
Did you contact Spartan regarding these problems?
Yes I did. I didn’t contact them immediately, since I thought the pant was already ruined through the Ladakh ride for replacement. I kept riding without knee guards for quite a long time, as pointless as it may have been. Finally, last month I thought what the hell, let’s see what these people have to say about it. I wasn’t looking for a replacement at this point, I understood it was too late for that. All I wanted to find was:
- How these guys handle after-sales problems
- How will they fix such issues, if possible
- General attitude of these people
It was around this time that I was looking to buy riding boots as well, and Spartan had just come out with their new products. I Emailed the Spartan customer support, and the reply that these guys gave me made sure that I stayed away from their boots. Here’s how the communication went:
Sent: Monday, May 12, 2014 8:29 PM
Subject: Spartan ProGear
Hi, I bought the Spartan Odysseus riding pants in August 2013 for my Ladakh ride. Just 1 day into the ride I found that the knee guards were pretty useless, because they made the area around the knee very tight and I couldn’t ride more than an hour with them. So I had to go on the journey without any protection.
Then on the ride I got some rain near Pang and I found that the rough patch near the back of the pant wasn’t waterproof! I have still been using the pants since then, but recently was suggested that I should contact you guys to see of something could be done about these problems. Please let me know what you think.
Akhil Kalsh. riderzone.in
On 13 May 2014 16:38, “Helpdesk @ SpartanProGear” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
There are literally thousands of riders wearing the same pants with no such problem, so we have to assume that the knee-guards are too tight for you simply because you have bought the wrong size. Please also note that the pants are not advertised as water-proof but can be used in rain only with the rain liner.
With warm regards from
The Support Team @ www.spartanprogear.com
On 14 May 2014 01:25, “Rider Zone” <email@example.com> wrote:
I got the XS, and it fits at the waist with some velcro adjustment. The length is fine too, so is the overall fitting. I don’t really understand how I could’ve got the wrong size if everything fits well 🙂 I tried the S, M and L too, and they were all too big at the waist and thighs.
I wasn’t aware that rain liner was an add-on feature. I thought only the thermal liner provided was the removable one and rain liner was already built into the pants. I can’t really see the option to buy the rain liner anywhere either, can you please guide me to that?
On 16 May 2014 13:41, “Rider Zone” <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
Still waiting for a response.
Wow, great customer support guys. If it wasn’t already blatantly obvious, let me say it now, I am not looking for a return or an exchange. My only intention was to check if this obvious manufacturing defect could be fixed in any way.
I would like to know the name of the person I am speaking to, (or in this case who is NOT speaking to me) if that’s not too much trouble for you people.
So, if anything goes wrong with your Spartan riding gear, they are just going to ASSUME that you are a fucking imbecile, and then stop replying to your emails like you are some guy’s crazy girlfriend who he is trying to ignore. This is the part that irked me the most, the part because of which I am writing this 1500 word article.
I’ve clearly mentioned in the Email that I am not looking for any replacement, all I am looking for is some use for my investment. Whoever was replying to this Email doesn’t have the courtesy, or the brains to even reply! Can you imagine how frustrating this is? You go to a company with a genuine concern about their product, they label you an asshole and then ignore you completely.
I haven’t heard from them still. I put a status on my Facebook, and the owner of Spartan was tagged in there, still no reply. Again, I will ask you to verify the details yourself, ask other people, and make your own opinion. As for me, I am staying away from Spartan products forever, and if someone asks me for a recommendation, Spartan ProGear will never appear in my list.
I would encourage you to inform Spartan people about this article. I am not looking for anything from them now, just wanted to let others know. I’ll most probably throw the pant into the dumpster soon, but I hope these guys read this and learn a fucks worth of courtesy.