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    M and the ZPIDER

    So M was a backer back when we did the crowdfunding campaign and he received one of the first ZPIDER power meters a long time ago. And then he complained about the chainrings “wobbling” too much. Actually, the tone was a bit harsh – but that is a different story.

    We got the ZPIDER back and made sure it went through the full test sequence:

    • Check for waterproofing
    • Fix the wobbling issue (which was a real issue on some of the early ZPIDER’s)
    • Re-calibration

    Now M was not happy and still experienced wobbling, so we took another look at it. We put it through the tests again and checked that the wobbling repair was done correctly. We even put the ZPIDER on a test bike to verify there was no wobbling.

    Everything was fine and the unit was sent back to M.

    This time M was experiencing the power reading being too low (like 68W, when he knew he could do 257W) and M wanted to get a refund for the money he backed on the crowdfunding campaign. This type of power reading error can be caused by a calibration that is off, so we asked for that and the standard data upload. Unfortunately, we didn’t really get anything we could use to troubleshoot the problem.

    Time passed and then we got a note from the Danish Consumer Complaints Board about M wanting them to step in because we didn’t give a refund. The first step in their resolution process is to try to get consumer and merchant to find an amicable solution.

    We obviously talked to M.

    Apparently, he got himself a new bike where the ZPIDER would not fit (it fits about 80% of the modern road frames out there). We agreed to take his ZPIDER in for the 3rd time to understand what the problem was and take it from there.

    It went through the full test cycle again and some extended testing to see if we could find any problems. Then we put it on a bike and tested on the trainer indoors. This is how that went:

    The ZPIDER was here compared to two other standard commercially available products. The KICKR indoor trainer by Wahoo and the Vector 2 power meter pedals by Garmin. This was looking really good – actually exactly as designed. This is a standard test we do a lot, so we know exactly how it looks when it’s good and bad. This one is spotless.

    Now we wanted to do a more thorough test, as we really wanted to learn if we could improve anything in the product to avoid spending all this time with unhappy users in the future. So Nina got out on a good half hour ride outdoors to try to trigger a problem. This is how that looked:

    Again this was looking very good. There is some stop and go in the traffic here as the office is in Copenhagen, but everything seemed to be working just fine. So Nina got creative. Maybe there was an issue with vibrations. There is a good stretch of cobblestones in varying grades of nastiness in an area down near the harbor. It’s not long, but we have seen over and over how this can trigger problems if things are not working 100%. This is how that looked:

    Again – no problems found. Nothing what-so-ever. We simply can’t repeat the problem M is seeing. Without being able to see a problem it is really difficult to fix anything in a meaningful way.

    The only thing we have that indicates problems is the screenshots M sent us:

    Power here looks a bit low

    Power here looks very low

    This could look fairly normal for many riders

    Two of the screenshots indicates something may be wrong. The possible explanations include:

    • M is really not pedaling hard and everything is actually okay
    • The ZPIDER zero-calibration was not done correctly prior to the ride (this can explain readings that are way off). The zero-calibration done from the app or from the bike computer resets the power meter reading for zero torque. Exactly as you would tare a kitchen scale. If this is done with one foot on the pedal (just as an example), the following power readings will be too low.
    • Some (unknown) hardware problem. There are some failure modes of the hardware, where something similar can happen. We have done the testing for this and are sure that is not a problem with this unit (these problems are rare and covered by the manufacturing tests all units go through).

    What do you think we should do next?

    And what is a fair solution to the problems M is facing?

    We really want to hear what you think the next step should be for us in a case like this. We are new to this whole crowdfunding thing and dealing with end-users/consumers is not something we have a lot of experience with. So we listen…

    Also, please help us balance our Facebook star-ratings.

    This is the kind of cases that result in un getting lower star-ratings on the Facebook page. M happens to be a very busy Facebook user and uses a harsh tone when he posts (and in the support emails). As an example see stuff like the below:

    If you have a more positive experience and would like to help us balance the reviews on Facebook, please give us some stars and a quick review here. Please keep a good tone. If you have questions our support is open for you on hello@teamzwatt.com where you can get help from former pro rider Nina, who also doubles as our fearless tester.

    We really try to do what we can to get you good quality power meter products at an affordable price. We do things as fast as we can with a small team. And we do listen and try to learn.

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