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Old 08-05-2011, 10:29 PM   #1
SoloTotoCoyote OP
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Thumb Happy-Trail.com

I picked up a brand new 2011 KLR650 a while back and, needless to say, I have been enjoying it and doing my usual search for gadgets and stuff for it. One of the first mods on my to-do list was to add storage of some sort. Upon learning I had gotten the KLR, a friend mentioned they happened to have an extra set of brand new Happy-Trail.com SU Side Racks. Apparently, he was out at a KLR function about a year and a half ago and won them in a raffle. Having decided to go a different route, the box was set aside in the garage and forgotten about. When I asked how much, I was told "No Charge." I'm still in shock. A huge thanks again.

Needless to say, I couldn't wait to get them bolted on when I got my hands on them. Unfortunately, things started going south pretty quick. Not all of the bolt holes were lining up. I retreated to the internet to do some research. Happy-Trail had a fitment note mentioning that in 2009 Kawasaki had tweaked the bike slightly. H-T goes for very tight tolerances in their product and the tweak meant a redesign of the rack to include a couple of slotted sections on the rack. Heading back to the garage, sure enough, the rack packaging was listed as an '08 and had no slotted pieces. Poopies. But the rack was free so I had no room to complain.

I considered having it welded but then I wondered about calling Happy-Trail. By my view, things weren't exactly in my favor. I had a rack that was given to me for free, that had been sitting in somebody else's garage for over a year, and that person had won it in a raffle, and there was no telling what had happened prior to that. I had never even purchased anything from them. I work in retail and this is normally a "congrats on your new paper weight" moment. Still, I decided to go ahead and contact Happy-Trail with no expectations whatsoever. Maybe, possibly, long shot..... they might have a suggestion on what to have/tell a welder to do.

I sent an email and decided to be completely honest with them. What you read above is almost the exact same thing I wrote in the email. There was no point in deception or trying to "con" them. I sent the email at about 11pm so you can imagine my surprise when 40 minutes later I had a non-automated response. I was even further floored when I read the response:

"If the racks are unmarked and returned by you in their original shipping box we'll swap you for a new set minus the difference in price. So you pay the shipping both ways plus $30 (the difference between the rack price when they were originally purchased and the price today for a 2011)."

I was expecting a denial or a generic apology of how they couldn't do it. That would have been a completely understandable/expected response. Nope. Instead I got a positive, "that's not a problem" response. Excuse me while I allow myself to mentally process this. Heck, I couldn't even respond until lunchtime the next day, I was so blown away. Pay $30 for the difference? Absolutely! Pay shipping both ways? You betcha!! And the only "condition" was them wanting to inspect the bars to make sure they were in good shape and resale-able? I just checked the dictionary... this is called "More than Reasonable". Actually, this whole experience would be better described as "Super Friggin' Fantastically Awesome"!! Needless to say, I sent the bars back, happily paid the "fees" and made sure I picked up at least one other item. The old bars checked out OK and I received the new bars shortly afterwards which bolted on beautifully.

As said, I work in a retail environment. I get to see it all. I've gotten those customers who try to return a part they found on the side of the road that was purchased 5 years ago at some unknown dealership six states east. (and they get loudly pissed saying they don't understand why I won't take the part back.) Excluding the loudly pissed thing, in many ways, I was that customer. Happy-Trail.com had no obligation to help me in any way and I would have understood if they said no. But they did and did so it a very positive way.

I was very impressed and will definitely be doing business with them again in the future. I encourage you to take a spin over to their website and have a look. This is definitely a company that values customer service and I think they deserve a chance at your business if you're in the market for something.

A huge "Thank you" to Kurt Simpson and Happy-Trail.com. You guys seriously rock!!
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:31 PM   #2
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Thanks

I've been teetering, trying to decide who's products (Skid Plate, Crash Bars, Hwy Pegs, and maybe Pannier Racks) to buy but news like this helps my decision greatly. Of course if I win the new bike then I don't have to buy them and Happy-Trail will be even higher on my list
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:56 PM   #3
SoloTotoCoyote OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6gun View Post
I've been teetering, trying to decide who's products (Skid Plate, Crash Bars, Hwy Pegs, and maybe Pannier Racks) to buy but news like this helps my decision greatly. Of course if I win the new bike then I don't have to buy them and Happy-Trail will be even higher on my list
I was (still am) in the same boat. There are several companies making some awesome products for the KLR. It's a tough choice to be sure and I'm very picky about quality and function, followed by appearance. The SU Racks are built pretty tough from what I've seen so far. I actually strapped a mountain bike to the side of the KLR tonight to get it home using the SU Racks. Something that wasn't in the pictures on the website but I was happy to see was an additional, welded-in insert at the top/inside of the hoops that has two threaded nuts welded onto it and about 3 or 4 slots along the length of it. This gives me lots of options as to how I want to mount whatever I want. Admittedly, I don't have the money to throw down on the nice aluminum panniers so I'm modding up a pair of 20mm ammo cans which, with those slots and nuts, make it much easier to mount them. Perusing their site, the LED taillight and centerstand are pretty high up on the list for future purchases.
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:23 AM   #4
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Yeah I've got the 20MM cans at home, gonna do the diamond plate mod to lighten them up some. I just don't have the skill/patience/talent to fabricate the rack so it will get bought probably. Order set up now for the nerf bar/skidplate combo and a center stand as well as the luggage plate. Just got to call Monday with a few questions before ordering.
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:52 AM   #5
BrIONwoshMunky
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The willingness of consumer driven businesses to satisfy customers can really astound people. Never expected, always appreciated, is how I always enter talks with customer service representives.
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Old 08-06-2011, 01:10 AM   #6
SoloTotoCoyote OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6gun View Post
Yeah I've got the 20MM cans at home, gonna do the diamond plate mod to lighten them up some. I just don't have the skill/patience/talent to fabricate the rack so it will get bought probably. Order set up now for the nerf bar/skidplate combo and a center stand as well as the luggage plate. Just got to call Monday with a few questions before ordering.
Cool, man! You'll have to post pics when you're all done!!

Out of curiosity, what is the diamond plate mod? Never heard of it. (Of course, I should probably try searching before asking...... )
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Old 08-06-2011, 01:14 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by BrIONwoshMunky View Post
The willingness of consumer driven businesses to satisfy customers can really astound people. Never expected, always appreciated, is how I always enter talks with customer service representives.
In my job, I always try to exceed the customer's expectations, so it was nice to be on the receiving end for once. But I agree that going in with low expectations can help.
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by SoloTotoCoyote View Post
Cool, man! You'll have to post pics when you're all done!!

Out of curiosity, what is the diamond plate mod? Never heard of it. (Of course, I should probably try searching before asking...... )

"The Diamond Plate Mod" as I call it is cutting the lid and sides out and replacing with thin diamondplate AL Helped a friend do this to a couple that he keeps in his Jeep and it saved him probably 3-4 pounds each. I saw another post on here where a guy did it to the tops to get rid of the handles. I'm probably gonna leave the back for mounting strength, but I'm definitely doing the top I'm just debating whether or not to paint them to match the bike and use the Happy-Trail grafix kit on them. In my mind it would be cool but I think I'm gonna wait til I get it all set up to make up my mind. Good Lord willing I'll be posting the results by NOV as long as the Army let's me go home on time!
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Old 08-08-2011, 05:51 AM   #9
Hi Viz Guy
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We Heart Happy-Trail

Thank you for posting your positive story regarding the Folks at Happy-Trail. They have been supplying me and my KLR for the past 9 years. While traveling out West, I've had the opportunity to stop in the shop / storefront and see where all of the Magic happens. A lot of their gear is actually made On Site.

Everyone there always has the best of attitudes and it's reflected in their products and quality of service.

It's always nice to read / hear positive postings.

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Old 08-08-2011, 06:02 AM   #10
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I've had the privelege of stopping by and hanging out with these guys for a while. I bought an 08 KLR last summer and they helped me equip it properly for the 2200 mile trip I took on it. All around great guys, good suggestions, no pressure at all, and they hooked me up with a phenomenal price on the then-new Firstgear Rainier with the D3O armor, which I still think is the single best piece of gear I've ever bought. They've got my vote and I'll be going to them when it's time to equip the next bike for a 2013 AK trip.
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Old 08-10-2011, 04:27 AM   #11
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RE Happy Trails..... They are reasonably priced and very friendly. Their products are tough , precise and well designed.

The Bad.....They are slow to get you parts. Probably because they make them one at a time by various fabs. They do not communicate with you when delays will be excessive. Example... I waited 6 weeks for a centerstand for my WeeStrom. NO SHOW. I called. "2 more weeks. production problems". Cancelled order and bought elsewhere. So the moral of the story is don't be in any hurry if you order from them and keep in touch weekly.
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Old 08-10-2011, 07:36 PM   #12
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I had the opposite experience. Constant emails and they even phoned with a status. Excellent service and quality parts
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Old 08-04-2013, 05:35 PM   #13
eastbloc
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I don't know what's wrong with these people, but I've been trying to get a simple order for panniers and racks for my R1100GS fulfilled for over a month now.

I placed my order on July 1st. It took them two weeks to ship the panniers, even though they were already in stock (scratch and dent models), and even that was only after two e-mails. The first e-mail response stated that they didn't know what happened and that they would ship by the end of the week. The next week, with no tracking number still, I inquired again and was again told that they didn't know what happened and that they would ship by the end of the week.

This time, they actually shipped something, but I received only the panniers, without mounts. It took another two weeks to ship the mounts, at which point I was becoming irate and requesting a free upgrade in shipping. They did the shipping upgrade, but I received the mounts, but no pucks! Upon inquiring, I was told those were shipped separately, without a shipping upgrade, and will arrive next week. WTF?

Worse, the foot peg brackets they shipped me were manufactured incorrectly for the application, being bent 180 degrees away from how they are shown in the manual and making it impossible to line them up. I sent them a photo, and they assured me that they were just fine, and that I should go back and check. Well, I did, and I've just sent them some more documentation of the problem, so we'll see what happens.

I'm at wits' end with this vendor. I just don't understand how so many problems could exist with a single order. If I had known all of the time and frustration it would take, I would have gone a different direction for sure.
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