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Old 12-08-2012, 08:34 AM   #1
gn400 OP
Joined: Apr 2009
Location: Atlanta, GA
Oddometer: 4
WARNING: Sidewinder Sprockets Review - False claims of Made in America

UPDATE: I received a full refund from Sidewinder Sprockets
I am not sure what prompted them to finally send it; if it was this post or the dispute I opened with my credit card.
I have removed all references to the dispute I've had with them over getting my refund, but have left the information I learned about their deceptive marketing practices.


Summary of what I learned about Sidewinder Sprockets (SS) / Krause Racing (KR) from my experience with them:
• They market their chain as being "Made in America" but it is actually made in Spain by iRis. (Photographic evidence below)
• They will sell you a front sprocket that they claim is custom laser cut in their factories that is in fact an off-the-shelf stamped steel sprocket. (Photographic evidence below)
• The rear sprockets they sell are much thinner than standard since they don't taper the teeth, which can render them unusable. Click to learn more.
• They have a Better Business Bureau rating of "F". Click to learn more.
• I am not alone in being taken by this company.

One of my motivations for posting this experience is to enlighten my motorcycle friends, so that they don't get taken in by this company, but there is another reason as well.
SS and Andy Stacy wasted so much of my time, that I quite simply hope to reach every potential Sidewinder consumer and make them think twice before buying from Sidewinder.
I will do my best to address all of the bullet points mentioned above with links and photographic evidence where possible.

Timeline of events
08/20/12 - Placed phone order (630-513-1000) with Andy Stacy, Sidewinder Sales Rep.
09/24/12 - Received package containing all items except 18 tooth front sprocket.
09/25/12 - Called Andy and asked about status of 18 tooth front sprocket. Andy said it was still at the factory being manufactured and would ship in 3 weeks.
10/11/12 - Received incorrect 16 tooth sprocket.
10/15/12 - Spoke on the phone and told Andy that incorrect sprocket was received. Andy advised that he would get back to me after he spoke to factory.
10/22/12 - Called Andy again one week later after not hearing from him. Andy told me that he would send correct sprocket within one month.
10/27/12 - Looked closer at other items and realized that chain is not “Made in USA” as described.
10/29/12 - Left voicemail telling Andy I wanted to return items. No reply.
11/02/12 - Left voicemail telling Andy I wanted to return items. No reply.
11/05/12 - Called Andy from a different phone number, he picked up on 2nd ring. Told Andy I wanted to return entire order he said to ship items it to his attention and he would send refund.
11/08/12 - Confirmation of delivery of returned items in original packaging and unused condition.
11/23/12 - Called credit card company to open dispute in case there is an expiration date for filing disputes. Credit card company said to call vendor and see if dispute could be resolved.
11/26/12 - Left voicemail asking Andy when I can expect refund to my credit card (2 weeks after returned items were delivered). No reply.
12/03/12 - Left voicemail asking Andy when I can expect refund to my credit card (3 weeks after returned items were delivered). No reply.
12/04/12 - Spoke with an FTC investigator about Sidewinder marketing products as being "Made in America" that aren't and sent documentation of proof.
12/08/12 - Received an email from Andy Stacy that he refunded my money.
12/12/12 - Confirmation that I received refund to my credit card.

SS was the only vendor I could find that offered custom size front sprockets, so I placed an order with their sales rep, Andy Stacy on 08/20/12 for custom 18 tooth front and 45 tooth rear sprockets, 520 size "Smartchain", can of their chain lube and a chain breaker.

I received my order on 09/24/12, with everything except the front sprocket.
I called Andy and was told that the front sprocket was delayed because it was still at the factory being hardened.
On 10/11/12, I received a 16 tooth sprocket that was obviously a stamped off-the-shelf item (instead of laser-cut 18 tooth as ordered) that I could have purchased anywhere. (16 tooth is the largest stock OEM size available.)

Stamped Steel Sidewinder Sprocket, not Laser Cut as claimed

I immediately called Andy about the mistake.
Andy apologized and told me he would get back to me after he spoke with the factory.
But when Andy told me that this was a sprocket to tide me over until they could send the correct one and then later in the conversation said it was a mistake from the factory, I started questioning what was the truth.
Andy didn't get back to me as he promised, so I called again a week later and Andy told me that they would send the correct sprocket, but that it would take another month.
I told Andy I was disappointed, but that I would wait.

I started googling the company and realized that I wasn't alone in receiving products that were much different than expected:
• One person said his father ordered a 51 tooth sprocket and SS sent him a 52 tooth sprocket but ground off the "52" stamp and restamped it 51. Read about it here
• One savvy customer was able to trace the "custom" sprocket he ordered to Esjot, a reputable German company, but found that he paid $87 for a $27.95 sprocket. Read about it here
• Another said that after multiple calls about discrepancies in his order, the products he received were off-the-shelf items that he payed more than twice the average retail price. Read about it here
• Another said the SS Ti-Moly front sprocket he received was silver instead of black as expected (It also weighed the same as stock). SS's response: "they experiment with different coatings." Even if this was true, would you want to receive an experimental product? Another lie made to cover up that Sidewinder resells sprockets made by other companies. Read about it here
• SS typically ignore your calls when you realize that the product isn't living up to all their hype. Read about it here

After falling down the rabbit hole I decided to take a closer look at the other items in my order.
And lo-and-behold, the chain they sent me is not made in USA as they claimed but is an iRiS chain made in Spain.

Sidewinder Sprockets website screen capture
Chain received from Sidewinder Sprockets
iRiS Chains website screen capture

gn400 screwed with this post 12-12-2012 at 01:11 PM Reason: Vendor refunded money
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