As an 80’s kid, I can remember a time before online shopping. We would pile into our family sedan, drive to the department store, and quite possibly leave disappointed – what we wanted either wasn’t what we expected or it wasn’t in stock. Things sure have changed. These days, online ordering has become a routine part of life. Everything from groceries to obscure hardware is just a few clicks away.
The explosion in the online marketplace has left me as a bit of a skeptic. We’ve all seen the wild claims of an amazing selection and unparalleled customer service. We’ve also all experienced those claims falling apart right before our eyes. This is why I think it is important to speak up when something goes all wrong – and even more important when a company goes above and beyond.
In this blog post I’d like to share my experience with RevZilla – a major player in the Motorcycle Gear Realm. Before I do that, first a little detour…
If you’ve been following along with WaltInPA over the past couple of weeks, you know that I’ve been away from Motorcycles for about a decade and am in the process of jumping back in. At the time I was learning to ride on a 1980-something Suzuki GS450. During that time I bought the bulk of my riding gear from Motorcycle Gear (At the time the name of the company was New Enough).
My first purchase was a Joe Rocket Atomic Riding Jacket and I was thrilled with the buying experience. So much so that it was quickly followed up by Riding Gloves, a Riding Jacket that was a gift for my father, a couple of tank bags (I probably bought three of them – one for my father, brother, and myself), and a variety of odds and ends.
When it came time to buy new gear after my long hiatus, my intentions were to go back to the retailer I knew and loved – Motorcycle Gear. After all, I’m extremely loyal to businesses that treat me well and we had a history together. Despite the time away, surely they would have the same wide selection of products and excellent customer service that I was accustomed to?
Before going to Motorcycle Gear to begin shopping, I thought it would be best to first start researching gear itself. What is the point of browsing through products if I don’t know the good from the bad?
First and foremost, I knew that I was going to need a helmet before anything else. To begin the process I did what most people do these days – I opened up YouTube and started searching for “Best Motorcycle Helmets”. After watching a few videos, I landed on one from RevZilla. I don’t recall the exact product that was being showcased but I remember the honesty quite well. The video wasn’t the typical sales pitch to get you to BUY RIGHT NOW – it was actually critical. This is a good helmet but here is where I think it falls short…
I came away from that product breakdown being legitimately impressed. It isn’t everyday that you come across a retailer who is willing to tell you what they don’t like about a given product – potentially costing the company a sale. Before long I found myself watching product reviews from other sources and then seeking out a second opinion from the team at RevZilla.
Making the Purchase
As I mentioned at the start of this blog post, I’m a bit of a skeptic when it comes to the claims of online retailers. We’ve all been burned in the past and that was not the way I wanted to kick start returning to motorcycles. My skepticism, coupled with loyalty for businesses that treat me well, I felt obligated to return to Motorcycle Gear.
Before breaking out my credit card, I decided to do a little research on RevZilla. What I found was that the company is based out of Philadelphia (I grew up in Kensington so that’s one major point towards the home team) – as a Pennsylvania resident I expect this to result in short shipping times. In addition, there were hundreds of stellar reviews of both the products and customer service. Of course there were some bad reviews but they were greatly outnumbered by the positive.
Armed with enough information to make me comfortable shifting away from my retailer, I headed over to RevZilla to make my purchase. I ordered an HJC F70 Helmet and a pair of Scorpion SGS MK II Gloves. There isn’t much to say about the order itself – it arrived a few days later (despite the warning that there may be delays due to COVID-19) and everything inside the box was exactly what I expected. Quality products at fair prices, shipped in a timely manner.
In all of RevZilla’s Product Breakdown Videos, they tell us to reach out to the Gear Geeks if we ever have any questions or concerns. After placing my first order, I decided to give the Gear Geeks a try.
One of the things I like most about RevZilla is their Gear Guides. These Guides (and videos) showcase a series of products that take your riding style into account. For example, if you ride a cruiser and don’t really care about sport bike gear – they’ll show you what you might be interested in. Same goes for new riders – they cut through the abundance of options and show options to get you started.
One particular video that caught my eye was the Gear Guide for Big and Tall Riders (sadly, my interest was on the big part of that equation – the downside of spending 12+ hours a day in front of a computer). I was in the market for a Riding Jacket that would be generous in the mid-section. The segment on Big and Burly riders was exactly what I was looking for and I was extremely interested in the Icon Motorhead 2 Motorcycle Jacket.
When went to place my order, I was disappointed to see that this particular jacket was on close out and not available in my size (or any size besides Medium). This is a good segue into my only complaint with RevZilla. They provide fantastic suggestions but they aren’t always current and almost never provide recommendations for updated or alternative products.
I decided to reach out to the Gear Geeks to see what they would recommend as an alternative to the Icon Motorhead 2 that I liked so much.
Using the Customer Service Form on RevZilla, I explained that I watched the video on Big and Tall Riders and was very interested in the Icon Motorhead 2 Jacket. Unfortunately, it was on close out and I was looking for a replacement product or recommendation that would fit my body type of Big and Burly.
It took a couple of days to get a response (which is not unusual in my experience) but it opened with an apology for the delay in responding to my question. The response went on to ask for my measurements so that they could ensure that any recommendation would be in stock and available for purchase. The striking part of the response was that it felt like it was coming from a real person and not copy / pasted from a catalog of stock responses.
The Gear Geek (Taylor) and I traded a couple of emails to fine tune the recommendations. In the short exchange I felt like I was developing a rapport with Taylor and appreciated his input. He went on to suggest a handful of jackets, sizing information on said jackets, and some initial suggestions on riding pants (which I requested in a previous email).
The suggestions didn’t look like my particular style so I followed it up with yet another email asking additional questions on a different line. Taylor happened to be out of the office and a second Gear Geek picked up where he left off. If I’m being totally honest, I feel like the second Gear Geek stepped on the conversation and it ended prematurely. Even so, I appreciated someone picking up when Taylor was out of the office (although I would have had no issue with waiting until Monday for a response).
As of this writing I have not yet ordered a Riding Jacket, however, I plan on doing so very soon. I’m confident that the Icon Contra 2 (in Perforated Leather) and Icon Contra Riding Pants will suite my needs. With the info from the Gear Geeks, I’m confident that I’ll get the right size on the initial order.
Boom or Bust?
If you’ve skipped everything up to this point and want a clear answer – Was RevZilla a Boom or a Bust? In the grand scheme of things, you could say that my order with RevZilla was uneventful. The products that I ordered were priced well and arrived exactly as expected. In the case of Online Ordering, uneventful is perfection.
My experience with Customer Service (which had nothing to do with my order) was very positive. I felt like I was talking to a real person that had my best interest in mind.
The only question remaining at this point is – Will I be buying more Motorcycle Gear from RevZilla? Absolutely, I think I have found my new gear supplier and look forward to future orders. In the very near future I’ll be placing an order for a Riding Jacket, Riding Pants, and Riding Boots – all of which will be purchased through RevZilla.