DMAD

SpnKix Crappy Motorized Wheel Skate Shoe Things Reviewed

spnkix-charging
1.3

Pros

Gave me the opportunity to dream like I was 10 years old again that something cool was coming in the mail that I ordered from the back of a boy scout magazine (with a similar end result).

Cons

Awkward, clunky, dangerous, heavy, uncomfortable, steep learning curve. Kickstarter project was horribly managed. Lost money.

Overall

Makes me think twice about supporting future Kickstarter projects.

Wow, what a letdown. All around.

Last year I got really excited about Spnkix (which is awkward to spell – they should have called them Spin Kicks or Spin Kix or something. Though I guess it’s still better than Spnzkixzzz).

Someone on Twitter posted about the Spnkix Kickstarter project and I thought “hey, this is really cool – motorized wheels for your feet. Why hasn’t anyone done this before?” (now I understand the answer to that question). Having read about how much Tynan loves his electric skateboard, I thought this would a cool way to get around town (and maybe even airports).

I backed the Kickstarter project this January (1/7/12) and bought 2 pairs – one for me and one for Ashley – thinking it would be fun to scoot around in them. I paid $840.

We were supposed to get them in March but there were tons of problems and many many delays so I didn’t get mine until last week (this September). They were shipped USPS (which I thought was super gangster) and I only received one pair (I ordered 2).

My Experience – Day 1

SpnKix boxWhen I got the box my first thought was “Jesus, this is heavy”. I unpacked them and was fairly disappointed at how bulky and heavy they actually were. I also noticed how cheaply made the remote looked. Also I was perplexed why they only came with one training wheel (and it had to be attached seperately).

Oh well, let’s try these things out. I plugged them in and let them charge for 5 hours (per instructions). Then I carted these clunkers outside, strapped them around my shoes, and tried to start riding them.

They feel sooo awkward and unsteady. I tried riding them many times over but almost busted my ass once and just couldn’t get moving, not even a little.

I actually went back inside and my body was shaking. Like that feeling you get when almost get into a car accident and you barely avoid it. Ok, I’ll try this another day. I also noticed that the battery indicator went from green to orange pretty quickly.

Day 2

The next day I attempted to ride these again on the sidewalk. Same thing, though this time I realized just how much they hurt my feet. Maybe if I was wearing boots it’d be better, but these things were just really, really uncomfortable. I never thought they had such a steep learning curve.

I looked kind of like this girl, but I didn’t have Peter there to steady me (wasn’t aware that was a requirement btw).

I hated the feeling of almost wrecking & how difficult it was to even attempt to start riding them. I gave up in frustration and tried to figure out what to do next.

My Conversation with Peter

I emailed the company back and asked to be refunded for the 2nd pair that I never received. I figured I’d list the pair that actually received on eBay and try to get at least some of my money back. After I sent the email, I got a phone call from Peter Treadway personally. He wanted to know about my experience with the Spnkix.

Now that I look back at my conversation with him I’m actually pretty pissed off.

He basically blamed me for my inability to ride them and told me to keep trying – if I could just find an indoor area with a smooth surface. He said I was “one of a small percentage of people who inexplicably had high expectations regarding how much they would weigh and how big they would be.” Judging by some of the comments on the Kickstarter thread, I don’t think I’m in the minority here of having different expectations.

He said he would refund me for the unsent pair and that I should just keep trying with the pair I got (which I am NOT going to. I F** hate these things).

He also confirmed that the 1 training wheel that came with it was no accident and that some people have reported that having a training wheel (much less 2) was actually hindering to the process of learning to ride them.

A few days later I got a refund via Paypal with the following (unedited) message:

We are happy to refund your second pair-
$420-$14.925(amazon charge)-$18.75 (kickstarter charge) = the tool amount wa received $386.325

That annoyed me. I had paid $420 for that pair, which was never sent, and now I was eating the charges on top of it all.

A Lot of Pissed Off People

Man, I really wanted to like this project. It just sounded so cool. People were getting really restless and annoyed in the comments and I was like “hey, these things happen. I wish more people were understanding.” I felt bad for Peter since he looked like he was in waaay over his head in this whole project. But I think this is just the start of the sh*tstorm.

A lot of people haven’t gotten their SpnKix yet in the US. People in Europe haven’t received theirs. They report having been sent this message:

Dear backers in Europe,

We are ready to ship your spnKiX this week. We found out that shipping to Europe is more than we expected.
The air shipment cost is $125 per package to Europe… You all have paid $45, we will chip in $25, so the balance is $55. We hate to have to do this but we are a start up company and have a very limited budget.

Please arrange payment via paypal: {spinkix email address}
Once we receive your shipping payment, we will ship your package and email the tracking number right away.

Thank you for your support and understanding!

Karen

team spnKiX
www.spnKiX.com

So the people in Europe are now forced to pony up even more money to get their SpnKix shipped.

All around, this entire experience seems to have been a giant clusterf**ck and waste of time and money for everyone involved. Peter even told me that if he knew then what he knows now he would not do this again.

I’m thinking of listing my pair of SpnKix on eBay with a low starting price before everyone else dumps theirs too.

To see how many people are dissatisfied with this entire SpnKix fiasco (and I believe this is just the start) check out the Kickstarter comments.

Update Sept 13, 2012 : So I sold my SpnKix on eBay for $100. After shipping and everything I lost a total of $368 on supporting a sh*tty Kickstarter project. Grrr.

I also wanted to add that I think a lot of advertising for SpnKix on their site and their Kickstarter page was really misleading (people are shown in pictures without helmets or protective gear and with their feet in the air – they’re heavy as hell so this would not be an accurate representation of “real world” use).

Update Oct 18, 2012 : I just got a call from Peter Treadway who apologized for how everything was handled, for his communication, and how the entire experience unfolded. He even offered to reimburse me the fees for which I was charged. I thought that was a nice gesture….

Afterwards, he also not so subtly asked me to take this post down.
Appreciate the apology… but – uhm – no way.


///

P.S. For more caveat emptor tales of Kickstarter experiences check out the Zioneyez $343,000 project (seems to be a vaporware scam) followed by the iCase and Diaspora trainwrecks.

Also, check out this review which summarizes Spnkix as “seems like a good idea, but isn’t”. Yep.

Posted 2 years ago on 09 September 2012


About Max Spiker

Max Spiker is the founder of DMAD and has been developing for the web for over 10 years. He is passionate about design, Wordpress, travel, iPhone apps, online marketing, and lifehacking. +Max Spiker is currently into studying rationality and decision making and creating fun online projects. Note: Some links on this site are monetized by affiliate programs - see disclosure for more details.


10 thoughts on “SpnKix Crappy Motorized Wheel Skate Shoe Things Reviewed

  1. GadgetJunkie says:

    Wow. That was detailed and honest. You just saved me $700. But I do envy the person who got your pair for $100 on eBay. At that price, I’d learn or not care. But instead I’m going to look into getting a Yike Bike. I already have and love my Segway.

  2. spnKiX says:

    Hey spnKiX fans!

    We just wanted to point out that this post is extremely one sided and much of the story has been recontextualized to suit the point of view. No videos of the skates working as intended are posted here, but the only video that makes them look bad, is. BTW- those are prototypes she is wearing; the video was shot in January- about 5 months before we started shipping the actual product.

    Here’re a couple of good videos, for those interested in some objectivity:

    A beginner on spnKiX:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2lAiMRgwBo
    First time on spnKiX:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkefkoDzoqk.

    Really, anyone who wants to can just type “spnKiX” into Youtube and they will see almost all positive videos, with the exception of the one in the post above. As they say; you can’t please all the people all the time.

    We have shipped hundreds of spnKiX to over 26 countries so far. The majority of our backers are having fun riding spnKiX. Some get it the moment they put them on, some take longer. We appreciate your support for a young start up.

    Here is just a peek of some of our customer testimonials -

    “My spnKiX are always charged because I use them everyday!” – Rich Kolb, Oct 2012

    “Great work out… so much fun, I feel like a big kid again!” – Margie Thomas, Oct 2012

    “People are so Jealous that I zip all over the place. GREAT Product. Walking is so 2009 ” – Brian Lauda, Sept 2012

    “…I used some new muscles on spnKiX” – Rafael, Sept 2012

    “For spnKiX, it was funded in February, and they started shipping the KiX in July! It’s only 5 months! I would say that’s one exceptional well-done job…When you receive your KiX, you’ll know how much hard work Peter and his team put into this project. Job well-done, Peter.” – Vince Du, Aug 2012

    “They will take a little time to get used to, but I don’t think too bad, a combination between rollerblading and water skiing… Definitely fun and very cool!” – Corey Barberie, Aug 2012

    “great job on the initial run. You have a solid product, great design and well thought out. You guys are a great example of what KickStarter with the RIGHT IDEAS and EXECUTION can deliver…” – Mark Dawson, Aug 2012

    Peter & spnKiX team

  3. Skate modification says:

    They need to add some small wheels or balls or something to make it more stable and maneuverable. Notice how they never show the skates going up a step or curb. Come on and show us some actual moving around.

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