Meld 3D Saddle Review - BUYER BEWARE

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
Smithjeb
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:20 pm

by Smithjeb

Purchased a $350 Meld custom saddle from www.meld3d.com in Sept, 2017.

Aesthetically good looking saddle and fit well. Order process was slow but in many ways worth the wait. Mounted on a 2018 Cannondale Evo Hi-mod and have ridden about 1500 miles.

That was the good part.

Fast forward today. The saddle split in two under the cushioning and given my experience so far I submitted to the company - photo’s, receipt, and a truthful statement of use - exactly how advertised.

Ever since then - this company has done nothing but blame me for the failure of their saddle. The latest excuse is “impact” from possibly hitting a pothole. I have ridden dozens of saddles over the years and never seen anything like this happen.

Their tone is rude, demeaning, and pointed to everything I have done wrong to cause damage to the product. I have dozen of Hi-Rez pictures to support that the saddle looks absolutely brand new and has never even been leant against a wall.

THIS COMPANY IS BAD NEWS IF YOU NEED HELP WITH THEIR PRODUCT. LOOK AT THEIR BBB RATING (D+). They have a growing number of negative feedback on various websites with customers experiencing same failure and lack of support.

I am hugely disappointed. These folks are a black mark on the cycling community which I love.

antonioiglesius
Posts: 290
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

Hmm, that's not my experience at all, nor for many of my cycling mates who have the saddle. One of us have had an issue and had the saddle replaced at minimal cost (this is the impact replacement part of their policy). Did they not offer that to you?

When you say that their tone is rude and demeaning, can you give some specific examples?

I checked the BBB site, it looks like there's a single complaint filed a while back, no?

I'll also talk to them directly and ask for their side of the story. Stay tuned...

by Weenie


Smithjeb
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:20 pm

by Smithjeb

Thank you. They did offer me a replacement. My issue is that this is a $350 saddle - which was installed very carefully on a very high end road bike. I have had the saddle for <1 year and <1000 miles. It is badly cracked. It should have been a very quick warranty replacement.

Instead they chose the route of asking for money and telling me that it was my fault and due to “impact” damage. Saddles from reputable manufacturers do not fail like this when riding on the road. They insinuated that I could not afford their “nominal” replacement fee and would not waive because, again, this was my fault. They refused to call me and signed their communication Meld.

I have had dozens of bikes. I have never experienced this. Break an Enve wheel and see how you are treated. They will replace and send you a thank you note for being a customer - and then call you - to make sure you are still happy.

It appears friends of these folks are supporting them online. It’s a crock and I won’t stand for it. if I pay $350 for a saddle and the carbon breaks down like it did - replace it and move on. All I got from Meld was excuses and “have you read our policy”. At the end, they inferred I was a bad actor.

Read other reviews on line. There are people sprinting to their defense but there are also a lot of unhappy customers. My local LBS confirmed today that they had heard of similar failures.

Smithjeb
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:20 pm

by Smithjeb

I would love for you to talk to them directly. They wouldn’t call me. They hid out behind a keyboard.

antonioiglesius
Posts: 290
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

You said in your first email that you rode about 1500 miles, then in your second last email you said it was <1000 miles. Which is it?

They say they are writing up a response at the moment. It starts with an apology for insinuating that you can't afford the replacement cost. It's rather long so it'll take a while.

Having read a number of complaints on this forum about manufacturers in general, I would recommend not making statements such as "It appears friends of these folks are supporting them online." and "My local LBS confirmed today that they had heard of similar failures." if they cannot be substantiated. It shows that you are emotional and biased, and saying anything you can to show that you are right. I suggest that we all stick to the facts.

Smithjeb
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:20 pm

by Smithjeb

Cool. Later. Another random MELD fan. Blah.

Smithjeb
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:20 pm

by Smithjeb

They could have graciously replaced my saddle and like any other customer and I would have continued buying product from them. Just like any other retail relationship. They chose this approach.

Read other reviews. It’s not just me. I’ll tell you what they have my cell phone. Let’s see if they want to call me and discuss. You can join we can walk through together.

I also couldn’t give 2 cents for your recommendation.

antonioiglesius
Posts: 290
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

Smithjeb wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:49 pm
Cool. Later. Another random MELD fan. Blah.
(Quoting for the record)
Smithjeb wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 9:53 pm
They could have graciously replaced my saddle and like any other customer and I would have continued buying product from them. Just like any other retail relationship. They chose this approach.
They did offer a replacement with a discount, as per their policy. If you disagree with their policy, did you bring it up before placing an order?

It seems everything is resolved if they would just give you a replacement for free, though not honoring their policy (I use their saddle and I won't be happy with that). If so, you don't actually have a problem with the failure itself?

And if the problem is money, it seems the replacement cost doesn't matter to you as it's small to you?

So is the root cause of your unhappiness that you feel they insulted you by suggesting you can't afford the small replacement cost?

Smithjeb
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:20 pm

by Smithjeb

Folks stay clear of these guys. Go read the reviews - this is the same thing that happens every time. Visit the BBB. If anyone wants an honest view with pictures etc. feel free to ping me and I will help you before you spend your money. There are lots of good small businesses out there that support cyclists. Just search Meld review - this same series of events has happened before and as soon as they are criticized the same people who posted early (advertising type reviews) jump and try and make a bunch of non-sensical arguments. Don’t fall for it.

antonioiglesius
Posts: 290
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

If you cannot respond appropriately and reasonably in public, why should anyone trust anything you say?

I think I've spent enough time on this, my next post will be Meld's response.

Smithjeb
Posts: 15
Joined: Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:20 pm

by Smithjeb

That’s the point. You don’t need to trust me. Do your own research. Start here:

http://slocyclist.com/meld-3d-custom-saddle-review/

Kinda similar, eh?

antonioiglesius
Posts: 290
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

I spend some of my time reading feedback on Meld (and other companies) on the web, including the site you pointed to. It seems that all the issues were resolved in the responses, no? And people feel that there is quite a bit of trolling going on?

Do you feel that no company will ever have any bad feedback/review?

(Later) Ok I really need to go do something else, this is not getting anywhere...

antonioiglesius
Posts: 290
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

Meld's response:
Hi everyone,

We need to begin by sincerely apologizing to Smithjeb for insinuating that he could not afford the replacement fee, that he repeatedly breaks saddles, and that he uses our saddle on a MTB. We reviewed our communication from last night, and to our horror, realized that what we said can be interpreted in a different way. There is no excuse for our mistake, Smithjeb is right about this, and again we sincerely apologize. We discuss the specifics below.

The timeline
============

Smithjeb's saddle was shipped to him on 2017-10-13. On 2018-7-7, he notified us of the issue, and we asked for a few photos of the damage, which was provided. We noticed additional scuffing on the saddle, and that prompted us to request for the saddle to be shipped back for an autopsy. This was on the same day, 2018-7-7. The saddle was shipped by Smithjeb on 2018-7-14, and we received it on 2018-7-24.

Our autopsy was completed on 2018-7-25, yesterday. We emailed Smithjeb of the result yesterday at 3:47pm. Between that time and 11:39pm yesterday, a total of 19 emails were exchanged.


The exchange
============

During the exchange, we attempted to explain the reasoning behind the deep discount we provide for the first impact-damaged replacement. We realize now that what said can be interpreted as being insulting, and we sincerely apologize for that.



Handling impact
===============

A critical part of our saddle design revolves around saddle safety, including the amount of impact it should handle. To determine this we utilize two approaches:

A) We work with P/1/2 racers who push their equipment to the limit. In addition, we work with certain folks who test other manufacturers' equipment in real-world scenarios.

B) We keep track of the overall failure rate across the entire user base. Crashes, hitting potholes at speed, driving the bike into the garage doors happen, and we want to keep failures to a minimum. We continually monitor failures, in instances where we need more information (e.g. Smithjeb's case), we ask for the saddle to be returned for us to perform an autopsy. By monitoring the entire user base, we are indirectly tracking say general road conditions, as well as the cycling community's idea of what road-cycling means. For instance, if the cycling community decides to define road cycling to include off-road, gravel-like riding, then this will be reflected as a (slow) increase in failure rate, and we will adjust the strength of our saddles accordingly. For folks who know that they might encounter more impact while riding, they can request for a strengthened saddle.


Policies
========

When we started in 2016, we realized quickly that people have very different impressions about what we can do. For instance, folks believe that the saddle can resolve all asymmetry issues, whether it's leg-length difference, scoliosis, or hip asymmetry. Some felt that regardless of their bikes' geometry, our saddle should always work. When certain users found out that our saddles aren't a silver bullet to their problems, they feel scammed. And justifiably so, because we did not do a good job of managing their expectations. Complaints we see on the Internet about Meld are important to highlight potential issues our users can face, and equally important, highlight the limitations of our service.

We figured out that we need to manage potential users' expectations very well, and we do so primarily via our policies. For asymmetry, we ask everyone to contact us before an order is placed. For bike geometry issues, we created an equipment incompatibility clause to primarily highlight the fact that a user's saddle issues might not be due to the saddle itself.

The policies helped enormously in aligning user expectations to our service. We have turned people away when, after some discussion, we cannot determine with confidence we can create a saddle to resolve their asymmetry issues. If users talk to us about perineum-related issues, we'll focus on them figuring out their saddle is far enough in front so that their sitbones are supported, and that they do not have an equipment-related issue that limits fore/aft adjustment.

Finally, we view policies as an important part of the agreement made between our customers and us when they place an order. The policies make it clear to both parties what happens next in certain scenarios. We are bound by our policies, and we'd imagine that the consequences will be dire otherwise.


Better Business Bureau
======================

The BBB is a private, third-party business entity. We do not work with BBB, other than requesting for information regarding the single complaint made some time ago. That case was resolved since. We do not know how BBB determines its ratings.


Community feedback
==================

We value all feedback from the cycling community. It helps us understand how others feel about what we do, it tells us whether we're on the right path. If anyone feels at any time we are not doing something right, do not hesitate to voice your constructive feedback. After all, if the saddle is any good, it is due to the invaluable feedback from prior users.


In conclusion
=============

We want to end by again sincerely apologizing to Smithjeb for our insinuations. Even though we did not make those statements with malicious intent, we understand they can be interpreted differently and we accept responsibility. However, we still cannot deviate from our policies, which all our users and us agree on. Doing so will not only adversely impact all current users, but also future ones. We hope Smithjeb can see this from our point of view.

Thanks for reading,
Meld
Last edited by antonioiglesius on Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:18 am, edited 3 times in total.

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ergott
Posts: 2887
Joined: Tue Apr 18, 2006 3:03 am
Location: Islip, NY
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by ergott

I keep seeing an assumption that there was impact damage. The owner denies this.

No way I'm riding on a saddle that is this fragile. The impacts on a mountain bike are far softer than a road bike hitting a pothole. Just rid in a group when someone in front of you doesn't call out someting. Mtbs have suspension, road bikes don't.

Do yourselves a favor, make the saddle 10-20g heavier and reinforce it properly. You are just begging for a serious injury happening to a rider. Saddles should be designed so that hitting a pothole or similar at speed while riding in a paceline won't break it. That's just obsurd.

antonioiglesius
Posts: 290
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

They've been around for a few years now, they've seen failures and strengthened whenever necessary. They are not weightweenie saddles. Production saddles have been heavier than beta ones. As a benchmark, for their weakest saddle (no longer in production, beta-only), a pro had used it for 5k miles. They told me that failure <1000 miles is in off-road application territory.

by Weenie


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