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Old 02-25-2013, 03:49 PM
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Location: melbourne, vi
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Exclamation SMW - the good, bad and ugly

Completed an Australian godfather kit imported from Randy at SMW late last year (2012). The bike looks great and I am pleased with the quality of the parts (handlebars are the exception- cheap and nasty)

I thought i would share some balanced feedback on my dealings with SMW:

started well, first shipment arrived 10 days after ordering in Jan 2012, problem was, there was complete confusion at SMW about the import fees. It took at least a week and several calls to sort it out.

Second shipment arrived with less problems a few weeks later. First problem was the rear wheel, I could not get the alignment right during mock up. turns out there was an extra 1/4 spacer on the hub. clearly the wrong wheel for the kit. I dismantled the wheel and removed it.

What they dont tell you is that the tank mounts are NOT pre welded, so I had to ake the frame/ mounts and tanks to a mates shop to weld. not a big deal, but i dont like surprises. Second major problem was the 3" open primary belt was way too big. this took 2 months (yes 2 ) and 4 belts later to solve from thier end.

Dakota speedo was the wrong one for the kit. In aus you need indicator lights on the speedo for high beam/ signals. This one didn't. what really pissed me off is that Randy insisted it was the correct one. I had to get an email from Dakota digital to tell him it wasn't. not good enough.

Same deal with the Thunderheart harness. first there was no brake light module provided with the kit. that took another few weeks and phone calls. secondly, once again correctly wired, the rear signals came on with the brake light. This isnt a problem in the US, but will fail inspection over here. I emailed Thunderheart directly, they responded within a few hours that it was the wrong harness kit for Aus or Europe. Randy didn't belleive and insisted it was right. i guess he knows better than the manufacturer. The thunderheart tech and i worked it out and ended up wiring the rear signals to the front- probelm solved.

The MAJOR f-up is the motor. the reason I chose SMW over similar kits availble here was primarily the proof series motor- essentially an improved el-Bruto. What i ordered was the proof series motor, it even says it on the invoice. it turns out I got a stock Ultima. I should have followed this up earlier, the only difference in appearance is the engraving on the case. i assumed I got what was adveritised and on the invoice. It was only after I completed the bike and got it on the road that i asked Randy. The response was, 'we are switching to stock ultimas in the kits'. Well this was nearly 12 months after i got mine. It's too late now, the motor runs sweet, but I feel I have been cheated, and they were not upfront.

the other major f-up was the triple trees. Everyone in Aus, and Randy, knows about the 550 rule. That is the distance between the front axle and the mid point of the neck MUST be within 550mm. No ifs or buts- No 550, no engineers certificate. With the raked trees provided I was well over. Randy suggested taking the fork spacers out. i did and still over. In the end he sent a 0 degree set of trees, which meant completely rewiring the front end (the wiring goes thru a hole in the upper tree). complete pain in the ass, and more unneccessary delay. It then handles like a piece of shit as the rake and trail were out. Once engineered, i had to do it all again to put the 6 degree trees back on. Clearly the kit was NOT ADR compliant in the first place.

Other minor problem was the rear tail light was NOT e-marked, so i had to buy one that was.

In summary, the good points; good qulaity products generally
The bad: poor ability to actually send major compenments that meet the Austrlian design rules, despite them adveritising the kit as fully ADR compliant.

the ugly: Ignore emails, in denial about some problems, clearly in breach of trading standards by sending me a cheaper engine than stated in the product description and invoice. Poor quailty control.

Would i use them again/?regrtably no. I love the bike, but the 11 month build should have only taken 3 if they had thier shit together.
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