First off, let me say that I cannot WAIT for 2012 to be over. It was a miserable year for me: injury, illness, the death of a beloved family member, and drought. The year can’t end soon enough for me, and today’s post is something that’s been hanging over my head for a while and I need to take care of it. I just need to clean the books off of 2012 and pray to God that next year will be better.
OK, on that incredibly positive note, here’s what happened:
In 2011 I ordered a bunch of kettlebells. Some of them from Kettlebells USA, some from Perform Better, and one from the World Kettlebell Club. I was surprised about the poor quality of the WKC kettlebell, as they are touted as being THE BEST of the best. I was also quite shocked at the extremely poor customer service I received from the company. I wrote all about it here and here.
I probably never would have written any of that if the WKC had been even just a little bit polite in dealing with me. Honestly, it was some of the worst customer service I’ve ever received. So, I was ticked, I wrote my little review and thought no more of it. Like I said in the other posts, I’m a little nobody on the internet, who the heck cares what I think?
Then a while later Kettlebells USA linked to my review on their facebook page. I thought, “OK, whatever floats their boat.”
Then a while after that, I got a ping that someone had left a comment on this blog. It was from Valery Fedorenko. Uh, yeah. THE Valery Fedorenko. That’s like saying on your blog that you think Air Jordans suck and having Michael Jordan call you up and say “Oh, really?”
According to Mr. Fedorenko, the WKC was having problems with the manufacturer at that time, and apparently having employee problems as well, because at first they couldn’t find a record that I had purchased a kettlebell from them. The person I wrangled with at the WKC back then didn’t even sign their name to any correspondence, so I have no idea who I even dealt with.
So, Mr. Fedorenko and a new customer service rep from the WKC were kind enough to send me two brand spanking new kettlebells to review.
The first thing I thought when I took the new bells out of the box is “Wow!” This is what I thought I would get when I originally ordered a WKC kettlebell. The bells are top quality, very well made and no tape or bondo that I can see.
The Performance bells have a different finish than the ProGrade bells. It is more of a matte finish, as you can see from the photo. The Performance bells also have a flat area next to the handle (where the bell comes in contact with your forearm.) The different design makes holding the bells in the rack position feel much more comfortable, and it keeps the bell more stable when pressing or jerking.
The new design on the standard size bell is very nice, and I would be completely satisfied with that version, but the VF Fitness size bell is what I am really impressed with.
VF Fitness model on the left, standard size VF Performance on the right.
VF Fitness model on the left, standard size ProGrade on the right.
Standard size ProGrade on the left, standard size VF Performance on the right.
I am short – 5’2″ to be exact. The VF Fitness size bell fits me to a T. It is incredibly comfortable to hold in the rack position and to press or jerk overhead. I have trouble doing a bottoms up press with the ProGrade 12kg bell, but I can do it with the Fitness size model. I’m also not crazy about doing high rep swing workouts with the ProGrade model as it gets uncomfortable to hold onto with two hands for that long, but I’ve done high rep swing workouts with the Fitness model and it felt completely different.
The Fitness model bell is actually one of my all-time favorite pieces of exercise equipment I’ve ever owned. I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping it in my office and doing snatches or clean and jerks whenever I need a break from computer work. It is truly a fantastic kettlebell, from the design down to the finish and construction. If I could only have one kettlebell, this would be the one.
So, to sum up the whole saga of Tami vs. the WKC: the company seems to have upgraded everything, from their products to their customer service. The customer service rep I spoke to this time around was very professional and helpful. Mr. Fedorenko and the WKC certainly didn’t have to go out of their way to do anything for me, but I really do appreciate their efforts to make things right.
Well, that closes the books on 2012. Happy New Year, everyone, and let’s all hope that 2013 is even better than last year.