BARF - Bay Area Riders Forum

Go Back   BARF - Bay Area Riders Forum > Club House > Reviews & Recommendations


Notices

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-26-2018, 04:00 PM   #1
FreeRyde
The Curmudgeon
 
FreeRyde's Avatar
 
Contributor +
Barf Roadside Angel

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Hoon Mountain
Motorcycles: Chubbers
Name:
SPOT Tracker - Customer No Longer...

So let me preface this review by saying that I have been a SPOT customer since 2014.


In 2014 I started doing longer back country riding solo, figured it'd be nice to let my family and loved ones know where I was (alive and moving every day), but more importantly if I crashed out on some forest road I could get help. In theory this is a great idea! So I got one of them little orange things. The one I got was a Gen2, which had horrible battery life, I'm talking 2 days tops. Three (or four) AAA batteries?! I refused to mount it to my bike, because that kinda defeats the purpose if I get ejected and thrown down a cliff. Yearly service fee was $150. Ouch!

Some time later I crashed and broke the Gen2 tracker into little bits. I called up SPOT, they replaced it with a Gen3 for 18 bucks! That tacked onto the new service fee and network maintenance, my bill was a staggering $230+ dollars. Gen3 had better battery life, but still no more than 3-4 days. Again, I am stubborn and would not mount it on my bike (can be run off bike power). I used my SPOT tracker on Mines road when I found a cyclists heat stroking out in the middle of the road. No cell signal, it probably saved his life, CalFire showed up minutes later after I pressed the button.


Here's my issue, the service fee went up $50 over the span of 2 years. Who knows what next years network service fee will be... And the battery life just kills me. I replaced (rechargeable) probably 10-15 sets of batteries over the summer over the course of 2 months.

Today I called to cancel my service, $200+ a year is insane. When I told the nice lady over the phone that I wanted to cancel, she said "Oh, you are available for our promotional reward of next years service for $89.99!!"



110% discount for staying as a customer? Uh. No. That means there is roughly a 80-100% markup for the tracking service. That's one fat margin.


I will be switching over to a ResQLink beacon here soon, it runs about $240, does not have tracking feature, the battery life is 5 years and no yearly subscription fee. If you crash and are about to die, press the little button and wait for the whambulance. That's really all I want anyways... Also, the ResQLink has a much higher output signal, where a SPOT won't work in a canyon on in deep treed areas a ResQLink will work.

Goodbye Spot!

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by fubar929 View Post
18 or 19 out of the 20 students would stop shortest using the front brake only...
Unsympathetic Dick

Last edited by FreeRyde; 02-26-2018 at 04:29 PM..
FreeRyde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2018, 06:37 PM   #2
berth
Veteran
 
berth's Avatar
 

Join Date: Sep 2014
Location: Orange County
Motorcycles: KRS-1200
Name:
Certainly not going to criticize your decision, but I just want to point out that they're really different devices, and actually for the worst case scenario you mention at the beginning, "that you move every day", this device does not do that.

I completely agree with being PO'd at the "long time customer not wanting to game the system" tax of threatening termination.
__________________
#69 #45 NP
berth is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2018, 06:42 PM   #3
FreeRyde
The Curmudgeon
 
FreeRyde's Avatar
 
Contributor +
Barf Roadside Angel

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Hoon Mountain
Motorcycles: Chubbers
Name:
Yeah they are very different devices.

I've come to the conclusion that the daily tracking feature isn't something I'm willing to pay a premium for anymore. I just want something that will save a life, in the more dire of circumstances.

Also, the spot tracker sometimes wouldn't send out coordinates for hours on end because the terrain hindered the weaker signal... Happened a bunch of times, really freaking out family and friends far more than it helped.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by fubar929 View Post
18 or 19 out of the 20 students would stop shortest using the front brake only...
Unsympathetic Dick
FreeRyde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-26-2018, 11:12 PM   #4
vkb
.
 
vkb's Avatar
 
Contributor + 1%

Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Roseville, CA
Motorcycles: Italy, Austria, Japan
Name: Keith
I believe SPOT has raised their prices to the point that customers are now switching to the Garmin InReach devices that offer two-way messaging. It appears that there is no rhyme or reason to the discounts that are offered to people that call up to cancel service. When I called to inquire about the price increase when I renewed last year they threw a $50 discount at me before I even had a chance to complain. From what I've read, if you go through with the cancellation you will shortly thereafter receive an invitation to return at a price of $50 for your next year of service. I also saw that they just introduced an "on demand" service for people that use the device infrequently throughout the year.

As for me, I will be cancelling my SPOT service as well and probably moving to the Garmin InReach camp. I switched the card on my account to a Visa gift card that has no remaining balance on it so they can't try to auto renew it. I've read some reports of SPOT calling the card companies and convincing them to allow a charge to go through even though the card on file has an expired date on the grounds that the service is for a "life saving" device. Shady.
vkb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-28-2018, 10:27 PM   #5
stubble
let's moto!
 
stubble's Avatar
 
AMA #3302017
1% Contributor

Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: petaluma
Motorcycles: Yes please
Name: Sebastian
No complaints with inreach.
stubble is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2018, 03:42 PM   #6
ThumperX
Veteran
 
ThumperX's Avatar
 
AMA #: 2817058
BARFie winner 2014 & 2017
Contributor+++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++ +++3%
Barf Roadside Angel and more!

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Off Elk Mtn
Motorcycles: Different strokes Big Bore and little bore Thumpers
Name:
I switched from Spot to the InReach my subscription has options. If you aren’t doing a lot of traveling gomonth to month.
I like being able to communicate more detailed messages.

I paid $220 brand new for my device
__________________
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FORUM BUY MY STICKERS!!
JOIN: AMA District 36 CORVA
BEASTIE'S STORY or How I got a bitching dualsport for almost nothing
PETS BEING ASSHOLES
Treat a feral woman with respect, once trust is earned she may start bringing you food.
Quote:
Originally Posted by atoyf View Post
DMV test is not there to teach or prove you can ride the bike, it is there to prove that you can control the bike.
HOHO
Melissa"everyone does have issues, it is what makes us all so very interesting. Psychoanalysis however could be left to the professionals."
ThumperX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2018, 06:35 PM   #7
FreeRyde
The Curmudgeon
 
FreeRyde's Avatar
 
Contributor +
Barf Roadside Angel

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Hoon Mountain
Motorcycles: Chubbers
Name:
I guess it came down to the signal strength as well (after a did a bunch of research)

If I am way out in bumfuck nowhere, down a canyon in a heavily wooded area with no clean line of sight to the satellite, SPOT and or InReach might not get me (or someone else) help.

Food for thought
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by fubar929 View Post
18 or 19 out of the 20 students would stop shortest using the front brake only...
Unsympathetic Dick
FreeRyde is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 02:05 AM   #8
t4r4life
God of Hell Fire
 
t4r4life's Avatar
 
2% Contributor

Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Concord
Motorcycles: 2006 DL650 2015 NC700X
Name: Eric
t4r4life is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 12:38 PM   #9
HadesOmega
Veteran
 
HadesOmega's Avatar
 
Barfie Winner 2017

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: San Jose
Motorcycles: Empulse TT, ZR7, DR650, KLR650, 750 Turbo, Light Bee MX, KLX140L
Name: Merlin
Unless you are riding through a cave you'll have a signal. The InReach has a more reliable signal because of the iridium satelite network than the Spot. The InReach has tracking also so if you do go down somewhere with no signal it will have uploaded your last tracking point about 10 minutes ago so they have an idea where to look for you.

Also if you do have to use the help feature the Inreach is vastly better because on the Spot you press the help button and nothing really happens. your stuck there with a ???? Will help come? Whereas you press the button on the Inreach an actual operator will message you back like a 911 operator and get help to you and can update you on its status.

You can use the Inreach as a communicator also with cellphones, email, and other inreach devices. So you could be somewhere with absolutely no cell signal and if your buddies have an inreach you can get to them. I had to use it in Baja for a real emergency and it really worked.
HadesOmega is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 01:06 PM   #10
Chill
Je Suis BARF
 
Chill's Avatar
 
AMA #: 2815984
BARF Moderator
Barfie Winner 2017
Contributor +++++++
Toilet Paper Warrior

Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: East Bay
Motorcycles: Tuono
Name: Christian
Quote:
Originally Posted by vkb View Post
...
As for me, I will be cancelling my SPOT service as well and probably moving to the Garmin InReach camp. I switched the card on my account to a Visa gift card that has no remaining balance on it so they can't try to auto renew it. I've read some reports of SPOT calling the card companies and convincing them to allow a charge to go through even though the card on file has an expired date on the grounds that the service is for a "life saving" device. Shady.
I was reading this thread thinking about the auto-renew for my SPOT, hoping it wasn't up to $230. Nope. The card on file expired and so did my devise! I have been using it for the last 6 months without any service, evidently.
__________________
The Politics of Riding

Rally Threads!

Not my time… this time - Moments in time and chance
Be a BARF Contributor
Work on your bike, damnit.

"Someone once told me that it's more fun to ride a slow bike fast than a fast bike slow. What a moron." - ilikemotorcycle

"So stop shitting in the hot tub. And stop complaining that you can't shit in the hot tub." - Charles R


BARF Terms of Service
Chill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 01:45 PM   #11
Wrycque
Wrycque = Rick
 
Wrycque's Avatar
 
1% Contributor

Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Sonora
Motorcycles: 990SMR 560SMR 350XCF 250XCF
Name: Rick
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRyde View Post
So let me preface this review by saying that I have been a SPOT customer since 2014.


In 2014 I started doing longer back country riding solo, figured it'd be nice to let my family and loved ones know where I was (alive and moving every day), but more importantly if I crashed out on some forest road I could get help. In theory this is a great idea! So I got one of them little orange things. The one I got was a Gen2, which had horrible battery life, I'm talking 2 days tops. Three (or four) AAA batteries?! I refused to mount it to my bike, because that kinda defeats the purpose if I get ejected and thrown down a cliff. Yearly service fee was $150. Ouch!

Some time later I crashed and broke the Gen2 tracker into little bits. I called up SPOT, they replaced it with a Gen3 for 18 bucks! That tacked onto the new service fee and network maintenance, my bill was a staggering $230+ dollars. Gen3 had better battery life, but still no more than 3-4 days. Again, I am stubborn and would not mount it on my bike (can be run off bike power). I used my SPOT tracker on Mines road when I found a cyclists heat stroking out in the middle of the road. No cell signal, it probably saved his life, CalFire showed up minutes later after I pressed the button.


Here's my issue, the service fee went up $50 over the span of 2 years. Who knows what next years network service fee will be... And the battery life just kills me. I replaced (rechargeable) probably 10-15 sets of batteries over the summer over the course of 2 months.

Today I called to cancel my service, $200+ a year is insane. When I told the nice lady over the phone that I wanted to cancel, she said "Oh, you are available for our promotional reward of next years service for $89.99!!"



110% discount for staying as a customer? Uh. No. That means there is roughly a 80-100% markup for the tracking service. That's one fat margin.


I will be switching over to a ResQLink beacon here soon, it runs about $240, does not have tracking feature, the battery life is 5 years and no yearly subscription fee. If you crash and are about to die, press the little button and wait for the whambulance. That's really all I want anyways... Also, the ResQLink has a much higher output signal, where a SPOT won't work in a canyon on in deep treed areas a ResQLink will work.

Goodbye Spot!


I'm with you on this - it is a lot of money for the Spot service. I ride alone a lot and have looked into the ResQlink but if I'm reading it correctly, it says:

Battery, Typical Performance 30 Hours @-4°F (-20°C)

It also says:

Battery, Replacement Interval Replacement due six (6) years from date of manufacture or after emergency use

OK - I don't get it. Can you explain?
Wrycque is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 03:54 PM   #12
hcphilli
Rookie
 
hcphilli's Avatar
 

Join Date: Apr 2015
Location: Alameda, California
Motorcycles: CBR600f4i & KLR650
Name: Heather
I used to have a SPOT subscription with my Gen3 and was just considering renewing it. My husband and I are planning a ride this year from June to December, starting in Mongolia and we hope to end up in Spain. Anyone have any knowledge on how to compare the SPOT or InReach services work for international travel like that? Mainly want to be able to use it for tracking so family can see the dot moving.
hcphilli is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 10:38 PM   #13
ThumperX
Veteran
 
ThumperX's Avatar
 
AMA #: 2817058
BARFie winner 2014 & 2017
Contributor+++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++++ +++3%
Barf Roadside Angel and more!

Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Off Elk Mtn
Motorcycles: Different strokes Big Bore and little bore Thumpers
Name:
Quote:
Originally Posted by hcphilli View Post
I used to have a SPOT subscription with my Gen3 and was just considering renewing it. My husband and I are planning a ride this year from June to December, starting in Mongolia and we hope to end up in Spain. Anyone have any knowledge on how to compare the SPOT or InReach services work for international travel like that? Mainly want to be able to use it for tracking so family can see the dot moving.
The in reach has a tiered billing system and the option to just pay for the months that you use it.

I gave up my Spot and went with InReach
__________________
SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL FORUM BUY MY STICKERS!!
JOIN: AMA District 36 CORVA
BEASTIE'S STORY or How I got a bitching dualsport for almost nothing
PETS BEING ASSHOLES
Treat a feral woman with respect, once trust is earned she may start bringing you food.
Quote:
Originally Posted by atoyf View Post
DMV test is not there to teach or prove you can ride the bike, it is there to prove that you can control the bike.
HOHO
Melissa"everyone does have issues, it is what makes us all so very interesting. Psychoanalysis however could be left to the professionals."
ThumperX is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-07-2018, 11:13 PM   #14
HadesOmega
Veteran
 
HadesOmega's Avatar
 
Barfie Winner 2017

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: San Jose
Motorcycles: Empulse TT, ZR7, DR650, KLR650, 750 Turbo, Light Bee MX, KLX140L
Name: Merlin
Quote:
Originally Posted by hcphilli View Post
I used to have a SPOT subscription with my Gen3 and was just considering renewing it. My husband and I are planning a ride this year from June to December, starting in Mongolia and we hope to end up in Spain. Anyone have any knowledge on how to compare the SPOT or InReach services work for international travel like that? Mainly want to be able to use it for tracking so family can see the dot moving.
The inreach and spot operate directly with the satelite network. They work ANYWHERE in the world, almost I guess (like a cave). It operates similar to like how a satelite phone works.

I forgot I made a video about it.

youtu.be/t3wh-tauraE
HadesOmega is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-2018, 06:35 AM   #15
Wrycque
Wrycque = Rick
 
Wrycque's Avatar
 
1% Contributor

Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Sonora
Motorcycles: 990SMR 560SMR 350XCF 250XCF
Name: Rick
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRyde View Post
Here's my issue, the service fee went up $50 over the span of 2 years. Who knows what next years network service fee will be... And the battery life just kills me. I replaced (rechargeable) probably 10-15 sets of batteries over the summer over the course of 2 months.

Today I called to cancel my service, $200+ a year is insane. When I told the nice lady over the phone that I wanted to cancel, she said "Oh, you are available for our promotional reward of next years service for $89.99!!"

Armed with this knowledge, I called SPOT to cancel my service since my renewal is coming up in May. The gentleman on the phone offered me a $50 credit, I said no. He asked me how much would I like to pay. I told him if it was under $100 I'd probably stay with it, if not I'd go with a different service. He put me on hold then came back and offered me the service for a year for $85, and I accepted. At that rate I'll stay for another year.

Thanks FreeRyde for starting this thread. I may not have done this without reading it. Turns out, it's just like calling up Comcast. Just tell them the Direct TV guys keep calling so you're going to switch and your bill magically goes down.
Wrycque is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:17 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.