I sent them a friendly e-mail to say, "Hey, dudes, writing this thing, if you want to comment, I'll post it." I figured the opportunity for a "Manufacturer Speaks"-style rebuttal/agreeal (as seen in legitimate paper-based bicycle journalism, a.k.a. Bicycle Quarterly magazine) would be a nice gesture. Couple days later, I got a very friendly response from Brian at Xootr, who had this to say:
The one thing I would like to address is the fit. As you imagine it is hard to fit someone to a bike when you do not have them physically there with you, so going by height is more like a best guess. More often than not [it] works, but sometimes it does not. When it does not we will ship different posts, stems, etc. in order to get the correct fit for a customer. We let them play around with a combination that works best for them. We do so at our expense, sometimes including a return label or not depending on the proximity of the customer (otherwise they just keep the unused parts).
Having fitted lots and lots of people to lots and lots of bikes in person, I totally agree with Brian here. Fitting is a weird quasi-science, and it's sometimes even hard to get right when the person's standing in front of you. I give kudos to Xootr (Xootr kudos?) for providing a lot of detailed information about the reach at a variety of saddle heights and for letting customers guess and check at no additional expense. Heck, some brick-and-mortar bike shops won't do that. Plus, at the risk of beating this drum again, the bike's design (using standard inch-and-an-eighth threadless stems) really lends itself to fit tweaks down the road, unlike a lot of other folders on the market. Brian went on to say...
I will pass along the issue with the hub. They are supposed to be correct from the manufacturer, but we will inspect those in the future. Also not being an engineer or the designer (or any other designer for that matter), I cannot comment on the 130mm to 135mm spacing on the rear triangle and what stress it may or may not put on the frame. What I can say is that the frame is covered for life, but never in my 5 years with Xootr has a frame failed in that area.
I was glad to hear they're going to keep an eye on those rear hubs. Maybe I got the one their supplier set up on a grumpy Monday morning and all the rest were fine, but it really would have eaten itself alive without the intervention of a semi-trained mechanic. Regarding the rear spacing, I felt kinda guilty when it dawned on me that I'm not an engineer, the designer, or a designer either. I'm just a schlub off the street who likes to hear himself talk in blog form. So I hereby rescind my Chicken-Littling about possible long-term frame damage, but I stand by my original assertion that 132.5mm rear spacing is a royal pain in the chamois when you're trying to install a 130mm or 135mm rear wheel. As Stephen Colbert would say, "We're at war. Pick a side."
So there you have it, audience of three. I'm a real-live blogger now, in an occasional dialogue rather than a relentlessly self-indulgent monologue. Next on the docket, I'll give that report on pimping my ride that I promised in the previous post.