Cake Was a Mistake

Have you ever been married? Have you ever been divorced? Ever entered a marriage knowing you were going to divorce? Well some people may have felt that way but I’m certainly not one of them. Just like when I was dating I looked at the Cake Kalk& for a while before going on my first date when Zack arrived at my home with a Cake Kalk& for my first date – AKA demo ride.

And wow she looked even better in person, great lines, clean and new. So I decided to purchase the less expensive but yet to be released Cake Ink& which was around 4k less. Cake made me an offer that was just too hard to resist, $12,745 from the retail of $14,000 so I took the plunge and to support other owners or potential owners I purchased the domain cakekalk.com, designed the site, created the photography and built the site you’re now on. Not something people generally do, but because there was and still isn’t a lot of owner information out there I wanted to share. No financial incentive, no Likes, Subscribes like on YouTube where most hope to get ad income. Nope, just an old fashion website.

My first ‘couple’s argument’ came when I went to register my bike at the CA DMV. I’m not going to rehash something in this post that I wrote extensively about here. Yet like any couple’s first argument during the honeymoon phase I muscled through it, let Cake know that I was disappointed that they had not fully vetted registering the bike in California and moved on.

Took Sofia out on our first actual road date and she was all that I had hoped for. Incredible build quality, actually better than the Honda’s I’ve owned. And believe me that’s high praise. Handling was spot on both in the dirt and on the street. Incredible suspension but I expected that from Ohlins. Had that brand on my road race bike and their legs are transformative. Brakes were Brembo quality in both feel, power and modulation.

Then while showing my auto mechanic my new bike I found that I could not boot up the bike. It had been in the Bay Area 71F sun for about an hour. I rolled my bike into my mechanic’s shop and he told me I could leave it overnight. I would have had to rent a truck and haul the bike home since I don’t own a truck or trailer. But after about 30 minutes I tried once more and the bike booted up and I rode home. Reminded me of the time my wife forgot that she was supposed to pick me up but forgot because she was having drinks with her girlfriends. No biggie, we are newlyweds after all.

Let Cake know of my incident and Customer Service let me know that Cake was about to release a new display and she would ensure that I was at the top of the list. Ah see, much to do about nothing. I installed the new PIN only display and found that it had a small issue, if I pressed the power button the headlight/taillight would stay illuminated. No big deal, but if left on the bike’s battery would eventually drain. Kinda like when my wife used to leave lights on in every room just a little irritating since I was the one who paid for the utilities. I let Cake know and they just said ‘they were looking into it.’ But to my knowledge nothing was ever resolved or communicated back to me.

Then at one point I read about how some EV motorcycle companies had EVSE level 2 charge capabilities for their bikes. Since I had purchased my bike as a dual sport motorcycle, meaning I could ride it to/from off-road areas I found the range was not sufficient. You see I live about 10 miles from the closest off road area and the speed limit on most of those roads is between 40-50 MPH. At those sustained speeds EVs suck down battery juice like an alcoholic at an open bar. So if I could charge at EVSE stations it would solve that problem for me. In the Bay Area there are tons of EVSE stations easily found on the PlugShare app.

It was at that time I wrote to Sofia’s brother (now my new brother in law since Cake told me I was now ‘Part of the Cake Family”) whose title is Brand Manager of North America about whether Cake was planning to develop something similar. He wrote back to me stating “This certainly isn’t a pipe dream, but it will not happen anytime soon. A more likely scenario is that EV charging stations will evolve, allowing for standard 110 and/or 220 V charging.”

Anyway through my own research I found a way to charge my bike at EVSE stations. I began to call my new brother in law Dr. No simply because although he never came out and directly told me NO on the two subjects I asked him about, his answers always seemed deflective or negative. I asked him why Cake does not offer the IRS deduction for EV motorcycles like Zero, Harley and other homologated bikes do. Hell even the now defunct Alta Motors offers the deduction.

His response, “Mark, Unfortunately it is not as simple as making the statement and having it certified. We also have to provide additional documentation to support our statement, and we are working diligently to prepare information for certification.  I will update you as we make progress, but we unfortunately aren’t able to offer this certification to customers yet.

As previously mentioned, we are not intentionally dragging our feet.  We want nothing more than for our customers to benefit from this tax credit.  Outside of the 30 day response window from the IRS, it is a lengthy process and we are working as quickly as possible.”

I felt that like the horrid DMV situation I was forced to endure, Cake which was formed in 2016 may have considered what would be important to their owners of an expensive bike. Being able to deduct a tax credit from a 14k motorcycle is not insignificant at least to middle class workers like me.  But again like everyone says when you get married you not only marry your bride, but the entire family. So yes both situations were irritating but not deal breakers. But four years is not enough to be involved in DMV and tax deductions for owners? What about their marketing tag line “Explore with Respect?” I guess that does not apply to exploring to respect to the needs of owners….hum.

Then as I was riding home from some errands I felt something must have fallen off of my bike since something flashed in my left peripheral vision. This was more serious to me than a malfunctioning display since the broken tail assembly could have just as easily got caught in my chain on the right hand side of the bike and jammed the rear wheel from turning. I was traveling at 50 MPH at the time. I rode back to trace my route and found my tail light, turn rear turn signals and license plate on the side of the road. I wrote to Cake and the Service Manager Nate made quick work of sending me a replacement. He let me know that two other customers had the same failure of their tail section.

On February 5 2021 I plugged my Cake 1000 charger into the bike and noticed that the LED lights on the charger were acting unusual. So I wrote to Cake’s new Service Manager Coleman at which time he requested videos of the issue. I sent him the videos with two separate notes about when I would hear back. Nothing. It was after that that the CEO of Cake USA contacted me and said he had read my article about being upset that my bike had been down for quite some time. He went on to say “I was a bit sad to see that it was highlighting the failure of charger, without giving any positive kudos to Cake for providing a free replacement charger, even when your original was out of warranty”

My Cake awaits being loaded back into the Cake van. Ironic that the very same guy who sold me the bike is the one who is picking it up. Poetic actually.

So to me as a former COO for a Fortune 50 company it meant that either his staff didn’t inform him that I had checked with his Service Manager Nate to get his approval BEFORE using/purchasing my EVSE cable or one of his staff members told him that it caused my charger to be out of warranty without checking their own records. After I sent him the documentation of my prior conversations with Nate he told me that his staff would do what was necessary to fix my bike. At that point his new Service Manager Coleman informed me that they would be sending me a new battery.

At just about the three week mark where I had not heard anything the CEO contacted me to tell me that no batteries are in the USA and there is not an ETA on when they’d have some due to the imbalance between their higher than expected sales and their supplies. It was at that point that he and I came to an agreement on how to resolve our issue.

Just like in a divorce I’m sad that it came to this and in the same way as divorce is not an instant “Gosh I think I want to get divorced today” kind of thing but a slow progressive building to the end. The lack of communication, excuses made is the same in my marriage metaphor as how Cake actually treated this final incident. Sofia is a brilliant piece of engineering and to me a real beauty. But to not have access to her for 40 days with no end date was the final straw.

Because many of you have asked ‘what happened since you loved the bike!’ I felt I need to post the final chapter to this story. And I feel horrible to all of those strangers who I answered questions for about the bike when I was out in public. I only hope that they remember this site so that if they become serious about a purchase they can base their decisions on firsthand information. I also know that Cake USA is very good on timeliness for small non disabling fixes like fenders and other cracked items. But my experience with the most expensive and disabling part of the bike, the battery was very different.

And what made me truly know the decision I made was the correct one for me was when the Cake van pulled up to take the bike. In the back of the van was a box with a new Cake Kalk inside. I made this statement to the Cake employee “Oh wow you are on your way to San Francisco, is that a bike for a new customer?” His reply “Nope it’s for a media company.” My thought, “Wait so Cake has a brand new bike that they are loaning to a media company but cannot loan me a battery?!” My long time opinion that Cake is more interested in marketing to investors than respecting their customers was confirmed in those 20 seconds. Sad.

Yup there it is on the left hand side of the Cake van. The brand new yet to be delivered Kalk. And it’s going to a media firm in San Francisco, at least that’s what I was told. Cake can supply a full bike to a media company, yet cannot supply a battery to an actual customer whose battery failed to charge making the bike inoperable for 40 days. When women say to husbands “We need to talk about your priorities” us men know we are in deep shit. Cake needs the same priority talk. I’m done.

And something I didn’t know but want to pass on. I started to research Lemon Law (LL) firms since I was not certain if Cake would fix my bike because I was not given an ETA. And it goes without saying that I HATE USING ATTORNEYS. In my lifetime I’ve chosen to do it once to sue a bank and was awarded a judgement in my favor. But after contacting 6 different lemon law firms only two would consider taking my case. The reason? Lemon Law firms want repair invoices from brick and mortar businesses… and guess what? With Cake or any other internet based vehicle sales there are no repair invoices or other documents LL firms are accustomed to having to determine if they will represent you.

When I had a problem, I’d email Cake Customer Service, they sent me the part via FedEx and I installed the part. LL firms take on cases because they normally recuperate their fees from the party being sued (in this case Cake) so of course law firms want to be certain they can win the case since they collect no funds from the client (Me). There are firms which will ask you for a retainer in order to represent your case. But I found in those I researched none of them had performed LL lawsuits. So although there are more choices when searching retainer law firms you will need to cough up retainer money. And in my experience law firms are in no rush to close cases since they are paid on billable hours…in those cases on YOUR dime. It is also reasonable to expect a LL case to take 2-3 months. And that’s for ‘normal’ LL cases!

Of the two firms who I found that would consider accepting my case even though they had never represented an internet based motor vehicle claim Amar Law Group LLC is the one I would suggest if you are in the same situation with any internet based vehicle sales.

I wish Cake and its owners both current and future the best. There are many lessons I’ve learned and I hope this helps others make informed decisions. It’s the whole reason I built and created this site. I just didn’t think it would be for these reasons. Best of luck.

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2 Comments

  1. Sorry Mark, That You of all people, had this experience with Cake. Hopefully others can use your experience to decide if they want to spend a bunch of money on a classy high zoot bike with poor to no customer service after sale and near zero parts availability. If this is your experience, can you imagine what a typical owner would get? After all you had set up a website on your own Dime, Time, New modifications, parts, service, Photography, to help promote Cake to other Cake owners on the care and feeding of their bikes. We both know from experience that LUNA, who sells the Sur-Ron Chinese made “Light Bee” would have put a charger and battery in your hands within days, they would have helped you out via phone, internet and gotten you up and running. The Sur-Ron’s retail out around $3600, not $14,000 like a Cake, and LUNA gets pretty much no support from Sur-Ron, they do it because they know it’s the right thing to do, service after sale. You might expect this kind of owner neglect from some unknown Alibaba internet seller of cheap unknown off label bikes, but to see this from a high priced Swedish manufacturer……. is just unbelievable. That they would pull by with a new bike in the rig going to a test ride, while blowing you off for service parts under warranty, while you are dead in the water… Unbelievable. That they told you that they could not get you a battery because they were selling more than they can make, WELL THAT AT LEAST can be fixed !!! Be-aware, Don’t Buy a CAKE, cause when it breaks, you will be the proud “owner” of a $14,000 rock taking space in your garage.

    1. Hey Lee, yes I agree with all of what you’ve said. I’m really disappointed in Cake the company. And I appreciate that Luna takes care of its users in a way that I believe a company should look after their commitments. The silver lining for me is that I learned quite a bit about what to look for in any company that I decide to spend my hard earned after tax money on for an expensive non essential product. It’s still sad that most white people in the USA rag on items made in Asian countries, yet give loads of leeway to white firms like Swedish ones or others. If Sur Ron treated me as I was treated by Cake people would simply say what did I expect from a cheap ass Chinese company?! As a kid I grew up having to listen to people saying “Oh yeah that Jap stuff is pure shit.” Brands like Honda back then. Well guess what?! Those folks can go fuck themselves then and now.

      But I’ve purchased another motorcycle, a real one made by Zero. I knew what to look for based on my horrible experience with Cake as a company. Made in the USA and California only 45 minutes from my home. Questions answered quickly and from their electrical engineers. Not weeks from when I asked, but in a day or two. I look at this like a bad ex girlfriend. It’s over and I’m happy about that. One of my friends who I almost talked into buying a Cake summed it up so well. “Mark your Cake experience is much like anyone who owns a boat. Their two happiest days are the day the boat arrives and the day they sell it.” LOL so much truth to that statement!

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