The Killer and Other Peculiar Product Names

The cycling industry is a quirky one with an abundance of fascinating characters, brands and products. Cyclists are notoriously a zany bunch so I guess this comes as no huge surprise. Now in my fourth year as a buyer here at Art’s Cyclery, I’ve come across a few head-scratching product names and descriptions you’ll hopefully find as entertaining as I do.

Kali Maraka

The Kali Maraka is drop-dead gorgeous.

Kali Maraka Helmet (Sanskrit translation: Killer): The Maraka, available in road and XC models, is a sweet helmet. It is actually one of the safest helmets available thanks to the coupling of Supervent technology with low density foam, which serves to spread impacts over a larger surface area. But the ironic name of Maraka, which translates to killer, is a little disconcerting. Why name something the opposite of the goal the product is trying to achieve? What is the Sanskrit word for protector, savior or defender? That’s like naming a car the crasher. I love Kali helmets, especially this one, but I think they may have dropped the ball a bit on the name here. You can read more on the Maraka XC in Luke’s full review here.

Slick lines on the Tifosi Slip.

Tifosi Slip: The Slip suffers from the same backwards logic that spawned the Maraka. Sunglasses should stay in place, not slip down your nose. Perhaps not as bad as naming a helmet the killer, but my advice to product managers would be to come up with names that compliment the product, not question their efficacy. Having said all that, I have ridden with the Slip and they stay in place perfectly fine. In fact, I think they provide tremendous value (along with all Tifosi sunglasses), especially the fototec model, which lightens and darkens depending on the conditions.

Mavic makes some great shoes, and the French manufacturer expanded its line this year by producing several top models in a wide width. Ranking high on the unintentional comedy scale, Mavic decided to designate the wide shoes as “Maxi.” While that word has many connotations, the first thing I think of is maxi pad. Probably should have just stuck with wide to avoid any confusion.

It may look like a normal sock, but there's loads of technology in the DeFeet Cyclismo.

I also get a kick out of hyperbolized technology from manufacturers in their product descriptions. For example, here’s a few gems from DeFeet you’ll find on the Cyclismo sock, which for the record, is my favorite sock from DeFeet:

1. AeroSpeed Cuff: All-new mesh pattern is tough, light, provides perfect fit and breathes well. Translation: Good material on cuff

2. ThermoCool Duoregulation: Provides superior evaporation and comfort in wider range of temperatures. Translation: Wicks sweat

3. Aireator Mesh: The weave that lets feet breathe freely. Translation: Mesh

While ThermoCool Duoregulation ranks as my all-time favorite made-up technology, Oakley is the undisputed king of pleonastic verbiage. Some of their product descriptions read like pages of a chemistry textbook with words like Unobtanium, Iridium and Polaric Ellipsoid.

But alas, everything discussed thus far can’t compare to these epic fails:

Barf Detergent? I guess that makes sense.

I'm going to need to see an ingredient list before I try this.

I have no idea what this product is.

I guess the English meaning of urinal isn't a universal term.

Judging from the picture on the box, this product is aptly named.

2013-01-11T11:58:42-08:00