Saturday, August 4, 2012

Replacement Bike

For a month or so, I've been meaning to report on my replacement bicycle.  And, I've got mixed emotions.

How did Mario Gutierrez feel when his ride, a horse named "I'll Have Another," went lame before leg 3 of the Triple Crown? Maybe that's a little how I felt when my beautiful Cannondale T1 bicycle came up lame.

In April, I was giving 'er a Saturday wash, when I noticed what I thought was a streak of oil. But it didn't wash off. And, upon closer inspection, I discovered that it was a tiny crack. Right where the seat tube meets the top tube.

When I first discovered it, I hoped it was just a crack in the paint. But it grew. And I noticed a near-identical crack on the other side.

I took it in to George's Cycles, the local Cannondale dealer. They immediately declared it defective, and said they'd get started arranging a replacement. But - it was complicated. First - Cannondale currently doesn't build a touring model. The closest thing would be a cyclocross-type frame. Second - Cannondale no longer manufactures any bikes in the USA; they moved it to Taiwan. Sign of the times! (Is there a mass-produced bicycle built in the USA any more? Far as I know, Cannondale was the last.)

The nice people at George's tried to find me an identical frame, hanging in the back of a warehouse someplace, but no such luck. So they moved toward getting a current-year frame; all the components would be swapped off the old bike, and onto the new one.

In the meantime, I rode. When the replacement frame arrived, I rode the old one in. They had it for just a couple days, and the new one was ready.

It's not as pretty as the white one... but it'll be much easier to keep clean-looking. It doesn't have the "Handmade in USA" decal. I'm guessing it's a pound or two lighter than the old one. And - the geometry is close enough that once I got it "dialed in," I can hardly tell I'm riding a different bike.

This is my fourth Cannondale... they've all been "bullet-proof" until that crack showed up. I'm going to assume it was just a freak thing, and I'll be riding the replacement bike for many, many trouble-free years. (I hope I wear out before it does!)


Jess said...

Hard to know with carbon...I've never had one, because I just don't trust the material. My current bike has an aluminum frame. It's light enough, and bomb-proof.

Bikeboy said...

The broken Cannondale was aluminum, as is the replacement. It's their "traditional" material... in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if Cannondale pioneered the use of aluminum. (Along with the fat tubes that made 'em famous.)

Scott said...

Trek still mass produces bikes in Wisconsin. But sadly their touring model, the 520, has emmigrated to Taiwan.