Monday, March 4, 2019

Another frame bites the dust

On Saturday, 3/2, I was doing a much-needed drivetrain scrub on my primary bicycle - a Cannondale - and noticed a pronounced crack around the very top of the seat post, above where it joins the top tube.

I've been riding this frame since the summer of 2012, and it probably has 30,000+ miles on it.  (And it was a warranty replacement for a frame that I'd only been riding for maybe 2.5 years, and far fewer miles, that had the early signs of a similar crack.)

When I was done with my maintenance, I went on a ride, and rode into George's Cycles on State Street.  (That's the shop where this frame was paired with my components, and I rode away.)  They took a look and acknowledged it should be covered by the warranty.  They took some photos and said they'd get the wheels in motion.  Last time, my recollection is that it cost me about $200, for the labor involved in swapping everything over to the new frame, and for a new front derailleur.  (There was a fitment issue between frames.)

I'll probably keep riding it until it fails, or until I get it replaced.  Because of the location of the crack, even if it "catastrophically" fails, it will only result in the saddle/seatpost rotating loosely around the inside the seat tube.  I won't be face-planting or leaving a trail of ground-off flesh or bone fragments along my route.

This is disappointing.  Up until the failure of the frame in 2012, I'd ridden Cannondale bicycles for probably 20 years without a hitch.  (I've still got my first Cannondale frame... I bought just the frame when I saw it in the back room of a long-gone local dealer, and outfitted it myself.  It's difficult to part with old bikes - they are like old friends.)  But - the reality is - bicycle manufacturers probably don't "overbuild" bicycles for Clydesdales like me.  You don't see a lot of 240-250 pound guys bicycling 5000-6000 miles per year.  I may not spend a lot of time standing on the pedals and giving it everything I've got, but even gentle forward-back, or side-to-side motion on that seatpost, over the course of 30,000 miles... bikes just aren't built for that kind of stress.

1 comment:

Clancy said...

Bummer about the crack. I have heard that Cannondale sometimes be called, Crack n Fails.

My commuter frame of 9 years cracked this past fall. It was a steel frame that I found at the bike project and it cracked at the seat stays. I ended up with a "new" frame from BBP and the my commuter is better than ever.