Monday, April 1, 2013

A Cracked Carbon Frame

So… I own two bikes. Not the complete barn that a lot of cyclists have-one cyclocross bike that I bought on ebay before my grad school year to become a teacher, and a speed concept 7 series that I bought once I became more serious into triathlons. My primary issue with cycling/triathlons is how expensive it is and that money is a major barrier to entrance to the sport/moving up in the sport. My fear of the cost issue has finally come to bite me in the ass. I treat my speed concept like my baby. The most minor dings scare me. I only take it out the week before races, the rest of the time it is shelved, and I give my cyclocross bike all the abuse I can. The cyclocross bike is cheap, and I figured that it could take any abuse I gave it. It successfully has.

More recently, I have been taking my speed concept out. It is light, fast, and I can hammer up and down the hills of the east bay really easily. This past weekend, I took it out for an easy ride, and I wanted to do a couple minutes at a high intensity up a hill about 15 miles from home. And in that moment, my triathlon career hangs in the balance. When I shifted down to the smaller chain ring, the chain dropped. Not a big deal. I immediately stopped the bike, and reattached the chain, not trying to do the trick of sliding the derailleur all the way over and forcing the chain back on without getting off. I got the chain back on, and started pedaling again, but noticed that the bike was making some noise, so I got off again to more closely examine the bike, wondering if one of my derailleurs had been knocked off kilter due to the chain dropping. When I looked at the bottom bracket, I realized that there had been some damage to the frame.

Now, if you are familiar with carbon bikes, or more specifically, Trek carbon bikes, you will know that Trek occasionally glues on a small piece of metal on the drive train side of the frame to prevent damage to the frame from a dropped chain. It looks like this: 
 In my particular case, the piece of metal failed-the chain caught the lip of the piece of metal, essentially folding the metal and causing it to take parts of the carbon frame with it. 

Here is the damage:

The bike currently sits in a lbs-they are taking the crank arms off to get a better look at the damage and they will determine whether or not the bike is safe to ride.

So… because of a dropped chain, I may have an unrideable bike that would set me back about ~$1300 to get a new frame on it. Right in time for the season to start-all if Trek decides that this damage is not covered under warranty. While I can see their side of the issue-a dropped chain can be blamed on a lot of things, but the metal plate failed at the job it had, essentially causing more damage than a glancing blow from a chain would have.

So getting back to my original gripe-I am a high school teacher. I can't exactly afford to drop cash on a new frame any time soon. I had been saving up to buy a set of wheels, or buy a nicer road bike. Instead, I just have to wait to see if a) the bike is structurally sound, and if not, b) if Trek will take the warranty on it, and if not c) if I can get the frame repaired.

1 comment:

  1. That sucks :( Good luck and I hope everything works out!