Thursday, October 30, 2014

Orange, Sydney - broken Surly Troll frame :(

Was a hot day; 37C. So was hoping to get finished by lunch time and find some shade. But with hills, a full load of water and a full belly of food and water, it was well past lunch and I was crawling along. After a short downhill into a dip and starting to pedal up out, I noticed a tapping sound in time with my pedalling. Don't remember that before. Bottom bracket? Pedal? Rack bolt? Was going to ignore it, but then thought I should have a look. Might just need a tighten, or worst case, need to think about order parts. Started poking about, but could find anything. Moved off, yep, still there. Hmmm.. Had a longer look. 

Arrrrgghhh.. This is a problem!

Chain stay had broken right through where it was joined to the rear drop out. Darn!

Was totally lost for a bit. The tapping was gap opening and closing.  Did some thinking. Decided not to keep riding. Needed to find a town and get repairs, or failing that, as I was not that far from Sydney, return there. Okay. Back to Wellington - were the XPT passes through and not that far from Dubbo, where might be able to find a welder.  Thought about going into a farm house and asking for help - some metal, drill a hole in it, bolt it threw the axle, and then hose clamps. But decided not to worry - just walk back for now. 70km.  Should take three days. That would work well - get there on Monday.  Okay. Start walking.

I'd only just pushed off walking when a lady I'd talked to back in the last small town stopped to ask how I was doing. 

"Badly! Frame just broke."

Turned out she lived near by and was on the way to pick up the kids.

I ended up staying with them for the weekend. Helped out on the farm - got to work with sheep. Trying to herd them into pens was interesting.  I had thoughts about their brain power. But are they dumb, or smart enough to know what was going to happen? Sheep are far smarter than previously thought The lambs were getting some treatments.  

Sunday, there was a scheduled power outage at their place. So rather than sit about in 38C heat, they dropped me in Orange and went shopping. Lovely family. Was fortunate to meet them.

Stayed at a caravan park, then Monday hunted the bike shops and engineering firms to see about a fix. 

No joy with the bike shops.

Engineering shop. Grrrr.. Even less joy. Least the bike shop would say they couldn't help. The engineering/welding shop; I'd explained that its thin steel tube, the hub is important to me, and alignment of the drop outs very important. They have to be parallel. Rholoff hubs don't like being bent. But this didn't seem to be heard. I'd be told "its not that important, close enough will be fine."  Argh.. I'm paying and I don't want "close enough". It's an engineering shop! They make components to within ±0.001 mm. Why do people think it doesn't matter because its a bicycle? Why don't they listen to the customer? One guy started levering the chain stay up using a screw driver, levering off the hub shell. I stopped that in a hurry. Just what I needed, the shell to break - needing a wheel rebuild. Then he reached for a hammer. I left. 

Back to Sydney, stripped the frame down and gave it to a bike shop. But waiting for the quote now from a frame builder. I've been told it will not be quick - nothing less than a month, and price could be up to $600 to $700. 

Waiting for the real quote, as I find that upper limit estimate hard to believe, and said so. 

New frame is about $1000. Gone up, not down from when I bought mine. Mine is 3 years, 8 months old - out of warranty by 8 months. Not much point getting a steel frame if a break on a weld is going to cost a significant amount to repair.  A new frame - and if it breaks at the same spot?

Waiting for the real quote. But also thinking about getting a jig made up to check the alignment and then trying another engineering/welding firm. Set it up in the jig, and then tell them 'weld this up'. And then I confirm the alignment. 

Thinking about options, and waiting for more information.