Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mourning over: new Surly Troll arrives

Wow! That was a fast delivery! Surly shipped it express! How's that for service! I'm still blown away with how wonderful they have been to me.

I got the call yesterday morning, but had things happening, so couldn't get down until this morning.

Sleepless night.

By 9:30 I was waiting outside. Cheeky Transport opens at 10:00.  I didn't want to be late.

Time slows when your waiting. But of course, it does pass.

Maisey holding the recently deceased, Donny holding the just born.
Quick check and drool, then Donny got to work. Faced off the headset and bottom shell and cleaned the threads. Didn't fit the bottom bracket yet, but did fit the head set cups. Also did a quick check of the rear drop-outs for alignment; they are perfect. Then it was off to get some supplies before that first feed.  Lots of time to admire the paint, welds, braze-ons and stickers. Lots more braze-ons now!

It's been a warm day, just right for what I had planned: Care and feeding of your new frame.

She's now sitting in the kitchen on newspaper, oozing. Luckily I'm here alone, else I've a feeling we'd both be out in the garden shed. Feeding was messy. We both got covered. I won't need to moisturise tonight.  White Knight Rust Guard Fish Oil isn't as fishy as it could be, but its not completely odourless.  Maybe when it dries a bit more.  Just need to shoo the neighbourhood cats away until then.

There are a lot of rust preventative products about. But, think of this: fish swim in the sea all day, and they don't rust.

Well, sheep don't rust either, but the hardware didn't have Lanolin, so fish oil it was.

It's gone 36C here today, so so maybe she will be dry by morning for assembly.

Waiting at the station

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Sculpture by the Sea: Bondi

Been a while since I've been to Sculpture by the Sea. Got there early to try and avoid the crowds, but lots of other people had the same idea. Also forgot that early is when the joggers are out in force.

Of the sculptures, I liked these ants best:

But then, I like ants. 

There were a couple of other interesting sculptures.  But of the remainder, some wouldn't have been out of place in a playground. And some, you would have walked over them if they weren't fenced off with a little plaque telling you it was a sculpture. 

I left thinking that overall, it was less than average. That this year, Sculpture by the Sea was relying more on the location for impressive than the sculptures. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

Broken frame solved. Surly offers replacement.

I was still thinking about options for my frame repair, when an Anonymous poster suggested contacting Surly directly. I hadn't considered it, but thought why not. And they might provide information to help my decisions. I wasn't expecting them to offer anything else, given that mine was out of warranty.  No harm in writing, and nothing to lose.

So I wrote:

Broken Surly Troll Frame at the weld.

Megan WebbWed, Nov 5, 2014 at 9:04 AM

Hi Guys,

I'm a fan of your bikes. Lusted after the 1x1 for years. Then I got a Troll. Just want I wanted; rack mounts, disk mounts, mudguard mounts, horizontal dropouts with Rohloff adaptor.

Its spent most of its life of touring in Australia, seeing lots of wonderful places. Many happy times we've had together, and I was expecting many more. But now, disaster has befallen. 

My local bike shop, told me at 3 years, 8 months old, it's out of warranty. And so far estimates for repair are up to 3/4 the cost of a new frame, and at least a month, more likely several months wait.  They are getting quotes from frame builders.

My dilemma:

I thought steel would last a lifetime. If it did have an unfortunate problem - I was thinking "crash damage", it would be repairable - unlike aluminium frames. I haven't crashed my bike, I've just toured with it - loaded panniers, water and lots of bumpy roads. 

I'd be shrugging off this break if it was more years down the road, thinking I'd had a long use from it.  But its had less than three years actual use, because one year was off the bike.  Though, in those years, it has probably travelled over 20,000km.

What is a reasonable lifespan for your frames? 

People have suggested that my gear use isn't typical - everyday, loaded touring. Though, I can't see why it isn't. It is a frame made for touring. I do consider the terrain, and at times walk rather than ride as I want my gear (bike, racks, panniers etc) to last.  To date, I've not broken racks or mounting screws.  I think my use isn't unreasonable for your frames?

With the cost of the repair being not that far from the cost of a new - repairable isn't looking very cost effective. It was said that the chain stay might need to be replaced as a break there indicates a "chain stay problem". I'm at lost to understand why the whole chain stay would need replacing, but this no doubt this adds to the repair cost. 

With the repair cost not that far from a new frame cost, would I be better to consider a new frame, especially if the current chain stays have a problem?  But then if my use is more than the frame supports, or more than can be expected from the frame,  wouldn't a new frame break as well?

I realise that sometimes stuff happens, nothing is 100%, and that this break may just be that; unfortunate, but uncommon. And that another Troll frame would never break, and that with a repair, this frame might never have another problem again.  But it has happened now, and to get travelling again I need to find a solution that I can have confidence in. I was fortunate that this break happened close to Sydney rather than the more remote corners of Australia I'd prefer to spend my time in.

Without my bike, I'm stranded. Wondering if to repair, or to buy new? If new, which frame - another Troll, and ECR, or? Is one going to last longer than the other?  Or if unfortunately, Surly frames are not suitable for my requirements, if I should be looking at another brand all together.  

Can you offer any help for this situation?


Megan Lee Webb

Surly responded quickly:

Busted Troll

Alexander Zidarevich Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 10:00 AM
To: "Megan Lee Webb"

Hello Megan,

Thanks for contacting us about this unfortunate frame failure. Based on your type of use and what the troll is designed to do, you definitely should not have had this type of failure. I’m just glad you weren’t left high and dry in an even more remote area.

Do you have a local Surly shop that I can work with on getting you taken care of? Also, what size frame do you ride?

Thanks again for reaching out to us on this one!


Alex Zidarevich |Int'l & OE Sales Lead - Surly Intergalactic |
Sig Logo.jpg
"Two Possibilities Exist...Both are Equally Terrifying" - Arthur C. Clarke

I was very happy. My use wasn't a problem. I didn't know what the outcome would be, but was thinking suggestions on repair, or perhaps an offer of a discount on a new frame.

So I replied, putting them in touch with my bike shop.

Busted Troll

Megan Lee Webb Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 10:47 AM

To: Alexander Zidarevich
Cc: Cheeky Monkey

Hi Alexander,

Wow!!!  Thank you for getting back to me. And so fast too! 

This is great news. Can't say how relieved I am that its just an unfortunate event and I've been unlucky and that I can stay with a Surly Troll.

I'm in Sydney, Australia, and dealing with the excellent staff at:

Cheeky Transport 

Ph: 02 9557 5424
3a Georgina St Newtown (Map)

They have been my bike shop for many years, and built the bike up originally. Helped me out no matter where I've been about the country. 

Dropped the frame off there last Thursday and Maisey has been handling finding quotes. 

Frame size: 16
Frame number: M10094857

Thank you so much! 


Cheeky Transport had spoken to a frame builder on the phone when I dropped the frame off.  The pricing for repair was an estimate, frame unseen  - which was why I was waiting for the actual quotes to arrive.  Which was why I was wondering about what to do.

So was waiting for Surly and Cheeky Transport to converse and let me know the outcome.

Then this mornings email:

Busted Troll

Alexander Zidarevich Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 3:23 AM

To: Megan Lee Webb 
Cc: Cheeky Monkey

Hello Megan and Cheeky Monkey,

I want to send a new frame your way but I have a story and a question…

You see, long ago all of the Troll’s in the land held counsel under a bridge. While meeting and discussing many great Surly things they heard a clatter. Much to their surprise it was a dark and powerful prince on a quest to prove his worth. Now, everyone – even this dark prince – knows that you cannot simply cross a bridge with Trolls under it. You must first either do battle with the trolls or you must answer 3 of their riddles correctly. Now then, this prince was one of the strongest in the land and had won many battles in his day. His face was weathered and scarred from the battles he had fought. He was fearless. He was ruthless. He was destined to be king. Unlike many other princes before him, he was also very smart. He possessed a silver tongue that could weave the most intricate of webs in every single story he told. Point is, these Trolls had their work cut out for them on this day.

Each Troll took their turn trying to stump the dark prince but one by one, they failed. He was simply too clever and too smart. Finally the bravest of all Trolls challenged the dark prince to a battle. This troll, Orange in color, was thought to be one of the most ruthless fighters among all of his Troll brethren. Surely he would not be bested in combat by the dark prince.

As the sun began to set in the Western sky, the battle for the bridge commenced. Through the dark of night they fought. Exchanging blows in a driving, stinging rain until morning came. At sunrise, it was clear to see the scope of their battle. The landscape around both man and beast was decimated. The other Troll’s looked on in horror as both fighters continued to relentlessly attack each other.

This epic struggle carried on for 3 more days and nights. At the end of the 4th night, both man and beast, exhausted from battle declared that there could be no victor. Both were simply too strong and too determined to be defeated.

Proud to have finally met an adversary worthy of such a battle, greed began to set in. You see, an idea is sometimes the most dangerous weapon of all. This idea of theirs would drive them to the ends of the world. They vowed to travel together seeking all the power and riches of the world. They would never sleep, never eat, and they will never stop their relentless campaign of pain and intolerance. Once enemies, these two warriors now embark together to claim what is theirs….

And that’s where the last 16” Orange Troll disappeared to.

So, I will gladly send you another troll frameset but, it would have to be wither black or eggplant (see below). Please let me know which you would prefer and we’ll get one sent out to you.



How awesome is that! I'm getting a new frame!  And I loved the story.  When I stopped jumping up and down, punching the air in excitement, rather than just a quick, simple reply of thanks, gratitude and colour choice, I thought to get into the spirit  and write a bit more.

Busted Troll

Megan Lee Webb Fri, Nov 7, 2014 at 6:08 AM

To: Alexander Zidarevich
Cc: Cheeky Monkey

Hello Alexander,

My joy knows no bounds. 

After reading your story, I'm saddened to hear that the race of 16" Orange Trolls is no more.

Mine was born like all others. Through the seasons, it grew experienced and wise. Questing across the vast lands of Oz, over hill and dale, the vast planes of the outback, through weather fair and foul. It has been a faithful and loyal companion. Its absence leaves an empty place by my side. Sorely will it be missed.

While my heart grieves that that colour is no more, a Black Troll has been elected in its stead. Together, we will sallying forth, adding new deeds to the wandering chronicles. 

Thank you so much!!! I'm so happy!


ps. maybe its just my eyes or the screen (or both), but the two pictures look the same colour to me. Even on your website, I don't see any difference in black or eggplant colour options.  I have seen eggplant in store - at Cheeky Monkey though. 

I will miss my Orange Troll. While I wasn't that keen on the colour originally (then, I wanted black). Over time, it grew on me. I got to like it, and given the choice would have it again.

Oh, I'm one very happy Surly owner this morning. Excellent service from Surly. I never expected that they would replace my frame. How can you say "thank you" enough?

I'd like to thank the Anonymous poster who suggested contacting Surly. Without that prompt, I probably wouldn't have done it, and still be sitting here thinking about what to do.

Also thanks to the crowd on Facebook in the "I love my Surly Ogre/Troll" group.  I did get to see the link after the admins of the group helped. Because my Facebook account didn't have much on it, and most of that was private, spam filtering tagged me, and I was blocked. All fixed now. I might try and use Facebook a bit more now after the help from people.  Just have to figure out how to use it with my travel, power budget and Internet plan.

On trying to get the frame repaired. Several people had said to just press the weld back into the break and get it welded. No need for a frame builder, or to fuss with alignment.  The reason against this is that I run a Rohloff Hub. (Rohloff also have fantastic service btw). I had an annoyance once with it leaking oil out the drive side seal. Yeah, it can run without oil no problem. But I liked to keep it inside the hub and had time to get it looked at.  Quantum Bicycles are an authorised repair agent by Rohloff.  They put in a lot of time and effort into trying to find why my hub was leaking. New seals leaked within a week. In discussions with Rohloff Germany, the German engineers suggestions included checking frame/drop-out alignment.  Rohloff hubs don't like being twisted. They do not have a solid axle through the centre. With the drop-outs not aligned, bolting up each side applied a twist to the hub. Only a tiny amount, but enough to affect the wear pattern of a part inside the hub and then the seals. It took time for this to occur - I'd ridden 1000's of kilometres by then. Rohloff replaced the internal part and seals for me - they didn't have too, as the cause of it was the drop-out alignment. With straight drop-outs, no leaking.

With where the break occurred on the frame, I didn't want to risk the drop-outs not being aligned and leave me with a problem down the road, all for not checking the alignment at repair time.

In case your wondering, like I was, about a Rohloff weight limit.  I wrote to them asking about limits, and this is a bit of the reply:

the SPEEDHUB has limits as to the primary transmission ratio that is used. This is to make sure that the input torque to the hub is not too high and therefore damaging. There is no actual system weight limit as such, but if you require a lower gear ratio to get the large mass in motion, then this may not be permitted.

Surly and Rohloff, both excellent customer service.

Can't really say enough about how grateful I am to Surly stepping in with this offer of a new frame.  A huge weight off my mind about what to do. Can look forward to getting a new frame, and getting back on the road again.

Thank you Surly.