The Fixie rides again!

August 24, 2014 at 20:37 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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surlyforksDo you remember this? Several months ago, the front forks on my fixie started buckling in a most alarming fashion. Long-time readers may also remember this, from several years earlier – another alarming fixie fork failure.

Well, the most recent problem was with the forks that got replaced less then three years before, so they were still under warranty. So I contacted both Salsa and the local distributor confident of speedy resolution.

This was in May. Finally, in mid August, I get the bike back on the road. Three whole months. Why did it take this long? I have no idea. A catalogue of problems, phone calls, parts not arriving, alleged computer problems, alleged shipment problems, warranty issues; the list of excuses was legion. I was, as you might expect, extremely unimpressed.

Apparently replacement Salsa forks are no longer available, so Salsa replaced them with a Surly set. To be honest, I’m rather pleased about this; my faith in Salsa forks is now irrevocably damaged. The local Salsa agent informed me that Salsa had authorised a ‘$120 credit note’ to obtain the new forks. Gallingly, I see that Wiggle has Salsa forks in stock, with free 3-day shipment to Australia. For $103. If Salsa had just given me the $120, I could have had the bike back on the road inside a week, with seventeen dollars to put towards the installation cost. But, as it was, I had to wait three months to get my bike back on the road, with no contribution to put towards the labour charges. Three months!

And an interesting three months it was; half of it was spent riding a loan bike from the shop (the very helpful Cranks in Chatswood). This was brought to an abrupt end, however. The rest was spent riding Mrs Dan’s electric Gazelle, which was also interesting, and something I will write about at some point, if I remember.

However, in the meantime I’m just glad to be back¬† on the fixie. I was wondering if I’d have forgotten how to ride it, after three months with the pernicious temptation of a freewheel, and more latterly, a motor. But all was well; much like riding an, erm, bicycle, you don’t forget. So much more fun. I love my fixie.

But my love affair with Salsa is well and truly over. I still enjoy riding my Casseroll. But three forks and some appalling customer service later, I somehow can’t see me recommending Salsa to anyone else any longer. Ride and… Sigh, everyone, Ride and Sigh.

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Danger danger- catastrophe averted

May 21, 2014 at 20:07 | Posted in bicycles | Leave a comment
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There is a golden rule in cycling. If you hear something on your bike creaking, stop riding and check it out. Creaking is bad news. Very bad news.

So what happened to me on the way to work this morning? Yes, the bike started creaking. Well, not creaking exactly, but sort of pinging. Certainly not a normal sound. I did stop and have a look, but couldn’t see anything. However. I did drop the bike into the bike shop near work when I arrived.

The guy there had a look over it, and at first glance couldn’t see anything. I’d mentioned the sound seemed to be coming from the drivetrain or back wheel, but there wasn’t anything he could see. He was about to hand it back, but just looked quickly over the whole bike just in case. And noticed this:

cracked salsa forks

Yes, that is a massive crack in the front forks, just below the Salsa logo. (Here’s a close-up.) You might also see a matching one on the other side. The whole fork is literally in danger of folding up at any moment – and it’s going to fold up forward, not backward. Indeed, it’s not clear in this picture but you can actually see the bend in the forks.

I had this bike serviced a few weeks ago, a specifically asked the tech to check over the forks, as I am mindful of this incident from two years ago. Two weeks ago, they got a clean bill of health, so these cracks have developed very fast. Quite extraordinary; the guy in the bike shop was gobsmacked.

So the question is what to do now? Given that this is the second set of Salsa forks that has failed on me, and that my old bike shop (who were a Salsa dealer) said they had seen several other failed Salsa forks of this type, I’m not much inclined to put in yet another one, even if it would be covered under warranty.

For now, the bike shop is putting a fairly cheap new fork on, just to make it safe and so I can ride it. Perhaps I’ll just stick with that, it if rides OK. I will tell Salsa about it, though. For a fork to fail like that after less than two years is very bad form.

(And for the record, I haven’t had any kind of stack on the bike and I don’t jump curbs. For sure, I bump over an occasional pot hole or badly-set lip on a pram ramp, but that’s just Sydney roads for you…)

The fixie is back

July 11, 2012 at 20:58 | Posted in bicycles | 3 Comments
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Well, my beloved fixie has emerged from rocket surgery and is back on the road, after all the issues I had with the forks, and then various delays getting it sorted.

Thanks to the nice people at Salsa and Dirtworks I have a shiny new set of forks; after hearing my tale of woe they came through and replaced them for free, even though they were out of warranty. Thanks guys, really appreciate it!

The front rim was almost worn through and the front hub bearings were also shot beyond repair. So in the end I got a completely new front wheel too. This means the whole front of the bike has now been replaced – and it’s especially obvious as replacement forks were only available in black. I suspect this means anyone looking at my bike will probably tut tut to themselves and mutter ‘must have had a stack and trashed the front of his bike’. Still, I can live with that, as it’s great to be back in the saddle.

I went the long way round to get to work the other morning, to have a bit more of a ride, and all was well – just so much fun blasting up the hills (as opposed to crawling up on the Radish!). Hurrah, I love my fixie. Ride and Smile, everyone!!!

Getting a divorce and selling the wife…

January 9, 2011 at 10:10 | Posted in bicycles | 1 Comment
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I decided to sell the wife over Christmas. It call came about because my head was turned; I was led astray by a newer, sexier model. Yes, I was browsing around a bike shop before Christmas and I saw the Kona Sutra. It was love at first sight. I admired the sloping top tube, the sturdy lines, the disc brakes. A true touring bike, itching for an adventure. And I wanted one. I really wanted one.

I then spent some time thinking. The wife is pretty much a touring bike. She has a study rack, and takes panniers. And with a ten month old baby, I’m hardly likely to be heading off into the hills for an adventure any time soon. But I realy want a new bike. Perhaps not the Sutra, but something. I now have the Peugeot back in good shape for ‘road’ cycling (what ever that is), and have the Radish for grocery getting, so the wife only really gets used when I need to take stuff into work.

I came to my conclusion. I wanted a divorce. For whatever reason, the Casseroll triple wasn’t doing it for me; I wanted a new bike and something had to go to make room. We’d had a lot of good times together, enjoyed it while it lasted, but it was time to move on.

Accordingly, I put her up for auction on eBay. For a great price (or so I thought). The days ticked by and there were no bids. I got a lot of watchers, though. ‘A-ha!’ I thought. Evidently seasoned eBay snipers wre out in force to snaffle a bargain at the last moment.

The auction entered its final minutes. Still nothing. The final minute. Goodness, these snipers really do leave it late! The final few seconds – come on!

And then it was over. Zero bids. The wife was unsold. Wrong price? Wrong time of year? Wrong description? Who knows. But the itch is still there, so sometime soon I need to find someone who will take her on, love, cherish and ride her. If that person could be you, please let me know!

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