Sunday, March 15, 2009

Not With a Bang, but a Whimper

Maybe this is what it's like to be told by the Doc you have 6 months.

Gentle Reader, you probably don't have to look close to see the crack in the frame of my LeMond. This is my Fast Bike, this is my Brevet Bike--this is my Lovin' Life in the Tucson Sunshine While You're All Freezing Your Asses Off in the Rest of the Country Bike.

I do not believe this can be repaired. I don't quite know what to do or where to begin. Does this mean that the bike is too dangerous to ride until I get it welded? Can it even be welded? Is it worth it to get it welded? It's a steel frame and should count for something, right?

I called Gerry Goode and we had a frank talk. Most likely water got in there and the inside of the frame joint began to rust and got weak. The frame is eight years old--could it be that that's the life of a frame like this? My Raleigh Super Grand Prix, circa 1977 with it's lugged steal joints still looks brand new (I check it out to be sure I wasn't going to get more bad news).

Gerry says its time to get a custom frame built.

Okay, just like that--I'll have a custom frame built and spare no expense...

These are tough times for us right now. Little Egypt has been unemployed since her return from Afghanistan--which has been frustrating. Money I make covers the mortgage, and car payments, and some of the bills. After that, there's not much left. Many a soldier has returned to find the economy in rough shape and jobs hard to find. Luckily while she was deployed and making combat pay, I payed down big chunks of our debt and lived as frugal as possible.

Money for a new bike is just not in the near future--

Just tough on me when I've got this bike that with all the up-grades and bike fit and wheels, etc etc--just can't be replaced by going out and dropping $2,000 for a frame. It took time, trial and error, and many miles on the road to make this bike into what I needed. Its a Randonneur's Dream to be sure, mes amis.

Cheers! Bruce


Sir Bikesalot said...

You still might be able to get it welded. Talk to one of the local framebuilders there. Sometimes it's hard to let a fried go. On the other hand, if times get better, what an excuse for a new frame huh? Sad to hear about your bike. On the other hand, a bike worn out in old age and use is not a dishonor either.

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Thanks Paul,

I've put some big-time miles on this bike. John Heller told me that the weld may not have been the best, and that now a days, most frames are rust protected, etc etc--so wanter in the cranks may not have been the cause of rust and a weak point.

So far the couple of people I've talked to say to stay off this bike to be safe until a repair can be made.

Cheers! Bruce

Doohickie said...

You might want to look for a nice vintage frame on Craigslist. You can find some great stuff for not too much money.

Dan Trued said...

My aluminum bike went out with a whimper too. Can you get a warranty replacement on this. Some have lifetime warranties on the frame. Check out the Trek dealer at Campbell & Ft. Lowell, can't hurt to discuss it with them. Sometimes they'll try to make feel like it's your fault, but stick to your guns, but be nice. My feeling is on these types of bikes, is it costs more to fix them than they are worth (you have to put your emotional feelings aside). But even if they agree to give you a new frame, it will cost you some bucks, as they have to assemble it, and you may have to buy a new crank and bb, if the one from this bike, won't fit into the new frame. And you won't get a choice of color, whatever color they give you, is what you get. Check out the LeMond road bikes today that are compatible to what this bike is. It was very upsetting, and a hassle for me also, when this happened to me.

Bruce's Bike Blog said...

Hey Dan—
That’s a great idea. I will give them a call and see what’s up. I bought the bike at Sabino Cycles and the owner Mac, himself a very tall fellow—probably 6-5 or 6-6, went out of his way to get me the right “off the rack” size frame from LeMond (Trek) I’ll call him up as well.

I do have two other road bikes, but the LeMond had the triple ring. As I’m a Clydesdale size rider, I need that triple ring to get up an over the hills. The bike is from 2001—is the warranty still good I wonder?

Cheers! Bruce

Anonymous said...

If Lemond/Trek wants to keep you as a customer they BETTER replace this frame. A steel frame like that SHOULD NOT crack after eight years of use in the desert. Hendo had his Ellsworth dual suspension mountain bike for at least five years when he found a crack...can't remember if they replaced it or repaired it...but they did something to get him his back on an Ellsworth. There are also plenty of bike welders in this town that can easily patch that bad boy. This bike is not dead.

Unless you really want a customer built frame. In that case you need to move to France and start riding your bike for a living. That's what I thought.


Big Ballz Walz

Sam said...

just a random visitor who grew up in Tucson, stopping by to see a bit of the AZ audax scene.

At any rate: The frame is fixable. that's one of the advantages of a steel frame. 853 can be tig-welded, call la suprema bikes, they are a local framebuilder and can give you advice. any good local welder should be able to fix that crack... it might not be pretty afterwards, but it should be plenty strong.

the advice of any bike shop in the area (aside from ordinary bikes) is going to be 'buy a new bike' which is rubbish. That bike is fixable for sure.

best wishes from the east,

Sam said...

oh, and, the welding should be pretty cheap. like less than a hundred, probably less than fifty. Of course this doesn't include paint.

that crack is due to shoddy welding in the first place, so it should be the sort of thing that any decent manufacturer would replace.

best of luck.

Bruce's Bike Blog said...


Thanks for stopping by the blog. My first try is going to visit Andy Gilmour, a local frame builder here in Tucson. Last resort will be the Trek/LeMond dealer here in Tucson, who said they will replace the frame. Do I get a new bike or get this fixed? I'm for getting it fixed myself but I want to see what the Trek folks say. So far they seemed helpful--but I don't know if they still make LeMond frames or make steel frames! Cheers! Bruce

Steve Lange said...

That's a real bummer! I bought an '02 LeMond Zurich used off Craiglist, and in doing research prior to purchase learned that frame cracking is a "known issue" with these steel LeMonds. Mine has a lot of miles on it (pre my ownership) and so far, so good... but I'll be keeping an eye out anyways.

Hope you can get yours repaired, seems straightforward enough. They are nice riding bikes!

Enjoying your blog, thanks for sharing.

Dan Trued said...

What's happening with the bike, nothing like a broken bike to get everyone riled up? Hope you find a solution that makes you happy, because when I went through this, I didn't feel right till it was solved. Very emotional time, for sure. I could only go the replacement route, as they can't weld aluminum, so my broken bike was sent back to China to be melted down. Kind of like a cremation.