A Moment’s Silence, Please

Among the many other things on my after COP to do list has been a long standing item to deal with the damaged paint around my bike’s bottom bracket. I’d already had it checked at its last service to make sure that the signs of corrosion I’d started to notice weren’t anything too dangerous, and had been given a cautious all clear for now. But I wanted to make sure the frame would last so I picked up some paint for it, and this morning started by cleaning up the frame and taking off the kick stand so I could remove the flaking paint and touch it up.

Unfortunately, I found a bit more than I’d bargained for…

Bike frame with crack

Twitter, sadly, concurred

The consensus (in so far as Bike Twitter has a consensus about anything) is that the bike might be salvagable in the hands of a decent framebuilder (steel is real and all that) but for now it is not so much a bike as a death trap – if it goes, it will go suddenly and quite painfully for anyone on board.

So I’m left with a problem, or a number of problems. Whether I opt to get a new bike, get a new frame, or try and have the frame repaired, it’s not going to be a quick process. That means my main means of transport is now the Brompton, which is fine for heading into town and back (well, less so back, given I live up a sizeable hill) but I’m not sure I relish doing anything longer on it. Still, at least I have a good second bike so I’m not completely stranded (I did recently, out of curiosity, look at whether there was any usable bus to get me into town or back, and short of a three mile walk along a B road, there isn’t).

And then there’s what to do about my big bike. Just getting the frame repaired seems like the most attractive option right now. I don’t know anything about bike geometry, but I do know that the combination of that frame, my touring bars, and my Brooks saddle, I had something I could ride pretty much all day without any real discomfort. If it can’t be fixed, finding a similar frame, if such a thing can be found – and swapping over all the components would be almost as good and has a pleasing ‘my grandfather’s axe’ sense of continuity about it.

But then there’s the question of whether I really want to just replace my bike like for like. It has been suggested in certain quarters that it weighs more than a bike ought, and that there have been advances in technology that I might want to take advantage of, like brakes that actually stop the bike. I have long thought that my next bike would probably be an e-bike, but I was thinking that would be a decision I wouldn’t have to make for a while. I wasn’t sure I was ready to go electric, mostly because I know that once I do I would probably never go back. Although maybe after I’ve slogged the Brompton up our hill for a week I’ll be more than ready for any form of e-assist.

Either way, I am preparing myself for the fact that my bike – my faithful companion on so many adventures for over 12 years – may well have pedalled its last. It feels like the end of an era.

The bike the day I got it

14 Responses to A Moment’s Silence, Please

  1. Bob McLean says:

    Nor sure which is worse, having your bike stolen (twice for me) or discovering that your trusty Steed is no longer serviceable. It’s a bummer in either case. Maybe go with something “new and shiney”?

  2. Gwynneth Rixon says:

    If the set up suits you, get the frame mended.

  3. Paul M says:

    Re Bromptons, you’d be amazed how far they’ll take you – in my case from Bordeaux to Carcassonne, 400km, admittedly on tarmac towpaths most of the way so generally few gradients to contend with.
    Re e-bikes, I’ve recently made the move. I sold a boat which gave me enough money for a decent one, and I fabricated an excuse that I wanted to redeploy my current non-e runabout, so needed a replacement that would be “future proof”. My new Gazelle Orange is fab – lovely upright riding position, you can pedal with the power off much of the time, but click that button once or twice for steeper hills (I haven’t used settings 3 & 4 at all) and off you go!

  4. I got my first new bike in 23 years; an alu framed gravel bike. I’d stuck with my heavy steel 26″ for the reasons you quoted with your tourer… and I wish I’d got a new bike years ago! Disc brakes are far superior and it’s not the lightest, but I can lift it over gates and fences now; a revelation. Also the drive train is just more efficient and immediate, I don’t get as tired. I also live up a big hill.

  5. juliaL49 says:

    Don’t give up just yet! (although looking at ebike options to stay current might be prudent)
    Do you already have contacts for a good frame builder? Aren’t they terribly busy at the moment?

  6. buckyrides says:

    If the seat tube and the downtube seem ok, (they sort of seem ok in the images) it might not be that bad to replace the BB Shell and the chainstays. I have seen quite a few steel frame repairs and on large repair cases it really comes down to if the repair is worth the investment vs actually welding a full new frame. Either way to get the repair done it requires stripping the bike and probably a new paint job after. good luck

    • disgruntled says:

      I’m investigating it, but the cost of stripping and then repainting alone seem to be uneconomic, before I’ve even been charged for the repair. So unless I really can’t replace the frame it seems unlikely to be worth it.

  7. cyclopaul says:

    I’m sorry for your loss.

    There is some merit in never cleaning or repairing your bike as I’m sure the clay/gravel/rust mixture would have held it all together fine 🙂

    Or it may just have fallen apart one day and you wouldn’t have realised until too late. Jury is out.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: