Friday, March 11, 2011

The Bike of Theseus

Those of you who have been following on Facebook know that my Surly Cross-Check has been giving me some trouble lately. Enough trouble that it's now time to get myself a new Cross-Check.

The trouble started about a month ago when I did some riding down in Page County with a friend. It was supposed to be a Trans-Iowa training weekend so we were looking at 100 miles on Saturday and 62 on Sunday. Saturday started out well enough, but due to a "train the way you fight" ethic we ran into some trouble. Since the Trans-Iowa would include some B (aka. minimum maintenance, aka. dirt) roads we'd be including some in the training ride. I should have known better than to try B roads after rain, in early March, but I went along with the plan. The problem looked like this:



The problem wasn't that guy. He's okay, but you can see the problem. He's not riding that bike, he's carrying it, and look at those feet.



Well, we did a lot of walking and by the time we were 30 miles into our 100 mile ride we'd been out for five hours. I did the math, it didn't look good. Just as we decided to make it a metric rather than a full century my drivetrain decided to give way. The rear derailleur pulled straight out of the dropout and the dropout itself was bent in about 45 degrees. The B road mud was just too much for it. I rigged up this to get home:



But the troubles weren't over. We took a shortcut back to home base and while we were walking yet another B road my shoelace decided to break. Unfortunately my shoes have a BOA system and fixing a broken lace isn't so easy as it ought to be. Luckily I had a spare tube along so I did this:



Pretty clever if you ask me and it worked well too. Twenty miles later we were home.

Part II

At first I thought the frame was toast, but after some judicious bending, a dropout saver insert, a new chain, and a derailleur (upgraded to Ultegra) I thought I had it licked. Fast forward to last weekend.

Same route planner, same plan, lots of B roads. Closer to home though; Story County. On the final B road of the day 30+ miles into the ride my cranks ground to a familiar halt. The derailleur hadn't pulled out this time, but the hanger was bent a good 45 degrees again. Once again B road mud had done me in. I hadn't even gotten the new Ultegra derailleur paid for (it looks like it might be okay). Once again I single-speeded it (it took me much less time, a benefit of practice) and rode the 30+ miles back home.

This time I think the hanger is done. I could probably bend it back, but it wouldn't be the same. The place where I had drilled out the hanger to accept the dropout saver insert is ovalized and won't go back to round. I don't trust it anyway. I could have the dropout replaced, and I might someday, but it would be fairly expensive to have that done and then repaint the frame. The best option is to buy a new frame and swap the parts over. Until then the old Spree Green Surly will be a single-speed. The new one should be here later this week and look like this:

4 comments:

C.J. Ong, Jr. said...

You live The Crucible Way.

Jeremy Kershaw said...

Hang in there Buddy. Look forward to seeing you at the TI

MrDaveyGie said...

Oh yes, the bike, the bikes!! They have been keeping me very bu$y too. May our riding/repair ratio grow. Good luck at TI Matt.

Matt Maxwell said...

Thanks C.J., that's a huge compliment. Hopefully I can live up to it.

The frame arrived today, but the build will have to wait until after this weekend.