Last minute stress
With the time drawing near to dismantle the bike and get it ready for the flight to Perth I thought I would give it one last inspection. I wasn’t expecting to find anything as I had previously replaced brake disks, torqued nuts and inspected cables and brake lines. All was good. Or so I thought.
When i removed the cranks to clean around the bottom bracket I happened to notice a dirty mark in the frame. Thinking it might just be a scratch I rubbed it hoping it might vanish. Hmmm. No luck. Not a scratch. It appeared to be a crack. A crack in a carbon fibre frame is never a good thing. I was devastated. This could be a show stopper. I now had to determine the extent of the damage and if I can still ride the bike with a potential weak spot in the frame. I knew that riding 1100km with a cracked frame was a recipe for disaster. It would fail before the end of the trip, I was sure of that. But I was trying to tell myself it would be OK. It will hold out.
I did a quick run to a mates place (Fergus Haines) who owns a boroscope. By doing an internal examination of the frame through the seat post it was confirmed to be a crack. The crack was actually worse on the inside. The outside of the crack was still covered by uncracked paintwork so most of the damage could not be seen from the outside. No delusions now. The bike frame has to be binned. If I ride with this defect the frame will snap in two. Carbon fibre doesn’t give any notice when it’s about t break. It will surely let go with a big bang and send me into the dirt.
My options at this point are now limited. Cancel the trip, somehow obtain a replacement frame in three days or purchase a new bike. Cancelling is off the table. I have gear set along the way ready for pickup. I must go. The chance of getting a frame in time is zero. I have money in the bank, so a new bike it is.
With credit card in hand I headed off to the two monkeys cycling store at Penshurst to buy a new bike. Two monkeys now stock and sell Giant bikes. As I have mostly ridden Giant mountain bikes and always been happen with their quality and performance I thought I would pick up a new Anthem. Unfortunately with limited time to determine the pros and cons of the various models I had to go with what I knew. I put a deposit down on A 2017 29er, carbon, Anthem. As the shop didn’t have one in stock it was bought sight unseen and untested. Risky.
As word got around another mate of mine (Jai Redmond) made some enquiries with a few guys he knows who work at Giant. It just so happens they look after warranty claims. After sending across some pictures of the crack it was determined the frame is a warranty replacement. A new frame will be couriered to Two Monkeys bike shop ASAP. Wow. That was fast. Thank you Giant. If I can get the frame and new bike delivered in time I may now have the choice of two bikes to use. Fingers crossed.