My riding bud Tom, has been on a few Shawnee rides now, though he’s referred to them more as hike a bikes instead of rides. He’s a past mountain bike racer and wants to go fast, which is often nearly impossible on our bombed out horse trails. He is always commenting on the amount of gear we trash on our Shawnee rides. I guess it’s just all part of the fun.
I posted awhile back that all my mountain bike rides were ending in failure, either bike failure or rider failure. Last week I got two solid mountain bike rides in. Our weather was phenomenally good for late July, temperatures in the 70s and dry. It was the kind of weather you just can’t turn down. When I completed my last ride and lifted my bike onto the roof rack I saw a dreaded rear dropout crack which means the frame is now a ticking time bomb.
The frame in question is my early 2000s Salsa Dos Niner. I bought it at a swap meet a couple of years ago for a bit over 100 bucks. My bike shop buddy told me if I got a year out of it I’d be money ahead and I managed to get nearly 2 years. It has been my primary bike pretty much since I put it together. Excellent handling and the 1 inch suspension design offered noticeably more comfort then a hard tail without the problems of full suspension.
Unfortunately this suspension design was known to eventually crack the rear dropouts. The guy who sold it to me told me as much. The frame has no pivots and relies on natural aluminum scandium flexable properties to provide an inch of flex. Without a pivot to the allow the rear triangle to change geometry the drop out welds are considerably stressed. In the last ten rides this bike has had it’s hanger broken hard, been crashed hard enough to break the saddle, and had the rear wheel pop out and jam. I’d wager these events created the crack.
There is no fixing aluminum bike frames, at least officially, but this is in such a high stress area that I’m not even considering it. So the Dos Niner will be decommissioned and moth balled, I’ll get a few dollars out of the frame at the recycling center. It brings a tear to my eye.
A few months ago I noticed my Vassago Bandersnatch had cracked near the top of the seat tube. I haven’t rode it since. This is my first 29er and one of my all time favorite bikes. Since it’s a steel frame it’s considered much more fixable, but considering the wear and tear it may not be worth messing with. I think I’m going to grind off the paint and overlay the entire tube with a carbon and try to get some more life out of this frame.
Until then I can still ride the rock solid GT Peacer.
Oh and as if I didn’t have enough broken stuff problems my shoes started coming apart on the last ride. Pfff!