Monday, January 19, 2009

The downside of aluminum frames

It's time for an update on my Crosstown 7 (see all the articles here). This is a shaft-driven bike from Dynamic Bicycles, most similar to the currently available Crossroad 8. A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that the bottom bracket was starting to move side to side more than usual, and I thought that was probably not a good sign and that it would suffer a fatigue failure. Well, today, as I was riding home, I noticed the frame get loose and start to creak. When I stopped to look it over, I noticed a nice big ugly crack where the seat tube meets the bottom bracket. That's not supposed to happen. Unfortunately it's an inevitable consequence of aluminum butt-welded frames, and I think that the design of the bottom bracket on this shaft driven bike may have amplified the stress or strain in that area. Since purchasing the bike in August 2007, I have put 5900 km (3670 miles) on the bike. It's the 22" frame, and I'm a heavy guy (~215 lbs) and carry a heavy (~15 lb) back pack on the book rack, and I tend to have more of a stoking rather than a spinning pedal style, so it's safe to say that I'm a heavy user, but not unusually so.
When I got home today, the first thing I did was to locate my warranty and confirm that there is a lifetime guarantee on the frame. I called up Dynamic and told them what happened, and I was very pleased to hear and immediate "Man, I'm so sorry that happened to you. We'll get a new frame shipped out to you right away." We went over the details of what I need, including agreeing to how much I would need to put together, and was I able to do the things, and did I have the right tools, etc. The attitude I got was 'what can we do to make this right for you as quickly as possible?' and I have to say that I appreciated that. I've had some very poor customer service experiences before, but not with Dynamic. Others have complained about them, but it's just not been my experience, I've always found them to be friendly and helpful.
I'll post again when the new frame arrives, and maybe I'll document the repairs that are necessary.
In the mean time, keep on biking, and click on over to support my friend Margo in her New Year's resolution to start biking to work again. Leave supportive comments, and ask her to blog about the very funny story of when we rode home together one time...


Margo said...

LOL Tim! I'm so sorry to hear about your frame, but also glad that Dynamic is taking the opportunity to fix it for you. :)

I'll blog that story just for laughs. :) Thank you for your support!

GhostRider said...

Dynamic's customer service is great!

And, there's more to that complaint than the poster would admit...Patrick responded to an identical complaint (from the same anonymous poster?) over at a month or so ago.

Tim said...

Thanks for pointing me to that comment. Here's the link to it