Saturday, December 26, 2009

Grand Bois Cypres - follow up to the follow up

The initial experiences were wonderful, even with one puncture. I get goatheads ALL the times, so that wasn't a big deal, and even made me happy to find that was the culprit.

A while after that, and not so many more miles (my All-Rounder gets 75% of my miles) I found some "squiggles" on the rear tire. Looked like the tread was shifted instead of going straight. No biggy, must be a slight imperfection I never noticed.

I kept riding it, but then actually started to notice a hop in the rear wheel. I'm not that sensitive to squeaks, creaks and such, so it was kinda' a big deal. I get home and what do I see:
Grand Bois Cypres failure

Yikes! What the hell is that cancerous looking lump doing on my tire! Looks like it was going to pop any second and glad it didn't during the ride! The tire was distended maybe 3mm at the highest point, and another 3mm or so to the side. Like a big cyst on the tire. If you look at this photo, you can see where the tread was starting to separate and the tube is visible through the casing:
Grand Bois Cypres failure

In fact on removal the casing was severely splitting:
Grand Bois Cypres failure

Not good at all. I get hold of Jan @ Bicycle Quarterly and let him know. The tires have maybe 200 or so miles on them at this point and this just shouldn't be happening. He readily agrees and immediately tells me to send it to him and he'll get an exchange out to me as soon as their new shipment gets in. He was VERY cordial and easy to deal with and I'm VERY appreciate of him.

The Cypres are pricey tires. They are built to be high performance and make no bones about that. Like anything high performance they're built on the very narrow edge between lightweight and durability. In my opinion, Panaracer (the manufacturer) tries to make these too close to the performance side and ends up having some quality assurance issues.

I just went on a ride with these tires today and continue to love them. This was on a mixed terrain ride that is one of my normal rides.
bouncing along

I needed to post this experience with the tires not to undermine them or anything Jan is doing, but to further document my experience with them. My initial experience was so positive, and I'm sticking with these for the long-haul as they just feel so right for me. But I am going to be inspecting them a bit closer than I ever looked at a Pasela or a Roly Poly/Ruffy Tuffy tire. That's a bit of a negative, but within my skill set for bikes! If these give further problems, I'll report back!


Turns out I need a super-secrete part for a SRAM hub. Fine, whatever. I contact SRAM and find out if I can get one. No, I can't. It has to be ordered through my LBS. Fine, whatever. Lame but fine. This is the same LBS that gave me NO help to begin with which led me to contact SRAM myself. So I go to the LBS, provide them with the part # and phone # to SRAM. Ask them to please call and order me the part from the nice people at SRAM (they really were nice).

At the same time I order some generic bike parts. A new handlebar and a shifter that are available through QBP. You know, available anywhere sort of thing. I've already researched their availability and found them for X% cheaper at various internet sites. But no, I order there, happy to support a local business, families, etc. Quite the humanitarian I am.

A week goes by. I stop by the shop on a Friday after being told they should arrive that Thurs. Get their 10 min before shop opens so decide to ride around the neighborhood for a half hour. Get back @ 11:20 and shop still not open. Fine, whatever, I gotta' go pick up a kid at pre-school by noon so take off.

Then ride back that afternoon. They're open, but the guy there looks at me with blank eyes when I say what I'm there for. I go home.

So I wait a week and this time use the phone. Call up and get the owner. Conversation goes something like this:
Me: Have the parts arrived?
LBS: Well, no, must be Christmas and all.
Me: But I ordered them two weeks before Christmas.
LBS: Uhhhhm, yeah, check back next week.
Me: How about those small SRAM parts, did they arrive yet?
LBS: Ohhhh, those, I don't think I called yet.
Me: Could you maybe call right now?
LBS: No, I'm kinda' busy. I'll try next week.
Me: Sigh.

So now I'm waiting for bike parts I could have ordered elsewhere (for cheaper!) and have had them long before the Christmas holiday. I'm also relying on them to order a part I can't get myself.

And I have two weeks of holiday to put all this stuff together and see if I like it. Well now one week of that is gone and instead I'm writing smack anonymously on the internet.


Saturday, December 5, 2009

Help Davey get this bike fixed!

No, not "fixed", but fixed! I found this GREAT little bike while out on a meandering ride a few weeks ago.
Roadside find
It was pretty well vandalized, with the lights and generator long gone, the fenders totally bent around, and the shifter long since broken. BUT it was in the cool 24" size which I love for smaller people and kids, it was a nicely put together steel step-through frame, and best of all, it had a Sachs (pre-SRAM) P5 internal geared hub! Worth my time to get back there and pick it up.

Best roadside find in a while.  Too bad it was destroyed by whoever stole it once upon a time.

So I get it home, and its really pretty rough, but seems like it is fixable. I stripped the fenders off and straightened the racks and misc. parts. Needs new cable but the brakes look serviceable. Front wheel is severely twisted, so that might need to be replaced if I can't bang it out. Looks good otherwise though! I see a sticker w/ Germanish words, so looks like it's for the German home market.

Original LBS that sold the bike???

How it ended up here in The States, then vandalized and abandoned on a back road is beyond me. Anyway, everything is totally fixable except that hub. Looks like I can get a new shifter and click box, but I have no idea how to install it and/or service & repair the hub as necessary. It may be hard to believe, but my local LBSes (yes, more than one) pretty much don't want anything to do with this. Anyone out there in internet-land have any idea on what I can do or who I could send the wheel to for service??? I'd really like to get it running as it is a great little bike. My kiddos are almost able to fit it, so would be great for them to have (I love internal geared hubs for kids!).

What I presume to be a Sachs P5 IGH

Sachs P5 shifter

Sachs P5 click box

Update: I've had several SRAM bulletin links forwarded to me and it looks like the parts I need are all pretty straightforward common parts. Now, locating them anywhere in the States is the trick. It was suggested I get hold of retailers in the UK and Germany, but that's something I'd rather avoid unless I absolutely have to...