For those keeping score at home, I've just murdered another bicycle.
Since late last spring I've gotten an occasional rubbing from my rear wheel on my single speed Redline Monocog Flight. I've always figured it was a bent wheel, or conveniently enough the slider which holds the rear axle in the dropouts was maladjusted. So the periodic rubbing, which was accentuated on hard standing climbs and right hand turns was attributed to adjustment problems. I moved the axle around a bit or trued up the wheel and that would sort of fix it. But the rub kept coming back.
It was really, really killing me at Patapsco on Saturday - the rear wheel was rubbing through the whole ride. We were stringing together a long ride comprised of particularly steep and technical sections. On a single speed, there are a lot of hills that you (assuming you are a big fat non-climbing bastard) just barely clear with maximum effort. The added drag was just killing me. When I lifted the rear to spin it, it would stop after about 1 rotation. The wheel bent in and out a little during the ride but the basic problem remained. So into the shop it went.
This evening I got a call from Jon, my favorite local bike shop guy. "Good news and bad news. How 'bout the bad news first?"
I said, "I'm buying a new bike, I guess?"
Jon should have answered with Bones McCoy's, "It's dead, Jim." But instead he told me a sad tale of woe.
It turns out that in one of the many crashes I had this spring, I bent the rear sub frame. The dropout on one side was also stretched, worn and/or coming apart. A weird place for it, but breaking things in an unusual manner is my usual thing. The frame was a writeoff, at least if rider safety is any consideration.
The good news is that the dropout problem apparently plagued some of the Redlines from that model year, and Redline is happy to ship me a brand new Monocog frame. The other good news is, with a year of consistent mountain biking under my belt, I don't crash nearly as much as I did over the winter and in the spring (you may remember that as a tough time for me if you read this blog regularly), so Jon and the Redline people are optimistic that the new frame will at least make it to the end of the warranty period before failing.
The moral of the story is clear: don't be my bike.
Also: God bless Redline. No bling factor, but I know from my 'cross bike that they make some damn fine products, and like another company I'm geeked on, FiZik, they stand behind their products.
I guess this means I'm riding my old Kona Cinder Cone, rigid, 26", single speed conversion at Patapsco this weekend. That should be interesting.