Bish Bash Bosh Part 8: A muddy end

A little while ago I went on a ride with some friends along the South Downs Way, this is a bridleway that tracks the ridge line of the South Downs, a string of hills that run east-west along the southern part of England.  As you would imagine from the picture above it's a seamlessly never-ending run of rolling green hills, sheep and gravel.  In the summer, the ground is dry and chalky with some sharp flinty rocks, in the winter and after rain this turns into a thick claggy mess, some of the stickiest mud I've ever seen.




Apart from the crazy amounts of mud you can see above, I managed to rip off my rear derailleur by snapping the hanger.  I suspect this happened because not long ago I got a stick caught in it which bent it, I subsequently bent it back straight, however it being aluminium means it probably work hardened and became brittle.  Thus I had to ride home in single speed mode, this meant tackling 10% dirt climbs in 50 x 20t which wasn't much fun.  Add to this that it was difficult to get the chain to stay in gear without the derailleur, it took a lot of trial and error to find the neutral gear where it didn't want to move.  This meant breaking and joining the chain several times which weakened it to the point that it broke every few kilometres...  not a good day!


After this I put the bike away and it wasn't until the next weekend that I cleaned it up and had a good look at everything.  The derailleur hanger was easy enough to replace, however on closer inspection...


I found that I had rubbed through the NDS chainstay, the tyre always cleared this but the buildup of mud over time must have been abrasive enough to go through 2 layers of carbon.  Nothing too structural or mega critical however I don't like to take chances with things like this.  Having enquired about the cost of repair, it didn't make economic sense as I bought this frame on clearance and repairing it would be more than buying one brand new.


At this stage I will try to sell it to recoup my costs.  This was my first foray into carbon fibre and let's say it wasn't a great one.  I will likely look for a new frame with a bit more clearance, particularly one that can run larger 650b tyres.  Stay tuned for more...


2 comments:

  1. That sucks! But it's appreciated to have feedback from real life users about how much (or little) off-road can carbon really handle.

    In our local CX community we refer to carbon as "cartono" (a play of words between the spanish words for carbon/"carbono" and cardboard/"cartón) which seems to ring true here.

    What frame are you thinking of getting? Fortunately now there are more options available. I'm really digging the Soma Fog Cutter (if only I could justify it).

    Greetings from Chile!

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  2. Hey there,
    Yes it was a bit sad, as it was also my first carbon frame. I've actually already purchased and built up a new frame... stay tuned!

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