Tuesday, 16 December 2014

The Saga of my Sandman cranks and bottom bracket, plus a little test ride cut short.

Yesterday I was very pleased to be reunited with my much beloved Sandman Hoggar Fat Bike. Si my new found friend and bicycle mechanic over at Cycle Solutions returned her complete with new e.Thirteen TRS the Hive cranks and bottom bracket.
New e.thirteen TRS cranks and BB

The tale goes as follows...

After replacing my e.Thierteen cranks and bottom bracket for new ones due to wear in the cranks following around 18 months of use and upgrading my bottom bracket to e.Thirteen Nitride ones I discovered the new cranks were creaking quite badly after only 4 months of use. It started with a kind of click noise on the drive side and this progressed to a very annoying creak on each stroke.

I had had my bikes bottom bracket threads both cleaned and the BB installed at Evans Cycles along with the new XCX triple e.thirteen cranks. All was well at first, then obviously this annoying creak. Both my dad and myself must have had the cranks and BB's out at least 6 times in the 4 month period. I was driving my poor dad mad as bless him he is now a bit deaf due to working with heavy machinery most of his life so he couldn't always hear the noise I could. In some ways I suppose it was better for him, because for me it was creak,creak,creak...Omg can you not hear that? 

Sandman complete with new cranks
Proper mud fest
 Finally I decided to contact my m8 Si at Cycle Solutions. "Here Si have a look at this and tell me what you think" I said. Now as I recall that was nearing the end of September. I also got in touch with Sandman and cc'd Si into our communications, Si then taking over and chatting to Koen over at Sandman to try and figure out just what was going on.

It didn't occur to me to contact Wiggle about a warranty claim, until I mentioned my problems on Facebook in the UK Fat Bike group. Straight away a couple of my friends said warranty job. So I thought what have I got to lose and proceeded to contact Wiggle and arrange for a return of the cranks and BB.

Emails then started to go back and forth and Wiggle came back with word to the effect of

"Hello Glenn

I can confirm that we have received your chainset and BB back from the supplier. They have inspected them but have have concluded there is no fault with either the chainset or BB. They believe there is an issue with your frame not being correctly faced. Unfortunately all I can do on this occasion is return the items to you"

Errr ok... I wrote back saying I would have my frame inspected and measured but I did not want the chainset or BB returned just yet.

Muddy Trails
Still captured with Go Pro Hero 4

So I got in touch with Si who had at this point fitted, stripped, re-fitted, stripped and so on on many occasions, all whilst measuring various components and my frame, whilst scratching his head. This was turning into a real head ache. "Can you check to see if my frame is faced correctly please Si". Si came back saying my frame was within 0.03mm out. Errr that's about a Gnats prick so I knew my frame was Hunky Dory.

So I relayed the information back to Wiggle along with photograph's which Si had taken, along with measurements of how you could not possibly pre-load the wave washer and no it wasn't to do with having the incorrect spacers either in or out. Si had fitted everything as per e.Thirteen's guide. Si had even contacted e.Thirteen and got the same fitting instructions.

Anyhoo time was still ticking away and no resolution. I was almost at the point of heading out to buy a complete chainset and BB's. However Wiggle got back in touch firstly saying they were sending my old gear back, then someone else said from Wiggle contacted me and said disregard that last email your problem has been handed over to the distributor. The distributor being Silverfish.

Almost immediately I got a very friendly email from a gentleman named Nev Medhurst. Nev deals with warranty stuff. He went on to say Wiggle had contacted him and he wanted to get to the bottom of this problem. So working with Si, Nev and e.Thirteen instructions and info was passed back and forth. Nev and e.Thirteen agreed my bike frame was faced correctly or it had to be the crank or BB's or how they were being installed. Like I say Si had read through all of e.Thirteen's fitting instructions and had played around with various spacers and shims, however could never get the cranks torqued without crushing the wave washer or putting load on the bearings.

Nev then got back in touch saying that a brand new set of cranks and BB's would be sent out to Wiggle and from there they would ship them out to me. The cranks being a newer version along with a slightly different BB.

I waited and waited however nothing turned up. So I had to get back in touch with Nev who hurried Wiggle along and a few days later a box arrived at my door. I didn't open it immediately. I wanted to first get in touch with Si who had had my bike all this time and open it whilst he was there. Later that evening Si called over "I can't stay long" he said "I'm so busy". "Ok then lets have a look in this box huh?". I said. So we opened up the box and there were the new e.Thirteen TRS cranks, first impressions are they look sweet, a lot beefier looking and they are most definitely put in with much different BB's. Hopefully these will do the trick. Yay I should have my bike back soon.

Si then contacted me the following day, apparently Wiggle hadn't put the correct size granny ring in the box, nightmare. Si immediately contacted Nev and within 24 hours Si was sorted with a new granny ring.

So this ends the saga of my Sandman cranks and BB, well hopefully fingers crossed. I guess time will tell.

Just would like to say a huge thank you to Si over at Cycle Solutions. I thought £60 to fit new XTR cables,set up my gears, remove my cranks and re-install, then have to do it all over again and again and again...Oh and to take photo's, do an engineers report, measure tolerances and finally write a strongly worded letter on my behalf was  well worth the money.

I would also like to say thank you to Nev Medhurst and Silverfish for  not trying to brush me off and i really do appreciate e.Thirteen also taking an interest and trying to correct this problem.

As for Wiggle well I will forgive you, however I think you need to get your communication in order and remember the first rule of retail "The customer is always right" ( I mean I know we aren't all of the time and some of us can be a real pain in the butt) However those customers who shop with you and provide valid reasons for something not working you shouldn't...well try and "Wiggle" out of it.

Sometimes those little packets of sweets you provide to keep us happy in your parcels  just aren't good enough. Seriously though I do have to say Wiggle have always been top notch in the past so I will continue to shop with them.

And on to the little test ride out, with a few pics. I had no sooner set off from home and got on to the Farmer's Trail at yon side of the new estate when due to lack of traction, yes even with my Nate's on I found myself on my arse. Bloody hell what a mud fest. Determined not to be beat I picked myself up, swore a bit and looked for a slightly drier section of trail and started again. Dear me just going up that little stretch was tough. At the top I whipped out my new Go Pro Hero 4 and decided to see what the camera function was like (no video's today). After grabbing a few shots I then dropped into No Place, which is actually a place just up from Beamish. I had an idea to set off along the Tanfield Railway, hoping to avoid any potential "cocks" as James May would say. To be fair I've only really ever had one run in with a slightly elderley gentleman along that way. He appeared to be quite irrate as I passed him with John and Lee, even though I was really polite saying "hello". I can't understand some peoples problem and to be honest when they are abrupt,obnoxious,or rude I don't want to.

Still captured with Go Pro Hero 4
  A nice ride along by the Railway and over the Causey Arch Bridge, grabbing a few more shots as I went. I then cut over the Causey Arch Road and headed up the bank towards the Beamish Park Hotel. As I turned right here, then a quick left onto yet another muddy trail I was thinking to myself "it's sure to be epically muddy down here". I wasn't wrong, you see the trail comes out onto yet another farmers trail and this one is used to gain access via tractor to his fields. So as you can imagine it's quite worn away by heavy farming equipment. There were lots of deep puddles and wide tyre tracks in the thick mud. I quite enjoyed ploughing through it all and getting thoroughly filthy, again stopping at the end and taking a few more shots.

Mud everywhere
Along by Tanfield Railway
As I dropped down past the farmers fields I came to a nice downhill stretch, this is down past the posh houses (not sure of the lanes name) anyhoo I eventually ended up riding through Beamish Hall, which is just across the road. As I approached the bottom of Beamish Hall past the car park I suddenly noticed my front end felt a bit all over the shop and discovered I had a puncture...Awww crap. By now it was starting to get a bit dark. I had a puncture repair kit, however last time I attempted to fix a puncture it ended in failure. The patches just not sticking and my little pump not really being much good for inflating the tyres. I found they kept popping off my rim.


Checking out the trail "Mmmm this should be fun"
As I pulled over to the other side of Beamish Hall I was just about to call Ern, when a friendly lad on a pretty sweet Banshee Rune came along. We got chatting and he informed me he had just got himself a Fat Bike, a Specialised Fatboy. Paul then offered to give me a hand and try and repair my flat. So we set about taking the front wheel off, removing the tyre and this is when we discovered my tube was well and truly knackered, having split at the valve. Ah well, Ern it is, so I gave him a ring and arranged a pick up.

Paul waited with me and we had a proper good chat. I always belive things happen for a reason and if I hadn't had the flat I would have been past the trail Paul came out on and we probably would never have met. When Ern arrived Paul gave us a hand pop my bike in the back of our car and we said our farewells. I got Paul's full name asking if he was on Facebook, which he was so have now just sent him a friends request. Who knows may get to head out for a ride sometime.

So all in all a canny afternoon out.

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