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  1. #1
    Your bike sucks
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    Why I hate singlespeeding *a rant*

    I can't pedal 10mi without dropping my chain 3 times.

    It's driving me nuts. I've mentioned on this forum before - back when I broke my Vulture's EBB pinch bolt tab. I put a little too much elbow grease in tightening my EBB because it constantly slipped and threw the chain. I later learned it wasn't brazed properly which added to the failure.

    Fast forward 5 months. Same issues are plagueing me. I've been lucky because I've been riding my cross bike trying to prepare for racing. Never-the-less, chain drops are the norm again.

    I've done everything I can imagine. New cog, new chainring, differnet BB lengths, altered the chainline by 1mm increments, tightened the chain, loosened the chain, 3 different chains. It always binds and throws off to the inside of the rear cog. You name it.

    It seems to happen in two situations: under heavy pedaling or when I just start to pedal after some fastish flat coasting or dh. ALWAYS derails to the inside of the rear cog - usually gets stuck between cog and spokes (I'm trashing my wheel). I'll feel it bind and jam then I'm fix gearing (cause the chain is stuck) around. Sometimes there's a snap sound. It's getting dangerous.

    My recent conclusions: The damn frame isn't aligned right. I actually sent it back when I first got it because it was 3/8'' of an inch off in the rear. Wade said he straightend it. Maybe - it seemed straighter. Doesn't seem straight now. Maybe I'm wrong. Still, I wonder why my rear spacing is more like 137 or 138 vs 135? I can't imagine anything else. Maybe I flex the crap out of her? Feel free to chime in with your opinions. If anyone wants to see pics, I'll post them. Any part, any angle.

    The strange part is that it didn't always throw the chain this frequently. Sometimes, yes but not at this extreme frequency.

    Here's some specifics:

    Frame: Vulture custom - steel - 1 year old
    Cranks: Ritchey sq. taper Pro Logics - 5 arm
    BB: Un-72 various lengths: 106, 110, 113
    COG: Mosh 17T
    Chainring: various 32T (real, engagement, qbp)
    Rear hub: Novatec 36H single speed/disk, XTR 32H non-disk
    Chains: PC1, PC48, PC58

    I'm so frustrated right now. This bike was my big purchase last year. I was so pumped and now I'm HATING single speeding. I never had problems like this before with gearies (SSing for like 6+ years) or even my beater tape and glue frankenbike single speeds. Why? Maybe I cursed the gods of single speeding too many times, maybe I'm just dim.

    End rant and I do feel a little better - until tomorrow.

  2. #2
    Recovering Weight Weenie
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega
    End rant and I do feel a little better - until tomorrow.
    Whoa! Man, I feel your pain.
    My 1 year old Vulture has been pain free though. My problems stem from breaking everything I touch, it seems.
    My frame seems straight, spacing normal, and flex free.
    What a bummer.
    Is there a way to measure for squareness?

    (perhaps God isn't imaginary and is teasing you? )

  3. #3
    Don't be a sheep
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    Been there.

    If you've dialed the chainline, either the frame isn't right or your flexing the thing enough to walk the chain off, I've seen both. I had a bad chainline on my first bike and after the fifth chain drop I was so pissed I threw the bike down the side of a hill.
    "Do not touch the trim"

  4. #4
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    Try this

    Replace the rear wheel (temporarily) to see if the problem goes away. If you don't have or can't make a spare check for: Excess play in the rear hub bearings. Make the quick release or bolts real tight.

    Pictures? How about shot from rear showing that wheel is vertical when the frame is vertical?

  5. #5
    all hail der Fuhrer Bush
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    crooked frame?

    I've seen some very expensive handmade frames with bottom bracket shells that were crooked. Even a Merlin or two. That could cause your problems. And it would not be apparent by checking that a perfectly dished wheel fits equidistant betwixt the chainstays and seatstays.
    But if a perfectly dished wheel is installed in the frame so the rim is equidistant between the chainstays, and then up at the seatstays the rim is not equidistant between them, that is a clue.
    As for taking out spokes, until you get the problem resolved, run a multispeed cassette hub with spacer and a single cog. Unless you're running off the granny ring position, that should give the chain all kinds of room inboard of the cog so if it derails, no damage will result.
    Glad I never had derail problems with any of my fixers or SS bikes. I find my frames in the trash, and they all have horizontal dropouts, not fancy eccentrics.
    I use shitmano uniglide "twist tooth" cogs exclusively on the SS bikes. maybe get one at harris cyclery see if it works for you.
    Don't pay the $85 fee to ride land you own! Resist!

  6. #6
    Nat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega
    Still, I wonder why my rear spacing is more like 137 or 138 vs 135? I can't imagine anything else. Maybe I flex the crap out of her? Feel free to chime in with your opinions.
    Your situation sounds frustrating indeed. You may have already ruled this out, but is your crank/spider/ring perfectly true? I used to have some cranks on which the spider wobbled from side-to-side just slightly, less than 1mm out of true. That problem cause frequent chain derailments.

    I have a bike on which the rear dropout spacing was 145mm but it didn't have any drivetrain problems. The manufacturer said it was "within tolerances" and was rideable.

  7. #7
    I CAME I SAW I CONQUERED
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    I too drop the chain when using a pc-1......

    then i tried a pc-89r I had on hand and the problem stopped. The pc-1
    I guess was to wide and just made it easy to come off the cog. I see
    you tried a 8 spd chain as well w/no luck, I would think that would be
    okay but maybe a thiner 9spd chain will do the trick.

    I, myself sent back a fork that was out of allignment, and yes I had the
    tools to tweek it but I paid for a fork built right not for one I had to make
    right. If I bought a new frame and it was as you say yours was I would not
    accept it.

    Good luck - V V V .
    "As a rule, men worry more about what they can't see than about what they can."
    -- Julius Caesar

  8. #8
    One gear to rule them all
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    This might not be the best fix, but it should work. Put a larger cog (around 20t) to the inside of your Mosh 17t. Then when it trys to jump it will hit the cog and not your spokes, and hopefully stay on. You could grind the teeth off to make it look more sano.
    The Park tool F A G - 1 will tell you if your rear triangle is out of alignment. It sounds like a good place to start. Take your bike to a shop and have them check, it can be checked fully assembled.
    Good Luck!
    Todd............. If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague

  9. #9
    Retro Grouch
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    First, quick and dirty check..

    Quote Originally Posted by pacman
    Replace the rear wheel (temporarily) to see if the problem goes away. If you don't have or can't make a spare check for: Excess play in the rear hub bearings. Make the quick release or bolts real tight.

    Pictures? How about shot from rear showing that wheel is vertical when the frame is vertical?
    First (if you don't mind me asking) how big are you and how much do you weigh?

    Next check the rear tire to see of it's centered between the chain stays. Assuming it is, take out the wheel and flip it around, re-install it and see if it's still centered. Assuming you have a trued wheel this is a good test where most chain stays go bad. One thing I have noticed is that EBBs flex more than standard bottom brackets. Another test is to align the crank with the chain stay and grab it with your hand; now squeeze and see how much you crank arm flexes.

    It does sound like a tweaked frame.

    1G1G, Brad

  10. #10
    meatier showers
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    Frustrating

    Carl, I've never had a chain-drop problem with my Vulture but that doesn't mean that everything that's gone out of Wade's shop over the years has been perfect... maybe so, maybe not. While I can't exactly speak for Wade, I know him pretty well and I'm confident he'd be the first to say that if there's a frame alignment problem that originated at Vulture, he'll make it right.

    If I'm wrong I'll eat my saddle.

    I don't know where you live. Anywhere near Bend, Oregon (where Vulture is located)? If not, is there a local framebuilder near you that can check your frame for alignment? I'm no framebuilder, but based on what you've said the first two things I'd look at are (1) bottom bracket to see if it's square and (2) chainstay length to make sure they're equal. The possibility of the chainring and cog not being in the same plane exists; a knowledgeable framebuilder can tell you without going to much trouble if everything's square (that is, after you've gone to the trouble of stripping the frame).

    Have you emailed Wade and if so, what did he say?

    I don't envy you. I hate it when my bike isn't right and I can't figure out how to make it so.

    Good luck.

    --Sparty




    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega
    I can't pedal 10mi without dropping my chain 3 times.

    It's driving me nuts. I've mentioned on this forum before - back when I broke my Vulture's EBB pinch bolt tab. I put a little too much elbow grease in tightening my EBB because it constantly slipped and threw the chain. I later learned it wasn't brazed properly which added to the failure.

    Fast forward 5 months. Same issues are plagueing me. I've been lucky because I've been riding my cross bike trying to prepare for racing. Never-the-less, chain drops are the norm again.

    I've done everything I can imagine. New cog, new chainring, differnet BB lengths, altered the chainline by 1mm increments, tightened the chain, loosened the chain, 3 different chains. It always binds and throws off to the inside of the rear cog. You name it.

    It seems to happen in two situations: under heavy pedaling or when I just start to pedal after some fastish flat coasting or dh. ALWAYS derails to the inside of the rear cog - usually gets stuck between cog and spokes (I'm trashing my wheel). I'll feel it bind and jam then I'm fix gearing (cause the chain is stuck) around. Sometimes there's a snap sound. It's getting dangerous.

    My recent conclusions: The damn frame isn't aligned right. I actually sent it back when I first got it because it was 3/8'' of an inch off in the rear. Wade said he straightend it. Maybe - it seemed straighter. Doesn't seem straight now. Maybe I'm wrong. Still, I wonder why my rear spacing is more like 137 or 138 vs 135? I can't imagine anything else. Maybe I flex the crap out of her? Feel free to chime in with your opinions. If anyone wants to see pics, I'll post them. Any part, any angle.

    The strange part is that it didn't always throw the chain this frequently. Sometimes, yes but not at this extreme frequency.

    Here's some specifics:

    Frame: Vulture custom - steel - 1 year old
    Cranks: Ritchey sq. taper Pro Logics - 5 arm
    BB: Un-72 various lengths: 106, 110, 113
    COG: Mosh 17T
    Chainring: various 32T (real, engagement, qbp)
    Rear hub: Novatec 36H single speed/disk, XTR 32H non-disk
    Chains: PC1, PC48, PC58

    I'm so frustrated right now. This bike was my big purchase last year. I was so pumped and now I'm HATING single speeding. I never had problems like this before with gearies (SSing for like 6+ years) or even my beater tape and glue frankenbike single speeds. Why? Maybe I cursed the gods of single speeding too many times, maybe I'm just dim.

    End rant and I do feel a little better - until tomorrow.
    disciplesofdirt.org
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  11. #11
    Your bike sucks
    Reputation: Carl Mega's Avatar
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    What a great showing of support. Thanks. I feel like I'm on step 5 of a 12 step program. Well, at least I've finally admitted I have a problem.

    Ok here's a few more details and comments (as I remember them)....

    I am going to try a new wheel. Just on the possiblitity that it will help is worth it but it will be w/ a V brake instead of my usual mech disks. I don't care anymore. Please please please! I think my skewer is plenty tight but I may just try a new one of those too.

    I'm 6'1'' and weight 185-190ish lbs (sometimes as little as 170 and as much as 195 depending on training - yuck). I do develop a lot of power because I'm a straight up masher. Torque, torque, torqueing my way up the hills. I do this a lot.

    When I look at the rear end of the bike it seems out of alignment to me. Wheel seems cock-eyed to one side no matter if it's reversed or not. My suspision is that this is the problem. Time will tell. I used to work (as a mechanic - ha!) at a shop so the next time I'm there I will use the PT F@G. I guess I could use the string method too but I can't account for the user error with that (me).

    I'm pretty sure my chain is trashed from the last derailment (today) so I need a new one of those before I can perform a real world evaluation.

    I don't think the crank is warped but I will double check tomorrow. I will also try the EBB/crank squeeze test and take some pictures (with the wheel in normal and reversed). I think it's off. Opinions will be welcome.

    Since it's winter and I have time (and other sports), if all these tests and trials don't yield any results I'm going to get the frame checked by a local builder and get their opinion.

    My absolute last resorts will be to run a guide or sell the bike ;-).

    Thanks again everyone.
    Last edited by Carl Mega; 01-03-2005 at 09:47 PM. Reason: can't say F-A-G

  12. #12
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    I had a similar problem on my bike with the DIY EBB conversion the first time around when the alignment (squareness) of the BB was way off. I mean like visually off. Here's how we checked alignment. Get a F@G and hold it flush against the face of the BB shell. It should run parallel to the downtube and seattube. You can clamp it down and measure if you're really anal, but if its far enough off to be the source of your problem, you'll probably be able to eyeball it. That assumes that the rest of the frame is straight. You can also use the same method with the rr triangle. The dropouts should be symmetrical when hold the guage flush to the EBB shell.

    If that was unclear, let me know and I'll try to clarify.

    YO MAMA

  13. #13
    mtbr member
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    I have to say, you can't beat the Bushnell EBB's. Why anyone persists with pinch clamp or set screw EBBs is beyond me. If you have a correctly tensioned chain, a good chainline, and SS specific ring/cog, you will not throw a chain. Ever.

    No, really.

    I remember seeing your frame a while back with the busted pinch clamp. Try all the things I mentioned above and if you still have problems, at least you can cross those off your list and look at alternative solutions.
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  14. #14
    Jabberwocky Jockey
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    Feel your pain dude

    It sucks to have equipment not working up to its potential.
    Just to be clear though, your problem is with a mechanical anomaly, not singlespeeding.

    It does sound like a frame alignment problem though, maybe flex but I'd suspect alignment first.

    IMHO, I'd dump the PC1 chain in favor of another PC58. I have never had good feelings out of a PC1.

    Good Luck and hang in there.
    The solution is out there, it's just a bike after all.
    Last edited by Darkwing Duck; 01-04-2005 at 04:06 PM.
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  15. #15
    SS Chimp
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    rear triangle alignment......

    i assume that the wheel is "cock-eyed" towards the right chainstay, when looking from behind the bike? That combined with the fat PC-1 chain could easily roll the chain inboard of the cog. Take the tire off the wheel and then remount it in the dops and that should give you a good idea of the side to side alignment. It seems that, most of the time, when flexing is occuring in the BB area you will see the chain problems up front.
    all single...all the time

  16. #16
    cut like the fog.
    Reputation: bones's Avatar
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    had this problem before...

    With my jericho. The first one I had, the rear triangle was welded on crooked. The right seatstay was almost 1 full cm above the left side. Have a look at the weld interfaces on the seattube and see if they are at the same height.

    The second Jericho also had this problem as well and there were two reasons behind it. One was that the dropouts were not square and the wheel sat crooked in the triangle. I actually had to dremel a bit and correct it. It turns out is was mostly just excess powdercoat in the dropout. The second issue was the PC-1 chain. Absolutely the worst chain made. The PC-58/68 fixed that issue.

    My third jericho has it's share of "issues" but nothing too terrible.

    A list of things to check 1st.

    1. eyeball the rim distance from either chainstay and see if it's different. If it is: check wheel dish, check dropouts for excess powdercoat, alignment.

    2. Get rid of the PC-1 if you're using it.

    3. Check to make sure the crankbolts are all tight with no play in them. (obvious one).

    4. Try a different wheel (make sure it's true/straight) and see if it changes the line.

    5. Get some fishing line or something you'll be able to get a bunch of tension on and tie it to a dropout. Wrap the line around the headtube and tighten to the other dropout. Measure the distance between the line and the seat tube and see if the rear end is "out".

    If all esle fails, send it back to Vulture. From what I hear, Wade will make it right for you.

    good luck,
    b.
    [SIZE=3][SIZE=2]
    [/SIZE]
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  17. #17
    mtbr member
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    second the spider issue

    [QUOTE=Nat]Your situation sounds frustrating indeed. You may have already ruled this out, but is your crank/spider/ring perfectly true? I used to have some cranks on which the spider wobbled from side-to-side just slightly, less than 1mm out of true. That problem cause frequent chain derailments.

    I'm sorry to hear of your frustrations. I made a cog change one time before a loop on Slickrock and the new cog was an old uniglide with twist teeth...anyway, I dropped the chain every time I cranked hard....I was ready to throw my bike off a cliff even though I new it was only a 'parts' problem. And it was on my new custom Spicer EBB.

    Having said that, I wouldn't throw out the idea of a bent spider on your cranks. Do you have another set of cranks you could throw on to test?

  18. #18
    Retro Grouch
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    Wink You must be young...

    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    I have to say, you can't beat the Bushnell EBB's. Why anyone persists with pinch clamp or set screw EBBs is beyond me. If you have a correctly tensioned chain, a good chainline, and SS specific ring/cog, you will not throw a chain. Ever.

    No, really.

    I remember seeing your frame a while back with the busted pinch clamp. Try all the things I mentioned above and if you still have problems, at least you can cross those off your list and look at alternative solutions.
    I hate to hijack this thread but as you get older you learn to stay away from absolutes. First Bushnell EBB's are heavier, more mechnaically complicated, and have a reputation of creaking when not properly maintained (which is required more often the other two you mentioned). There is certainly nothing wrong with a Bushnell, but they have their weakness(es) and strength(s) just like the other two. I happen to own the other two and have friends who own Busnells; none of us have had any problems with them.

    You stated

    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    If you have a correctly tensioned chain, a good chainline, and SS specific ring/cog, you will not throw a chain. Ever.
    If the problem is a component problem you could right. I've never thrown a chain on my EBB Rocklobster untill about two weeks ago when a stick lodged in between the cog and rear cog and "tink" off came the chain.

    Perhaps you missed

    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega
    I've done everything I can imagine. New cog, new chainring, different BB lengths, altered the chainline by 1mm increments, tightened the chain, loosened the chain, 3 different chains. It always binds and throws off to the inside of the rear cog. You name it.
    If indeed the frame is tweaked than all the component tweaking in the world is not going to fix the problem.

    As one who posts here from time to time states,

    "The whole problem with the world is that fools are so sure of themselves while wise men are so full of doubt".

    1G1G, Brad

  19. #19
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    Same issue here

    I just bought a Salsa Juan Solo, and I have been having the same stinking issue..good info in this thread on how to fix. After reading this I am wondering if I should get a SS w/ Hdrops. I wanted to get a SPOT but did not want to wait cuz I was so feed up with the 1fg and impulsively bought the Salsa. A friend has Hdrops and it does not really take that long to change a flat. Would anyone suggest a bike with Hdrops instead of using EBBs?

    Again thanks to everyone with the good advice, I had a PC1 and replaced it with the same chain cuz I thought the chain was wore out. Well, I have lots of things to try-peace

  20. #20
    Recovering Weight Weenie
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    Quote Originally Posted by scanjok
    . A friend has Hdrops and it does not really take that long to change a flat. Would anyone suggest a bike with Hdrops instead of using EBBs?
    H drops are never the answer.

  21. #21
    locked - time out
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    Carl Mega -

    You live on the Front Range - right? Talk to Justin at Bike Source near Highlands Ranch - he and a friend created a device that I am 98% certain will fix your issue - regardless of whether it's a frame issue or whatever - I'll go try to find a picture on the FR board and post it back here.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by s1ngletrack; 01-04-2005 at 02:33 PM.

  22. #22
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    Wow...

    Sorry to hear about your problems, but hopefully we can get to the bottom of it. Most of this is beyond my ability to diagnose, but I STRONGLY second the idea of trying another chain. Even if the problem is elsewhere in your frame or componentry, my limited experience with wide BMX chains jibes with the other above opinions.

    I've had my PC-7X derail at high RPMs on a number of occasions in a bit over a year, despite perfect chainline, good tension and tall-toothed cogs. Also, after doing my internal hub project a few weeks ago I started having derailments left and right, presumably because the hub tends to creep forward unless its bolts are cranked down very very tight, loosening the chain. I switched to a PC-58 and the problem went away, even before I figured out just how tight I need to wail on the axle bolts. I'm amazed how forgiving this chain is of poor tension and/or chainline. Run it until you figure out the cause of your problem, and at least your bike will be more rideable.

  23. #23
    Your bike sucks
    Reputation: Carl Mega's Avatar
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    Yeah, I live in south west area of the Denver suburbs. As far as guides go, that's a nice looking one. It may not fit on the hub (for a given chainline) I have but I'm keeping my options open. The right way or the wrong way, I bet that would work. Thanks.

    For everyone:

    I'm in the process of working on the bike right now. After the last chain jam issue, I definately will scrap the chain and it looks like the Most 17T cog bent. I think this happened when the chain wedged between the cog and spokes - took me (and another person) about 10 minutes of yanking to get it out. Guess the extraction came at a price. It *would* be great if it was bent all along and that was the issue but I'm fairly certain that it was straight until yesterday. Since I only have a 16T cog laying around, I'm a 2:1 guy again.

    The bike is all stripped down and the rear end doesn't seem as much out of alignment as I thought. It actually seems pretty straight on the seat stays but there is a difference in the inside clearance on the chain stays (left vs right). That's what I've been noticing - make sense? I didn't see any cracks and everything seems sturdy. It is possible that the frame's drive line is aligned relative to itself. I need to get to the shop and use the F@G to find out for sure. I'll snap some pics today and post them when I get a few extra minutes.

    Thanks again for all the advice. It does seem like other people have problems similar to mine so I'm sure this discussion is helping others as well. Fantastic.

  24. #24
    locked - time out
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carl Mega
    Yeah, I live in south west area of the Denver suburbs. As far as guides go, that's a nice looking one. It may not fit on the hub (for a given chainline) I have but I'm keeping my options open. The right way or the wrong way, I bet that would work. Thanks.
    Yeah - I realize that it's kind of a bandaid fix, but figured it beats the alternative (given that I interpreted your first post correctly and that the most obvious alternative is to run over your beloved, yet wayward, frame with your car).

    For what it's worth, the guide is assymetrical and could be flipped to accomodate varying chainlines - it worked great when I used one on my Pitbull. The downside is that they are asking $50 for them, which seems a bit exorbitant to me, but if it works....

  25. #25
    Penis Goat!
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    Quote Originally Posted by bulC
    I've seen some very expensive handmade frames with bottom bracket shells that were crooked.
    You said it. One of my good friends who works at an LBS has a Ted Wojcik frame that's not quite right. It's not SS, but he says it's still very noticable. Too bad Ted's not building anymore.

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