I’ve been hesitating to write this article because I really don’t want to give anyone a bad name, but at the same time, I’ve posted enough about my bike and its various bits and pieces that I think it’d be wrong not to. My compromise here will be not to name the manufacturer – but that is also not too hard to figure out if you go back in my archives.
I think my unrequited love story with my front wheel is coming to an end and I’m still at a loss as to know why, really. A little background, if I can remember the long, sordid tale:
- I detected a ‘wobble’ a little before Haute Route last summer and it showed itself to be pretty dangerous in the fast and wet conditions in the Alps. At some points on the descent of Izoard I thought the brakes would ‘catch’ for good on the place (actually there were two) on the rim which was bulging and I’d go over the handlebars and into the abyss.
- I sent that sucker back after the event and they replaced it, saying they detected a .3 mm bulge in the rim.
- The replacement wheel had a similar problem, which I got confirmed by my bike shop. Sent that bad boy back, too.
- Oh, and that rim had a ‘cosmetic imperfection’ where the pieces of rim were joined. Here’s a photo.
- This time they sent me back the same wheel with those joints sanded down a bit and the rim trued some. They also included a little swag to appease me and make up for the cost of postage, I guess.
- Crossing all fingers and toes, I went out for a ride, only to find the same damn problem, especially at low speeds (a ‘biting’ at one point each revolution). I took two videos of me spinning the wheel and compressing the brakes enough to show the ‘bulge’ and they asked me to send it back again.
- This time they replaced the wheel (again) and sent me back another brand new one. Same problem as before. More swag came in the box.
- I waited a while, in the hopes that it’d get better, but it didn’t. This time I was contacted by the boss (the first guy I talked to about another problem more than year before) and he advised me to sell the wheelset that I have because ‘you’ll never become friends’ with them. They offered to sell me a brand new set at a big discount.
For the record, I have tried looking at other possible causes of the problem, like running my alu wheel on the Colnago to see if it was the bike and not the wheel. I still feel like it could be something other than the wheel, but that is probably just me doubting my sanity. Every time I’ve sent a wheel back to them they’ve found a ‘bulge’.
I am kind of at a loss of what to do now. They’ve gone ‘quiet’ on the email front and I have to say that they’ve been at least helpful throughout the whole process (other than not giving me a true wheel, I suppose). I would never sell that wheel, – and I’m kind of shocked that they’d even suggest it – since I consider it to be dangerous when braking hard.
And I didn’t say this to them, but why the hell would I consider buying another wheelset from them if I’ve had three brand new wheels from them with the same problem? It defies logic.
I think what I’ll probably do is keep this for a winter wheel (when I don’t generally descend giant cols). So, I’m in the market for a good, straight, front wheel, readers. Any suggestions?