Tuesday, May 21, 2013

UNBELIEVABLE



This post includes photos of Instructions that came with a Soma Frame bought by Ron Andrews of King Cage in Durango Colorado.  I actually phoned Ron because I thought it was a joke!!
He said the Head Tube and Seat Tube had not been reamed, the Bottom Bracket had not been faced.

24 comments:

  1. I'll just get out my household alignment jig...
    guess I won't be buying a Soma anytime soon.

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  2. Seat tube not reamed... Totally unacceptable. Really though, all of it is unacceptable.

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  3. ... and head tube. That's probably even worse, really.

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  4. If only there was some sort of business that had tools and knew how to service bicycles...

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  5. Okay. I admit it. It's a conspiracy so that I can sell more reaming, facing, chasing and alignment tools.

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  6. who has those tools in their household.....I would expect more from SOMA and the frames are not cheap typically

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  7. Whats up your butt Bruce? This should be done to every bike by every company by every wrench who builds bikes. Including Bruce Gordan bikes. Good for Soma to point it out to knuckle heads that order frames online and dont know how to turn a wrench.

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    1. Dear Anonymous,
      I have the same thing up my Butt that almost anyone has - a Colon.
      Secondly my name is spelled Gordon not Gordan.
      You can tap and face my frames if you like, but, you would have to take out the Head Cups and Bottom Bracket cups that come already installed. I have through the years had the discussion that I should face the surfaces after painting - it is my opinion that those steps should be done before painting, Scraping off a thin layer of paint is an invitation for rust to creep under the paint.
      And I have never found that the thin layer of paint on a faced surface has caused any problems - but people are free to disagree.
      If you want to reply please sign in with your name - Anonymous posts will be deleted in the future.
      Regards,
      Bruce Gordon

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    2. Brian GangelhoffMay 22, 2013 at 11:43 AM

      Quality aside (I'm sure yours is 100%). If you buy a frame it needs to be gone over regardless of the material to make sure their are no flaws and hasn't bee damaged in shipping. If you buy it online and are not able to do this you can bring it to your local bike shop and hang your head in shame as not having ordered through them. If you order a frame through a local bike shop and they don't do this before they build a bike then they should hang their head in shame and you should find another bike shop.
      My apology for the misspelling.
      Brian Gangelhoff
      P.S. Congrats on the colon. Old curmudgeons like ourselves should have these checked.

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  8. Maybe next year's model will include brazing instructions.

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  9. at that price point, you ain't gonna have those services provided. the local shop you buy it from will do those! that's the point. when you buy a frame online, these instructions are vital. why? they want you to bring it to a local bike shop so it's set up right from the beginning, or at least provide a disclaimer that this is what a raw frame looks like, and if you're not up to it, get help.
    all frames need this service - whether it's at the framebuilder's after paint comes back, at the bike shop or in the garage.
    perhaps SOMA could put this on their website, however, to avoid any surprises, but i don't think anyone paying $400 for a frame is thinking everything will come prepped. the whole alignment clause - now that's kind of poor form - that's a QC issue, not a frame prep one.

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  10. Whatever is in Bruce's butt crawled up there and has been living happily for at least 40 years. No need to disturb it now.

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  11. Even Surly frames arrive ready to build

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    1. Brian GangelhoffMay 22, 2013 at 12:07 PM

      From the Surly website.
      "The first thing that should be done to all frames, not just ours, is to have it prepped by a competent professional. It’s a good idea to face the head tube, fork crown, and bottom bracket shell (where the crank bearings fit). Facing removes excess paint and metal, making the tube end surfaces parallel, thereby ensuring that all the pieces of the headset or BB square up and operate smoothly without 'hotspots' of excess pressure and friction which can ruin bearings prematurely. On Surly frames it is usually not necessary to remove much (if any) metal, just the paint. Done wrong, facing can remove too much material (metal that used to be your BB shell or head tube). This can be especially harmful to outboard-style bottom bracket bearings, which require proper width spacing to adjust properly. Again, this work should be done by someone who knows exactly what they're doing."

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  12. I think there's two issues at play here. Sure, maybe some think that a frame shouldn't come faced and chased from the factory/builder (for the record, I think they should). That point is arguable and if there's an argument that it drives traffic to an LBS then I may be persuaded. However, alignment checks? Really? If the frame or fork is out of alignment it should never have left the factory. What does that say about QC?

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    1. I don't think anyone's saying they "shouldn't" come faced and chased, we'd all like to see that. But it's about expectations. And the expectation (at least mine) is that for 400 frame and fork, yes, you may have to do a little work to get it in final shape. The Surly and Salsas I've owned came in fine shape with little prep needed. I've never owned a Soma but they seem similar in value and popularity and FUN.

      I have no evidence whatsoever but I assume that those purchasing in this frame category are shop employees and their friends, competent garage mechanics looking for yet another ride to build, or those walking into shops that have Crosschecks or Smoothies or El Mariachis already built up. Those that buy from the net directly are in for an ikea-like challenge, but that's part of the experience for many.

      These are not in the same category of bike as a Bruce Gordon or Soulcraft or Sycip. And a key rule in marketing is to not badmouth your competition (or even those that aren't your competition). If one needs to badmouth Soma to sell his frames or distinguish his from the Somas of the world, that's his choice. But given the number of custom builders out there, one would want more reasons for people to buy their frame over the competition, not reasons to think you're some old curmudgeon who used to be relevant to the industry.

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  13. I have worked in enough high-end bike shops to have seen frames come in both ways. In the early days of investment cast bottom bracket shells, a well-know builder did not tap the shells at all, and we found we needed to keep a set of VAR taps at the sharpener at all times, because by the time we got one back, the one in use was ready to be sharpened again. Saved the FB a bunch, I'd guess.

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  14. I used to import frames from Taiwan. I chased and faced, aligned and reamed the seat tube of every one of these frames. I think it is essential to do. In my opinion , one is not selling a completed product if this is not done. The distributor of the Soma frames should set up a small frame prep station in their warehouse.The distributor could charge extra for this additional labor and people would still buy the frames and probably be a lot happier with their purchase. I think not prepping these frames before they go out to the shops or worse the consumer is laziness and with the margin on these frames being very good I see no ethical justification for this lack of quality control.

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  15. number1bikermonkeyMay 28, 2013 at 7:12 PM

    As a former shop mechanic I see nothing surprising or unbelievable about this. I would find it unbelievable from a custom builder like Bruce, or Jeremy Sycip, Steelman, Eisentraut, or any number of other great framebuilders doing beautiful CUSTOM work. For an INEXPENSIVE, FACTORY PRODUCED frame this is just what I would expect. I'm not saying this is ideal, but for higher quality you pay a much higher price. I recently bought a Soma that I am very happy with. I had to chase and face the head tube and bottom bracket and while the dropouts were fine the hanger needed a bit of aligning. While I don't own all the necessary tools, I have access to them and fully expected to use them before buying the frame. Anyone buying one of these direct should have no reason to think they are getting something perfect for a few hundred dollars. I don't see anything unreasonable about the phrase "You get what you pay for," because it's true. Buying a cheap frame means you're not paying someone to spend time doing these things and usually someone is going to have to. Most people will have to pay a LBS to do this, just as they will to have the bike built in the first place...

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  16. I think they are saying that their frames are mass produced and that they should be chased, faced, and have their alignment checked before assembly. Makes a lot of sense to me. Maybe running through those process will confirm the frame is spot on, maybe it needs adjustment, maybe it's defective. Seems like you want to know that, and take corrective measures, before you put the bike together and ride it, not after.

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  17. I think Bruce is right to point this out... if you're selling frames to shops, that is one thing... but if you're selling to the general public, you need to send them out ready to build.

    When I'm buyign a frame, I want to build up my own bike. I love turning wrenches, and wheelbuilding is downright therapeutic.

    I'm not buying a frame so the FRAME can be the project.

    And if the alignment isn't right, the frame shouldn't go out the door.
    Sheesh.

    -Mathias Steiner
    East Lansing, MI

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  18. Larry sez - I'm certainly old school and proud to have bought and paid for the tools needed to tap, face, ream, etc. steel frames, including some from very high-end builders both in the USA and Italy. Just part of my service skill-set as a pro mechanic. If these frames are being sold consumer-direct, one might quibble about none of this being done...otherwise, what's the big deal? If the maker doesn't do it, it's an opportunity for a quality shop to offer value-added (in this case very much needed) services. On the other hand, if the frame alignment is way off, the thing should simply be rejected as defective.

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  19. I bought my wife a Soma frameset a couple of years ago, and was pleased to see the warning included with the frame. It showed me that Soma cares about seeing that their frames are built up properly, rather than shoddily. That said, I did a quick (Sheldon method) alignment check, and checked the dropout and derailleur hanger alignment, and all was perfect. The head tubes and BB shell had the appearance of having been faced before painting, as the surfaces were very even and smooth as silk. I had them chased by my LBS anyway.

    I recently bought a Rawland frameset. Same deal, no issues at all with the alignments.

    I think this is standard practice for any production frame manufacturer or retailer who cares about seeing their frames built up properly.

    A frame builder bad-mouthing a generally well-liked bike brand-- now that's unbelievable.

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