On 9 September, my Seasons Tikit deposited me on the road. Following emergency braking, the left fork blade snapped, the front wheel twisted until the tyre jammed against the right fork blade and I went flying over the handlebars. This is what the bike looked like after the incident.
Luckily because I was on an organised ride I was quickly attended to by a doctor who treated my injuries. If you really want to see them, there is a photograph here.
When I returned home I emailed a set of photos with a description of the incident to Rob English at Bike Friday. I reproduce some of the photographs below:
The initial response from Bike Friday was positive. I reproduce it here:
Firstly I am very sorry to hear about the incident, and your injuries -
I’m glad you were at least able to finish the ride, but clearly not in
the manner which you hoped. Are things starting to heal up now it has
been a few days? And thank you for the clear description and pictures of
what occurred, this is really helpful in determining the cause and
ensuring that we make the fork stronger. My initial thought is that the
combination of the disc brake and the steep hills you regularly ride put
a much greater load on the fork than with a rim brake. So we will need
to reinforce the crown on the replacement bike, but I will review it
with the team to determine the best solution. Sorry that we didn’t get
it right the first time, but thank you for the opportunity to make it right.
So yes, we will of course repair the bike for you – it is likely we will
need to build you a new frameset, but I will have Jordan (our customer
service manager, cc’d on this email), determine the best course to get
your bike sorted out for you as soon as we can.
Now I was not particularly convinced by the suggested cause. Indeed, it was suggested to me by my engineer father that a less than complete circular weld at the crown was more likely to be the cause. (See the dark area at the top of the fracture in the two images above – the absence of bright metal is indicative that the area has not just recently been exposed to the air by the break). However, I was not particularly concerned to attribute blame. Bike Friday said they would repair the bike and that was good enough. Fedex were summoned at Bike Friday’s expense and the bike went off for repair.
However, earlier this week I got the bike back. I eagerly unpacked it and was pleased to see a new frame, including the new design seat post had been fitted. Unfortunately, it was at that point that being pleased turned to disappointment. The front wheel would not turn freely – the rotor rubbed noisily against the calliper and the rim was Pringle shaped. It seems that Bike Friday took the view that they would replace their frame but not repair or replace any components damaged.
So I don’t have a ridable bike. I am fairly sure that Tony Butterworths, my local bike shop, will be able to turn the Tikit into a ridable bike. But frankly, that isn’t good enough. The bike which was intended as a no fuss, low maintenance all weathers ride has already been to Tony’s twice (having been badly set up when it first arrived, and then to have this summer’s seatpost safety upgrade fitted) and I am getting fed up of spending money to sort out Bike Friday’s failings. It wouldn’t be quite so galling if they didn’t make such a play about their great customer service.
That’s it. I started as a fan of the Tikit and with good things to say about Bike Friday. Now I wonder why I didn’t just buy a Dahon.