I get needled a lot for my antiquated, contrarian ways. If I had my way every novice racer would be rolling 32h 3x wheels and a practical steel frame, so when the inevitable crashes occur, life would go on without a hitch. But you know, that’s just not the world we live in. In fact, as prices have fallen, we’re now seeing upwards of 50% of first year racers on entry level (and used) carbon frames. It’s really not an issue of novices purchasing products “beyond their station” so much as carbon has pushed other materials out of the market.
Once upon a time, even the smallest amount of damage to a carbon frame (or fork, or rims) was a fate dreaded by all. In most cases, it meant complete replacement. Later, the fine folks at Calfee came along and launched a novel carbon repair service. And in the past few years, some young entrepreneurs have followed suit. The most interesting company in this new wave is called Ruckus Components. Though based in Portland these days, the firm has roots in the midwest, and specifically with the Chicagoland racing scene. TATI has been working with Ruckus for years, and a couple of weeks ago I had a nice conversation with its principal, Shawn Small, about the state of affairs here in Chi-town. We talked about a number of topics and brainstormed ways that we could mutually offer a service to the racing community, particularly the newest and most vulnerable racers. And, of course, that problem would revolve around busted carbon.
The problem is pretty simple. Crashes happen. Frames break. And then a few things typically happen. Sometimes folks simply don’t have the funds to replace the frame, or at least not immediately. And even if they do, there’s typically significant downtime while everything is sorted out. Sometimes folks will just choose to sit out the rest of the season, or wait for cross (or in the case of cross, road)… again, saving up funds all the while. And even in the cases where they do choose to send off a frame for repair, it’s not cheap and then there’s the problem of working out a spare/loaner bike. It’s just not easy. And it’s certainly not cheap.
So Shawn and I decided to try to come up with a service that is cheaper, easier, and most importantly – much faster. It should keep folks training and racing with as little downtime as possible. And if it keeps some busted up carbon out of the landfill for a few more years, that’s a bonus.
Here’s how it works:
RUCKUS will offer a reduced price repair service that also will include rapid turnaround. For most repairs, the cost will be only $200 and with less than 2 week turnaround. It won’t include all of the fancy repaint and finishwork that Ruckus is most famous for, but will include a super professional structural repair and resin topcoat that in most cases will make the frame *stronger* than before.
TATI will offer 75% off our normal labor rate for the teardown, shipping, and rebuilding of damaged frames. For those in dire financial straights, we will charge nothing at all for labor. This includes: teardown and inspection of the damaged frame, packing and shipping to Ruckus, building up a loaner frame with your parts, receipt and unpacking of the repaired frame, teardown of the loaner frame, and rebuild of the repaired frame. What’s the turnaround for this amazing service, you ask? 48 hours. This is a bananas deal, yo. And it’s all because we love you so much.
TATI will loan you a super sick team edition Hulot frame. These are no-joke, no-holds-barred European pro-style racing bikes. In fact, I would venture to say that in many cases they will be better racing frames than the carbon whatsits being repaired. In only their first year of production, Hulot frames have been ridden to multiple local podiums. Did I say what this service will cost? It will cost $0. Because we love you so much.
Last but not least, we’ll do our best to bundle repairs (we send a lot of stuff to Ruckus) – in order to keep shipping costs down and not waste so many dinosaurs to send your frame back and forth across our fine nation.
That’s about it. Break your frame. Bring is to TATI. Pick up a loaner bike. Ruckus will repair it Like a Boss. Trade the loaner bike for your bike. Never stop training or racing.
P.S. if you break a carbon rim, handlebars, etc. Please ask! Quick and easy repairs on them as well.