Fixing a Broken Heart
The heart of a bicycle is the frame. The fork, wheels, bars and stem, saddle, pedals, etc. are vital, but they all build upon the frame. I've ridden many and owned a few bikes over the years and have determined through trial and error what I like to ride. I was despondent last fall when I discovered a crack on the chainstay of my mountain bike. I found a loaner bike to ride and pondered the fate of my well loved hardtail...
I purchased this mountain bike frame about 12 years ago at the Fruita Fat Tire Festival. An expo filled the Fruita town square with bike companies of every size. As I wandered through the square a friend spotted a steel hardtail built by a custom frame builder from Bozeman, MT. Strong Frames displayed an array of demo mountain bikes to ride and custom frames to buy or admire. I admired a boldly colored demo frame and after asking a long string of questions I bought that un-subtle frame. After returning home a local bike shop built up the frame and I have been riding it for over a decade.
After trading a few emails and photos with Carl Strong I shipped the bare frame back to it's birthplace in Bozeman. A week or so later Carl informed me that the repair would be under warranty and asked how would I like the frame to be refinished. I was pleasantly shocked and thrilled that my old, reliable mountain bike would live on. Of course, picking a new color was a challenge, but I decided that the original red / white / blue with sparkle powder coat would be replaced with a more subtle hue. When the restored frame arrived on my doorstep I was as giddy as that first day in Fruita.
I won't debate the merits of steel vs. aluminum vs. titanium vs. carbon fiber for bicycle frames. But, I do love how my steel hardtail rides and that it could be repaired despite years of un-gentle use. I'm also amazed at the exceptional support that Carl Strong provides with his custom bike frames. The saying goes, "You get what you pay for." And sometimes, you get more.