Aug 3, 2011

I could really use a Lefty

I recently mentioned that while out in Colorado I noticed my Lefty making a clunking noise/feeling and the lock-out was not working. When I stopped to assess the situation I found oil had seeped out of the bottom of the Lefty (all over my disk and caliper!).

I plan on mailing this up to Mendon Cyclesmith for repair but first I need to remove it from the frame. I know that there is a special Cannondale tool called the "Ernie" which is used for lefty installation & removal and I don't have one so I called my local bike shop (LBS) to see if they could remove it for me. They assured me that they could. I told them that it has an System Integration (SI) stem/steerer combo and asked if they were sure they had the tools to properly remove it. They said "yeah, sure our mechanics have the tools". Sweet! So after work I through the frame and fork over my shoulder and rode the fixie down to the shop.

They took it off my hands and immediately started unscrewing the clamps and wiggling the steerer/stem loose. I watched them to see how this special tool is used and what it looks like, but I didn't see any tool... Instead, I see one guy holding my frame upside-down while another guy uses a mallet to smack the shit out of my stem. They were trying to force the stem/steerer out of the head tube! I knew this wasn't right, but thought, well, maybe it just needs a tap or two...

Ten minutes later they're still whacking the shit out of my stem/steerer. Then they come to me and say: "We can't get the steerer out; we're going to have to destroy it to get it out.". I'm like "Woah woah woah!" I go look at what they've done and they had beaten the hell out of everything! The stem has a massive half-dollar size dent on the underside from all the hammering and the threads at the bottom of the steerer are destroyed from them trying to push it up and out of the head tube with some sort of pipe they had.

I was furious! I said: "you know there's a special tool for this right?" To which they replied "Special tool?".

I was so shaking mad... could barely speak. I was ready to punch someone/something! But, I kept my cool and didn't even curse, though I was so tempted to scream "WTF?!".

Surveying the damage here's what I saw:

1) The top clamp is badly twisted. They said: "Oh we'll straighten that out for you". Bullshit; you're replacing that. I'm not riding a fatigued clamp. What really sucks abou this is that the upper clamp is actually part of the upper carbon leg! So, they're going to have to get the whole upper piece from Cannondale.

2) The steerer/stem combo is toast. It's dented in many places and the treads are destroyed at the bottom of it.

They told me they will pay for everything but I will NEVER go back to this shop. I did not hear one apology or admittance of any wrong-doing. The owner was not in yesterday. But I did call him today to tell him what had happened. He rushed me off the phone saying that he'd pay for any damaged parts. I'll be paying him a visit after work today. All I want is for them to get my Lefty off and order the replacement parts no charge. When the parts come in, I'm sending them up to Mendon Cyclesmith and will charge the LBS for all costs.

The bike shop will remain nameless for now. Depending on how they handle this situation I may or may not flame them on Yelp, this blog, and

Can you believe this crap?


spruceboy said...

Yikes - thats way to nice of a bike to have a shop start whacking away with a mallet when they can't figure out how something comes off..

Hopefully they make it good for you somehow.

phattire said...

Thanks Spruceboy. Pretty perplexed by the whole ordeal. If there's one thing any mechanic should know, it's that there's always a right tool for any job.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Wow !!??!!