After 2 1/2 years of grooving on the Habanero Ti ‘Cross frame, I got a crack! I don’t race ‘cross, or take it on single-track, so I don’t think it’s abuse. I know everybody says JRA (just riding along), but really, this isn’t me! Here’s the pics. You can tell me in the comments if you think this is my fault. 😉 I’ve got a note in to Habanero to see what the warrantee situation looks like.
UPDATE: Habanero is covering it under warrantee and shipping me a new frame! Woohoo! That’s customer service!
When I built up the Habanero just about 2 years ago, I went for cheap wheels. This was a budget TI experiment, so I bought the cheapest 29er wheel set I could (I think I paid around $250 for the whole set). These wheels were solid Mavic A317 rims with Shimano Deore disc hubs.
Well, I then proceeded to ride around 9k miles on them through two salty, nasty Minnesota winters. I never serviced them. As I had the wheels off to put my studs on for this winter, I noted that they didn’t roll so fresh anymore. I took them into the LBS and asked them to repack the bearings. Easy job. $70 quote for both. I smiled and went home.
Next day, LBS calls me to tell me that the hubs are shot – the steel race that is pressed into the hub body was rusted and pitted. Ooops. They could replace the hubs with a wheel build, but that I really should consider an upgrade to a cartridge hub. After a lot of thinking about it, I called them back and went for it. A week later, my wheels (same rims and brake discs but with new spokes and DT Swiss 350 hubs) were ready. They rolled very smooth … I walked out with my CC smarting to the tune of $630. Ouch!
They are night and day! I hadn’t realized that so much of the resistance that I felt riding was the grinding hubs! Holy cow! Now I know better and will make sure that my hubs are serviced every 1k or so.
Some first impressions. First, both of these are not sized to go over cycling shorts. they are generally true to size. If you want to put them over regular padded shorts, expect them to be tight.
Movement. The Bicycle Fixation knicks don’t have a gusseted crotch, and bind pretty badly trying to swing a leg over the bike. It’s surprised and annoyed me every time that my leg smacks the rear rack because I didn’t hike up the pants. This is not a problem with the Swrves – which have more stretch and a gusseted crotch.
Features. The Swrve’s have really nice pockets and the reflective belt loops are nice (albeit, hidden under a jacket all winter). The Bicycle Fixation have closing cuffs. The Swrve’s have just a seam. It’s not an oversized opening, but I find myself wishing that the Swrve’s had a drawstring to cinch-up the cuff a little more. The BF knicks have a very nice button arrangement that can get snug – but is a little tedious to get done/undone each trip.
Warmth. I’m not really going to compare them this way. They simply aren’t designed for the same temperature ranges.
So, my adored Swobo woolens are starting to fray. I did some research and picked up a pair of Bicycle Fixation Classic Wool Knickers (link) and a pair of Swrve Winter Softshell Knickers (link). Both at the same (steep) price point of $125. I’m going to ride them all winter and tell you all what I think.
Right off the bat, however, I can tell these two are apples and oranges. The BF knicks are like suit pants, and the Swrve knicks are like body armor. Very different heft and robustness. The Swrve knicks are tanks. First blush, the Swrve’s are a lot better constructed. The BF knicks are constructed well, but seem like they were made by a competent amateur seamster. The Swrve’s are clearly a professional job. For the same price, the Swrve’s are (out of the packaging) clearly in the lead.
Well, my warrantee was expired, but the folks at Selle Anatomica fit my leather to a new frame for $50 (I paid for shipping to them, but it was free coming to me). I think that’s pretty stand-up. And my ass is back in the good saddle (and not in the old Specialized BG thing that was no where near as nice).