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Old 05-21-12, 06:06 PM   #1
surreal
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seat-tube not reamed; options for the home mechanic? (loooong post)

Ok, i'll try to keep this short n sweet:
I purchased a frameset from a small domestic manufacturer back in January. I ordered frame/fork/seatpost, and when the thing got to me in march (@ double the turnaround time i was quoted at purchase), the seatpost I had paid for wasn't included. They'd given me a lot of lip-service about "sorry for the wait, and super-sorry we forgot the post; we can refund you the $$" n all, and I was feeling so stoked about the frame, I ordered a matching handlebar and told them to just toss the post in the box with the bars. The bars were supposed to ship in a few weeks, but instead took 2 and a half months, and when they got here with the post, I found that the post won't even fit in the frame.

Some add'l info: in the time between getting the frameset and getting the seatpost, I found a few other issues with the frame, to whit:
-rear dropouts spaced at 119mm, when they were s'posed to be specced at 110mm (and during the wait, I'd built a 110mm rear wheel)
-decals looked to have been put on by a drunken gibbon
-possible issues with running my brake of choice (complicated, not directly related to my main problem w/ the seatpost, but still of concern.)

Possibly worse, the seatpost, when it finally arrived (delayed, I'm told, by issues at the plater), is seriously rusty inside. Perfect, mirror-like chrome finish on the outside...inside crusty/flaky/beat. I'd have been better off buying a Wald post for $4

Further, I'd read a thread online about a guy who got his frame around the same time as I did, and the finish was damaged out-of-the-box... it took him months of belly-aching and a lot of drama to get any kind of resolution, and when he finally did, they just knocked off the price of the PC job, charging him what they would've charged for a raw, unfinished frame.

Now, the post won't slide into the frame on account of excess steel at the top-tube/seat-stay/seat-tube juncture being in the way. Goes in like an inch, hits several little bumps, and it's stuck there. OBVIOUSLY, the framebuilder owes me a properly reamed tube, and he OUGHT to pay for shipping both ways, fix it, and send it back. Based on the quality of his work, and the experience of the other dude, I don't think they'll do any of that willingly, competently, or in a timely manner. Which leaves me with a seat-tube that needs reaming. As I see it, my options are:

-take it to Bilenky and pay them a lot of money to do it
-try to hit it with a file and risk damaging the frame
-take it to a machine shop or somesuch, ask them to ream it out, risk some sort of mishap related to no bike experience(probably a paranoid risk)
-find a better DIY method than the aforementioned file, hopefully from one of y'all here on this forum.
-something else I have yet to think of?

So, anyone who has read this far: do you have any suggestions or advice?

-rob
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Old 05-21-12, 06:36 PM   #2
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LBS with an appropriate adjustable reamer?

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Old 05-21-12, 07:36 PM   #3
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i would pass on bilenky. took about 5 months to get a frame repaired. they lost(their words) the rear end(full suspension ti merlin). welds looked like ****. scratches all around the repair. also did not send the thomson seatpost back that we sent. this was all in the winter. at work we have reamers and i have a disc brake hone that i use for quick and dirty stuff
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Old 05-21-12, 08:00 PM   #4
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Brake hone.

You have to know what you are doing with this thing, but it works magic if you do.
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Old 05-21-12, 08:14 PM   #5
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I don't know what I'm doing with a brake hone....
Would there be a type of local dude (small automotive repair shop or something) that would have one, plus a guy who knows what he's doing, who could do it up for a smallish fee?

I can call around bike shops to see if they have an adjustable reamer...might be the safest bet.

Reptilez, sucks that you had bad experience with Bilenky. I've heard slightly similar accounts from other folks, but I've run into other folks who cannot say enough nice things about 'em. It is my closest framebuilder, which is why I'd mentioned them...

Anyone else got any ideas to toss into the brainstorm?

-rob
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Old 05-21-12, 08:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
LBS with an appropriate adjustable reamer?


+1

Just about any decent bike shop has an appropriate reamer, and is probably willing and able to deal with this at a very reasonable price
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Old 05-21-12, 09:05 PM   #7
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The brake hone works, seen that solution centuries of years ago. Another way to fix your problem is to find a smaller diameter seatpost and put sand paper around, will take longer but at least you will be sure it is rounded. Use a digital caliper to be sure when to stop.

Probably by respect to the guy you wont tell us who is it, but some of the stuff is fixable, the rear end is pretty easy to do, you just need 135 mm axle, cones and washers. The decals no idea if you have them over the clear or not so it depends.

If the paint job is bad and the light reflextion is bad you have to sand the paint job and polish it. Not many Powder coaters do that, specially if the job is not expensive.

Hope this helps.
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Old 05-22-12, 08:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ultraman6970 View Post
The brake hone works, seen that solution centuries of years ago. Another way to fix your problem is to find a smaller diameter seatpost and put sand paper around, will take longer but at least you will be sure it is rounded. Use a digital caliper to be sure when to stop.

Probably by respect to the guy you wont tell us who is it, but some of the stuff is fixable, the rear end is pretty easy to do, you just need 135 mm axle, cones and washers. The decals no idea if you have them over the clear or not so it depends.

If the paint job is bad and the light reflextion is bad you have to sand the paint job and polish it. Not many Powder coaters do that, specially if the job is not expensive.

Hope this helps.
It definitely helps. FWIW, the frames were powdercoated, not painted. The other guy who got a frame around the same time I did, he had a big ugly chip in the powder, out-the-box. My frame's finish is perfect, but I get the feeling that the candy-red powder might be kinda fragile, as in, prone to scratches/chipping.

I've already got the rear-end spacing issue solved; not a big deal for me to fix, but still kind of a QC problem for a small builder making semi-expensive production frames. The decals were, mercifully, not under any sort of clearcoat. They were sloppily applied, and there was plenty of blasting media (or some other sand-like substance) on the adhesive side, so reapplication wasn't a viable option. Again, something I can get over, but I expect better on a new frameset (anywhere outside of Walmart, etc..) Especially when the job took a lot longer than originally quoted; I can wait patiently, especially if the job is being done perfectly. But what am I waiting for, if the job was clearly rushed at the last minute?

The seat-tube issue is particularly troublesome, as I don't own the tools to handle it, and the entire frame could be compromised if I borrow tools and botch it, or have yet another incompetent person try to do it for me. I've been hesitant to mention who the builder is, b/c I'm still toying with the idea of at least asking them what they're willing to do for me, plus I believe that there's no such thing as bad publicity. If I "out" the builder here, that might cause more folks to check out the site and order some goods, despite my bad experiences. I feel that the firm's QC is not yet ready for any influx of new customers....

Thanks again. Do most shops have an adjustable reamer that can open up a 7/8" seat-tube? I'm gonna start calling folks tomorrow...
-rob
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Old 05-22-12, 08:09 PM   #9
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I've occasionally had luck with a half-round file, but an appropriate reamer would be preferable.

Would you care to name the business who did such shoddy work? I will steer clear of that company.
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Old 05-23-12, 06:41 AM   #10
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If you can find someone with the correct size reamer, I'd go
that way, but the brake cylinder hone is what I've used in the past,
and so long as you use it with a variable speed drill (like a Makita),
go slow, and stop and check your progress periodically so you
don't go too far, it works fine and is cheap to buy.......see the
Harbor freight link above.

But if there's a buncha crap in there, rather than just some weld
spatter or a little brazing overflow, go with the reamer.
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Old 05-23-12, 07:40 AM   #11
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With all the noticeable issues with this frame, I'm wondering what other "goodies" are lurking below the paint?

Me, I'd probably wage an attempt to return the frame for a full refund.
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