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Old 05-04-10, 10:55 AM   #1
BrooklynBikeGir
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Need advice on how to resolve issue

Need some advice here. I'll try to make a long story short. I'm having a shop (very well-known shop) do a frame resizing job for me.

My father had a bike built for him back in the 70s by one of Trek's original guys, Dick Nolan. Nolan was building frames on the side at the time and has since seemed to drop off the face of the earth. The bike is huge (77cm) and my dad is 80, so he doesn't ride anymore, but he's the one that taught me to ride and taught me to love biking, so this bike has enormous sentimental value. I sent the frame to this shop to have it resized to fit me. I told the owner (again, very well-known guy) that I ride a 57" frame and sent him my completely measurements in two separate emails.

He just emailed me to tell me that as he was reviewing the papers after having completed the job, he realized that he wrote 54" on the worksheet, even though I had told him 57". The frame is over an inch too small for me now. So, he has acknowledged the mistake but didn't offer a solution at this point.

I have yet to respond because I am a) devastated and b) not sure what the best path forward is at this point. Is it kosher to tell him that I'm not going to pay for the job or should I leave the ball in his court and see if he offers a reduced quote? I am obviously not paying the original quote. This bike is literally irreplaceable and I'm heartbroken that he essentially ruined it.
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Old 05-04-10, 02:24 PM   #2
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Ask him, "Now what?"

Literally. Put the ball in his court.

But keep it nice and civil.
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Old 05-04-10, 08:23 PM   #3
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You can't replace the frame with one with similar sentimental value. All he can do is replace the frame with one that fits. I would hold out for a pretty high grade frame because of his horrible error.
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Old 05-04-10, 10:00 PM   #4
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Did you save those emails with the measurements?
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Old 05-04-10, 11:06 PM   #5
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Tell him you are going to be using it for wall art, and thus it's worth about $25 to you now. As a framebuilder, I have to confess I would never take this job. However, if I had made this mistake I wouldn't charge for it.

Dick was the engineer at Trek when they first started. His wife also built frames at Trek. He was meticulous when he built frames, which didn't happen very often when I was there. I wish I knew what happened to him.
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Old 05-04-10, 11:06 PM   #6
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duplicate
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Old 05-04-10, 11:55 PM   #7
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wait, let me grasp this. The bike was a 77cm frame and you wanted it sized down 20cm? Was your dad a basket ball player? What part of the frame was he able to keep? Did he change the top tube, down tube, head and the rear triangle? That was some major work and you musy have been charged a pretty penny. I don't know that I have ever seen a 77cm frame Trek. That has got to be worth a picture.
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Old 05-05-10, 03:54 AM   #8
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Well, the fact that he's admitting he's made a mistake is a good start.
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Old 05-05-10, 05:52 AM   #9
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Somebody explain to me -- why can't the frame guy just replace the too-short tubes?
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Old 05-05-10, 08:14 AM   #10
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Tell him you are going to be using it for wall art, and thus it's worth about $25 to you now. As a framebuilder, I have to confess I would never take this job. However, if I had made this mistake I wouldn't charge for it.

Dick was the engineer at Trek when they first started. His wife also built frames at Trek. He was meticulous when he built frames, which didn't happen very often when I was there. I wish I knew what happened to him.
It took a few tries to find someone who would do the job. I realize it wasn't the most practical thing to do, but that wasn't the point.

I have gone on the longest wild goose chase trying to find out what happened to Dick. I got in touch with a current Trek employee in Madison who is friends with Mike Appel. He asked Mike if he knew where Dick was and said he said he hasn't seen or heard from him since the early 80s. I think he left Trek around then and seems to have vanished into thin air. Did you know him? Can you tell me anything else about him? My dad just read an article about him back in the 70s, called him up and explained how tall he is (6'7") and asked if he could build him something that would actually fit him. Dick said sure, and after my dad went to pick it up, someone stole it out of his garage a week later. It must have been a gigantic thief b/c very few people could even get ON that bike, it was so big. My dad was supposed to go on a long biking/camping trip with some friends in a couple weeks, so he called Dick up and asked if he could build him another one. Dick said sure, got it to my dad a week later and that's the bike that I just had modified.
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Old 05-05-10, 08:17 AM   #11
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Somebody explain to me -- why can't the frame guy just replace the too-short tubes?
Because all of the tubes are too short, so it would essentially be a different bike if he did that. He shortened the head tube, seat tube, top tube, down tube and seat stays.
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Old 05-05-10, 08:22 AM   #12
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wait, let me grasp this. The bike was a 77cm frame and you wanted it sized down 20cm? Was your dad a basket ball player? What part of the frame was he able to keep? Did he change the top tube, down tube, head and the rear triangle? That was some major work and you musy have been charged a pretty penny. I don't know that I have ever seen a 77cm frame Trek. That has got to be worth a picture.
It wasn't a Trek, actually. They didn't make them that big, which is why my dad had to go custom. It was a Nolan, built by Dick Nolan, Trek's original engineer. My dad is awful at basketball, just an extremely tall (6'7") avid cyclist. And yes, he changed all of that. Major work, gave me a quote of $650, but looks like the job will now be free b/c of his error.

Here's a before and after.
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Old 05-05-10, 08:24 AM   #13
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You can't replace the frame with one with similar sentimental value. All he can do is replace the frame with one that fits. I would hold out for a pretty high grade frame because of his horrible error.
Really? That hadn't occurred to me. I'm doing it because I want to ride my dad's bike, not because I'm in desperate need for another bike.
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Old 05-05-10, 08:25 AM   #14
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Ask him, "Now what?"

Literally. Put the ball in his court.

But keep it nice and civil.
Thanks, I did that and it sounds like he's going to ship it to me for free. He said he was distraught over his error so he rode home and slept on it, and said he would ship it to me and I could decide from there.
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Old 05-05-10, 08:37 AM   #15
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I have gone on the longest wild goose chase trying to find out what happened to Dick. I got in touch with a current Trek employee in Madison who is friends with Mike Appel. He asked Mike if he knew where Dick was and said he said he hasn't seen or heard from him since the early 80s. I think he left Trek around then and seems to have vanished into thin air. Did you know him? Can you tell me anything else about him?
He was the Trek engineer when I worked there in the late '70s. I never socialized with him, and we had a somewhat prickly relationship, probably because I was an obnoxious teenager at the time. If you look at the Trek Brochures on the vintage Trek site, there is a fairly large picture of Dick leaning on some machinery standing next to Mike Appel. They usually didn't look that serious. They finally stopped using that picture in 1982
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Old 05-05-10, 09:36 AM   #16
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Really? That hadn't occurred to me. I'm doing it because I want to ride my dad's bike, not because I'm in desperate need for another bike.
No real solutions here, or even any helpful suggestions. FWIW, though, I sympathize. Maybe it's because my dad recently died, but everybody seems to be skimming over the emotions and sentiment involved. The bike as a bicycle is easy--there are great bikes everywhere these days. I'd be sitting with my head in my hands thinking, "You ruined my father's bike."
Having said that, though...SEVENTY SEVEN centimeters? My brother is 6'8", and he rides a 68. That''s the biggest bike I ever heard of, I think.
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Old 05-05-10, 10:47 AM   #17
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No real solutions here, or even any helpful suggestions. FWIW, though, I sympathize. Maybe it's because my dad recently died, but everybody seems to be skimming over the emotions and sentiment involved. The bike as a bicycle is easy--there are great bikes everywhere these days. I'd be sitting with my head in my hands thinking, "You ruined my father's bike."
Having said that, though...SEVENTY SEVEN centimeters? My brother is 6'8", and he rides a 68. That''s the biggest bike I ever heard of, I think.
Yeah, I'm pretty heartbroken about this. It is a great bike, but I'm devastated b/c it's my father's bike and this project was really special for me.

When I first emailed the framebuilder about the bike, he asked who on earth built this bike b/c he wasn't aware of any standard models that were 77cm. It is pretty hilariously big. Or, was...
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Old 05-05-10, 07:09 PM   #18
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sorry that your project was ruined, it's certainly a special idea. I wish I had my dad's 3 speed that he rode to work every day so my mom could drive the family car. It's my fault really, he took one of my bikes and that made the 3 speed surplus. I suspect it went out in the trash.
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Old 05-06-10, 05:56 AM   #19
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I've done some metalworking just not on bikes yet so I wonder that if he just cut a tube or tubes too short why not cut a small section out of the cut off peice and weld it back on. Might have to slide a smaller one inside it for extra strength but it seems like that would be a simple fix.
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Old 05-06-10, 06:15 AM   #20
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I think the modifications planned already changed the frame enough to say, it isn't your Dad's bike. Retain the luggs and have it resized with new tubes. Parts will still be from your Dad's bike. Sorry, stuff happens.
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Old 05-06-10, 09:26 AM   #21
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If I had that happen, I would see what size bike my daughter rides and build it up for her. It would be great as an heirloom. Think if she rode it on her wedding day as part of something old. I understand the sentimental value and that you may not be able to use it but one of your children could. Its just like my watch, I told my daughter that some day it would be hers but never give it to anyone except one of her kids and only when they are old enough to cherish the sentimental value.

After thinking about this a little more, I am assuming that when you stated 57" you meant 57cm, the difference is a little less than 1-1/4 inches. I would build it up and see how it fits. You may find that it is within a fitable range and workable for you.

Last edited by cyclist2000; 05-06-10 at 09:33 AM. Reason: second thoughts
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Old 05-06-10, 09:38 AM   #22
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If I had that happen, I would see what size bike my daughter rides and build it up for her. It would be great as an heirloom. Think if she rode it on her wedding day as part of something old. I understand the sentimental value and that you may not be able to use it but one of your children could. Its just like my watch, I told my daughter that some day it would be hers but never give it to anyone except one of her kids and only when they are old enough to cherish the sentimental value.
Yeah, that's a great idea and I will do that when I have kids, but I'm not at that point, yet. This bike is definitely staying in the family.

For now, I'm going to make the best of it and do everything I can to make it fit me--modify the stem, seatpost, cranks, etc. Luckily, my arms are a bit short compared to my legs, so a shorter top tube may not matter at all, right? I'm not overly familiar with crank length variability, but I'm assuming my dad's were pretty long, so maybe those will work now. I'm planning on using all of the original components that I can b/c they're all good quality (Campy, etc) and still in great shape.
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Old 05-06-10, 09:40 AM   #23
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After thinking about this a little more, I am assuming that when you stated 57" you meant 57cm, the difference is a little less than 1-1/4 inches. I would build it up and see how it fits. You may find that it is within a fitable range and workable for you.
Yeah, I'm still going to build it up. I have to try to make it work somehow. I can't bear to see this project die.

And yes, oops, 57cm not inches. Ha. That WOULD be a big bike.
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Old 05-06-10, 12:31 PM   #24
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As someone mentioned, perhaps the best way to honor your father is the find someone who does fit the bike as it is now and knows the story. Then, work with the people to see how they can make you whole again.
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Old 06-22-10, 10:15 AM   #25
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She's done! There were lots of snags but I'm finally riding her. The bar tape here is just temporary. I still have to ride her a bit to see if I need a longer stem, so I didn't want to wrap it with the honey Brooks tape I bought to match the saddle. But I think she's pretty good looking and so far the fit seems okay. We put spacers in between the head tube and the stem and a longer seat post.


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