Improved support from Firefox

I had referred to a cracked frame on my Firefox Viper in a previous post.

Here is how the crack looked like :

And how (rather when) did the crack happen ? The day after our Bannerghatta ride.

Me, Manohar and Kailash (another cycling freak. Biggest effort - Kanyakumari-Rameshwaram-Chennai last december) were riding on Sarjapur road. I felt that I was going back a bit. At first I ignored it. Just a minute later, to my shock, I realised that I wasn't on my seat! We were in a village. I quickly dismounted and found that the seat had gone back a bit and that there was the crack on the frame for all to see. My first thought was that the seat was probably too high. The seat post was way above the minimum insertion point - more than an inch. I knew that I would have to lower the seat to have any hopes of continuing riding. We searched for an allen key in vain - even the village hardware shop didn't have one. So we started walking back towards the outer ring road, asking everybody about allen keys. A few minutes later, there was a workshop on the left side - and luckily we found an allen key of the right side there! I lowered the seat - this definitely makes it difficult to pedal. I wanted to proceed but Kailash shot down my idea saying that it was dangerous to continue. Hence our ride was cut short.

I wasn't able to contact the Firefox Showroom until Wednesday. On wednesday, when I called the salesman told me "owner is not around - please call tomorrow". Ok, so I called Hemant Shah on his mobile next day. He asked me to bring around my bike to Jayant Cycles Stores on BVK Iyengar Road (he owns that too). So on friday I took it there & his mechanics had a look. They opined that probably it was due to seat post being above the minimum insertion mark. Hemant asked me to get it back on Monday so that the visiting Firefox engineer could have a look. So I called him on Monday again - and you can imagine that I wasn't happy when he informed me that the engineer would be visiting on Wednesday!

But help was on hand. Around 4 o'clock in the evening, I got an email from Vivek Sharma (Firefox, Delhi) asking for my phone number so that he could talk to me. And soon the call followed. I sent an email to him as well with the picture illustrating the crack. I received a reply from him today morning saying that the replacement is on its way. And an email just now (as I type this) confirming that the problem is due to the seat post. Hopefully I'll have it fitted soon and be back riding!

I'd say that it is nice of Firefox to ship the replacement quickly. Sure, their service is improving. They have good products and I'm sure that if they back it up with good service then it would be fantastic for the customers and ultimately, for them too!

Now that half the story is told, you'd well ask me - didn't you know that the seat post had to be above the minimum insertion mark ? Legitimate question, and here is my answer :

The first thing one does after purchasing a bike is adjusting the seat height. In most Indian bikes, the first problem I face is that the seat post is not long enough for me to ride comfortably. The remedy generally is to buy a new seat post ( I you want to buy one for your bike - watch out and buy good quality ones. Bad quality seat posts can bend and you risk injury on that count ! ) . With the Viper, I asked the showroom mechanic to adjust the seat height and he adjusted it to my satisfaction. However, I noticed that the seat post was above the minimum insertion mark and I was worried. I repeatedly asked him whether it was OK. He said no problem. I thought, maybe it will be fine. I thought, at most the seat post might bend (in which case I planned that I'll get a new one) - it had happened to me before and I was prepared for that. But what I wasn't prepared for was a cracked frame. Who is to blame ? Partly the mechanic and partly me. Hopefully the mechanic is trained now and knows what can happen ! It's some learning for me too for sure...

Updated 3rd July :

Good News - I got the replacement last friday. Thanks FireFox Delhi (esp Vivek Sharma) for the timely action. Strange though it may seem, Hero & Hercules (TI) actually take much more time (close to a month) to supply such replacements. Can't help wondering whether Firefox singled me out for special treatment ๐Ÿ™‚

Bad News - The mechanic screwed up everything again. Gears are out of alignment, has nicely hammered the triple alloy crown into shape, and has done improper cabling to boot ๐Ÿ™ No wonder I turned down outright his request for 100 rupees ! He gave me a seminar about keeping the cycle in good shape but didn't even oil the essential parts.

Moral of the story ? The more things change, the more they remain the same...

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  1. hey shree! aluminum frames have low tensile strength, its not the case wid firefox, but the case wid hi end hi zoot 4000 US $ bikes too.. the seat posts min and max height should always be kept in mind. when you keep the seat post at the highest portion what you’re doin is applying stress on an already hi stress area. and with each passing bump and ditch, you’re applying cyclic loads to this area. if you want to know the min insertion without lookin at the imprinted area of the seat post, heres what you do, the lower point of the seat post should well cross the area where the top tube meets the seat TUBE ( the part of the frame, not the seat post) hope you’re getting what i mean!
    another thing that should be kept in mind while dealing wid aluminum bikes or carbon fiber bikes is that , never over tighten the bolts, else you could be facing what is called ‘CATASTROPHIC FAILURE’ !!! NEVER NEVER tighten the bolts too tightly. it should be tight enough. thats it, but it shouldnt be too loose either..you will reach this sweet spot if you try lot number of times by instinct, get it dialled in properly!

    when you compare aluminum frames wid cro moly, cro moly usually wins, except for the weight dept and corrosion dept!when it comes to fatigue life cro moly wins hands down. no wonder most dirt jump bikes and urban assault bikes are made from cro moly these days.

  2. Found your link while searching about firefox, how do you find the bike apart from the service from these guyes? i plan to get either the viper or the edge.. cant makeup my mind as of now.. some input from you will surely help ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. your blog is cool. well organised.

    i saw this crack and can’t believe u didn’t notice that one. its always good to check your seat post among other things once or twice in a month. as for me, i have a carbon fibre seat post that gives me no problems.

    you should be careful with alu. right bike fit matters!


  4. .my first cycle also had a crack but i changed the cycle on the sane minute.as ron said you should put an carbon fibre seat post.hey my nickname is also ron.Nish,i recommend you the firefox edge because it is much durable and glamorous.the viper looks too much funky and the frame looks horrible.

  5. Which firefox bike would you suggest for a daily commuter? My office is about 5km from my home. But I also try to do a long ride on the weekends (40kms)


  6. yes it was not so good

  7. I am also having a not good experience with my firefox bike- edge. I purchased it through the noida bike station an they couriered it to me via DTDC to Guwahati as I live in Guwahati. The bike was poorly packed and when I opened the packet, I saw that the warranty card, toolkit and instruction manual (they supply with every model) were missing. I had another firefox bike with me so somehow I could assemble my edge. But after riding it I found that the gears were not working at all. They simply refused to change. I called Santosh Dahal (manager of bike station Noida
    ) and talked to their mechanic. He said that any good local mechanic would be able to repair my problem. So I contacted one of the good cycle mechanic and he repaired it perfectly. But after few days, the same problem arose. The rear gears refused to change. I sent a email to the bike station of noida and they said that you please show it to your previous mechanic. They also said that during the time of repair, if I called their mechanic it would be better. I replied to them asking the number of their mechanic as somehow I could not find the number which I had. Almost 15 days have passed but no reply till now. I also said to them that please send the toolkit and warranty card as soon as possible but they havenโ€™t sent it till now. I gave them a reminder also but in vain. I also wrote to the company asking them that if spare shifters were available or not. But no reply of that also. Around a year back, I had purchased another firefox directly through the company and that time I did not face any problem. But this time I purchased it from a showroom and lots of problems have arisen. The first thing is that they did not pack it properly and that is the main reason for my problems. You sometimes canโ€™t rely on these people.

  8. Folks, I’m closing this thread folks. For reasons, look at this post. So no more commenting. Feel free to read through the thread, though. Thanks!

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