Be your own brand.

“No Income Tax, no VAT, no money back, no guarantee…”

Like most people I was nervous about dealing with a company on the other side of the world. What would happen if they sent me something that wasn’t what I asked for – or what would happen if something broke?

As I’ve mentioned before dealing with XACD is a risk so you need to be aware of what you’re doing before you hand your money over. So far I’ve been lucky and I’ve got exactly what I asked for – to the millimeter – and nothing has broken!

I’d always taken the view that if a frame had broken then there wasn’t much to be done about it and I’d just have to chalk it up to experience. Some of the other tales from the web also seemed to support that view, with Porter doing his best to play down any mistakes on XACD’s part.

Unfortunately Olivier had a chance to test the warranty service at XACD when this happened to his new bike:

Olivier noticed this small crack in the downtube near the bottom bracket.

Olivier takes up the story:

So I got in touch with Porter, for him it is impossible, etc… etc… 🙂
But he agrees to change the down tube at least, although I’d have to pay the shipping cost to China, XACD would cover the cost of the repair and return shipping.

The only thing is that he wants me to pay again for the logo design and extra finishing costs! So I’m fighting with him to get everything for free.

I have asked if they could remove the gussets and weld the downtube closer to the bottom of the headtube, he said yes but they will have to change top tube and headtube as well.

Because of this I have more or less decided to make a kind of “number two”; even if it’s going to be more of a “number one and a half” 🙂

So I sent a quite big email to Porter with all the changes I would like to do for number two, but only on the front triangle (I have several other things for the rear, but that would mean having a whole new frame made!).

Logo design : Only the “R” engraved on headtube and the logo on leftside closer to the BB.

Geometry: Headtube 10mm shorter and the top tube 5mm longer.

Cable guides: Angle for the cable guides under top tube : 50° instead of 70° to stop then sticking out so much. Also cable guides closer to headtube with the middle one well centered.

And… double butted tubes for down and top tubes.

So “number one and a half” should not cost me a lot and it should be quite lighter!

We’ll see

Olivier decided not to go with double butted tubing in the end as he felt that the 40 grammes it would have saved wasn’t worth the extra $80!

Then a month later:

My frame is somewhere between Switzerland and China…
And I don’t know when it will be back!

So far they have accepted it under warranty, but they will inspect the frame first.

If I had decided to not change anything on the frame everything would have been free to get a replacement.

When you decide to change something you have to pay for everything you ask for, except the base price and the shipping cost.

So you even pay for the logos and other finishing options – even if they were going to remake them again for free if I did not ask to change anything!

I decided to take the opportunity to have a lighter and different bike, so I will pay something. I’ll tell you what with pictures of the new bike, hopefully soon!

Only the rear triangle will be the same, as they will use the old one…

Luckily there was much better news in April when I next caught up with Olivier to find that he’d got his re-mixed frame back again:

Olivier's re-mixed Raw Label frame in re-mixed version '1.5' form looking better than ever!

I reduced the headtube from 135 to 125mm and made the toptube 5mm longer. Took off the gussets around the headtube and raised the toptube on the seattube by 10mm which reduced the size of the curved brace.

Regarding the logo design, I changed the logo on headtube, put a line next to the RAW LABEL logos, and put the logo down on one side and up on the other one.

It now weighs 1.780grams and I beleive they put a 1.2mm tube instead of the previous 0.9mm, because the frame should be lighter than it is.

Anyway, it is nearly perfect!

Cheers.

Close up showing the logo details and the neater cable guides.

So a pretty good result in the end for Olivier, he was able to make best use of the repair to include some of the design changes that he’d wanted to do after seeing how his first frame turned out. As I said before it’s very difficult to get everything right first time and you’ll soon be itching to have ‘mark two’ made with all the tweaks you want doing.

I’m impressed with the service that Olivier received from XACD here but I think that’s partly due to the nature of the crack that he found. It was in an unusual place and not one they could say had been caused by poor design or as a result of riding too aggressively.

The only downside is that the frame doesn’t appear to be much lighter which it should be because of the removal of the gussets. Even so I think the 4lb mark is a fair one given the frame size and its intended use. The only thing I’m not sure about is how well the existing tubes will handle the work needed to clean off the previous welds and remake the joints again. XACD obviously don’t have a problem with that so let’s hope now that Olivier can get back to enjoying his custom frame again!

Have you had any similar experiences with an XACD frame? How did your story turn out – please let me know as it’s aways good to sample as many experiences as possible.