The Gräfenberg: Coega Daily Commute Weapon
The Gräfenberg has landed on my new GTrails site. Over the past few years I have commuted on trusty 26″ bikes, but, with the purchase of the Scott Pro 29er, the advantages of 29″ based commutes are compelling. However, maintenance costs are high.
I purchased the Scott Pro in January 2012, and within the first month the Rock Shox fork was returned due to a defective damping chamber. The fork had to be attended to twice after that with the remote lock out sticking. Then in March 2013, in the run up to the Cape Epic 2013, wear to the stanchions was identified. Cape Cycle Systems, the South African based SRAM distributor, refused to honor the warranty and I did not have service records to prove it had been serviced in the past year.
My reaction – well Rock Shox obviously cannot withstand the rigours of the Coega Daily Commute and that led me to develop a low cost project bike for commuting to work.
The first step was to purchase the Gaea blank frame from Carbonality, one of the on line suppliers selling “cheap Chinese carbon frames”.
One of the biggest costs was postage, which made it more cost effective to include a carbon Handlebars, Headset, Stem and Seatpost. Given my experience with the wear on the Rock Shox stanchions, it does not make sense using a suspension fork on a daily commute of 22km (one way) where only 10% of the ride requires suspension.
The customer service from Carbonality was brilliant. They answered all my questions and made sure that I not only got a good price, but, great postage rates. Within three weeks of placing the order, the new frame had arrived. I had ordered the plain UD Matt Finish with the idea of spraying up custom colours. However, my Cape Epic partner, Craig Lindeque from Digital Dynamix, suggested that I use his Vinyl Cutter to create decals. This was an inspired move, and for a fraction of the cost, the Grafenberg was born.
The vinyl stickers were easily applied and the effect was stunning. The ride, well simply sublime!
After two weeks of riding I can scarcely put the bike down. Its just plain awesome and I really need to get it onto a scale to get a handle on its weight. The front fork shaves off about eight hundred grams off the Rock Shox and time will tell whether the carbon will hold. My experience with the purchase left me with alot of confidence in the level of service coming out of Hong Kong. Great people, and hopefully, if the time comes, they will provide better support than SRAM!