Now, after over 30 months and 12,000 miles of rough roads in all kinds of conditions, it's time for a complete overhaul of everything. That includes the frame and fork. So, I carefully remove the components, then scrub the bare frame and fork with a soapy toothbrush. Next, a close inspection. I hope to find no structural damage, but know full well the history of all those miles.
|There's a keeper.
Relief. I discern no cracks, dings, bends or other post-fabrication structural modifications. The frame and fork look good. Very good. Good for another 12,000 miles at least.
I spot a couple of superficial issues. The underside of the down tube appears, at first, to have suffered a substantial number of paint chips. However, almost all turn out to be grimy splotches of petroleum-based somethings that eventually clean off with the right solvent and some elbow grease. I did find a half dozen or so actual paint chips, primarily on the frame on the drive side chain stay near the crank set. That's not unexpected nor uncommon. I patch those with hobby store enamel.
I also find some paint rub where the Revelate Designs frame pack contacts the frame, but only enough to slightly dull the paint in a small area in a few places. "That's just normal wear and tear, dude."
|The graceful curve of a steel fork helps smooth out those rough roads.
No need to replace this frame or fork. Not yet. But if I did, it would be for the current monster cross from Black Mountain Cycles. Mike Varley recently tweaked this beauty by slightly increasing the fork offsets and the head tube height, adding a third set of water bottle bosses, and changing to a Pacenti fork crown with even greater tire clearance. A fine bike refined.
I'd like a new one just to hang on the wall, although not riding it would be a crying shame. So, no new gravel frame or fork for me.
Addendum 1. I did not remove the Velo-Orange Grand Cru head set. There's really not much to do with this, other than clean it up a bit and confirm that it's working properly. Again, no issues here.
Addendum 2. This is a rim brake only, steel frame and fork, which for me is a major advantage in ride quality. I do not find disc brakes or carbon anything to be an upgrade, contrary to conventional marketing. But that's beyond the scope of this post.