Former Enigma owner, checking in

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.

Moderator: robbosmans

anothersam
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue May 18, 2021 4:36 pm
Location: Far East Sussex
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by anothersam

Hi, I'm Sam and I'm a weight weenie. (I'm sure you've heard that one before…) I'm likely not in the same class as most of you, but I do like 'em as light as practical. My least heavy is either my Langster, or my Enigma, which is lighter still now that its soul has left its body. It may have left through this crack just above the bottom bracket

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which just goes on

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and on.

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I'm not here to trash Enigma; they've done that to themselves, at least in this particular case. For any Enigma riders out there – and I know there are plenty of you – I wish you and your bike all health and happiness. But I've got a little story to tell that anyone considering some shiny new ti may want to take into consideration before parting with their cash. Because you may turn into me.

It starts 10 years ago, when I fell in love with an Esprit. You may recognise the guy who sold it to me: Mark Reilly, sadly no longer with us.

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He measured me for a custom build which provided five years of pleasurable riding before disaster first struck (that's a link to my account at road.cc).

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This was repaired under their lifetime warranty (which they later changed to 10 years). It really should've been replaced, but that wasn't my call.

Fast forward to last year, when the dropout gave out.

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They repaired that too, but I don't think they were happy to see me again. Alas, they'd see me again. Here's another shot, because I still can't quite get over the utter devastation:

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Call me slow, but it finally dawned on me that I'd gotten one of these:

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That's what warranties are for, right? It transpires I'd worn mine out, "lifetime" or no lifetime. I'm not naive enough to think such a warranty covers me till the end of time, but surely a decade is way too young to die; not to mention that atrocious track record.

They want me to give them £600 to build a replacement frame. Some people have told me this is a bargain. I'd agree with them if it weren't for that pesky warranty, which was one of the main reasons I chose them in the first place. It's also a matter of principle, and doing right by a customer who's surely suffered enough.

Anyway, could you imagine what would happen if I gave them yet more money [to be clear: not going to happen] and needed yet another warranty repair? I shudder to think of it.

So, life goes on without my Enigma. I'm thinking of turning it into a modern art installation and flogging it to the Tate.
The Rules, revised edition

raggedtrousers
Posts: 221
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:29 pm

by raggedtrousers

I'd repost this in the road thread, OP.

This is rather a sorry tale and should make us all wary of statements like 'lifetime warranty'.

by Weenie


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anothersam
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue May 18, 2021 4:36 pm
Location: Far East Sussex
Contact:

by anothersam

Thanks, I've reported it to ask for advice. The Road forum says "Discuss light weight issues", which this isn't – it's more a gallery (of disaster, alas).
The Rules, revised edition

maxim809
Moderator
Posts: 567
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 6:28 am

by maxim809

Hiya, moved over to Road. :) The Intro/Gallery is more for showcasing and introductions, whereas Road is general purpose including trouble-shooting issue, which this is.

BigCol
Posts: 45
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 10:03 pm
Location: UK

by BigCol

Thought i would share my enigma experience too....

I first came across them in February of 2008 when i spotted an offer for an unsold custom echo frame on their website in my size. I ended up going to an open day they ran near me to inspect and hopefully purchase the frame. It was badged as a brand new frame with an incorrect boss welded on the seat tube. When I arrived and inspected the frame it was clearly a used frame and indeed under the boss was actually the remains of a fatigue crack that could be seen poking slightly out the sides (I'm a metallurgist and failure investigator!!). On pointing this out Jim was apologetic and offered to make me a custom echo to my spec for the same price.

I went ahead with this and the frame was eventually delivered at the end of June 2008. After a few rides it became obvious that the seat tube internal diameter was too large and the seat post would continually slip and creak so i was asked to send the frame back to enigma with the seat post for inspection.

The frame was returned a week or so later (without the seatpost which had been lost) and with the welded Ti shim cut out and an ugly aluminium shim inserted - see picture. This made the problem worse - as can be seen it was extremely ill fitting and the the seat tube was deforming and bulging (post was checked in spec with a vernier i should add). After complaining again i was asked to send the frame back again.
side-view-clamped.jpg
slot-clamped-detail.jpg
3 months after sending the frame back I got it back with a new shim welded in and reamed to perfection - happy days for a while!

All was well until April 2013 when i discovered the frame was cracked in several places as can be seen in the pics. The frame had done 3701.6 miles since new. Jim said that there was a known issue with some frames and agreed to build a new frame under warranty, but i couldn't jump the queue and thus i was forced to buy a new frame too (cannondale super six - many happy years of. riding!!) having already entered the Etape du Tour that summer!
2013-04-21 16.08.17.jpeg
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I decided to pay a bit extra and upgraded to the Evoke model and around 4 months after sending the cracked frame back the new frame arrived.

All was well until February 2018 where after 206 rides totalling 7909.2 miles and 468 hours i spotted a crack around the cut out for the di2 cable in the down tube - pic below.
Screenshot 2021-05-21 at 19.07.36.png
I spoke to Jim and without any real debate he agreed to have the frame back to fix. In my case they decided to weld in a new down tube with reinforcement around the hole.

The frame came back to me in just over a month and to be fair the repair was pretty tidy and the reinforcement looked decent.

Unfortunately only 870 miles later i spotted a small crack from one of the repair welds near the bottom bracket:
20181231_214337.jpg
Again Jim agreed to have the frame back to work out how to sort me out. This time they decided to simply weld over the crack. Unfortunately they also didn't refinish the frame after welding (the rest of the frame is bead blasted) so the repair is kind of obvious now.

I guess the frame has had a relatively hard life as I’m 6’4” tall and 90kg and it has done both Roubaix and Flanders, and each time something has gone wrong Enigma have done something to get the fram on the road again….. but ultimately I’ve lost the love for the bike after all this, and after the last repair I haven’t really ridden it anymore…….

raggedtrousers
Posts: 221
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:29 pm

by raggedtrousers

Well, that's one to add to the 'avoid' list

ChiZ01
Posts: 474
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:20 pm

by ChiZ01

ppl have the notion that ti frame are very durable, the tubes are but the weld areas are very weak

JAMSXR
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat Feb 27, 2021 7:55 am

by JAMSXR

Thanks for sharing, I've considered these before but will definitely give a wide berth.

I've heard a few of these stories RE boutique brands, it has put me off somewhat. The big brands aren't without their faults, but in my personal experience, they do tend to stand the test of time.

Enda Marron
Posts: 385
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 6:03 pm
Location: Belfast

by Enda Marron

I had a similar experience with Parlee.
My custom built frame cracked, and I had to pay them $1000 for a replacement frame.
The replacement frame looked and felt awful.
I sold it for what I could get and bought a Cannondale Black inc, which is excellent.

Flasher
Posts: 136
Joined: Fri Mar 27, 2009 8:10 pm

by Flasher

I've 2 Ti frames 13 & 8 years old, both have been excellent with absolutely no issues at all, frames of any material can have problems.

What bothers me more is signing up to a forum specifically to slag someone/something off, that tells me more than the quality of the frame.

Broady
Posts: 587
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 5:02 pm

by Broady

Flasher wrote:
Sat May 22, 2021 10:35 am
What bothers me more is signing up to a forum specifically to slag someone/something off, that tells me more than the quality of the frame.
Yeah, bit unnecessary. Ti frames don't last forever, especially with 90kg sitting on them over hard miles. That leads back to the warranty point I guess.

Steve Curtis
Posts: 775
Joined: Thu Jul 31, 2008 12:20 pm
Location: Hampshire UK, Dublin Ireland and Geneva Switzerland.

by Steve Curtis

If you read any of the warranty details for Ti frame sellers they usually say that the lifetime is upto ten years.
Lifetime does not mean your lifetime but the expected lifetime of a cared for frame.

The same has been said of litespeed and lynskey if you search the forum.

anothersam
Posts: 15
Joined: Tue May 18, 2021 4:36 pm
Location: Far East Sussex
Contact:

by anothersam

I suppose some will read this merely as a "slagging off", and judge accordingly. Here's another link with more background, and here's that first one again, where indeed I discussed lifetime warranties.

A careful reader will note that I have actually spent years talking Enigma up, and ask themselves what brought me to this: 3 frame failures, a warranty failure, and customer service which left much to be desired.
The Rules, revised edition

spud
Posts: 1099
Joined: Sat Feb 07, 2009 5:52 am

by spud

This post should serve as notice that building light frames is not a pedestrian activity - not everyone can do it, even if what comes out of their shop is pretty etc. People love to slag off big manufacturers and celebrate the little guy. But the big mfgs have the money to do proper R&D, and stand behind their product. The small shops are relying on tube mfgs to do the R&D, and hopefully their welding technique is perfect, or this is what happens. When it does, mfgs might have lots of paying customers (ie cash flow) in the cue ahead of warranty cases, they are doing what they need to survive.

by Weenie


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raggedtrousers
Posts: 221
Joined: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:29 pm

by raggedtrousers

There are 3 things that occur to me here.

1. If you offer a lifetime warranty - and let's be clear, no one is making you - then that's what it should mean: the life of the rider. Otherwise, the only inference that can be drawn from the use of that phrase is the deliberate intention to draw in naive/unwary purchasers. If you don't mean 'life', don't say it; state a clearly-defined time frame and let buyers decide for themselves if that's reasonable. I do wonder if the OP might have remedy under law in this instance.

2. It seems clear, assuming everything the OP says is accurate, that Enigma botched the first repair.

3. Given this is now on pretty much every bike forum, I would guess Enigma have already lost more than 1 sale, which is what it would have effectively cost them to have put this right, and will lose more going forward. This strikes me as an odd decision on their part - an enigma, perhaps? We might speculate as to why, but I'd be reading it as either 'times are hard, sorry bud' or 'you didn't really think we meant life, did you?', neither of which is encouraging. I suppose it is possible there's something the OP isn't telling us, but I always assume essential honesty until that's proven to be misguided.

Nonetheless, given 1-3 above, Enigma join Cannondale, Cervelo and 3T on the 'approach with caution' list, IMO. Certainly, if I were to consider commissioning a custom frame from them, I'd be asking some fairly direct questions before parting with a deposit.

If there is an Enigma rep/insider on this board, I'd be keen to hear their perspective. The generic statement they already put out adds nothing.

Finally, it's disappointing this thread got closed elsewhere.

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