After many years and nearly as many pedaling miles as driving miles, it finally happened. While coming around a sweeping curve on a country road, I was cut-off by a driver turning left onto a side-road. I saw that it looked like he was going to pull across and started braking. I began to skid as the rear wheel unweighted and locked. It seemed continuing the skid was going to cause the bike to slide from under me, so I released a little of the rear brake pressure to remain upright. I very nearly came to a complete stop but still lightly contacted the right rear quarter-panel. After this impact, the corner of the rear bumper caught on my front wheel, jerking the handlebars and putting a hole in my Zipp 202 front rim. The driver continued on. I want to hope he never saw me, had no idea he hit me, and did not flee intentionally. I guess I’ll never know.
I was a little shaken, obviously angry, but I was uninjured. The worst part about the whole situation was the damage to my front wheel, but it could have been much worse overall.
I filed a police report, but without tags or a good look at the driver, there was little chance he could be located. And even if so, it was my word against his, because it was unlikely the collision left any physical evidence on his truck. As such, the damaged front wheel replacement was going to come out of my pocket.
I began an internet search on-scene as I waited for the police to arrive. It wasn’t looking good. The cheapest front wheel I could find was $1100. I tried unsuccessfully to find somewhere that would sell just the hoop since my hub was still fine. Nothing. Besides, knowing most of the cost of the Zipp 202 Firecrest wheels arises from the engineering and design of the rim itself, I wasn’t expecting that the hoop only price would be significantly less than the entire wheel.
By the next morning, it was still looking like $1100 was my cheapest option. I decided to place a call to Zipp to see if they knew where I could get a hoop. The phone was answered promptly by a real person. I explained my situation and what I was looking for. I was told unfortunately they do not provide just rims. However, I was pleasantly surprised when he said that I should have my shop where I purchased the wheels call Zipp about sending this in under Zipp’s crash replacement program.
I called the shop, they quickly called Zipp, and within a short time I was told Zipp would rebuild the wheel on a new hoop for $480. 500 bucks is still more than should be spent on an accident where I was not a fault, but, using my advanced mathematics skills acquired in engineering school, I deduced that 500<<1100.
Now I must say that not only is the 202 the best wheel I have ever ridden, the customer service of Zipp is just as impressive. Zipp’s customer service and crash-replacement policy have helped make this bad situation a little bit better. The interaction with Zipp on my part was brief but pleasant. But isn’t that the way customer service inquiries should be? In addition, it was the Zipp rep that informed me of a program I was not aware of, saving me hundreds of dollars. And for all of that, I want to say, “Thank you, Zipp.”
– Alex (Steak Sauce)