I think this photo just about covers things.
The right chain stay cracked at the weld at the rear hub. It also appears that the weld on the same tube at the bottom bracket is starting to fail too:
It happened riding on flat terrain a few weeks ago. I was pedaling along when the handling went all weird and the bike just felt... odd. I hopped off, checked all the bolts around the rear end, but everything was torqued appropriately. I kept looking and found the crack. It was a looooong walk of shame home. And because I know someone’s going to ask: no, I didn’t crash it. When my mechanic helped me get the headset cups out, he hypothesized overheated welds or a bad annealing process.
Length of ownership: 9 months.
Cost of ownership: 1199 plus a chain, some brake pads, new grips, and a few other wear items over the course of ownership.
I expect to be my own mechanic when buying a bike from bikes direct. That’s part of the deal, and I knew that going into this. I also don’t mind disassembly or reassembly- that’s easy and I like wrenching on my own bike. The part that pisses me off is the fact that they won’t cover any ($$$!) shipping costs for what’s clearly a defective frame to and from their facility. Ultimate verdict: I would not buy from them again. The prices are good and I like doing my own wrenching, but the customer service in the event of warranty issues is appalling. Caveat emptor. I’ll be buying a Surly Krampus in a month or so.