Sunday, August 29, 2010

Broken Parts and Broken Dreams

For much of my cycling career I have enjoyed a charmed existence. Most of my equipment remained intact for longer than expected and then was repairable when it broke, often at manufacturer's expense (as my last post illustrates). My luck has recently worn thin. In the last month, I have had a series of mechanical failures that I plan to list and complain about. At this time, I have a pile of non working or marginally working bicycle equipment that needs replacement or service, valued at $8-9000 (for most items, I use the first valid price that pops up in Google shopping the establish the true retail value).

  1. Ritchey PRO Cyclocross Crankset $125. The non-driveside crankarm cracked in half while I was preriding the Monson cyclocross course.

    Luckily it happened while I was trying to power up a steep run up (I was moving rather slowly). I crashed and bruised my left shoulder and my testes. If this had happened on the gnarly descent, I'd be in the hospital right now. Also, I missed the Palmer Cross Race because I was unable to repair the damage to the bike (luckily I was able to borrow a nice bike from Felt to race on at Monson, no joke, it rode really well. Thanks Felt!). I plan on pursuing Ritchey for a remedy. Turns out the crankarm that failed had been recalled. Thanks for telling me.
  2. Campagnolo Record Left 10 speed Shifter $160. I broke the brake lever in the crash when the crankarm failed. I think that it is repairable, but I took the opportunity to order 2009 Centaur shifters, which have the new Campy shape while retaining the ability to shift multiple gears in a single shift (the 2010 and 2011 are limited to 1 down, 3 up, probably in an effort to make the 11 speed groups more appealing).
  3. Fuji SLM 2.0 MTB $4o00--Destroyed. I sent it to Thule. I only mention it because I haven't gotten to replace it yet so I haven't been able to mountain bike for most of the summer.
  4. Easton EA 90 SL clinchers $750. While the rims on these wheels are almost identical to Velomax's Orion II rim and therefor stand up to abuse, the hubs refuse to remain adjusted. Seriously, the front hub requires adjustment every 100 miles and the rear appears to need attention every 200. While the adjustments are simple and take less than 5 minutes and two 5mm wrenches, it is annoying. Other users of these hubs have concurred that this is an issue that plagues them too.
  5. Easton EC 90 Aero tubulars $1800. Different hub from the above wheel, same issue, only more pronounced. These wheels come out of adjustment almost immediately, rendering them useless as race wheels.
  6. Velomax Orion II clinchers $550. Broken spoke. My fault. Waiting on a spoke that Landry's ordered for me. Other than this isolated incident, I have had good luck with these wheels. This is my second set.
  7. Ritchey Protocol WCS clincher wheelset $550. Knocked out of true in a minor crash during WNSP. When I tried to true it, a spoke nipple crumbled in my spoke wrench. Replaced by Landry's in like 15 minutes (they called to say it was done before I got home from dropping it off).
  8. Chris King HeadSet $125. The one on my cross bike appears to be indexed. I abused it, I am not blaming King. I have tried to adjut it a number of times and it is just rough. I plan on seeking professional help.
  9. Shimano 105 threaded Headset $25. I installed this on my Basso (winter/travel/"B"/loaner bike) a year ago when I was broke and couldn't afford anything better. Its seriously indexed and needs replacement before any serious miles can be put in on the Basso.
  10. Shimano Ultegra Octalink Bottom Bracket $35. This was on my cross bike and was just plain worn out. It developed play. Normally, I would just repack or replace the bearings. Unfortunately, Shimano designed these to be disposable, you can not adjust them or access the internals. Thanks Shimano. Luckily my good friend Andrew had a suitable Dura Ace BB laying around that I am now using (and the DA is serviceable)
  11. Sidi Dragon SRS MTB Shoes (non-carbon) $250ish. Eggbeater pedals suck. Not only can you not tell if you are clipped in or not, but they eat into the soles of your shoes. I experimented with Eggbeaters a little while back and they ground themselves into my soles and eventually the sole cracked as a result. Crank Brothers must know about this problem. They should sell these pedals with a little metal plate to prevent the damage. It would cost them penny's per pair sold and save users from ruining perfectly serviceable shoes.


Big T said...

Sorry to hear and kinda glad it didn't happen during an actual race, but, in regards to this portion of the post:
"We have received zero reports of drive side arm breakages" I hate to rain on Ritchey's parade, but I will be reporting this breakage at my earliest convenience. "
While I have no doubt you will be reporting, their statement will remain as it is (unless someone's drive side crank falls apart as well).

Best of luck though, hope you get something back.

RMM said...


Oh, I midread that. Thanks for pointing it out. Correction made.

Yash Katsumi said...

I remember when I had PVB as a coach and he told me to fatten up for the fall I started to break a bunch of shit(Not implying that you gained weight)and it was miserable and most companies are fairly good at replacing stuff.

You can send in your King headset and they will repack it for very cheap or free. The Customer service there is superb.

Also, you may have missed the deadline for the recall of the cranks but Ritchey will definitely send you a new one. That happened almost 4 years ago though.

Here in DC there is a superprestiege every night.

mdd said...

Though I'm not sure of the intended design, my candy cleats came with a plastic spacer which is preventing sole wear on my specialized shoes as we speak. Though the spacer will probably wear through since it too is plastic. Metal would be better as you suggest.

rosey said...

i like how you arrived at your costs.

broken spoke = $550
broken nipple = $550
shifter rebuild = $160
broken frame = $4000

maintenance costs money. your wheels are not ruined. they need $20-$30 of maintenance each. you broke the frame of your mtb, not every single part on it.

i've been chewing through wheels at an alarming rate this season and i too sent my bike hurling off the roof but i don't consider the damage to any of them to be terminal. i broke pieces of the whole, not the whole. i'd guess your actual cost, even at retail, is less than $3000. it still stinks but it's not like you shelled out retail for any of these. you just used parts beyond their lifespan (Ritchey and Orion wheels), had unfortunate luck (roof rack), or chose poorly (EC90 and EA90 wheels)

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