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  1. #1
    Despite all my rage, I am rooftest's Avatar
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    Too much flexing in Bontrager Race Lite rear wheel.

    I've got an '06 LeMond Zurich (carbon/steel) with 3,500 miles on it. My problem is my rear wheel. From the factory, it needed major truing, so I paid to have it rebuilt by hand. (LBS said that wasn't covered under warranty.) Now the wheel has too much flex - I can easily move the rim about 1/2 cm each way by hand. The LBS tightened the spokes down for me, but that fixed it for about 500 miles, now the problem is appearing again.

    I'm 6 feet tall, 180 pounds. The LBS says this isn't unusual for "high milage" wheels, but I don't consider 3,500 miles "high." Any suggestions?

    Thanks,

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    try a different LBS?

  3. #3
    Young and unconcerned Treefox's Avatar
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    You mean the rim is floppy? Or is the hub sliding back and forth on the axle?? (that would be a cups n' cones problem)
    Die schokoladenseite des radfahrens.

  4. #4
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    5mm isn't what i would consider an abnormal amount of deflection in a wheel, especially one with a lower spoke count like the bontrager race lites. unless it's totally floppy and you have loose spokes. i can easily move my 32hole 105/open pro 5mm in either direction by hand and i know that wheel is tensioned properly.

    wheels aren't supposed to be completely rigid, if they were, your rim would fail the first time you hit a pot hole, or stood up on the pedals to sprint. if you want something with less flex, maybe try a ksyrium SL, but you'll probably be able to do the same thing.

    by having the LBS over-tension the wheels for you to eliminate all deflection, it may have damaged the rim, and the reason you're experiencing the problem again might be that the spoke nipples are starting to pull through the rim.

    if the spokes are just coming loose, it's possible that the LBS did not use spoke prep when they rebuilt the wheel for you. if this is the case, they should rebuild the wheel either gratis, or at a reduced rate. IMO, they should not have charged you for the initial rebuild, it is pretty easy to get a labor credit, or even a warranty replacement from trek for things like that.

  5. #5
    Despite all my rage, I am rooftest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Treefox
    You mean the rim is floppy?
    Yes - the rim is "totally" floppy. As far as moving it back and forth 5mm, it moves this amount without resistance. (I could move the front that far, but would need to push harder.) At any rate, there's about 10 times more side to side movement than on a "brand new" rim.

    As far as loose spokes, I can't detect any. (When I had it rebuilt the first time, some spokes were loosed enough to be removed by hand.)

    Another thing the LBS mentioned was that "steel spokes tend to flex with age, so this is normal." Which would mean these wheels have a useful life of about 2K miles (since the rebuild.) Any thoughts on that?

  6. #6
    You need a new bike supcom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rooftest
    Another thing the LBS mentioned was that "steel spokes tend to flex with age, so this is normal." Which would mean these wheels have a useful life of about 2K miles (since the rebuild.) Any thoughts on that?
    No. This would mean that the person stating this doesn't know what he's talking about. It also means you should go to another bike shop.

    While a wheel with 3500 miles might need to be trued and tensioned, a quality wheel should last much longer than 2000 miles.

  7. #7
    CERVEL-LIZED! BHBiker's Avatar
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    Your LBS = Likes Bull Sh@* :-) :-) in my honest opinion only...

    this guys pulling a dough on you, next he would say is buy a new set from him. " Looks like its time for you to upgrade to Krysiums now eh?!....hey by the way, I have a set on special...."


    I suggest finding a new LBS that = Lends Better Service :-) Cheers!

  8. #8
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    That's just not a stiff wheel, so it's going to do that. You should get the tension checked by a shop that services Bontragers. They're supposed to have really high tension according to the marketing literature. I've tightened a loose spoke for a freind, and his wheel didn't seem very high tension to me, but whatever.

    FWIW, I have my 36h Deep-V in my office right now, and I can get that to move 3mm without pushing very hard. It's probably one of the stiffest solo rear road wheels on the forums (36h, 3x, 110kgf drive side, built by me).
    Last edited by waterrockets; 03-27-07 at 08:40 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Sounds like loose bearings...

  10. #10
    Young and unconcerned Treefox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannoXYZ
    Sounds like loose bearings...
    Yeah, that was my first thought - though I may be incorrectly interpreting 'flex'
    Die schokoladenseite des radfahrens.

  11. #11
    Gear Head 80vette's Avatar
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    That is bunk ... your wheel is still under warranty ...... per the 1st reply try a different LBS.
    07' Colnago CLX
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  12. #12
    Senior Member DannoXYZ's Avatar
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    Check out Damon Rinard's Wheel Stiffness test. You're looking at 1-3mm lateral flex on most wheels. If you really want laterally stiff wheels (which doesn't make sense since the load is radial anyway) you can build your own. Get heavy-duty 500gm+ 36-hole box-section rims; touring versions work well. Use large-flange hubs and lace them radially with heads-in orientation. From their test data, you'll end up with a wheel having less than 1mm deflection. It won't make you any faster than you are now though...

  13. #13
    Despite all my rage, I am rooftest's Avatar
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    UPDATE - I took it to another LBS, and the hub's shot. It wasn't wheel flex at all - a few of you that mentioned the bearings were on the right track.

    Anyway, this LBS is more than happy to request a replacement hub from Botrager, and will rebuild the wheel for me for a good price.

    Thanks for all your suggestions,

  14. #14
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rooftest
    UPDATE - I took it to another LBS, and the hub's shot. It wasn't wheel flex at all - a few of you that mentioned the bearings were on the right track.

    Anyway, this LBS is more than happy to request a replacement hub from Botrager, and will rebuild the wheel for me for a good price.

    Thanks for all your suggestions,
    That's a good find. Can't they just replace the bearings? I thought they were cartridge...

  15. #15
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    Zurich / Bontrager

    I bought the same bike last year with same wheelset. Every ride I had to retrue wheels. Those low spoke count wheels aren't made for bigger riders such as us. I am 6' 200ish pounds. I built up a set of wheels myself (mechanic) Ultegra hubs/DT Swiss RR 1.1 32 hole rims with DT Swiss spokes and brass nipples. Yes wheels are a tad heavy but haven't needed truing at all in 3000+ miles. And my bike rides and brakes far far better with this wheelset than the Bontragers.

    Nothing beats a set of handbuilt wheels!!!! IMO

  16. #16
    Despite all my rage, I am rooftest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by C Mau
    Nothing beats a set of handbuilt wheels!!!! IMO
    I don't have a problem with truing anymore (after the first rebuild.) I'm way ahead of you on hand built wheels - because it came from the factory so crummy, I've got a hand-built one now.

    I'm going to look into getting at least a stronger rear wheel later in the year.

  17. #17
    Senior Member smurf hunter's Avatar
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    I went through some factory wheels like that. I brought them in for numerous truings, broken spokes and finally paid the LBS to build me a set by hand. The new set only needed a minor truing about 1 month after they were built. Since then I've put 2500+ miles on them without issue.

  18. #18
    pedal head
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    Quote Originally Posted by BHBiker
    Your LBS = Likes Bull Sh@* :-) :-) in my honest opinion only...

    this guys pulling a dough on you, next he would say is buy a new set from him. " Looks like its time for you to upgrade to Krysiums now eh?!....hey by the way, I have a set on special...."


    I suggest finding a new LBS that = Lends Better Service :-) Cheers!
    +1 Whats wrong with your shop? You buy a bike from them with a defecctive part and they won't help. I would just buy a new wheel online. You will get better service on ebay than your LBS.
    [SIGPIC]http://i134.photobucket.com/albums/q82/probable556/BF_Sig_Small2Custom.jpg[/SIGPIC]

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