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  1. #1
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    Rear Derailer Just Broke Off!@!

    Greetings,

    I need some expert opinions on this issue. I was riding this morning with a couple friends. We were just warming up and had gone 6.38 miles to be exact, when my rear deralleur broke off. I was spinning at about 16/17 miles per hour when it happened. I didn't crash either just before the derailer came off and thankfully I didn't go down after it came off. We were just going along fine, with no warning that anything was wrong or about to happen. The derailer is mangled and a survey of the damages shows that the place where the derailer was attached is bent and the threads are stripped. The derailer is still attached to the chain.

    I have a Trek Madone 5.2 (the original Madone Model, purchases in 2005) and I had a new Shimano Dura-Ace 10 (double) groupo, including shifters and a compact crank put on the bike at the end of June (2007). Since that time I spent two weeks in Colorado, riding in the mountains and completed the MS 150 from Denver to Ft. Collins, and I also rode RAGRBRAI in Iowas in July. Therefore I have approximately 2000miles on the new equipment. It has been working very well, although over the past few weeks I've noticed that I was needing to shift twice at times to get it to shift. I assumed that this was just streching of the wires and had been planning to take it in for a tune up. This being said, nothing major, just not shifting as sharp as it did when first purchased.

    Here athe questions that I need help with:

    1.) Does the Shimano equipment have a warranty and will this equipment be under that warranty?
    2.) Should the lbs that put the new equipment on the bike be able to replace the derailer and put it on the bike at no cost to me?
    3.) Given the fact that the piece where the derailer attaches to the bike is bent and the threads have been stripped, can this piece be replaced or is the frame shot?

    Any assistance in this area would be greatly appreciated!!!

    Mike Barnes
    Bradenton, Florida
    Last edited by bean4158; 08-19-07 at 08:43 AM.
    Mike Barnes
    Bradenton, Florida

  2. #2
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    Did the derailleur really "break off" or just unthread itself? That is, is the mounting bolt itself broken? If the bolt broke spontaneously you may have a warranty claim. Shimano had a 3 year warranty on Dura Ace parts. If it just vibrated loose and fell off, you have a claim with the LBS if they didn't tighten it properly.

    Any indication that something on the road got caught in the chain and went through the derailleur and caused the damage? I once destroyed a nearly new Ultegra rd when a piece of steel wire (coat hanger type) got tossed up by my front wheel into the chain. I was fortunate that there was no frame damage but the rd was a throw-away.

    I'm not sure about the Madone but many carbon frames have replaceable rear derailleur hangers to handle just the sort of damage you experienced.

  3. #3
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    mmm, this sort of thing shouldn't happen while tooling along at those speeds on the road. Commonly what causes this is the derailer shifting past the biggest cog and getting wrapped up in the spokes, which you did not describe. Or some foreign object getting caught in the drive train which is unlikely on the road, but not out of the question. Then theres chain suck, but your bike being fairly new is not likely to have developed wear on the chainrings enough to cause this and other factors like mud and such shouldn't have come up on your road ride.

    All that said, we're forced to assume the thing was just not tightened in the first place and probably should be replaced under warranty. Sounds like the shop may have a hard time getting Shimano to provide a new part unless they can demonstrate that it was defective in the first place. I am not positive about Trek, but most current bikes have replaceable derailer hangers so your frame should be OK.

  4. #4
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    Thanks Hillrider and Moose. The bike shop opens at 10:00 tomorrow morning and I'll take it in then. I have no recollection of running over anything. Also from looking at the bolt, it is clear that it didn't break off, so it must not have been tightened enough. Thank goodness it didn't happen in the middle of Iowa at RAGBRAI!

    Thanks again!

    Mike Barnes
    Bradenton, FL
    Mike Barnes
    Bradenton, Florida

  5. #5
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Labor won't be covered by warranty. Shimano's warranty is for defects in materials and worksmanship, not labor, although the shop may have their own warranty on labor.

    Even so, listening to your story I'd suspect a bent derailleur hanger from shipping the bike to and from the events you attended led to the derailleur getting caught in the spokes. Once you shifted to the large cog, it caught and then ripped it off the bike. You realized there was a problem with the bike, yet continued to ride it without getting it checked out. I don't see how that is a defect in materials or worksmanship.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  6. #6
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    Even so, listening to your story I'd suspect a bent derailleur hanger from shipping the bike to and from the events you attended led to the derailleur getting caught in the spokes. Once you shifted to the large cog, it caught and then ripped it off the bike.
    Two things wrong with this theory; He didn't note any damage to the spokes and he is unlikely to be shifting into the big cog while cruising at 16/17 mph.

    Of course if we disregard that theory then we have to go with JRA (I was Just Riding Along when...) which is never a palatable story for the service manager at the bike shop.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wordbiker View Post
    You realized there was a problem with the bike, yet continued to ride it without getting it checked out. I don't see how that is a defect in materials or worksmanship.
    Amen

  7. #7
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Moose View Post
    Two things wrong with this theory; He didn't note any damage to the spokes and he is unlikely to be shifting into the big cog while cruising at 16/17 mph.
    No, he didn't note any spoke damage, but after hearing this exact same story many, many times and seeing some of the things people unwittingly do with their bikes (like crosschaining, shifting under torque), it's the first thing I'd check for.

    +1 for a classic JRA.

    BTW...as much as my faith in the intrinsic goodness of man's nature hates to admit it, I have had customers omit critical details in order to try and get free work and parts out of the shop. For the most part, we do give them the benefit of the doubt, but I do suspect some of them are trying to pull a fast one.
    Last edited by Wordbiker; 08-19-07 at 11:36 AM.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  8. #8
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    It is interesting to hear about problems such as the one we are discussing from the bike shop point of view. I'm sure you hear all kinds of stories about what happened to cause a problem and it is probably rare that it is the customer's fault. That being said, I returned from Iowa on July 31st and have ridden 300 miles on the bike between the time that I got back and what happened this morning. If there was damage to the hanger due to travel, it would have probably broken off prior to this. I have shifted from the large to small chain ring and vice versa many times and this obviously hasnít happened. I cleaned the bike thoroughly on Thursday and I didnít see anything unusual. It has always been my impression that any time you put on a new groupo like this that the cables will stretch and it will need to be tuned up. From the bike shop perspective, I can understand how you would say that I knew that there was something wrong with it and didn't do anything about it. That being said, the shifting issues surfaced in the past two weeks and it wasn't that it would not shift, it was that I sometimes had to push the lever twice. It just wasnt' as crip as it was when I got it. I would assume that most people would attribute the shifting issues to the cables and like myself, make plans to get it tuned up. I may be wrong on this one.

    I will most likely end up paying for a new derailleur, the hanger and the service, but I will not like it. I have spent thousands of dollars at this bike shop over the past 2 years. Most recently I spent $1800 in June to do the shift to Dura Ace, new handle bars, etc. I purchase all of my tubes, tires, jells, cyclometers, etc. (I have 4 road bikes and 2 hybrids in the family) and I make it a point to not purchase much off of the internet, so that I can have a relationship with the folks at the lbs. I know them and they know me. It is not now or ever has been my intention to rip them off. They are very nice people and I like doing business with them. But I guess I could start buying everything over the internet and only deal with a bike shop when I need service (knowing that I will pay appropriately), like many people that I know.

    Mike
    Mike Barnes
    Bradenton, Florida

  9. #9
    Pwnerer Wordbiker's Avatar
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    One of my customers had the exact same thing happen to him just this week.

    He'd gone on a ride down Treasure Falls, a trail that heads straight down the fall line from Wolf Creek pass, a very steep, very rough trail that can be hard on equipment. He was riding along, caught the rear derailleur in the spokes and ripped it off the bike, damaging the hanger and the derailleur. His buddy (who came in the shop and told me the story another day) told him then there'd be no warranty. He brought it in anyway and I looked it over. Bent pulley cages, split and chewed pulleys and deep gouges and scratches from many other "incidents" but no failure of worksmanship or materials told me in my experience that there was no way Shimano would call this a warranty.

    He was understandably upset, especially since this was the second rear derailleur he'd wrecked this season. The first was an online purchase, the second was from our shop. When I told him I'd called Shimano and their agent told me that since we are not on terms with Shimano that the warranty process was no different than if he'd downloaded their pdf, filled it out and sent it in himself, he was even more upset, telling me that there was no advantage to him having purchased it at the shop instead of online. I couldn't do anything but agree.

    I then took it upon myself to inspect the derailleur closely, dug some more out of our used parts bin, replaced all the bent and broken parts and handed him back a fully functional derailleur...at no charge. He left the shop smiling and satisfied, as was I knowing he'd have good things to say about our shop.

    Pardon my suspicious nature, but I do have to deal daily with customers trying to beat me down over price, get free service and sometimes even outright lie to me regarding how their particular malfunction occurred. As I stated before, we do give everyone the benefit of the doubt, especially frequent and loyal customers, but the small minority of people looking to get something for free does put us on our guard. If you are a regular at your shop, no doubt in my mind that they will try to keep your business, even if you really were at fault. Just please keep in mind that they may be intentionally eating the cost to satisfy you and to keep a relationship with you.
    Quote Originally Posted by ahsposo View Post
    Ski, bike and wish I was gay.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by bean4158 View Post
    It is interesting to hear about problems such as the one we are discussing from the bike shop point of view. I'm sure you hear all kinds of stories about what happened to cause a problem and it is probably rare that it is the customer's fault. That being said, I returned from Iowa on July 31st and have ridden 300 miles on the bike between the time that I got back and what happened this morning. If there was damage to the hanger due to travel, it would have probably broken off prior to this. I have shifted from the large to small chain ring and vice versa many times and this obviously hasnít happened. I cleaned the bike thoroughly on Thursday and I didnít see anything unusual. It has always been my impression that any time you put on a new groupo like this that the cables will stretch and it will need to be tuned up. From the bike shop perspective, I can understand how you would say that I knew that there was something wrong with it and didn't do anything about it. That being said, the shifting issues surfaced in the past two weeks and it wasn't that it would not shift, it was that I sometimes had to push the lever twice. It just wasnt' as crip as it was when I got it. I would assume that most people would attribute the shifting issues to the cables and like myself, make plans to get it tuned up. I may be wrong on this one.

    I will most likely end up paying for a new derailleur, the hanger and the service, but I will not like it. I have spent thousands of dollars at this bike shop over the past 2 years. Most recently I spent $1800 in June to do the shift to Dura Ace, new handle bars, etc. I purchase all of my tubes, tires, jells, cyclometers, etc. (I have 4 road bikes and 2 hybrids in the family) and I make it a point to not purchase much off of the internet, so that I can have a relationship with the folks at the lbs. I know them and they know me. It is not now or ever has been my intention to rip them off. They are very nice people and I like doing business with them. But I guess I could start buying everything over the internet and only deal with a bike shop when I need service (knowing that I will pay appropriately), like many people that I know.

    Mike
    it's not necessarily true that the hanger would've broken before this point, sometimes it can take a few hundred miles for a damaged part to fail, especially if it's not under a lot of load.

    if you've spent that much money at the shop, and have a good relationship with them, and they can determine that it wasn't your fault, which is probably the case, they'll stoke you a new RD. the thing is, since you got so many miles out of it before this happened, it probably also wasn't their fault, or shimano's fault, so they should not have to provide you with anything for free. rear derailleurs don't just fall off unprovoked.

    it could be a chain pin failure, either a connector pin (common enough that it was the first thing i thought of when reading the thread title), or one of the other pins in the chain, combined with improper installation of the chain (if it was a connector pin, they're supposed to be installed on the trailing end of the outer link as it travels across the top, toward the crankset). if this was the case, the pin failed, allowing the outer link to scoop up the RD cage as it traveled through, pulling it off the hanger and mangling it (happened to a friend of mine a couple weeks ago right at the beginning of a ride, real bummer, especially since she bought her bike from my shop, we hooked her up with a new chain and new RD at no charge, of course). the shop should be able to inspect the damage and assess it. but it's also not a likely cause for the damage because you got so many miles out of it before it failed. usually connector pin failure will happen within the first hundred miles or so, especially considering the amount of climbing you've been doing. has the chain been removed for cleaning recently?

    there are a few possible causes, and it can be difficult to prove fault either way and most shops recognize that fact, which is what wordbiker was getting at. we always suspect that someone is leaving out a detail, or not telling the whole truth when something like this happens, but in the end we can't prove that they're lying and we usually cave and either give them free parts, or make a compromise (such as discounting the parts) that satisfies both parties. i would say that, given the mileage you got out of the parts before failure and damage, the shop doesn't owe you free parts, and there was probably something wrong that you didn't notice (small details can be easy to miss, it happens to everyone). on the other hand, given that you're a good customer, and that's incentive for them to make you happy, they will probably hook you up, because, even though you got 2,000 miles out of the parts, that's definitely not a high number. it's high enough to eliminate the possibility that they did something wrong, but not high enough that you should have to pay a premium to replace it. if it were me, i'd have a hard time giving out a free dura ace derailleur, but i'd also have a hard time charging you full price for it, too.

  11. #11
    mousse de chocolat Moose's Avatar
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    I'd go to the shop with this problem with an open mind, they may take tare of it since you are a good customer. However it is an expensive part, even at cost. This makes it tough for the tech, who wants to take care of you, to get the OK from the owner to eat the cost on something that technically may not be a warranty issue.

    Everybody needs to understand that once you take possession of your bike after work is done, it is still your responsibility to maintain it properly after the fact. After several miles, adjustments and checking bolts for tightness are things that should be part of your routine. Whether you do it yourself or bring it to you mech. I should add; it's always best to bring it to the shop for this kind of stuff while it's still under warranty.

  12. #12
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    I love it when a customer comes in with a bike they 'had in their garage and forgot about'...

    Classic...

  13. #13
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    Thanks to everyone who posted comments. I realize that it isn't a cut and dried issue of fault. I was upset at the prospect of shelling out a few hundred additional dollars when I was thinking I had resolved my issues by buying the Dura Ace in the first place. I certainly see all of the issues that you all have put forth. I will go in with an open mind and do everything I can to maintain a good relationship. I feel better about the situation.

    Thanks again!

    Mike
    Mike Barnes
    Bradenton, Florida

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