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  1. #1
    Junior Member Kelz's Avatar
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    Problems always come in three's

    I recently purchased a Specialized Rockhopper (base 09 model). I've had it a few months and done about 2000km nearly all on road. To begin with, it was great, but I seem to have three problems:

    There is a lot of friction through the gears, so much so, one time I couldn't freewheel anymore. I seem to be oiling up the gears every week to keep them moving.
    There is occasional noise coming from the crank, sounds like bearings.
    This weekend, I noticed three spokes on the rear wheel broken.

    I'm a big guy, 2m tall, 105Kg but I bought a big bike, 23" frame. Should I have bought something more substantial ? I thought Specialized were foolproof ? What should I do with the above problems, go back to the dealer & request a service or upgrade the spokes myself ? I am tempted to buy a better bike, something stronger with better gears, still a hardtail. What would you recommend for around 1000euros, ($1500) ?

  2. #2
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    You don't need a better bike. The Rockhopper is a "mountain" bike and can take much more punishment than you can dish out to it on the road (unless you are jumping off staircases or running straight into tall curbs and such).

    I'm a little confused by your first problem. What exactly happened when you "couldn't freewheel anymore"? Depending on the weather you ride in, after 2000 km a chain cleaning might be in order.

    Bike noises can sound like they are coming from something when really it's something completely unrelated. Visit www.sheldonbrown.com and look for his tips on quieting creaks and squeaks. This is a very often discussed topic.

    Broken spokes at 2000 km point to a poorly tensioned rear wheel. Often, machine built wheels come out true but with very uneven tension. Over time, the loose spokes fatigue and then break. You have a few options. The cheapest is to simply replace the broken spokes and retension the wheel properly. If you continue to break spokes, you may need to replace them all as fatigue has set in and there's no magic cure. At that point, it may be cheaper to just replace the wheel. If you do this, be sure to have someone go over it and even out the tension, otherwise you'll just repeat the process.

    To conclude, you really don't need a "better" bike. What you have is plenty for the riding you describe. The bike does need some maintenance and some new spokes though.

  3. #3
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    I expect your inability to freewheel and your broken spokes are related. A poorly built and tensioned rear wheel could have easily gone so far out of true that it rubbed the brake pads or frame and the broken spokes followed from the poor build quality. Rubbing could also explain the noise you heard.

    As joejack said, machine built wheels are often poorly tensioned and rarely stress relieved and that's something your bike shop should have checked before you tyook delivery.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelz View Post
    I recently purchased a Specialized Rockhopper (base 09 model). I thought Specialized were foolproof ? What should I do with the above problems, go back to the dealer & request a service or upgrade the spokes myself ? I am tempted to buy a better bike, something stronger with better gears, still a hardtail.
    Your problems may be maintenance, weather, or weight related. As others have said don't blame the bike, or certainly not the frame since it's not related to the problem.

    Broken spokes on a factory wheel aren't rare for someone of your size, and your first step should be to have the shop, or a local wheelbuilder of repute handbuild you a wheels (or pair) on your hubs, using rims and spokes appropriate to your needs.

    The sticky freehub and noisy BB seem more to be weather or lubrication issues, so the local dealer can field strip clean, and relube these and solve those problems. It might be necessary to replace the BB if it's rusted or overly worn, but he'll tell you that.

    Lastly, to answer your question about upgrading, I wouldn't. Consider upgrading individual components as you replace them, but be careful. In the bicycle trade "better" often means lighter, not more durable, so an "upgrade" might be counter productive. Your frame is fine, so from now on focus on choosing individual components based on your needs, focusing on weather resistance and durability, rather than the "best" or most expensive trendy stuff out there.
    FB
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  5. #5
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    when you say you can't freewheel do you mean if you try to stop pedaling your cranks keep turning, or simply that the bike rapidly decelerates when you stop pedaling due to some sort of drag on your wheel. these are different problems with different solutions, neither of which directly involves the "gears". call me crazy but I think its a rubbing brake pad. could also be overtightened or blown hub bearings, especially likely if you are "oiling your gears" with WD40

  6. #6
    Junior Member Kelz's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice. I took the bike back to the retailer. He was going to replace the broken spokes under warranty but I asked him to replace them all with a higher quality spoke. He had better quality DT spokes that he fitted & then performed a service. It only cost me €12.80 for the spokes and the service was free. I am to return the wheel in a month to check the trim.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelz View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I took the bike back to the retailer. He was going to replace the broken spokes under warranty but I asked him to replace them all with a higher quality spoke. He had better quality DT spokes that he fitted & then performed a service. It only cost me €12.80 for the spokes and the service was free. I am to return the wheel in a month to check the trim.
    That's a very good deal. I'd definitely return to that shop.

  8. #8
    I have senior moments... bikinfool's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelz View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I took the bike back to the retailer. He was going to replace the broken spokes under warranty but I asked him to replace them all with a higher quality spoke. He had better quality DT spokes that he fitted & then performed a service. It only cost me €12.80 for the spokes and the service was free. I am to return the wheel in a month to check the trim.
    Good deal...so the spoke replacement and wheel truing solved all your issues?
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  9. #9
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kelz View Post
    Thanks for the advice. I took the bike back to the retailer. He was going to replace the broken spokes under warranty but I asked him to replace them all with a higher quality spoke. He had better quality DT spokes that he fitted & then performed a service. It only cost me €12.80 for the spokes and the service was free. I am to return the wheel in a month to check the trim.
    That is some xcellent service you got and if the rebuild was sound you should not have any worries about that rear wheel... this bike should handle anything you throw at it and I will echo the issues expressed about machine built wheels being problematic. They need to be inspected and checked and I would suggest that you get the front wheel looked at to make sure it does not have similar issues.

    A front wheel failure is far more dangerous than a rear wheel failure.

  10. #10
    Junior Member Kelz's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if all the problems have been solved but I took a fall from my bike yesterday & broke my collar bone so I'm off the bike for a while :-( It's hurtin.

  11. #11
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    Sorry to hear that, and hopefully this isn't the first of an new set of three problems. Best wishes for a quick and complete recovery.
    FB
    Chain-L site

    An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

    “Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

    “One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

    WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

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