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Old 05-14-08, 06:02 PM   #1
jppe
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Rear Wheel Issue caught in the nick of time

I heard an unusual noise coming from what I thought was my rear hub the past couple weeks while doing some climbing. I heard it on the 100 mile ride in Chattanooga two weeks ago and again this past weekend while doing all the climbing on the Mt Mitchell ride. My LBS is very good at stuff like that so I asked them to take a look at it.

It appears the noise is coming from a cracked rim. The cracks extend radially along rim from the spoke hole towards the adjacent spoke holes. The rim looks to be about ready to give way about any time now. I sure amd glad I took it over to them and even happier they found it. I'm also very thankful the wheel didn't "give way" on me while doing some of the curvy, fast descents I've been doing the last several weeks. That could have been ugly. Thank goodness I didn't ignore the noise-I knew it just didn't sound right........

I don't think I would have spotted the cracks even if I had looked closely. The wheel is just old enough to be out of warranty. However it was just my luck that they had a new rim in the same model they can use to build me up a wheel-and they're just charging some labor for building it up. I wonder if the referrals I've been sending them lately that lead to bike sales helped out a little.

I sure hope my LBS guys like doughnuts cause they're going to get a dozen when I pick the bike back up this Friday. When you find a good mechanic-bike or auto you need to keep 'em happy!!
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Old 05-14-08, 06:09 PM   #2
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Were the rims carbon or alloy?
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Old 05-14-08, 06:33 PM   #3
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I've read somewhere about this sort of cracking resulting in a spectacular failure when the rim separates in two. Glad you found (heard) it before it bit you.

At least a couple of times a year, a cleaning with a rag and a really close inspection around the eyelets of your rims can have positive effects on your cycling existance. If nothing else, your rims will shine.
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Old 05-14-08, 07:22 PM   #4
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jppe- Are these the guys giving you the right gear???
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Old 05-14-08, 07:40 PM   #5
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Yeah, polishing the rims is very useful in finding these things. I rode quite a bit on a gradually failing rear rim. I'd mark the cracks, which were just coming out from under the eyelets. Then they started extending, so I dumped the rim. They were actually stable for quite a while!
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Old 05-14-08, 08:10 PM   #6
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What kind of rims? How many spokes?

Glad you caught it before a catastrophic failure on a big descent.
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Old 05-15-08, 06:57 AM   #7
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Any unusual sounds from my bikes get inspected before the next ride. (BTW, this is a good argument for having more than one bike. You don't miss rides while one is being repaired if you have several.) As a youngster I had several nasty crashes because of equipment failure that only happened because I ignored the warning signs. I'm also gald that you caught the danger before it could manifest itself in road rash, broken bones, or other injuries. As others have asked: What kind of wheel?
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Old 05-15-08, 07:32 AM   #8
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Any unusual sounds from my bikes get inspected before the next ride. (BTW, this is a good argument for having more than one bike. You don't miss rides while one is being repaired if you have several.)
Gotta have a backup bike. Or two. Or more.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:09 AM   #9
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I'm going to yell to get jppe's attention.

HEY! WHAT KIND OF WHEEL WAS IT?
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Old 05-15-08, 01:38 PM   #10
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Have yet to break a wheel rim- but on the MTB- wheels only used to last two years or so. All that grinding paste acting on the rim and wearing it down never gave a rim a long life. Never used to have a great affect on me till I got to the summer and the pressure went up in the tyres and the rim got a bow into the Brake area. I did one year cut a rim in half to see how much it had worn- and it shocked me to realise how thin the metal had become.

At least I had the sense to buy new wheels before the rims broke. Mate of mine was trying to catch me on a downhill and the metal sheered. No real damage done except to his confidence. After 3 somersaults and a belly flop- He never tried to catch me downhill again.
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Old 05-15-08, 02:15 PM   #11
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Sounds like a Bontrager Race or Race Lite rim to me. If so, they have a 5 year warranty. I'm no Clyde and mine only lasted about 5 or 6k miles before starting to crack. Is that what you have? Seems I recall you ride a TREK.
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Old 05-15-08, 02:34 PM   #12
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Sounds like a Bontrager Race or Race Lite rim to me. If so, they have a 5 year warranty. I'm no Clyde and mine only lasted about 5 or 6k miles before starting to crack. Is that what you have? Seems I recall you ride a TREK.
Uh-oh, I just checked his profile and see that he has a Madone 5.2. That's what I ride so it's a Race Lite wheel. I've never heard of a wheel breaking under normal riding conditions.
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Old 05-15-08, 04:27 PM   #13
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Sorry to be a little late in responding but work got in the way. It was a Bontrager Race X Lite and was about 3-4 years old. Unfortunately they only carry a one year warranty. I have another set with no issues on those-but will watch pretty closely.
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Old 05-15-08, 04:48 PM   #14
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Uh-oh, I just checked his profile and see that he has a Madone 5.2. That's what I ride so it's a Race Lite wheel. I've never heard of a wheel breaking under normal riding conditions.
Go here: http://www.roadbikereview.com/mfr/bo...4_2490crx.aspx for review on Race. Lots of cracked rims like mine. Not so many cracked rims with Race Lites, but lots of hub failures with Lites. It's too bad, I expected better quality from Trek. They did replace them without question after 2 years and only about 6,000 miles. You may remember our friend Will Dehne had rim failures on his fast ride across America two years ago (Bontrager Race Lites as I recall). We'll see how the replacement does, but I'm not too confident after reading the reviews and reports on the Bike Forums.
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Old 05-15-08, 08:44 PM   #15
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Go here: http://www.roadbikereview.com/mfr/bo...4_2490crx.aspx for review on Race. Lots of cracked rims like mine. Not so many cracked rims with Race Lites, but lots of hub failures with Lites. It's too bad, I expected better quality from Trek. They did replace them without question after 2 years and only about 6,000 miles. You may remember our friend Will Dehne had rim failures on his fast ride across America two years ago (Bontrager Race Lites as I recall). We'll see how the replacement does, but I'm not too confident after reading the reviews and reports on the Bike Forums.
I had a long discussion with the LBS over the rims. I think they have the wheel issues solved.

He showed me a bucket full of hubs he had collected. They "outsourced" the hubs to the East and started having lots of failures. The two common failures were broken flanges around the spoke holes on the drive side and also cracks long ways across the hub itself. They couldn't figure out what was wrong and finally visited the plant where they were made. It turns out the hubs were cast instead of CNC machined/forged which made them much too soft.

As I mentioned, I have another set of X Lites and will watch them very closely now.

I also have a set of the Lites with tons of miles on them and them seem really durable. While I'm not heavy I'm not the lightest person and you have to wonder if some of failure can be contributed to just normal wear and tear from my fat butt. I've hit lots of crap on the road as well and at times wondered if the wheel would come apart. I probably would have been happier if I would have gotten twice the mileage but it is a pretty light wheelset plus I'm just not sure what to expect from something that has that much less mass.
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Old 05-15-08, 09:09 PM   #16
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Sorry to be a little late in responding but work got in the way. It was a Bontrager Race X Lite and was about 3-4 years old. Unfortunately they only carry a one year warranty. I have another set with no issues on those-but will watch pretty closely.
Well, I have a Trek Madone 5.2. Bontrager Race Lite with Eyelets. I did not see cracks but will look again. Is it around the Eyelets? I am 190#.
Hope the wheels hold up for this tour. The roads are terrible.

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Old 05-16-08, 05:26 AM   #17
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Well, I have a Trek Madone 5.2. Bontrager Race Lite with Eyelets. I did not see cracks but will look again. Is it around the Eyelets? I am 190#.
Hope the wheels hold up for this tour. The roads are terrible.
Your set is a little newer than this one so maybe it will not be an issue for you. The cracks start at the eyelets and work outwards in the "center" of the rim towards the adjacent eyelet. My cracks were not very long right now fortunately. Wipe it really well-use a damp cloth to remove all dust. If your rims are black, look for very light colored gray lines coming from the eyelets.
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Old 05-16-08, 08:20 AM   #18
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I have the 2008 Madone, so I hope the issue is resolved, but I will keep my eyes open for any problem.
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Old 05-16-08, 01:13 PM   #19
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I have the 2008 Madone, so I hope the issue is resolved, but I will keep my eyes open for any problem.

Again-shouldn't be a problem now.
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Old 05-17-08, 03:33 PM   #20
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Got the rebuilt wheel yesterday and took it on a 66 mile ride and gave it a good workout. The thing is rock solid. I was really lucky in a lot of ways. I got it to the experts before it was a real issue. I have an almost new wheel and it cost me very little. Plus the owner rebuilt the wheel himself and I consider his work as good as they come. So, I have a new rim and spokes and should be set for several years. It really pays to be on good terms with your LBS.......

The sound I was hearing before I had it repaired is completely gone which is a relief. I really thought it was a bearing/hub issue from the sound so it just goes to show how sounds can travel.....and how little I know!!

The decals are a little different so I'm debating whether to rip off the decals on the new wheel-might do just that if it's not too much trouble. Anyone know??

I talked to them some more about lightweight wheels and they said the new XLite is getting really high praises from our local pros that are riding it. It looks a tad heavier than I'd like but seems to be a great wheel. He also gave me a couple other recommendations but none appear to be much lighter than what I have.

He did have a couple nice demo wheelsets he wanted to try out.

Took a peek at some Bontrager XXXlite carbon clinchers but not just sure I want to go that direction.
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Old 05-17-08, 04:32 PM   #21
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Sorry to be a little late in responding but work got in the way. It was a Bontrager Race X Lite and was about 3-4 years old. Unfortunately they only carry a one year warranty. I have another set with no issues on those-but will watch pretty closely.
Bontrager wheels carry a 5 year warranty and no weight classification according to their website:
http://bontrager.com/support/warranty/en
Bontrager Limited Warranty:

Bontrager warrants each new Bontrager component or wheelset against defects in workmanship and materials:

* For 5 years: All Bontrager components and accessories, except consumables such as tires and inner tubes
* For 1 year: Bontrager consumables such as tires and inner tubes
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Old 05-18-08, 10:00 AM   #22
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Bontrager wheels carry a 5 year warranty and no weight classification according to their website:
http://bontrager.com/support/warranty/en
Bontrager Limited Warranty:

Bontrager warrants each new Bontrager component or wheelset against defects in workmanship and materials:

* For 5 years: All Bontrager components and accessories, except consumables such as tires and inner tubes
* For 1 year: Bontrager consumables such as tires and inner tubes
In other words, jppe shouldn't have been charged.
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Old 05-18-08, 02:49 PM   #23
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I talked to them some more about lightweight wheels and they said the new XLite is getting really high praises from our local pros that are riding it. It looks a tad heavier than I'd like but seems to be a great wheel. He also gave me a couple other recommendations but none appear to be much lighter than what I have.

He did have a couple nice demo wheelsets he wanted to try out.

Took a peek at some Bontrager XXXlite carbon clinchers but not just sure I want to go that direction.
I hate to say it but for the price you pay for Bontrager wheels- You can get a far better set of Hand built. I know I got them as training wheels- but my LBS built me up a set of 105 hubs to Mavic CXP rims. They are heavier than a lightweight- but they ride superbly. I can get a set of the lightest Krysiums for a sensible price- and I know they ride well and are light. The mechanic has offered to build me a set of Wheels using Hope Mono hubs and a lightweight rim. They would be as light as the Krysiums- and knowing this builder they would be stronger.

You must have some good builders in the US. They are all over the UK- but to me- hand built wheels are the way to go.
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