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Old 01-13-09, 03:15 PM   #1
Hermes 
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Broke Rear Der Hanger Cervelo R3

On Sunday's ride, I broke the rear derailleur hanger on my Cervelo R3 throwing the rear derailleur and chain into the rear wheel spokes. Yes, it is not good. Fortunately, I was able to get the bike stopped safely without incident which is all that matters and everything is fixable.

I was climbing at the time about 3 miles into a 4 mile climb. The speed was 8.25 mph with a grade of 6.3%. So, it was not a big effort for me but a reasonable amount of power. I heard a terrible sound and I immediately stopped pedaling and braked. As I slowed, the pedals were at an angle where it is not great to unclip. Luckily, I stayed calm and unclipped right before I joined Club Tombay. This is a mountain road with faster traffic so a fall to the left was a potential problem.

The bike was finished for the day. I called my coach and he came down from the top to pick me up. We were on a 70 mile ride to the coast on a 68 degree sunny day with light winds. Now I am in the coaches van for the rest of the ride.

At about mile 50, one of the guys on the ride was finished. They had just completed a team time trial speed work and now had to climb 9 miles. He wanted to ride in the van and so we quickly changed his seat position and I rode his Cervelo Soloist Carbon up the 9 mile climb and descent back to the car.

His Soloist has a 53/39 12/25 which was great. I was so ready to ride, I think I could have powered a beach cruiser up the climb. The Soloist fit okay and the ride was very nice. However, this is where test rides can be deceiving. The moment I hit any rough road, it felt really rough compared to my R3. It was a big difference. Much more than I had noticed on the test rides before buying the R3. It is interesting how ones body tunes to a particular ride / handling.

What are the damages to the bike? They are minimal. I need a new der, chain, hanger and cable. There is a small nick in the paint on one of the seat stays that will be retouched. We are going to install a more robust rear der hanger. Interestingly, Cervelo specs the supplies the hanger, not Shimano. My guys have found that the Cervelo supplied hanger in some circumstances in not robust enough and we are using different one that is stronger.

All this comes with riding bikes and I take it in stride. Upside, if any, I now have the reputation of busting up rear ders - too much power.
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Last edited by Hermes; 01-13-09 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 01-13-09, 03:53 PM   #2
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At least you had a coach to call! Glad no rider harm in the incident.

It almost never fails that you have something go wrong in the middle of nowhere. Had a seatpost clamp go bad 25 miles from home and no coach to call. 25 miles is a long way to ride standing up.
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Old 01-13-09, 04:08 PM   #3
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Think yourself lucky in the The Replacable hanger is available. When I broke the one on my Bianchi- I had a 6 week wait for it to be made. The factory had to go back to the frame drawings to find out what type had been fitted and then had to make one.-Well two actually as I was not going to have another 6 week wait.

And interesting point on the Soloist Carbon. My main ride is the Boreas Ignis. Lightweight ally frame with C.F. Seat post and lightweight C.F. Forks. When I got the TCR-C, I had a heck of a job getting the thing to stop beating me up. I would have thought that C.F. would have given me a more compliant ride. It didn't. Eventually got it sorted and it was down to tyre pressures and the very stiff Aksiums I was trying to ride it on. When I eventually lowered the pressures to 120psi and the hand built training wheels- it finally worked.

And yet another reason that when you try out a bike on a test ride- Take your own wheels so that you have something known that is not going to influence your opinions of what could be a decent bike. Or is not as good as you hoped it would be.

Glad no more damage was done- but stop trying to prove you can go up hills at speed. You will have to come down to our speed in August so get used to that form of riding.
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Old 01-13-09, 08:05 PM   #4
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Wow-your R3 is not that old as I recall. Glad it's stuff that can be repaired and you can get back on the bike.

I had a similar situation doing the 100 mile Grandfather Mtn ride on my favorite all-time bike a few years ago but it didn't have a removable hanger. I knew something was wrong but instead of inclipping I got up out the saddle and pushed and bent the heck out of everything. I think I fell over as well. It bent the dropout and the frame had to be sent back to the factory..........where it was lost and I was sent a replacement frame 3 mos later. That was the smoothest riding frame I've ever had.
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Old 01-13-09, 08:05 PM   #5
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Could a more robust hanger, in the event of a problem, maybe not bend/break before the dropout bends? Anyone seen a busted dropout on a bike with a sacrificial hanger?
Probably not a real issue, is it?
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Old 01-13-09, 09:23 PM   #6
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BTW, if you're looking for a new RD, Dura Ace 7800 stuff is being sold all over the web at closeout prices. I just paid $80 for a new DA 7800 long cage RD.

I got the Colorado Cyclist catalog in the mail last night; they've got the DA stuff on closeout as well.

DA 7800 series is going for less than new Ultegra...
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Old 01-13-09, 09:34 PM   #7
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Could a more robust hanger, in the event of a problem, maybe not bend/break before the dropout bends? Anyone seen a busted dropout on a bike with a sacrificial hanger?
Probably not a real issue, is it?
That is a great point. I will check it out.

I think the thought is that the hangers are breaking under "normal" operating conditions versus sticks, abuse, bending and etc. The problem is the "sacrificial" hanger can take out the entire seat and chain stays as well as ruin the wheel when the der and chain goes into the spokes. My guys have experienced a few similar problems on other Cervelos.
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Old 01-14-09, 05:02 AM   #8
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The only thing that I would ask is "were you operating on the big cog" when everything let go. If so the possible failure mode might not be the hanger itself, but the chain going "over the top" as if the inner stop screw on the derailler were a bit too far in, or the stay were flexing a bit more then expected. When the chain drops over the large cog, all sorts of bad things can happen as it jams in place in the spokes (worth noting and accepting for all of us who do not run spoke protectors).

If not, then I'm just going to chalk this failure up to "Glad the Destroyer" Hermes......

Club Tombay is always patient.................
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Old 01-14-09, 07:19 AM   #9
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... I heard a terrible sound and I immediately stopped pedaling and braked...
I hate that sound! Glad you didn't go down and that there wasn't any more damage. It could have been much worse. Very generous of the other rider to let you take his bike up the climb - especially, since you've demonstrated you've got "too much power".
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Old 01-14-09, 08:46 AM   #10
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The only thing that I would ask is "were you operating on the big cog" when everything let go. If so the possible failure mode might not be the hanger itself, but the chain going "over the top" as if the inner stop screw on the derailler were a bit too far in, or the stay were flexing a bit more then expected. When the chain drops over the large cog, all sorts of bad things can happen as it jams in place in the spokes (worth noting and accepting for all of us who do not run spoke protectors).

If not, then I'm just going to chalk this failure up to "Glad the Destroyer" Hermes......

Club Tombay is always patient.................
The image of Maddmaxx loomed large and flashed across my mind, as for a brief moment, I could not get my foot released. I saw the door to Club Tombay opening.

I was not shifting at the time but was in the 34/25 spinning ~80 rpm. I really do not know what happened other than the failure. Post mortem analysis did not reveal any failure mode. The chain was between the large cog and the spokes. If I had a spoke protector, I would have to ride with a bag over my head.
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Old 01-14-09, 08:56 AM   #11
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I hate that sound! Glad you didn't go down and that there wasn't any more damage. It could have been much worse. Very generous of the other rider to let you take his bike up the climb - especially, since you've demonstrated you've got "too much power".
My friend chose the lessor of two evils. To put his bike in the back of the van, he would have to remove the wheels and put it next to mine. Riding someone's bike is similar to driving a friends sports car. I was totally aware that the bike was not mine and very careful......especially shifting.

The corollary to too much power is too much power shifting aggressively which may have over time weakened the der hanger. But to an extent, that is what happens in races / competitions and the equipment suffers.
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Old 01-14-09, 08:59 AM   #12
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BTW, if you're looking for a new RD, Dura Ace 7800 stuff is being sold all over the web at closeout prices. I just paid $80 for a new DA 7800 long cage RD.

I got the Colorado Cyclist catalog in the mail last night; they've got the DA stuff on closeout as well.

DA 7800 series is going for less than new Ultegra...
Thanks for the tip.
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Old 01-14-09, 09:14 AM   #13
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Derailleur hangers are always made by the frame manufacturer, since they are specific to that bike. The only other alternative is an aftermarket hanger, such as QBP's line of them. Of course, those are just copies of the factory originals. So, no....Shimano doesn't make any derailleur hangers at all.

I don't know how you're going to get a more "robust" derailleur hanger, unless Cervelo itself is going to manufacture one for you.

Yes, I've seen the results of a derailleur hanger that didn't break like it's supposed to. It and the rear derailleur were still peacefully attached to the rear dropout....which was hanging off of the bike by the chain with shredded bits of carbon fiber poking out everywhere.

The problem you've just described is caused by the chain falling between the cassette and spokes about 99% of the time. As mentioned, this is usually caused by the derailleur limit screw being a fraction of a millimeter off. In rare occasions, it can be caused by someone torquing on the frame so much (standing, climbing a hill, and putting out massive wattage) that the rear end distorts enough to allow the chain to be derailled into the spokes.
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Old 01-14-09, 08:36 PM   #14
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Yes, I've seen the results of a derailleur hanger that didn't break like it's supposed to. It and the rear derailleur were still peacefully attached to the rear dropout....which was hanging off of the bike by the chain with shredded bits of carbon fiber poking out everywhere.

The problem you've just described is caused by the chain falling between the cassette and spokes about 99% of the time. As mentioned, this is usually caused by the derailleur limit screw being a fraction of a millimeter off. In rare occasions, it can be caused by someone torquing on the frame so much (standing, climbing a hill, and putting out massive wattage) that the rear end distorts enough to allow the chain to be derailled into the spokes.
To avoid catastrophic failure, I'll have to remember to always keep the RD limits adjusted just right and also, especially, to not stand up on my V-Rex when hill-climbing. "massive wattage"? Not a chance.
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Old 01-15-09, 08:34 AM   #15
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The image of Maddmaxx loomed large and flashed across my mind, as for a brief moment, I could not get my foot released. I saw the door to Club Tombay opening.

I was not shifting at the time but was in the 34/25 spinning ~80 rpm. I really do not know what happened other than the failure. Post mortem analysis did not reveal any failure mode. The chain was between the large cog and the spokes. If I had a spoke protector, I would have to ride with a bag over my head.
Man, I bet that got exciting for a few long minutes. Good to hear your OK.
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Old 01-15-09, 10:10 AM   #16
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Hi Hermes,

So to make sure I understand (since I just got an R3), the hanger broke and then the chain "derailed" into the spokes. Not the other way around -- chain derailed, then hanger broke.
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Old 01-15-09, 10:24 AM   #17
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Hi Hermes,

So to make sure I understand (since I just got an R3), the hanger broke and then the chain "derailed" into the spokes. Not the other way around -- chain derailed, then hanger broke.
We do not know the failure mode. I was not shifting at the time. I was in the 34/25. The 25 is the largest cog on my rear cassette. The der could have just broke or I hit something that went into the chain causing the chain move toward the spokes. I was on a mountain road near the edge at the time. I do not think I hit anything but on this climb, there is a lot going on with traffic, narrow roads and climbing.

When I inspected the bike, the chain was between the 25 cog and the spokes and the rear der was laying on the chain stays and I did not see and sticks / debris.
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