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  1. #1
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    Question regarding bicycle warranties and my LBS.

    First of all I'd just like to say thank you to the entire community here on BF. The wealth of information related to cycling here never ceases to amaze me. Also realize that I am a complete noob at this and only recently started cycling when I bought this bike.

    That being said, I need some advice on how to handle something related to a bike i bought in september (that's still under warranty) and the LBS I bought it from. The bike I bought is a 2011 Trek 7.1 fx. Specs can be found http://www.bikes.org.uk/trek-71-fx-2011-hybrid-bike/. I am 6' tall and a heavyweight at 280ish. I ride this bike on my daily work commute (averaging about 4-5 times a week). The commute is 8 miles round trip 80% MUP/20% road. I don't bunnyhop curbs, or take this bike off a road AT ALL.

    Here's a little timeline of repair events that have occured with this bike since September:


    September:
    No issues

    October:
    week 1 - 2 broken spokes on rear wheel, replaced for free.
    week 2 - 1 spoke broken on rear wheel, replaced wheel for free
    week 4 - left pedal feels "mushy". Crank is loose and i bring the bike in because i don't have the tools to tighten the crank. I leave the bike and when i come back my crankset has been replaced, as well as the crank arms. I am told it was faulty.

    December:
    week 2 - I butt plant in the middle of an intersection on ice. I buy and install studded tires myself. This has no relevance, just thought I would include it.

    January:
    week 1 - pedal feels mushy again. Still don't have the right tools so i bring the bike in. I'm told at this point it's not a warranty issue and to really stop the problem I'll probably need to upgrade my crankset to an octalink or similar quality. Basically I am told that we need to consider component upgrades because the bike in its current form is not handling the abuse i'm putting on it. For now, i am charged 17 dollars for a new left crank and told come in and get the crankset upgrade (at my cost) when I am ready. I am also instructed that I will need to keep a closer eye on the left crank to ensure it stays tightened. Fair enough, I learned more about bike maintenance. I should have been doing this anyway.

    week 2: - 2 spokes very loose on the rear wheel. I just discovered this this morning and haven't taken the bike in. I'm assuming that this is now my problem and not a warranty issue since that's what happened with the last component replacement issue. I understand that spokes lose tension and need to be maintained, but this soon?

    Part of me thinks the LBS needs to continue to replace these components for me, but the other side sees that maybe i'm a bit too heavy for this entry-level bike. That part of me also thinks they should have had the sales knowledge to realize this and keep me from buying the bike in the first place.

    What say you all about this? How should I feel? Is this a reasonable amount of problems for this timespan? I honestly feel as though I now have a money-pit bike that will continue to have component failure until i can get all around better components, which will most certainly eventually double the cost of the bike. Should I buy a different bike? Go to a different LBS? Am I being treated fairly? What is the meaning of the universe?

    Thanks so much for reading this and for your input/opinions.

    ************UPDATE*************
    Called the bike shop asking about my loose spokes and they said that maybe we need to consider a "beefier" wheel because the one that's on there is not holding up to my type of riding. The reason was that they said that Trek will just continue to send the same component over and over until my warranty is up. The LBS did say they would give me a "frequent buyer" discount though.

    I also wanted to add that I typically ride to work with a change of clothes and lunch, add in lights/rack/milk crate and the grand total of weight is probably VERY close to 300 pounds, especially considering the extra pressure when I hit a bump. Still not real sure if this is fair. Talking to the Trek representative may change things...

    A final update...I'm most definitely in better shape now than when i started riding, although I don't believe i've lost any weight. I ride faster and maybe harder now than I did when I first got the bike. All things are starting to point to me being too heavy for this bike in my opinion.
    Last edited by thefunnyman; 01-10-12 at 09:57 AM.

  2. #2
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    So the shop states that the bike can't handle the "abuse" (your word). Take a step back and ask yourself if you're really "abusing" the bike (be brutally honest here). From what you've said here the answer is "no". I'd say that you need to ask to speak to the local Trek rep. Also, when you go to the LBS are you going in all irate, angry, loud? That can make all the difference in the world. Bottom line is you should not have to upgrade components on a 4-5 month old bike just to keep it from breaking down.

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    I've never walked in or sounded angry with any of them. I understand that I'm a large individual and always just assumed that it was my weight that was the problem. In fact everyone that I've spoken with at the shop seems really helpful and friendly. The route I take isn't the smoothest, no potholes or anything, but it's not a well polished track or anything. The frame and other components are also very rigid, so if I hit a dip in the trail or anything like that, my full weight and then some gets transferred to the wheels (cranks if i'm standing). I assume this is the "abuse" they were talking about.

  4. #4
    Senior Member NCbiker's Avatar
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    I agree, you should talk to the Trek Rep. You weight should not be considered "abuse", as Trek advertises the weight limit on your bike as 300 pounds.

    http://www.trekbikes.com/faq/questio...questionid=104

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    Thanks so much for your input! I took your advice and got in touch with the Trek Warranty Rep. They are going to work out a warranty upgrade credit to give me a better rear wheel. The rep told me that the crank issue sounded more like a maintenance issue than a shoddy component issue. I tend to agree as all I need to do is keep the crank tight and the issue never occurs. Obviously a better quality component would perform better with less chance of wear, but I'm content with the outcome as it stands. Thanks again!

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    If you're that much overweight, you are subjecting your aluminum framed bike to stresses that it wasn't built to endure. You are causing this bike to surpass its stress limits at a variety of locations on this bicycle. This would especially place extreme stress upon your wheels and subsequently, your spokes.

    My advice to you would be to immediately sell your Trek using CL. Next, you should purchase either a new lower end hardtail MTB, or a single speed fixie made of hi-tensile steel, from your LBS. Ride one of these bikes until you've lost at least forty pounds or so. Then sell the exercise bike, and get the bike of your choice, afterwards.

    * Of course, you could always purchase any type of used steel-framed bike off of CL, to be employed as your commuter/exercise bike.

    - Slim

    PS.

    Try not to ride the Trek FX anymore...
    Last edited by SlimRider; 01-10-12 at 12:11 PM.

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Sounds like you have at least a partial answer. I would also continue to keep an eye out towards a stronger replacement bike for future use. Consider doing something semi-custom with parts geared towards loaded touring, they are designed for higher weights.

    Aaron
    Webshots is bailing out, if you find any of my posts with corrupt picture files and want to see them corrected please let me know. :(

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  8. #8
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    "All things are starting to point to me being too heavy for this bike in my opinion."

    Pretty much covers your problem...........

    The broken spokes are a dead give away.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SlimRider View Post
    If you're that much overweight, you are subjecting your aluminum framed bike to stresses that it wasn't built to endure. You are causing this bike to surpass its stress limits at a variety of locations on this bicycle. This would especially place extreme stress upon your wheels and subsequently, your spokes.
    So, should Trek change their weight limit statement to say: "300 pounds, but only if you are traveling on absolutely flat pavement with zero hints of bumps, or a planetary system whose gravitational force < Earth."? Seems a little wordy to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by thefunnyman View Post
    So, should Trek change their weight limit statement to say: "300 pounds, but only if you are traveling on absolutely flat pavement with zero hints of bumps, or a planetary system whose gravitational force < Earth."? Seems a little wordy to me.
    Hey there Funnyman!

    I think that you are right there at the weight limit, or perhaps even slightly above it.

    Whatever the case may be.... It's a weight problem, trust me!

    - Slim

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    I don't think the LBS where you got the bike knows what they're doing.

    Crank gets "mushy" and they tighten it? They didn't torque it right when they put it on. Probably screwed the pooch when they got it out of the box.

    FIVE broken spokes? OK, they didn't touch the machine built wheel when they assembled the bike fresh from the Trek box. But if they'd known what they were doing, they would have made sure the wheel (especially the rear wheel) was tensioned and stress-relieved the first time you brought it in for service.

    Now they're trying to milk you for new parts -- a wheel and a crank. My recommendation? Go find a LBS with mechanics who know what they're doing. You may need both now, but if you go back to these clowns, you'll be a frequent buyer of spokes, truing service, cranks, and who knows what else.

  12. #12
    Banned. Mr. Beanz's Avatar
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    My.02, inexpensive bikes don't work well with riders that actually plan to ride their bikes. Most bikes at this level end up hanging in a garage.

    Myself, even on a $1100 bike, I know that the BB won't last long, the rear wheel (I'm 220-250) won't last long and the crankset itself may last 2 years. I noticed the site OP posted didn't even mention the crankset. I milk the stock parts for whatever I can get then upgrade to more durable components.

    But I'd never buy a $400 at my weight and expect it to give me thousands of care free miles.

    Really strange but I keep suggesting 250+ riders not waste their money on $500 bikes made with non durable stock parts but when I do, others keep insisting I'm wrong, yet here we are again.
    Last edited by Mr. Beanz; 01-10-12 at 05:39 PM.

  13. #13
    Senior Member JimF22003's Avatar
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    I have a Specialized Tri-Cross bike, and I weigh 180 or so. I had repeated problems with broken spokes on the rear wheel. The spokes were just not tensioned right from the factory, and all the LBS did was just replace them. This bike should have been able to handle plenty of "abuse" as well as carry riders a lot heavier than me.

    So you can't always blame broken spoke issues on a person's weight, or even on how they use the bike. You should be able to ride a hybrid or a cross bike on non-paved trails.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
    I have a Specialized Tri-Cross bike, and I weigh 180 or so. I had repeated problems with broken spokes on the rear wheel. The spokes were just not tensioned right from the factory, and all the LBS did was just replace them. This bike should have been able to handle plenty of "abuse" as well as carry riders a lot heavier than me.

    So you can't always blame broken spoke issues on a person's weight, or even on how they use the bike. You should be able to ride a hybrid or a cross bike on non-paved trails.
    Quite true. Not always...

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimF22003 View Post
    I have a Specialized Tri-Cross bike, and I weigh 180 or so. I had repeated problems with broken spokes on the rear wheel. The spokes were just not tensioned right from the factory, and all the LBS did was just replace them. This bike should have been able to handle plenty of "abuse" as well as carry riders a lot heavier than me.

    So you can't always blame broken spoke issues on a person's weight, or even on how they use the bike. You should be able to ride a hybrid or a cross bike on non-paved trails.
    For what it's worth I bought a used tricross, took it to the LBS because I thought it needed a new FD cable (turned out it didn't) and because I'd bought it used they gave it a quick looking over for me.

    I've ridden it over bumps in the road, rutted gravel etc. I don't tend to bump it up or down kerbs but for the last few months it's coped with everything I've thrown at it. I currently weigh about 240.
    "For a list of ways technology has failed to improve quality of life, press three"

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    What is causing your issues is not just your weight. bigger people have more strength and it requires much more power to the rear wheel to get them in motion. Like a car having to much horsepower (torque) for the tranny. Sooner or later the tranny will fail. The left crank arm has to transfer the power to the chainring side through the BB spindle so is under much more stress than the right which is attached to the chainring. Cranks should be torqued out the box and retightened in around 30 days and that usually is enough accept checking once a year and they should be tight. Also if a crank arm is ridden loose it needs to be replaced. I agree if the cranks are torqued correctly on install and during the breakin period they should be fine. Your spokes are probably popping on the drive side which is also from torque not weight. Spokes on bikes in this price range are usually made of cheep stainless steel. Although a wheel with more spokes is stronger it wont make much difference if the spokes are the same quality as the old wheel. If your new wheel does'nt hold up have a shop lace it with DT or Wheelsmith spokes. Also on any bike with your weight and strength starting off in lower gears will help ease the stress on the drivetrain.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    I don't think the LBS where you got the bike knows what they're doing.

    Crank gets "mushy" and they tighten it? They didn't torque it right when they put it on. Probably screwed the pooch when they got it out of the box.

    FIVE broken spokes? OK, they didn't touch the machine built wheel when they assembled the bike fresh from the Trek box. But if they'd known what they were doing, they would have made sure the wheel (especially the rear wheel) was tensioned and stress-relieved the first time you brought it in for service.

    Now they're trying to milk you for new parts -- a wheel and a crank. My recommendation? Go find a LBS with mechanics who know what they're doing. You may need both now, but if you go back to these clowns, you'll be a frequent buyer of spokes, truing service, cranks, and who knows what else.
    Personally I agree with this poster. Not only are you within the weight limits specified for the bike, there are several indicators that you are NOT abusing the bike. Specifically that you haven't broken the resin pedals, damaged the rims or worn out the bottom bracket. Suggest you have a talk with the rep and have them recommend another dealer. One that'll actually do the prep work on the bike like its supposed to be done.
    Last edited by Burton; 01-12-12 at 04:35 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefunnyman View Post
    Thanks so much for your input! I took your advice and got in touch with the Trek Warranty Rep. They are going to work out a warranty upgrade credit to give me a better rear wheel. The rep told me that the crank issue sounded more like a maintenance issue than a shoddy component issue. I tend to agree as all I need to do is keep the crank tight and the issue never occurs. Obviously a better quality component would perform better with less chance of wear, but I'm content with the outcome as it stands. Thanks again!

    One thing to remember the frame material has nothing to do with the cranks or Wheels. Notice they didn't tell you to go get steel wheels till you lost the weight. But very often to meet a price point they put low grade wheels on many entry level bikes. You could buy a $3000.00 custom steel frame bike and with the same wheels still break spokes left and right. A better wheel on the bike you have will work much better. Better cranks will never hurt. I met Bill Walton this year at the Furnace Creek 508 and he has to go close to 300 pounds. He rides a Ti/Carbon bike just fine, made by Bill Holland. But he has good wheels and good cranks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by thefunnyman View Post
    January:
    week 1 - pedal feels mushy again. Still don't have the right tools so i bring the bike in. I'm told at this point it's not a warranty issue and to really stop the problem I'll probably need to upgrade my crankset to an octalink or similar quality. Basically I am told that we need to consider component upgrades because the bike in its current form is not handling the abuse i'm putting on it. For now, i am charged 17 dollars for a new left crank and told come in and get the crankset upgrade (at my cost) when I am ready.
    People have been using square taper cranks for decades without issue. Proper installation of the warranty replacement would have avoided the issue although the bike shop will make more money selling you a new crank.

    week 2: - 2 spokes very loose on the rear wheel. I just discovered this this morning and haven't taken the bike in. I'm assuming that this is now my problem and not a warranty issue since that's what happened with the last component replacement issue. I understand that spokes lose tension and need to be maintained, but this soon?
    Properly tensioned spokes do NOT go loose. I only touch mine when replacing a rim.

    When wheels aren't built with enough tension the spokes can loosen in a single ride. The bike companies make more money this way though because it lets the machines build wheels faster for higher profits (although they'll get a few warranty returns from folks at the heavier and perhaps higher mileage ends of the bell curve).

    Application of a spoke wrench, some squeezing, and looking at a tension meter will avoid the problem even on cheap wheels.


    ************UPDATE*************
    Called the bike shop asking about my loose spokes and they said that maybe we need to consider a "beefier" wheel because the one that's on there is not holding up to my type of riding. The reason was that they said that Trek will just continue to send the same component over and over until my warranty is up. The LBS did say they would give me a "frequent buyer" discount though.
    Let trek send you a new wheel because your existing spokes have reached their fatigue. Have some one competent bring it up to high uniform tension and stress relieve (probably not your LBS although you could do it yourself at a bike cooperative). If you still break spokes due to low material quality (as opposed to poor assembly) have a better wheel built by some one competent.

    Of course, the bike shop will make more money selling you a new wheel or two.
    Last edited by Drew Eckhardt; 01-12-12 at 10:28 PM.

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    Interesting situation
    typically, at a department store different sizes of the same pants cost the same, even though different amounts of cloth was used... why? shouldn't i get a discount since my smaller size used less material? maybe its an issue of political correctness, where no one wants to give the impression of discrimination

    with bikes, the differences will be more extreme than mere cloth, larger sizes need to be built more robustly, materials and design may need to be different.... at least in theory. instead we often see that all frame sizes are priced identically, and use identical components -a freewheel on a 15" frame for a 90lb woman is fine, but is it really acceptable that the 23" version of the same bike still uses that freewheel? 250lb male rider will break the axel in no time....

    Seen that particular example at the shop where i work... usually we try to avoid using personal descriptions like 'overweight' etc and instead use deliberatly vague terms like 'riding style' or 'abuse' when dealing with bikes that havent withstood large customers....

    maybe we need to be more pragmatic, spec and price items based on rider size instead of pretending all are equal (politcal correctness) ?

  21. #21
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    Interesting situation
    typically, at a department store different sizes of the same pants cost the same, even though different amounts of cloth was used... why? shouldn't i get a discount since my smaller size used less material? maybe its an issue of political correctness, where no one wants to give the impression of discrimination

    with bikes, the differences will be more extreme than mere cloth, larger sizes need to be built more robustly, materials and design may need to be different.... at least in theory. instead we often see that all frame sizes are priced identically, and use identical components -a freewheel on a 15" frame for a 90lb woman is fine, but is it really acceptable that the 23" version of the same bike still uses that freewheel? 250lb male rider will break the axel in no time....

    Seen that particular example at the shop where i work... usually we try to avoid using personal descriptions like 'overweight' etc and instead use deliberatly vague terms like 'riding style' or 'abuse' when dealing with bikes that havent withstood large customers....

    maybe we need to be more pragmatic, spec and price items based on rider size instead of pretending all are equal (politcal correctness) ?
    Funny thing about those department stores...they don't carry my size, and when I do find it they charge me extra. FWIW I wear Large Tall, yes there is a bit of extra material in it, but not 10-15% more. It has more to do with limited production than amount of material.

    Ditto bikes, check around and see how many bike companies sell XL bikes in this day and age. I have a 2005 Redline 9.2.5, it is the 60cm size, they no longer offer that bike in that size. Why? Probably didn't sell enough of them to justify making them. It is all about profits, not providing for a fringe base of customers. If you want something out of the ordinary you will end up paying for it.

    Aaron
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    Quote Originally Posted by xenologer View Post
    with bikes, the differences will be more extreme than mere cloth, larger sizes need to be built more robustly, materials and design may need to be different.... at least in theory. instead we often see that all frame sizes are priced identically, and use identical components -a freewheel on a 15" frame for a 90lb woman is fine, but is it really acceptable that the 23" version of the same bike still uses that freewheel?
    Freewheels are a bad idea for heavier riders due to where they put the drive side axle bearing.

    Once you get to a freehub with decent metalurgy you should be fine - road hubs share the same axle sizes (traditionally 9mm front and 10mm rear in steel although ~15mm over-sized aluminum axles are becoming common) and freehubs as their tandem counterparts which work for 350+ pound tandem teams and their luggage.

    While 400g box section rims get bent with riders weighing much over 150 pounds, rims made deeper for aerodynamic reasons are also fine for heavier riders (like the Velocity Deep V).

    maybe we need to be more pragmatic, spec and price items based on rider size instead of pretending all are equal (politcal correctness) ?
    A pound of steel or aluminum runs about $1. Most of the costs are distribution, marketing, and labor.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Drew Eckhardt View Post
    Freewheels are a bad idea for heavier riders due to where they put the drive side axle bearing.

    Once you get to a freehub with decent metalurgy you should be fine - road hubs share the same axle sizes (traditionally 9mm front and 10mm rear in steel although ~15mm over-sized aluminum axles are becoming common) and freehubs as their tandem counterparts which work for 350+ pound tandem teams and their luggage.
    Note the Trek the OP is having trouble with uses a freehub and cassette.

    While 400g box section rims get bent with riders weighing much over 150 pounds, rims made deeper for aerodynamic reasons are also fine for heavier riders (like the Velocity Deep V).
    Have to disagree with you there. Box rims carried over 300 pounds of me and luggage across the U.S., and are still running fine. They're also stock on a lot of mountain bikes.

    I still maintain the LBS doesn't know what they're doing. This bike would work well for this rider if it had been built up properly.

  24. #24
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    Sounds like the wheels have never been PROPERLY tensioned/trued/stress-relieved. Do that...

    As for the crank...I dont know?
    2012 Diamondback Podium 2 - Ready for spring! :D
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    One thing you definitely do not need to worry about is frame strength and material. Pound for pound, aluminum is stronger than steel, and many many people at or above your weight are happily riding aluminum bikes, especially the Trek FX series, which has a great number of 'Clydesdale' class fans.

    As mentioned above, the problem with the bke were not only your weight, but the inability of the shop to perform the maintenance that would have prevented the failures, esp., properly installing cranks and properly tensioning and stress relieving spokes (almost always a problem on machine built wheels, unless an experieiced wheel builder 'tunes them up' before you take delivery).
    Perhaps if you weighed 150 lbs you wouldn't have discovered these problems, but more likely it just would have taken a bit longer.

    Go to the 'Clydesdale' subforum and see what they are talking about today. Us big guys have problems that a lot of 'normal' sized riders don't have to deal with.

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