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Trek Domane 4.3 issues... ready to get rid of the damn bike

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Trek Domane 4.3 issues... ready to get rid of the damn bike

Old 08-04-15, 08:42 PM
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bres dad
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Trek Domane 4.3 issues... ready to get rid of the damn bike

Ok, not quite ready but getting frustrated. I'm used to metal bikes and how they behave, not full on carbon fiber (lack of knowledge & experience may be part of the problem.) I bought a new 2015 Domane 4.3 from a local store that gave me a price break just as the price on the model went up a few hundred bucks. I previously had an aluminum Domane 2.0 that I upgraded the hell out of (actually weighed in less than then carbon fiber 4.3 that replaced it.) In short here are my issues and tell me what if anything can be done. First, other than the rims, the bike is stock save full 105 crank & brakes (had a cheap generic Shimano crank and tectro brakes).

Issue 1: Excessive chain slap. You hit a bump and the chain slaps on the stays. You stop pedaling all of a sudden and the chain slaps. Annoying and I've heard of issues where excessive chain slap can cause the carbon fiber to chip and crack on the chain stays. I put a lizard Skins protector on it to try to absorb some of the slapping. I never had this on my 2.0 (I assume it due to the larger chain stays and the chain in higher gears (smaller tooth gears, 11-12 teeth) and the fact there is virtually no tollerance where you can't put your finger between the chain & the chain stay.

Issue 2: Headset popping.
I've noticed a distinction in popping of the chain slamming on the chain stays and a popping in the front of the bike what seems like at random. I briefly explained the issue to the LBS I bought this new at and he siad it was just head set popping. Didn't elaborate and say if its something to be concerned with, normal or what. Is that normal? I know my steel or alumimum bikes don't do that so why is it doing that?

Issue 3: I've got a set of Vuelta Corsa SLR rims. I noticed tonight there is about 1/4 side to side play in the cassette & freehub. Have to wonder how much of the noise and occasional shift problems that accounts for. They're not the factory rim and can be changed back so I can send that in and get it fixed.

so please tell me hoe much of 1 & 2 might be normal or not. 3 is a matter of sending the rims back and get them fixed or replaced. Just seems like I shoulnd't be going through this much trouble for what I spent on this. Thoughts?

Last edited by bres dad; 08-05-15 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 08-04-15, 09:26 PM
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This is my advice:

Issue 1: Don't spend so much time in small-small. The big ring is for the middle and fast end of the cassette, and the small ring is for the middle and slow end. Especially when using a compact double.

Issue 2: Find another bike shop. Properly installed and adjusted headsets don't pop. And I've got too many miles on dirt roads with road bikes, and a cracked carbon seatpost, to show for it.

Issue 3: Don't use Vuelta wheels. You can have light, cheap, and rugged, but only two at a time. Good luck dealing with the warranty department. The Bontrager wheels that came on the Domane are porky but they hold up to a reasonable amount of abuse.
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Old 08-04-15, 10:40 PM
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Hi I am an ex Trek dealership owner and frame builder. I study geometry, and when you talk about chain slap in the small cogs, I do not know which chain ring it's happening in. I do not know much about the chain/ chain stay clearance, and I do not know how you feel about pedal/ shoe clearance for pedaling through corners, in my opinion the Domane jumped the shark for be, if you check out the bottom bracket height.... well it's dangerously low. I actually wrote Trek, and told them that I felt their bb hight was too low on that model. I don't know if that is a contributor to your chain slap issue. I would take the fork/ headset issue seriously. A guy in Florida DIED when his noisy fork gave way on him after having a store down there unable to determine the noise.
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Old 08-04-15, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
A guy in Florida DIED when his noisy fork gave way on him after having a store down there unable to determine the noise.
Can we have a citation for this? I've not heard this story.
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Old 08-04-15, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by bres dad View Post
Issue 1: Excessive chain slap. You hit a bump and the chain slaps on the stays. You stop pedaling all of a sudden and the chain slaps. Annoying and I've heard of issues where excessive chain slap can cause the carbon fiber to chip and crack on the chain stays. I put a lizard Skins protector on it to try to absorb some of the slapping. I never had this on my 2.0 (I assume it due to the larger chain stays and the chain in higher gears (smaller tooth gears, 11-12 teeth) and the fact there is virtually no tollerance where you can't put your finger between the chain & the chain stay.

Issue 2: Headset popping.
I've noticed a distinction in popping of the chain slamming on the chain stays and a popping in the front of the bike what seems like at random. I briefly explained the issue to the LBS I bought this new at and he siad it was just head set popping. Didn't elaborate and say if its something to be concerned with, normal or what. Is that normal? I know my steel or alumimum bikes don't do that so why is it doing that?
I have a 2015 Domane 4.5, and I don't have chainslap beyond what I might consider normal. I spend almost all my time on the big ring, and often crosschain the **** out of my bike without conscience.

What I DO have, from time to time, is a loud clack or crack sometimes when under load from the front, but it's clearly an FD issue, and feels like the chain skips a tooth. (Not annoying enough for me to lose precious ride time to either maintenance or taking the bike in for a free tune-up. I'll deal with it the next time it rains.) Could this be what you're hearing? Other than that, nothing from the headset or fork.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
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Old 08-05-15, 04:48 AM
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Send the bike to me for proper disposal
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Old 08-05-15, 06:08 AM
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Normally when I ride, I'll spin in the small chain ring til warmed up then depending where I'm at and whom I'm with, I'll switch to the large. On the rear I usually stay in the middle to outer gears (usually 8 or 9, rarely ever use the smallest cogs). I've looked at other carbon fiber Domanes and noticed the tight tolerances between the chain and the stay when you're in the smaller cogs. That's more of an annoyance with a few ways to address it (one being the Lizard Skin I've got on it now.)

The other popping is a mystery and concern. I'm not 100% sure where its coming from. I've hit drops in pavement, pot holes and it won't always do it. Sometimes it will do it while pedaling, sometimes not. I've had it back to the shop I bought it at and they've not been able to replicate any of the noise. The owner mentioned it might be the headset popping and looked at it, not seeming too concerned with it. He's out of town til later in the week, so I'll ask him when he comes in. I will talk to another Trek dealer too. There is no play in the front. Only thing the shop has found on it is the seat has loosened up a little a few times. I don't think its coming from the FD as it will pop at times when I'm not pedaling. I have heard it make noises sometimes when shifting up front, but its a much different noise than the popping & cracking.

I'm putting the stock rims back on the bike for now. Porky and solid yes... I've had several sets of Vuelta rims over the last few years, including a 10 speed version of the Corsa SLR's on another bike and never had an issue. I'm hoping Vuelta will fix or replace it.
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Old 08-05-15, 08:04 AM
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I hear the pop noise also on my Domane 5.2. It is a random pop. I have not done any inquiry at the LBS, but I think I will.
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Old 08-05-15, 08:17 AM
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1) Chain slap when you stop pedaling is an indication that your freehub isn't releasing properly. The freehub is continuing to spin with the wheel instead of unlocking and letting the RD take up the slack.
I'll bet that if you switch back to the stock Bontrager's the chain slap issue gets better.

2) Popping isn't normal, but it could be many things. Check the headset for play by holding the front brake, and placing a fingertip at the fork/headtube junction. If you rock the handlebars forward with the brakes locked, you shouldn't feel any motion at the joint.

3) Not normal.
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Old 08-05-15, 08:26 AM
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Possibly 1 & 3 are related.
IF you have "about 1/4 side to side play in the cassette & freehub", something is messed up BAD.
That may also be causing the Free Hub to not disengage properly when you stop pedaling.
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Old 08-05-15, 08:34 AM
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Issues with #1 happened before I put the Vuelta wheels on the bike. I've also swapped the wheels out before troubleshooting and it made no difference. I do agree that something on the Vuelta is severely messed up. I'm also contacting Nashbar to see what they are willing to do. The were purchased in April. With their 'forever guarantee' they should do something.
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Old 08-05-15, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Wheever View Post
Can we have a citation for this? I've not heard this story.
Just because you didnt hear it it doesnt mean it didnt happen.

Google is you friend.... Let me search for you...'florida bicycle fork death'

Northpinellas: Lawsuit: Bike defect led to cyclist's death on trail

The widow of a Dunedin man who died after a cycling accident on the Pinellas Trail last fall has sued the bicycle's manufacturer and a local bike shop, contending that they failed to disclose or address a mechanical defect that caused the crash.

A little after 6 p.m. Nov. 11, Terry Joyce set out on a group ride with the Suncoast Cycling Club. The pack was about 15 minutes into the ride, heading north at 19 to 20 mph when several cyclists heard "a loud snapping sound," according to a Pinellas County sheriff's report.

Joyce, 69, flew over the handlebars of his Trek Madone 5.9 and hit his head and neck on the pavement. Four days later, he died at Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg due to "complications of blunt trauma," the medical examiner concluded.

Janet Joyce, his wife of 42 years, sued in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court in January, contending that defective design and manufacturing had rendered her husband's bike unsafe.

Joyce's complaint seeks unspecified damages over $15,000 and asserts that Trek had knowledge that the light-weight carbon fiber material used to manufacture the forks was susceptible to cracking and collapse.

Employees at Trek Bicycle Corp. in Waterloo, Wis., Friday referred questions to a company attorney, who said Trek does not comment on pending litigation.

Mrs. Joyce is not alone in thinking the bike had problems.

A report from the sheriff's investigation states that both of the forks holding the front wheel had cracked. Investigators cited "mechanical failure in the front forks of Terry's bicycle," not environmental factors or human error, according to the report.

Joyce's attorney, Henry E. Valenzuela of Tampa, said defects in the Trek forks have caused other crashes, and evidence gleaned from public documents indicates that Trek had "actual or constructive knowledge" of them.

Valenzuela declined to cite specifics, saying that disclosing the details would hurt his client at this stage of the lawsuit.

Witnesses said that Joyce, an avid cyclist who competed in the Senior Games, had been complaining about strange noises before he crashed that night, the sheriff's report says.

Records from the lawsuit indicate that Joyce had had other complaints about the bike since he bought it over the Internet from a woman in Honolulu in June 2005.

When Joyce received the bike, which retails for about $5,000, it was still in the original box, never ridden, the lawsuit says. He brought it into Chainwheel Drive bike shop in Clearwater to be assembled.

It worked fine for a few months, but Joyce brought it back to Chainwheel Drive in September, complaining about vibrations from the front wheel.

Personnel at the shop said a different wheel or new brake pads might solve the problem, and "assured Joyce that the bike was safe to use and not defective," despite "actual or constructive knowledge" of manufacturing defects, the suit states.

Tom Jessup, owner of Chainwheel Drive, did not return phone calls Friday, but he told Times in November that in his 25 years of selling Trek bikes, he had never heard of a structural problem with a bike's fork.

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Old 08-05-15, 07:24 PM
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The rim issue is fixed. Ran the wheel to the LBS (figured maybe 5 minutes with them would be cheaper than return shipping) and the cap on the non-drive side came unscrewed, allowing lateral movement in the whole axle & free hub assembly. I knew the cap was off but wasn't aware it screwed on. Attached is a photo of another Vuelta on a bike doing trainer duty. Same part. I also talked to a different Trek dealer and they agreed something isn't right and it shouldn't pop like it is. Going back to the shop I bought it at in the next few days and talk with them about it. More to come.

Also spent part of the day while 'working' reading on Sheldon Brown's rattles and some other dedicated sites for people obsessed with the noises their bikes make. I did isolate alot of smaller noises and possible issues. Bouncing the bike (silly as that may sound) I can replicate similar noises. The popping I'm hearing kinda sounds like someone tapping the down tube with their fingernail. One noise I was able to replicate is the cable end cap of the FD cable banging against the seat tube. Also hearing something from around the BB (maybe chain rattling) but can't tell exactly. What is very interesting though is I took my wife's Giant Avail down to get to another bike I have I wanted to look at (different reasons) and when I sat the Giant down, I heard a pop, bang, noise out of the head tube that sounds very much like the noise I'm hearing on mine. For what its worth, she has no noises normally out of hers other athan the top of the headset squeaks if she hasn't ridden it for awhile. Unlike my Domane, its aluminum with carbon fiber fork.
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Old 08-05-15, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
Hi I am an ex Trek dealership owner and frame builder. I study geometry, and when you talk about chain slap in the small cogs, I do not know which chain ring it's happening in. I do not know much about the chain/ chain stay clearance, and I do not know how you feel about pedal/ shoe clearance for pedaling through corners, in my opinion the Domane jumped the shark for be, if you check out the bottom bracket height.... well it's dangerously low. I actually wrote Trek, and told them that I felt their bb hight was too low on that model. I don't know if that is a contributor to your chain slap issue. I would take the fork/ headset issue seriously. A guy in Florida DIED when his noisy fork gave way on him after having a store down there unable to determine the noise.
Actually, the low bottom bracket is the only feature of the civilian Domane that I really like. My Gios had a low bottom bracket, and I loved the stability as I learned to deal with the cornering clearance, 175 mm cranks and all. I just wish the Domane had a steeper head angle, lower head tube, and more fork rake. Like Fabian Cancellara's Domane. I could be really happy riding one of his old ones.

bres dad, I'm glad you got to the bottom of your wheel problem. I'm hopeful a different Trek dealer can help you trace that poppiing noise.

Last edited by oldbobcat; 08-05-15 at 08:58 PM.
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Old 08-06-15, 03:05 PM
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I have a 2013 Domane and I am no mechanic but, I will share my experience. This spring when I noticed a click or pop from the headset and I could not figure it out. I took the bike to the LBS and they could not find the problem either but said it was safe to ride. I have ridden at least 1,500 miles since then. A few weeks ago I had a prostate issue which required a different saddle. The LBS put on the saddle and did a bike fit and we decided to go with a shorter and flatter stem on (the previous one was an aftermarket stem angled up). Since the bike fit, I have not heard any sounds at all.

I suspect that the bars in the stem were causing the noise but, I am not really sure.

FYI - I have heard this noise from other bikes not just the Domane
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Old 08-06-15, 04:05 PM
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I have a steering stem in one of my bikes that's a little too small for the head tube. I would get loud ticks occasionally when putting strain on the bars, especially when standing up to climb hills. I used a piece of aluminum flashing to shim the stem and eliminated the noise. I made a rectangle out of the flashing that was the same length as the buried length of the stem, including the expansion wedge. The width of the rectangle was slightly less than the circumference of the stem. I shaped the rectangle around a tool handle to form a cylinder and slid it into the head tube, followed by the stem. The shim solved my problem.

The same thing can be accomplished with aluminum soda or beer cans, although multiple layers may be needed.
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Old 08-06-15, 05:14 PM
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I'm on a witch hunt trying to figure out what the popping is and if its serious. I took it out for a test ride and noticed a lot of vibration on the non drive side crank arm. It wiggles and one bolt was loose. I was about a block from the co-op and being open shop night I went over. We took the arm off, regreased and put it back together. We bounced and played with the bike and assumed victory and moved on. I get it outside and set it down on the sidewalk... pop

The bike is taunting me.

I'm in the process of removing everything non-essential for operation and going for test rides after I take off a piece. Lights, computer, even the cover over the iso-speed decoupler is off (I've heard those can be a bit noisy sometimes, though its more of a squeak than a knock.) Next are the bottle cages. It will probably go back to the store tomorrow (I talked with the shop owner this afternoon and he said he'd take another look at it.) The more I listen to it, it sounds like its coming from the bottom of the bike somewhere and resonating up the down tube. But when riding it, its hard to tell exactly. Might have to find a stethoscope...

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Old 08-06-15, 05:34 PM
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You mentioned a sound like a fingernail tapping or scratching the down tube. Could it be an internally routed cable or its guide slapping the tube or moving against a cable port or stop?
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Old 08-06-15, 08:22 PM
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This bike has no internal cables. All of the guides seem tight. I'm going to remove the seat post and see what it does (standing up of course... sitting would be painful :/

I've read the old rule of thumb for FD adjustment is about the width of a penny. When the chain is fully inside (small chain ring, lowest rear gear... no crossing), its much tighter than a penny. Possible the chain could be hitting FD cage? I'm guessing at this point.
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Old 08-06-15, 09:31 PM
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I think we have our answer. I took the bike off the stand and sat it on the ground putting pressure on the seat. As it made contact with the ground... POP! I removed the seat post and clamp and took it for a spin... dead quiet, outside of the norm. Question is what to do about it? The seat post clamp was tight and the post had what I assume is carbon grease. What is making it pop though?
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Old 08-06-15, 10:26 PM
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Originally Posted by bres dad View Post
I think we have our answer. I took the bike off the stand and sat it on the ground putting pressure on the seat. As it made contact with the ground... POP! I removed the seat post and clamp and took it for a spin... dead quiet, outside of the norm. Question is what to do about it? The seat post clamp was tight and the post had what I assume is carbon grease. What is making it pop though?
Are you sure its the post and not the saddle/clamp interface? Or even the saddle?
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Old 08-07-15, 05:17 AM
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It could be. It was late when I was working on this last night, normally when I'm in bed so I didn't want to pursue it any more for the night. The seat bolts were pretty tight. I've had issues with them loosening up before, but its always been a squeak that came from a different place on the bike. The seat clamp seemed tight but I didn't want to over tighten it and risk cracking the frame. Not sure how realistic that scenario is but knowing my luck it would happen (I seem to remember older carbon fiber Domanes having an issue with the frame cracking around the clamp due to over tightening because of a slightly smaller seat post than what it should have been used. Trek did start using a different seat post but I'd have to research it more to verify.). I'm taking everything over to the LBS when they open in a few hours and let them figure the rest out.
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Old 08-07-15, 09:17 AM
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Just got back from the shop. They confirmed its the seat post banging around on either the frame or something in the frame. They're slammed prepping bikes for a few local events happening this weekend so I'm taking it back next week so they work on it.
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Old 08-10-15, 07:18 AM
  #24  
navnsipe
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Bikes: 2014 Trek Domane 4.3 , 1997 Spec Allez, 2002 Kona Manomano,

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I had a similar noise coming from the seatpost on my Domane 4.3 and was able to isolate it while riding my bike on a trainer stand. The post head and lower cradle interface had no lube on it and was creaking/popping when sat on the saddle. It wasn't constant but it was irritating.

I took the seatpost head apart and put anti-seize on the bolt threads and lightly greased the lower rail cradle where it contacts the seatpost head. I put everything back together and properly torqued the post clamp and and head bolts. No more noise.
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Old 08-10-15, 07:32 AM
  #25  
bres dad
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navinsipe, are you talking about where the seat post connects to the seat? Do you have a photo? There are a few different styles of seat post that have been used on the Domane. This is mine.
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