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failing components on commuter bike

Old 04-04-17, 03:37 PM
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fourstacks
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failing components on commuter bike

I'm a daily commuter in Vancouver, Canada, so I ride through a lot of wet, messy days. I put about 4,000 kms (2,500 miles) on my bike per year, but I take pretty good care of my bike - stored in the garage or indoor bike cage, hose off the mud and muck, etc. I think I usually get 2+ years out of a drivetrain before the components start to wear out. But my latest bike (2016 Cannondale quick speed 1) lasted about 9 months before everything started to fail. The rear hub is shot, the bottom bracket feels like I'm riding on corn flakes, the headset is bleeding rust, . This wasn't a super expensive bike, but it wasn't the cheapest either.


I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this? Am I expecting too much of a bike? Should I be looking at replacing the major components annually? Or maybe I just got a lemon?
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Old 04-04-17, 04:13 PM
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Sounds bad. I rode a Raleigh and a Klein in Seattle years ago, similar distances, never saw that kind of corrosion issues. Rode a Klein twice that distance last year with no headset or bb damage. Is salt water getting in?
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Old 04-04-17, 04:20 PM
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Sad comment on Cannondale, but you do live and ride in an environment some would call extreme. (I live in Portland, grew up outside Boston and have lived in Michigan and Seattle, all as a year 'round rider.) I find I have to do work on any bike I get to to make it year 'round worthy. All threads need good grease on them. All bearings need seals that work or good enough access to make the difference.

Can the hubs be rebuilt with new bearings? My Miches go usually two winters though i have several bikes and no one probably gets the miles yours does. It costs me $35 US to have a shop replace them. Headsets I pack with marine trailer hub grease (any auto parts store). I have been known to make seals of twine wrapped around the axle. (I recently re-packed the bearings in my ancient racing hub that has seen service on a winter/off-road wheel I did that too. The 30 year old Phil Wood grease inside was virgin. I made my own seals because I had replaced the original Japanese cones with Campagnolo cones that were a touch smaller diameter, leaving a gap between the cone and dust cap.

Does the bike suit your needs and do you like the ride? Everything you mentioned is replaceable. If your answer is yes, you like it, consider spending a few bucks and time to weatherproof it more.

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Old 04-04-17, 04:28 PM
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This might be more a commentary on lack of preventative maintenance than on the quality of Cannondale bikes or their components. It sounds like you might be kind of hard on your bike. I think we've all been there at some point.

I'd say you need to dismantle, clean and regrease all of your bearings and moving parts. Sealed bearings may need replacing. In the future, this might be a good thing to do when you first get a new bike. If they went light on the grease or used sub-par lube, you'll pay for it sooner than later.
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Old 04-04-17, 04:39 PM
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I'd be repacking it before you put it into service from new. Sometimes factories skimp on the grease, saving 50 cents per bike can add up. Though the bottom bracket must be a cheapy...
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Old 04-04-17, 05:30 PM
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Thanks for all the responses. I'm no where near good enough to be packing or re-packing any bearings, but I will take it to the shop and get prices for replacing those components and making sure they are properly greased.


Alternatively, I may tell my wife that the bike is shot and I need to buy a new one ....
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Old 04-04-17, 05:49 PM
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Do you have fenders on it? A front fender will give your headset some protection against the spray coming from the wheel. A rear fender with a long mudguard will protect your bottom bracket from the front spray as well as some protection from the rear spray.

I ride year round as well, rain and snow, and road salt as well. A good set of fenders is the best protection against water spray from the road.
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Old 04-04-17, 06:35 PM
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It is hard to say. That is one of the problems with the off-the-shelf bikes. Especially on the low-end, the companies start cutting a lot of corners.

A Cannondale shouldn't rust (aluminum or carbon fiber), but obviously some of the parts do rust. Headsets can be either plain steel, stainless, or aluminum. They apparently chose to go cheap.

Learn to do some of your own maintenance. Packing bearings isn't that tough, and mostly involve the same skills as adjusting bearings (which is good to know).

Many of the mid to high end bikes are coming out with sealed bearings which should take less adjustment, but do wear out, at which point one has to replace the whole unit (bearing). Shimano uses an integrated bottom bracket, I think. Other brands could theoretically have just the bearings replaced.

If the frame is good, and the bike is only a year old or so, you might be better off rebuilding with quality parts rather than buying a new bike.

Oh, note, some of the Cannondale frames have experienced salt damage. Look at yours carefully.
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Old 04-04-17, 08:09 PM
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I'm a full time cyclist in the Seattle area, and I don't have such issues even on inexpensive bikes, but I do regular maintenance.
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Old 04-04-17, 08:45 PM
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I'd go talk to the bike shop about it. It shouldn't be falling apart like that at all, let alone after so little time.

I had a cheap Giant $300 hybrid that I rode for 36,000 miles. In that time I broke an axle and replaced that wheel, and replaced the bottom bracket and the crankset+chainrings once. I rode it in the rain as much as it rained, and 4 miles of dirty, gravel road every day. If my bike could last that long, a Cannondale certainly should, if the name still means anything.
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Old 04-05-17, 11:27 AM
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Hub and BB... are you sure? How sure are you that you don't have a bad pedal or some other annoying but minor creak?

Rusty headset is annoying. Do you have fenders?
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Old 04-05-17, 11:33 AM
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You say you hose it off; but if you use a high-pressure sprayer, moisture may get in where it shouldn't and some grease or oil may get washed away. Just a thought.
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Old 04-05-17, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
You say you hose it off; but if you use a high-pressure sprayer, moisture may get in where it shouldn't and some grease or oil may get washed away. Just a thought.
FWIW, I use a high pressure sprayer to clean all my bikes and have for years, in the summer usually every week or two. I don't think it ever really caused any issues. The bottom bracket is the only thing I ever replaced due to failing bearings that could have been due to water ingress or lack of lube.
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Old 04-05-17, 01:08 PM
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Originally Posted by fourstacks View Post
I may tell my wife that the bike is shot and I need to buy a new one ....
bingo!
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Old 04-05-17, 01:27 PM
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Take a look at Aaron's Bicycle Repair (in the Seattle area) @ RideYourBike.com. Their write-ups are pretty good on preventive and rebuild maintenance on internally-geared hubs, but the essential logic applies to any of the parts where water can intrude and reduce the life expentancy of parts: bottom brackets, wheel hubs, head sets. Note that Aaron's strongly recommends a specific oil/grease treatment for the rain-heavy Pacific Northwest region, based on their experience with how standard/factory packing simply isn't up to the task.

As for stainless parts truly being stainless in perpetually-wet environments: bollox. Try a good "car wax" treatment on the bike at least a couple times annually, and heavily coating all the "stainless" bits (such as hex cap screws and the like). Helps repel water, helps keep water from rapidly seeping through joints and seams.
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Old 04-05-17, 01:43 PM
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What kind of BB is it?
External bearings use smaller balls and a bigger seal circumference than traditional BBs and quite often fail early.
How many speeds did your previous bike have?
Basically chains and sprockets become thinner for each speed added, which does influence longevity.
It's not for the sake of contrariness that I use a 7-speed rear on my commuter...
The spec I found said cup & cone hubs, so they should be serviceable.
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Old 04-05-17, 02:28 PM
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When I got back into cycling; I bought a 2009 Fuji Newest 1.0. Slapped on some detachable fenders & lights;
it was my do everything bike. 16.5 mile one way commuter(year round), long weekend club rides, charity centuries,
grocery getter, etc. Was too busy riding; maybe washed the bike twice a year. Most of the time I would just wipe
down the bike with a dry towel(including chain); then lube the chain. Was using the cheapest consumables; pads,
chain,cassette, tires, etc. Other than the FSA bottom bracket & cranks needing replacement; the bike held up pretty
well for 5 years - I upgraded to a carbon roadbike.
SNOWBOUND by 1nterceptor, on Flickr
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Old 04-05-17, 05:07 PM
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Yah, throw the deraillers in the garbage. Then get a bike with a Sturmey Archer 3 sp with disc or drum brake and chain case. 46/17 or 18T. Middle gear is direct drive with 98% efficiency. Start up in 1st gear, 2nd gear is 13 to 20 mph, simple. Take apart, clean and lube the hub once a year after winter.

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Old 04-06-17, 05:27 AM
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If you ride year-round in all kinds of weather then hopefully your maintenance schedule includes at least an autumn and spring tear down, cleaning and regreasing ritual. If you have cartridge bearings that won't last at least a year then there's something wrong. One of my bikes is 7spd (freewheel hub) Schwinn cruiser that's on its 5th year with the lowliest of budget drivetrains yet still works fine.

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Old 04-06-17, 06:17 AM
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Originally Posted by GamblerGORD53 View Post
Yah, throw the deraillers in the garbage. Then get a bike with a Sturmey Archer 3 sp with disc or drum brake and chain case. 46/17 or 18T. Middle gear is direct drive with 98% efficiency. Start up in 1st gear, 2nd gear is 13 to 20 mph, simple. Take apart, clean and lube the hub once a year after winter.
Nothing wrong with derailleurs, but like anything else it takes some periodic maintenance to keep it working optimally.

Also, not everyone wants to ride a three-speed, especially if you have some decent hills where you live. Besides, if you ride on mostly flat terrain, why not just go with a single speed? Even less maintenance.
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Old 04-10-17, 10:52 AM
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I've taken all of your advice and had the tech guy tear it down. It needed a bunch of work: repacked the hub, replaced the freewheel (one of the leaf spring things had broken off and gotten shredded), repacked headset. He though the BB was probably OK and that the 'riding on cornflakes' feel was coming from the freewheel, not the BB. I've only been a short ride with it, but seems to be better. Cost me $100 to get all that done. Fingers crossed.


Again, thanks for all the comments and suggestions.
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Old 04-10-17, 01:05 PM
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When you ride regularly in the rain, anything with bearings will need regular maintenance. How frequent that maintenance must be will depend on how well the bearings are sealed. A front fender, as was suggested previously, will help with the headset, but you might want to consider an upgrade. The Cane Creek 40 series is pretty good for the money, or if you have the budget I have found Chris King headsets to live up to their reputation. FSA MegaExo bottom brackets have a reputation for early failure. When it does go out on you, replace it with a Shimano bottom bracket.

Chains, brake pads, and tires need to be replaced regularly -- I'd guess about once a year based on your report of distance and conditions. Replacing the cables once a year is also a good idea. Cassettes and chainrings will last longer if you stay on top of the chain replacement but they eventually wear out. The pulleys on your rear derailleur will also wear out in time. I'd expect around 10000 miles or more from the cassette, chainrings and pulleys. Major components like shifters and derailleurs should last much longer.
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Old 04-10-17, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by fourstacks View Post
I'm a daily commuter in Vancouver, Canada, so I ride through a lot of wet, messy days. I put about 4,000 kms (2,500 miles) on my bike per year, but I take pretty good care of my bike - stored in the garage or indoor bike cage, hose off the mud and muck, etc. I think I usually get 2+ years out of a drivetrain before the components start to wear out. But my latest bike (2016 Cannondale quick speed 1) lasted about 9 months before everything started to fail. The rear hub is shot, the bottom bracket feels like I'm riding on corn flakes, the headset is bleeding rust, . This wasn't a super expensive bike, but it wasn't the cheapest either.

I'm wondering if anyone has any thoughts on this? Am I expecting too much of a bike? Should I be looking at replacing the major components annually? Or maybe I just got a lemon?
It sounds like you need to order a new BB and bearings for your headset and rear hub. The headset usually lasts longer then a year, but the others (BB and hub) could very well use replacing annually if you get enough road grime. Sealed bearings aren't really sealed. Also wonder about the quality of some of them. Might not be a bad idea to see if you can order them from a reputable Japanese mfr (if possible). I had a hard time locating a replacement lower headset bearing last time. It was a 1.5 inch with a 90 degree top for the Ridley Excalibur. I ended up going to a general bearing manufacturer after searching by bearing number.

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Old 04-11-17, 08:29 AM
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Originally Posted by ptempel View Post
It sounds like you need to order a new BB and bearings for your headset and rear hub. The headset usually lasts longer then a year, but the others (BB and hub) could very well use replacing annually if you get enough road grime. Sealed bearings aren't really sealed. Also wonder about the quality of some of them. Might not be a bad idea to see if you can order them from a reputable Japanese mfr (if possible). I had a hard time locating a replacement lower headset bearing last time. It was a 1.5 inch with a 90 degree top for the Ridley Excalibur. I ended up going to a general bearing manufacturer after searching by bearing number.
I agree with going through a bearing manufacturer. You can usually get better bearings for the same cost. There's nothing magical about sealed bearings - the part/model number is right on them.

Even if you do need a new bottom bracket, that's pretty cheap as well. Shimano cartridge bottom brackets can be pretty bomb proof
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Old 04-11-17, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by bmthom.gis View Post
I agree with going through a bearing manufacturer. You can usually get better bearings for the same cost. There's nothing magical about sealed bearings - the part/model number is right on them.

Even if you do need a new bottom bracket, that's pretty cheap as well. Shimano cartridge bottom brackets can be pretty bomb proof
Yeah, I managed to get the bearing number off of an image from a site that didn't have them (bikewagon?). Otherwise you have to pull off the fork to figure that out. I was still looking for the bearing number for the Origin8/Formula hubs on two wheelsets that I have. Already emailed the builder (didn't know) and Origin8 (no reply). So I guess I'll eventually find out when I pull out the axle...
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