Long Distance Competition/Ultracycling, Randonneuring and Endurance Cycling Do you enjoy centuries, double centuries, brevets, randonnees, and 24-hour time trials? Share ride reports, and exchange training, equipment, and nutrition information specific to long distance cycling. This isn't for tours, this is for endurance events cycling

Tell me a story about a mechanical failure

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Old 12-07-17, 09:24 AM
  #26  
Andrey
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Because of my own mistake I had 6 flats on the first day on my first 1000k brevet back in 2010. I build my own front wheel with the dynohub put new tires and went for a test ride before the big event, making sure spokes would stay tensioned.
I had a flat on that ride after about 30 miles. Flats happen, not a big deal, right?

A week later riding on a 1000k brevet at 7 am I had a flat about 20 miles into the ride with outside temperature at 96 F . Had to let my fast group go while I was changing a flat getting soaked in sweat. Later in the day and after 2 more flats I had to find a bike shop to get more tubes and a new tire. Riding alone trying to figure out why I was having flats I was blaming the new tires I had installed before the ride because most reviews of that brand said: "nice riding tires, but very week puncture protection".

After changing 3 more flats on the newly purchased tire I had no more strength to pump enough air in the tire with my mini pump. My shoulder started to cramp plus my eyes hurt because of all the sweat that was pouring on my face while I was changing tubes and pumping, pumping, pumping...
I was about to abandon the ride because of the frustration and I had no more spares , but I did not have any bail out plans and I had no more flats(!?). Then I realized that I did not flat any more because my tire pressure was way lower than recommended since I could not pump any more air.

I got to the hotel by 2:30 am and took the tire off again and carefully inspected my newly built rim. The rim strip was not not seated all the way(less than 1 mm) causing the tube to get thought the spoke hole and rub through. It was an easy fix, but I had no more spares and had to get more the next day.

Most people on that ride DNF because of the heat wave, temperatures range from 96F in 6 a.m. to 106F in the afternoon. The ordeal with the flats helped me finish the ride. What kept my mind off the heat suffering was trying to figure out why I was flatting so much and concentrating on that instead of on the heat. The rest of the ride was less adventurous because I had no more flats and heat wave passed.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:44 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
The rider in question noticed his seat getting wobbly somewhere around mile 200. On inspection it proved that his carbon seat post was deteriorating at the top.
I have seen this on an SA saddle which has a huge amount of setback available. So you can overload the front bolt. I gave the rider a giant wire tie and some smaller ones, and they lashed the seat to the top tube. There was only 30 miles left, so riding out of the saddle was possible, but it would have been annoying. I have ridden 20-30 miles out of the saddle at the end of a fleche due to saddle sores.

I think the most common failures I have seen have been broken shifter cables. And it's hard to change a shifter cable on the road, in many cases. Best to replace them more often than you want.

Big, strong wire ties can be a ride saver. My giant ortlieb saddle bag developed a problem with the mounts, and fell off. I found a shoelace by the side of the road, and that held up the weight, but I used a wire tie to hold the bag to the seat post.
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Old 12-07-17, 07:32 PM
  #28  
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Let me think a bit....
Funny noise in bottom bracket, thought bottom bracket was going bad, turned back 30 miles into a 400k. Turned out to be the timing chain sprocket.
Broken shifter cable, we had spares in the group, fixed.
Broke a chain on the tandem going up Dinosaur Hill at midnight, replaced a quicklink and continued.
A rider cracked the shaft in the bottom bracket on Dinosaur Hill, hitched a ride in and DNFed.
Another rider had a crank arm crack during a ride. He had a spare back at motel and replaced it when he got in.
Had a flat, then a blowout, another flat, or something like that- anyway, used up all my tubes and two patch kit glue tubes were dry (though neither had been opened)- patched the tube with duct tape and finished the ride.
Seat post broke for one rider, they were able to put it farther down in the frame and he finished the ride.
Tandem frame cracked for one team, the captain hitched a ride back to the motel room, retrieved their Bike Fridays, and they finished the ride on them.
Bike fell over at a control, bent the derailleur hanger; attempting to straighten snapped it right off. Rider DNFed.
Electronic shifting decided it didn't like the Small Ring, rider got to mash it on in with the Big Ring.
A couple of incidents of spokes breaking, repaired with fiberflex spokes.
Flat tire, start to fix it, and pump breaks. Tire already had 70 psi, was able to ride on to the next control and borrow a floor pump and spare take-along pump.
Tire blew out, hole in sidewall, but rider carried a spare.
Rescued a rider who was stranded without CO2 or pump. They had one or the other, just wasn't working.
Riders left a tandem outside a convenience store. Someone threw it in the street and bent the frame.
Front skewer got loose, let terminals on the hub generator rotate, and pulled the little plugs loose from the wires.
Rear hub gave up the ghost. Hitched a ride in.
Started to air up a tire at the ride start, and pulled the valve stem right off. Hurriedly replaced the tube, discovered I had "skinny" tubes for 32mm tires. Got five miles out of town, that tube went flat, replaced it, detoured 5 miles out of the way to a Walmart to pick up tubes, made it to the 18 mile control with zero minutes to spare.
Rider's rear derailleur exploded mid ride (presumably, got sucked into the wheel). Bike mechanic who was hosting the ride converted it to single-speed, rider still DNFed after a while.
Rider's riding along, hits a rough spot, and Garmin unit goes bouncing along the pavement, the mount had broken.
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Old 12-08-17, 05:09 AM
  #29  
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Riding along a false flat, about 20 metres from where the road suddenly drops down at 8% (it hits 10% further on), when my front tyre suddenly went flat. There was a hole in the side of the tyre I could poke my finger through. I'm just glad whatever did the damage wasn't a bit further down the road.
I woosed out and called for a lift - my son was available, I was about 10 km from home and it wasn't something you'd patch easily with a boot.
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Old 12-13-17, 05:24 PM
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A friend had a mind set that he needed his seat far back - way far back. Riding along one day and a crack! Spinning mountain bike knobbie vs. balls, separated by only by lycra. He's still alive and no one that saw it happen can keep a straight face now a days.
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Old 12-13-17, 06:54 PM
  #31  
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V brake pads wore out while riding in the rain, 1999 Bike Tour of Colorado, Ouray to Durango. Seems the soil in the Rockies is full of grit, wore the pads right down while descending Engineer Pass. I heard the metal brake parts grinding against the rim. Had to move the pads higher, lots of fun at 36 degrees in the rain.

Not many other stories, broken Chain (no chain tool, so a hike-a-bike), 4 flats, buddies cassette lock ring got loose, another buddies single bolt threaded stem broke, single bolt seat post breaks - guy rides to car standing up. The usual
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Old 12-13-17, 06:55 PM
  #32  
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Ask this in a year and somebody’s going to answer;

“Bike is in smallest cog and small ring ‘cause I forgot to charge the battery”
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Old 12-27-17, 02:50 AM
  #33  
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Mt biking with a real long seat post and a fairly laid back seat tube, post split right above the seat tube. Had a Leatherman along in the tool bag and filed the snapped off part and stuck it back in the seat tube and rolled it on home.

Before that I had one of those cheapo suspension seat posts and the top of it came off 10km from home on a gravel ride. Bungie cords kept it together until I got home.
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Old 01-19-18, 03:16 PM
  #34  
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With a 200k randonnee planned for tomorrow, I used my randonneuring bike for my commute yesterday and today, just to make sure everything's working. Yesterday, no problems, though I did notice the gears skipped once as I was accelerating from a stoplight a little before I got home.

This morning I got on the bike and immediately found it wouldn't shift at all. Puzzled, I stopped to inspect, and saw the chain was routed through the derailleur wrong. WFT? I was able to ride home to check it out....

Turns out the jockey wheel bolt had got loose allowing the cage to flex a little and the chain had somehow slipped past the jockey wheel. The bolt and the jockey wheel were still there, though one of the little dish-shaped bushings had gone missing.

I dug an old derailleur out of the bins and replaced the jockey wheel. Easy to do at home; had this happened tomorrow, I might have dnf'ed a hundred yards into the ride. Whew!
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Old 01-21-18, 01:57 AM
  #35  
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I rode the first brevet of the year yesterday. It was a 06:00 start, so it was still dark and cold.

About 5 km from the start I saw a group of randonneurs stop by the roadside after a big intersection where I had to wait for the lights to change. When I finally had a green light, only one of them was left. He walked towards us and called out: "I dropped my chain". He meant it literally, as he picked it up from the road, like a dead snake. "The 'Missing Link' must have come out," he explained. Yikes!

For years I had been carrying a KMC Missing Link in my tool set, but I removed it when I upgraded the bike to 11 speed and hence a different width chain, so I couldn't help him. Poor guy! Unless he found someone else with the spare part passing by, PC1 would already close before the first local bike shop would open. I don't know if he had changed his chain the day before the brevet, but I wouldn't recommend it.
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Old 01-21-18, 07:09 AM
  #36  
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Finishing the ride with a broken shift cable

On a group ride, one of the riders got a broken rear derailleur cable, up in the shifter as usual. Another rider knew exactly how to get the derailleur into the middle of the range:

Pull the loose cable out of the front housing.
Turn the crank and, by hand, move the derailleur to the largest sprocket.
Unscrew a downtube bottle cage bolt part way!
Wrap the cable around the bolt and tighten back down. He coiled the excess cable and wrapped it with a rubber band.
There will be enough slack to put the derailleur into the middle of the range.

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Old 01-21-18, 07:19 AM
  #37  
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^^^Awesome.
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Old 05-20-18, 06:39 AM
  #38  
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I have four mechanical failure stories to tell about the 600k this weekend that, as I write (sitting at my breakfast table, warm and dry, well rested...) is still underway.

I'll start with two of them.

As I've mentioned, I don't have a car. I just don't need one, except to get to randonnees, and I prefer to mooch a ride when possible. I'll borrow my wife's car occasionally, or rent one of necessary.

Anyway, I got a ride to the start yesterday. We met at a well lit parking lot about a mile from my home, he put my bike on the roof rack (remove front wheel, use a QR to hold the fork... you know the type). The hour long drive was uneventful until the last quarter mile when we hit pothole. The car lurched violently to the right, and the forks of both bikes dislodged from their respective attachments.

The driver's bike ended up dangling off the left side of the car, held by it's rear wheel. Mine didn't get so far. Once we had the bikes off the car, it proved the drivers bike had a tacoed rear wheel, and he could not even begin the ride. My left front dropout was bent 45° off to the left. Extremely ugly, powder coat finish flaking away from mangled steel... ugh. I straightened it with a six inch crescent wrench, installed my wheel, and started the ride.

I did not finish the ride, but that's a separate chain of events involving two other mechanical failure stories. How about someone else share a story before I go into that painful episode?

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Old 05-21-18, 08:37 AM
  #39  
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Old 05-21-18, 09:35 AM
  #40  
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This past friday I put my bike on the front of an intercity commuter bus (GO transit) and spend 3 hours transfering buses to get to the start of the Toronto flèche on the east side of the metro area. The black preload bolt on the hollowtech crank came loose and fell off on the highway and my crankarms weren't torqued enough I guess and the pinch bolts vibrated loose. Thankfully it remained attached due to the little black thing so I didn't lose the arm and pedals. I did wrong thing and just put it back on and cranked the bolts on as hard as I could. I think because it was an older ultegra crank with a new ultegra BB the bolt wasn't engaged properly... very thankfully this didn't end up being a problem on the ride and I finished without the crank coming loose again. I am going to pull the crank arm off and double-check everything. I was also experiencing chain drop with the front shifting too, so maybe the BB cups are different enough to make this happen now but I also might have messed something else up when I changed the chainrings and move the FD down a few mm. I think I got pretty lucky with all these little issues... I was glad the chain drop never got jammed between the crank and frame either.
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Old 05-21-18, 10:52 AM
  #41  
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I was living Rudy's painful story along with him, so I know the punchline(s). I started feeling like I jinxed him when I told him he wouldn't have any problems finishing a 600k. Didn't think about potholes.

Yesterday, on the final 200k of the 600k, a squall moved through just as I was going down a long, steep hill. It started pouring and there was a strong crosswind. I had trouble slowing down enough, and my bike started to go into speed wobble. I really thought I was going down, but I put a knee on the seat tube and got it under control. Then, I pulled my knee off of the seat tube, and speed wobble started back up again. Thought I was going down for sure, but put the knee back on the seat tube and controlled it. Finally got to the bottom of the hill and realized I was causing the problem because I was shivering so much.

Right after I got it stopped the 3rd time, a drive side spoke popped right in the middle. Must be one of those defective Saipam spokes.

I was running up against the clock on the final three controls. i thought about using my fiberfix spoke, but I didn't want to spend the time. All-day rain on Saturday meant I had worn down my rear brake pads to the point where it wasn't rubbing, so I just took my chances and rode back that way. Good thing too, I had about 10 minutes on the penultimate control and somewhat less than 5 minutes at the end.
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Old 05-21-18, 03:25 PM
  #42  
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Finishing with five minutes left on the clock may be stressful, but it still counts as success! Congratulations, @unterhausen !

I didn't understand what you said about jinxing me, when you said it... in situations like that, I tend to blame my mechanic.

Anyway, the rest of my story....

On the first major climb of the ride, about 38 miles in, my rear derailleur fell apart. Specifically, the stud holding the jockey wheel came loose and the jockey wheel fell out. I managed to find all the pieces, four of them plus the stud itself, and another rider was able to force it all back together. In theory this was a pretty simple repair, but in practice our hands were too cold for any kind of delicate manipulation. That was mechanical failure number three. If it sounds familiar, there's a reason for that (Tell me a story about a mechanical failure). Different bike, same mechanic.

Whatever! We rode on. The rain contributed to fall, temperature rising and falling slightly in the 8°-10° c range.

Ten miles later, on a short steep incline, I shifted my derailleur right into the spokes, snapped one spoke right off, mangled another, twisted my derailleur up, bent my derailleur hanger. Wheel out of true, tire hitting the chain stay. I had spare spokes with me, and the rider who fixed my jockey wheel had a tool to remove the cassette. I shortened my chain successfully but no matter what we did we could not get the cassette off. Spent nearly two hours trying. At the end of that we detensioned a few spokes and disabled by rear brake so I could ride, single speed with one brake, and got to the next town.
Time wise, we had already missed the cutoff at the next controle when we started riding again. From the next town we successfully negotiated a sag wagon, found a bike shop to fix my wheel, and started to warm up.

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Old 05-21-18, 07:01 PM
  #43  
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Are you going to be able to get that bike ready for B2B, or are you going to use a different bike? My bike is a mess, but I think a good bath will be enough to get it ready. Maybe a front derailleur cable and a new rear wheel.
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Old 05-22-18, 08:14 AM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
Are you going to be able to get that bike ready for B2B, or are you going to use a different bike? My bike is a mess, but I think a good bath will be enough to get it ready. Maybe a front derailleur cable and a new rear wheel.
I haven't decided. I definitely have other bikes that would work, or that can be made to work.

Your Sunday afternoon story reminds me why I've been riding my Squarebuilt, the copper colored bike with the fat tires that I was riding on Saturday: it does not shimmy. I don't know what it is, about my Holdsworth, that makes it shimmy. Subtle repositioning of the saddle and handlebar (that is, moving my weight aft a little bit) have reduced its tendency to shimmy, but I still don't trust it. Frankly, it doesn't shimmy much... really not too bad at all. But when it happens, it scares the crap out of me.

My old Trek touring bike is another candidate. It never shimmied in the 80's... but more recently it has shown a tendency to shimmy.

But as for the Squarebuilt: I straightened out the derailleur hanger, mounted a new old derailleur, riveted the chain back together (which is probably not best practice with these new chains that are designed to be put together with quicklinks) and I've been riding it. It needs work, though. It's rattling somewhere. I'm now resolved to upgrading the drive train; the derailleur that's now on it is one I chose not to use previously, and I don't remember why. I have a sneaking suspicion there was a good reason

My goal is to not have to bump this thread again.
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Old 05-22-18, 09:27 AM
  #45  
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that's a good goal

I have never gotten this bike to shimmy either, at least not since I fixed the alignment. Basically, I was steering it into shimmy by shivering violently. I am not sure how much the handlebar bag was contributing. It was contributing at least a little. I need another fork with more rake.

The frame was a failed experiment in building without a fixture. I must have bumped the rear triangle without noticing and never checked until decades later.
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Old 06-05-18, 09:41 AM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Ask this in a year and somebody’s going to answer;

“Bike is in smallest cog and small ring ‘cause I forgot to charge the battery”
Not sure I'd ride a DI2 bike on a Brevet. That said, when the charge gets low it shifts into the small ring. If my bike shifts into the small ring and I didn't ask it too and won't go back, its telling me the battery is about dead. Then I'll shift to a middle gear I'm happy with and leave it until I can get somewhere to charge the battery.
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Old 06-05-18, 06:37 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by DogBoy View Post
Not sure I'd ride a DI2 bike on a Brevet. That said, when the charge gets low it shifts into the small ring. If my bike shifts into the small ring and I didn't ask it too and won't go back, its telling me the battery is about dead. Then I'll shift to a middle gear I'm happy with and leave it until I can get somewhere to charge the battery.
My battery died a month ago while I was away on vacation for 10 days. It was at 90% when I left (according to the Garmin), was D-E-D when I returned. Charged it up and it's been at 100% all month, only on Sunday did I see 90%.

I did note that when it died it was in the same cog (16 on a 14-28 cassette) and big ring, so seemingly stays put wherever the system is when the battery dies. Maybe of there's a sudden failure it'll shift small/small, not sure.
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Old 06-06-18, 12:26 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
My battery died a month ago while I was away on vacation for 10 days. It was at 90% when I left (according to the Garmin), was D-E-D when I returned. Charged it up and it's been at 100% all month, only on Sunday did I see 90%.

I did note that when it died it was in the same cog (16 on a 14-28 cassette) and big ring, so seemingly stays put wherever the system is when the battery dies. Maybe of there's a sudden failure it'll shift small/small, not sure.
Mine died while riding. It shifted me into the small ring, I shifted the rear to 19 and charged when I got back home. At least I thought it did. Perhaps I hit the shift button unintentionally? I'm using the Ultegra 8000 version.
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