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Chin Haur strikes again with injuries

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Chin Haur strikes again with injuries

Old 07-11-08, 08:35 PM
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Chin Haur strikes again with injuries

I was climbing a 3 to 4% grade starting from a stop light. I was standing on the pedals. About 3 revolutions in, the bottom bracket spindle broke. It was a Chin Haur bottom bracket in a Motobecane Le Champion with an FSA SL-K crankset purchased from BicyclesDirect. Anybody surprised? The left crank snapped off. I fell to the left. I must have turn the handlebars because I landed on the front wheel. I got a lovely bruise on my left leg. You could see nice blue marks indicating where my leg hit the wheel and the fork. The worst injury was to my left side. I landed with my forearm between my ribcage and the ground. I thought I had cracked a couple of ribs. I had cracked ribs a previous accident. I had a fun ride in the ambulance to the hospital. Xrays came back negative for anything broke or cracked. I went to my regular doctor the next day. The diagnosis was I strained the ligaments that hold the chest muscles. All I know is it was painful to breathe and Vicodin is good stuff . It took about two weeks before I could breathe normally without pain and about a month before I could breathe deeply with almost no pain.

I filed a complaint with the Consumer Product Safety Commision regarding the incident. I listed FSA as the maker of the defective part. This is before I did a web search and found out about the bottom bracket swap. The Consumer Product Safety Commision called me and they want to examine the bicycle. I still have all the parts. No repairs have been done. I was wondering why BicyclesDirect kept asking me for the bottom bracket back. The only thing that has been done to the bicycle is some disassembly. That is when I found out it was not an FSA bottom bracket. The bottom bracket appears to have been properly installed. It is not what the crankset manufacturer recommends. I've taken the bottom bracket to two mechanics. Both said the cause of the failure appears to be a manufacturing defect.

I'm hoping the Consumer Product Safety Commision forces BikesDirect to recall all bicycles they sold with FSA cranksets and replace the bottom bracket with the manufacturer's bottom bracket. I was lucky. I was told a car missed hitting me by a couple of feet. The driver actually stopped thinking she had hit me. My thanks go out to her for concern. Too many people would have kept driving.
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Old 07-11-08, 09:18 PM
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I've read about this so many times. I'm a fan of bikes direct, I'm not a fan of those crappy BB's.

I'm glad you're okay!

Turn in the BB to the CPSC, see what they have to say. Don't return it to Bikesdirect until they've looked at it.
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Old 07-11-08, 10:08 PM
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Be careful. The BD shill mob will accuse you of being un-American, not supporting the troops, abandoning Rwanda, and clubbing baby snail darters if you voice your opinion against BD. You are probably already on the FSB watch list for originating this thread. Nice knowin' ya!
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Old 07-11-08, 11:53 PM
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For anyone else that read the above post and wondered, this is a snail darter:



And now we know.
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Old 07-12-08, 11:01 AM
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Not the FSA bottom bracket

The only complaint I have about the bicycle is the bottom bracket. I received the bicycle partially assembled. I completed the assembly and adjusted the gears. I then took it to a mechanic I trust to check both my work and BikesDirect work. He looked it over and the only thing he found that needed adjusting was the spokes. Everything else looked good to him. A month later I took it back to him and everything looked good. The bicycle rode well until the bottom bracket broke. BikesDirect appears to have assembled the parts correctly. I think they used a poor bottom bracket.

The FSA SL-K crankset comes with a bottom bracket. I have seen a picture of it. It is not the Chin Haur bottom bracket that was installed in my bike. I've seen a cross-section of the FSA bottom bracket. The spindle looks thicker and has a different appearance. I'm looking a picture so I can't swear to this. It just looks that way.

I have some questions that I hope someone can answer.

Did FSA use Chin Haur bottom brackets in the SL-K ISIS cranksets at one time?

What are the specs on the Chin Haur CH95-108 bottom bracket?

What are the specs on the FSA bottom bracket that should have been installed?

I'd appreciate any information anyone can provide.
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Old 07-12-08, 02:12 PM
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BD probably got a smoking deal on the crankset from FSA sans the BB. Pretty common for current year bikes to have previous year components on them. It's amazing how much bad I hear about FSA vs very little good.
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Old 07-12-08, 05:20 PM
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The OP is making a slight mistake here. BD did not swap out the FSA BB for a Chin Haur one. They just ordered them separately. The FSA cranks won't come with FSA BBs unless you order those too. And Chin Haur ones are probably cheaper. BD won't be the only people doing this; it's easy to use cheaper components where nobody looks, so that you can upgrade some other part. I'm sure Trek et al do this so they can fit a Tiagra rear mech to a Sora bike.
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Old 07-12-08, 09:10 PM
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You bought a BD bike. Lulz?
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Old 07-12-08, 10:20 PM
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Finding out more information

I appreciate the responses because I have found out more information. If I try to buy an FSA crankset, they come with the bottom bracket. It makes sense an assembler of bicycles could buy them without the bottom bracket and install a different one. If I shopped around I could probably find an FSA crankset without the bottom bracket.

I now know the bottom bracket was not replaced. BikesDirect just bought the crankset from FSA without the bottom bracket. The bottom bracket that was installed was one that BikesDirect could get cheap. The problem is the bottom bracket was poorly made. I've learned this thanks to the responses.

I've done some checking of other components on the bike. I'm beginning to wonder about the brakes. They have never felt quite right. The brakes on my Cannondale have a nice feel to them. As I pull the levers there is a nice steady increase in braking on the Cannondale. On the Motobecane, as I pull the levers the braking rate increases more rapidly with the amount of pressure applied. It is harder to brake smoothly. I've alway thought this was because of the pads. Anybody know anything about this? When I rebuild the bike I think I'll change the brakes too.

I didn't mention this earlier. The bike did not fair well in the incident. Here is the list of parts that need replacing.
1. Bottom bracket (Imagine that!)
2. Crankset (The left crank arm struck the ground hard and damaged the carbon fiber.)
3. Front wheel (I landed on it and bent it badly.)
4. Front forks (I landed on it also with some scratching. Damage is minor but since it is carbon fiber and I did land on it hard, 4 of the 5 mechanics I took it to said they wouldn't trust it.)

The price to fix it is getting rather high. Fortunately I still have my Cannondale. All it needs are new wheels and a crankset but it is still rideable. There is no imminent danger of failure.
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Old 07-13-08, 04:41 AM
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If we keep reporting stuff to the CPSC every time we have equipment failures, there will be zero room for us to complain about rising component costs.

I'm quite sure the Chin Haur BB is a piece of crap, but it's also worth noting that this is cycling, and stuff breaks.
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Old 07-13-08, 05:00 AM
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Sometimes you get what you pay for. Nothing is free. When I see a place like BD selling complete bikes for so cheap I have to assume there is cost cutting measures someplace on the bike.
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Old 07-13-08, 01:38 PM
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I'm not being capricious

I'm not being capricious in my report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. From what I have read, the type of Chin Haur bottom bracket that was installed in my bicycle has failed several times and is a danger. I do not want to see anyone else get hurt because of this.

Last year I had a front tube blow in the middle of quick turn. I hit the ground a lot harder than I did when the bottom bracket broke. My injuries were also greater. I damaged my rotator cuff and was in physical therapy for 3 months. Inspection of the tire afterward found that a piece of wire probably caused the failure. Did I report the tube maker to the CPSC? Of course not, this is a normal hazard.

When I bought the bicycle from BikesDirect, I believed I was getting a good price because they were using parts that manufacturers were discontinuing and replacing with newer models. The FSA crankset on it has been discontinued. This is how I got my Cannondale at such a good price. It has a CAAD 3 frame. When I bought it all the new models had CAAD 4 frames. It still is a good bike but when I bought it, all the parts on it were from the previous year. The only questionable part I have found on the bike from BikesDirect is the bottom bracket.
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Old 07-13-08, 04:07 PM
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I'm glad I replaced the Chin Haur BB on my Motobecane, when I gave it to my son, with a Shimano UN-53. The bearings were chattering after 200 miles and I had a spare on hand that just happened to match.
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Old 07-13-08, 04:40 PM
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I can't help but think that FSA spindles fail occasionally too. It all breaks sooner or later.

Interestingly on the road bikes the specs on BD's website don't specify a brand for the BB. For the Fly Ti MTB that I purchased the specs do state that it's an FSA BB:

>>FSA MegaEXO External Bearing System<<

On the road bikes there is no brand name mentioned, just 'External Bearing System'.
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Old 07-13-08, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
On the road bikes there is no brand name mentioned, just 'External Bearing System'.
"Chin Haur" must've been accidentally omitted from the ad.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete View Post
"Chin Haur" must've been accidentally omitted from the ad.
Why would you cite a Taiwan no-name source that nobody's ever heard of? That's legit. If I'm reading that spec I'm going to ask 'who made the BB'? and if I don't like the answer I'll replace the part. Most consumers will not of course. What's unfortunate here is the snapping spindles. It's also unfortunate when this happens to a brand spankin new AMERICAN fork steerer tube and it dumps you on your collarbone @ Paris-Roubaix so bad you break it. Ask George Hincapie and Trek about that one Dr. P.

This is ELS. Expensive Lightweight ****. And it breaks sometimes. Whether it's made in North America or Asia. Try to bear in mind that the Ti bikes from BD may cut a component corner or two, but the savings compared to bikes from Litespeed, Dean, et al are rather ridiculous. I'm into my Fly Ti for about $2100 or so after buying a new cluster, tires, seatpost for various reasons (not related to any inferior original component specs in my case). For the $1000 to $2000 this consumer saved on the BD purchase he could have easily installed any BB. After this feedback of course one would hope BD would put in FSA BB's and jack the price of the bikes to cover that cost.

P.S. I can't find a comparable Ti hard tail MTB to my BD Fly Ti for less than $5K. Like I said, I paid $2K. That's a THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR savings. I ride this bike all the time, it's by far the best MTB I've ever owned, nothing else even came close. This is the third Ti frame I've owned, and I'd put this Taiwan sourced Ti frame up against any Ti bike I've owned or seen. If you find any comparable value to my Fly Ti or the other Ti bikes BD is selling, please post it here. I'd LOVE to see that.

P.P.S. I wish I was a shill for B.D. I need the money. I'm just a happy camper.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
Why would you cite a Taiwan no-name source that nobody's ever heard of? That's legit. If I'm reading that spec I'm going to ask 'who made the BB'? and if I don't like the answer I'll replace the part. Most consumers will not of course. What's unfortunate here is the snapping spindles. It's also unfortunate when this happens to a brand spankin new AMERICAN fork steerer tube and it dumps you on your collarbone @ Paris-Roubaix so bad you break it. Ask George Hincapie and Trek about that one Dr. P.

This is ELS. Expensive Lightweight ****. And it breaks sometimes. Whether it's made in North America or Asia. Try to bear in mind that the Ti bikes from BD may cut a component corner or two, but the savings compared to bikes from Litespeed, Dean, et al are rather ridiculous. I'm into my Fly Ti for about $2100 or so after buying a new cluster, tires, seatpost for various reasons (not related to any inferior original component specs in my case). For the $1000 to $2000 this consumer saved on the BD purchase he could have easily installed any BB. After this feedback of course one would hope BD would put in FSA BB's and jack the price of the bikes to cover that cost.

P.S. I can't find a comparable Ti hard tail MTB to my BD Fly Ti for less than $5K. Like I said, I paid $2K. That's a THREE THOUSAND DOLLAR savings. I ride this bike all the time, it's by far the best MTB I've ever owned, nothing else even came close. If you find any comparable value to my Fly Ti or the other Ti bikes BD is selling, please post it here. I'd LOVE to see that.
You're forgetting that I own a BD bike too, there, Pcaddy.... And I've broken my share of ELS too, thankfully with no serious consequences.

But the BB in question is not ELS. It is CHS. And I don't mean Chin Haur. It would seem 100% reasonable to list who makes every component.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete View Post
You're forgetting that I own a BD bike too, there, Pcaddy.... And I've broken my share of ELS too, thankfully with no serious consequences.

But the BB in question is not ELS. It is CHS. And I don't mean Chin Haur. It would seem 100% reasonable to list who makes every component.
Perhaps that is reasonable, but the problem would seem to be more the snapping spindle. Would most consumers.. including most of us here... change out the part if we were skeptical of its origin? For example on my MTB wheels I figured I'll ride them and would then see if they detonated. So far they're as advertised, light, tough, true, etc. Very pleased. But if they did fail I'd look at it more like you get what you pay for, I'll buy some better wheels. If I got injured I'd be pissed I suppose, just like the OP.

Let's all hope BD re-sources the BBs. They certainly have an awesome factory stamping out these Ti frames. Ooofaaa you gotta see this frame. I'm really astonished they can get a frame that good that cheap. If I were Dean or Seven that would rattle my cage a bit. But ultimately the Ti corner of the market is so niche and so OCP they are unlikely to be impacted.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:37 PM
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BikesDirect, the ten E-Bay stores they run under ten names, and Cycle Spectrum, their retail store, are famous for advertising a bike as "Shimano Tiagra" or "Shimano 105", and then using only the Shimano shifters and substituting real cheap stuff for the bottom bracket, the brake calipers, and the hubs.

They know that few of their customers know the difference between a Shimano 105 bottom bracket, or hubs, or brake calipers, versus parts made by "Ching Tou Toy Inc". They swap the Shimano parts for the junk parts, and pocket the money.

The Houston Better Business Bureau has a full drawer of complaints from the victims of these scams. BD and Cycle Spectrum have a very good method for dealing with BBB complaints: they refuse to even respond to them.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
Perhaps that is reasonable, but the problem would seem to be more the snapping spindle. Would most consumers.. including most of us here... change out the part if we were skeptical of its origin? For example on my MTB wheels I figured I'll ride them and would then see if they detonated. So far they're as advertised, light, tough, true, etc. Very pleased. But if they did fail I'd look at it more like you get what you pay for, I'll buy some better wheels. If I got injured I'd be pissed I suppose, just like the OP.

Let's all hope BD re-sources the BBs. They certainly have an awesome factory stamping out these Ti frames. Ooofaaa you gotta see this frame. I'm really astonished they can get a frame that good that cheap. If I were Dean or Seven that would rattle my cage a bit. But ultimately the Ti corner of the market is so niche and so OCP they are unlikely to be impacted.
I absolutely would replace it. Wheels are a bit of a different story--if they suck you know it. If a BB is 1/4 pound heavier and the bearings suck, it's less noticeable. If it were spec'd on my Moto I would budget for a real BB to replace it. But maybe I'm OCD like that.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:38 PM
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My Le Champion Ti has a MegaExo FSA bottom bracket. Integrated spindle crankset. Sounds like ISIS was a bad idea that's dying out even without Chin Haur's help.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:41 PM
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Stuff breaks on bikes? I sometimes weigh more than 200 pounds (less these days). Never broken anything on a bike. My bikes are mostly Treks, Schwinns, and older bikes from reputable companies such as Centurion. These bikes came with Cinelli stems and bars, or Nitto stems and bars. Shimano components or Sun Tour components. Nothing breaks. Ever.

When a cheap fork breaks going down a hill, or a cheap stem or bar breaks going 20 mph, odds are someone is going to the hospital.

BD engages in consumer fraud. Frames that LOOK exactly like good frames, but not tested like good frames. Cheapo components that not only do not last, but which put people's lives at risk.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:41 PM
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I can only comment on my personal experience, which is as described. Bike exactly as spec'd, all top flight components with the exception of the wheels which are house brand but perfectly fine so far. It would appear that there's far less of this higher up the BD food chain on their pricier bikes.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:45 PM
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Question for the poster who said "I sure everyone, even Trek, sneak in cheap unsafe bottom brackets..

Please tell us: which Trek road bike, made in the past thirty years, left Wisconsin with a "cheap, unsafe bottom bracket"? My Treks have always had excellent bottom brackets. I've had four Treks that were over 20 years old with bottom brackets that were still running like new.

You get what you pay for. When a mail order importer claims to sell you a bike for "50% off", he is selling you half a bike.
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Old 07-13-08, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by alanbikehouston View Post
Stuff breaks on bikes?
Maybe you need to ride more miles. I've been doing this daily riding crap for 18+ years, I've seen a lot of road bike stuff break. Like I said ask George Hincapie. Race much? Dude, I've seen EVERYTHING break in racing. Crank arms snap, wheels fold up, etc. And that's without crashing. In crashes it all detonates.

But that is a separate issue from BD's consumer relations. You paint them like some massive fraud operation. That wasn't my experience, nor that of many members here. In fact you seem to be on a personal mission to paint them like some massive fraud operation. All I'm doing is posting about my experience ordering and receiving a bicycle from them.
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