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Am I being unreasonable?

anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
edited May 2012 in Commuting general
I bought my Specialized Tricross (2012) from edinbough cycles in Newcastle through the cycle to work scheme. I went for this model over a full road bike because it could take a rack, mud guards and wider tyres which would suit my commute. The original route involved mostly road, but with a poor quality tarmac path for about 2 miles. I have since changed the route to be all on road.

Here is a break down of what I have done since getting it.

06/04/2012 picked up bike
10/04/2012 24 miles
11/04/2012 24 miles puncture at 9 miles
12/04/2012 24 miles
20/04/2014 24 miles
23/04/2012 24 miles puncture at 3 miles, bolt holding rack on the left side vanished
25/04/2012 25 miles (changed route and tyres to marathon plus) stopped being able to select front top chain ring
26/04/2012 25 miles both brakes so bad pulling them back to the bar struggles to stop me (been building upto this since getting it
27/04/2012 25miles serviced 3 weeks early to fix issues
(break due to injury)
14/05/2012 25miles stopped being able to select front bottom chain ring and rear brake sticking on
16/05/2012 12.5miles (so far) stopped being able to select front top chain ring again!
Took it into the shop today and it has had a new rear brake cable and the front derailer adjusted again.

Am I being unreasonable that this is excessive problems for a new bike that has so far done about 230 miles? I know some can be put down to cables stretching from new etc but this seems excessive. I purposely bought a cyclocross bike as it is supposed to be tougher and more reliable for a commute, but it seems like I have spent most of my time on it either without a front chain ring or without a rear brake. So I have lost faith in the bike that it will get me to work and back without some issue.

Posts

  • mavecomaveco Posts: 67
    If it were me I would demand a refund or replacement. That sounds like a lot of hassle for a new bike.

    Also the Tricross is not a cyclocross bike. It is a multi-use (hybrid) bike.

    Specialized do sell a proper CX bike - the Crux.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    Punctures are nothing to do with setup. They happen. Decent tyres should cut right down on it. Gatorskins, Marathon Pluses are the normal suggestions.

    The gears sound exactly like cable stretch. You lose tension, so can't quite push the chain onto the big ring. Look at the Park Tool site and learn how to tweak them yourself.

    Brakes....who knows? Again, Park Tools will show you how to look at them yourself.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    And the rack bolt should have been regularly checked, especially over the first few rides. Things often shake themselves loose when they're first used.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    bails87 wrote:
    Punctures are nothing to do with setup. They happen. Decent tyres should cut right down on it. Gatorskins, Marathon Pluses are the normal suggestions.

    yea I know that's why I put the marathon plus on, that's fine.
    bails87 wrote:
    The gears sound exactly like cable stretch. You lose tension, so can't quite push the chain onto the big ring. Look at the Park Tool site and learn how to tweak them yourself.

    Brakes....who knows? Again, Park Tools will show you how to look at them yourself.

    I will happily learn how to do all the adjustments myself, I just didn't expect to have to be doing them so soon. I think I will keep at it and see how it goes now everything should be bedded in.
  • bails87bails87 Posts: 13,317
    edited May 2012
    Unfortunately the first few weeks is exactly when these issues show themselves, due to the cables stretching and everything bedding in.

    So you should expect to have to tweak stuff after the first few rides, then after that it should run well for ages, until bits start to play up due to wear. Then you replace them, (cables, for example) have a couple of rides with a bit of tweaking to get them right, then they work for ages....

    EDIT: Of course you don;t want to be adjusting things on a new bike, but it's certainly not cause to demand a refund or replacement. The issue sounds like it's with a pair of £2 cables, and I'm not convinced it's actually a fault. It would be interesting to know what caused the brake to loosen off, as that's unexpected, whereas a bit of gear trouble is pretty normal. Tweaking the gears can be done with a quick turn of the barrel adjusters, rather than any 'in depth' mechanics. If they start to play up again, add half a turn of tension, see if that helps.
    MTB/CX

    "As I said last time, it won't happen again."
  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    I agree that many of these things are 'bedding' in 'problems'. The six week check many offer is to remedy such things ie cable stretch, bearing adjustment, bolt checks and so on.

    However 6 weeks is a nominal figure, I wish shops would explain better how parts can bed in, and offer the service when you are ready.

    In addition, it is always great to learn these things yourself as you will need to readjust, clean, oil, grease and check, check, check afterwards. For example I have a quick check of bolts and QRs before everyride.

    This is an excellent investment, and will complement your reading of Park Tools:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00652X13K/r ... B00652X13K
  • corshamjimcorshamjim Posts: 234
    I recall reading somewhere (probably Richard's Bicycle Book) advice on buying a new bike is to check the tightness of every single nut, bolt and screw. Not only will this make any surprises less likely, it will also help you find which bolts and screws you might want to buy new spanners/drivers for. To be honest I've not found anything untoward on the three or so bikes I've ever bought new, but it's a reassuring to know for sure by checking yourself.

    IME, front derailleurs are almost always troublesome, especially the indexed ones.

    Definitely you need to be checking your brakes before every ride and doing some thing about it in good time. Not only do cables stretch but brake blocks wear down, especially in some of the mucky conditions we've had lately.
  • MrChuckMrChuck Posts: 1,663
    Basically what bails87 said. Once you disregard the punctures, you've likely simply got some cable stretch (which is just what you'd expect and easily tweaked), a loose bolt, and a slightly sticky pivot. Nothing to get too worked up about I don't think.
  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    thanks for the reassurance everyone. I just didn't want to be left with a bike that would not be reliable enough for my commute. It felt absolutely great on my way home last night and back to work this morning. Got my fastest time in this morning too 8)
  • gtvlussogtvlusso Posts: 5,112
    All normal wear and tear - new bikes always need some fettling and re-tightening of bolts in the first few months. You have suffered from some cable stretch and some parts needing a bit of re-greasing. perfectly normal and all adjustments/greasing should be done a regular intervals to avoid any unnecessary heartache at the side of the road.

    **if you want really low maint, go SS or fixie.
  • swede54swede54 Posts: 20
    Both of my bikes took around 3-400 miles before the gear cables stopped stretching.
  • GiraffotoGiraffoto Posts: 2,078
    As above - cable stretch and bad luck with punctures. Don't replace the cables - the new ones will stretch too
    Specialized Roubaix Elite 2015
    XM-057 rigid 29er
  • pdwpdw Posts: 315
    No need to lose faith in the bike, although that's more hassle than I'd expect.

    Rack bolts are notorious for coming undone. I'd expect a good bike shop to fit them using threadlock. Maybe they did and you were lucky.

    Not sure what's up with the brakes, although I can think of a few things that would cause it.

    Definitely worth learning how to adjust gears - it's trivial once you know how.

    As for the punctures - were they stuff coming through the tyres (glass/thorns/nails) or pinch flats (nothing in the tyre, but two slits in the inner tube) ? If the latter, you need to pump your tyres up. Avoiding the former just needs a combination of luck and puncture resistant tyres.
  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    pdw wrote:
    No need to lose faith in the bike, although that's more hassle than I'd expect.
    Rack bolts are notorious for coming undone. I'd expect a good bike shop to fit them using threadlock. Maybe they did and you were lucky.
    I didn't realise they often come loose, I will be checking them regularly now.
    pdw wrote:
    As for the punctures - were they stuff coming through the tyres (glass/thorns/nails) or pinch flats (nothing in the tyre, but two slits in the inner tube) ? If the latter, you need to pump your tyres up. Avoiding the former just needs a combination of luck and puncture resistant tyres.

    I don't blame anyone for the punctures, just thought the chance of getting 2 so soon after buying a bike was very unlucky. One was a pinch flat I think, but there was only 1 slit, tyres were at the higher end of their psi range, just hit a bump. The second was glass, I was going about 25mph down a bank and didn't see it. Hence I now have marathon plus on there now, and fingers crossed I haven't had one since.
  • fossyantfossyant Posts: 2,549
    What's your general maintenance like - a commute bike can get very messy in just a few rides, and if you aren't keeping an eye on clean cables/chain etc, they can get mucked up fast. Oh and gear adjustment is a piece of cake.

    Marathons eh - unlucky, they weigh the equivalent of a small elephant.
  • anthdcianthdci Posts: 543
    fossyant wrote:
    What's your general maintenance like - a commute bike can get very messy in just a few rides, and if you aren't keeping an eye on clean cables/chain etc, they can get mucked up fast. Oh and gear adjustment is a piece of cake.
    My general maintenance probably wasn't as much as it should be. But I know that now and will make a list of thing to check every weekend.
    fossyant wrote:
    Marathons eh - unlucky, they weigh the equivalent of a small elephant.
    after 2 punctures in 9 rides I just wanted something as puncture resistant as possible. If I lose 30 seconds a ride due to the marathons, it is still better then getting punctures so often. On a commute reliability means more than slight speed increases.
  • jonomc4jonomc4 Posts: 891
    Some things I learnt:

    1) cables stretch - on my new road bike I just built myself - I ended up having to tighten the gear cables after my 3rd ride - but normally the cable has a built in tightener so you don't even have to stop peddling to do it.
    2) Punctures is just luck of the draw - in the last 5 thousand miles I have had one puncture - (that was a half inch nail). Tyres I prefer are the gatorskin all weather - tough enough and light enough - a goos balance for a fast commute
    3) Check your brakes before you set off every day - most of the time if they are a little loose then you can adjust them on the cable as you pedal along. When you check your brakes though do them one at a time not together - might seem obvious but rarely done. Once when I was indicating left I went into the back of a car - my front brake was not working properly but I hadn't noticed as I tested both at the same time when I set off. Anyway it was a slow old crash.
    4) Front dérailleurs are the devils spawn!

    Basic bike maintenance (clean, tighten, lube, pump tyres and quick look over) should only take 20 mins every couple of weeks - which should be enough for everyday commuting.
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,271
    anthdci wrote:
    23/04/2012 24 miles puncture at 3 miles, bolt holding rack on the left side vanished
    25/04/2012 25 miles (changed route and tyres to marathon plus) stopped being able to select front top chain ring
    26/04/2012 25 miles both brakes so bad pulling them back to the bar struggles to stop me (been building upto this since getting it
    14/05/2012 25miles stopped being able to select front bottom chain ring and rear brake sticking on
    16/05/2012 12.5miles (so far) stopped being able to select front top chain ring again!
    Took it into the shop today and it has had a new rear brake cable and the front derailer adjusted again.

    It sounds like it's not the bike but the quality of the assembly to me. Although cable stretch might be responsible for losing the top end on your front gears, to lose the bottom end would probably be down to the derailleur slipping round the seat tube or the derailleur itself binding up.

    Likewise if the brakes are becoming less effective then that sounds like the cable clamps have not been done up properly. You don't get much cable elongation on brake cables; they're much more substantial than gear cables. You'll get a bit of brake wear but the symptoms you describe are extreme; basically you're going from full braking to no brakes in a couple of weeks' riding, and that points to poor setup to me.

    If the brakes are binding then, although it might be cables, it's also worth verifying that the brakes themselves have been correctly set up. The Tricross has V-brakes, yes? The spring tensions on these can be a little tricky to get right at first, but if the mechanic has not greased the pivots then you'll never get consistent return out of them.

    PS Rack bolts are not notorious for coming loose if the mechanic does them up properly :roll:
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  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Hardly any bolts come loose if they are checked periodically ;-). Though using loctite on stuff like this does help a lot.
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,271
    supersonic wrote:
    Hardly any bolts come loose if they are checked periodically ;-). Though using loctite on stuff like this does help a lot.

    I'll stick with doing 'em up right first time, ta! Shouldn't have to check all the time.
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  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Any bolt can work loose. They should always be checked time to time.
  • deswellerdesweller Posts: 5,271
    No. If the design is correct and the appropriate fastener has been specified for the application, then they should not work loose. I do not expect to check the cylinder head bolts in my car's engine every few trips and that's a far more stressful application, so I see no reason to do so on a bicycle.
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  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    How big are those bolts though? Some racks are cheap, flex and wobble, and are fixed with flimsy bolts. Maybe it is a bad design - but they do and can shake loose. Check them. Most manuals will tell you to check them too periodically. And many other bolts on the bike as well.
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