Lessons Learned

Over the summer a client of mine asked me to change out his Campy Super Record 11 standard crankset for a compact SR11 crankset. Unfortunately, for both of us, I was out of town racing and was not able to get to it before he was leaving on his bike trip. He took it to a local bike shop to get it switched out. A couple days later I got a call from him where he explained that the bike shop told him his ultra-torque crank bolt was “cold welded” in place from galvanic corrosion and the bolt needed to be cut out. Keep in mind the bolt is titanium, I had just installed the crank about 2 months before this and I had used anti-seize on the connection. The other bike shop cut it out and the other crank was installed. I questioned the legitimacy of the issue but there was not a lot I could have done at that point.

This could have been the end of the story but a couple months after this another issue developed with the Super Record 11 front derailleur. My client brought me the bike to look at. The front derailleur was very difficult to dial in. No matter what I did with limit screws and tension adjustment, the derailleur would rub chain, throw the chain or not shift between the chain rings. If became very frustrating. As I was watching the derailleur try and shift, I noticed the derailleur would actually rotate a bit on the mount. At this point the problem started to surface. As I unscrewed the fixing bolt from the derailleur, it was obvious that there was something going on here. First the screws threads looks smashed or crushed (keep in mind this bolt is titanium). Hmmm…not a good sign. Second, the threads inside the derailleur looked a bit messed up. I took the derailleur off the bike for a better inspection. The threads inside the derailleur were a mess and had been cross-threaded. It also appeared a wire was sticking out and as I pulled the wire it completely uncoiled from inside the derailleur. A helicoil insert had been installed.

This other bike shop had obviously stripped out the derailleur while switching out the crank from standard to compact. Then they installed a helicoil to try and fix it. The worse part is, they never said one thing to the owner of the bike but now he has a stripped out Campy Super Record 11 front derailleur (a $200.00 derailleur) that can’t be used. Very disappointing!

The derailleur, the removed helicoil insert and the fixing bolt.

As we were discussing the derailleur issue, the conversation turns to the crank issue and cutting out the bolt. He happened to have the crank in his car so we take a look at the crank bolt. There is no sign of cold welding or galvanic corrosion anywhere on the bolt. But the 10mm hex had been stripped out. This bolt is a left hand thread bolt and my bet is the mechanic did not know this and kept cranking on the bolt until they stripped out the hex and they were forced to cut it out. They then stripped out the derailleur bolt while trying to adjust the derailleur.

So this little trip to this high-end bike shop, cost my client a Campy Super Record 11 crankset and a front derailleur. That was an expensive trip that kept on giving several months later. It is very disappointing that the shop never mentioned anything about the derailleur to my client.

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