Was I expecting too much from my £350 bike?

Kajjal

Veteran
Location
Wheely World
Clicking noises can be annoying to resolve as they may not come from where you think. In my experience the following caused what seemed at first look to be bottom bracket clicking.

Front mech cable catching on pedals
Pedal bearing lose / not lubricated
Lower headset bearing worn / not lubricated
Front chainset loose
Disc brake catching due to stone behind pad, not adjusted properly, too much fluid in brake.
Wheel loose
Rear hub failing
Stiff chain link
Chain not clearing front/ rear mech either adjustment or some kind of obstruction.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
Thanks Crackle, when I first had problems with the freewheel & BB the dealer told me he admired my enthusiasm for cycling (at my age!) and said I would wear parts out quickly with the amount of miles I cover. I can't help but think the bike is simply piss poor compared to my bikes of 20 years ago?
As oldftfool said, a 100 miles a month is not a high mileage, last month I did 500 miles, your dealer sounds like an idiot.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
BBs seem to have a mind of their own. On the cargo bike I had one go at 1500km. The ‘new’ one has so far lasted over 5000km. !
Do you just ride stuff to destruction, or adjust and lubricate things as soon as any excessive free play is detected? A rider's approach to maintenance can make a vast difference to component service life, reliability, and bike running costs.
 

dave r

Dunking Diddy Dave Pedalling Pensioner
BBs seem to have a mind of their own. On the cargo bike I had one go at 1500km. The ‘new’ one has so far lasted over 5000km.

Probably just saying that aloud has borked it. Doh!
For me I would normally expect two, two and a half years for a bottom bracket, square taper, hollowtec, I have had them last longer, I had the splined one, FSA ISIS? on a pearson I had and that did well to last twelve months and I swapped that for a square taper.
 

Heltor Chasca

Out-Riding the Black Dog
Do you just ride stuff to destruction, or adjust and lubricate things as soon as any excessive free play is detected? A rider's approach to maintenance can make a vast difference to component service life, reliability, and bike running costs.
In this case it ‘just went’. Instantaneous. No heads up. My mileage is high, but I am a neat freak, so I have an intimate relationship with the working parts of my bike so generally the wear and tear is less than a comparable bike with less mileage.

With my BBs I tend to service once a year in the winter. Based on the state of the grease, that’s about right for my bikes.
 
You weren't expecting too much from the bike, but at £350 you are at the lower end of what we could call a proper bike.

Costs are cut where they can't be seen, so you have a less durable freewheel as opposed to a cassette/freehub, and the bearings - wheel and bottom bracket - are probably 'no name'.

Fit a £15 Shimano bottom bracket and all will probably be well for a while.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
Costs are cut where they can't be seen, so you have a less durable freewheel as opposed to a cassette/freehub.
From what I have seen, a lot of modern freehubs are less durable than old-school freewheels!
I've never had a freewheel fail, nor have I broken a rear axle on a freewheel bike either. I did recently acquire a scrap
donor 26" MTB though, where the rear axle had snapped and all the balls fell out of the wheel bearing. That was the reason for the bike being discarded, the rider went out and got another cheap secondhand 26er to replace it.
 
Just a thought, back off your brake blocks from the rim a tad. I had a squeek that was driving me insane, that i thought was the bb as it appeared worse under high load, wasnt present freewheeling, and couldnt be replicated on a work stand. Also check that gear cable ends arent overly long and hitting anything.
 
OP
nmfeb70

nmfeb70

Active Member
Location
Tonypandy, Wales
What sort of BB is it? A sealed unit or something with loose or cage balls that can be easily adjusted and greased?
I've done more miles than you on bikes that I've pulled out of bins which were already over 20 years old to start with, and all I have ever done is strip and regrease the existing BB and headset bearings. I've not had to replace any freewheels either, mine are nearly all basic Shimano 5/6 speed units nothing fancy. What was actually wrong with the freewheel to require replacement? I can't see how it could have worn out so quickly, they should outlast a chain - and you haven't mentioned that failing. I would not be surprised if a BB was fitted at the factory with poor lubrication or adjusted too tight though. A lot of bikes also seem to have over-tight wheel bearings. I get the distinct impression modern bike assembly standards are piss poor, and done by cheap unskilled labour. I bought two basic, budget level new bikes in the early & mid-1980's (one Raleigh, one Puch) and both were properly assembled and adjusted out of the box and gave me no trouble whatsoever over a lot of miles. I outgrew the Raleigh but still own the Puch now! Cheap bikes with budget components can last OK so long as they aren't maladjusted from the outset.
Let's start with the BB, it's a sealed non-serviceable part. As for the original freewheel, it was a Shimano 7 speed unit. Something was giving off a dull knocking sound and, thinking it was an accessory, I removed mudguards, lights, toolbar etc. I narrowed it down to the freewheel and no problems since replacing it. Chain is running fine. I had a late 90's Scott Timber prior to buying this one. It lasted 17 years without so much as a squeak.
 

Paulus

Started young, and still going.
Location
Barnet,
Just as a thought, could it be the rear hub needs cleaning out , re-greasing and adjusting? I had a similar problem on my wife's bike some years ago. It had only done a few hundred miles when a clicking/clonking sound started. I did the BB, it was still there. moved onto the rear hub, no play, but I dismantled it anyway. Problem solved.
You could also try taking the BB out, cleaning all the threads, re assemble with a little grease on the threads and see what happens. A 30 minute job.
 
From what I have seen, a lot of modern freehubs are less durable than old-school freewheels!
I've never had a freewheel fail, nor have I broken a rear axle on a freewheel bike either. I did recently acquire a scrap
donor 26" MTB though, where the rear axle had snapped and all the balls fell out of the wheel bearing. That was the reason for the bike being discarded, the rider went out and got another cheap secondhand 26er to replace it.
My local bike shop tells me freewheel installations are prone to snapping axles.

I suppose the freewheel itself may be durable.

The conclusion seems to be a freehub is a better job overall.

Sheldon says much the same.
 
OP
nmfeb70

nmfeb70

Active Member
Location
Tonypandy, Wales
You weren't expecting too much from the bike, but at £350 you are at the lower end of what we could call a proper bike.

Costs are cut where they can't be seen, so you have a less durable freewheel as opposed to a cassette/freehub, and the bearings - wheel and bottom bracket - are probably 'no name'.

Fit a £15 Shimano bottom bracket and all will probably be well for a while.
The bracket cost £18 and was replaced in Feb. Is an ingression of water likely? We have a lot of rain here in the Welsh valleys.
 

SkipdiverJohn

Veteran
Location
London
My local bike shop tells me freewheel installations are prone to snapping axles..
That can be true, especially in the case of bikes that are ridden unsympathetically by large heavy riders. However, I am no lightweight rider at 14 stones and all my bikes bar my 531 Dawes weigh over 2 stones so that's 2 CWT+ minimum running weight. However, I have never snapped an axle, and I believe it to be because I don't bash up and down kerbs sat on the bike like a sack of spuds and I tend to get off the saddle and have most of my weight on the pedals over big bumps and potholes, which allows the bike to move around and probably also reduces the load carried by the rear wheel.
 
The bracket cost £18 and was replaced in Feb. Is an ingression of water likely? We have a lot of rain here in the Welsh valleys.
The bottom bracket ought to withstand the weather.

Do you know what make the replacement is?

My admittedly limited experience is there are cheap 'no name' bottom brackets that do not perform well.

Anything with 'Shimano' written on it should do the job.
 
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