Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)
  • Argh! Not Again, Ultegra Chainset has Failed
  • Premier Icon iwluap
    Full Member

    Hi all, venting and asking for advice and/or suggestions!

    I had an Ultegra chainset fail spectacularly on me last year, when the outer section of the drive side came away completely as I was setting off across a road from a junction. This was sent away to Wiggle and I got a refund as it was within 2 years of purchase. I bought a new Ultegra chainset to replace it, a 50/34 compact, same as previous, and have been merrily using it daily since.

    On Tuesday, my bike developed a knocking noise. Bottom bracket or pedal I thought. (You can see where this is going!). Got home today and thought I’d try swapping out the pedals for elimination purposes. While taking off the drive-side pedal I noticed a crack on the inside of the crank arm. Further inspection showed that the crack was running down the seam of the crank, which widens when pressure is applied. It’s knackered, probably about a year old.

    I use the bike for daily commuting all year round. I’d class as a “gravel” bike, it’s my do-it-all bike. On-road, off-road. Ridden Gritopia and Loch Ness Etape on it. Do about 4000km a year on it.

    Questions are:
    Is an Ultegra chainset unsuitable for the riding I do?
    Are Ultegra chainsets made of cheese?
    What alternatives are there?

    Your thoughts are much appreciated!

    Premier Icon Pierre
    Full Member

    Were both chainsets of the same Ultegra range, i.e. FC-6800? I’ve heard about this a fair bit on the 6800 series, not so much on the newer R8000.

    Premier Icon scaredypants
    Full Member

    send it back under warranty & buy a different brand – you’ve obviously lost faith in it

    Premier Icon twowheels
    Free Member

    Also happened to a guy I rode with

    Premier Icon iwluap
    Full Member

    Twowheels – that’s exactly what happened to my first one! Bloody terrifying. That was 6800. New one is a R8000.

    Any ideas on alternatives?

    Premier Icon IvanMTB
    Full Member

    Any ideas on alternatives?

    Yeah, go for good ‘ole Octalink FC-6500. With me 4 or 5 years now, bought second hand so must have done some starship miles before.

    Cheers!
    I.

    Premier Icon TiRed
    Full Member

    Have 2×6600,6700 and 6800. Never had a moments bother. I’m not overly heavy but have snapped one FSA crank on my fixed wheel. If it was common, I’d have expected a recall by now. But 6700 has different spider pattern if that matters. It also matches 6800.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    I’m still running the 6700 crankset I bought 10 years ago. That’s touring, commuting and “gravel” (or in my case, MTB-lite). I’m not aware of a slew of 6800/8000 failures so it might just be that you’ve been exceptionally unlucky.

    Premier Icon Flaperon
    Free Member

    How much do you weigh?

    Premier Icon SaxonRider
    Full Member

    Campagnolo.

    Premier Icon bigrich
    Free Member

    all chainsets break.

    Premier Icon gregoryvanthomas
    Free Member

    Shimano’s bonded hollow cranks have been susceptible to separating when exposed to corrosive sweat it other unfavorable environments. I’m gonna guess that your stem bolts are rusty and your front derailleur isn’t in the greatest shape.
    You can get another Ultegra and start rinsing your bike with fresh water and drying it after use. Or you can get a 105 crank. I haven’t looked in a while but I’m pretty sure it’s still hot forged into its hollow shape.
    For the record, I’m not necessarily blaming you. I believe that these parts and others that fail from sweat should be much more resistant to corrosion.

    Premier Icon onehundredthidiot
    Full Member

    The new Shimano (to keep it in the family) gravel range (grx)?

    Premier Icon joebristol
    Full Member

    Sram?

    Premier Icon ian martin
    Free Member

    That is mighty scary, I’ve managed to break 2 LX chainsets in a similar way to the one in the above photo and a I’m not particularly heavy or strong. I’ve used other Shimano chainsets (amongst other brands) with no issues for the last 14-15 years and that’s riding on road, off-road, geared, single speed and fixed. I think there was a thread before on singletrack about serial crank breakers and from my recollection there was an example of pretty much every make and model of crank breaking.
    However I do believe that the lower end Shimano cranks (not hollow formed) are more reliable due to them being made with more material but people want lightweight so seems you need to pick between strength and weight

    Wonder if you can fit road chain rings to a Saint cranks?

    Premier Icon iwluap
    Full Member

    Thanks for reply folks. I don’t consider myself to be exceptionally heavy at 82kgs and am probably not putting down too much power, I ain’t all that! Not sure I have sweated that much onto the cranks, front mech is fine. Would’ve thought that road salt through winter would be worse, but this winter was so mild I can’t really remember the roads being gritted on more than a couple of occasions. The XTR chainset on my mountain bike has been in use for over 7 years with no probs (not used nearly as much tho’).

    GRX would get a look in but don’t think it’s available until July? I really need a replacement this weekend.

    SRAM curious. Maybe a Force. They do a 50/34 which is the same as the Ultegra and does me for 99% of my riding (only found one hill I couldn’t get up!).

    Total SRAM newb, assuming I’ll need a new bottom bracket (take it SRAM Franck’s and Shimano BB are incompatible)?

    Premier Icon 13thfloormonk
    Full Member

    I took some OEM Praxis Albas off my Allez as I wanted to run shorter cranks.

    They seemed really well made, and surprisingly light for the stock cranks off a £1000 bike, certainly lighter than the Tiagra replacements I fitted.

    Would be looking at Praxis if I was ever replacing cranks.

    Premier Icon scotroutes
    Full Member

    Check the cost / availability of the Praxis Alba chainrings though.

    Premier Icon damascus
    Free Member

    A couple of my friends who do serious miles on their road bikes have found this although they had power metres on the other side. All of them were ultegra.

    Road stuff is lightweight which means it’s not as strong as mtb stuff. The higher up the range, the lighter it gets. My 105 stuff, touch wood, has been faultless.

    I suggest trying 105 or just keep getting a new ultegra every 2 years for free. You never know, the newer stuff might be more resistant to this type of failure ?

    The other option is a gravel or mtb chainset but you might struggle to find 34/50 ratios. My xt mtb ration was 32/48. Worked perfectly.

    Or try sram.

    Premier Icon iwluap
    Full Member

    SRAM it is. Force 50/34 & a new BB. Now means I have a 50 & 34 AbsoluteBlack oval chainrings that I can’t use. Maybe a job for the classifieds.

    Thanks for all your comments and advices.

Viewing 20 posts - 1 through 20 (of 20 total)

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