Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Strange and Interesting Manufacturer Instructions

While the disgraced cyclist Piepoli crosses into ridiculousness and says he cheated in his moment of "weakness", I bring some interesting manufacturer warnings and instructions to your attention today. You may have come across this, and most of you may have not. Most of you may not even religiously follow these instructions but suffice to say, they're still out there. Lets see what a few of these have to say about performance bikes and components (click pictures to zoom) :

1. SRAM Red Ceramic Bottom Bracket Requires Monthly Maintenance :

The much celebrated advantages of ceramic bearings fall victim to its apparent need for re-greasing every '100 Hours of use'. Excuse me, but does that sound a little strange to some of you? Any serious racer these days can log in 100 hours of riding in maybe a month and a half. Two to be conservative. Top athletes will rake up that mileage and time in about 20-23 days (think Tour de France). Such an overhaul periodicity is kind of ridiculous. Thanks be to ceramics. And the statement on "dry conditions" also seems a little vague to me. SRAM should have defined what is 'dry' according to their definitions. Most people do ride when its dry, don't they?

2. Campy's Ceramic Bearings Cleaning Schedule and Storage Under The Sun :

10 speed bearings

Campy's 10 and 11 speed ceramic bearings need maintenance on an average of every 5000 kms. For their 10 speed bearings, they tell you to consult your mechanic to make a schedule that's best for you. Oh, and don' t miss the text in bold above. You are not to store or expose its high performance ultra torque crankset to high temperatures. Apparently, the composite will die a slow death under the sun. I thought better of the longevity of resins. but I don't discount this possibility. I have blogged before about the resin being the environmental weakling in carbon fiber composite. If you see any discolorations on your carbon fiber bike (like yellow marks), take a minute to think about what you're exposing the bike and its components to. For more information, contact your bike's makers directly.

11 speed bearings

3. SHIMANO's 7900 Bearings Info Missing :

There is no information put up in Shimano's tech docs site for the BB-7900 so I can't see what Shimano's new bottom bracket maintenance schedule is like. Its been a good one or two months since 7900 groupset came out to market, right? If you're purchasing this component, you might be really guessing as to what periodic panacea it needs to run well. Just a heads up to users, bike shops and retailers. You may not want to do anything that's not recommended in written by them and then find out its too late. Unless you get the manual with the bottom bracket when you purchase it.

4. Shimano 7900 Crankset Needs Torque Checking Every 60 Miles

Shimano's top of the line Dura Ace crankset needs to be checked for torque every, say what, 60 miles? Kinda stupid. Does that mean pro riders riding 100+ miles a day have to get off their bikes and check torque readings at some point in between? I don't think Campy or SRAM say this in their manuals.

Well, I wouldn't say its a bad idea calling this out and in this case, the manufacturer might be really cushioning for the extra safety. But it doesn't make sense if you apply it to certain situations.

5. CAMPY 11 Speed Chain Cleaning Advice :

I know a lot of people who swear by the fact that the best way to clean a chain thoroughly, inside out, is to remove it and leave it in a container of an appropriate cleaning solution for some time. Its getting easier these days to do that with these nice connector links on the chain. I may have done this with my chain a few times. However, Campy's super 11 speed chain does not take such abuses. Do not remove your chain for cleaning and lubing. Period. Just ride your bike with all the dirty eyesore like a good boy.

6. Campy's 11s Chain Opening Advice :

This is getting strange. If you open your delicious looking Campy 11s chain once more than twice, you're opening yourself to a world of trouble. Heads up.

7. Galvanic Corrosion In Campy 11s :

For those of you rich cyclists living near the seaside or riding your carbon toy long periods in the rain, heads up. Your equipment might be swallowing more salt water than it can gulp. Ultimately, galvanic corrosion will show its ugly face and lead to failure. This isn't really anything new. In the past, a lot of carbon bike parts failed due to this mode of corrosion between the Aluminum and the graphite interface. As you may know, both these materials are spread out in the electrochemical series of reactivity. That means their corrosion capacities are different. I think there is a standard most bike manufacturer's try to meet that specifies there must be some sort of an insulator, like fiberglass for example, embedded at this interface to prevent corrosion. I don't know where to look for this standard online (anyone know?). However, Campy still gives you their warning regardless. Galvanic corrosion is real, folks. Take this seriously.

8. Campy Technical Website Review :

If I didn't wholeheartedly put the finishing touches to my Campy stab today, it'd be unfair to a lot of people. For all the next dimensional revamping they did on their new Record line of components, you'd think the imagineers of Campagnolo could spare a little time to make their website look better. Or even organize material in a better way, to say the least. I spent a good 2-3 minutes to look for something in particular on their technical instructions site and that kind of thing can piss anyone off. Looks like Shimano and SRAM are doing much better in website design.

Web 2.0 Vomit?

If you guys have come across any strange or interesting warnings and instructions, do pass it on to me if you can. It doesn't matter if its historical. Let's see if we can add to this list.


Phil said...

Ron : I really think all they use ceramic ball bearings for is the weight savings gained by it. Even that is ridiculous, considering how many grams each ball weighs. Apart from those, I really see no speed advantage to ceramic bearings. Its all marketing hyperbole. My steel bearings on my Master Piu have lasted me many years, and still look rounder like on the day I bought it.

Anonymous said...

the issue of cleaning chain by dipping in liquid is a controversial one. talk to three people and you'll get three different perspectives on that. personally, i dont feel such a technique makes any big difference. however, im not a campy expert on 11 speeds so not sure on their removal restrictions.

Anonymous said...

In regards to #8, they're Italians they don't need to be be organized, as long as they produce beautiful components. They don't even need to work properly, that's just a bonus. ahhhhh Italy.

Surestick said...

Re: the 7900 Crankset torque check at every 60 miles.
I think they mean that torque should be checked following the first 60 miles after installation and then "periodically" after that.
They don't define periodically however.

Ron said...

Surestick : You may have a point. But I took their statements at face value since they didn't mention "the first 60 miles". Yes, periodically is vague as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to your post, I guess I wont be putting my money on any of these so called high end components. So much for high end.