The Cervelo Failure Saga Continues

Oct 20, 2013
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#1
Long time follow up on the S5VWD build by Seo Lalaport:

Via a communication from Cervelo Canada to Cervelo Japan Seo was told to build the bike. They have a lot of high end stuff there so wasn't too worried. Besides, all of the parts were pre-adjusted and ready to rock on the other S5.

They said they needed a week and 25000 yen so I said ok and dropped off both the new frame and my S5.

Week goes by and it's done! I'm so excited to try finally ride the VWD! I get about 1km out of the shop and stand up to pedal and I hear it... A dreaded pop / knock sound!!

This isn't old stuff for cervelo. I've actually had a few, yes I said a FEW, frames warrantied because of this mystery bottom bracket technology that doesn't work. For bbright people in the know - yes we put Loctite and followed all the critical steps. So... Knocking bb... I make another appointment and cycle back down to lalaport (45mins) so they can regrease and reinstall the crank and check everything. NOTHING worked... Same noise. I go home again with the broken bike and go to work on it myself. Checked everything. No fix. So, again, they want me to drop it off and give them ANOTHER week to diagnose and try different bb cups... Again nothing works.

Last shot in the dark... Order and replace all chainring bolts as a what if measure... No good. Problem continues.

I don't get any call for almost 2 weeks and finally I call. Turns out they are going to send the bike to the cervelo headquarters in japan for inspection. Without my approval. Yes... Strip the entire bike and put EVERYTHING in a box, including Mavic carbon wheels, and kick it out the door to their rep. BUT, the rep isn't in japan at the moment and it hasn't shipped yet. wtf? I figured this out when I just showed up one day and asked what the deal was. They had no new info, bike still doesn't work, and they have no idea what the rep will say. So I tell him he's done. Put the bike together, this is out of control, you're finished. I'll pick up the bike tomorrow.

Anybody dealt with this before?? I already sent cervelo an email about this year long bullshit saga. In the meantime my legs have wasted away. So frustrating. Advice anyone?

Ps this is frame 4 that hasn't worked correctly. Yes. 4 frames.

End rant
 
Oct 20, 2013
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#2
For background I have a blog (adveveryday) that outlines the year long story of this whole mess. For those who care to read and get background on Cervelo failures. I can't link off the site but with a simple search in google for adveveryday and blogspot it should pop up first.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,682
495
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Japan
#3
4 frames, all faulty. Get rid of those POS and get another brand. You bought this in Canada so that may complicate things but 4 times?
Why not buy another plastic aero bike from someone else? National pride?
 
Oct 20, 2013
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#4
4 frames, all faulty. Get rid of those POS and get another brand. You bought this in Canada so that may complicate things but 4 times?
Why not buy another plastic aero bike from someone else? National pride?
Haha no I'm not from Canada and all of the bikes were purchased in California where I am from. I thought, ok, 1 bike fail no problem. Next time it happened I thought no way it could happen again. At this point I am completely over it.

I've owned cheapy pieces of crap that have lasted longer. The weird thing is I talk to a lot of people who don't have these problems. But the ones that do all blame bbright.

So, yes, time to switch. I might look at Spexialized S-Works or something.
 
Likes: kiwisimon

saibot

Maximum Pace
May 29, 2012
795
935
113
Taito
#5
Sounds like a nightmare, those VWD's are not exactly cheap either. But yeah, time to switch brand (and avatar)! And since you live in Japan ditch the aero thing and go for stiff and light, mountains to climb all around us! ;-) An S-works SL4 sounds about right no?
(I personally would like to try the new Scott Addict SL, looks pretty insane, sub 1000g for frame and fork)

Good luck with what ever you end up with, hope you'll be able to ride asap.
 
Likes: Forsbrook
Oct 20, 2013
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#6
Sounds like a nightmare, those VWD's are not exactly cheap either. But yeah, time to switch brand (and avatar)! And since you live in Japan ditch the aero thing and go for stiff and light, mountains to climb all around us! ;-) An S-works SL4 sounds about right no?
(I personally would like to try the new Scott Addict SL, looks pretty insane, sub 1000g for frame and fork)

Good luck with what ever you end up with, hope you'll be able to ride asap.
One of my first road bikes was a Specialized. I didn't know anything about maintenance and it never looked at me twice. Bombproof. And yes the S5 in any trim, especially the VWD isn't cheap. Sigh...
 

TokyoTurtle

Speeding Up
Jun 6, 2013
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#7
I'm sure you know this but search any cycling forum for Cervelo threads and lots of frame failure stories come up; and it's almost always at the BB. One guy mentioned the shop he works at is now an ex-Cervelo dealer because they had to employ a guy just to deal with Cervelo warranty issues. A long-time customer comes in having issues on his Cervelo, and the shop guy calls another shop that is the new "go-to" for Cervelo issues. Guy at the 2nd shop answers the call with "ABC?" as in "another broken Cervelo?" To there merit though, Cervelo seems to to be good about honoring their warranties.

Too bad really; I really like the colorway of the new R3 and think that frame is very good value for money - if it works.

Spesh and Cervelo have quite similar geometries so that'd be the first place to look. Test rode a Sworks Venge recently - f*@king fast bike! Sworks Tarmac is nice too, and has nice finishes.
 
Likes: Forsbrook

undftd1984

Speeding Up
Jul 26, 2013
62
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Honolulu
#8
I'm not a total fan of press fit bottom brackets of any sort, but I haven't had the issues @ADVeveryday is going through. I'm curious to know what crankset you're rolling on. I don't have a very high opinion of Rotor cranks whatsoever. They may be the shittiest cranks known to man (and bicycle).
 
Oct 20, 2013
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#9
I'm sure you know this but search any cycling forum for Cervelo threads and lots of frame failure stories come up; and it's almost always at the BB. One guy mentioned the shop he works at is now an ex-Cervelo dealer because they had to employ a guy just to deal with Cervelo warranty issues. A long-time customer comes in having issues on his Cervelo, and the shop guy calls another shop that is the new "go-to" for Cervelo issues. Guy at the 2nd shop answers the call with "ABC?" as in "another broken Cervelo?" To there merit though, Cervelo seems to to be good about honoring their warranties.

Too bad really; I really like the colorway of the new R3 and think that frame is very good value for money - if it works.

Spesh and Cervelo have quite similar geometries so that'd be the first place to look. Test rode a Sworks Venge recently - f*@king fast bike! Sworks Tarmac is nice too, and has nice finishes.
Don't get me wrong, the S5 is a fast bike and the VWD version is lighter and stiffer. Easy to feel. I was so crushed when I heard that bb noise again. It really is a cool bike but this kind of problem is going to destroy their company. I like my bikes stiff, responsive, and aggressive. But at the end of the day the platform has to work, especially laying power and climbing. Not making enough noise to make your friends say "what's that noise"? Pretty embarrassing for a 10k+ setup...

Good call on the sworks setup. I like the bike aggressive, I'll have to test one when I get a second. Just wondering how cervelo will address this issue. I should post it here =)
 
Oct 20, 2013
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#10
I'm not a total fan of press fit bottom brackets of any sort, but I haven't had the issues @ADVeveryday is going through. I'm curious to know what crankset you're rolling on. I don't have a very high opinion of Rotor cranks whatsoever. They may be the shittiest cranks known to man (and bicycle).
I've wondered this myself. I'm on the rotor 3D+ which is cold forged I believe. We thought about that too and called the rotor reps. We changed the crank and the bb just made a different but similar noise. They tried changing the plastic cups to alumi cups which are a better fit. Noise wouldn't go away. In my opinion, shimano is the world standard. Or campy... But with campy it's difficult to find a bike that mates well with the system. I'm a big shimano fan... Maybe that's a good next step... Convert to shimano and see what happens. I'd laugh it it solved the problem.
 

undftd1984

Speeding Up
Jul 26, 2013
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Honolulu
#11
I don't think switching will solve the creaking problem as that sounds like the bearings aren't fitting properly into the cups; however, I have noticed Rotor cranks make a peculiar noise when interfacing with a Shimano DA or Ultegra chain. I have doubts that Rotor chainrings are machined as close to the chain manufacturers' specification because whether finishing factory complete bikes or tuning up customer owned Cervelos the cranks always make a funny noise irregardless of the group set installed.

Other things I've noticed with Cervelo BB creaking issues besides Rotor cranks sucking donkey balls: If using a Wheels Manufacturing adapter for Shimano/SRAM cranks, grease everything, grease the grease, and don't forget to remove the orange Rotor bearing seals. There's a seal that hides the bearing from the elements, that's the one to make sure isn't installed with Wheels' adapters. I've heard a few times where a mechanic didn't install press fit bottom bracket bearings with the same Loctite formula Cervelo recommends and it invariably ends up in creaking failure. Leave the factory press-fit BB installed as much as possible. Removing and pressing in bearings wears the cups so I'd say by the forth time bearings have been pressed in you will deal with BB looseness and creaking issues.

I wish Cervelo used threaded bottom brackets. I may sound like a performance cycling heathen for saying so, but if it's press fit it's probably shit.
 

TokyoTurtle

Speeding Up
Jun 6, 2013
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#14
I may sound like a performance cycling heathen for saying so, but if it's press fit it's probably ****.
Well, press fit allows for larger BB shells, which allows larger tubes at the BB, which improves stiffness. BUT, perhaps the real motivation for PF BBs is that they are cheaper to manufacture. Theading parts and getting the threading right is a relative PITA.

Edit to add: Also remember that the frame manufacturer doesn't care that their BB makes 3rd party parts that creak necessary; they're in the biz of selling fast frames, not quiet ones.
 
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Likes: undftd1984

undftd1984

Speeding Up
Jul 26, 2013
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Honolulu
#15
@TokyoTurtle I absolutely love how my new R3 rides for exactly the reason you declared. It's unfortunate that many frame manufacturers aren't holding up their end of the bargain by ensuring cup interfaces built within tolerance.
 

undftd1984

Speeding Up
Jul 26, 2013
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Honolulu
#17
I've always been curious about those Praxis adapters since a lot of people swear by them. Too bad Praxis doesn't currently manufacture a BBright compatible adapter. :(
 
Oct 20, 2013
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#18
I don't think switching will solve the creaking problem as that sounds like the bearings aren't fitting properly into the cups; however, I have noticed Rotor cranks make a peculiar noise when interfacing with a Shimano DA or Ultegra chain. I have doubts that Rotor chainrings are machined as close to the chain manufacturers' specification because whether finishing factory complete bikes or tuning up customer owned Cervelos the cranks always make a funny noise irregardless of the group set installed.

Other things I've noticed with Cervelo BB creaking issues besides Rotor cranks sucking donkey balls: If using a Wheels Manufacturing adapter for Shimano/SRAM cranks, grease everything, grease the grease, and don't forget to remove the orange Rotor bearing seals. There's a seal that hides the bearing from the elements, that's the one to make sure isn't installed with Wheels' adapters. I've heard a few times where a mechanic didn't install press fit bottom bracket bearings with the same Loctite formula Cervelo recommends and it invariably ends up in creaking failure. Leave the factory press-fit BB installed as much as possible. Removing and pressing in bearings wears the cups so I'd say by the forth time bearings have been pressed in you will deal with BB looseness and creaking issues.

I wish Cervelo used threaded bottom brackets. I may sound like a performance cycling heathen for saying so, but if it's press fit it's probably ****.
You and I are very aligned when it comes to tuning philosophy. I think strict attention to detail is super important and these bikes seem to mate with different manufacturer's parts differently. That being said I am running a dura-ace chain... Which I love. However the noise is very bb related. It's more of a click - pop. Can be reproduced without shoes on by simply applying a little pressure at any angle on the crank arm. My first instinct said "oh, simple... Chain ring bolts." Nope. All torqued to the nm and all new with grease. I even greased the grease that held the grease together. This is a tolerance issue and something is not right. 3 different cup systems, Loctite, etc. Always same noise in the same style. Amazing.

I'm not wasting anymore time trying to fix their design flaw. I think the bbright concept is correct. Application is wrong. At least in this form factor.

It's funny, with enough problems you end up becoming a noise expert. I'm just a cyclist though. I'm not cavendish or anything but I can lay down some watts. But shouldn't be enough to produce problems while seated on a straight drinking out of my water bottle! Hah!