The Chainlink

I have a 2014 Kestrel Legend SL with Ultegra 6800 brakes, detailers and levers. From the beginning the chain jumped constantly. It was so bad that I'd say it dropped off 7 out of ten rides. The selling dealer couldn't get it to stop and was pointing at me. I tried changing the way I shifted, but it had no effect. 

After a full tune up after one year, in addition to the chain jumping off all the time, I started getting 50-100 spontaneous shifts on a 20-30 mile ride. So the dealer replaced cables, the chain and the rear cassette. I saw no change. When I had it in Michigan I took it to a dealer I trusted and they said the cables were too short and misrouted, so they replaced them. The chain still jumped and the gears still shifted on their own. 

Back in Pennsylvania I tried a new dealer, who gave up after two tries, including installing better cables. I finally posted on the Kestrel Facebook page and got a response. I arranged to have the new (non-Kestrel) dealer ship it to the parent company in PA. At first they were positive about helping me, but soon declared there was nothing wrong and sent it back. Although the chain wasn't dropping, the shifting was still haywire. I reached back to parent company Advanced Sports International and the response was encouraging and then they went silent. 

It seems they've cut me loose with a bike I can't ride or sell--because I won't misrepresent it. Anyone with a similar experience?

Jonathan

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Have a local bike shop check the derailleur hanger alignment.

Even if it looks "ok" by eye, have it checked with the right tool.

http://www.parktool.com/blog/repair-help/rear-derailleur-hanger-ali...

Then, replace the hanger anyway.

Lee:

The derailer hanger is brand new. That's the only thing we can tell that the Kestrel folks did to it. So you're definitely on the right track. 

Thanks. 

Jonathan

I haven't noticed any "pattern" with Kestrels but wish you were in Chicago so we could have some of our local mechanics look at it.  Personally- I enjoy investigating shifty issues.

Has anyone checked the frame alignment?  I have seen some carbon bikes (not Kestrels) that were warped in areas.  One prevented the rear derailleur from aligning, another prevented the front derailleur from shifting.

I'm surprised the shop that sold it to you let you down.  The bike obviously never got a test ride from the mechanic who built it.  They should have been adept enough to notice the problem, even if they couldn't fix it.

Maybe the reason why Advanced Sports went silent is because a non-Kestrel dealer is trying to handle the warranty.  If your frame was defective, they probably would not send a replacement to a non-Kestrel dealer.

The shop I finally went to is pretty sure the frame is out of alignment ASI says it is "within tolerances." They specifically told me I could go to any shop I chose. I was not going to go back to the selling dealer and the nearest full-line Kestrel dealer is some distance away. 

I can tell you that the bike was never test ridden. The selling shop didn't even help me adjust the new pedals for tension.

Did you get any strange/extreme tire wear? Does the bike need steering input to ride in a straight line? How well does the crankset align to the frame?

Tire wear was nothing out of the ordinary. I didn't trust the Vittorio tires so I did what I always do; after my first season I put on Gatorskins. 

I never thought the bike was super stable. The guy whom I trust who tried to sort it has narrowed the issue down to the crank or the frame. He believes the crank is defective, but again, ASI says it is within tolerances. 

All I know is that the bike is really tough to ride with all the issues and I don't dare sell it as I know it is faulty. 

Did you try replacing the rear wheel? With the bike on a work stand, try spinning the crank and check for a wobble in the cassette gears relative to the wheel rotation. Also look at the crank for the same sort of wobble. The other component that has not been replace is the STI shifter/brake assembly. You may have multiple issues, sometimes unlikely things occur! That's an expensive bike; you may have to simply minimize your losses.

Irvin:

The shop owner with whom I've been working has suggested the rear wheel is suspect. At this point, I've bought a new bike. But I would like to get this one to the point that I can either sell it or have a decent winter bike. 

I am giving the folks at ASI a little bit of the benefit of the doubt because they were probably at Interbike last week. I wish they had offered to replace the crank and the wheel. The problem is that they also own Oval Concepts, which produces the wheels and the crankset. Maybe "Round Concepts" would have been more aspirational!

I always wondered  why they thought OVAL was a good name and it made me feel like I was, somehow, not in on some kind of secret.

Jonathan seems too classy to name the shop who did him wrong.  Now I feel like guessing that it is...

Thank you for the compliment.

While I'm pretty upset by the whole outcome, I'm not prepared to be rude or push anyone under the bus. And since I'm well out of the Chicago area--by about 1,000 miles--there is little chance of a successful guess. 

And I also promise not to give hints. 

At least now I have a very serious new bike and a dealer and manufacture who should really stand behind me. True, I've also gone way up in price point as I now have a Parlee Altum. 

Jonathan

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