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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:31 pm 
Old School Hero

Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:04 pm
Posts: 153
Guys,

Hope you can help - This isn't a retrobike specific question, but just after a bit of support/guidance relating to a wheel hub that has gone bang (freehub part), and that I am being told can't be repaired under warranty by Merlin.

Back story:

I was out riding a few weeks back on my newish wheel with an XT hub, coming down a hill when suddenly there was an odd noise and the chain was getting thrown forwards. The freehub had entirely locked. I came to a halt rather abruptly. Suspecting something major, I tried riding slowly - identified properly what was happening, then I took off the wheel for a closer look. Yep - the cassette was locked. Luckily my father in law was at home and had a spare wheel... so my day wasn't ruined, but of course, I sent the wheel back to Merlin to get it looked at. What they've come back with I cannot believe... so I thought I'd check with some retro guru's if this is realistic, or acceptable.

They found what they described as 'fishing line' wrapped around the back of the freehub. Their first email contradicted itself, saying that they couldn't know if it had actually made it's way inside - then later on, stating that it had.

They sent me photos of what they found. Didn't look like fishing line, but it was a black, very fine thread line fiber. They said £40 for a replacement free hub, or they can send it back to me. I argued with them a little but they were adamant it was not a warranty issue. Told them to send it back to me with the 'black stuff' - as I was not convinced and I wasn't about to pay them the £40.

On examination - I can say that this stuff is not fishing line... it is in fact horse tail hair (pretty sure... used to own horses and know the feel of it).

This stuff is not strong. It can be held between your fingers and snapped with ease, and very little strain- it's hair!

What I have to ask you lot is - do you think

a) this should be covered under warranty and if so what should I do?
b) Do you think it could cause such a failure in a freehub? I am struggling to believe that a new XT hub could be devastated like this by a horse hair. If so - is it fit for purpose!?

My personal view is that actually, the free hub internals have just collapsed (machining error or something), and that the horse hair is a red herring.

At the very least... I'd have expected Merlin to deem it an uncertain cause and replace it free of charge.

What do you think?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:04 pm 
Feature Bike
Feature Bike
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 8:13 pm
Posts: 1143
Location: York-ish UK
If you'd used a retro freehub, then it would have soldiered on despite the hair ingress.

I'd say chalk it down to experience: I wouldn't expect Merlin to magic-up another.

Your story does speak of a deeper dilemma though: the eternal battle between bike & horse. I don't think they understand each other, and don't really know how to resolve the issue (although as a bikey rather than horsey type, I'm glad that man+bike can beat man+horse in an off road race.)

That said, it looks like horsey is resorting to some fiendish tricks these days. Forewarned is forearmed.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:08 pm 
Old School Hero

Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:04 pm
Posts: 153
Thanks. Yes it is a good victory for the horses! Bet they're laughing in their stables.

Anyone else got any comments? I mean... seriously... can a hub be fit for purpose if a bit of hair can cause such a breakdown?

And.. yes... if it's concluded that it's not fit for purpose - I would expect Melrin to 'magic' me another. ;-P


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:18 pm 
Retro Guru
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Joined: Thu May 03, 2012 7:13 pm
Posts: 2574
Location: The Cock Inn, Tillett, Herts
Unless the freehub is claimed to be resistant to horses hair/fishing line/viet cong man trap ligatures, then I think you're stuffed. Whichever way you look at it a) the freehub n is kacked, and b) There's a foreign object jammed in/round it. Doesn't seem a difficult concept to grasp.

Unless you've ever taken a freehub right apart I don't think you can appreciate how tiny an obstruction could jam it. I've changed enough over the years to know they ain't invincible.

Just go buy one, bolt it on, move in in life, save the stress for something genuinely worth it.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:25 pm 
Gold Trader
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Joined: Sat Oct 23, 2010 10:33 pm
Posts: 2119
Location: New Forest
Sorry to say this, but:

1. Yes, hair could easily lock a freehub, A few strands of hair are very strong. BUT, if you unwind it, I can't see how it could wreck one? is the hair inside it?

2. There's no way this isn't fit for purpose. Thousands sold, I doubt there's been another 'failure by horse hair' so far? Assuming it's not a failing of the mechanism itself, I can't see why Merlin would replace it. They'd have nothing to lose replacing it, as they'd send it back to shimano and receive a replacement/payment.

Again, Sorry.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:42 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sun Aug 21, 2011 11:57 pm
Posts: 4074
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Just to make sure ... did anyone on here make you an offer you shouldn't have refused?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:55 pm 
Old School Hero

Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2011 12:04 pm
Posts: 153
Urgh... yeah... thought so. Just thought I'd check. Horses. :-(


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 6:52 am 
retrobike rider
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Joined: Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:08 am
Posts: 6851
Location: Nth Somerset, UK
As a horse owner, I'm puzzled as to how you got enough tail hair around the back wheel to do any harm. :shock:


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:08 am 
Old School Hero

Joined: Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:14 pm
Posts: 219
Location: Wolverhampton
Hi Which version of XT is it?
I have a brand new 2012 Xt freehub £21 posted if thats any use.
Pm me if interested
Cheers Kit :)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 7:38 am 
Old School Grand Master

Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:55 pm
Posts: 8213
Location: New Forest, UK
I suspect that (as Chopper says) it just jammed the tiny space between the freehub body and the hub core. After removal and reassembly the hub should work again fine. This sounds like a freak event, and considering the huge accumulated hours of XT hub usage by forum members here, I would treat it as such.

I have personally experienced the same kind of thing on an outboard engine which completely jammed solid from a bit of seaweed behind the propeller.


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