FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

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FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

Postby Summernight » Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:19 am

So two weeks ago my bottom bracket failed on the way to work. FSA MegaExo Bottom Bracket (Omega) for a road bike. On an uphill the crank started slipping and then stuck like it was in glue and wouldn't budge forwards or backwards. No warning either from what I can tell from my limited bike knowledge!

I managed to limp it to work (luckily had pretty much done all the uphill and could freewheel downhill to work and walked it the last 200 metres uphill). A local bike handyman pulled the BB off the bike and it was clear that the left hand side bearings had failed.

As it was only 11 months since I purchased the bike from the LBS and I'd only done approx. 2500 kms on it (admittedly commuting to work in Melbourne rain, hail or shine, but only on roads and only for about 5.5 kms eachway) I sent the bottom bracket back to the bicycle store to see if they could get it replaced under warranty.

Since the LBS franchise didn't have any in stock at any of their stores they sent the faulty BB to the Australian supplier (in Sydney). Now two weeks on the Australian supplier has said they won't replace the BB under warranty (saying it is somehow my fault that one of their BB cups failed).

Apparently the supplier is willing to discuss giving me a discount on a new FSA BB of the same or more expensive value but I'm pretty annoyed at their refusal to replace this part when (I believe) it shouldn't have failed so quickly.

Looking online it won't kill my wallet to buy a new BB of the same brand to fit my crankset (approx. $45) and it seems from trying a Shimano BB of the same specs with my crankset that I have to buy the same brand and style as none of the other ones are compatible (although I didn't want to due to this one's failure).

I also heard from the LBS that apparently this supplier is being inundated with warranty claims on FSA (not reassuring!).

Is this normal? What could I possibly have done wrong for the BB to have failed so quickly? I hadn't pulled the part out of the bike or tampered with it in any way.

Any advice appreciated.
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by BNA » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:12 pm

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Re: FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

Postby Nobody » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:12 pm

Summernight wrote:...only done approx. 2500 kms on it (admittedly commuting to work in Melbourne rain, hail or shine, but only on roads and only for about 5.5 kms eachway)...

What could I possibly have done wrong for the BB to have failed so quickly? I hadn't pulled the part out of the bike or tampered with it in any way.
If you project a straight line from where the front tyre meets the ground to the BB, does your front mudflap get in the way? If not, that is one contributing factor.
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Re: FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

Postby Ozkaban » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:21 pm

FSA Omega is the cheap end of town. I have it on my commuter and when it fails I'll turf it and put Shimano cranks/BB back in. 2500km in the wet isn't great but it's also not surprising.

The shaft diamater of the cranks/ID of the BB is much smaller on the FSA Omega than on the shimano 105/Ultegra cranks.

If it was me I'd be annoyed, but put a Tiagra (depending on the level of the rest of your groupset, but it's still better than FSA Omega) chainset/BB in. Chainset is about $80-90 from ribble, et.al, BB is about $15-$20 and the tool to do it can be had for about $15 or so.
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Re: FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

Postby neild » Fri Dec 21, 2012 12:34 pm

I had a similar thing happen on my Norco flat bar a few years ago. The FSA MegaExo BB. I can't remember how many km I'd done but it was probably only a little more than you. I swapped to Tiagra BB & Cranks and have never looked back. Done many thousands of km since installing and never missed a beat. I know the MegaExo is bottom range but I don't think I'd ever go back to FSA.
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Re: FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

Postby Summernight » Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:32 am

Thanks everyone, very much appreciated.

Nobody wrote:If you project a straight line from where the front tyre meets the ground to the BB, does your front mudflap get in the way? If not, that is one contributing factor.


Hmmm, it doesn't seem to be in the way when drawing the line, so I guess the BB must certainly have been getting dirty because of the lack of protection. Then again wouldn't no mudflaps at all be just as bad or worse? Thanks muchly though, I'll look at extending the flap lower.

Ozkaban wrote:FSA Omega is the cheap end of town. I have it on my commuter and when it fails I'll turf it and put Shimano cranks/BB back in. 2500km in the wet isn't great but it's also not surprising.

The shaft diamater of the cranks/ID of the BB is much smaller on the FSA Omega than on the shimano 105/Ultegra cranks.

If it was me I'd be annoyed, but put a Tiagra (depending on the level of the rest of your groupset, but it's still better than FSA Omega) chainset/BB in. Chainset is about $80-90 from ribble, et.al, BB is about $15-$20 and the tool to do it can be had for about $15 or so.


I am very annoyed (and also annoyed at the LBS when they said to me "you can't get away from FSA because it is on all bikes from $300 to $8000 and we're not really going to help you at all with this" :roll: ) but thought that I'd have to spend upwards of $400-$500 for a whole new chainset. Although I may have been looking at the higher end sets which might be why. :oops:

Tiagra is pretty much the groupset already on the bike (the back derailleur is 105) so I'm not fussed with putting another bit of Tiagra on it. All I care about is that it doesn't break again any time soon and that I can get it replaced before I do the Triathlon Pink at the end of January.

I guess I'll be buying my bicycle a couple of Christmas presents. :)
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Re: FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

Postby jules21 » Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:52 pm

maybe obvious, but if you ride it through a flooded section of road or path, that can be enough to kill it.
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Re: FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

Postby drubie » Thu Dec 27, 2012 8:26 pm

I dunno, I got 10,000 or so out of the mega exo on my race bike. It was completely stuffed by that stage though.
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Re: FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

Postby Summernight » Sun Dec 30, 2012 7:03 pm

drubie wrote:I dunno, I got 10,000 or so out of the mega exo on my race bike. It was completely stuffed by that stage though.


Which is what I thought would happen, although I'm assuming you treated your race bike better than my commuter is treated. :)

I ended up buying a Shimano 105 Hollowtech II chainset and BB to replace the FSA Omega. Hope it arrives quickly!
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Re: FSA BB failure after 2500kms and 11 months from purchase

Postby drubie » Sun Dec 30, 2012 8:23 pm

It didn't see a lot of rain so treated better is probably right. The shimano and campagnolo ones do seem better but they are a lot more expensive. I'm not totally sold on the external bearing concept due to the water intrusion they seem to encourage, but I've had poor life out of the bottom brackets in most of my rain bikes so who knows.
So we get the leaders we deserve and we elect, we get the companies and the products that we ask for, right? And we have to ask for different things. – Paul Gilding
but really, that's rubbish. We get none of it because the choices are illusory.
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