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Trek Madone Bottom Bracket problem; Excellent 24 mile MTB ride (new PRs);

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog


On Saturday I performed an indoor training session in my Bike Torture Chamber, and towards the end of the workout the cranks on my Trek Madone 5.9 started making a knocking noise. When I finished the workout I checked the bike, and saw that the cranks had developed some lateral play in them.

Madone Bottom Bracket Failure

Madone Bottom Bracket Failure

After just a few seconds of inspection the problem became obvious: the bottom bracket bearing was loose in the frame. In the photograph to the right you can see how much play there is. Very disappointing for a high-end bike that is less than 3 months old with just a little over 1,000 miles on it.

My first instinct was to take the bike into my home bike shop and replace the bottom bracket bearings, but I knew doing so would likely void the warranty. While I don’t mind replacing bottom bracket bearings to avoid several days without my road bike, if this turns out to be a frame issue I’m going to need that warranty.

I did some searching, and it seems this bottom bracket issue is very common with 2008-2011 “5” and “6” series Treks. Trek has acknowledged the issue, and their solution is to replace the stock BB bearings with replacement bearings (which Trek calls “V2”). My understanding is the V2 bearings are just shimmed versions of the original bearings, and some people have reported further failures even after “V2” bearing replacement. Quite a few people strongly feel that a frame replacement is the only permanent and correct solution. There are a lot of very unsatisfied Trek 5.x and 6.x owners out there. Check out this huge thread (link goes to page 9, feel free to read the whole thing if you like).

I called the shop that sold me the Trek, and I told them about the problem. They were not surprised, and said this was a common problem on my bike. They didn’t want to comment further until checking out the bike in person, so I’ll reserve judgement until they do that and propose a solution.

This was not an inexpensive bike. Needless to say, if Trek doesn’t properly and permanently take care of the problem they are going to wish they’d never heard of me. I’m taking the bike to the shop today, and I’ll let you all know how Trek and the LBS handles the situation. I hope they do the right thing–and I hope I don’t have to do without my road bike for several weeks or months.

On a brighter note, I did a 24.3 mile mountain bike training ride at Wekiwa State Park yesterday: three straight loops on the Red Blaze trails with no stops and no rest. Even though my diet sucked and I only rode about 100 miles while on my 2 week vacation, I felt surprisingly good out there–especially considering I was dragging around an extra 7 pounds!

I was surprised to find that I set 3 new personal records yesterday:

The Bike Loop: Sand Lake Trailhead Red Blaze Loop (7.5 miles) – 31m25s (old record 31m48s)
Marker 13 to Marker 19 (1.4 miles) – 6m11s (old record 6m30s)
Marker 19 to Sand Lake Trailhead “Sand Hell” (3.4 miles) – 13m31s (old record 13m38s)

Here’s the complete ride on Strava.

I’m very happy about yesterday’s ride, especially because this weekend I’m going to be doing an epic mountain bike ride at San Felasco. I’ve never ridden at San Felasco before, and I’ve heard it’s a great trail system. The planned route is 62 miles, all off-road. It’s going to be a big day, but a fun one. 🙂

John Stone Fitness Comments

3 Responses to “Trek Madone Bottom Bracket problem; Excellent 24 mile MTB ride (new PRs);”
  1. Wow….there is a thread! That is a huge bummer John. That has always been my fear with press fit bottom brackets. Give me the old threaded standard every time! Most guys in that thread were having issues after thousands of miles, you in just three months. Proves you are an animal my friend. Hopefully the warranty process works smoothly for you but I would call Trek directly and raise hell.

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  2. No similar issue with my Madone 6 series (yet), but from the description, it sounds as if the opening in the frame is stretching under the eccentric loads from pedaling. If that’s the case, placing a shim between the bearing and frame will only be a temporary solution.

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