Domane Isospeed Decoupler Fail
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  1. #1
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    Domane Isospeed Decoupler Fail

    I have a question about the Isospeed decoupler on my 2015 Trek Domane 5.2. Recently I noticed that the decoupler was not dampening the ride like it used to. When I took it into the LBS for service they said they could just replace it and it would be fine. Once they got it apart they said that it had corroded most likely from sweat and had seized internally. When they tried to replace it they said that the outer race had "fused" to the frame and in order to get it out it will like break the frame and render it unusable. They submitted a warranty claim to Trek but it was denied as a lack of maintenance issue as opposed to a manufacturing defect. LBS says the options are order new frame (which will entail replacing the brakes as the design has changed and cost $1500) or buy a new bike. Now I will admit that I did nothing in terms of maintenance for the decoupler beyond washing regularly. So I took in a bike that at least I could ride to the LBS and now it is totally unrideable, useful only to harvest the components.
    Questions: Has anyone else had any issues with the Isospeed seizing and fusing to the frame? Should I pick up the bike and take it to another LBS for second opinion?
    Thanks

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    I work at a Trek owned shop and I have never once seen one that's stuck in the frame. Bottom bracket and headset bearings are another story.
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    Curious if it’s in the owners manual to have maintanence done on a regular basis for the Isospeed systems. If not, I’d have a beef with Trek.

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    Agree with Steve. If Trek hasn't got enough real world experience with this design to have written up specific maintenance instructions for that area of the frame, and you have routinely cleaned the bicycle, then I think this is all on them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    Curious if it’s in the owners manual to have maintanence done on a regular basis for the Isospeed systems. If not, I’d have a beef with Trek.
    Yep, me too. If the thing froze up and stuck in the frame, it was the weak link in the system and failed. Whatever forces it had to handle overcame its capabilities. Faulty design.

    Do those things actually improve the ride, or just soften it up? If so, is that good or bad? Is the tradeoff worth it? Can they handle a heavy rider? How long before they take one too many hits and start to come apart? Frankly, I'd go back to solid tubes. One less thing to worry about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GKSki View Post
    Agree with Steve. If Trek hasn't got enough real world experience with this design to have written up specific maintenance instructions for that area of the frame, and you have routinely cleaned the bicycle, then I think this is all on them.
    And I quote:

    "The IsoSpeed mechanism is designed to last the lifetime of the bicycle without service. Do not lubricate it. Keep it clean with water and soft cloth. If the mechanism makes noise or exhibits lateral play, the design allows easy replacement of the mechanism. Take your bicycle to your retailer for service"


    Pg 39: https://trek.scene7.com/is/content/T...ndum_en-US.pdf accessed via: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/manuals/

    Bold emphasis mine. I'd pick a bone with them. Basically reads "don't mess with it until something is wrong with it--then we'll fix it". Which is exactly what the OP did, and Trek ain't doing.
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    Did you buy it from the LBS you took it to? If yes I'd have a real problem with the LBS not giving you the support in the warranty claim.

    You could try another dealer but maybe go direct to your area Trek rep. I'd be pissed if you have followed their instructions and then they try and blame you for doing just that.

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    I would press Trek on this one too. I'd also do some work with good penetrating oil for a couple weeks to see if it wouldn't loosen up before scrapping a frame.
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    Thanks for posting the Trek manual instructions; that was useful.

    I think the OP should bring the manual along with the bike back to the shop and try again. If that fails, try a second shop. If THAT fails, contact Trek directly and see what they say.

    Report back with your resolution.

    I'm with Fredrico; too many parts, and just something else to go wrong or creak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Do those things actually improve the ride, or just soften it up? If so, is that good or bad? Is the tradeoff worth it? Can they handle a heavy rider? How long before they take one too many hits and start to come apart? Frankly, I'd go back to solid tubes. One less thing to worry about.
    Yes, it's a very noticeable improvement in the quality of the ride. I've got over 25,000 miles on a Domane, not failures. Weight, 175lbs to 185lbs depending on the time of year.

    Not sure what you mean by Soften up vs improve the ride - to me that's the same thing.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
    Curious if it’s in the owners manual to have maintanence done on a regular basis for the Isospeed systems. If not, I’d have a beef with Trek.
    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    And I quote:

    "The IsoSpeed mechanism is designed to last the lifetime of the bicycle without service. Do not lubricate it. Keep it clean with water and soft cloth. If the mechanism makes noise or exhibits lateral play, the design allows easy replacement of the mechanism. Take your bicycle to your retailer for service"


    Pg 39: https://trek.scene7.com/is/content/T...ndum_en-US.pdf accessed via: https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en_US/manuals/

    Bold emphasis mine. I'd pick a bone with them. Basically reads "don't mess with it until something is wrong with it--then we'll fix it". Which is exactly what the OP did, and Trek ain't doing.
    Good luck with this. I've heard too many stories from people where Trek weaseled out of warranty coverage.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwisimon View Post
    Did you buy it from the LBS you took it to? If yes I'd have a real problem with the LBS not giving you the support in the warranty claim.
    Not really the fault of the dealer. If Trek denies coverage, you can't expect the dealer to pick up the tab. Trek is bullying dealers to sell at least 80% Trek products or they won't provide support to the shop. I have to wonder if this is an example of that. I have no concrete proof, but it does seem fishy that people who go to 100% Trek dealers get great warranty support. Hmmmm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    Yes, it's a very noticeable improvement in the quality of the ride. I've got over 25,000 miles on a Domane, not failures. Weight, 175lbs to 185lbs depending on the time of year.

    Not sure what you mean by Soften up vs improve the ride - to me that's the same thing.
    Reassuring testimony!

    Well, do you want the bike to ride like a Cadillac or a Ferrari? I like some feel for the road, if for any other reason, to gauge my efforts accurately.

    Then again, shock absorbers on the seat stays aren't going to "soften up" handling. Didn't Sky riders use ISO couplers in Paris-Roubaix? Response would be a function of the fork, headset, down tube, BB, chain stays, and wheels. ISO couplers are better than putting the shock absorber in the seat post, as it never upsets seat height, which would not be desirable when whacking up a mountain for all you're worth.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Good luck with this. I've heard too many stories from people where Trek weaseled out of warranty coverage.



    Not really the fault of the dealer. If Trek denies coverage, you can't expect the dealer to pick up the tab. Trek is bullying dealers to sell at least 80% Trek products or they won't provide support to the shop. I have to wonder if this is an example of that. I have no concrete proof, but it does seem fishy that people who go to 100% Trek dealers get great warranty support. Hmmmm.
    Well they are the first and last point of contact for the customer. If they aren't prepared to stand by their products, it is their responsibility, not fault. Tough for them to have to peddle a product that loses them customers, maybe the obvious choice would be to sell brands with better dealer support.
    Still waiting for the OP to get back.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwisimon View Post
    Well they are the first and last point of contact for the customer. If they aren't prepared to stand by their products, it is their responsibility, not fault. Tough for them to have to peddle a product that loses them customers, maybe the obvious choice would be to sell brands with better dealer support.
    Still waiting for the OP to get back.
    To stop selling a brand can be a slippery slope. My shop is gradually selling less and less Trek as a result of so many claim problems. The problem with that is it's only a matter of time before Trek plays even harder ball and tells my shop they will no longer provide ANY support for the shop's existing customers. They have already threatened him, but have stopped short of actually doing this. The owner is taking a wait and see approach at this point.

    With Cannondale, Jamis, GT and Linskey calling to him to sell their bikes, why should he take the abuse?
    "With bicycles in particular, you need to separate between what's merely true and what's important."-- DCGriz, RBR.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
    Thanks for posting the Trek manual instructions; that was useful.

    I think the OP should bring the manual along with the bike back to the shop and try again. If that fails, try a second shop. If THAT fails, contact Trek directly and see what they say.

    Report back with your resolution.

    I'm with Fredrico; too many parts, and just something else to go wrong or creak.
    If the manual says no maintenance required, just keep it clean, the owner does that and it fails, it's their fault, not the owner's. They should take the frame back, replace the coupler, or frame if necessary, and call it a day. Those things aren't supposed to happen on a bike that costs as much as a late model used car.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    Reassuring testimony!

    Well, do you want the bike to ride like a Cadillac or a Ferrari? I like some feel for the road, if for any other reason, to gauge my efforts accurately.
    I use mine for long rides mostly, so prefer the Caddy ride! I do get plenty of feedback from the road through my bars though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Srode View Post
    I use mine for long rides mostly, so prefer the Caddy ride! I do get plenty of feedback from the road through my bars though.
    That's where you want it!

    Noticed road bike head tube angles getting shallower, which gives a Cadillac ride compared to steeper angles used throughout the '80s, when the Italians were making stuff for the emerging American criterium market. Those bikes were easy to oversteer, go off track or slip out on wet leaves. 75-74 degree was considered "oversteer," 73 "neutral" and 72 or 71 would be Cadillac understeer used on touring or endurance events, and later mountain bikes. Adding shock absorbers under the saddle would be a nice extra treat. Builders are trying it with really skinny seat stays, flirting with structural integrity.

    Since most riders aren't racing crits, instead riding long distances on the roads, they'd prefer shallower steering angles. Nervous crit geometries seem to be a thing of the past. They were fun though. Rider could exert a little more energy onto the front wheel when going all out and they climbed well.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fredrico View Post
    That's where you want it!

    Noticed road bike head tube angles getting shallower, which gives a Cadillac ride compared to steeper angles used throughout the '80s, when the Italians were making stuff for the emerging American criterium market. Those bikes were easy to oversteer, go off track or slip out on wet leaves. 75-74 degree was considered "oversteer," 73 "neutral" and 72 or 71 would be Cadillac understeer used on touring or endurance events, and later mountain bikes. Adding shock absorbers under the saddle would be a nice extra treat. Builders are trying it with really skinny seat stays, flirting with structural integrity.

    Since most riders aren't racing crits, instead riding long distances on the roads, they'd prefer shallower steering angles. Nervous crit geometries seem to be a thing of the past. They were fun though. Rider could exert a little more energy onto the front wheel when going all out and they climbed well.
    Head tube angle alone does not dictate handling characteristics. Not even close.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    To stop selling a brand can be a slippery slope. My shop is gradually selling less and less Trek as a result of so many claim problems. The problem with that is it's only a matter of time before Trek plays even harder ball and tells my shop they will no longer provide ANY support for the shop's existing customers. They have already threatened him, but have stopped short of actually doing this. The owner is taking a wait and see approach at this point.

    With Cannondale, Jamis, GT and Linskey calling to him to sell their bikes, why should he take the abuse?
    Tough decision to make but at the end of the day about all a shop can offer is exceptional service and that includes warranty work.

    Are Trek really that popular over there? I would have thought the Lance effect had worn off.

    Giant and Merida are what our local shop sells (and two local Japanese brands) and he is very happy with them. Closest Trek dealer is a two hour drive away. Next closest four hours. But Trek Japan have really good service, they have to over here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kiwisimon View Post
    Tough decision to make but at the end of the day about all a shop can offer is exceptional service and that includes warranty work.
    Exceptional service is all a shop can offer. However, if that includes footing the bill when a bike maker won't cover warranty repairs, that shop will be bankrupted very quickly.

    Quote Originally Posted by kiwisimon View Post
    Are Trek really that popular over there? I would have thought the Lance effect had worn off.
    Trek used to be a great brand with exceptional support. Now they are taking the low road like Specialized. The point is my shop doesn't want to lose their previous customers, but they don't want to roll over and be a doormat either. There is in fact a 100% Trek shop not too far away, but my shop provides better overall service and most people would rather stay with my shop if given a choice. Trek bikes are great until they aren't. The people who have them love them and I really doubt it has anything to do with the "Lance effect". If anything, all the doping has turned people off.
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  21. #21
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    I'd like to know if the OP purchased the bike (new) from an authorized dealer. Maybe this is the reason his warranty claim was denied.

    "Trek Bicycle Corporation provides each original retail purchaser of the bicycle a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship in the bicycle frame and rigid fork when purchased from an authorized Trek dealer."

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngl View Post
    I'd like to know if the OP purchased the bike (new) from an authorized dealer. Maybe this is the reason his warranty claim was denied.
    "Trek Bicycle Corporation provides each original retail purchaser of the bicycle a lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship in the bicycle frame and rigid fork when purchased from an authorized Trek dealer."
    Here is where companies exercise wiggle room. Most of us don't know how to analyze a bike frame to see whether a failure was caused by a defect or by misuse and abuse. We are at the mercy of the provider of a warranty. A warranty is only as good as the company who provides it.

    And what constitutes abuse or misuse? Hitting a large pothole? Pebbles striking the frame at a high velocity? Too many grey areas. Most well-heeled companies will give the customer the benefit of the doubt sans obvious abuse as it solidifies customer loyalty. Others will double down and reject a claim whenever they possibly can. Sadly, Trek has taken the latter path as of late.
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  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    Here is where companies exercise wiggle room. Most of us don't know how to analyze a bike frame to see whether a failure was caused by a defect or by misuse and abuse. We are at the mercy of the provider of a warranty. A warranty is only as good as the company who provides it.

    And what constitutes abuse or misuse? Hitting a large pothole? Pebbles striking the frame at a high velocity? Too many grey areas. Most well-heeled companies will give the customer the benefit of the doubt sans obvious abuse as it solidifies customer loyalty. Others will double down and reject a claim whenever they possibly can. Sadly, Trek has taken the latter path as of late.
    This may be the case w/ your shop but I can say w/o a doubt that they have been exactly the opposite w/ us and that started well before they bought our stores. I've told numerous customers that I'd start a warranty claim but I was 99% sure it would be denied for whatever reason and then Trek approved it.

    I've seen LOTS of bearings corroded and stuck in frames and I've always managed to get them out. Bottom bracket, headset bearings that people have sweated on every day on the trainer. You try to remove them and the bearing comes apart leaving the outer race stuck in the frame. There is ALWAYS a way to get them out.
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    Hope that things work out better than they are looking right now for the OP and his problem with the LBS/Trek.

    I live in a very popular recreational bike use area. My current ride is a Trek Domane with about 15,000 miles on it. The LBS I use has four locations within a ten-mile radius. Every problem I've had with the bike Trek has been stellar as has the LBS on my behalf in "dealing" with Trek on the issue. In my specific area Trek riders that use the four stores are high on Trek for having a strong warranty that they adhere to consistently. I suspect that the individual LBS part in the whole process can have a major impact.

    Regarding ride quality, the ISO Speed Decoupler definitely improves the ride comfort of the bike IMO. I have only the rear. The feedback I've gotten from other riders is that bikes that have it on both rear and front are even better riding.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
    To stop selling a brand can be a slippery slope. My shop is gradually selling less and less Trek as a result of so many claim problems. The problem with that is it's only a matter of time before Trek plays even harder ball and tells my shop they will no longer provide ANY support for the shop's existing customers. They have already threatened him, but have stopped short of actually doing this. The owner is taking a wait and see approach at this point.

    With Cannondale, Jamis, GT and Linskey calling to him to sell their bikes, why should he take the abuse?
    I'd really like to see Trek step up their game on intimidation and bullying. Instead of threatening withdrawal of support, maybe rough up some shop owners, burn down a few non-compliant stores and demand "protection payments"

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