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  1. #1
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well 2017 Release 3 - Shredded Pawls?

    Coming to you all as an extremely bummed DB rider - starting to lose my faith in this company after riding their bikes for years.

    Last night on an intense climb, my pedaling was met with abrupt crunching and followed by no engagement from my cassette to my rear wheel. Can still pedal, cassette spins, rear wheel does not. First off, do you guys think this is the pawls in the free hub? The bike was bought new in December - am I crazy to think this shouldn't be happening yet? I'm 220 lbs and the bike has been regularly maintained - just basic level maintenance. Essentially, I haven't pulled the bike apart to re-grease anything yet, but sounds like I should, based on other posts!

    Let me know your thoughts. I have a warranty claim into DB - we'll see how long it takes to get a response.

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    The pawls on my Release 3 lasted just over 100 miles before doing as you described, but I think this is more an issue with the crappy Novatec hubs than with Diamondback themselves. From my experience, Diamondback will punt the warranty claim to Novatec, and they will take good care of you. All told I was down for maybe a week and seem to be good as new for now...but I don’t have any faith these Novatec hubs will last.

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    Super helpful info - thanks @Horseshoe. Did they upgrade the hub, or give you any assurance that the new hub they sent you wouldn't do the same?

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    First off let me start this by saying, the issue your experiencing is not specific to DB, Santa Cruz and many other bike mfgs have had similar issues which stems from spec'ing lower end Novatec hubs.

    Contact DB you can email them or go through chat on their site, they will help you. Good luck.

    RANT: Not specifically aimed at the OP. If more people did their research they wouldn't have these issues or at the very least they'd be prepared when they do. I researched every part of my 5C, hubs, cranks, brakes, dropper post, etc so I was prepared if/when I decided to purchase my bike or walk away. I had concerns about the SRAM Guides, been a lot of issues, but I was prepared to fix or replace them. So many riders aren't prepared for the myriad of issues that can arise, because they didnt take the time to "know" their bike.
    RANT OVER
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    Quote Originally Posted by idude716 View Post
    Super helpful info - thanks @Horseshoe. Did they upgrade the hub, or give you any assurance that the new hub they sent you wouldn't do the same?
    No upgrade, unfortunately. They just sent me new internals (referred to as the freehub, I believe). From what i have read in these forums Novatec hubs are a crap shoot, and while everything is fine now (feels better than it did new, in fact) it will not surprise me if it goes out again. I am also a relatively heavy rider at 200 lbs and I suspect that shortens the life of these hubs substantially.

    For what its worth I am already eyeballing a wheel upgrade when the hub goes out after the warranty expires.

  6. #6
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    I've been lucky not to experience this with my hub. While I occasionally hear a ping noise coming from the rear hub, everything still looks new. One thing I did when I first received my bike was to remove the rear freehub and inspect it for grease. There was none at all. I greased it using DT Swiss freehub grease and it has been good since. I inspect it periodically just to make sure things are still good.
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    One thing I'm realizing I should have done! Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    First off let me start this by saying, the issue your experiencing is not specific to DB, Santa Cruz and many other bike mfgs have had similar issues which stems from spec'ing lower end Novatec hubs.

    Contact DB you can email them or go through chat on their site, they will help you. Good luck.

    RANT: Not specifically aimed at the OP. If more people did their research they wouldn't have these issues or at the very least they'd be prepared when they do. I researched every part of my 5C, hubs, cranks, brakes, dropper post, etc so I was prepared if/when I decided to purchase my bike or walk away. I had concerns about the SRAM Guides, been a lot of issues, but I was prepared to fix or replace them. So many riders aren't prepared for the myriad of issues that can arise, because they didnt take the time to "know" their bike.
    RANT OVER
    I can appreciate your perspective on this & definitely something I mention to newer riders when buying a rig or any gear for that matter. Similar to you, I wasn't totally surprised when my Guide's were inoperable from the start. Doesn't change the fact that it's a bummer for bikes of this caliber (yes, I realize you can spend $10k plus on a bike), to not be a little more reliable. I love my R3, and will continue to upgrade and make it a better bike, just disappointed in the decision to put a hub like this on this caliber of bike - I mean, at one point, this was their "flagship" bike after all. Never mind the history of QC, and assembly issues many others on this forum have had.

    DB has been emailed - as they were with the assembly and Guide issues I had. I guess I was looking more to understand if this was a recurring issue, and if so, how it was resolved for others. Thanks!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by idude716 View Post
    I can appreciate your perspective on this & definitely something I mention to newer riders when buying a rig or any gear for that matter. Similar to you, I wasn't totally surprised when my Guide's were inoperable from the start. Doesn't change the fact that it's a bummer for bikes of this caliber (yes, I realize you can spend $10k plus on a bike), to not be a little more reliable. I love my R3, and will continue to upgrade and make it a better bike, just disappointed in the decision to put a hub like this on this caliber of bike - I mean, at one point, this was their "flagship" bike after all. Never mind the history of QC, and assembly issues many others on this forum have had.

    DB has been emailed - as they were with the assembly and Guide issues I had. I guess I was looking more to understand if this was a recurring issue, and if so, how it was resolved for others. Thanks!
    Well again as stated, the issue is not isolated to DB, many other, higher priced and more highly regarded bike mfgs have had the same issues with Novatec hubs. The "caliber" of bike doesn't change based off the parts bolted onto it, the heart of the bike is still the suspension tech/design, parts are always going to be subjective. What some people consider good parts to bolt to their bike, I would consider crap, doesn't change the "caliber" of the bike. Bad wheels make for a shitty spec, agreed, but the heart of the bike is still "high caliber".

    My 5C has Novatec hubs. When I was researching the 5C it was one of my main focal points of research, as I know the issues many have had with Novatec hubs, on both DB and other bikes. I was relieved to find out the hubs on the 5C are the same one used in the higher end Novatec Diablo wheelset, same wheels Brian Lopes rides and that there have been little to no issues with these hubs. Still, I have plans to upgrade the hub to an Onyx sometime possibly next year, but for now it's doing great hauling my 280lb ass around without so much as a wimper. My guides have also been quite reliable thus far, even given the recent heat wave here in the PNW.

    In answer to your question, yes this is a recurring issue and one not likely to be resolved without a wheel upgrade, either from DB or the owner. Though I doubt DB is going to send anyone a rear wheel from a 5C, as that would be the only upgrade, all their lower end specs use the same hubset AFAIK.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    Well again as stated, the issue is not isolated to DB, many other, higher priced and more highly regarded bike mfgs have had the same issues with Novatec hubs. The "caliber" of bike doesn't change based off the parts bolted onto it, the heart of the bike is still the suspension tech/design, parts are always going to be subjective. What some people consider good parts to bolt to their bike, I would consider crap, doesn't change the "caliber" of the bike. Bad wheels make for a shitty spec, agreed, but the heart of the bike is still "high caliber".

    My 5C has Novatec hubs. When I was researching the 5C it was one of my main focal points of research, as I know the issues many have had with Novatec hubs, on both DB and other bikes. I was relieved to find out the hubs on the 5C are the same one used in the higher end Novatec Diablo wheelset, same wheels Brian Lopes rides and that there have been little to no issues with these hubs. Still, I have plans to upgrade the hub to an Onyx sometime possibly next year, but for now it's doing great hauling my 280lb ass around without so much as a wimper. My guides have also been quite reliable thus far, even given the recent heat wave here in the PNW.

    In answer to your question, yes this is a recurring issue and one not likely to be resolved without a wheel upgrade, either from DB or the owner. Though I doubt DB is going to send anyone a rear wheel from a 5C, as that would be the only upgrade, all their lower end specs use the same hubset AFAIK.
    Interesting that the 5c specs higher end hubs, I was not able to find much info online on what specific hub the 5c uses.

    Was out riding this week and my rear hub is toast. Bike started ghost pedaling a bit, then suddenly got MUCH worse. Was riding downhill around 25-30mph per strava and my bike essentially turned into a fixie...was coasting downhill so when this happened it completely locked up my rear wheel, then threw the chain off the chainring.

    After I figured out what happened and untangled the rear mech/chain, I found a service road to coast home on. The pedal speed was matched to rear wheel speed even while coasting. Took it by a shop on the way home, hub is toast, they found a bunch of metal shavings in the grease in there and they thought it was likely defective. Not DB's fault but scared the shit out of me when it happened. Emailed them today to see what to do about replacing the hub as the bike is only about 45 days old.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aan View Post
    Interesting that the 5c specs higher end hubs, I was not able to find much info online on what specific hub the 5c uses.

    Was out riding this week and my rear hub is toast. Bike started ghost pedaling a bit, then suddenly got MUCH worse. Was riding downhill around 25-30mph per strava and my bike essentially turned into a fixie...was coasting downhill so when this happened it completely locked up my rear wheel, then threw the chain off the chainring.

    After I figured out what happened and untangled the rear mech/chain, I found a service road to coast home on. The pedal speed was matched to rear wheel speed even while coasting. Took it by a shop on the way home, hub is toast, they found a bunch of metal shavings in the grease in there and they thought it was likely defective. Not DB's fault but scared the shit out of me when it happened. Emailed them today to see what to do about replacing the hub as the bike is only about 45 days old.
    Not really all that interesting that the 5C specs a different more reliable hub, it's DB's flagship carbon bike afterall. FWIW 5C rear hub is a Novatec XD642SB-B12 w/XD Cassette body & has 84 POE. It's a damn fine hub, considering it's a Novatec.

    =o/ Bummer to hear about your hub, I appreciate your not taking the position most do and blaming DB. I hope they get you sorted quickly and efficiently, so you can get back on the trails. Good luck.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    I appreciate your not taking the position most do and blaming DB. .
    Your logic is flawed. DB, Santa Cruz, anyone and everyone that spec's the disposable POS hubs on their bikes should be called out publicly and often. These things suck, period, and Diamondback knows it- and they've known it since the first Level Link bikes came out. My ten year old killed one of these hubs on his Release 1 in the first 50 miles, and he weighed 80 lbs at the time, and that was with all the preventative maintenance I could do on it to get it to last as long as possible. I'd rather go to the dentist than deal with Novatec warranty via Diamondback customer service.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by watermonkey View Post
    Your logic is flawed. DB, Santa Cruz, anyone and everyone that spec's the disposable POS hubs on their bikes should be called out publicly and often. These things suck, period, and Diamondback knows it- and they've known it since the first Level Link bikes came out. My ten year old killed one of these hubs on his Release 1 in the first 50 miles, and he weighed 80 lbs at the time, and that was with all the preventative maintenance I could do on it to get it to last as long as possible. I'd rather go to the dentist than deal with Novatec warranty via Diamondback customer service.
    Yes and no. I agree the industry as a whole needs to be accountable and take action, however it's counter productive to rant here, blaming DB specifically and not mentioning that it's an industry wide issue. When you do this, new riders come on here and read these rants, thinking "Oh BLANK RIDER is right DB sucks", not realizing it's not a DB issue, its an industry issue. I have no issue with someone saying "These hubs suck, I wish the industry would stop specing bikes with low end hubs". But so many riders on this forum, love to just throw DB under the bus specifically for issues that plague most bike mfgs. It gives a skewed perception, esp where everyone thinks DB is low end only and bikes like Santa Cruz are some Gucci brand, yet they spec the same shit hubs but because it says SC on the downtube people are not as callous or malicious.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    Yes and no. I agree the industry as a whole needs to be accountable and take action, however it's counter productive to rant here, blaming DB specifically and not mentioning that it's an industry wide issue. When you do this, new riders come on here and read these rants, thinking "Oh BLANK RIDER is right DB sucks", not realizing it's not a DB issue, its an industry issue. I have no issue with someone saying "These hubs suck, I wish the industry would stop specing bikes with low end hubs". But so many riders on this forum, love to just throw DB under the bus specifically for issues that plague most bike mfgs. It gives a skewed perception, esp where everyone thinks DB is low end only and bikes like Santa Cruz are some Gucci brand, yet they spec the same shit hubs but because it says SC on the downtube people are not as callous or malicious.
    These hubs suck, I wish the industry would stop specing bikes with low end hubs.

    If DB is reading this - give us as consumers the option to upgrade components on your top tier bikes. To watermonkey's point, someone is consciously making a decision to put a component on a bike that they know is going to break if the bike is ridden properly. Seems like they're hedging their bets on folks who will buy the bike and end up not riding it.

    If a new rider is reading this, buy a DB and ride it till it breaks, or upgrade your components from the get go. Also have a LBS do a full run through of your bike when it arrives due to DB's QC issues. OR if the above seems like a waste of time, buy a frameset only from another manufacturer and have a LBS build you stronger spec'd machine.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by idude716 View Post
    These hubs suck, I wish the industry would stop specing bikes with low end hubs.

    If DB is reading this - give us as consumers the option to upgrade components on your top tier bikes. To watermonkey's point, someone is consciously making a decision to put a component on a bike that they know is going to break if the bike is ridden properly. Seems like they're hedging their bets on folks who will buy the bike and end up not riding it.

    If a new rider is reading this, buy a DB and ride it till it breaks, or upgrade your components from the get go. Also have a LBS do a full run through of your bike when it arrives due to DB's QC issues. OR if the above seems like a waste of time, buy a frameset only from another manufacturer and have a LBS build you stronger spec'd machine.
    You have the option to customize the highest of the tiers, the 5C in the Custom Studio.

    I agree with you on the hubs, however in DB defense and others, there aren't many other OEM hub mfgs to use. Novatec makes a lot of hubs and not just for themselves, lots of other mfgs use them.

    Specifically to DB though, there really isn't much they can do, if they spec'd a higher end hub it would put there pricing too close to the other boutique prices, not seem like such a deal as it were. Larger companies that have a better industry image, have an easier time specing low end hubs, as a new rider will likely overlook the issue or at the very least not seem so pissed because it says YT or SC on the downtube. DB does not necessarily have this luxury, but they also can't compete by specing higher priced hubs. DB just doesn't have the image to compete and too be honest specing a better hub isn't going to win them anything, its calculated risk use the same spec as bigger brands and sell a lower price, make more sales or spec higher end hub, have to increase pricing, likely lose customers as it's not such a bargain.

    The thing that truly baffles me about DB, is how they can sell the 5C with that spec, for that price, that's insane.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Guy.Ford View Post
    I agree with you on the hubs, however in DB defense and others, there aren't many other OEM hub mfgs to use.
    A stock DT Swiss 350 hub is under $200 our cost. I'm sure it would be well under $150 or even closer to $100 purchased in huge numbers and used as stock hubs on even lower end bikes. Then all the customer has to do is upgrade the star ratchet and they will have a really decent hub that will probably never give them a problem. And it would save the bike company a lot of headaches dealing with warranty issues arising from shitty hubs. I'm sure the Novacraps cost almost nothing...but I'd certainly rather pay the slight price increase to cover the cost difference to get a bike with a DT Swiss 350 rather than a P.O.S. hub that's junk even by Chinese/Taiwan standards.
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    not to be too off topic but i recently ordered a SC Chameleon r+ comes with Sram MTH 746 rear hub which from my research is essentially garbage.. $2400 for a bike and you'd expect a solid hub set

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    I've had three rear hubs implode on three different bikes in the past two years. I weigh 155, I'm hardly putting thousands of watts through these things. All failed at less than 1K miles. The common thread with all of my failures: all rear hubs were Novatec or rebranded Novatec. This company apparently makes rear hubs out of spit and tin foil, just absolute garbage. It's maddening because replacing a rear hub isn't exactly easy. Most components are just a swap if they fail, not rear hubs. 9 times out of 10, the cost of rebuilding the rear wheel means that it makes more sense to simply replace the entire rear wheel. It's expensive and a waste.

    Too many bike companies spec shitty hubs to save $10 on OEM costs. They know consumers aren't looking at the hubs too closely and figure they can sneak one by. To me, this is becoming the new press fit BB: a shitty spec that bike brands try to sneak by us that saves them a tiny bit of money but causes us buyers huge headaches. I agree with the above: call these companies out for specifying garbage components. Put a quality rear hub on the bike, I will happily pay the extra $100+ for something that will last years. As pointed out above, DB is hardly unique in this regard, most brands sell bikes with crappy hubs unless you're above about the $3K mark.

    Side note: anyone old like me and remember that this was not an issue twenty or thirty years ago? Remember when companies used to spec real Shimano hubs on bikes? Remember when you never had to think about your hubs? Those were the days.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by hiro11 View Post
    I've had three rear hubs implode on three different bikes in the past two years. I weigh 155, I'm hardly putting thousands of watts through these things. All failed at less than 1K miles. The common thread with all of my failures: all rear hubs were Novatec or rebranded Novatec. This company apparently makes rear hubs out of spit and tin foil, just absolute garbage. It's maddening because replacing a rear hub isn't exactly easy. Most components are just a swap if they fail, not rear hubs. 9 times out of 10, the cost of rebuilding the rear wheel means that it makes more sense to simply replace the entire rear wheel. It's expensive and a waste.

    Too many bike companies spec shitty hubs to save $10 on OEM costs. They know consumers aren't looking at the hubs too closely and figure they can sneak one by. To me, this is becoming the new press fit BB: a shitty spec that bike brands try to sneak by us that saves them a tiny bit of money but causes us buyers huge headaches. I agree with the above: call these companies out for specifying garbage components. Put a quality rear hub on the bike, I will happily pay the extra $100+ for something that will last years. As pointed out above, DB is hardly unique in this regard, most brands sell bikes with crappy hubs unless you're above about the $3K mark.

    Side note: anyone old like me and remember that this was not an issue twenty or thirty years ago? Remember when companies used to spec real Shimano hubs on bikes? Remember when you never had to think about your hubs? Those were the days.
    Shimano hubs? Really??!! You mean the cool cup and cone hubs, that would eventually come loose and ovalize the internals of the hub shell, requiring replacement much like your complaint about Novatec, no thanks. I walked away from Shimano hubs years ago and happily haven't looked back.

    I'm not going to argue with anyone about Novatec hubs, honestly it's exhaustive trying to educate people who don't care to learn or listen. All I will say is if you do your research about the products that come installed on your bike or parts you buy, like any intelligent logical person would do (a common shortcoming of a lot of cyclists) then maybe the problems some riders have experienced could've been avoided.

    FWIW, I knew the issues with Novatec when I bought my bike. I did my research, have had no issues and do not foresee any. As matter of fact, from my talks with Novatec, I've recently found out the hub on my 5C can be upgraded from the current 84POE to a 120POE with a swap of the ratchet ring. STOKED!
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