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Blown free hub in a new bike after 180 miles

Hi All,

I'm a newbie here, so apologies for any potential faux pas  1

In February this year I got a brand new Giant Fathom E+ 2 29er 2022 Hardtail Electric Mountain Bike. Didn't get a chance to ride it much but recently after doing just 180 miles, I started getting this weird metallic sound from the rear of the drivetrain. Upon inspection, I have noticed perhaps 1-2mm play on the cassette. Took the wheel to a local bike shop to tighten the cassette but the mechanic said that the freehub is gone.

No probs I thought, the bike is still new so will surely be repaired under warranty. I have contacted the seller... and the response was: normal wear and tear, get lost. Now, I'm no bike expert, but if my bike needs a new freehub every 200 miles, there's surely something wrong here, no? Visited another bike shop, where the mechanics told me this amount of play is to be expected... after 2-3 thousand(!) miles, not 2 hundred...

I have also tried invoking the Consumer Right Act with the seller - as I have taken delivery of the bike less than 6 months ago, it is down to the seller to prove that the issue was not a material or assembly defect, but they again responded that the act does not apply to wear and tear... 🤦‍♂️  

So I suppose my first question is: am I in the wrong here? Can a freehub really let go after such low milage (let me add that I'm more of a recreational rider, no ramp jumping or anything like this). If I am in the right, what can I do in this situation? Contact Giant directly? The seller is a big online bike shop.

Many thanks in advance for any advice!

If you're new please join in and if you have questions pop them below and the forum regulars will answer as best we can.

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Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago

Depends what you want to get out of it.  A new bike (from someone else?) or a repair. 

good advice here:

I'd go nuclear given their previous failure. 
I wouldn't mess around with asking for repairs.   I'd tell them you are rejecting it under the sale if goods act as it's not fit for purpose.   You gave them 2 chances to own it and they failed twice imo.

I'd also do it as loudly as possible including on Twitter to them & copying Giant UK, and handwritten letters to the MD of the Company and Giant UK. 

If you bought it on a credit card get them involved they will raise a dispute with the shop and generally you will get your money back. 


IanMSpencer | 1 year ago

You are correct that the seller cannot hide behind wear and tear.

I would suggest that you contact the seller giving them a final opportunity to repair or replace the defective part, or you will get the bike repaired and claim the repair costs from them. If they don't pay, you can make an online money claim.

It would need the freehub disassembling to identify the fault. You could ask your friendly bike shop to photograph any damage or mis-assembly.

It sounds to me like a bearing has failed. That happens sometimes. No biggy to fix unless the play has caused other damage. The other possibility with metallic crunching is that the freehub itself has come apart in some way, but I doubt that would cause play. Assuming it is a bearing, it's about a £50 job to fix, bearings are fairly standard and about half an hour to take the freehub out and reassemble.

It's clearly a warranty claim and the responsibility is with the seller, not Giant. However, it might be worth complaining to Giant about the seller and seeing if they could short cut the hassle of the potential legal process.

bosmart replied to IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
1 like

Thanks, I'll try to push back a little and see what happens. It is disappointing however that Giant decided to put a £20 rear hub (SHIMANO FH-MT200-B) in a £3k bike with a 70Nm motor... So if I wanted to be pragmatic, maybe it makes sense to replace the whole hub with something more apporiate?

mark1a replied to bosmart | 1 year ago

I suppose another way of looking at it is not as a £3k bike, take out the cost of the battery & motor, and it's more of a £1k bike, for example Tektro brakes, Shimano Deore drivetrain, Suntour fork. None of this is bad, I'm just saying that in order to produce a sub-£3k hardtail eMTB, some compromises have to be made in specification. Still, I would have thought that you'd have had more longevity out of the hub though, so good luck with the seller, and I hope it gets sorted. 

IanMSpencer replied to bosmart | 1 year ago

Replacing the hub means rebuilding the wheel, and hubs tend to vary size which then means new spokes, so you soon get into new wheel territory. Offhand I don't know whether any alternative Shimano hubs have the same spoke hole diameter. Given that hub, it is a new freehub, as they are not maintainable, and I note that a replacement hub is about the same price as just the freehub. The MT200 might not be pricey, but seems like a solid basic hub which is easy to maintain. In bikes, price does not necessarily reflect robustness.

mike the bike replied to bosmart | 1 year ago

bosmart wrote:

Thanks, I'll try to push back a little and see what happens. ......


And so would I; their reliance on the old "wear and tear" defence is purely designed to put you off making a fuss.  

As Ian rightly says you should give them one more opportunity to remedy the fault but if they don't respond tell them you will begin a "small claims" action in your local court to recoup your losses.  It will cost you about £35 to start a claim online ( you can get this back, along with other expenses, if you win ).  It's a very informal affair, no wigs or gowns, just a junior judge who will weigh up the evidence.   

The seller will have the inconvenience of attending your local court and all the expense this entails so they may decide to pay up before the hearing.  Or not.  They may simply fail to respond or fail to attend or fail to pay.  Or all of the above.  Or you could lose.  The permutations are many and, for the sake of your blood pressure,  you may not want to get involved in such a carry-on.   It's your money, you choose.  Best of luck.

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