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"About time": Cyclists react to Shimano crank recall after more than 4,500 incidents

The possible bonding separation issue has prompted Shimano to put out a voluntary inspection and replacement recall notice for 760,000 Dura-Ace and Ultegra bonded 11-Speed road cranksets

Among the multitude of thoughts and opinions heard from the cycling community as Shimano yesterday announced a voluntary recall of Hollowtech II road cranksets produced between 2012 and 2019 for a possible bonding separation issue, the emotions of shock and surprise were noticeable in their absence.

Over the years we have received hundreds of emails and messages from readers who have experienced an issue. The Instagram account @thanksshimano has also shared photos of snapped cranks since 2018 and has more than 17,000 followers.

> 10 of Shimano and Campagnolo's worst ideas

In 2021, Shimano told us there isn't a design problem with its Hollowtech cranks despite reports of a pattern of failures, and yet the photos and tales kept rolling in.

So no, there was little surprise in the reaction. Our Facebook post with the recall news has been shared nearly 200 times and attracted more than 300 comments, so we thought we would have a look at how the cycling community has reacted.

Shimano crank recall

The replacement 11-speed cranksets Shimano is offering to affected customers, that appear to be modelled on the new 12-speed versions.

There were, of course, plenty of stories of people's own experiences, one saying: "I am two of those failures. One of them was during my first Ironman race at mile 83 on the bike. There were no signs that I knew of that there was a problem on this particular one until I could feel it starting to give in at mile 25.

"Having had one fail before, I knew what it felt like. Of course, nobody wants to spend the money. But I think they should replace them all. Every single one of them."

For this article we'll ignore any smug Campagnolo users, which admittedly removes a decent chunk of comments, and move on to Colin Davies who said he was concerned by the fact his nearest Shimano dealer for inspections of cranks is 30 miles away and is the only option for a large area.

"One dealer expected to inspect potentially 1000s of cranksets. How the hell is Shimano expecting to get away with this? Surely this needs to be subcontracted to other bike shops to allow the process to be completed safely and quickly?"

We contacted the bike shop in question who were somewhat more relaxed about the situation and suggested it is probably a bit over the top to be expecting crank-wielding Black Fridayesque scenes outside bike shops any time soon.

Thankfully however, reading our article did prompt reader Michael to check his cranks with a "rigorous safety check". "I've decided I'm going to take mine in for further inspection," he wisely concluded...

Shimano crank

Another road.cc reader commenting on the recall said: "About time. So many cases, more than just an expected defect rate and the issue is sudden and catastrophic failure which is highly dangerous. I chucked my Ultegra cranks (wasn't going to have selling to someone else on my conscience) and sold the rings, couldn't stop them creaking and just had no faith in them being a taller, heavier rider."

Someone else raised concerns about the inspection process, which the bike shop we contacted is hoping to hear more details about from Shimano on Monday, saying: "Seems strange that Shimano think a one off inspection irrespective of mileage is good enough. My 2016 Ultegra crank failed at around 25,000km. I'm pretty sure if I had inspected it at 20,000 it would have passed."

We should have more on this in the coming week, including some lab results we recently got back after a few of you sent in your snapped cranks. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts in the comments...

Dan is the road.cc news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined road.cc in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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10 comments

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MR DAVID DALE | 9 months ago
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I've been cycling since before Dura Ace was introduced and I've had 2 crank breakages with Dura Ace over the years. My experience is that all aluminium cranks break unless regularly changed. Ok, so this looks like a problem for newish items but the issue has always been present and should be part of a cyclists knowledge. 

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Rendel Harris replied to MR DAVID DALE | 9 months ago
1 like

MR DAVID DALE wrote:

I've been cycling since before Dura Ace was introduced and I've had 2 crank breakages with Dura Ace over the years. My experience is that all aluminium cranks break unless regularly changed. Ok, so this looks like a problem for newish items but the issue has always been present and should be part of a cyclists knowledge. 

Pre-1973? Cool. Got to say I've been on Dura Ace, 600/Ultegra and/or 105 for what must be at least 200,000 kms now and never had a problem, luck of the draw I guess.

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stevie63 | 9 months ago
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If you live in Great Yarmouth its a near 200 mile round trip to get your crank inspected at the nearest Shimano dealer and then I guess another 200 mile trip to pick up the replacement. Surely there should be a way to have an inspection without this nonsense. Also what about cyclists who don't visit bike websites and forums how are they supposed to know about this?

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JMcL_Ireland | 10 months ago
1 like

Regarding the comment about being 30 miles from the nearest service center, someone living in parts of the west or north of Ireland would face upwards of a 400km round trip - maybe twice it the cranks need replaced. Someone in the western end of N. Ireland would be in the same boat - unless they're able to cross the border to get it done.

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Paul J | 10 months ago
0 likes

Gluing your cranks together, so you can make them hollow, to save a hundred grammes or so. What could go wrong?

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millhouse | 10 months ago
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My 6800 crank failed 2 months ago. It started as a clicking sound and got progressively worse as the ride went on. I replaced the chain and rear wheel but the clicking was still there. The crank looked ok but when I put side force on it I could see the two halves separating. Madison and Chain Reaction said that as I had bought the crank 6 years ago, I had no warranty. I will be submitting the crank when the campaign begins in the UK.
To keep my bike on the road I have purchased a 8000 series chainset (£210) which I expect is not due an inspection. The inspection only applies to cranks up to 2019. Does this mean that Shimano changed the bonding process after that time? Yet they have been in denial all along!

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KDee replied to millhouse | 10 months ago
2 likes

Exactly what I was wondering. Checked my Ultegra cranks, manufacturing code SG...so what's the difference? It could be down to an improvement in manufacturing procedure, change of supplier, machinery upgrade, even a change in ventilation system could have an effect. Or, maybe they'll do another recall in a couple years when the later ones start to fail and avoid one massive rush now.

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Zjtm231 | 10 months ago
1 like

Perhaps I was wise or perahps I was just tight and stayed with 105....

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VIPcyclist | 10 months ago
1 like

It's really quite simple, if you don't trust a brand don't buy it.

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hawkinspeter replied to VIPcyclist | 10 months ago
0 likes

VIPcyclist wrote:

It's really quite simple, if you don't trust a brand don't buy it.

Well, I did trust them when I bought it and it's not cheap to swap out the entire groupset.

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