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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Sram has quietly recalled specific production runs of Red WiFli rear derailleurs. Given the potential for serious injury resulting from this specific derailleur failure, in my opinion, Sram's response to the issue is unacceptable. I'm looking to see if anyone else has run into this issue.

Technical Problem
I don't know what to call the part related to the failure and Sram doesn't isolate it on their online parts list but I'll give it my best shot. The derailleur parallelogram is held together by four connecting pins. The failure occurs when the top, rear-most pin works loose and dislodges. When the pin falls out, the rear derailleur immediately pivots down and inward toward the wheel and the WiFli cage is long enough to reach the spokes.

Impact
This above scenario played out when my LBS mechanic was test-riding my new bike (Trek Madone 7) in their parking lot just after completing the build. At roughly 7 mph, the derailleur failed after the 3rd shift and pivoted into the spokes and frame. The force of hitting the spokes caused the derailleur hanger to snap off. A few spokes were scraped up and the drive-side chainstay has a few minor nicks in the paint. Bottom line: The mechanic was not injured, spokes can be replaced and the paint touched-up.

That said, I'm very concerned about amplifying a 7 mph event to a 40-50 mph descent down a local hill. I don't think it's unreasonable to think this type of failure at high speed could be catastrophic. (picture the derailleur swinging on the shift cable into the rear wheel)

Sram's recall
Sram notified distributors about the recall but did not notify local bike shops. However, by now, distributors should have cleared all stock of the bad production runs. New units are in distributor inventory and are now available through bike shops. Not knowing about the recall, I ordered my derailleur through a mid-west bike shop because my LBS couldn't get it through their distributor. According to the supplying bike shop, based on serial number, I received one of the "fixed" production units.

Latest status
When my LBS informed Sram that one of the fixed units failed, Sram told the bike shop owner that they won't know what really caused the failure until they inspect the unit, but that the customer (me) should have full faith that the replacement derailleur will perform as intended.

I'm partial to Sram Red; I had it on my old bike and love the performance. But I'm getting a replacement derailleur from the same production run as the "fixed" units and I'm supposed to have faith? My LBS advised me to take the safe route and install a Force WiFli, which I will do. I'm still interesting in getting the final results from Sram's analysis of my failed derailleur because I would prefer to use the Sram Red instead of Force. Time will tell.

The most important question that Sram seems unwilling to answer is how many other "fixed" units are being installed on unsuspecting owner's bikes and what happens if one lets go at speed?
 

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I think SRAM needs to get you a 2012 loaner RD.

Oh, screw that, just have them give you a new 2012 and ride that new rig.
 

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Sucks.

If the damage on a new bike was caused by a failed part and you never took delivery. Dont. You bought a new bike. Its your right to fawk it up yourself. Not someone else. Tell them to keep it.
 

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Props to the OP for posting this. People should know.
 

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"According the supplying bike shop, based on serial number, I received one of the "fixed" production units."

Your whole concern seems to revolve around that being true. Perhaps it is, but I wouldn't assume the shop that sold it to you is giving you accurate info.
Anyway, good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@ziscwg, the 2012 and 2013 units are the same and none of last year's models are available. I wanted Sram to supply a "loaner" Force until they could confirm the Red viability. No dice.

@Jay Strongbow, the supplying bike shop actually forwarded the Sram-provided serial numbers for the bad derailleurs and for the new (fixed) production run. From the bike shop:

" Serial numbers starting with "29T" or "11T" are recalled units. However if it is the "09T" code it should not be affected."

My serial number started with 09T, indicating it was part of the fixed run. So, the greatest concern is that Sram is selling units they believe to be fixed, but clearly they are not.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
I guess this is why so many pros switched Red parts to Force. This is not what is expected from a top of the line groupset. I hope it's solved for you.
Definitely not what I expect from a top group and not the type of customer support I expect from Sram. I'm still waiting for the bike because Sram shipped the replacement derailleurs via standard shipping and Trek did the same for the broken hanger. Disappointing, finally hit 75 degrees in NH and I can't ride my bike. Props to my LBS owner who let me borrow an older titanium bike. It's not a Madone 7 but it fits and I'm not riding my spinner in the basement.

Somewhere I read that pros switched to the Force FD because it was more solid and reliable. Makes sense... Force parts are a bit heavier and could be more "bomb-proof". The weight difference between Red and Force RDs is only 23g, not enough to worry about provided the performance is comparable. Yesterday, I hopped on a bike with a Force WiFli RD and it didn't feel as snappy as my old Red standard RD. I thought the two groups would feel more similar. However, I don't know if the difference was related to the Force actuation or to the difference between standard and WiFli RDs. Different cassettes too.
 

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The most important question that Sram seems unwilling to answer is how many other "fixed" units are being installed on unsuspecting owner's bikes and what happens if one lets go at speed?
Exactly the same has occured to me way from home, and again on a replacement unit. But in Germany (Europe) Sram seems to have not recalled the RDs at all, not to LBS or -by their inquiry- to the national distributor.

My personal mails to national Sram Management produced that they knew about the problem and are expecting fixed units to be available by end of may. Even on request they did neither provide any clue on how to identify fixed units (old units are still in the market), nor agreed to exchange at least my second unit directly.

I fully agree to deem such policy inacceptable, as it knowingly risks unaware drivers health or at least time and money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Exactly the same has occured to me way from home, and again on a replacement unit.
How fast were you riding when the derailleur failed? Was your bike damaged? I assume you were not injured?


My personal mails to national Sram Management produced that they knew about the problem and are expecting fixed units to be available by end of may. Even on request they did neither provide any clue on how to identify fixed units (old units are still in the market), nor agreed to exchange at least my second unit directly.
This is very troubling because I was told that my replacement unit was fixed. Your comment indicates that Sram won't ship fixed units until late May. I can only hope Sram is running a different production schedule for your region (from your message, Europe).

I ended up buying and installing the Force WiFli. The replacement Red is still in the box. So far, the Force feels pretty decent. I'd really like to compare it to the Red but not at the risk of injury.
 

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How fast were you riding when the derailleur failed? Was your bike damaged? I assume you were not injured?
Thanks for asking.I was climbing when it happened the first time and although the RD touched the spokes I could stop the bike w/o any noticeable damage. I even rode the bike on the smallest cog for some distance to the nearest settlement. On the replacement unit I detected the failure at home.

I ended up buying and installing the Force WiFli
I fitted an Apex RD, since these seem to be the only mid-cage Sram Rds that are not freshly introduced to the market. Yes, there is some more grams on the RD, but in my pocket as well ;-) So far no complaints.
 

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I've always hated how SRAM beta tests on it's customers. Seems like they're always scrambling to fix, then hide problems.

I have force on one of my bikes and X0 on another, can't say I'll be buying much else from SRAM until the probability of needing to use the warranty is reduced.

If we bring avid into the equation SRAM has an even bigger black eye. Ask any bike shop about their history of fixing/replacing elixir brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Losing faith

I've always hated how SRAM beta tests on it's customers. Seems like they're always scrambling to fix, then hide problems.
I've used Sram Red for 5 years now and, up to this point, have been comfortably oblivious to the product issues.

Correction:
Apologies for fanning the fire this morning. After speaking with my LBS about the derailleur failure I reported in today's post, I removed the original post content. The derailleur did not fail, the hanger did. Even with this information, I can't say I'm any less concerned about a derailleur failure after reading about mistrix's failure. I have to wonder how many others have experienced the failure.

Remaining post (edited as well):

I think I've reached a point where I have no confidence in the new Sram equipment and fear that I will experience a failure too. Fearing an imminent failure is not how anyone should ride and Sram hasn't done enough to convince me that my equipment won't fail.

So, the new Shimano equipment is looking pretty good at this point (unless any of you know otherwise). I'm going to start the process of returning the Sram group. Too bad, I really love double-tap shifting, but it's certainly easier to retrain my brain than repair it after a crash.

Could Sram have any worse corporate policy? In 4 weeks, I've gone from Sram evangelist to promoting any group other than Sram.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Update:

My LBS owner did an outstanding job following-up with Sram and put me in touch with Sram's NE regional sales representative. I spoke with him yesterday.

First, he apologized for the way my case was handled, indicating that Sram's internal support process failed and that the process had already been addressed. Second, he explained, in detail, what happened in the production runs of this particular derailleur and what Sram has done to remedy the manufacturing problem. Third, he listened to my concerns about the failure but also about Sram's need to get information regarding the potential failure out to the public. Finally, we discussed how Sram could "make me whole" in this situation.

In today's world, where few companies stand up and do the right thing, Sram has come through here. Yesterday's conversation certainly restored my faith in the company and in the product. I don't know if Sram's decision-makers will share my view on making a public statement. However, I think there's much for Sram to gain (from a PR perspective) by publicly admitting to the problem, communicating the solution and doing their best to get the remaining defective units off of bikes.
 

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Update:

My LBS owner did an outstanding job following-up with Sram and put me in touch with Sram's NE regional sales representative. I spoke with him yesterday.

First, he apologized for the way my case was handled, indicating that Sram's internal support process failed and that the process had already been addressed. Second, he explained, in detail, what happened in the production runs of this particular derailleur and what Sram has done to remedy the manufacturing problem. Third, he listened to my concerns about the failure but also about Sram's need to get information regarding the potential failure out to the public. Finally, we discussed how Sram could "make me whole" in this situation.

In today's world, where few companies stand up and do the right thing, Sram has come through here. Yesterday's conversation certainly restored my faith in the company and in the product. I don't know if Sram's decision-makers will share my view on making a public statement. However, I think there's much for Sram to gain (from a PR perspective) by publicly admitting to the problem, communicating the solution and doing their best to get the remaining defective units off of bikes.
Sounds like if SRAM was an honest company they'd be more proactive about doing a recall, not having the regional SALES rep console people when things finally break. To make matters worse the problems are on the best/highest priced parts they make.

It sounds like SRAM knows exactly what is wrong but are only being reactive to fix the problem. Not very cool if you end up with a mangled wheel/etc. It seems this is the norm for SRAM. They're pretty good at supplying warranty parts, but the probability of needing warranty replacements is still far too high for me to take a gamble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Sounds like if SRAM was an honest company they'd be more proactive about doing a recall, not having the regional SALES rep console people when things finally break. To make matters worse the problems are on the best/highest priced parts they make.

It sounds like SRAM knows exactly what is wrong but are only being reactive to fix the problem. Not very cool if you end up with a mangled wheel/etc. It seems this is the norm for SRAM. They're pretty good at supplying warranty parts, but the probability of needing warranty replacements is still far too high for me to take a gamble.
You're assuming the right people at Sram knew about the problem. The situation was a bit more complex but it's not my place to discuss. I can say that it seems Sram is making every effort to track down owners of defective units, but in some cases the paper trail is insufficient because a "sale" doesn't necessarily record contact information. Hence, the need for public communication.

I agree with your statement that's it's particularly frustrating to have a top-end component fail. However, many companies experience manufacturing defects in expensive products. High profile cases involving Toyota, Ford, and Audi, and Sony, Garmin and Toshiba (overheating/exploding batteries) come to mind. Stuff happens. In my book, companies should be defined by how they handle the problem. I favor transparency, especially in today's world where any failure can be broadcast to the world in real time.

I've said my piece, the rest is up to Sram.
 

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Just a FYI picked up a Red WiFiL 2013 in April and been using since but yesterday it seems I might Have hadn't catastrophic failure will going downhill a and major crash with part of drop out breaking off My Madone 6. After inspecting the derailleur the LBS mechanic noticed one of the pivot bolts was missing. My wheel was damaged pretty good as well.
 

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I found this thread over the weekend since I was investigating why my brand new (less than one month old with limited mileage) SRAM Red Wifli rear derailleur failed. I was lucky enough to only have one of the connecting "pivot" pins in the rear derailleur come partially out. I had just finished a climb and was headed off to a group ride when my rear derailleur stopped working. I was unable to shift past the middle of the rear-cassette to the lower gears. I pulled over to investigate what the issue was but couldn't identify it so I rode to a reputable bike shop that opens at 8 am in the morning to have them take a look. It took them about ten minutes before they identified what the issue was and were able to do a "quick" fix, which enabled me to get home.

I looked at the serial numbers of the recalled lots listed in a previous response to the original thread and noted that mine was not included. The serial number of my unit started with "06T" and was manufactured in 2012. I took it into the bike shop where I purchased the unit to have them help me through the warranty process (which SRAM requires me to do) and the mechanic noted that he sees this issue at least once a month. SRAM apparently does not make it easy on consumers and bike shops to address warranty-relates issues but that is a topic for a different thread.

I also experienced a similar failure on my SRAM Red front derailleur about three months ago (the primary connecting "pivot" pin fell out). I didn't have the original receipt and it was right around SRAM's two-year cut-off period for its product warranty so I just chalked it up to "one bad unit" and purchased a new front derailleur. I did try and call SRAM and the effectively told me to "pound sand".

There's probably not much I can do except change my personal buying habits and influence the buying habits of my friends. Thank you to the person who started this thread and to all those who have responded since the information included was helpful.
 
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