Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This morning I was making a minor seatpost adjustment on my new di2 tarmac. I used a ritchey torque key that is 5nm, less than the 6.2nm spec on that bolt. I find with a little carbon past the seatpost holds great with not too much torque.

Before the key got close to clicking (so not a ton of torque) the bolt head sheared off, leaving maybe 20% of the head attached to the bolt shaft.

Given that the torque was much less than the spec (and there should be some safety margin anyway) I'm figuring this was a bad bolt.

Either way it sucks, because now I either have to hassle with taking back to the shop and have them or S mess with a bolt extractor or attempt to do it myself (not excited about that).

Has anyone else experienced this on the 2015/16 seat binder on the tarmacs?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well since I seem to be the only one with this misfortune I'll update the group. I spoke to customer service and predictably they said take it into the shop. Options include in the field extraction, return to morgan hill for same, and if all else fails frame replacement.

At least when Merckx broke his campy binders bolts they bolts didn't stay stuck in the frame, completely inaccessible.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,033 Posts
Sucks? yes.

Predictable? yes.

That stupid binder was a pointless "solution" to a non existent problem. If anything, the standard seatpost and collar from the SL4 was a selling point for the frame.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Agreed.

I will say it held the seatpost fine, never had slipping issues on this design using 5nm torque. My 2015 tarmac is just fine, now of course I'm terrified to even look at the bolt, let alone adjust the seat hight.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,921 Posts
Sucks? yes.

Predictable? yes.

That stupid binder was a pointless "solution" to a non existent problem. If anything, the standard seatpost and collar from the SL4 was a selling point for the frame.
Completely agree. Regress. Previous version with conventional clamp was far better. Shame on Specialized for their 'so called' improvement...the opposite.
 

·
Forever a Student
Joined
·
4,963 Posts
I've seen nothing but negative comments about the seatpost binder hardware on the new Tarmac. There's passing comments about it all over the place on all kinds of sites and articles that aren't even related. It's a wide-spread bad design issue. Can't say I'm surprised.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I can say this, once i get this sorted i'll be very tempted to buy an aftermarket high quality bolt to ensure this doesn't happen again. Hopefully this was a one-off failure, but it's such a hassle getting it fixed that I never want to have to do it again.

Will it prevent me from buying another tarmac? Probably not, but I sure as hell won't be fiddling with the saddle height much.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
For those following this issue I dropped the bike off at a specialized dealer yesterday. I brought the torque key with me (5n-m) and they photographed it to send along with pics of the bike. They contacted specialized and would let me know.

The mechanic seemed to think she could get the bolt out (left-hand drill bit, ease-out, etc). But would let S determine the course of action.

Hopefully it doesn't take too long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So for anyone curious about this situation, here is the status.

-Specialized instructed the dealer to "drill out" the broken Ti bolt, but did not provide any assurances that they would have their back if the frame was damaged. I agreed with the shop that this was not worth the risk. So back to Specialized was the only real option.

-I had to pay to ship the bike back to specialized, for some reason they were unwilling to provide a call-tag, so that cost me $70 (bikeflights).

-Specialized had to cut the seapost off, dremel out the remaining material. Then dremel out the seat binder material and bolt shaft. During this process the tech confirmed that based on the distance between the wedge parts the bolt was not over tightened (nice to hear that).

-Note that the resolution did not include drilling out the bolt as the specialized tech originally instructed the dealer to do. This is a problematic.

-The bike was returned to the dealer. It was covered in carbon dust and the bolt part was still rattling around in the frame. The dealer cleaned up the frame but I had to take the BB cover off and shake for about 10 min until the bolt head finally came out of the frame.

Overall I was disappointed in how specialized handled this since it was clearly a manufacturing defect. The local dealer was great however.

I have contacted upper management to request a refund of the $70 shipping fee and will see how that goes.

I'm not sure there is anything useful in this experience other than for sure everyone should use a torque key, but even then i'd suggest using less torque than the spec just to be safe. The binder hold really well at 3 to 4NM so just use enough to hold tight and not more. Breaking the bolt will result in an enormous hassle.

If the bike isn't under warranty I can't imagine the hassle that would result in trying to resolve on your own.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,493 Posts
Thanks for the update. Sounds like Specialized performed an incomplete job. Had they offered good "customer retention level" service, they would have gone the extra mile and removed the rattling parts and cleaned off any dust. Being in the customer service business myself, I've been trained to "wow" the customer. It never fails to impress and retain them.

If the torque is so critical for this bolt, I'd consider purchasing a real torque wrench and stop using the torque key.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,921 Posts
So for anyone curious about this situation, here is the status.

-Specialized instructed the dealer to "drill out" the broken Ti bolt, but did not provide any assurances that they would have their back if the frame was damaged. I agreed with the shop that this was not worth the risk. So back to Specialized was the only real option.

-I had to pay to ship the bike back to specialized, for some reason they were unwilling to provide a call-tag, so that cost me $70 (bikeflights).

-Specialized had to cut the seapost off, dremel out the remaining material. Then dremel out the seat binder material and bolt shaft. During this process the tech confirmed that based on the distance between the wedge parts the bolt was not over tightened (nice to hear that).

-Note that the resolution did not include drilling out the bolt as the specialized tech originally instructed the dealer to do. This is a problematic.

-The bike was returned to the dealer. It was covered in carbon dust and the bolt part was still rattling around in the frame. The dealer cleaned up the frame but I had to take the BB cover off and shake for about 10 min until the bolt head finally came out of the frame.

Overall I was disappointed in how specialized handled this since it was clearly a manufacturing defect. The local dealer was great however.

I have contacted upper management to request a refund of the $70 shipping fee and will see how that goes.

I'm not sure there is anything useful in this experience other than for sure everyone should use a torque key, but even then i'd suggest using less torque than the spec just to be safe. The binder hold really well at 3 to 4NM so just use enough to hold tight and not more. Breaking the bolt will result in an enormous hassle.

If the bike isn't under warranty I can't imagine the hassle that would result in trying to resolve on your own.
I have been around a few new Tarmacs and because of this seat binder design, I personally wouldn't buy a new Tarmac and I am a huge fan of Specialized and the Tarmac in particular. This design is an abomination all said even if the binder doesn't fail. Every once in a while very good companies get a wild hair and release a design feature that really stains an overall excellent product. Of course Specialized most recent example is their version of narrow PF30 they coined carbon OSBB they sold on their top of the line S-works bikes...they finally discontinued after too many years of creaking and dissatisfied customers. Somehow companies survive these mistakes in spite of countless unhappy customers.

With technology changing so rapidly today, best advise when spending $5K or more on a bicycle today is...choose very carefully. Lots of great bikes out there. Thanks for sharing your experience OP and sorry to hear. The so called 'aero' seat post binder on the new Tarmac has received a lot of bad press even excluding your breakage issue which is a real game changer apparently...no simple repair sadly. You shouldn't have to baby binder torque. Big riders who ride on rough roads will need every bit of the 5 Nm spec to keep that post in place even with carbon paste. Best of luck moving forward.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
88 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
If the torque is so critical for this bolt, I'd consider purchasing a real torque wrench and stop using the torque key.
I'd take the opposite view on this. I do have a very expensive torque wrench I use on a few things. But:

-Torque keys are user friendly
-They are accurate (per the latest test bike radar or VN or someone did)
-They have small lever arms, making it really hard to apply too much torque even if they were not calibrated right.

Larger torque wrenches have probably caused more harm than good. It's easy to mess up the spec, or the conversion. The lever arm is usually large, so over tightening a bolt would be really easy.

I do have the broken bolt head. It has a nice fracture surface that I am having analyzed by a material science prof at the USNA. Just for my curiosity, I doubt Specialized will care.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
440 Posts
With everything that has been made by man kind, it is possible that it failed because it was junk in the beginning. It most likely was over torqued by someone [before you owned it]. If indeed it is junk, it's probably a fluke and you just were the one that it failed on. Fortunately you lost $70 and some time.

As for 11sp not buying a Tarmac, great. I'm certain Specialized is not concerned about that. I'm all in favor of looking outside the box and with all the patents out there, it's getting hard to do that without stepping on someone's patent. Ideas come and go. Some are good and some not so good. Without trying, you'll never really know.

Low torque torque wrenches are usually shorter and therefore it would have much less leverage than a standard full size one. Even still, if the torque key does work properly, there is no difference except that it's easier to use.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
Somewhat related problem, looking for some input/advice. In breaking down the bike to prepare for a trip, I had the binder fall into the downtube. I was able to retrieve both pieces, but for the life of me I don't know how I will get them back in place to put the seatpost back on. From what I found online, the binder bits are attached from the factory by an O-ring (which presumably fell apart), so I will go by the Depot to find one that may fit. I downloaded the PDF from Specialized on how to reinstall, but I am wondering if anyone has some experience and would like to share to help me out.

Also, my seatpost doesn't appear to have friction paste on it; do I really need it? I've put about 600 miles on the bike and never had the seatpost slip or creak. To reinstall I'll be using the Park Tools torque driver. Thanks in advance, sorry for the hijack.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,921 Posts
Somewhat related problem, looking for some input/advice. In breaking down the bike to prepare for a trip, I had the binder fall into the downtube. I was able to retrieve both pieces, but for the life of me I don't know how I will get them back in place to put the seatpost back on. From what I found online, the binder bits are attached from the factory by an O-ring (which presumably fell apart), so I will go by the Depot to find one that may fit. I downloaded the PDF from Specialized on how to reinstall, but I am wondering if anyone has some experience and would like to share to help me out.

Also, my seatpost doesn't appear to have friction paste on it; do I really need it? I've put about 600 miles on the bike and never had the seatpost slip or creak. To reinstall I'll be using the Park Tools torque driver. Thanks in advance, sorry for the hijack.
Will only offer my advice and opinion only. Of course the wacky aero seat post binder is a problem in search of a solution...another bike industry brain fart...but be that as it may....

If removing the seat post, you could always cut a short piece of cheap 27.2mm post to stick into the frame for travel...or similar dia wood dowel and use the end of the short surrogate post to stand off the frame to prevent scratches to the binder for travel. Hopefully somebody will have some tips on applying an O-ring which are readily available at most hardware stores in all sizes.

Lastly, again, my opinion...always use carbon paste. This keeps the seat both quiet and in place with less binder torque. I am not big torque wrench guy on bike because I have so much experience but I almost always use one on the seat binder. I use carbon paste and set the torque wrench at 53 in-lbs or so...just under the spec of 55 in-lbs. I always mark my seat with a sliver of 3M painters blue tape for seat height...I am fussy about it. My saddle height is 77 cm from crank center to top of saddle along the seat tube. I weight 180#...I have beefed up a little recently by choice as I thought I was a bit skinny..which isn't light for a bike rider and no seat tube slippage. Use carbon paste and a torque wrench if you can...but mark your seat post, use paste and little allen if traveling without a torque wrench. You can train yourself on appropriate torque by using an allen wrench, then a torque wrench to see where it clicks out at.
Safe travels and have fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,233 Posts
Will only offer my advice and opinion only. Of course the wacky aero seat post binder is a problem in search of a solution...another bike industry brain fart...but be that as it may....

If removing the seat post, you could always cut a short piece of cheap 27.2mm post to stick into the frame for travel...or similar dia wood dowel and use the end of the short surrogate post to stand off the frame to prevent scratches to the binder for travel. Hopefully somebody will have some tips on applying an O-ring which are readily available at most hardware stores in all sizes.

Lastly, again, my opinion...always use carbon paste. This keeps the seat both quiet and in place with less binder torque. I am not big torque wrench guy on bike because I have so much experience but I almost always use one on the seat binder. I use carbon paste and set the torque wrench at 53 in-lbs or so...just under the spec of 55 in-lbs. I always mark my seat with a sliver of 3M painters blue tape for seat height...I am fussy about it. My saddle height is 77 cm from crank center to top of saddle along the seat tube. I weight 180#...I have beefed up a little recently by choice as I thought I was a bit skinny..which isn't light for a bike rider and no seat tube slippage. Use carbon paste and a torque wrench if you can...but mark your seat post, use paste and little allen if traveling without a torque wrench. You can train yourself on appropriate torque by using an allen wrench, then a torque wrench to see where it clicks out at.
Safe travels and have fun.
Thanks for the insight 11spd! I went ahead and got a #7 O-ring, followed Spesh's instructions and got the binder in place within 5 minutes (maybe I got lucky, lol). I had some extra soft foam pipe wrap insulation, rolled it to a width that barely fit in the downtube and proceeded to work it in about 2-3 inches, held the seat binder in place like a charm!

Spesh recommends 6.2 on that post; are you saying I should go 5.5 and call it a day? I'm ~218 right now, so...

I marked my seat height with electrical tape, I will see about getting some carbon paste to take with me on the trip. Otherwise, I'll check with the support team on arrival, it's supposed to be well-staffed.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,921 Posts
Thanks for the insight 11spd! I went ahead and got a #7 O-ring, followed Spesh's instructions and got the binder in place within 5 minutes (maybe I got lucky, lol). I had some extra soft foam pipe wrap insulation, rolled it to a width that barely fit in the downtube and proceeded to work it in about 2-3 inches, held the seat binder in place like a charm!

Spesh recommends 6.2 on that post; are you saying I should go 5.5 and call it a day? I'm ~218 right now, so...

I marked my seat height with electrical tape, I will see about getting some carbon paste to take with me on the trip. Otherwise, I'll check with the support team on arrival, it's supposed to be well-staffed.
Cool. You can go with the factory torque spec: 6.2 N-m = 55 in-lbs...apparently the same for your hidden binder compare to the more common seat tube band clamp used on prev gen Tarmacs. At 218# you probably don't want to under torque and carbon paste will help keep the post in place.
Have fun and ride safe.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top