Cold weather, dissimilar materials, and torque.

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xnavalav8r
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by xnavalav8r

Anyone else have issues with bolts and components coming loose during the winter months?

I find I have to be extra vigilant with stem and seatpost bolts (among others) when the weather drops near or below freezing. In particular, carbon seatposts seem to creep further and further into the frame during the course of a ride. I worry about over-torquing bolts, especially when using carbon components, so I use a torque wrench, but it seems like everything needs to be snugged a little tighter when it is cold outside.

The areas I seem to have the most issue with are seatpost clamp, saddle clamp, stem, and shifter clamps, front derailleur clamp, bottle cage bolts. I use carbon fixing paste where appropriate, but it doesn't always help.

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Rick
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by Rick

I don't have any problems, but thermal expansion/contraction is an additional factor that could contribute to loosening.
I use carbon-paste on seatpost & stem, but I also use loctite on virtually every threaded fastener.

I know there are purists who don't like loctite for some reason, but I use it everywhere, and it works.

by Weenie


Geoff
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by Geoff

We ride in pretty cold weather, but I have never experienced that.

Valbrona
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by Valbrona

If any fixing isn't holding at the recommended torque setting, well then it needs to be tighter than that.

xnavalav8r
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by xnavalav8r

Having worked on nuclear submarines, warships, and military aircraft, I am used to multiple torque settings based on temperature. I'm surprised the same doesn't apply for bike components.

5 8 5
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by 5 8 5

Slight differences in tolerances can cause this.

Use Loctite instead of grease or anti-seize.

mattr
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by mattr

xnavalav8r wrote:I'm surprised the same doesn't apply for bike components.

A) Because the temperature range generally isn't large enough.
B) The bike isn't designed as a system, it's just a load of bits from different manufacturers bolted together.

Only place I can see it being a major issue is seatpin/seattube. Especially large diameter ones. And material dependant.
I.e. carbon/carbon shouldn't be an issue, add some aluminium, you might come unstuck.

Also, it's worth bearing in mind that cold weather usually means rain, which can act as a sort of thin film lubricant in some cases. (A mates seatpin always used to slip in the rain, no matter what the temperature)

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Fuchspk
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by Fuchspk

I had that for many years ago as i still was cycling with aluminium parts and frames. Felt that mostly at the stem which was getting loose on some days as i took a bike out from the warm livingroom and cycled at a cold winterday.

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HammerTime2
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by HammerTime2

mattr wrote:Also, it's worth bearing in mind that cold weather usually means rain, ...
Let's not improperly extrapolate one's own specific conditions as universally applying wrote:Well, maybe where you ride, but not everywhere.
And if it's raining (unless of the freezing variety), it's not very cold, at least by many people's standards.

Valbrona
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by Valbrona

xnavalav8r wrote:Having worked on nuclear submarines, warships, and military aircraft, I am used to multiple torque settings based on temperature. I'm surprised the same doesn't apply for bike components.


Because bikes don't blow up, sink or crash killing lots of people if something works loose.

xnavalav8r
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by xnavalav8r

Valbrona wrote:
xnavalav8r wrote:Having worked on nuclear submarines, warships, and military aircraft, I am used to multiple torque settings based on temperature. I'm surprised the same doesn't apply for bike components.


Because bikes don't blow up, sink or crash killing lots of people if something works loose.


True, but I have seen more cyclists than Navy personnel injured from things working loose.

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maverick_1
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by maverick_1

Here's what happened to me two years ago, it's definitely related to changes in the temperature vs thermal expansion/contraction. Stem was perfectly fine a couple of weeks earlier (sub 15 deg C back then) but somehow all four bolts got loosen at almost the same timing! And the torx bolt didn't help either as I lack the particular size in the multitool... :(
Had to resort to walking a couple of kilometers in cycling shoes to get to the nearest bikeshop for assistance.
Since the incident, I've applied threadlock on all Ti bolts, particularly on the stem/steerer for safety reasons.

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ultimobici
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by ultimobici

maverick_1 wrote:Here's what happened to me two years ago, it's definitely related to changes in the temperature vs thermal expansion/contraction. Stem was perfectly fine a couple of weeks earlier (sub 15 deg C back then) but somehow all four bolts got loosen at almost the same timing!]

How recently had the torque of the bolts been checked? How many kilometres had been ridden since then?

mattr
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by mattr

HammerTime2 wrote:
Let's not improperly extrapolate one's own specific conditions as universally applying wrote:Well, maybe where you ride, but not everywhere.
And if it's raining (unless of the freezing variety), it's not very cold, at least by many people's standards.

TBH, cold where I ride is usually going on -20C. And i have no issues with cold. Except fork seals. So I only run rigid.
The OP refers to near or below freezing. Hence rain.

Privateer
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Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 2:28 pm

by Privateer

This happened to me a few years ago. Subzero temperatures during an MTB marathon. Over the course of the race the aluminium disc rotor bolts I was using all worked loose.

Fortunately I used 3 Ti and 3 Al on the front rotor and the Ti stayed tight. The 6 on the rear rotor were all Al though, and the rotor fell off the hub.

I'm suspect it was related to thermal contraction of the aluminium.

by Weenie


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