Zonda bearings

by Martin Thomas   October 17, 2010  

I've got a pair of Campag Zonda wheels on my best bike and I've always really liked them. They're light, stiff, fast and look the mutt's nuts (IMO). A few hundred miles ago, when the wheels had done about 7.5K miles, the bearings on the back wheel started feeling rough so I took the bike into my LBS and they replaced the bearings (which cost me £60!)

Everything went smooth as you like again, but then a week or two later they started feeling rough again. Took it back in and they said it had worked loose so they tightened it (for nothing) and off I went. Now it's gone again, just a couple of hundred miles on, and the bloke in the shop (who is, it's fair to say, an inveterate Shimano-head) said, "Well yeah, that's cos it's Campo crap innit?" He reckons the design is flawed and it's nothing to do with anything he did (or didn't do).

It did get me thinking though. Am I being unreasonable hoping for more than 7.5k miles from such an expensive wheel before I start having problems? I've got mountain bike wheel that's barely needed a moment's attention in 15 years!

Does anyone have a view on whether the Zondas are poorly designed? Any similar experiences out there? Or am I just unlucky? Or perhaps I need to change my LBS...

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Came back from a 70 mile ride yesterday and my cassette is hanging off of my Zondas and this is the second time this has happened in a year. Hmmm...

Will take mine to the shop in the next couple of days and report back.

posted by Barleymoe [5 posts]
18th October 2010 - 5:30

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I might have expected the bearings to need adjusting or replacing after a year (or 10,000 km), since they aren't sealed bearings. But after replacement they ought to be good again for the same length of time, unless the bearing seats are pitted. Did your LBS inspect the bearing seats?

I believe that there are some seals in the Campag hubs which can be replaced. If they are worn, they may let in grit more easily, shortening the life of the bearings. (Looking at the Campag parts list, I can see that all the hub components are available as spare parts, but can't tell which the seals are.)

£60 does seem quite expensive to me just to replace the bearings. The bearings on Campag wheels are supposed to be easy to adjust and service. Maybe your LBS isn't doing it quite right? It doesn't sound like he has his heart in it if he starts out thinking Campag is "crap".

Having said that, when choosing hubs for some hand built wheels, my wheel builder said "Campag hubs only good if looked after", which I interpreted that they would need regular re-greasing and adjusting.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1333 posts]
18th October 2010 - 7:22

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thanks both - yes my suspicions were also raised by the Campag=crap comment. I might get a 2nd opinion from another shop before I return it this time...just to see. I confess I wasn't listening very hard when I heard what the bill would be - just paid up with a shrug, assuming the problem would go away for a very long time, so I don't know exactly what he did. More fool me I guess...

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posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
18th October 2010 - 8:22

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Took the bike back in to the LBS today and had a slightly more measured conversation with the boss, who basically said the same thing but in a grown up kind of way. There's a particular surface inside the hub of Campag wheels that is prone to getting pitted if you're not careful, apparently, and once that's happened you're basically looking at a new hub cos they're not replaceable. Not yet sure if that's what the verdict's going to be for mine. Fingers crossed it's not that serious...

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posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
18th October 2010 - 15:33

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Ok so my LBS has my wheels and will be letting me know the cost, but it doesn't look good. It would appear that the cassette is fine but there is a fair amount of lateral movement which indicates that perhaps a new hub is needed.

The LBS seems to think that it will be in the region on £150 to repair, new hub + labour. Crying

He also mentioned the fact that Campag wheels are good when they are running and do require more maintenance than other brands. His recommendation for low maintenance running was a nice pair of Chris King hubs... Slightly heavier but overall not so bad on the total cost of ownership.

posted by Barleymoe [5 posts]
20th October 2010 - 6:25

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Ouch, sorry to hear that Barleymoe. I've had better luck. Both Enigma and the Campag service bloke at Jim Walker have offered to look at my wheel, replace bearings if necessary (Jim Walker) and fit them for me (Enigma). So I won't be switching to Shimano just yet Smile PM me if you want the Jim Walker bloke's details - you never know, might be worth kicking off a bit...

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posted by Martin Thomas [567 posts]
20th October 2010 - 10:10

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he's right about the Chris King hubs though, top notch.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7302 posts]
20th October 2010 - 10:21

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A Chris King rear hub would be about £250-300 though wouldn't it ?

posted by jengy [65 posts]
20th October 2010 - 10:39

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I guess that an advantage cartridge bearings have over cup + cone + balls is that there isn't a surface on the hub that can get pitted. You replace the cartridge and all the bearing surfaces are replaced.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1333 posts]
23rd October 2010 - 5:13

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