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Campagnolo Record Track Hub Failures

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I recently received a disturbing email from a fixed-gear rider, which was Cc:ed to several othr industry people:

Dear All, Please see attached picture of my 1 month old Campagnolo C-Record track hub, you'll see that the non drive side flange has broken up. This happen after just 500 miles of road riding. I returned it to Campagnolo in Italy direct so that they could replace it with other parts, as it failed so quickly I have lost total confidence in this one item.

On returning the hub I was informed that they are for track use only, something that Campagnolo don't included in the box with the hub. Had they done that I would of returned it for a refund before using it. After examining the hub they replaced it as a good will gesture, as I don't ride on the track I asked if they could replace it with other parts for which I would pay them the difference in value. They refused this returning my front hub and a new rear track hub, both of which are of no use to me.

This has cost me £200 sterling, I had to buy different hubs to replace them. I have informed them that in the UK there product has been used on the road for Time Trialling. I like many believed Campag components to be of excellent quality, but after this failure and with there customer service I will be looking to other manufacture's for my new bike. Thanks for spending the time to read this, I hope that you can make use of this information.

defective campagnolo record track hub

(I cropped and lightened the image a bit, click to see the 260K original)

I found it hard to believe that this was true, and assumed that the customer had misunderstood. Generally, track equipment is considered to be more heavily stressed than road equipment, with the exception of the tires and rims.

The customer got back to me with the name and email address of the Campagnolo Technical and Product Information representative, so I sent the following message, along with the photo above:

I (and a number of other people in the bicycle industry) received an email from [customer], including the attached photo of a broken C-Record track hub. If I understand Mr. Moore correctly, you replaced it under warranty, as you clearly should have, but also warned him that since these are made for track use, it somehow constitutes "abuse" to use them on the road. He seems to be under the impression that the hubs are so flimsy that they are not safe to ride on the road, and that further similar failures might not be covered by your warranty.
To my amazement, I reveived the following reply from Mario Zolin of Campagnolo Technical and Product Information:

Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 14:09:21 +0200
To: CaptBikeat-symbol sheldonbrown.com
From: Campagnolo Technical and Product Information
Subject: Track hubs

Dear Mr. Brown,

we couldn't determine the exact cause for the failure of that hub, therefore we replaced it under our warranty terms; I can confirm this type of failure is an extremely rare occurrence. However our "track" hubs are not intended and haven't been tested for road use. We weren't aware of this potential misuse and are now adding a "WARNING" sheet into the packaging.

The stresses a hub is subject to vary greatly depending on riding conditions and style, weight of the rider, type and geometry of the frame, construction of the wheel and parts used, quality of the pavement, dimension and quality of the tire etc. Common sense and sound judgement are always helpful in determining if a particular situation is or is not riskier than what is commonly accepted.

I definitely recommend to use "track" hubs exclusively in the velodrome. Please do not sell them for road use. Road use can certainly be considered "abuse" or "misuse", and the fact that Campagnolo has always been quite tolerant in the enforcement of its warranty policies and has always erred on the side of the customer shouldn't encourage wrong habits.

Thank you and best regards,
Mario Zolin
Product & Technical Information

I have to say that I find this applling. I've always considered Campagnolo track hubs to be the finest in existence; I own and use them myself, on the road exclusively. I don't believe that they are as fragile and delicate as Mr. Zolin seems to think, but the knowledge that Campagnolo feels free to disallow future warranty claims on such a flimsy pretext makes me nervous about selling this product in the future.

I have never heard of any other track component being denied warranty coverage for on-road use.

Despite Campagnolo's position, let me assure Harris Cyclery customers who have bought these hubs from us in the past, that even if Campagnolo won't stand behind them, we will, and will provide normal, reasonable warranty coverage for hubs that we sold.

None of the other fixed gear hubs we sell have problems of this sort.

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