For those who are not aware – If your carbon drop out breaks, in most cases the entire frame is useless unlike an alloy one. The drop out is the most critical part of any frame. It not only aligns the rear wheel but it also supports the rear mech. The shape and size of this area is critical to both structural robustness and functionality. I will say this for the record – In my view, currently, carbon dropouts are a disadvantage for the longer term owner for many reasons which I will not go into here. The 2011 Cervelo dropout problem has highlighted this issue.

Can you upgrade my 2011 frame safely to the new drop-out shape?

Yes. After much fiddling and grinding and failure I can safely say yes. Mainly because I have managed to find a process that keeps my time at a minimum and therefore the cost to the customer makes it, in some cases, worth the modification.

Is it that much better?

Oh yes! This upgrade is much more solid. The 2012 Cervelo hanger is vastly more realistic and for those campag guys who simply couldn’t get consistent gear selection, this should put a smile back on your face.  In addition, the frame should hold a better resale value

So now you have 2 options: Repair the old design or invest in the 2012 upgrade.

Contact me for costs as each rear fracture requires a different approach so send me pics please (in focus :-)). Suffice to say it’s a damn side cheaper then replacing an otherwise perfectly good frame.

If some bike manufactures (no particular reference to Cervelo) continue to offer unrealistic out of warranty solutions to customers then customers are left with little choice. Sell more spare parts for the bikes already out of warranty!

Herewith the 1st in a series on the 2011 Cervelo S5/R3 drop out. This design only ran for a short period in 2011 due to it’s inadequate support for the hanger. This design was a major flaw and subsequently withdrawn at the end of 2011 and re-designed to the current more robust hanger.

Whats wrong with the 2011 drop out?

When the wheel is clamped in position the dropout is held firm and should work without problems, There is a caveat to this – The thin extended end of the drop out and hanger is still vulnerable to side/ rear or front impacts of ANY kind. The hanger design simply does not support the fragile carbon ‘lip’. To make matters worse they also drilled a hole for the screw through that section leaving precious little carbon to withstand a trauma! I don’t know about SRAM but it is well known that Campag does not work well on this model. This is due to the flex in the carbon drop out as Campag uses a bit more tension in gear changes then the other brands.

Can it be fixed?

Yes – We now produce a re-moulded repair under extreme pressure in the same manner as the manufacturer. Don’t be tempted to glue carbon in this area. It will simply not work…trust me. Injection moulding the carbon  delivers the all important ‘binding’ needed to keep it rigid. With a very generous donation of an R3 rear section we were able to trial various processes before we achieved a successful result. You might be thinking why it’s not possible to simply beef up the area with more carbon? The simple answer is that there is no lateral space. Dropouts must be a prescribed width in order to achieve the full range of gears. The derailleur does not extend enough to accommodate the extra carbon. All this plus the narrow (stupid it has to be said) hanger simply does not have enough purchase under the skewer unlike the upgraded one.

How can I protect what I have?

I strongly suggest ensuring that your chosen bike shop completely understands the 2011 Cervelo dropout issue before re-aligning the rear mech during it’s service. If in doubt, ask the bike shop to analyse the alignment with the correct tool, remove the hanger, bend and re-fit until it is 90% correct. Small adjustments can then be made on the frame with the wheel clamped. NEVER fit the rear dérailleur to the hanger without the rear wheel clamped on. I get many 2011 models with cracked dropouts due to the inexperience with this model.

..In PART 2 we look at upgrading the 2011 dropout to a 2012 dropout. See you next time!


Jonathan: Cervelo S5 2011 dropout repair‘Bike is great , did 20 miles on her every day this week – thank you for keeping her ‘alive’ !

Another sad but all too typical worn brake tracks on perfectly good wheels. It’s a time consuming job to ensure the re-build is flush, level and can withstand high heat and abrasion. Don’t ask what I use…it’s not off-the-shelf epoxy.

I was sent a set of Bontrager 700’s that had melted down an Alpine run. The rear wheel profile was deformed from the incorrect pads and brake surface was de-laminated. Luckily the wheel was still true so I took on the project.

Firstly the profile had to be reset by creating a mold of the correct profile. After cutting away the damaged area I rebuilt the wheel and brake surface. It is important to get the weight the same so there is no bias to a heaver side. The wheels are as good as new.