Jim’s Tech Talk
By Jim Langley
By now I’m sure some of you have heard about the huge Shimano crank recall. If you don’t ride the cranks in the recall you have nothing to worry about, though you might wish to let your friends know if you think their Shimano cranks are affected.
Reports say there could be as many as two million affected products and that these suspect cranks have been out there on bikes for many years. Shimano’s recall states, “Some DURA-ACE and ULTEGRA 11 speed HOLLOWTECH II road cranksets with bonded construction manufactured prior to July 2019 have received warranty returns for bonding separation and reported falls and injuries. We want to ensure the safety of our customers by implementing this voluntary inspection and recall program.”
The recall is in cooperation with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and Health Canada.
How Do They Fail?
The best way to understand what goes wrong is to look at cranks that have failed.
I don’t own any of the affected cranksets. But for about 5 years on the Instagram account @thanksshimano people have posted hundreds of photos of broken and cracked Shimano cranks. It’s not pretty and the failures have resulted in injuries. If you’re reading this and you’ve had one of these cranks fail, please post a comment and share what happened. Maybe you’ll save someone from crashing.
In reading about the issue it’s apparently more likely for the cranksets to delaminate and fail when they’re ridden in corrosive environments such as in places where there’s winter and salt on the roads.
The problem is that the affected cranks are bonded together and under certain conditions the bonding can fail leading to delamination, separation and breaking of parts. Before this happens Shimano says riders might feel “give” or flex in their pedaling or creaking sounds when pedaling, indicators that the crank is basically coming apart.
How to Identify If Your Cranks Are Affected
The affected model names are the DURA-ACE and ULTEGRA branded cranksets shown above with the following model numbers: ULTEGRA FC-6800, FC-R8000 and DURA-ACE FC-9000, FC-R9100 and FC-R9100-P. The model numbers are stamped on the inside of the crank arm near the bottom of the arm (see yellow square on the image below)
If you have one of these models you next need to check the two-letter production code on the back of the crankarm (see blue box on the image below).
The affected models are pre-July 2019 production and have the following two-letter production code on backside of the crank arm where the pedals are attached: KF, KG, KH, KI, KJ, KK, KL, LA, LB, LC, LD, LE, LF, LG, LH, LI, LJ, LK, LL, MA, MB, MC, MD, ME, MF, MG, MH, MI, MJ, MK, ML, NA, NB, NC, ND, NE, NF, NG, NH, NI, NJ, NK, NL, OA, OB, OC, OD, OE, OF, OG, OH, OI, OJ, OK, OL, PA, PB, PC, PD, PE, PF, PG, PH, PI, PJ, PK, PL, QA, QB, QC, QD, QE, QF, QG, QH, QI, QJ, QK, QL, RA, RB, RC, RD, RE, and RF.
What To Do If You Have a Recalled Crank
If you have one of these model cranks and it has one of the production codes on the list then you have a recalled crank.
If you believe you have an applicable product but are unsure how to check the manufacturing code, you can call Shimano at (844) 776-0315 for assistance.
Starting October 1, anyone with a recalled crank should take their bicycle to a bicycle retailer participating in the recall for them to inspect the crank for bonding separation or delamination. If there are any issues Shimano will provide the retailer with a free replacement crankset that the shop will install.
Do not try to return cranksets to Shimano. Their retailers are handling the recall process in accordance with the CPSC.
To find participating retailers use this Shimano dealer locator: https://bike.shimano.com/en-US/information/dealerlocator.html.
What Replacement Crank Will you Get?
Shimano states, “The new crankset uses the latest construction and bonding techniques. There will be slight cosmetic differences from the original crankset. In some cases the exact specification may not be available.”
Full Details on the Recall
Here’s the CPSC’s:
Please Share How It’s Going
If you’ve got one of the affected cranks and have already started with the recall, if you could comment and share how it’s going it would definitely help others with these cranks. Thanks!
Jim Langley is RBR’s Technical Editor. A pro mechanic & cycling writer for more than 40 years, he’s the author of Your Home Bicycle Workshop in the RBR eBookstore. Tune in to Jim’s popular YouTube channel for wheel building & bike repair how-to’s. Jim’s also known for his cycling streak that ended in February 2022 with a total of 10,269 consecutive daily rides (28 years, 1 month and 11 days of never missing a ride). Click to read Jim’s full bio.