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I just got a brand new, high-end aluminium full suspension bike and after the first ride the bottom frame linkage (the big one, near the cranks) started making loud noises (video link with sound).

After disassemblying it, i noticed that both the frame and the pivot spacer (which sits between the 2 frame contact points) were damaged, as if scrap metal was stuck in there from the factory and was grinding all along. Also, there was no lubrication/grease whatsoever: pure, rough metal-to-metal contact.

Some pictures of the issue follow:

The problematic linkage is shown Frame contact point Pivot spacer that contacts the "frame contact point" shown previously

Since the scratches were not deep (0.5mm - 1/64"), I decided to use a nail-file to smooth out both the frame and the spacer surfaces, then applied lots of grease and re-assembled the bike. It works fine but I'm not sure i've solved the problem or it's just gonna re-appear and eventually make my (new) frame unusable.

I would love to hear any opinions/ideas/solutions. I've contacted the company and my LBS but their queues are very long. Thank you very much!

Some "after" pictures follow:

Damaged frame surface has been lightly filed 1 Damaged frame surface has been lightly filed 2 Pivot spacer has also been filed

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    I am no expert, hence not an answer, but I suspect its not good enough for longevity of the frame. The surfaces need facing. The shop should replace the frame, but given the work done may have the right to refuse to. Consumer protection laws vary, but the work you have done has possibly voided your consumer protection rights.
    – mattnz
    Jan 30 at 20:00
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    It is disappointing to see problems like this on a brand-new bike, normally I'd suggest returning, but you've resolved the issue in probably exactly the same way the bike shop would. Well done.
    – Criggie
    Jan 30 at 21:55
  • Unfortunately, knowing it's the safest solution, i can't wait for months to get a replacement from the company (it was bought online from 'abroad'). I found some aluminium smoothing videos that can smooth down a piece to a mirror-like level. I think i'll take it apart and smooth it out a bit more, taking care not to lose much material during the process.
    – Alextsil
    Jan 31 at 13:34
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    Ride it for now, but make sure Canyon gets you a replacement frame. That’s one of the risks you take with a direct-to-consumer brand, especially a budget brand like Canyon with...suboptimal quality control.
    – MaplePanda
    Jan 31 at 19:23
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I am not familiar with this specific bike, but it looks like the intention of the design is this: there's a big oversize bolt on each side, they go through the bearings, and then on the other side between the bearing and that threaded bit in the frame there's a spacer on each side, and the spacer's job is a.) provide a seal for the bearing and b.) connect the inner race of the bearing to the face of the threaded bit such that no metal-to-metal rubbing is occurring.

There's a lot of canned advice in the world to lubricate pivots of suspension frames, but it doesn't actually do anything helpful in many cases. There shouldn't be a metal-to-metal contact at all here. If there still is and the lubrication you've applied is all that's keeping it from being noisy and sticky, no that is not a solution and you will ruin the frame.

If the spacer was somehow out of place or fouled by debris before, and now that's been addressed and it's in place doing its job, yes you are probably good to go unless you've reduced or unleveled the surfaces enough to cause other problems, but you'd probably be able to see that. In other words if everything is tightening down firmly and you can get visual confirmation that there's an air gap and no metal-to-metal rub, that is what you're looking for.

In some cases it can be appropriate to improvise or fabricate hardware to make a suspension frame behave when its stock hardware isn't cutting it. A brand new bike is not usually when you want to be resorting to that, but the climate we're in is forcing such judgment calls. You do want the stock spacers because again (if my understanding is correct) they are acting as seals, but if they're not creating the gap needed then adding some kind of microshim (beer can, sharpie, scissors) might not be the craziest while you're waiting on replacement hardware from Canyon.

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  • Very detailed reply, thank you: you are 100% right about the design. With metal-to-metal i meant damaged-frame-to-pivot, no lube at all, which caused the grinding noise. I haven't eaten up a lot of material so it now works like a charm and has no gaps. I'm taking it to the LBS soon for close-up inspection and i hope Canyon can replace it, even after i set my hands on it.
    – Alextsil
    Feb 1 at 9:10

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