[updated] Disappointed with Propel bike service quality

ava1ar

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Leonia, NJ
Update from 03/18/2022:
After clarification from Chris below it looks like it was not a locker, however some kind of grease with similar color and consistency (different color pretty dense comparing what I normally use myself). So the issue is probably caused by faulty Miranda cranks (which I am now replacing on all my bikes). Thanks Propel and Chris in person for reaching out and trying to figure out the issue. Use quality components on your bikes and have a great ride you all!


As much as I enjoy bike purchase process and experience with Propel bikes, as much I am disappointed with their quality of maintenance work they do. I had several interactions and none of them was perfect, however the last experience I got is far out of normal. Some time at December I got issue with the motor on by Gazelle and left the bike there for diagnostics/repair. Long story short - they decided to replace the motor and I got my bike back about 2 weeks later. So far so good, so few days back I wanted to start rear wheel replacement process (to install new wheel I build with Kindernay hub), so I start doing some preparation work and removing crank arms. Right one went quite fine, but I got a bit issue with left one. As big as 2 days of work with grinder and drill - see photos for the progress of the removal. After finishing I found out the reason why I got so nice experience - Propel "engineers" applied red (permanent) thread locker on the ISIS mount. I am not sure, where they learn to do this, even myself, being a software engineer, know that red meant for permanent lock, while blue is more temporary solution. Crank arms are not supposed to be permanently attached and should be easily removable! Don't they know this? Or just didn't care? How they wanted to deal with it themselves in future? I don't know, but what I know is that I am not going to leave my bike there for any kind of service - I don't think they are qualified enough and what to expect from them next.

Sorry for rant, but I literally spent all my weekend to remove this thing off...

 

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Timpo

Well-Known Member
As much as I enjoy bike purchase process and experience with Propel bikes, as much I am disappointed with their quality of maintenance work they do. I had several interactions and none of them was perfect, however the last experience I got is far out of normal. Some time at December I got issue with the motor on by Gazelle and left the bike there for diagnostics/repair. Long story short - they decided to replace the motor and I got my bike back about 2 weeks later. So far so good, so few days back I wanted to start rear wheel replacement process (to install new wheel I build with Kindernay hub), so I start doing some preparation work and removing crank arms. Right one went quite fine, but I got a bit issue with left one. As big as 2 days of work with grinder and drill - see photos for the progress of the removal. After finishing I found out the reason why I got so nice experience - Propel "engineers" applied red (permanent) thread locker on the ISIS mount. I am not sure, where they learn to do this, even myself, being a software engineer, know that red meant for permanent lock, while blue is more temporary solution. Crank arms are not supposed to be permanently attached and should be easily removable! Don't they know this? Or just didn't care? How they wanted to deal with it themselves in future? I don't know, but what I know is that I am not going to leave my bike there for any kind of service - I don't think they are qualified enough and what to expect from them next.

Sorry for rant, but I literally spent all my weekend to remove this thing off...

No bike shop would apply Loctite (or any threadlocker) on crank arm.

Some bike shops even put some kind of grease as an anti-seize. They said something to do with preventing rust or dirt seizing up the crank arm.
 
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ava1ar

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Leonia, NJ
unless something is wonky no thread locker should be used on the crank arms
I don't think there are places on the modern bikes which require RED one - all parts should be replaceable and detachable when needed.
No bike shop would apply Loctite (or any threadlocker) on crank arm.
No mistake here - this is new motor and crank arms were attached to it by Propel guys in the mid-December.
 

fooferdoggie

Well-Known Member
I don't think there are places on the modern bikes which require RED one - all parts should be replaceable and detachable when needed.

No mistake here - this is new motor and crank arms were attached to it by Propel guys in the mid-December.
So someone was a idiot and hopefully you can get some compensation.
 

ava1ar

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Leonia, NJ
Ava should have heated it with propane torch just hot enough for the red loctite to liquify.
This doesn't work when your cranks are attached to the Bosch motor, which has plastic parts and electronics inside - I don't think it will like open fire nearby. I used cut off tool (compact one from milwaukee) and drill, nothing fancy. I didn't except to find red loctite there at all (however I suspected something like this when all my attempts to use crank puller tool failed.
 

Gionnirocket

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Y. O.
This doesn't work when your cranks are attached to the Bosch motor, which has plastic parts and electronics inside - I don't think it will like open fire nearby. I used cut off tool (compact one from milwaukee) and drill, nothing fancy. I didn't except to find red loctite there at all (however I suspected something like this when all my attempts to use crank puller tool failed.
I agree that I would not use an open flame.. But a heat gun and protecting the motor with a wet rag with a heat deflector in front may have done the trick.
Nice job at removing it... You have the most important tool which is patience 👍
 
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Timpo

Well-Known Member
This doesn't work when your cranks are attached to the Bosch motor, which has plastic parts and electronics inside - I don't think it will like open fire nearby. I used cut off tool (compact one from milwaukee) and drill, nothing fancy. I didn't except to find red loctite there at all (however I suspected something like this when all my attempts to use crank puller tool failed.
I know torch would be a different story, but grinding a crankarm like that must have heated up quite a bit. I'm surprised that you could hold it with your bare hand like that.
 

ava1ar

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Leonia, NJ
I know torch would be a different story, but grinding a crankarm like that must have heated up quite a bit. I'm surprised that you could hold it with your bare hand like that.
It did warm up, didn't help much though. Last pieces of crank were removed using drill, not griner, so it wasn't hot when I finally took it off. I was able to cut only external part of the crank, since the mount area which actually holds it is too close to the motor to use the grider, even small one. Broke two bits while drilling, but did the job :)
 

Gionnirocket

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Y. O.
No bike shop would apply Loctite (or any threadlocker) on crank arm.

Some bike shops even put some kind of grease as an anti-cease. They said something to do with preventing rust or dirt ceasing up the crank arm.
I lightly grease and to remove/install them takes seconds. And never had one strip/fail/seize
 

Chris Nolte

Well-Known Member
Hello @ava1ar,

I wish you would have reached out to us. We would never use thread locker on this and when we do we only use the blue stuff. The red substance you see on the spline is grease (see attached image), we always use grease and a torque wrench to spec which is 35Nm. I suspect based on the looks of the threads and the challenge you had removing it you didn't use a crank puller. This is a special tool made specifically for this purpose. When you attach the cranks they get pressed on and you need a puller to remove them. I know you posted that the SRAM cranks don't need special tools, but the Miranda ones surely do.

Anyway, I hope your bike is performing well and if we can be of assistance I encourage you to reach out as I assure you our service techs have the training, experience, and tools to perform these tasks to the highest standard. If you do choose to venture into these things on your own, I also encourage you to reach out though as manuals don't exist for all of these tasks and I'm sure our experience can save you a lot of time and aggravation.



Image from iOS.jpeg
 

Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
What happened here ? Crank puller used the wrong way ? At least Propel is cleared... assumptions, assumptions...
 

ava1ar

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Leonia, NJ
Thanks for your replay Chris.

I am perfectly aware of how cranks are removed and have proper tool for this from ParkTools. It worked well for the right crank, however left was stuck permanently and to remove it I had to use the tools and pretty much destroy it. I should probably blame Miranda more than Propel for the issue - the thread on the left crank was already partially damaged (probably Propel mechanics had issues with removing this crank as well, when replacing the motor). The grease I found inside looks like what you shown on the picture, so I might not be correct saying this is the locker (it is quite dense and feels like it though).

Anyway, I cooled down since I had the issue, now cranks from SRAM work great and don't required any tooling to pull them out, so I am replacing Miranda with SRAM on my 2nd bike as well and will never deal with Miranda stuff again.

Thanks for keeping your eye on customer feedback and trying to make your service better. Hope my next experience with Propel service will be great!