Bicycle Mechanics - Bontrager Race Lites
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Anyone know of problems with Bontrager Race Lite wheels? My neighbor across the street pretzled his rear one several weeks ago. He had a rather nasty fall and had a severe concussion. I was wondering if anyone else had heard of any problems with these wheels or if it was just an isolated incident.
Thanks --- Steve
Well speaking from personal experience with wheel building, I have always questioned wheels when they came out with 28 and less spokes. I especially question them when people over 160 lbs. ride them often, and hard especially hucking with them. I have not heard of them just collapsing but I could understand them tacoing if crashed on real easy. I could also see a huge impact crushing them. I mean there just is not enough spokes to hold the wheel rigid.
I think what happened (I'm familiar with the site of his crash) is this:
The road goes downhill. At the bottom is a sharp turn to the right. As the road is not banked it and you're carrying a good amount of speed is easy to overshoot the turn and get out into the oncoming lane. (Traffic is a problem as there are very few cars on this stretch of road.) My friend went into the opposite lane, tried to steer to the right to get back into his lane. His butt was probably heavy on his saddle and the lateral force of his bike going to the right and his butt going straight caused the collapse of the rear wheel. Bike stops, he continues forward, does an endo, slams his helmet to the pavement, and suffers a concussion.
I purchased a pair of Campy Neutrons a month prior to this incident. The veteran mechanic at my LBS said that the Neutrons were the only "light weight/low spoke count" wheels that he would recommend to someone over 160 lbs. Sure hope he's right.
07-21-02, 09:55 PM
I was looking at several sets of wheels and ended up with Race Lites. I love mine. I've been impressed with their strength. I probably have about 1000 miles in the past few months and I'd recommend them to anyone. They are way stronger that what came on my first bike, which was a Trek 1000. I was always having to mess with the rear wheel.
As for cornering, We were riding a Century ride outside of Nashville TN a few weeks ago, and took a hard corner at 51.1mph. The Race Lites were right on. That was a blast. Most times it's uphill for me both ways.
BTW, I'm 6'3", and 225lbs.
I had Spinergy RevX's until one of the rear spokes tore. I was told that was very common on those. I was concerned about the Race Lites , but after my first ride with them I've never looked back. They are so much stronger than the spinergy's. Just don't look as cool.
Hope this helps.
07-21-02, 10:33 PM
I'm very sorry to hear about your buddy! Is he going to be ok? :(
Another possible course of events is if he skidded the rear wheel while banking, then released the brake when the tire began sliding. It grabbed again, now travelling sideways, and the sideways force bent the wheel enough that it would no longer turn in the frame, and began to skid again. I've done this on my mountain bike when my rear wheel got slid sideways in a rut at about 20mph off-road. The wheel slid out, caught, bent, would not roll, and I lost control and crashed.
It takes a pretty strong wheel to stand that kind of lateral stress. If I had some freeride-class wheels I probably would have come away needing a wheel truing.
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