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Old 09-24-11, 05:06 AM   #1
jeanml
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Bicycle crash question - LBS advised to replace fork/front brake/handlebar/stem

Hi,

I was involved in a front collision with another bike a few days ago and brought the bike to my LBS for a crash assessment.
As expected, the fork and front brake caliper are to be replaced as they have taken most of the impact and were a bit twisted but they have also advised me to replace the handlebar and stem just to be on the safe side.
Is this really necessary? I can't really see any deformation on the handlebar and the stem is still looking rock solid. But, obviously, I don't want any of these things to fail while going downhill at high speed!

I'd quite happily replace the handlebar since I'm not particularly satisfied with the shape and comfort (FSA Energy New Ergo) but I'd be quite pissed off to have to replace the stem as I invested quite a lot of money in it (Thomson Elite X2).

I know that ultimately the decision comes down to whether or not I trust the components to keep using them but I was wondering if anyone had a similar experience and/or recommendations?

Cheers,
Jean-Michel
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Old 09-24-11, 05:23 AM   #2
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Jean-Michel, Nobody here can second guess your shop's hands on assesment. Perhaps they're just being prudent in suggesting a new handlebar and stem as they're very unlikely to have testing equipment to see if damage exists or not to the two parts. Caliper or brake lever?

Your bike, you decision.

Brad
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Old 09-24-11, 05:44 AM   #3
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Thanks for your reply.

To answer your question: caliper only.
Brake levers/shifters are fine. Only one of them was displaced when I and the bike fell on the ground after the impact. Front wheel has no damage and is still true which makes me think that the fork took most of the beating or that having the wheel handbuilt was the best investment of my bike life.

My bike, my life, my decision. I'm well aware of that as I posted earlier. I will definitely replace the handlebar. I was just wondering if anyone had any knowledge about how strong stems (i.e. Thomson Elite X2) are and how much impact they can take.
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Old 09-24-11, 05:48 AM   #4
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None of us wants to be the one to tell you those parts are ok only to have you crash and come back later to tell us we were wrong.

Have you considered contacting Thomson to ask about your stem? Here is their contact page: http://bikethomson.com/contact/ . Thomson has a good rep for customer service. I bet they'd respond.

I did look on Thomson's site for the topic of detecting crash damage. I couldn't find anything.
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Old 09-24-11, 06:25 AM   #5
jeanml
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Originally Posted by JonathanGennick View Post
None of us wants to be the one to tell you those parts are ok only to have you crash and come back later to tell us we were wrong.
Thanks, I appreciate that and no offense but I would never trust any of you guys with my life!

I have contacted Thomson already so hopefully they'll be able to provide more information about crash damages, satefy margins and such.
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Old 09-24-11, 07:01 AM   #6
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Thomson stuff is tough. I would expect Thomson to say to replace it, just for their own liability...but I guess we'll see. If it were me, I'd take apart the stem and check all the screws, make sure they look intact. You could always put it on some other bike that sees a little less abuse, then buy a new one...thats the expensive route.
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Old 09-24-11, 11:52 AM   #7
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There's no advantage for a business to tell you to keep the stem or bars, just a possible liability.

I wonder if a stem and faceplate would fail suddenly, or just develop a crack that would get worse over time?

Your fork is bent or cracked, but the wheel is OK? Interesting.
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Old 09-24-11, 11:52 AM   #8
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Well.... if it were my stuff and provided the bars are not bent and the lever was only moved a little with no real damage I'd take it as a sign that the bars, controls and stem are just fine. If the bars are carbon that would be another issue. Carbon can have internal delaminations that can show up later despite not seeming to have any external damage or deformation. But if they are alloy then no bend = no damage. If carbon then they'd go in the dump.

And if the bars didn't bend at all then I can't see the stem receiving enough force to be an issue. Especially since it's a THompson and is made from excellent quality alloy.

But of course you're not me and I haven't seen the actual damage. I'm just saying what I'd look at, evaluate and decide if I didn't see any bends in the bars and assuming that no carbon fiber parts are involved.
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