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Old 09-24-11, 09:39 PM   #1
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Interesting NYT Article

About the increase in number and severity of crashes in professional cycling. A quote I found interesting:

"After crashing with steel-frame bikes 20 years ago, uninjured riders could often straighten their handlebars and ride off. But bike frames today are made of extremely light carbon-fiber composites that frequently shatter in even minor spills.

Although the U.C.I. requires that bikes used by professionals weigh at least 14.9 pounds, that has not led to more robust equipment. Most teams resort to inserting lead weights or chains in the frame to reach the minimum. McQuaid said the cycling union was examining video supplied by the Tour de France to see if fragile bikes were adding to injuries."


NOTE: The quote above is not the conclusion of the article, and only one of many things which may be leading to increased injuries.

The link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/25/sp...ng-danger.html
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Old 09-24-11, 10:01 PM   #2
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There's a lot of factors to consider but I do not think frame material or weight of the bikes has anything to do with it.
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Old 09-24-11, 10:06 PM   #3
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I think the fact that the speeds are greater and the peloton much larger than twenty years ago has more to do with the higher accident rate than the extremely light shatter prone frames used today.
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Old 09-24-11, 10:08 PM   #4
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In reading the article, one gets the impression that the U.C.I. has no say in making the rules. I think that's kind of lame where real people are losing their lives.
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Old 09-25-11, 07:24 AM   #5
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+1 larger pelotons. I've noticed the TdF has expanded from 20 to 22 teams just over the last few years. That's 18 more potential bikes to hit, and my first impression would be that crashes rise in some curve form - not a linear relationship.
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Old 09-25-11, 07:29 AM   #6
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You can't manage what you don't measure. An old saying that couldn't be more true. But it seems the UCI would rather bury their heads in the sand and without investigation, any reason behind the crashes is speculation.
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Old 09-25-11, 08:25 AM   #7
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And crashes mean more viewership, up to a point. From the UCI/sponsor vantage, what's not to like?
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Old 09-25-11, 08:40 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
About the increase in number and severity of crashes in professional cycling. A quote I found interesting:

[I]"After crashing with steel-frame bikes 20 years ago, uninjured riders could often straighten their handlebars and ride off. But bike frames today are made of extremely light carbon-fiber composites that frequently shatter in even minor spills.
I watched the TdF pretty closely this year and despite all the crashes I don't remember a single bike "shattering" in even the worst crashes, much less the minor ones.
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Old 09-25-11, 09:01 AM   #9
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There's more pressure on more riders to ride at the front all the time. Especially with courses designed to introduce possible time gaps even on non-mountain stages. 20 years ago, lead out trains weren't nearly as fast and didn't start from so far out, and even a relatively few years ago, only one or two teams tried to control the run-ins. It's not only true of the last 5 or 10 K - there's no US Postal to dictate the racing earlier in the stages. Then there's the obvious increase in traffic obstacles - roundabouts, etc. I'm not saying any of these - or even any combination - are the real reason(s), but they're all plausible, IMO.
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Old 09-25-11, 09:28 AM   #10
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My impression was the TdF this year planned the stages to increase the number of meaningful bunch sprints. More at risk creates more risk.

As far as the bikes go, I would be draconian.

Minimum frame & fork weight with headset, 1.8kg
Maximum handlebar width, outside dimension 43 cm.
Minimum front center dimension 60 cm.

The minimums will allow a return of a metallic frame or fork.
Narrower bars provide more peloton room, and less leverage.
The 60 cm front center will push shorter stems, and promote better handling bikes.
Better as in less nervous. Watch even the pros reach down for a waterbottle, they cannot keep a straight line. The bikes will be safer on descents too.
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Old 09-25-11, 09:39 AM   #11
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^ Interesting ideas. I like where you are going, though I don't know what you mean by front center. Could you explain that term?
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Old 09-25-11, 09:49 AM   #12
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^ Interesting ideas. I like where you are going, though I don't know what you mean by front center. Could you explain that term?
It is used in two ways, either a straight line from the BB center to the front axle center with the front wheel pointing forward, or the horizontal measure between the BB center and the front axle center (which would make the direct dimension a small bit longer, the right triangle will have a shortest length of 65 to 80 mm.)

A road racing bike can be built w/o overlap easily down to 58.4 cm, maybe less with shorter cranks and small feet. Pushing the front end out is going to increase top tube length, push the frames back to the 72 to 73 degree head angle and shorten the stem lengths. unless the pro teams hire basketball players.
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Old 09-25-11, 10:29 AM   #13
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Just want to note that I only found the above quote interesting--I'm not advocating that it is the/a reason for more crashes. I frankly have no technical knowledge about road racing at all.
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Old 09-25-11, 11:20 AM   #14
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I watched the TdF pretty closely this year and despite all the crashes I don't remember a single bike "shattering" in even the worst crashes, much less the minor ones.
+1

and it's also true that Versus totally loves advertising with the crashes.
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Old 09-25-11, 11:58 AM   #15
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More bikes in a race and more speed... of course there will be more crashes. I fail to see how frame material has an impact on your...impact. If you were capable of getting up and unbending pretzeled handlebars back in the day I guess the accident wasn't that bad to begin with. If you break a carbon fiber frame at higher race speeds and you're severely injured or dead it doesn't really matter what the frame is made of now does it.
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Old 09-25-11, 12:41 PM   #16
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I knew there was a reason I got rid of my modern carbon bikes.
However, the subject of this thread certainly isn't it.

About this time last year, I high-sided a CF bike.
I got up, straightened the handlebars, and rode 30 more miles.
The bike was fine.
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Old 09-25-11, 12:45 PM   #17
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I knew there was a reason I got rid of my modern carbon bikes.
However, the subject of this thread certainly isn't it.

About this time last year, I high-sided a CF bike.
I got up, straightened the handlebars, and rode 30 more miles.
The bike was fine.
You weren't impaled by the millions of shards of carbon fiber created when the bike turned into a localized supernova from crashing it? You must be superman...
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Old 09-25-11, 02:05 PM   #18
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Something tells me some of you guys aren't reading the article and just focusing on the quote I lifted from it. It's a good read, and the quote I posted is not the conclusion. Apologies if I was misleading.
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Old 09-25-11, 02:24 PM   #19
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Something tells me some of you guys aren't reading the article and just focusing on the quote I lifted from it. It's a good read, and the quote I posted is not the conclusion. Apologies if I was misleading.
You're right I hadn't. Now I have. None of the crashes I have seen seem to have been caused in any way by a bike failure. None of the rest of the article suggests that. Maybe conceivably lightness might contribute to instability but even that wasn't really suggested by any of the quoted riders or staff. The main culprit seems to be larger peletons with more aggressive riding and more dangerous courses.
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Old 09-25-11, 02:27 PM   #20
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Alright, I just read the article. It does seem like the UCI is willfully ignoring the dangers of cycling (as per the article), which have little or nothing to do with the bike itself. I am actually shocked that they don't keep accident statistics. I'm also imagining that there's no "players union" for cycling where the riders can air their grievances.
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