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Old 05-16-07, 10:46 AM   #1
Rocke
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Rocked

I am home from the hospital where I have spent a good deal of time recovering from an accident as a result of a chain failure. I am searching for some rhyme or reason that it failed, and am looking for others who can help shed light on a very dark spot in my cycling. I ride a Colnago C-50 with Campy Ultra group. My chain has a little over 3000 miles on it, but is within limits on streach. (I had slated replacement this next week...) I am fanatic about maintaining the machine and use Dumond Tech lube before riding, wiping down any excess. My friends work their machines until they skip. fail or slip, but I try and replace parts before events occur. The chain snapped while accelerating in traffic, and I hit a car and went down. I have read posts indicating people re-using pins etc. I would recomend following the manufacturers instructions to the letter. It will be months before I am recovered, and I am very lucky. Any ideas why?
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Old 05-16-07, 11:03 AM   #2
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Hi Rocke and welcome. I'm glad you're ok. It sounds like the accident could have been worse.
I can't give you any insight to why your chain snapped. Perhaps it was just a bad chain.
Not everyone reads the Intro threads so I'm moving this to General Cycling where you may get a few interesting replies.
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Old 05-16-07, 02:37 PM   #3
Niles H.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocke
I am home from the hospital where I have spent a good deal of time recovering from an accident as a result of a chain failure. I am searching for some rhyme or reason that it failed, and am looking for others who can help shed light on a very dark spot in my cycling. I ride a Colnago C-50 with Campy Ultra group. My chain has a little over 3000 miles on it, but is within limits on streach. (I had slated replacement this next week...) I am fanatic about maintaining the machine and use Dumond Tech lube before riding, wiping down any excess. My friends work their machines until they skip. fail or slip, but I try and replace parts before events occur. The chain snapped while accelerating in traffic, and I hit a car and went down. I have read posts indicating people re-using pins etc. I would recomend following the manufacturers instructions to the letter. It will be months before I am recovered, and I am very lucky. Any ideas why?
Blessings.
What brand and model was the chain?

Some brands and models are more robust than others, and less likely to fail. They have better quality control, and use more-consistent, higher-end materials.

***
Another thing I have noticed is that some of these equipment failures are related to weight savings. Bikes are often engineered to be as light as possible, while still maintaining some margin of safety (for riders up to a certain weight at least).

Sometimes, in the interests of lighter weight, the margins of safety are not as wide as they could or should or otherwise would be.

I think it is worthwhile to have wider margins of safety, both in equipment and in other aspects of riding (stopping distances, proximity to cars, speed, cornering, allowing for contingencies, etc. -- many of us have picked up the habit of riding on the edge, or at or near the limits. It is safer to ratchet it back a notch or two, in the interests of wider and more reliable safety margins).

Last edited by Niles H.; 05-16-07 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 05-16-07, 07:46 PM   #4
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Sometimes sh1t just breaks. I wouldn't dwell on a freak accident.
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Old 05-16-07, 08:31 PM   #5
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The chain was a Campy 10 speed chain. (not Ultra with hollow pins)
I hear what your saying about the edge thing, I frequently seek it out. This time though I was behaving and not taking undue risk. (or so I thought.) I am not sure how one prepares for these things.
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Old 05-16-07, 08:41 PM   #6
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v1k1ng1001,
I understand your point very well. I want to know was it the freak thing it seems it was, or is there a history that I am unaware of that I can use to prevent such a thing in the future.

It will be 6 weeks before I can use my arm or shoulder, and it is a matter of Grace as to when my vision and head will recover from the concussion. I take better care than I ever have of my equipment and gear, it is ironic that it should fail on one of my newest and best equiped machines. Blessings.
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Old 05-16-07, 08:49 PM   #7
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A friend with whom I ride many hundred miles is a die hard campy fan and has experienced chain failure several times during our rides with several different campy 10 speed chains. Like you he is fanatical about his bikes and is quite knowledgable, having built all his bikes and wheels. All his bikes are very expensive and in immaculate condition. In every instance of chain failure the chain plates have cracked radially from the pin.

He is now trying out a wipperman chain, several thousant incident-free miles so far and he claims he's getting noticeably less wear.

I refrain from making any generalisations as this is far too small a sample to indicate an inherent problem with the campy 10 speed chain, I'm just saying (just in case its any consolation) that you're not the only one to have experienced this.

I hope you heal well, and soon.
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Old 05-17-07, 09:36 AM   #8
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Cyclaholic,
Thanks for the heads up on the cracks, I will have to look and see if they are present. Campy advises not to use other brands with their stuff, however I am going to check out the frequency of failure and see if another chain co. is warented. Thank you for your encouragement. Blessings.
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Old 05-17-07, 02:13 PM   #9
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Sorry to hear about your injuries. Best wishes for a good recovery.

***
I was wondering if you are significantly above average in weight or strength, or if you were accelerating particularly forcefully?

If you still have that chain, and there is some kind of manufacturing defect, there may be a possibility that you're due some kind of compensation.

***
I could be wrong, but I think that sometimes manufacturers in the bike industry cut it a little too close, in the interests of lighter weight.

In recognition of this, and to correct it, Bruce Gordon has said that he learned to include some extra weight and beef in his bikes and gear, to provide more of a buffer zone against failure.
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Old 05-17-07, 10:32 PM   #10
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Niles,
Dressed out I weigh 165 lbs. At 50 I do not think I am very strong as far as the slightly above average rider goes.

As far as compensation, I am more interested to see if it is a fluke, or as you sugest things are cut so close they leave no room for a bad heat or a little to much machening etc. If so I would like to let folks know so that they can make a better judgement as to thier choices of equipment. I bought the best and thought little of failure, more on my aging skills. I have given up the riskier days of my youth when I built bikes with swaped parts and never gave a thought to compatibillity or potential failure.

Weight is important on components, however what does a few grams less matter with a couple pounds around the tummy? Blessings.
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Old 05-18-07, 03:27 AM   #11
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Rocke,
I'm much heavier than you, I probably don't do as much maintence as you, I am a gear masher and have been using a campy 10 speed chain for around 5 years with no trouble. I should also mention that I abuse the chain more than most by not switching chainrings as much as I should so the chain gets crossed quite a bit. Maybe I'm just lucky or maybe I got the good chain while you got the bad one. Wish I could be more helpful. Hope you feel better soon.
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Old 05-18-07, 09:48 AM   #12
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gear,
Yeah, I think I may have just been the lucky one.
I see you are from MA. I lived in the South Shore 25 years ago... I was riding a Myata at the time and put on the first Cyclone I derailor (6 gear 12-25 freewheele too!) and Wienman Concave rims! Some very good days. Blessings
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