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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 06-18-17, 06:15 PM   #1
wgscott
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Everyone is conspiring to make me paranoid

Or so it might seem...

Today I was biking down what was admittedly a rather rough gravel trail (Wilder Ranch, coastal Santa Cruz), where most people were riding mountain bikes, and I would occasionally get funny looks from mountain bikers. So I get near the bottom of the trail, and I see this guy hiking his (road) bike. He has what looks like a Camelback backpack, with a road bike tied to it, and as I approached it was clear why -- the handlebars were dangling. I stopped and asked him if I could help with a multitool or loan him my phone or something. It turns out he was riding uphill when the fork steering tube snapped at the stem interface. (I think it was Aluminum, but I only got a quick look at it.) He was saying he felt lucky it happened on an uphill. I can't imagine this ever being anything other than unpleasant, but you could easily get killed this way, especially if this happens without any warning.

This got me thinking about catastrophic failures like that. I have an Enve carbon CX fork attached to a steel bike. I like to think it is indestructible, but I got to wondering how often this sort of thing happens. Maybe shock absorbers on forks really aren't so silly after all.



Gimmie some platitudes.
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Old 06-19-17, 07:15 AM   #2
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This is one of the reasons I purchased a Niner gravel bike.

The carbon layup is like a mountain bike.


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Old 06-19-17, 07:24 AM   #3
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George knows exactly how you feel:
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Old 06-19-17, 11:26 AM   #4
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Unbelievable! And you know it was not a cheap fork. Think I'll go out and check my CRUX's fork now.
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Old 06-19-17, 01:32 PM   #5
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Equipment fails. Is the probability of catastrophic failure 1 in 100 or 1 in 1000000? I don't know. I doubt many people on these forums do either, but given the fact that makers of al/cf steerer forks haven't been sued out of existence to my knowledge, chances are you shouldn't be worried.

Also, steel is real.

(I'm only half serious, but it's a nice platitude)
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Old 06-19-17, 02:56 PM   #6
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George knows exactly how you feel
lesson in "how to bail"?
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Old 06-19-17, 03:07 PM   #7
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I bet it was a carbon steerer.

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Old 06-19-17, 03:10 PM   #8
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I only got a quick look. It looked shiny/silvery, so I assumed it was aluminum. Also, there didn't appear to be fibers like you see in the video. Aluminum will fatigue and crack. The bike was a Felt, fwiw.

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Old 06-19-17, 03:10 PM   #9
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Also, steel is real.

(I'm only half serious, but it's a nice platitude)
Unless, like me, you have a steel bike with a carbon fork...
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Old 06-19-17, 08:38 PM   #10
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I mean, if you're just thinking to give that fork away, sure, I'll take it.
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Old 06-19-17, 08:52 PM   #11
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Due to wholly unfounded fears, I sold the full-carbon Ritchey WCS fork that came with my Swiss Cross without ever even test-fitting it to the frame. It was replaced with a $70 all-steel Surly fork. And I never looked back.

Which is not to say that steel forks don't fail-- I just prefer their method of failure when compared to CF, which usually includes descriptors like "sudden" and "catastrophic."
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Old 06-19-17, 08:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Or so it might seem...

Today I was biking down what was admittedly a rather rough gravel trail (Wilder Ranch, coastal Santa Cruz), where most people were riding mountain bikes, and I would occasionally get funny looks from mountain bikers. So I get near the bottom of the trail, and I see this guy hiking his (road) bike. He has what looks like a Camelback backpack, with a road bike tied to it, and as I approached it was clear why -- the handlebars were dangling. I stopped and asked him if I could help with a multitool or loan him my phone or something. It turns out he was riding uphill when the fork steering tube snapped at the stem interface. (I think it was Aluminum, but I only got a quick look at it.) He was saying he felt lucky it happened on an uphill. I can't imagine this ever being anything other than unpleasant, but you could easily get killed this way, especially if this happens without any warning.

This got me thinking about catastrophic failures like that. I have an Enve carbon CX fork attached to a steel bike. I like to think it is indestructible, but I got to wondering how often this sort of thing happens. Maybe shock absorbers on forks really aren't so silly after all.



Gimmie some platitudes.

This sounds less like a cautionary tale about CF parts...and more a cautionary tale about poor decision making in taking weight-weenie (underbuilt for the conditions) parts into the unpaved wilds.
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Old 06-20-17, 06:06 AM   #13
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Carbon scares me. Keep it on race cars and maybe racing bikes but for anything else I will take steel everytime. It's not even as compliant as a GOOD steel so I don't want it anyways. I can deal with a couple extra pounds.
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Old 06-20-17, 07:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Shimagnolo View Post
George knows exactly how you feel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZg1vrvGbdE
I thought it was interesting that George only mentioned this in passing as an "I broke my steering wheel" incident in his book. I thought he would win the P.R. for sure that year.
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Old 06-20-17, 10:49 PM   #15
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Meh, I thrash my carbon Crux and so far I've got zero failures to show for it. I've actually seen more steel and aluminum bits fail than carbon over the years. Most bike stuff is pretty safe, just make sure you check up on everything once in a while, particularly after a crash. Keep in mind that no bike manufacturer wants to get sued in the event of a failure. Paranoia is certainly more entertaining than probability in this case.
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Old 06-20-17, 10:56 PM   #16
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Again, I think it was aluminum.
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