This is a cross-post from another forum I belong to. I was suspecting that the Velocity rims were undersized. Just wanted to share my experience.
For those of you who have been following Madame Butterfat's wheel saga from last weekend, here's an update.
Eden Bicycles finally got to do some research on the wheels and it turns out that I was right about the rims: they are indeed undersized. Tim, at Eden, called Velocity and spoke to someone about them after having the same mounting issues I did. The Velocity rep admitted to having released a batch of undersized rims to market, and since Co-Motion is one of their largest customers, many of those probably made their way to the final product. He did not go as far as defining the size of the fault, and nor did he mention that they were out of tolerance.
What that means for us is probably at least a month on the bench, awaiting the parts from the warranty claim I made today at Bicycle Outfitter in Los Altos. It also means that we will not be riding the Wine Country Century as planned this weekend.
A quick recap of what happened: after a triple blowout on Saturday, I determined that the flats were caused by the tubes pushing the tyre bead off the rim and extruding themselves in a way that a pinch flat was possible. I needed confirmation on this theory, so we took the tandem to Eden later on Saturday and explained the situation to Chris. The bike was due for a tune up there on Tuesday anyway. The reason why it took the tyre/wheel combo so long to fail is still undetermined; the tyres were mounted 800 miles ago, and had flat repairs done last weekend at Sea Otter, and a tube replacement Friday night before this last ride. In any case, the wheel assemblies are now at the Outfitter awaiting action from Co-Motion. No notice of a recall regarding the rims has been posted.
This type of defect is extremely rare, and none of the mechanics I've spoken to so far have ever encountered it before. I told Jim @ the Outfitter that I would like credit for the warrantied rims and purchase another brand just to be on the safe side. Because of the timing of the incident, I've lost faith in Velocity's quality control and am not confident riding on another one of their rims.