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safety of Philippe French stems

Old 04-26-16, 06:20 PM
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echo victor 
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safety of Philippe French stems

I'm curious what the general sense is toward Philippe stems. I've read the article at The Headbadge warning that Philippe/ATAX stems can be prone to cracking, and I have one of these stems with a newer wedge rather than cone expander:



So do people feel like this should be safe to ride? Am I better off just getting a different stem and lightly sanding it to fit a 22.0 steerer? Or were the Philippe stems of the generation pictured safer than the earlier ones?

How about this Guid stem? Safe?



Thanks!
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Old 04-26-16, 06:24 PM
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Nahhh, it wasn't those Philippe stems that were prone to asploding, it was the older one that looked very similar to that Guid. Not sure as the name escapes me,....... but it might be "Pivo"??
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Old 04-26-16, 06:34 PM
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Like anything old, they wear out. So do we. There have been some stems that have had bad designs which hastened their demise and those which were just gorilla handled to death.

The Phillip you show should be okay while the Guid might not. If you want a Golden rule, check the stems you use Frequently.

That's how I caught an SR stem before I used it for a project.
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Old 04-26-16, 06:39 PM
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AVA were the so-called "death stems", specifically those open at the back of the horizontal arm...there were similar looking ATAX and PIVO but none from those makers had the bad rep that AVA did. AFAIK Philippe were also never a problem and certainly these "fully closed" models were stronger based on design alone... BUT that said ANY stem could be broken if you really tried!
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Old 04-26-16, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
AVA were the so-called "death stems", specifically those open at the back of the horizontal arm...there were similar looking ATAX and PIVO but none from those makers had the bad rep that AVA did. AFAIK Philippe were also never a problem and certainly these "fully closed" models were stronger based on design alone... BUT that said ANY stem could be broken if you really tried!
That's it!......AVA!
I think the Philippes were just as reliable as Cinelli A1s.
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Old 04-27-16, 05:50 PM
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Thanks for weighing in, guys! You're eased my concerns a bit. But I am curious - @cudak888, what do you think of the Philippe pictured above? I believe it's your old Philippe with the crack on the pictured on the page I linked above.

Originally Posted by 3speedslow View Post
... If you want a Golden rule, check the stems you use Frequently. ...
Noted...

Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
AVA were the so-called "death stems", specifically those open at the back of the horizontal arm...
Actually, it doesn't show in the photo, but my Guid stem above has the opening at the back of the horizontal arm. Should that increase my wariness with that stem?
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Old 04-27-16, 06:39 PM
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Originally Posted by echo victor View Post
Thanks for weighing in, guys! You're eased my concerns a bit. But I am curious - @cudak888, what do you think of the Philippe pictured above? I believe it's your old Philippe with the crack on the pictured on the page I linked above.



Noted...



Actually, it doesn't show in the photo, but my Guid stem above has the opening at the back of the horizontal arm. Should that increase my wariness with that stem?
Cracking on the AVAS usually start at the quill slot while being used mounted in the steering tube as they did not relieve the end of the slot with a round hole, so the corners at the end of the slots created stress risers where the cracking usually starts....
I don't think there's any worries about the hole in the back of the Guide stem.....
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Old 04-27-16, 07:06 PM
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to those who are interested in the legend of the AVA "death stem", there is info floating around on the interwebs.

Personally, I received one with a frame I bought a number of year ago, and recently sold the stem. I never used the stem, but solely because it was incredibly flexible and really concerned me.

There were two main concerns about the AVA stem. The first was that the expander slots at the bottom of the quill had square corners, which promoted the formation of cracks. If cracks occurred, the quill could break, which is clearly not going to improve your bike ride.
Here's a shot of the expansion slot on my stem....



The other issue with the stem was the hollow extension. On the plus side, it does save weight. On the down side, it reduces the strength of the extension in two ways. The first way is simply that less material is used. As the mechanical engineers in the crowd will know, the material in the middle of a beam or tube contribute the least to the ability to resist deflection or torsion. The bigger problem is that stem was that the hollow center was produced by casting the stem. As you may know, casting produces a weaker structure than forging. Every modern aluminum stem that I can think of is forged.. at least the C&V ones are/were.

Here are a couple of pics that show the hollow extension..





As the second photo shows, there is a lot of material that is removed from the center of the extension, which is certainly one factor in why it felt so incredibly (torsionally) flexible to me.

and to close, a shot of the AVA logo on the extension..




Steve in Peoria
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