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Crack in carbon tubular rim

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Crack in carbon tubular rim

Old 09-04-06, 09:07 PM
  #1  
Pizza Man
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Crack in carbon tubular rim

I knew the course had a lot of potholes and that I should have used my cheaper, stronger race lite wheels, but I went with the Bontrager race x-lite carbon tubulars. I hit a pot hole hard mid race, but luckily didn't go down. I finished the race and upon inspecting the rim post race found a 3/4" crack from the tire toward the spokes.
These are deep rims (about 2"). It's still true, but I don't know if it's safe to ride on it anymore. If I do, I'd only use it on uphill time trials. (Would that be safe?)

Would it be worth it to keep the hub and buy a new rim?

Has anyone else ever cracked a carbon wheel, and what did you do with it?
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Old 09-04-06, 10:09 PM
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no experience but I don't like the sound of it.
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Old 09-04-06, 10:30 PM
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contact trek, if its not under warranty, they might have a replacement policy where they will give you a break on the price.
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Old 09-04-06, 11:08 PM
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No, cracked carbon fiber is not safe to ride at all. Try to get them replaced.
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Old 09-05-06, 02:03 AM
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i would get them replaced because carbon fibre may give no warning when it breaks, it could be when your in a sprint or when your going downhill at 50km/h

i wouldent risk it
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Old 09-05-06, 05:53 AM
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I wouldn't touch that wheel until you have someone take a look at it.
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Old 09-05-06, 06:02 AM
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Replace the rim....
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Old 09-05-06, 06:33 AM
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yeah - I'd probably replace the rim. That sux. I love carbon wheels but haven't bought 'em because of this reason.
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Old 09-05-06, 09:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ravenmore
yeah - I'd probably replace the rim. That sux. I love carbon wheels but haven't bought 'em because of this reason.
Thanks for the replies. I won't use it again.

It was a rough crit course. There were many crashes, but the most amazing thing I saw was a guy who snapped his handlebars (right side snapped off at the stem). He managed to move his right hand to the stem and slow to a stop just as his right handlebar (with shifter still attached) got caught in his front spokes. And he didn't go down!
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Old 09-05-06, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Pizza Man
Thanks for the replies. I won't use it again.

It was a rough crit course. There were many crashes, but the most amazing thing I saw was a guy who snapped his handlebars (right side snapped off at the stem). He managed to move his right hand to the stem and slow to a stop just as his right handlebar (with shifter still attached) got caught in his front spokes. And he didn't go down!
Ok so the question everyone now wants to know...Alloy or CF bars?

I have seen this happen 3 times with Alloy bars but the rider has never been as lucky (skilled) as the rider in your story.
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Old 09-05-06, 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
Ok so the question everyone now wants to know...Alloy or CF bars?

I have seen this happen 3 times with Alloy bars but the rider has never been as lucky (skilled) as the rider in your story.
They were alloy bars, and it was a clean break, right at the stem. I'd say this guy was both skilled and lucky.
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Old 09-05-06, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Pizza Man
They were alloy bars, and it was a clean break, right at the stem. I'd say this guy was both skilled and lucky.
Yup that is EXACTLY how I have seen them break as well...right next to the stem...and why is it always the right side I have seen break off...hmm
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Old 09-05-06, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Pizza Man
If I do, I'd only use it on uphill time trials.
You gonna walk back down?
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Old 09-05-06, 12:38 PM
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New rim or send it to calfee to get it repaired
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Old 09-05-06, 12:47 PM
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Pizza Man, I think if you want to err on the side of caution and can afford a new rim, then you should do so.

Having said that, I have two relevant stories to relate. The first is of local cyclocross fast guy (and national 35-39 Masters champ!) Shannon Skerritt here in Portland OR. Last year, Shannon rode most of the season on a cracked Bontrager carbon aero rim, with no problem--he won a national title on it for pete's sake.

The other story involves Mike Curiak, who works for Zipp as a wheelbuilder, and is a long distance MTB racer extraordinaire. Mike races a 29er Moots with Zipp 404 clinchers in such ultra endurance off road races as Iditabike and The Great Divide Race. I read somewhere, either cyclingnews.com or DirtRag, about his race bike being displayed prominently at the Zipp booth at Interbike in 2004, the year he won the Great Divide Race. His Zipps were apparently all spider webbed with hairline cracks. He was planning on building a new pair of shiny show-worthy wheels, but his employers at Zipp caught wind of this and asked him not to. They *wanted* to display the cracked rims to show the kind of abuse that their products can take.

So, like I said--it makes a lot of sense to err on the side of caution. But if the timing is bad for you to drop a bunch of cash, then I think these two cases demonstrate that you could probably get away with using them a bit longer, particularly for uphill TTs or the like. I would hesitate before using them in a fast tight urban crit though.

Good luck.
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Old 09-05-06, 08:14 PM
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Considering the consequences if you gamble and lose, I'm glad you decided to replace it.
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Old 09-05-06, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper
Ok so the question everyone now wants to know...Alloy or CF bars?

I have seen this happen 3 times with Alloy bars but the rider has never been as lucky (skilled) as the rider in your story.
I've broken a set of alloy bars on the right hand side. I also have a friend who has broken a set of alloy bars. I suspect that we stressed the bars in crashes, and didn't notice the initial cracks until the bars gave way. In my case, I was lucky - I fell away from a highway with 50 mph traffic, and ended up with only 3 stitches in the knee. Plus they were on the side of the knee, so I could still race the next weekend!

Since then, my motto has always to replace any weight-bearing components if I'm not sure of it's structural integrity. The consequences can be pretty risky otherwise.
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Old 09-05-06, 08:38 PM
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What about doing a carbon repair? I think it is possible to have it repaired??
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