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This is why titanium sucks.

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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

This is why titanium sucks.

Old 05-25-11, 06:03 PM
  #1  
ilovecycling
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This is why titanium sucks.

So earlier today my 3T bars and stem showed up at my front door. I just tried installing them a few minutes ago to get an idea of how the new bike will look when I'm done with the build. While tightening the top bolt on the steerer clamp, I heard a loud "DING" and the bolt was easy to turn all of a sudden. First thing I'm thinking at this point is OMFG did I just crush my new bike's fork steerer? Turns out the titanium bolt in the clamp snapped in half. I immediately removed the tension from the bottom bolt and now I'm sitting here scratching my head. Titanium pedal spindles? No thanks.

I used a Ritchey Carbon 5 Nm torque tool too. Funny thing is, the bolt snapped right as I was expecting the Ritchey tool to click over.




At least it looks good.

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Old 05-25-11, 06:07 PM
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Of course. Everyone knows steel, aluminum, and CF parts do not break, ever, especially when they are made into bolts.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:13 PM
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If only they made carbon fiber bolts, they would be far superior!

Seriously though, did you tighten the two bolts evenly or did you just torque down one bolt first then go to the next?
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Old 05-25-11, 06:13 PM
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Bolt was new, I assume? Also, were you load-balancing - i.e. was the bottom bolt pretty tight when you attempted to screw the top bolt?
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Old 05-25-11, 06:13 PM
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Definitely never broken something like a wheel stud on a car, which is far more burly and probably made of steel. Never twisted one right off while removing a lug nut. Really. Ti is the only metal that can break. Really.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by giantdefy View Post
If only they made carbon fiber bolts, they would be far superior!

Seriously though, did you tighten the two bolts evenly or did you just torque down one bolt first then go to the next?
No, I am not dumb enough to do this. I did tighten the bolts evenly. I also tightened the 4 bar clamp bolts evenly and in a cross pattern. I've been working on bikes since I was a kid, so there was no mistake made here.

Yes, the stem and bolts were brand new and in the package.

I didn't mean to upset the materials geeks. I'm aware that anything can break, regardless of material. But at only 5 Nm? I didn't trust titanium for bicycles before, and I certainly don't now.

Last edited by ilovecycling; 05-25-11 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:23 PM
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I get the grumpy post after just having sheared a Ti bolt. As others pointed out it happens.

The real issue is whether you can get the remaining bit of bolt out of the threaded section of the stem or not. Good luck.

BTW, from what I can see it should be a sharp looking build.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by AltheCyclist View Post
Bolt was new, I assume? Also, were you load-balancing - i.e. was the bottom bolt pretty tight when you attempted to screw the top bolt?
It wouldn't matter if he was or not. Tension on one bolt will not add on to the other bolt in that situation.
Also titanium is weaker than a high grade steel so it will be more likely to break.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
It wouldn't matter if he was or not. Tension on one bolt will not add on to the other bolt in that situation.
Also titanium is weaker than a high grade steel so it will be more likely to break.
I was thinking the "crookedness" of the bolt at (slightly) lopsided angle contributed to failure.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
I get the grumpy post after just having sheared a Ti bolt. As others pointed out it happens.

The real issue is whether you can get the remaining bit of bolt out of the threaded section of the stem or not. Good luck.

BTW, from what I can see it should be a sharp looking build.
To be honest, I'm not grumpy at all. I didn't mean to come off that way, but I suppose it's easy to assume one would be grumpy when a new part fails. Stuff happens and I'm fully aware of that. I just wanted to share with everyone, that's all. Maybe this will help someone out if they are considering a stem with titanium bolts but really don't need them. I know I didn't need them. I only bought the Team version of this stem because it matched the bike and handlebars.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:40 PM
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did the bolt screw in easy? get cross threaded? seems unlikely to just snap with little force of that tool... seeing it broke off further down the bolt looks like it got jammed up
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Old 05-25-11, 06:45 PM
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This is why you don't spend an extra $40 for a red stripe of paint and 6 titanium bolts.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:50 PM
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Are you going to cut that steerer tube or did you take all the spacers out before the picture? That could be deadly sticking up like that. Also, did you put the blue thread locker on the bolt or was it on there when you bought it?
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Old 05-25-11, 06:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
BTW, from what I can see it should be a sharp looking build.
No sh*t. On the positive side, that sheared Ti bolt is a small annoyance relative to what is gonna be a helluva build that should be an endless joy to ride.
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Old 05-25-11, 06:54 PM
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I have never know a steel screw or bolt to break. Strip yes, shear no. Especially at 5nm. Sounds like the screw was not heat treated properly and developed a weak spot in the lattice structure. It could have also been over heated in the threading process. Its a clean break so go get a steel alternative and deal with the extra .1 grams.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by I_like_cereal View Post
I have never know a steel screw or bolt to break. Strip yes, shear no. Especially at 5nm. Sounds like the screw was not heat treated properly and developed a weak spot in the lattice structure. It could have also been over heated in the threading process. Its a clean break so go get a steel alternative and deal with the extra .1 grams.
I had the clamp screw that came with a shimano FD snap. I assume it was steel.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:08 PM
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You just got a bad bolt. It happens. Get another one and don't quite give up on Ti just yet.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
I get the grumpy post after just having sheared a Ti bolt. As others pointed out it happens.

The real issue is whether you can get the remaining bit of bolt out of the threaded section of the stem or not. Good luck.
BTW, from what I can see it should be a sharp looking build.
yup, gotta find some way to turn it backwards. Steel would be easier.
Doesn't look like's going to be any exposed in the slit that could be grabbed.
Maybe drill into the original end a bit, then jam an old phillips head in there to try to get it to turn back out.
Or superglue something to the end, then turn it back out.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
yup, gotta find some way to turn it backwards. Steel would be easier.
Doesn't look like's going to be any exposed in the slit that could be grabbed.
If you are lucky and can see the end of the sheared bolt I'd dremmel a slot in it and use a screwrdier to turn it out. That may be a best case scenario.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:22 PM
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All this bike crap sucks.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina View Post
I get the grumpy post after just having sheared a Ti bolt. As others pointed out it happens.

The real issue is whether you can get the remaining bit of bolt out of the threaded section of the stem or not. Good luck.

BTW, from what I can see it should be a sharp looking build.
Bummer.
I wouldn't be surprised if you end up having to replace the stem.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:48 PM
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I've had two of em snap on my 3T stem. LBS gave me some replacements. Not titanium.
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Old 05-25-11, 08:40 PM
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It's called an EZ-out. Nice bike BTW.
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Old 05-25-11, 08:52 PM
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They do make carbon fiber bolts! I've got the CrMo spindles on my Keo blades. . .
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Old 05-25-11, 08:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Gluteus View Post
Bummer.
I wouldn't be surprised if you end up having to replace the stem.
Nah just find a cycling machinist like me. I'd have it out for you in minutes if you were close by.
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