Thursday, April 10, 2008

9 BH G4 Broken Fork

Latest pictures from yesterday's Ghent Wevelgem in Belgium. The carbon fork is sheared off, maybe halfway from midsection. Everything else appears pretty much intact.

What is very interesting is that the manufacturer on its website claims : "This is quite possibly the lightest production frame on the market and it has a lifetime warranty. BH achieves this magical blend of low-weight, great ride and toughness using Nanotechnology resins."

I'm not sure where exactly extra reinforcement was provided in the frame and fork. But this comes at a time when just a week or two back in an earlier post, we talked about this idea of how carbon nanotubes may help counter the very situation of catastrophic and brittle failures. This is either bad manufacturing, dum marketing or nanotechnology has just taken a stab in the back.

The bicycle was ridden by Dion Renaud when he took a spill. Anyone know the details of the crash? I hope it wasn't a traffic island again.

9 comments:

  1. Interesting failure mode. Makes you wonder how it happened. It's hard to tell from the photo, but it also looks like the handlebar took a hit. The reach to the brakes looks a lot longer than it should.

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  2. Aluminum bar, hopefully it should bend right back.

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  3. Anonymous4:24 PM

    I'm not sure why the first assumption is poor manufacturing or engineering. If you crash hard enough, in the right way, any fork is going to break. Drive a Mercedes into a bridge abutment at 85 mph and you're going to total it and kill yourself, even though it's supposed to be the safest car on the market.

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  4. It is a nasty failure regardless of what caused it. Do we know yet? Anon has a point that we don’t know if was an engineering problem or not, but the fact remains that carbon forks are more prone to catastrophic failures than the overbuilt steel forks from years past (not that forks didn’t break then too). I am not ready to trade my carbon fork for an old steel one, but I do realize that there is some tradeoff as bikes get lighter and lighter. As a recreational rider, I am not putting my bike through the same abuse as a pro on the cobbles, but I do realize that my lightweight bike is not going to last forever if I ride it hard. As long as people know that it is OK, but a lifetime warranty on an ultralight frame perhaps does give customers a false sense of security. I think some manufacturers are just assuming that most customers will replace the frame a few years down the road, which makes offering that lifetime warranty a pretty safe bet.

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  5. Anonymous7:41 PM

    Notice how the "claim" makes no reference to the fork. Ha Ha! Good old fashioned feel good marketing.

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  6. However it broke, I bet it hurt.

    Are you referring to the guy that hit the traffic island at the Ronde last weekend? That was absolutely brutal.

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  7. Chris - Yep.

    James - Thanks.

    If at all they used reinforcing, they probably used very little. This nano stuff isn't cheap. But I was more amused at the audacity of the marketing side.

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  8. Ti-pere7:54 AM

    I saw exactly how this fork broke. Let me tell you, it was the biggest head first into a road decor. It was a city concrete low flower bed (about 2 feet high) that pokes out in the street, he basically sprinted into it in the middle of the race. Geesh, I`m suprised no one saw it or even hinted this may be failure. Not a single bicycle of this planet would have survived.

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  9. Just for the record, manufacturer warranties don't cover running your bike into traffic islands and road furniture. They may be sympathetic, but they're pretty much going to assume you watch where you're going.

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Thank you. I read every single comment.