Sudden and Catastrophic Carbon Fork Failure

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by arnehuse, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    Last night I was cruising along having a great ride on my Cannondale R5000. I heard a loud snap and my face was launched into the pavement at 23 Km/hr! No doubt my helmet saved my life considering how smashed it is in front. The left side of my face is stitched up and my shoulder is badly injured but I am feeling pretty lucky to be alive.
    I have contacted Cannondale, but has anyone heard of this happening? I am still in shock that something so horrific could happen.


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  2. steve

    steve Administrator
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    Nasty!!
     
  3. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    It was! I am feeling very lucky right now.
    Cannondale has really stepped up on this and I am very appreciative of that. Considering my bike was six years old and I am Canadian (much different legal system than US), they have been gracious and I remain a huge Cannondale fan.

    All I know for certain is my helmet saved my life!
     
  4. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Send your pictures and story to http://www.bustedcarbon.com/

    I just posted regarding Wilier's YEAR LONG spell of manufacturing faulty forks...should be down the thread list a bit.

    I hope Cannondale takes good care of your medical bills, gets you a new bike and that your recovery is quick and complete!
     
  5. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Oh man you are lucky. I hit 62km/h once on a fitness bike with an aluminium fork and I only found out from the GPS log after I got home. I dont even wear a helmet most of the time and yes, despite of all the propaganda I just dont like them that much. Its not the law to wear one here either. ("Imagine your brain is like jello... Jeeeeeellooooo /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif )

    If its easy could you tell how exactly the fork broke?

    I have little experience with carbon but apparently they say its pretty fatigue weakening proof, but that might not apply for the epoxy that sticks the layers together. But as I see here the fabric is torn as well. Did you hit something? Like a bad pothole or a rock or anything? Do you think that the fork had weakenend over the time or it was faulty to begin with? Did you have any identical rides with the one that the fork broke without any problems?

    Wishes for a speedy recovery! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  6. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    It's a total mystery why the fork broke. If it was anything on my end, I had a small Sigma battery locked in it's holder (twist lock on a velcro strap) just under my handle bars. It has an 8" cable that attaches to the handlebar light. After the crash, the dented battery was hanging by the cable to the light, and the velcro strap was gone. There was no spoke damage though and I would think the battery would have been launched if the battery had swung free, landed in the spokes, and impacted the forks. This is total speculation on my part and very unlikely, but I am a professional analyst and the most important thing for me is understanding what may have happened. The bike was six years old with around 12K - 15K miles on it and no crashes except a minor layover about three years ago. I am not a small guy at 190 lbs and the roads here are pretty rough but nothing exceptional. I was just 15 Km shy of 1000 Km in 7 weeks that night too.

    Cannondale is sending me a beautiful new ride and has covered all my expenses. This is much appreciated as here in Canada while medical expenses are not an issue, our tort system is such that Canondale's treatment of me is far better than a court case would produce.

    I can tell you that from now on, I will be doing a monthly "tap-test" over my new carbon frame to check for a hollow sound indicating a possible weakness.
    And...Take it from me...HELMETS REALLY DO SAVE LIVES!!!

    I get my stitches out tomorrow and healing nicely :) New bike arrives Monday.
     
  7. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    I sent the photos and my story. I laughed at your Lingerie football comment. Did you know players have to sign contracts that they have to accept "accidental nudity" during play? Another thing you don't see in cycling.
     
  8. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    "I sent the photos and my story."

    Cool! The catastrophic failures and the circumstances behind them need to be documented. I hope you included a photo of your face! Torn hide is manly!

    I laughed at your Lingerie football comment.

    Good! It's supposed to be at least a little funny! I hope the laughter didn't pull at your stitches though.

    "Did you know players have to sign contracts that they have to accept "accidental nudity" during play?"

    Excellent!!! A little nip never hurt anybody!

    "Another thing you don't see in cycling."

    Cycling needs some hot cheerleaders. There should be a new rule...nine riders on the team requires nine NFL-quality cheerleaders in skimpy lycra and trashy tatoos.
     
  9. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    Cannondale is sending me a beautiful new ride and has covered all my expenses.

    This is good news and should elicit praise for Cannondale.

    I hope your health returns to normal quickly and you get some winter miles on your new bike!

    I am a 'it's your noggin' type, but I couldn't agree more...helmets save lives and ending up in the mental ward somewhere between asparagus and zucchini!
     
  10. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    The face pic was taken the day after the crash. Cannondale has paid for my new glasses and I am glad I was wearing them. The ride data is interesting in how my heart rate shot up right after the accident. By the time I was in the ambulance, it was down to 80 bpm.



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    [​IMG] New Cannondale helmet and cover are coming too :)

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  11. Volnix

    Volnix Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm so the battery detached from the handlebar, losing some inertia from the velcro strap and instead of just flying off it hit the fork causing a dent that caused the fork to brake? Could make sense if the fork broke in different points along each blades length (the battery couldnt just hit both blades at the same point at the same time... probably /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif) but it doesnt seem like that since the fork broke at exactly the same point along its length in each blade. By the looks of it the fork just broke at some point beyond elastic deformation and carbon doesnt have much of plastic deformation as much as I know, it just brakes. 12k miles is a lot too. I have only 3200km on my bike and I am allready scared about the fork braking due to fatigue damage cause I ride anywhere as long as I dont get punctures in the tires...


    Seems like Cannondale is a nice company. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif

    By the way there are some tests which are made nowdays for city and road bikes, which award a bike with a quality standard like CE.

    There is one for city bikes, EN 14764 :

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/53634725/20081023-Cen-Bike-Standards-en-14764-English-draft

    There is another one for racing bikes too, (I suspect its less strict then the city bikes one /img/vbsmilies/smilies/wink.gif), EN 14781:

    http://azione.cc/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/EN-14781-.pdf

    Might worth a read. Especially the fatigue strength requirements. For example on the EN 14764 standard, the fatigue strength requirement for a city bicycle is (page 50 of the guide):

    "Apply the test forces for 100 000 test cycles where one test cycle consists of the application and removal of the twotest forces."

    I am making 100000 test cycles per week on my bike. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    By the way I would avoid helmet covers. I read somewhere (in the bicycle helmet safety institute I think, here is their link: http://www.bhsi.org/) That the outer surface of the helmet should be slippery, so if you get collision with something, the helmet wont have friction and will just slide instead of pulling you back.) Thats why I hate those kid's Hanna Montana jeans covered helmets. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    Good luck with the new bike! /img/vbsmilies/smilies/smile.gif
     
  12. dabac

    dabac Well-Known Member

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    In the spirit of this sidetrack, shouldn't that be "another thong...."
     
  13. alienator

    alienator New Member

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    OP: in the last six years, how often have you been hitting potholes or other obstructions that would cause a high impulse into the fork?
     
  14. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    In the spirit of this sidetrack, shouldn't that be "another thong...."

    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/biggrin.gif

    Boom! Tish!

    Thank you! Thank you!

    Dabac will be working the Crankroom all week! Try the veal, folks...it's great! And be sure and tip your waitress!

    I as going to say that closest we have seen in cycling since Paola Pezzo doped and retired is Paul Kimmage staring at Floyd's ass crack. We are in the wrong sport! Mikey Ball's (great porn name, BTW!) Rock & Republic podium girlz was the best thing to happen to cycling since moto GP umbrella girlz became standard equipment on the grid.

    Not the OP, but i spent 5-1/2 years on a full carbon no-name Douglas frameset from Colorado Cyclist and put approx. 30K miles of crappy Ohio roads on it, training, racing and bombing over double sets of RR tracks. IMNSHO there's absolutely NO reason a frame and fork should not be able to handle that stuff under a 190 pound rider (unless otherwise specified as a rider weight limit by the manufacturer or the frameset is some sort of bizarre 'limited use' designation).
     
  15. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    I am not speculating that a small battery could have taken out my forks like that, it's just the only thing that was in the area afterwards. I would think that in a carbon-vs-plastic impact, carbon should come out on top. Because I went straight down, the battery was impacted in the fall and the strap would have come off. I am just now remembering a small rock that zipped out from my riding partner's tire a week prior to my accident and come to think of it, it may have hit my fork. I don't subscribe to "carbon fatigue" because let's face it, in riding that many miles over six years I was bound to receive various impacts to my forks in the course of riding. In the future, if a rock or anything else hits my carbon, I am going to do a "tap-test"and check for damage. This of course will only be for peace of mind because this can only happen once in a lifetime so I am now invincible :)
     
  16. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    I have to cross railroad tracks several times each ride. These are always across paved roadways but you bring up a good point because it is a bump for sure.
     
  17. CAMPYBOB

    CAMPYBOB Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]


    What model Giro were you wearing?

    Last April I drilled a loose mutt and cracked my Atmos in two places...almost identical location as yours. I did not see the road coming up to kiss me...it happened so quickly and unexpectedly (say...like a fork collapsing!!! Heheh!). I do remember the sound the helmet made as it slapped the pavement.

    In your case, your face got the worse of it! God must have decided I'm already ugly enough...no damage to face thank goodness.

    Your new 'dueling scar' will impress the ladies!

    Here's a shot or two of my split lid. Like you said...helmets save lives and prevent long hospital stays learning to talk and walk again.


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    Forward, right side.



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    Rear, right side.

    We paid our dues for next season, I think!
     
  18. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    The crashed helmet was a Monza and I also own a Gyro Hex. I like having one helmet with a light always attached for evening riding.
     
  19. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    Stitches are out of my face :)
    Sort of hope I can maintain a little scar as a war wound.
     
  20. arnehuse

    arnehuse New Member

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    That's quite a bit of damage to your helmet. Nice to walk away from those.

    BTW there is only one lady I need to impress :)
     
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