Monday, June 14, 2010

JRA: Broken Raleigh Frame




A scary story from Brian:
I recently had an accident on my Raleigh in which my carbon frame broke, which caused my crash. I was going about 30mph down a hill and there was a sharp transition going uphill at the bottom. As soon as I started braking at the uphill my frame snapped and I went flying into the woods. I was fortunate I didn't hit the concrete, but still came out with several head injuries. There were no stress cracks, no dents, nothing wrong with the frame as I had just had it fully serviced and picked it up three hours prior to the accident.
These are the type of failures that made me start this blog. You can't tell me steel, aluminum or titanium fails like this.

16 comments:

Aaron said...

Nope, breaks like that are definitely a carbon "feature". They keep trying to make the stuff lighter and lighter, when they should be focusing more on strength. I'd rather my frame weighed 8oz more if it meant I got to keep my teeth.

Anonymous said...

JRA? Bullshit!

Anonymous said...

Yup. JRA my ass. Unless "JRA" is now code for "I caught wicked air on my road bike (attempting to) bunny hop those RR tracks". Or some variation.

Anonymous said...

The front end of the bike broke off in a violent reaction to the hideous choice of bartape.

Anonymous said...

anon 12:37 - well put.

Anonymous said...

Why was the rider braking before an uphill? Makes no sense - better to use your momentum from the downhill. I'm with the others here...JRA my ass.

Anonymous said...

Even if he wasn't just riding along, and was trying to bunny hop some railroad tracks - a Steel bike would not implode like this.

smellsofbikes said...

I have had an aluminum frame fail like this, and I've had friends with aluminum forks (and those old Klein stem/handlebar combinations) that have similarly failed -- but never steel, it's true. Man, that's nasty.

Dave Shishkoff said...

I would also blame the bar tape.

Anonymous said...

I've seen steel bikes break like this, but I'll grant you it was a manufacturer's mistake rather than a design feature. In this case, a major steel manufacturer seemingly forgot to braze a joint where the top tube met the headtube lug. Customer was descending a hill at full clip, hit a bridge at the bottom of the hill, and the top tube simply came apart. He had several tens of thousands of dollars in hospital bills as a result, and the manufacturer refused to so much as acknowledge a mistake. The case was settled out of court.

Simiarly, a titanium bike was dragged into the shop about two months ago which had simply come apart on the downtube. Again, the manufacturer was at fault because of overheating, and the drilling out the frame at this point (where the cable bosses attach to the frame). Customer thought he had a flat, only to realize that the only thing holding the bike together were the shift cables, as the top tube would have simply buckled under his weight and the nominal stress from descending. This time, the customer was rewarded with a brand-new 6700-equipped carbon bike from the manufacturer.

So while I agree that carbon caries increased and inherent risks, failure like this can happen to all materials used in frame construction.

Tyson said...

Not sure what metal is better but I have the exact same bike and had the frame crack on me.

I bought this bike back in late 2008. I really enjoyed the bike as it is light and responsive. I road it in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon and another dozen times during 2009. However, in 2010, I was mashing up a hill in Sausalito (exerting significant force and torque) and the frame (between the crank and the rear derailleur) cracked :(

I was really surprised considering that I had only ridden the bike 20 or so times. However, I was relieved when I remembered that Raleigh had lifetime warranty on the frame.

Unfortunately, Raleigh will not replace my frame but instead wants to charge me for a replacement frame as they say that I "crashed" (judging from the crack). I always stored in my condo and took great care of it and NEVER crashed it. I am really bummed as I really liked the bike and really liked Raleigh (I had several Raleigh mountain bikes over the years). I will never buy a Raleigh bike again because of their customer service... they should take a leaf of Apple's customer service manual (it is no surprise that Apple is dominating the tech space).

PastorRick said...

"Several head injuries"?

Just how many heads did you have with you that day?

Caleb Sturge said...

Why does the cause matter. It's a "lifetime warranty". The bike frame should be replaced by Raliegh, period! It isn't for them to say how it was busted, they don't know.
They're dishonest and their warranty is worthless. If I break my Loomis or even Fenwick fishing rod they give me a new one, period. No matter if I broke it over my knee or in a car door or on a fish. Because they stand by their warranty. Not Raleigh though.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, i like to see my 25 year old steel frame snap like this- not going to happen, unless an elephant steps on it.

Anonymous said...

This happened, although not so dramatically to my steel frame, just snapped as I went to turn. So steel is not exempt from this problem

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