Bike failure

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  • Bike failure
  • Premier Icon bruneep

    It’s all about making you open your wallet for more stuff you don’t really need, you may want it it but do you need it?


    It’s not just about strength though is it? Stiffness, weight, durability are all affected by the things you mention.

    PS – I have snapped frames and stuff. 🙂

    I’m 100 kg’s and have ridden a similar range of bikes to the OP.

    Total failures in well over twenty years amount to a snapped titanium BB axle and a snapped 110gram carbon handlebar. The bar lasted all of 2 road miles after being fitted so we can safely assume that it was a manufacturing fault.

    I’ve worn plenty of stuff out but very few things have just broken.


    I never snapped or even bent a pair of 25.4mm bars…they were fine on the DH bikes that I ran at them time however I think as bars have become wider they had to have a bigger clamp to reduce flex. I’ve got to say that I do prefer I wider bar so have moved to oversized clamp.

    20mm forks are great but I don’t really see the point in 15mm… Undo agree that 32mm forks are great for a lotof riding. People talk about the Fox 32 chasis being a noodle, but I never noticed too much flex in mine. I also remember when they were lauded for being so stiff and light. I run a pair of Z1’s on my BFe with 32mm stanchions and they feel fine to me but I will own up to having a pair of Fox 36’s too.

    There is a massive amount of marketing BS and other rubbish spouted by magazines that some get believe to be gospel. Everything had to be stiffer than the last iteration etc. Soon bikes will be so rigid that they’ll be grim to ride.

    However, I’m not totally against progress. Big travel bikes that don’t weigh loads and pedal well have opened up a mot of riding because lifts and pushing aren’t needed. Technology is trickling down too making the lower end stuff more of an option. My favourite example of this is the Deore brakes I’ve just bought. I’m genuinely amazed at how good they are for the money.


    Yes there is some marketing but there are some other factors.

    First off is people get dissatisfied and want better – stiffer, wider, lighter, longer forks etc. When something comes out and it better than before you love it but you get used to having it and then want better. Happens everywhere.

    New materials mean designs have to change. You don’t get slim tube aluminium or carbon fibre bikes like you do steel as the material properties and manufacturing methods are different.

    Engineering development as more money is spent on R&D and knowledge grows. A thick walled slim tube is heavier for the same stiffness than a thinner walled larger diameter tube, it’s basic engineering.The limiting factor is normally the stability and dent resistance as the wall thickness thins but materials like aluminium and carbon fibre have lower specific properties so are made thicker for the same weight which helps these problems.

    The new 35mm bars are a good example as they have brought down the weight of bars over 750mm to that of 31.8mm bars around 700mm.


    In 25 years Ive not bust anything, but I am riding much harder trails now. So that means Im punishing the bike way more. My first bike would have died doing a lap of any Black graded trail center. Whereas now my bike copes with more than that.

    Im also fatter, so its twice as hard.


    I think it’s safe to say that riding has got harder, and faster and has driven technology and development forward. I don’t necessarily mean your average joe soap, but certainly at competition and pro level the demands on kit are a lot bigger, and these advances trickle down the food chain.

    ETA: I think the rule of thumb is that it’s better that something is over engineered than under.

    Premier Icon amedias

    I can certainly say I broke more than my fair share of 90s bits, less in the early 00’s, and even less now, so my anecdotal evidence says that it’s a good thing… or I’m getting smoother 😉

    Used to go through (ie: properly snapped) at least one frame every 12 – 18 months, cranks, bars, BB spindles, a couple of forks… then the industry started catching up to people riding more than just XC races and it all changed, but now it seems that the focus is on that type of riding when the vast majority are still riding normal XC most of the time (me included) so I definitely think there is a degree of truth to the bikes being stronger/heaver than people need nowadays, it’s jsut that those bikes are available for people who do need them, where as they never used to be.


    I’ve been around mountain bikes for some time, started out when the only option was fully rigid and seen the evolution of MTB design go through more gears, suspension, big wheels, back to normal wheels, oval cranksets, less gears, clown wheels etc.

    Bit that gets me is how everything is made stronger now – is it really required – were people having significant parts failures?

    Forks going from 32mm stanchions to 36mm, now 34mm. I’ve done sizeable jumps on 32mm forks with 9mm QR. Nothing failed, I’m 80kgs though, is everything designed for the 160kg gent?

    Handlebars – its now difficult to buy 25.4mm stem and handlebars as I found out trying to buy a shorter stem recently – why? Mine never failed, never came close to breaking. My new bikes all have 31.8mm but do I need it? Are designers going to release the 28.2mm bars next year?

    I have made the transition to 15mm bolt through axles as I did notice a difference in the front end stiffness.

    Even on frame design, why is there now a requirement for strengthening plates on the down tube/head tube interface? I’ve never snapped a frame..

    I’m not super extreme so appreciate there will be many others hitting drops and jumps that I don’t hit – I’ll hit any of the trail centre stuff but some of the downhill course features I’ll be on the chicken run…

    I’m just curious to know how many people have had failures of bike parts – have I just been lucky?

    Are my 25.4mm handlebars going to catastrophically fail now I’ve used up 99% of the fatigue life?


    When you can have stiffer, stouter, more durable components AND lightweight then why not?

    Aren’t Fox 36 floats about 2kg…With 160mm travel, 20mm through-axle and 36mm diameter stanchions?! Yes please!

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