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Why does no one talk about mechanical failure accidents?

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Why does no one talk about mechanical failure accidents?

Old 03-31-20, 09:38 PM
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UsedToBeFaster
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Why does no one talk about mechanical failure accidents?

This entire forum seems to be about accidents caused by vehicles.

But I was having a virtual dinner party with cycling friends and all six of us seemed to have had far more accidents due to mechanical failure (broken bars, stem, chains etc.) Sure they werent as serious as the car accidents but much much more prevalent.

Yet, I don't see hardly any threads due to mechnical failures.

Why?
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Old 03-31-20, 10:23 PM
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Russ Roth
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I am a big guy and always have been, I've never snapped a bar or stem and really haven't seen examples of others doing so that didn't involve being directly related to an accident. A lot of other issues don't tend to happen as a result of speed. I've only ever snapped 2 chains both due to lousy shifting under load but no accident. I crushed a BB, completely shattered the cup climbing a hill at over 18mph but other then the crank going wonky and slamming the top bar going uphill let me control the stopping a lot better. Also crunched a BB last year, more power then speed and so no injury. A lot of mechanicals when they go I bet are at slower speeds but when putting in the exertion to get up to speed or accelerate and result in less injury. Regular maintenance should also eliminate a bunch of the issues, like rims usually don't shatter catastrophically without some warning like going out of true from a nipple pulling out or the sidewalls being concave from wear letting you know you've hit a dangerous point. I always thought carbon forks would be a major issue and resisted buying one for years thinking they were just a failure point but I've had to give that one up, they've proven pretty reliable.
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Old 04-01-20, 04:48 AM
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Brocephus
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I had a chainring bizarrely implode on me about 2 weeks ago while lightly torquing up a hill, but thankfully, no accident or further damage resulted.
I've been a bike junky for decades, raced for a few years, but I can't recall another mechanical failure occurring on a ride (other than flats, and a couple busted spokes). I'm trying to recall if I've even personally seen any mechanical failures/accidents, during a ride, but nothing's coming to me.
I did get a cracked weld in a GT mountain frame years ago, that I spotted while cleaning the bike, but there was no "failure/accident".
Given that folks routinely post the most trivial and mundane things imaginable, the fact that there seems to be so few threads about something as noteworthy as a part failure and resulting accident, is probably just a testament to the safety and reliability of most modern bike components.

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Old 04-01-20, 06:59 AM
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Moe Zhoost
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Most of my falls were related to inattention. I've had a number of significant failures, but only one dropped me to the road. That was the time my crank arm broke while climbing. The time when my left side bar broke at the stem was not dramatic probably because I was climbing and pulling up on the bar. I've had brake cables break (or as some here say "break cables braking") but again not much drama. Discounting the variety of minor equipment failures, like flats, dropped chains, shifter cable breaks, broken spokes, etc. catastrophic failures are not all that common.
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Old 04-01-20, 07:19 AM
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UsedToBeFaster
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Right mechanical failures tend to be less drammamatic

Fair point that my friends did agree on: a mechnical failure will result in road burn but rarely broken bones (unless your descending). But tell that to my scrapped knees, elbrow and ankle (my adjustable stem self adjusted!)

Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
Most of my falls were related to inattention. I've had a number of significant failures, but only one dropped me to the road. That was the time my crank arm broke while climbing. The time when my left side bar broke at the stem was not dramatic probably because I was climbing and pulling up on the bar. I've had brake cables break (or as some here say "break cables braking") but again not much drama. Discounting the variety of minor equipment failures, like flats, dropped chains, shifter cable breaks, broken spokes, etc. catastrophic failures are not all that common.
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Old 04-01-20, 08:03 AM
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Daniel4
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No matter what has ever happened due to a mechanical failure of my bike, I've always been able to pull over and get my bike onto the sidewalk to fix the problem.

Included are
a popped tire
chain falling off the sprocket or chainring
shoelace tangled in crank
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Old 04-01-20, 09:52 AM
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rydabent
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Most failures can be eliminated with good maintenance procedures before the summer riding season. I for one go completely thru my bike and trike cleaning oiling and replacing any worn parts. Random failures of handle bars etc are a different story.
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Old 04-01-20, 01:26 PM
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Joe Bikerider
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The thing about maintenance is not the actual doing of it, itís the careful inspection that goes along with it. Just cleaning your bike does that too. Iíve been riding since about 1969 and never had a crash from an equipment failure. Only thing I can remember is flat tires. Some more memorable due to the ridiculous price of sewups back in the day. ($20!). Two most recent crashes have been from going off the MUP into the weeds to avoid kids. Rode home, once with blood running down my forehead. So thatís my experience.
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Old 04-02-20, 11:38 AM
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As I have briefly mentioned elsewhere on this forum before, I learned not terribly long ago from one of my insurance agents that one repository of quite a bit of information about super bad/catastrophic crashes related to mechanical issues of various sorts is the big life insurers, at least here in the US. Before they cut a big check after one of these disasters, there is a thoroughgoing investigation. Because this info is collected to manage corporate insurer liability rather than for pure scientific reasons, nobody outside these companies usually sees it.
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Old 04-02-20, 04:20 PM
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SClaraPokeman
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Sort part failure of a tire blowout is really the only thing I worry about sometimes. I have a suspicion that inner tubes can deteriorate around the value with repeated inflation cycles or age. Since I very, very rarely experience flat tires anymore, I make it a point to change out tubes about every two years. My last tire blow out was in '86 so I think I can say tires have very good QC (I will pull off the road on a long descent on a hot day though to let rims cool). I did have a friend tell me a few years ago he ignored a concave rim and had it fail on him resulting in a broken wrist--but he said that was entirely his fault. Otherwise, with regular bike cleaning inspections, I think bicycles are amazingly dependable machines if one doesn't use inappropriate equipment and the main danger of cycling is operator error or automobile traffic.
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Old 04-02-20, 04:29 PM
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sean.hwy
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15+ years of bike riding here. I have been left stranded from broken parts usually because I was doing something stupid. Giant jumps etc.. crack a frame, bend rims etc..

I have never had a part fail that cause me to crash into something.
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Old 04-02-20, 05:58 PM
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596
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I've had 1 crash from a mechanical failure in 22 years of riding. I was stopped at a traffic light. When the light changed I let her rip and with one push on the right pedal my carbon front fork shattered. The first thing to hit the pavement was my helmeted forehead. Nasty cut over my eye from my glasses.

I've had plenty of parts break while riding but none other then this one resulted in injury.
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Old 04-02-20, 06:23 PM
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Clyde1820
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Once had an old mild steel (curved style, cheapie) fork bend on me while riding, sending the crown right down on top of the tire. Stopped everything right quick. No crash, though, luckily.

And once had a low-end (and thin-walled) steel seatpost fold on me. Again, no crash or injuries, but it put an immediate halt to the ride.

Can't say that I recall any crash induced by mechanical failure of my bike's parts. Lucky, I guess, having ridden since I was about 10yrs of age (decades ago). On the handful of occasions I've dumped, I always seem to have been the one that slammed into things (tree, bike jump that failed, a rock, etc), instead of a bike part breaking and sending me into things.

Last edited by Clyde1820; 04-03-20 at 03:54 AM. Reason: correction
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Old 04-02-20, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by 596 View Post
I've had 1 crash from a mechanical failure in 22 years of riding. I was stopped at a traffic light. When the light changed I let her rip and with one push on the right pedal my carbon front fork shattered. The first thing to hit the pavement was my helmeted forehead. Nasty cut over my eye from my glasses.

I've had plenty of parts break while riding but none other then this one resulted in injury.
What do you think happened here, exactly?
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Old 04-03-20, 09:00 AM
  #15  
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I've never had a crash (big or small) from a mechanical issue, yet. Preventative maintenance and quick attention to parts coming loose have helped with that. I've only crashed due to my mis-judgement or attempting something I shouldn't have tried doing.
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Old 04-03-20, 11:51 AM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
This entire forum seems to be about accidents caused by vehicles.

But I was having a virtual dinner party with cycling friends and all six of us seemed to have had far more accidents due to mechanical failure (broken bars, stem, chains etc.) Sure they werent as serious as the car accidents but much much more prevalent.

Yet, I don't see hardly any threads due to mechnical failures.

Why?
Because I think they're comparatively rare. Yes, we all have had mechanical failures at some point or another, but very few/none of these has (in my experience at least, in ~45 years of cycling) resulted in an accident. As long as the wheels stay on the bike, the handlebars are intact and at least one brake operates, you can rescue yourself from almost any potential mishap. The great thing about a bike is that all of the essential systems are in plain view, so any bike that is (1) reasonably well maintained, (2) periodically inspected and (3) not crashed or abused, is very unlikely to fail spontaneously
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Old 04-03-20, 09:45 PM
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A bit off topic but related - I wonder what is the proper course of action to avoid an accident in case of a front tire flat during a fast descent? No amount of maintenance can really prevent it but judging by the responses in this thread such event is either extremely rare, or there are no survivors to tell about their experience, or, hopefully, people manage to handle the situation gracefully and avoid an accident. Suppose there are a few seconds until the tire loses all the air but how to stop the bike fast enough? My understanding is that braking with a front wheel (the one with flat tire) is a very bad idea and braking hard at speed with rear wheel pretty much guarantees skid and crash on a side.
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Old 04-03-20, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Oso Polar View Post
A bit off topic but related - I wonder what is the proper course of action to avoid an accident in case of a front tire flat during a fast descent? No amount of maintenance can really prevent it but judging by the responses in this thread such event is either extremely rare, or there are no survivors to tell about their experience, or, hopefully, people manage to handle the situation gracefully and avoid an accident. Suppose there are a few seconds until the tire loses all the air but how to stop the bike fast enough? My understanding is that braking with a front wheel (the one with flat tire) is a very bad idea and braking hard at speed with rear wheel pretty much guarantees skid and crash on a side.
The best approach is foresight. Replace your clinchers with tubulars (sewups) before that descent. A well glued tubular will leave you with far more both control and ability to brake. Much, much less exciting. It's been decades but I've blown tubulars at 45 mph. No big deal. Just don't be going around a corner. I'm riding clinchers now but I am going to replace my rims with tubular from now on, mostly for that security. (The ride's pretty darn nice too.)

Ben
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Old 04-03-20, 10:51 PM
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I think that most ďmechanical failuresĒ are self-inflicted. Design can help with this but thereís always resistance. Especially if it makes it less convenient. Lawyer lips, bah! There are plenty of recalls for the things that are truly suspect.
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Old 04-04-20, 04:14 AM
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Back in the mid 1990s, I “upgraded” my front axle, to an expensive, titanium, quick-release skewer. It loosened during a ride, resulting in the wheel dislodging from the fork. The problem may have started with my not tightening the skewer properly, but I’m not sure. The bike was an Atala. It happened suddenly, while going over a curb, but fortunately, I wasn’t going very fast.
I freaked out a bit, and took a rest. No harm to me physically, but some spokes were badly damaged, so the ride was over and I had to walk several miles back home.
It seems the soft titanium, quick-release mechanism, had sufficient wear to “relax” and lost the required tension, during the ride. So I decided to trash the titanium QR and re-install the original axle fitting. Now I thoroughly check over the bike, before I ride.

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Old 04-04-20, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
Why?
Because there usually isn't anyone to blame or beech about.

My highlights, in order of least terrifying to most:
- bent chain while climbing up a short 15-20% rise, jammed up the FD, cranks stopped, I stopped, I fell sideways. Luckily going slower than walking pace.
- one corner of my stem faceplate cracked and handlebars slipped down. Was just starting my roll into a long descent and was able to slow and stop.
- flange of rear hub broke, setting free 3 spokes. At speed on a descent, but luckily the wobble wasn't so bad and I came to a stop.
- instant front wheel blow out at speed on a long steady descent. Luckily I was on a straight. Tyre stayed on. With every moment I was slowing, I thought "this will hurt less". I finally came to a stop gently. Breathing rapidly, pulse high, ass clenched like it could crush rocks. Other riders pulled up behind me we WIDE eyes. Bought a lottery ticket that day.
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Old 04-04-20, 08:38 AM
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The closest I've come to a "mechanical failure accident" was a fixed gear peddle strike. Not having a freewheel mechanism was the failure. I think it just doesn't happen that often.
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Old 04-04-20, 12:51 PM
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Riding folding bikes, my fear is the weld behind the hinges breaking off, but the ones I own appear to have some big thick robust welds.
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Old 04-05-20, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
This entire forum seems to be about accidents caused by vehicles.

But I was having a virtual dinner party with cycling friends and all six of us seemed to have had far more accidents due to mechanical failure (broken bars, stem, chains etc.) Sure they werent as serious as the car accidents but much much more prevalent.

Yet, I don't see hardly any threads due to mechnical failures.

Why?
Because A&S is not the forum for that type of discussion. There are forums for that.
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Old 04-08-20, 07:04 AM
  #25  
indyfabz
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
I've never had a crash (big or small) from a mechanical issue, yet.
Same here.
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