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My cracked Spec Roubaix bike frame - the resolution

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My cracked Spec Roubaix bike frame - the resolution

Old 09-27-22, 04:33 PM
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Polaris OBark
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What caught my eye in the original post and picture, apart from the chain stay fracture, was the rim:




What are the dark irregular spots on the rim?
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Old 09-27-22, 04:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
What caught my eye in the original post and picture, apart from the chain stay fracture, was the rim:




What are the dark irregular spots on the rim?
Shoddily removed decals.
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Old 09-27-22, 06:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
What caught my eye in the original post and picture, apart from the chain stay fracture, was the rim:




What are the dark irregular spots on the rim?
Drops of water. I'd just finished washing it after a ride, thus, photographed upside down.

I take care of my bike.

=K
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Old 09-27-22, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Hopefully Specialized took the frame back to look at it. It may be that one should make a special Baby Boomer model of carbon fiber frames, that are just a little more robust than the racing frames.

If I was @KiwiDallas, I'd carefully look at how the bike is transported, how it is parked, and how it is stored. Falling, banging, etc.
I lay it carefully on its side in the back of my SUV and drive it over to my local lake loop. Same treatment as I've done for my 2005 CF Roubaix. Same for the 2008 Tarmac. I don't ride them on city streets - that's suicidal.

I park it and store in my garage on two hooks under the top bar. Always. Same as the other two Spec CF bikes. For the last 17 years.

LBS has shipped the broken frame back to Spec at their request, but also as a condition for Spec sending out a new one.

I'd suggest that "OK Boomer" frames should not be expected to meet anywhere near the same stresses as racing frames. My hero days are long gone.

=K
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Old 09-27-22, 06:58 PM
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Additional color: From the first six weeks of this mess:

- My engineering and science friends all said: If I were Specialized and heard the circumstances, learned about the owner, and saw the picture: I'd immediately want the frame back to see if there's a continuing problem in the fab/ layup process at the Taiwan factory - and whether other bikes from the same run (based on their serial numbers) had the same problems. That's basic manufacturing QC.

Instead, Spec dragged its feet and wanted my frame back only after 6 or 7 weeks of arguing with my LBS, before they'd send a replacement.

- My lawyer friends pointed out: You and Spec were very lucky the frame didn't break apart while you were riding, say, 30 mph downhill. That's a massive personal injury lawsuit. Why wouldn't Spec want to examine the frame immediately to determine if there's a QC problem and several dozen other frames might crack and injure their riders? That's just basic general-counseling.

- My friend in sales and retail all said: Good for your LBS but what on earth is wrong with this manufacturer, that they'd try to stiff a longtime customer like you? In this day and age of social media?

=K
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Old 09-27-22, 07:05 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
I still don't think that was a random frame failure either. And as Koyote posted I'd not take it as an admission of that. I have a pretty detailed knowledge of how carbon frames are made and it's so unlikely that the layup gets put in the mold incorrectly that I don't think I've ever seen it happen. For that type of damage to occur you'd have to leave pieces of carbon out of the layup, so when you thought you had a complete frame you'd have to have leftover pieces of carbon. It's very unlikely that nothing caused that from the outside.
I've noted in the posts above that I'm quite careful with this and my other Spec CF bikes, neither of which have sustained any damage over the last 14-17 years of the same riding and use.

I am curious why you and Koyote are so sure that it's not a manufacturing defect.

You have not seen the bike frame. You don't know me or my riding habits. Most importantly, you are dismissing the professional opinion of the general manager and the service manager of the LBS. They've each been around expensive bikes (as you have) for over 20 years each. They've been over this with magnifying glasses. They think it's a fab/ layup failure at the Taiwan factory.

What sort of externality, do you think, would have caused that failure, then?

=K
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Old 09-27-22, 07:33 PM
  #32  
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It’s possible that the CF sheets were properly laid, but the resin did not get uniformly infused into the layup. Usually, a vacuum is used to “suck” the resin into the layup so that it is uniformly infused. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. That would leave a void or a section where the CF would be “dry” and brittle, and therefore degrade over time. Only way to tell would be to cut it open.

Such voids are fairly common in all types of fiber reinforced plastics such as fiberglass and carbon fiber.

All-in-all you were fortunate to get a new frame so quickly. Even if they didn’t contest it, it may have still taken that long to get it.
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Old 09-27-22, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by KiwiDallas View Post
- My lawyer friends pointed out: You and Spec were very lucky the frame didn't break apart while you were riding, say, 30 mph downhill. That's a massive personal injury lawsuit. Why wouldn't Spec want to examine the frame immediately to determine if there's a QC problem and several dozen other frames might crack and injure their riders? That's just basic general-counseling.
Originally Posted by KiwiDallas View Post
I am curious why you and Koyote are so sure that it's not a manufacturing defect.

You have not seen the bike frame. You don't know me or my riding habits. Most importantly, you are dismissing the professional opinion of the general manager and the service manager of the LBS. They've each been around expensive bikes (as you have) for over 20 years each. They've been over this with magnifying glasses. They think it's a fab/ layup failure at the Taiwan factory.

What sort of externality, do you think, would have caused that failure, then?
Manufacturers are able to make such thin seat stays because they're not doing a lot of the heavy lifting. See Steven Kruijswijk's Cervelo: he crashed and then finished a TdF stage without noticing that he'd completely lost one of his seatstays -




Just riding around isn't going to stress that area enough to cause that kind of damage. An impact, like from a branch swept in to the wheel, is more likely to cause the type of damage seen on your 'stays. Knowing this explains why Spec "dragged their feet."
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Old 09-27-22, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by KiwiDallas View Post
I've noted in the posts above that I'm quite careful with this and my other Spec CF bikes, neither of which have sustained any damage over the last 14-17 years of the same riding and use.

I am curious why you and Koyote are so sure that it's not a manufacturing defect.

You have not seen the bike frame. You don't know me or my riding habits. Most importantly, you are dismissing the professional opinion of the general manager and the service manager of the LBS. They've each been around expensive bikes (as you have) for over 20 years each. They've been over this with magnifying glasses. They think it's a fab/ layup failure at the Taiwan factory.

What sort of externality, do you think, would have caused that failure, then?

=K
I'm pretty sure my 'professional' experience is equal to or most likely much greater than theirs. In my opinion many people w/ your bike shop guy's experience don't know anywhere near as much as you or they think they do. As I've posted previously it would be very hard to have a 'manufacturing defect'. I can tell you with absolute certainty there are no 'seams' in that area. There are probably some overlapping pieces in specific areas for added strength but at the very least there are 3 layers of carbon that run the length of the stay. Also see the photo of the bike w/ the missing stay. Many bikes today could probably be ridden without seatstays.

Originally Posted by Mojo31 View Post
It’s possible that the CF sheets were properly laid, but the resin did not get uniformly infused into the layup. Usually, a vacuum is used to “suck” the resin into the layup so that it is uniformly infused. Sometimes things don’t go as planned. That would leave a void or a section where the CF would be “dry” and brittle, and therefore degrade over time. Only way to tell would be to cut it open.

Such voids are fairly common in all types of fiber reinforced plastics such as fiberglass and carbon fiber.

All-in-all you were fortunate to get a new frame so quickly. Even if they didn’t contest it, it may have still taken that long to get it.
You don't understand how this process works. The resin is already in the carbon when it's manufactured. The bike factory doesn't add any. That's why it's call PRE-PREG. 'Voids' are not all common when pre-preg is used. You should do some research before making such uninformed posts.
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Old 09-27-22, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
I'm pretty sure my 'professional' experience is equal to or most likely much greater than theirs. In my opinion many people w/ your bike shop guy's experience don't know anywhere near as much as you or they think they do. As I've posted previously it would be very hard to have a 'manufacturing defect'. I can tell you with absolute certainty there are no 'seams' in that area. There are probably some overlapping pieces in specific areas for added strength but at the very least there are 3 layers of carbon that run the length of the stay. Also see the photo of the bike w/ the missing stay. Many bikes today could probably be ridden without seatstays.


You don't understand how this process works. The resin is already in the carbon when it's manufactured. The bike factory doesn't add any. That's why it's call PRE-PREG. 'Voids' are not all common when pre-preg is used. You should do some research before making such uninformed posts.
Ive had lots of experience with the process through my sailing days, but I’m not going to argue with you.
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Old 09-27-22, 09:55 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by KiwiDallas View Post
What sort of externality, do you think, would have caused that failure, then?
Did you miss WhyFi 's post? His point is that seat stays aren't under much stress. In fact, he posted a pic of a Cervelo. Many years ago, Cervelo designed a bike with NO seatstays which was perfectly functional. They didn't mass produce it because the UCI only allows bikes with two triangles.

The point is that, even WITH a mfg defect, a seat stay is unlikely to break. Add in the fact that yours looks like it suffered a trauma, and add in the fact that the company that made the frame (and which is known for honoring warranties, when justified) concluded that it's not a mfg defect, and the conclusion is that it suffered a trauma. You got a replacement because your LBS manager pulled some strings with the company.

I'm reminded of a poster from some years ago, who had bought a new aluminum-framed bike, stored it carefully in a closet while at work, and one day discovered a vertical crease in the top tube -- he posted photos and swore that the dent just materialized out of thin air. He even speculated that a vacuum inside the frame had caused it to spontaneously buckle due to a temperature change. It was all quite hilarious, and easily disproved. And from the photos, the frame pretty clearly fell over (perhaps knocked over by a work colleague) and impacted a countertop or door frame. But this poster was absolutely positive that the impossible had actually happened. (In case it's not obvious: the point of this story is that sometimes **** happens and we're not aware of it.)

Last edited by Koyote; 09-27-22 at 10:08 PM.
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Old 09-27-22, 10:05 PM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by KiwiDallas View Post
I lay it carefully on its side in the back of my SUV and drive it over to my local lake loop. Same treatment as I've done for my 2005 CF Roubaix. Same for the 2008 Tarmac. I don't ride them on city streets - that's suicidal.

I park it and store in my garage on two hooks under the top bar. Always. Same as the other two Spec CF bikes. For the last 17 years.

LBS has shipped the broken frame back to Spec at their request, but also as a condition for Spec sending out a new one.

I'd suggest that "OK Boomer" frames should not be expected to meet anywhere near the same stresses as racing frames. My hero days are long gone.

=K
My guess is it didn't happen when you were riding it, if you didn't notice it. Maybe something happened when it was on its side in the SUV or it got bumped when hanging on the hooks. As others have mentioned, the seat stay is probably the weakest part of the frame, and something shifting around in your SUV or garage could have impacted the seat stay.

Specialized was probably reluctant to honor the warranty because they see enough frame failures to know whether the mode of failure is a design flaw or because of some externally applied insult.

When my kid's Canyon chain stay cracked, they knew exactly what was happening and issued a recall several days later. When another part of the bike was becoming problematic, they knew it was a crack propagating from a known problematic area (where the rear shock attached to the main frame). All of the frames of the same production run are essentially created equal, so if yours was a manufacturing defect, it probably would have shown up in other bikes at the same place as well. If it was the result of damage from an external source, the location would be approximately random.

Last edited by Polaris OBark; 09-27-22 at 10:09 PM.
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Old 09-27-22, 10:11 PM
  #38  
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BTW, I kind of hate Specialized and am always looking for anecdotal evidence to substantiate my biases, so at first I thought "Oh, goody, another reason to hate Specialized!" But, sadly, I don't think this qualifies.
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Old 09-28-22, 07:28 AM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
BTW, I kind of hate Specialized and am always looking for anecdotal evidence to substantiate my biases, so at first I thought "Oh, goody, another reason to hate Specialized!" But, sadly, I don't think this qualifies.
A friend had a similar experience with Trek. Was offered 20% off, or something like that. Bike was less than a year old and we probably weighs 130lbs...after a few beers.

Thanks to all the LBS out there who provide great service. The direct-to-consumer movement has put manufacturer responsibility in the dumpster. Two more brands to cross off the list for future bikes.
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Old 09-28-22, 07:32 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Manufacturers are able to make such thin seat stays because they're not doing a lot of the heavy lifting. See Steven Kruijswijk's Cervelo: he crashed and then finished a TdF stage without noticing that he'd completely lost one of his seatstays -




Just riding around isn't going to stress that area enough to cause that kind of damage. An impact, like from a branch swept in to the wheel, is more likely to cause the type of damage seen on your 'stays. Knowing this explains why Spec "dragged their feet."
The same reason, if you look at a steel framed English bike, the stays are crazy, crazy thin. On a road bike, the front triangle and the chain stays bear all the load.

But failures do happen. For the old MTB folks, Titus as a company bit the dust when their Motolite replacement, the FTM, had a really bad habit of snapping seat stays.

Last edited by vespasianus; 09-28-22 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 09-28-22, 10:25 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Mojo31 View Post
Ive had lots of experience with the process through my sailing days, but I’m not going to argue with you.
You posted this: "but the resin did not get uniformly infused into the layup. Usually, a vacuum is used to “suck” the resin into the layup so that it is uniformly infused. "
That's not how it works. What is there to argue about?
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Old 09-28-22, 11:26 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Now that understand that the bike is upside-down, and the crack on the seat stay is buckling in the direction of wheel rotation... yeah, I'd bet dollars to donuts that it picked up a stick in the spokes.
Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I was very confused by the picture as well. Would a stick be strong enough to do that damage without hurting the spokes?
I like the stick or road debris hypothesis, but @himespau has a good point that the stick would tend to cause more damage other than the point damage spot. Both seatstays? For a partial crack, one might see impact damage at the back, and opening at the front, so several different views of the crack would help.

I might expect centrifugal force to push the stick out to the rim. But the physics of it may be more complicated with the rim largely stationary with respect to the street.

And since it isn't completely sheered, either it stopped the rider cold, or whatever it was either broke, or fell out of the spokes.
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Old 09-28-22, 11:49 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
Nope. Like Koyote posted you'd have a bunch of other damage as well.

If anyone cares, this is how I've seen carbon frames produced (at more than 1 facility). The pre-preg carbon comes in large rolls, they're stored in big ass refrigerators. The rolls are taken out when needed and all the little bitty and not so little bitty pieces are cut on a roughly 4 x 8 CNC cutter. Incredibly accurate, incredibly repeatable. They differ some depending on size and of course model of frame. The carbon pieces are then labeled and put in a bin. They go to production where the molds are. The person building the frame puts the pieces in the mold according to a 'layup schedule'. It's basically a binder with 'this piece goes here and that piece goes there' instructions. Every frame is done this way so it's pretty hard to screw one up. Also, the frames are produced in production runs so at any given time only one model and possibly a couple of sizes are being laid up. Again, this doesn't bode well for mistakes. It's not like 10 people are working on 10 distinctly different frames and the wrong collection of carbon pieces could end up w/ the wrong person/mold. Seeing as how this is done it's very hard to imagine that a worker doing lay-up could 'forget' to put a few layers in a seat stay as they'd have extra parts in the bin when they thought they were finished. So, again...the likelihood that this was genuinely a warranty issue are very minimal.
It is a manual process that requires people that in many cases are over worked and underpaid. They make mistakes.

The whole process you describe above is true for all "assembly" line manufacturing. If it were perfect, the British car industry would still be around.
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Old 09-28-22, 12:31 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
I like the stick or road debris hypothesis, but @himespau has a good point that the stick would tend to cause more damage other than the point damage spot. Both seatstays? For a partial crack, one might see impact damage at the back, and opening at the front, so several different views of the crack would help.

I might expect centrifugal force to push the stick out to the rim. But the physics of it may be more complicated with the rim largely stationary with respect to the street.

And since it isn't completely sheered, either it stopped the rider cold, or whatever it was either broke, or fell out of the spokes.
Stuff happens fast and not all sticks are nicely uniform, so I wouldn't expect damage to be neat and symmetrical, either. Maybe it was thicker and stronger on one end. Maybe it was branched and the force more diffused on the other side. Maybe it was a long branch, only the tip got caught up, and the leverage from the rest of the branch was enough to crack the stay before it got flung behind. Maybe it went in cock-eyed, etc, etc. Any of that is more plausible than it just buckling in that manner while riding around.
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Old 09-28-22, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by bblair View Post
The direct-to-consumer movement has put manufacturer responsibility in the dumpster. Two more brands to cross off the list for future bikes.
Canyon honored their warranty, twice. In fact, they replaced the new chain stay under their recall, so I guess they honored it 3 times, once without us even asking.
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Old 09-28-22, 01:21 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Stuff happens fast and not all sticks are nicely uniform, so I wouldn't expect damage to be neat and symmetrical, either. Maybe it was thicker and stronger on one end. Maybe it was branched and the force more diffused on the other side. Maybe it was a long branch, only the tip got caught up, and the leverage from the rest of the branch was enough to crack the stay before it got flung behind. Maybe it went in cock-eyed, etc, etc. Any of that is more plausible than it just buckling in that manner while riding around.
There is no way this could have happened without the OP noticing it at the time, if he was on the bike.

Either it happened when he was not on the bike, or there is much more to the story.
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Old 09-28-22, 02:08 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Stuff happens fast and not all sticks are nicely uniform, so I wouldn't expect damage to be neat and symmetrical, either. Maybe it was thicker and stronger on one end. Maybe it was branched and the force more diffused on the other side. Maybe it was a long branch, only the tip got caught up, and the leverage from the rest of the branch was enough to crack the stay before it got flung behind. Maybe it went in cock-eyed, etc, etc. Any of that is more plausible than it just buckling in that manner while riding around.
Or maybe the OP's teenage son used the bike without permission and damaged it. That's what happened to my dad's '78 Buick, and he never figured it out, either.
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Old 09-28-22, 02:16 PM
  #48  
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Or maybe the teenage son backed the '78 buick into the bike hanging in the garage.

Koyote owes Specialized a new bike.
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Old 09-28-22, 03:07 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
There is no way this could have happened without the OP noticing it at the time, if he was on the bike.

Either it happened when he was not on the bike, or there is much more to the story.
Oh, people can be pretty friggin' oblivious.
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Old 09-28-22, 08:13 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Polaris OBark View Post
Or maybe the teenage son backed the '78 buick into the bike hanging in the garage.

Koyote owes Specialized a new bike.
Shhh...
Koyote is offline  

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