Cycling Gear We Broke

Positivistas ride hard.  We punish our gear.  Some gear is designed to take the punishment, but a lot of road cycling gear is designed for 65 kg climbers spinning uphill on smooth pavement on a sunny day.

When a rider weighing 50% more gets out of the saddle and stomps on the pedals, applying massive torque, or descends a Canadian mountain highway and hits the rumble strips at 50~60 kph, or the grime and rain gets gunked into a moving part ... things break.

When we use gear for a few years at 13-15,000 kms a year, it wears out as is to be expected.  And then it breaks.

Yes, frames crack when they get in accidents.  Handlebars too.  Carbon gets dinged up when the bike falls over.  Spokes break.  Spokes pull through rims.  Brifters -- say no more.  Derailleurs -- yes, the most sturdy component.

So we start a collection.

1.  Jerome's seat, on his second Look bicycle from the start ... lasted 4~5 years then split in two!  At least the rails are still undamaged.


2.  Shimano SPD pedals -- not fun when the pedal comes off the spindle while you are riding, even if after thousands of miles of use.  Unexcusable.


3.  Dura Ace 7800 right side (rear derailleur) brifter.  Died during 2012 Rocky Mountain 1200 when cable jammed inside.  Excused -- my fault not to thread the replacement cable with it set in the correct gear, though not a great design that a "user error" while standing tired in near freezing rain can destroy a component.


4.  Ultegra 6600 right side (rear derailleur) brifter.  Died in late 2013 after years of service ... cable broke, re-threaded, but no longer functional.  Cause unknown and unexcused.


5.  Velocity A23 rear rim -- spoke pulled through ... after 2 years of hard riding and with the spokes tensioned at the upper end of acceptable range.  Excused. 

6.  Ritchey carbon bars.  Snapped upon impact ... and forced me to DNF almost 1100 km into PBP 2011.  Excused.


7.  Rear SRAM Rival Wi-Fli (long cage) derailleur snapped off at the base because of garbage (wet tissue/baby wipe) jammed into chain.  Front SRAM Red 2012 derailleur also mangled.  Unexcusable.


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8. Yes, a tire is a disposable and consumable item, but this is what Jerome's Vittoria Zaffiro Pro front tire looked like at the end of the SR600, having been ridden into the ground over the past year.


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9. Jerome's rear shifter cable on his Look broke this week (Christmas 2014).  Maybe it was time for a replacement, as the shifter cable seems covered with rust and could be "original equipment" or nearly so on a bike that, if it were a child, would just about now be entering elementary school.  Excusable.


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10.  DJ's commuter bike crank.  He is just too powerful.



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11.  3T 25 Ionic Team Stealth seatpost -- "DiffLock" Clamp

Just an easily stripped bolt ... results in lost left side of the clamp and an unusable product, first real ride on the thing.  Only a strong as the weakest link ... though the product looks very attractive otherwise. ...


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12.  Scott Pro shoes -- snapped carbon sole

Shaved too much material from the carbon sole to make a light weight shoe!  This should NOT happen.



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13.  SRAM double tap brifter covers -- wear out way too fast!



How did SRAM Red 2012 become the love of weight weenies everywhere as the lightest of groupsets? Shaving a bit too much weight from the rubber covers to the shifter hoods, among others. I've never had Shimano hood covers wear through, but it happened after less than 2 years with SRAM Red 2012 ... and I have been holding them together with electrical tape wrapping since, until I finally got an aftermarket set made by another company.  Then again, my SRAM Rival shifter hoods ALSO wore out in less than 2 years ... so maybe it is just crappy rubber, part of a planned obselescence strategy or just poor quality control -- nothing to do with being the lightest groupset? You be the judge.
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14.  Yamabushi frame -- lasted 5 years, but eventually the seat tube detached from the BB shell!


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Ahhh ... if only I had been taking photos of broken gear from the beginning of my time in Japan.  The collection would be MUCH bigger.  Cracked frames (3 of them -- 2 Airborne Ti frames and a basic steel de Bernardi track frame), more damaged rear derailleurs (2 in recent years, one way back in 2001 or 2002); broken spokes, broken spokes and more broken spokes!  Cracked and dented rims (Mavic Ksyrium, Fulcrum Racing-1 2-way, etc., etc.)

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