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Snapped handlebar

EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
edited May 2011 in Commuting chat
I was riding quickly in traffic today (not sprinting, but not pootling either) and when I was laying down a trail of awesome my handlebar snapped.

I have no idea how I didn't hit the deck and get squished by the following car but I somehow managed to both
a) stay upright and pull over safely and
b) not let go of the snapped part of the handlebar which would have gone straight into the front wheel causing severe backside/breast inversion.

I was out with aripallaris and we were both so shocked that we had to repair to a local hostelry for liquid refreshment to calm our nerves and to debrief in order to prevent PTSD.

I think PTSD may still be an issue, so I will have to imbibe a little more, for medicinal purposes, you understand.

Now to start the search for replacement bars that can handle my power.
FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!

Posts

  • ThatBikeGuyThatBikeGuy Posts: 394
    Where did they snap? Wasn't to do with an over-tightened stem was it? Not that i am judging your bike maintenance capabilities :lol:
    Cannondale SS Evo Team
    Kona Jake CX
    Cervelo P5
  • kelsenkelsen Posts: 2,003
    Happened to me once sprinting up Croydon Underpass and it was where it joined the stem. censored myself big time! One of those things that can happen with aluminium bars if they've been subjected to stress over a period of time.

    Metal fatigue or something, not necessarily the power of awesome...sorry EKE_38BPM!
  • Blue MeanieBlue Meanie Posts: 495
    Uneven clamping forces (diff between bolt torq's) and/or equidistant gap from top/bottom of stem face plate (You was lucky :) Seen at least two similar crashes where the handlebar failed, one was funny (painfull), one was serious (hospital).
    Honestly guys, over tightening handlebars isn't good. Anything that clamps onto the handlbar should be as loose as it can be: Stem, Brakes, STI's or gears.
    In the event of a crash, these items might twist out of the way and not stab you in the guts, head or 'gentleman's area', also reducing potential repair costs.
    Handlebar failure, at the stem clamp area, is almost certainly over tightening of the stem face plate or fitting an ill-fitting handlebar/stem(25.4 - 26?) And/Or metal fatigue, don't commute on light weight racing kit.

    When indoubt always consume appropriate blood thinning liquids before/during/after excercise. Me? Never eat on an empty stomach :D
    FCN16 - 1970 BSA Wayfarer

    FCN4 - Fixie Inc
  • iPeteiPete Posts: 6,076
    ooo errr, someone recommend some good torque wrenches, everything on my bike is hand tight/guess work!
  • optimisticbikeroptimisticbiker Posts: 1,657
    If you are buying a torque wrench go for one that has a calibration certificate... about £70 or so. the cheap ones (£30ish) are notoriously inaccurate at low torques and not much better than guesswork...
    Invacare Spectra Plus electric wheelchair, max speed 4mph :cry:
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    My Sealey STW1012 came with a calibration certificate, it cost £32. It was within 5% across the range.
  • optimisticbikeroptimisticbiker Posts: 1,657
    alfablue wrote:
    My Sealey STW1012 came with a calibration certificate, it cost £32. It was within 5% across the range.
    Hmmm £38 from Amazon. I stand corrected, though, from experience, sometimes 'quality', 'accuracy' and 'Sealey' in the same sentence can be a bit of an oxymoron...
    Invacare Spectra Plus electric wheelchair, max speed 4mph :cry:
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    The stem is an old school quill stem, so it can't be uneven bolt tightening as there is only one bolt. It may have been overtightened.

    I'm still amazed that I didn't hit the deck.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • turnerjohnturnerjohn Posts: 1,249
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    The stem is an old school quill stem, so it can't be uneven bolt tightening as there is only one bolt. It may have been overtightened.

    I'm still amazed that I didn't hit the deck.

    Glad your ok...could have been really nasty ! easy on the torque with the next set !
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,713
    EKE_38BPM wrote:
    The stem is an old school quill stem, so it can't be uneven bolt tightening as there is only one bolt. It may have been overtightened.

    I'm still amazed that I didn't hit the deck.

    Are those the bars and stem that came with the bike? if so they're prob just wore out, bars do that eventually, ask BassJunkie he had the same problem.
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    itboffin wrote:
    Are those the bars and stem that came with the bike? if so they're prob just wore out, bars do that eventually, ask BassJunkie he had the same problem.

    Yeah, its all original. Circa 1989 but not a huge number of miles in it.

    I'm glad it happened relatively close to home and when PT was still running (and the pubs were still open).
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • EKE_38BPMEKE_38BPM Posts: 5,980
    aripallaris has just sent me a picture of the handlebar.

    img0618zf.jpg

    I am still astounded I didn't crash.
    FCN 3: Raleigh Record Ace fixie-to be resurrected sometime in the future
    FCN 4: Planet X Schmaffenschmack 2- workhorse
    FCN 9: B Twin Vitamin - winter commuter/loan bike for trainees

    I'm hungry. I'm always hungry!
  • itboffinitboffin Posts: 19,713
    FG and cut down bull-horn esq bars tut tut tut tut

    :roll:
    Rule #5 // Harden The censored Up.
    Rule #9 // If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.
    Rule #12 // The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.
    Rule #42 // A bike race shall never be preceded with a swim and/or followed by a run.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    THIS may be of interest - relates to an mtb rider who's bar snapped and he sustained a serious head injury. The conclusion was that the bar was in some way defective as it should not have been possible for it to break under normal riding conditions.
  • Isn't that the bike you were riding in the recent Cycling Plus? Didn't you know they use a special camera that adds pounds to you? Clearly that extra body weight was a contributing factor.
    Nobody told me we had a communication problem
  • fathertedfatherted Posts: 199
    Aluminium handlebars , when under a lot of stress , will fatigue and on occasions , break.

    Contributory factors will be a riders weight, corrosion or impact.

    Cranks break , seatpins break and you have discovered that 22 year old handlebars break as well.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 15,960
    itboffin wrote:
    FG and cut down bull-horn esq bars tut tut tut tut

    :roll:

    This explains all - the handlebar commited suicide from the shame of it all :lol:
    Faster than a tent.......
  • HeadhuunterHeadhuunter Posts: 6,494
    OMG, that's my worst dfear realised.... Glad you're OK. I think I'm going to replace all handlebars on my entire fleet....
    Do not write below this line. Office use only.
  • OrigamistOrigamist Posts: 807
    EKE, I've snapped three handlebars over the years and I now change my bars every 2-3 years.

    You did well not to let go of the bars - that was the mistake I made last time...
  • gaz545gaz545 Posts: 493
    Origamist wrote:
    EKE, I've snapped three handlebars over the years and I now change my bars every 2-3 years.

    You did well not to let go of the bars - that was the mistake I made last time...

    You mean this one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th9S2Dpq954 :P
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    Hi,
    I've had this happen, too. It's not a big deal. Feels a bit wierd, though.

    Your brakes should still work etc. It's just a bit unstable. I moved the bars across in the clamp to give me something to grip before finishing the ride home.

    Cheers,
    W.
  • OrigamistOrigamist Posts: 807
    Hi,
    I've had this happen, too. It's not a big deal. Feels a bit wierd, though.

    Your brakes should still work etc. It's just a bit unstable. I moved the bars across in the clamp to give me something to grip before finishing the ride home.

    Cheers,
    W.

    It really depends on the circumstances!
  • wgwarburtonwgwarburton Posts: 1,863
    Origamist wrote:
    Hi,
    I've had this happen, too. It's not a big deal. Feels a bit wierd, though.

    Your brakes should still work etc. It's just a bit unstable. I moved the bars across in the clamp to give me something to grip before finishing the ride home.

    Cheers,
    W.

    It really depends on the circumstances!

    Fair enough... That's true of most mechanical failures, though...! Few are welcome when you're mid-corner on a fast descent :-) ...

    Cheers,
    W.
  • beverickbeverick Posts: 3,461
    I snapped a flat bar a couple of years ago, the break looked identical. Fortunatley, although I was climbing at the time, the break was gradual so I had time to both work out what was happening and then do something about it!

    I put the incident down to being the result of an unplanned sideways dismount a few months earlier.

    Bob
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