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Chinese carbon clincher WARNING!!!

martinperrymartinperry Posts: 127
edited November 2015 in Road general
In April, I got a set of these lovely Carbonzone wheels.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2013-new-tech ... 258b68266e

After chewing over all the information out there, I decided that all the warnings about catastrophic failure were exaggerated, and I knew best - Carbonzone were a more respectable Chinese outfit, and Basalt brake tracks must be just like Mavics Exalith. Anyway, for £300 delivered, what the heck - its a gamble / experiment.

BIG MISTAKE!!

Did about 2000 miles on them on my local, flat Essex roads - really impressed - ran well, and very fast.
On Sunday, we went into real hills - Specifically Hard Knot Pass on the Coast to coast, which we were attempting in 2 days.
Coming over the top, into a 35% descent, My first thought was HOLY censored - probably a bit hard on the brakes as I got a feel for how to descend while my rear wheel is trying to take off, but all very controlled.
After a couple of hundred metres, both wheels seemed to be pulsating under the brakes, to the point that I really slowed down to get things back on the straight and narrow. Very lucky on reflection.
Next thing BANG - front wheel / tyre exploded - thought the tube had gone due to overheating.
Looked down - the hook on the rim had totally separated over about 100mm, and the carbon around it was in tatters.
[img][/img]IMG_0578_zpsf65b2f84.jpg
Fortunately, I was virtually stationary at the time - cant imagine how bad this would have been at 50 MPH plus, as some of the later descents were.
Got a lift into Ambleside, where Ghyllside Cycles sorted me out, and had me back on the road in about an hour, including fitting a new rear mech,(different story!!) so could finish the C2C in some form - shame about the lift in the middle of the ride, but that piece of cr*p wheel was going nowhere!
BIG BIG thanks to Ghyllside - a proper LBS run by great blokes who know their stuff.

LESSON LEARNT - PLEASE take heed
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Posts

  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Exactly 0 people are surprised by this post.

    Exalith is still an alloy track. Next time buy tubs.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • martinperrymartinperry Posts: 127
    Great trolling - thanks
    I know exalith is Ally - dont you get Irony?
  • CalpolCalpol Posts: 1,039
    Shock, horror - carbon clincher wheels explode on mountain decent. If you had properly chewed over all the information out there then you would not have taken those wheels on that route. Lesson learned is not "don't buy Chinese wheels" but "don't ride carbon clincher in the mountains and brake like a novice". Anyway main thing it's that you are in one piece.
  • Mikey23Mikey23 Posts: 5,306
    So exploding wheels are caused by inexperienced riding... I had better take up chess then
  • flasherflasher Posts: 1,728
    Not at all being funny but 300 quid for full carbon clinchers, isn't that the warning by itself?
  • GrillGrill Posts: 5,610
    Great trolling - thanks
    I know exalith is Ally - dont you get Irony?

    On the contrary. Considering the content of your post I figured it best to cater to the lowest common denominator.

    Buy cheap, buy thrice.
    English Cycles V3 | Cervelo P5 | Cervelo T4 | Trek Domane Koppenberg
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,136
    I think it was foolhardy of you to descend Hardknott with those... that said, I assume the retailer never warned you about DOs and DON'Ts, which should be a (moral at least) obligation.

    I also assume you have contacted Carbonzone already... what do they have to say?
  • Surely there must be someone who agrees with, and sees the OP's point of view?
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • lawrenceslawrences Posts: 1,011
    I see his point of view as I am also incredibly stingy and ignore any bad reviews if something looks good.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    I'd not be taking rims like that to the Lakes even if they were tubs - it gets windy up at the top of Hardknott and Wrynose. And it rains a lot. And rain was forecast for the Lakes on Sunday.

    Sympathies with the OP though. On C2C in a day last month, a lass coming down Hardknott had a brake failure and ran off the end of a hairpin - fortunately it wasn't one of the ones near the top but she still had to be airlifted off. It could have been much worse.

    PS - those Aksiums would have been just the ticket.....
    Faster than a tent.......
  • martinperrymartinperry Posts: 127
    Ugo -Yes - utterly stupid on reflection - You just dont have any concept of what steep is learning around these parts.
    Now definitley going down the alloy brake track route, and need to learn to descend, but at 95Kg, the acceleration is always pretty terrifying.
    Have contacted Carbonzone - no reply as yet - we shall see
    Lawrences - I think you have worked out where I am coming from - I am a tight wad as well!
    Trying to warn others - I dont think I would trust these wheels ever again!
    Yes - the Akskiums should have stayed on - I just had no concept of how steep that sort of descent could be!
  • mfinmfin Posts: 6,724
    Hang on, 95kg going down Hardknott on ebay special chinese carbon clinchers!! I think you should take up an activity that's more forgiving in the face of inappropriate equipment decisions, how about base jumping?
  • kingstoniankingstonian Posts: 2,444
    Glad you didn't smash yourself up, could easily have come to grief.

    Don't hold your breath waiting for a reply from Carbonzone......
  • MountainMonsterMountainMonster Posts: 7,423
    While I can understand you are unhappy that the wheels failed, saying this was the fault of the wheels given the circumstances is not really fair, and saying you wouldn't buy them again is a bit foolish.

    Imagine taking a superbike on a motorcross track, and killing the suspension. Does that mean the bike is the problem, or your choice of where to use it?
  • mercia_manmercia_man Posts: 1,391
    Shame to read sarcastic responses to Martin's post. It was obviously a frightening experience and he genuinely wanted to warn people not to do what he did. Glad he's OK.
  • MountainMonsterMountainMonster Posts: 7,423
    Mercia Man wrote:
    Shame to read sarcastic responses to Martin's post. It was obviously a frightening experience and he genuinely wanted to warn people not to do what he did. Glad he's OK.

    I have had plenty of scary experiences in my life, my I don't call my equipment a 'piece of censored wheel' when I take it out for things it is not meant to do. That's why I got sarcastic.
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,136
    While I can understand you are unhappy that the wheels failed, saying this was the fault of the wheels given the circumstances is not really fair, and saying you wouldn't buy them again is a bit foolish.
    Well, if you read the Ebay advert, they clearly state: "Anti-high temperature about 160~280℃"... the range is very broad and probably meaningless like any attempt from these companies to inject some science in their non scientific approach... however, I doubt the OP has generated anything in the range of 160-280 degrees Celsius by braking for a few hundred metres and therefore there is nothing in the sale pitch that prevents the OP from using them down steep descents, other than common sense and second hand knowledge... it is fraudulent
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    Lets be a bit less mean however! :lol: The descent of Hardknott isn't a high alpine col where you are descending at 40mph plus for half an hour. My C2C descent of Hardknott took all of three minutes, max speed 20mph (though some joker on C2C reckoned he topped out at about 40mph!) and the first third doesn't need you to be constantly on the brakes. If less than three minutes of heat build up on Hardknott is enough to kill these wheels then I'd say they aren't fit for any purpose. Just too marginal.
    Faster than a tent.......
  • thomasmorristhomasmorris Posts: 373
    edited July 2014
    I understand. I've cooked a front wheel too, not as catastrophic as you though. I'd taken then down some big hills in Scotland with no issues, but mainly as they were open roads where despite the gradient you didn't need to brake.

    Went to the peaks for the tour, looked at a couple of the roads planned on street view and concluded they wouldn't need much breaking either so put off buying some alloy wheels. Well, I was right about the descents we planned (Holme moss going sw and snake pass going east) but my mates added an extra loop including a descent of winnats pass... Which despite stopping to allow for cooling still prophecies a bulging rim!
  • Obviously the point has been well made but this is a very informative video from ZZIP that covers the firecrest wheel :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXrNfIwnk7M
  • ugo.santaluciaugo.santalucia Posts: 26,136
    Obviously the point has been well made but this is a very informative video from ZZIP that covers the firecrest wheel :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vXrNfIwnk7M

    Indeed, the scientific approach they adopt is a lot more reassuring... :D
  • lostboysaintlostboysaint Posts: 4,252
    While I can understand you are unhappy that the wheels failed, saying this was the fault of the wheels given the circumstances is not really fair, and saying you wouldn't buy them again is a bit foolish.

    Imagine taking a superbike on a motorcross track, and killing the suspension. Does that mean the bike is the problem, or your choice of where to use it?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Tol-U36jXGM
    Trail fun - Transition Bandit
    Road - Wilier Izoard Centaur/Cube Agree C62 Disc
    Allround - Cotic Solaris
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    So what was the conclusion, did you crush the brake track under breaking or fry it?

    I'm very careful when riding on my Dura ace C50s mainly because they are so expensive to replace when worn out. I think many race wheels would struggle at 95kg and 35%. Personally I wouldn't ride down anything I couldn't ride up. Well not on a road bike at least.
  • martinperrymartinperry Posts: 127
    To be honest, so pissed off that I didnt over analyze - dumped the rim at the shop who sorted me.
    My suspicion is that is was a combination crush / overheat - The rear was pretty out of true when I got down, and it was straight before i went up, so go figure!
    Nice to see the trolls have backed off a bit - the points I were trying to make here were:

    1. Dont assume the quality of these wheels is fantastic - I loved them and had no issues whatsoever until I hit real hills. I appreciate that they were put to an extreme test, but as Ugo points out, they were sold as "high braking temperature"

    2. Understand the limitations of different equipment - Two of my clubmates went over the C2C at the same time on carbon campags with no issues, but on reflection, were probably as naive as I was regarding their suitability for the task in hand.

    3. I had no experience of how extreme hills can be being a soft Southerner. I could just about battle up, its the descending that tripped me up. I appreciate the mountain gods out there think im a cretin, but due to geography, my specialization is fast chain ganging on long rolling roads - horses for courses and all that.

    4 This was a public information alert - I fully understand I wasn't sensible, and wasn't asking for vindication or sympathy.

    Coincidentally, no response from Carbonzone as yet!
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    I'm not convinced other carbon wheels at even twice the price would have come out any better. What I would say though is there are probably better wheels to be had in that price range, if you don't mind either a bit more weight or a bit less aero.
  • guineaguinea Posts: 1,177
    edited July 2014
    I do love it when guys start slagging off other's descending skills when they either have no idead about the posters skill level or the condition on the road.

    I cycled down a large number of HC climbs last week after the TdF passed through. Descending in a queue of traffic means you are on the brakes almost constantly for 12-20kms down very steep hills. It was either that or sit at the side of the road for a few hours until the traffic dissipated.

    I also descended Ventoux on the day the storms hit Provence stage that ended in Nimes. That was scary due to the wind. At the top and the bottom I was dragging those brakes very hard in the wind.

    If your wheels can't manage these scenarios, then they aren't fit for purpose and shouldn't be for sale. Or, they should be clearly labelled with the conditions under which they are safe and the conditions when they are likely to explode.

    Reciting censored you read on the internet about only braking now and again having never actually been on an alpine climb in varying conditions makes you look thick. Stop it folks.
  • rolf_frolf_f Posts: 16,015
    diy wrote:
    I'm not convinced other carbon wheels at even twice the price would have come out any better. What I would say though is there are probably better wheels to be had in that price range, if you don't mind either a bit more weight or a bit less aero.

    But really, as I and Ugo at least have said, the braking heat issue shouldn't have applied here. The reasons for not taking deep rim carbon clinchers to Hardknott and Wrynose are more down to wind conditions and potentially truly censored surfaces.

    Mind you, if Hardknott shouldn't be a risk to a carbon clincher, you certainly would build up more heat on Wrynose descent unless you have nerves of steel!

    @martin - how did you find the ascent of Hardknott?!
    Faster than a tent.......
  • martinperrymartinperry Posts: 127
    Rolf - As I said, the ascent was a different story!
    Was OK with the climbing (JUST!!) but my big issue was my lack of extreme climbing experience leading to the front wheel jumping up and down on the steepest bits. Was so bad that I didn't feel happy next to cars and other bikes, so got off about 100M before the fort.
    When I got back on, as I pushed off, the rear mech ate itself (probably a slightly bent hanger according to the LBS who fixed me up)
    Accordingly, I had to push the bike for about a mile, before ripping the chain off at the top and attempting to freewheel down - whether the lack of pedal feel contributed to my crapness on the descent, I will never know
    All in all quite a bad day at the office! - Would have rather been at work!!
  • Manc33Manc33 Posts: 2,157
    I wanted some until I found you can actually get cheaper lighter aluminium wheelsets.

    It makes sense with frames, my carbon frame was only £350 bought in the UK (Chinese frames cost £125 to return to China) and it is 2/3 of the weight of the aluminium frame it replaced. With carbon wheels its a whole other thing. I don't know any logical reason to have carbon clinchers or even the disc versions.

    What gets me is they put a strip of aluminium around some carbon clincher rims. :shock: I thought carbon and aluminium (or CF+titanium or CF+steel) shouldn't be touching? What a place to have that, on a sodding braking surface.
  • ic.ic. Posts: 768
    guinea wrote:
    I do love it when guys start slagging off other's descending skills when they either have no idead about the posters skill level or the condition on the road.

    I cycled down a large number of HC climbs last week after the TdF passed through. Descending in a queue of traffic means you are on the brakes almost constantly for 12-20kms down very steep hills. It was either that or sit at the side of the road for a few hours until the traffic dissipated.

    I also descended Ventoux on the day the storms hit Provence stage that ended in Nimes. That was scary due to the wind. At the top and the bottom I was dragging those brakes very hard in the wind.

    If your wheels can't manage these scenarios, then they aren't fit for purpose and shouldn't be for sale. Or, they should be clearly labelled with the conditions under which they are safe and the conditions when they are likely to explode.

    Reciting censored you read on the internet about only braking now and again having never actually been on an alpine climb in varying conditions makes you look thick. Stop it folks.


    Spot on.
    2020 Reilly Spectre - raw titanium
    2020 Merida Reacto Disc Ltd - black on black
    2017 Cervelo R3 DI2 - black & white - for sale
    2015 CAAD8 105 - very green

    The departed:

    Boardman CX Team - sold
    Cannondale Synapse - broken
    Cube Streamer - stolen
    Boardman Road Comp - stolen
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