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Help - Front caliper fail = big crash

markk91markk91 Posts: 17
edited December 2016 in Road general
Someone out there may have some insights for me....I was near the end of a road race, flat out, on a 3 month old 2016 S-works Tarmac, and the front caliper came completely off. I am out of action for 3-4 months with a broken femur, ribs, collarbone and less skin than normal....

My question - is it possible for the shop to use the wrong length nut behind the front fork as it looks like it was only held on by a thread or two. Unfortunately the nut was missing post crash. Thanks for your help.
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  • Nut? I don't tend to think of it as a nut, it's generally a threaded cylinder that enters the bolt hole and is done up with an allen key. Is that what you mean? If it IS a nut then I'd say that was the wrong part to fit.
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  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I'd say it is possible for it to be fitted wrongly - but isnt it a factory build - unless you have changed things ?
  • Nut? I don't tend to think of it as a nut, it's generally a threaded cylinder that enters the bolt hole and is done up with an allen key. Is that what you mean? If it IS a nut then I'd say that was the wrong part to fit.

    Agree - threaded cylinder. It was a custom build at a bike shop I trusted, so not sure what length cylinder they used.
  • It was not a factory build - I bought the frame and then they added Ultegra which I was very happy with....
  • None of them are particularly short but the bolt hole varies widely from bike to bike. If it's only held on by a few threads then it's possible to happen. Pretty tricky to prove though without finding it.
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  • None of them are particularly short but the bolt hole varies widely from bike to bike. If it's only held on by a few threads then it's possible to happen. Pretty tricky to prove though without finding it.

    Maybe it will be worth having a look on the road....My garmin might show 50kph-0kph point....
  • markk91 wrote:
    None of them are particularly short but the bolt hole varies widely from bike to bike. If it's only held on by a few threads then it's possible to happen. Pretty tricky to prove though without finding it.

    Maybe it will be worth having a look on the road....My garmin might show 50kph-0kph point....

    It's certainly worth it. Be prepared for an uphill struggle though, there are loads of potential variables. But it's a starting point. Do you remember what it looked like? Was it properly recessed? Is the bolt hole a particularly long one?
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  • debelidebeli Posts: 582
    An interesting question...

    1. Get well soon. I am familiar with most of the injuries you mention, although not all in one crash.

    2. It is possible that the caliper was poorly fitted, but if it was working loose, I might expect some judder on application before it flew out of the fork.

    3. How many miles had you done on the bike before the incident? How long had you had the bike following the build?

    4. If you still have the bike and the caliper (presumably still attached by the cable) then you may be able to see how much thread protrudes to the rear when it is inserted.

    5. I am having trouble imagining a bike shop noticing that there was an issue with a front brake on assembly and thinking "F*ck it, pop it in like that. What's the worst that can happen?"

    6. This is a good time to remind yourself that before you ride (and particularly before you race) you really do need to go over the bike very carefully.

    7. Unless you have in mind some sort of legal action, I wonder how relevant the answer to this query will be... I have the impression that this may be a shop you no longer trust.
  • Pictures or it never happened
    I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles
  • Pictures or it never happened

    Leg or bike?
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Even if it was just held on with a few threads - that should have been enough. It clearly worked for 3 months ? THings can come loose though - so it's up to you I think to check. I can't see you'll get far down this route. Sh** happens. Especially when racing. Sorry.
  • debeli wrote:
    An interesting question...

    1. Get well soon. I am familiar with most of the injuries you mention, although not all in one crash.

    2. It is possible that the caliper was poorly fitted, but if it was working loose, I might expect some judder on application before it flew out of the fork.

    3. How many miles had you done on the bike before the incident? How long had you had the bike following the build?

    4. If you still have the bike and the caliper (presumably still attached by the cable) then you may be able to see how much thread protrudes to the rear when it is inserted.

    5. I am having trouble imagining a bike shop noticing that there was an issue with a front brake on assembly and thinking "F*ck it, pop it in like that. What's the worst that can happen?"

    6. This is a good time to remind yourself that before you ride (and particularly before you race) you really do need to go over the bike very carefully.

    7. Unless you have in mind some sort of legal action, I wonder how relevant the answer to this query will be... I have the impression that this may be a shop you no longer trust.


    All very valid points and thank for the well wishes! 1) build my own bike.....2)re build if someone else does!
    Thanks for taking the time to respond...
  • fenix wrote:
    Even if it was just held on with a few threads - that should have been enough. It clearly worked for 3 months ? THings can come loose though - so it's up to you I think to check. I can't see you'll get far down this route. Sh** happens. Especially when racing. Sorry.

    Fenix - you are 100% right.....learning for me...Hope a few people check their front brake as a MAJOR problem if it comes off.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    From new the Shimano calipers have some blue threadlock on the threads of the mounting bolt. I've never had one of the tubular nuts come even slightly loose, but I do all my own spannering. It's certainly possible that the nut suppled with the caliper is too short for a particular fork, that's why they are available in different lengths. If too short a nut was used, it's possible that it only engaged a couple of threads and didn't get as far as the threadlock.

    Proving any of that however might be tricky, and you're not going to be doing a fingertip search of the crash site with a broken femur...
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    I usually build bikes myself and once its all together I'll take it for a shakedown ride and then go through all the bolts from top to toe to make sure everything is still tight.

    Heal well !
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    fenix wrote:
    I usually build bikes myself and once its all together I'll take it for a shakedown ride and then go through all the bolts from top to toe to make sure everything is still tight.

    Heal well !

    I'd also think that the caliper should stay where it is - its a fairly long screw - and unless you brake - it shouldnt have an incentive to leave the fork ?

    Is it definitely the caliper that caused the crash ? If it fell into a wheel it wouldn't be pretty.
  • fenix wrote:
    fenix wrote:
    I usually build bikes myself and once its all together I'll take it for a shakedown ride and then go through all the bolts from top to toe to make sure everything is still tight.

    Heal well !

    I'd also think that the caliper should stay where it is - its a fairly long screw - and unless you brake - it shouldnt have an incentive to leave the fork ?

    Is it definitely the caliper that caused the crash ? If it fell into a wheel it wouldn't be pretty.

    I wondered about that as well. The force pulls it forward but the force should, at least, force it upwards and keep it in there. Interesting one this one. Would be nice to see it answered for information rather than anything legal necessarily.
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  • fenix wrote:
    Even if it was just held on with a few threads - that should have been enough. It clearly worked for 3 months ? THings can come loose though - so it's up to you I think to check. I can't see you'll get far down this route. Sh** happens. Especially when racing. Sorry.

    I don't agree with this. You pay a bike shop to put things together for you properly. 90% of people that use a bike shop will have no clue. If you provide a product or service it's your responsibility to ensure you've done it right. Racing or not is irrelevant in such a failure. I have no idea if the shop was at fault here and you don't want to be test tightening components that should be thread locked. As it happens, I do check what an LBS has done because there have been examples where it hasn't worked. But you shouldn't have to.
    ROAD < Scott Foil HMX Di2, Volagi Liscio Di2, Jamis Renegade Elite Di2, Cube Reaction Race > ROUGH
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    markk91 wrote:
    It was not a factory build - I bought the frame and then they added Ultegra which I was very happy with....

    Unless you wheeled the bike out of the shop and straight onto the start line, then it is up to you - ie the owner of the bike - to ensure it is in a safe condition to race on.
  • keef66keef66 Posts: 13,286
    I think if the nut falls off / out, the next time you brake the caliper will be whipped out of the fork pretty smartly as it follows the wheel rim round.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    fenix wrote:
    Even if it was just held on with a few threads - that should have been enough. It clearly worked for 3 months ? THings can come loose though - so it's up to you I think to check. I can't see you'll get far down this route. Sh** happens. Especially when racing. Sorry.

    I don't agree with this. You pay a bike shop to put things together for you properly. 90% of people that use a bike shop will have no clue. If you provide a product or service it's your responsibility to ensure you've done it right. Racing or not is irrelevant in such a failure. I have no idea if the shop was at fault here and you don't want to be test tightening components that should be thread locked. As it happens, I do check what an LBS has done because there have been examples where it hasn't worked. But you shouldn't have to.


    Well why are you checking when you say you don't agree with this anyway ?
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    keef66 wrote:
    I think if the nut falls off / out, the next time you brake the caliper will be whipped out of the fork pretty smartly as it follows the wheel rim round.

    Agreed - but the OP says he was flat out - not braking ?
  • keef66 wrote:
    I think if the nut falls off / out, the next time you brake the caliper will be whipped out of the fork pretty smartly as it follows the wheel rim round.

    Agree - I cant really remember braking but when through and off there is sometimes a bit of braking if not smooth.

    Thanks for comments everyone. My feeling is - if brake came loose its my fault as should have checked. If the wrong part/too short etc was used I dont expect people to undo their brakes to inspect how much thread is used....But as I can't prove sh*# I am probably wasting your time....I guess I was looking for 'hey....that happened to me on my s-works!' :)
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    I'm assuming that you gave the shop all the parts that come with the S Works frame? The pack includes the correct brake fittings, and I can't see why the shop would have used anything different to that one.
  • giropaul wrote:
    I'm assuming that you gave the shop all the parts that come with the S Works frame? The pack includes the correct brake fittings, and I can't see why the shop would have used anything different to that one.

    The bike shop ordered all the bits I wanted, so was not involved here. It was a Ultegra set up.
  • giropaulgiropaul Posts: 414
    markk91 wrote:
    giropaul wrote:
    I'm assuming that you gave the shop all the parts that come with the S Works frame? The pack includes the correct brake fittings, and I can't see why the shop would have used anything different to that one.

    The bike shop ordered all the bits I wanted, so was not involved here. It was a Ultegra set up.

    The brake " bolts" come with the frame, that you said you got yourself. There is a pack of items including the cabling grommets, brake bolts etc. If you didn't get this did you actually receive a new Sworks Frameset kit?
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    giropaul wrote:
    The brake " bolts" come with the frame, that you said you got yourself. There is a pack of items including the cabling grommets, brake bolts etc. If you didn't get this did you actually receive a new Sworks Frameset kit?

    You sure about that? The sleeve nuts (which everyone is referring to as 'brake bolts') usually come in a box with the calipers. I've never heard of them being supplied with a frame. Nothing came with my S-Works frame when I bought one a few years back.
  • I think it varies. Got them with some frames, such as the Ritchey Swiss Cross and Logic but not with others.
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  • giropaul wrote:
    markk91 wrote:
    giropaul wrote:
    I'm assuming that you gave the shop all the parts that come with the S Works frame? The pack includes the correct brake fittings, and I can't see why the shop would have used anything different to that one.

    The bike shop ordered all the bits I wanted, so was not involved here. It was a Ultegra set up.

    The brake " bolts" come with the frame, that you said you got yourself. There is a pack of items including the cabling grommets, brake bolts etc. If you didn't get this did you actually receive a new Sworks Frameset kit?

    Did I say that?? Do they? I thought they came with the Ultegra brakes......I need to investigate.
  • fenixfenix Posts: 5,437
    Definitely come with the brakes - not bought an S Works but did have to order deeper nuts (ooer) for my carbon forks that were deep.
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