This site is intended to inform the public of accidents and incidents as they occur involving Spinergy wheels. Those persons that have been involved in an accident involving a Spinergy wheel failure are encouraged to report the incident as provided below. The Spinergy Accident Reporter contains reports of accidents involving Spinergy Wheels, but not all Spinergy accidents brought to our attention will be included in this report; only a representative sample of Spinergy incidents will be reported in updates of this site.
Of the over 100,000 Spinergy wheels that have been sold only a small number have failed causing injury. However, in the event of a Spinergy wheel failure serious injury can occur due to the high speeds at which bicycles are often ridden. For example, a recent Spinergy wheel failure caused a cyclist to crash to the ground breaking his back (see Consumer Product Safety Commission, Report 1 below). As the Spinergy Wheels in use get older more accidents can be expected. Many of these accidents may be avoided if riders carefully inspect for cracks before and perhaps during each ride.
Spinergy wheels are constructed of carbon fiber and as such the failure mode is not gradual, as is the case with a metal spoked wheel, but sudden, catastrophic and often without any warning. This aspect of composite wheel design makes it most important for the design be robust. The number of sudden wheel failures, while being driven over flat ground, raises the possibility that these wheels suffer from whirl-mode flutter. See below.
A part of the production facilities of Spinergy Inc. was put up for liquidation in July 99. The company was contacted for clarification, but refused to make any comment. It is not known whether this signals a change in design of the existing wheel, a change in demand or a change in the method of manufacture of the wheels. It is hoped that the company is in the process of changing the design of the wheel in response to the suggestions and accident reports noted below:
A recent article by the widely read bicycle journalist, Mr. Ri
ck Vosper: A tangled Web Woven, GorillaNet v.2.8.1,
September 4th, 1998; contains a report by a respected Mechanical
Engineer that has extensive experience in both advanced
composites fabrication/production and in the bicycle industry.
The report is reproduced here with diagrams added for clarity and
the deletion of some salty engineering language (marked as ed.).
It should be noted that the report contained the following
exclusion of liability: "GorillaNet takes no position
whatever on the relative safety of Spinergy wheels. The [report]
is intended to explore issues of consumer relations and grievance
Personally, I don't like Spinergy wheels and would not ride them, especially off-road.
Why? Well, for about 12 years now, the marketers [ed.]... of the composite bicycle business ...have been telling the world that composites are 2.5 times as strong as steel. Why then aren't the bikes 2.5 times lighter? Energy absorption.
Metal bends elastically (like a spring returning to its original shape) and then inelastically (crushing a beer can on your forehead). You get one hell of a lot more energy absorbed during the inelastic phase. That's why we put crumple zones into cars. .. .
OK, so what about composites? Composites go from elastic deformation to delamination, cracking, fiber failure and other ugliness. We like to stay away from that event so we keep raising the strength of the assembly. So, even though we absorb energy in the less efficient elastic phase, we've increased the strength so we have more elastic phase to deal with before the failure occurs.
I don't think Spinergy wheels are built sufficiently robust to absorb energy the way a traditional spoked wheel does. That's just my opinion after poking and prodding one of them [ed].
... I do agree the failures [as cited] are due to strength limitation (nicer wording than "design defect") and are probably not due to manufacturing defects.
First, I don't like a 4-spoke design. Once you lose a spoke, you're done. But 5 spokes doesn't help much. If you lose one spoke in a 5 spoke design, the 3 spokes on either side are at an extreme angle and can contribute only 62% of the strength of the "missing" spoke. So, to design the wheel to be fail-safe in the event of losing a spoke the spokes would need to be beefed up by 1/3, in addition to adding the 5th spoke (crude back of the envelope calculations).
The rivets, as I understand the evolution of the product, were added to prevent the spokes from peeling away from each other. This is good (preventing peel), but maybe rivets aren't the best idea. I think a wrap of carbon tow (a la Carbon frames' cable stops) would accomplish the same thing without weakening the structure by drilling holes in it. Riveting composites together is akin to saying "I messed up [ed.]".
But I don't go for the premise that the spokes broke by bending due to cornering/exerting pressure on handlebars. If you took one of the spokes in the hub, you would find that a it takes a hell of a lot...of deflection to break that puppy off.
But try bending the same spoke along the plane of the wheel. It wouldn't take much deflection in-plane to initiate a crack where the spoke meets the rim, through the rivet hole, and pop!
Imagine hitting a bump when the spokes are at 10:30 and 1:30. The load of the spokes will not be completely in tension-there will always be an in-plane bending component. I am guessing the damage is initiated by this bending.
End of Mechanical Engineer's Report
A number of Spinergy Accidents have occurred on flat, level pavement at moderate speeds, with the wheel suddenly and for no apparent reason, collapsing, throwing the rider to the ground. This raises the possibility that many of the wheel failures have not been of the "impact type" as described in the Mechanical Engineer's Report above. These accidents may have been caused by resonance in the wheel. The resonant beating sound of the Spinergy wheel as it courses along may hint at this process at work.
The destructive nature of resonance is best illustrated by the collapse of the Taccoma Narrows Bridge, which broke up spectacularly in 1940 when a steady 42-mph wind set it rocking. A cable snapped, creating an imbalance, and flutter, with a very slow natural frequency and a very large torsional, or twisting component that brought the bridge down. See the bridge in action at: www.airspacemag.com/asm/Web/Site/QT/Tacoma.html . Also see: www.airspacemag.com/ASM/Mag/Supp/FM01/Hammer.html .
Another example of the destructive nature of resonance was the crash of the Braniff Airways Lockheed Electra between Houston and Dallas, September 19, 1959. In that case whirl-mode flutter, or a vibration in the rotating propeller set in motion a vibration that had the same resonant frequency as did the wing (flapping frequency). In that case the resonance caused the wing to be torn off at the fuselage, causing the plane to suddenly plummet to the ground. See: www.airspacemag.com/asm/Web/Site/QT/PWFlutter.html .
"Flutter" is the term used for synchronized vibration when it takes place in a flexible structure moving through a fluid medium--for instance, an airplane in flight, or bladed bicycle wheel being ridden. It occurs when two regular, rhythmic motions coincide in such a way that one feeds the other, drawing additional energy from the surrounding flow. (Peter Garrison, The Hammer, Air & Space, March 2001, pp. 36-42)
As the wheel rotates it develops a number of frequency modes: a) whirl-mode flutter is caused by the blade-like spokes interacting with the wind; b) the natural frequency of the spoke in bending (longitudinal to the blade): as the wheel turns the blades are alternately in high and low tension; c) Torquing of the blade-like spokes. These frequency modes, while perhaps individually benign, may cause a sudden catastrophic failure if they become resonant with one or more other modes. In the case of the bicycle wheel, the source of the energy that builds up is likely the pumping action of the wheel going up and down, as the bladed spokes are bent and torqued, as the wheel rotates. This bending and torquing is due to the different loads imposed on the bladed spokes as they assume different points of rotation. For example, at 10:30 and 1:30 the wheel would tend to sag somewhat as compared to when the spokes were at 12:00 and 6:00. A secondary energy source would be the interaction of the wind on the rotating wheel.
We would suggest that those parties injured by this type of collapse contact the NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia . This organization is expert at structural dynamics. We would also suggest to Spinergy that they work with that organization to explore the structural dynamics of their wheels.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO SPINERGY
RECOMMENDATIONS TO USERS
Spinergy Report 1: The following Epidemiological Investigation Report dated 96,12,05 is a report conducted by the Wisconsin Bureau of Consumer Protection on behalf of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). It details a Spinergy Wheel failure that lead to the victim breaking his back.
This report was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act. We thank the Consumer Product Safety Commission for their cooperation and prompt assistance.
The wheel in question suffered similar damage to that shown in Report 2.
The Epidemiological Investigation Report reads in part: I Product Identification: The product involved in this case is a customized component on a SCHWINN PARAMOUNT SERIES 3 bicycle purchased on Feb. 5, 1993. The original wheels on this bicycle were removed and replaced with 2 - Carbon Bicycle Wheels known as : SPINERGY REV X, SP-CW, FRONT CLINCHER. These carbon bicycle wheels were manufactured by: SPINERGY, INC. 45 DANBURY ROAD WILSON, CT 06897 II PRE-INCIDENT
The carbon bicycle wheels were purchased on DECEMBER 8, 1995 from FOND DU LAC CYCLERY, 73 S. MAIN ST., FOND DU LAC, WI 54935. The victim informed that these wheels were only put on his bicycle when he was racing. He added that he participated in approximately - 15 races between MARCH and JUNE, 1996 but these carbon wheels were only used in 4-5 of those races. No problem was experienced with these wheels until June 22, 1996, the date of the incident.
On JUNE 22, 1996, the victim competed in a bicycle race held in WISCONSIN RAPIDS, WI. It was a non-qualifying race and open to all levels of bicyclers. The race covered a 32 mile route around WISCONSIN RAPIDS and began around 5:00 PM. The victim was wearing a lycra T-shirt, shorts and a helmet.
During the race at approximately 6:20 PM, the victim was in the front third of the pack. They were within a few miles of the finish line on a straight away and all traveling about 37 miles per hour. One of the bicyclers in the front of the pack went down. Within seconds, this caused a "domino" effect within the pack and more bicyclers fell down. The victim suddenly swerved to the left to avoid hitting any fallen bicyclers. That was the last thing the victim remembers before falling off his bicycle. The victim recalls his lower jaw slamming into his upper teeth as the top of his head hit the pavement. The next thing he remembers is lying on the pavement stunned. Other bicyclers with minor scrapes came to his aid. He began checking various body parts to see if he could move them. He remembers feeling a pain between his shoulder blades and thought it was from the impact. When he stood up the pain in his back increased and he decided to lay back down and wit for medical assistance. It took about 15 minutes before an ambulance could get to him. The paramedics decided to take him to the hospital for x-rays and follow-up.
Following the race, the victim learned that his bicycle had continued on down the road a few feet after he had fallen off. When his bicycle was found, everything was intact except for the front wheel. The outer part of the rim had detached and the bladed spokes had shattered leaving no support for the forks of the bicycle. It appears that the shattering of this wheel is what caused the victim to fall off of the bicycle resulting in serious injuries. There were no witnesses to the victim's individual incident.
The victim arrived at
a WISCONSIN RAPIDS hospital at approximately 6:45 PM and X-rays
were taken as well as a MRI. These tests showed that the victim had a
broken three of the vertebrae in his back.
The neuro-specialist ultimately recommended that the victim wear a "halo" for three months to allow the vertebrae to mend. The "halo" was basically a heavy plastic body cast that went from neck to waist. Attached to the neck was a metal extension that raised up and encircled the victims head. It was held securely in place by pins screwed directly into the forehead and skull. This apparatus lifted the weight off of the spinal cord allowing the three vertebrae to mend. The victim stayed with his parents in WAUSAU during the three and a half months he wore the "halo" as he needed assistance to do just about everything. After this time period and in SEPTEMBER, 1996, the victim was given a soft neck collar to wear for about two weeks. [ed. medical text diagram and picture added for clarity]
At this point, the therapists have done all that they can. The victim's current condition as he knows it from conversations with his doctors and therapists is:
The victim has not had any contact
with SPINERGY , INC., the manufacturer of these carbon bicycle
the course of this investigation, a letter was sent on FEBRUARY
28, 1997 to SPINERGY INC. requesting product information sheets,
instructions, tests performed and copies of incident reports on
these carbon bicycle wheels known as SPINERGY REV X. SP-CW, FRONT
CLINCHER. A response was requested within two weeks. To date, no
response has been received.
Spinergy Report 2: (Two Time Loser)
This time: I was on a club ride in Connecticut August 10, 1999. I have been racing a bike for approximately 12 yrs. I am ranked as one of the great sprinters in New England. I know how to handle a bike. It was a back road that I have been racing on for the last 12 years on club rides. I just got away from the pack and I was about 30 sec. in front of them. I just came off a hill and was doing about 34 mph. I looked back to see were they were when I went off the road. I went about one foot off the road and as I was turning to get back onto the road the spokes exploded (the rim stayed intact). The wheel did not hit anything. I was sent about 30 feet through the air. Luckily, I tucked and landed on my back, suffering a left hip fracture and minor road rash. I could not get up off the road and was taken to hospital in an ambulance and was x-rayed and cat scanned. As I mentioned I suffered a left hip fracture.
The remainder of the bike survived the accident with no other damage, specifically the front forks which were in perfect condition before and after the accident. There were no cracks around the rivets. Wheel serial number: 255962
Last time: This is the second time this has happen to me. The first time I broke my front wheel was two years ago. I was in a race when I was sprinting for a prime. I did not contact any other bike, the road was smooth and straight. My front wheel suddenly and without warning collapsed, the spokes exploding. I was sent over the handle bars. I had road burn over 60% of my body. I hit at 35 mph. There were no apparent cracks around the rivets prior to the accident. I contacted Spinergy but they said that the wheel was safe and this was just a fluke. They gave me a set of wheels to replace what I broke and 2 other sets of wheels plus cash. This time I am getting a lawyer.
Spinergy Report 3: My Spinergy wheel failure is known to nearly every bike racer in San Diego. Thank you for this web site, I hope it helps to prevent these kind of injuries. I bought my Spinergys at Cycle World in San Diego on 3/13/97. As I bought them for racing only, I had only 3 races (2 time trials) on them when the front wheel failed.
This happened right in front of the feed zone, which made for many witnesses. There were also many team mates behind me (Swami's Club), and friends with the SDBC Club. They all say that I did not hit anything, or anyone. The reason the Spinergy wheel failed will always be a mystery, as I have no memory of the crash. When my face slammed the ground, it tore off most of my ear. My face was laid open from around my eye, down the length of my jaw. This required considerable plastic surgery. My knee was ground to the bone, and is left with a horrid scar. I was unconscious for about 8 minutes. I was later given a bag of spokes, carbon fiber shards, a hub, and a rim.
The most important point I have to make is this: When a regular wheel folds or tacos, you still have something left to push off of, to somersault over the bars to prevent a faceplant. When a Spinergy fails, the rim and spokes are instantly gone, and the hub hits the ground. There is nothing to push off of, so your face hits the ground before you can blink. To really understand this, take the front wheel off your bike, and with the forks on the ground, mount the bike, hands in the drops. Your face is very close to the ground, and there is no way you're going to save your face. I cannot stress this point enough. This is why the injures with these Spinergy wheels are so severe.
The remains of the
Spinergy wheel were sent back to Spinergy. 51 weeks later they
sent me a replacement. Obviously I will never use them again.
Thank you very much for hearing my story.
Confirming report by the President of the Swamis Bicycle Club, Cardiff California, I was at the feed zone which was about 400 meters from the finish. There was a 200 meter descent after the feed zone into a 200 meter uphill climb to the finish. The pack passed the feed zone on the last lap, descended, and then into an uphill sprint finish. In the sprint I heard a loud crack and thought someone had hit a car. About 10 minutes later a team member rode up to the feed zone and informed me that Chuck was down and his ear was torn off. That was not what I wanted to hear. I went down and helped Chuck feel comfortable until the paramedics got there.
Fortunately, only a chunk of his ear was missing. I asked around about how it happened and everyone said he was sprinting over to the side of the pack with no one close by (it was a 4's race). The loud crack was his wheel exploding. I felt comfortable that the information was correct.
We got to the hospital about 4 in the afternoon and didn't leave until 11:30 that evening. A plastic surgeon from San Diego (about 60 miles away) had to be called because of the severe nature of his facial, knee, and ankle lacerations.
After the incident I have encouraged everyone not to buy Spinergys and for the riders on them, I have warned them about the short durability of the wheel. I am glad that you are making an effort to warn potential purchasers of this danger.
Spinergy Report 4: Report from the Maumee Valley Wheelmen, Sports Club, Toledo, Ohio. www.freewheel.com/mvw/9808mcclu
McClure, Ohio, Sunday Aug 23, 1998. It was a bright, warm Sunday morning as a group of Breakfast Club riders headed off toward Napoleon, having stuffed themselves with pancakes at C&J's Family Affair in Grand Rapids, OH. Dave Komives, riding in the rear, heard the sounds of Gerry Davis's Spinergy front wheel collapsing. Gerry was last in line. Dave turned his head in time to see Gerry slam into the pavement, HARD, as the wheel collapsed.
A McClure fire truck and an EMS vehicle and two sheriffs cars all gathered at the scene to rescue Gerry. He has, besides the usual concussion and rash, a bunged up shoulder and, apparently, broken bones in both hands.
Gerry says the wheel has had nothing but ordinary wear, no crashes, no hard use - and he was riding straight forward and steady and smooth at the time of the collapse.
Spinergy Report 5: The accident occurred on a flat, smooth stretch of asphalt road. The rider was riding alone with no other traffic on the road. The front wheel suddenly and without warning collapsed causing the bicycle to suddenly dive into the pavement and caused the rider to be catapulted over the bars and to crash onto the road. The rider in this case suffered damage to his elbow and shoulder and has retired from competitive riding. The accident occurred as the rider was accelerating and pumping the handlebars to increase the force transferred to the pedals.
There was no indication of cracking between the rivets prior to the accident. The rider checked the wheels before each ride. They were for racing and were used infrequently. There was no obvious indication that the failure was due to improper fabrication.
Spinergy Inc. was immediately notified of the accident and Mr.
Raphael Schlanger of that company examined the wheel. Spinergy
Inc. has not provided the rider with a report of their findings
and to our knowledge, has not notified their customers of a
possible safety problem. Schlanger claimed that no wheel had
failed like this before.
Report 6: Bought a pair '97 of rev-x clincher wheels.
Had about 300 miles on them (three weeks) and was flying down a
mountain road when I had a rear blowout. I had Conti Grand Prix's
with about 120 PSI. The force of the blast resulted in a large
section (4 radial inches) of carbon sidewall becoming separated
from the metal rim. I was able to completely disconnect the brake
cable and cruise down the hill slowly. I was going very slowly
but with only a front brake the braking surface got very hot and
the front wheel delaminated-the metal rim and the carbon became
detached in large sections but did not break. Oddly enough when
the wheel had completely cooled it seemed fine. Spinergy replaced
my wheelset with a free upgrade to super stiffs but after a
couple months the back hub gave out (apparently broken pawl).
Report 7: I just purchased the wheel set (super stiff)
through work (The Bicycle Doctor). Six miles into my first ride,
the wheel made some funny clicking
noises and I started climbing a hill. I was accelerating on the
inside of the pack and I went down, without hitting any thing or
anyone, but the Spinergy was blown apart. The rim
separated from the carbon, blowing out three spokes, and
separating large portions of carbon from the metal rim. I sent
the wheel back to Spinergy and got a warranty replacement. I
suffered some minor scrapes and got
three stitches out of the crash.
Spinergy Report 8: Thanks to this web site the accident did not happen. The rear wheel, Serial number 144422 has developed 2 cracks at the 12:00 and 6:00 spokes at the rivets. These spokes had a small chip on the leading edge from a dropped chain that happened the second day I had them. These wheels have approx. 10 thousand miles on them.
The only noticeable sign of a problem was a vibration from the rear wheel area on hard pedaling at speeds above 20 mph. I believe that the chips are a major cause of the cracks at the rivets in my case. But it also shows a design flaw that can cause injury. The leading edge of the spoke should be slightly thicker so it can not hook in behind the chain link when dropped. I dropped mine on a sharp left corner and it did lock-up the wheel until the carbon-fiber chipped.
The other thing that you should pay attention to if you ride
these wheels is the trueness of the wheel. I
did notice that the wheel had become closer to true as the
vibration got worse over the last month. In order
for the true of the wheel to change something has to be happening
with the spokes. This web site
surely saved me from a very bad crash. I had
looked at the wheel at least a dozen times and found nothing
wrong. But by looking with a bright light and pinching the spokes
together about 4 inches up from the rim you could see the cracks
open when you pinched the spokes. Thank You.
Spinergy Report 9: Experienced rider in Criterium style race. He was coming around a right hand 90 degree turn which had a marked dip at about 20-25 mph. After completing the turn and getting ready to sprint the final 300 or so yards of the race, the rider felt a "drop" of a couple of inches and began to lose control. He then heard a pop which is believed to be the tire/tube blowing out. The rear wheel failure involved an interlaminar delamination of the carbon fiber. The spoke bent but did not fail. The rider then flipped over the handlebars after unsuccessfully attempting to regain control, and suffered a severe elbow fracture. Three surgeries later, there is roughly 50% range of motion with permanent injuries. Failed wheel serial number: 103688.
Spinergy Report 10: My client was riding his mountain bike on Northstar Mountain in Lake Tahoe, CA about July of 1997. He works in a bike shop that his dad owns. He races on an amateur level and instructs the local bicycle police force. He is an educated rider. He was taking his first run with a set of Spinergy Rev X Roks wheel which was newly purchased. He began to enter a turn on a single track run, when he heard a moaning sound. The rider behind then describes how the front wheel collapsed and the bicycle simply fell to the ground throwing him over the handlebars striking a rock with his head. The spokes and simply given way, separating from the hub connection. The design appears to have caused the spoke failure. He suffered concussion with associated symptoms (bloody nose/headaches for following weeks) neck and back pain.
Spinergy Report 11: (Hong Kong) I bought this Spinergy with disk brake from Flying Ball bicycle, with whole set of Cannodale super v freeride at Dec. 98, broke at Feb. 28, 1999 (Serial No. 25000) . This bike use only once a week on road, only ride offroad first time then it broken, I ride at 20km offroad and then suddenly broken, the wheel 3 of 8 spoke was break. The wheel have no warning before it collapse. I am not in a race and no rider close to me when the wheel fail. It not very rough, my front wheel left the ground about two feet, broken when it land, I am 130 pound. Before accident I found the rivet shift, but not loose.
When I go to the Hong Kong, Flying Ball bicycle shop Mr. Lee said that guarantee or replace of wheel only at U.S., Hong Kong is not have this service, so I go to the Chung Yeung bicycle shop at Sheung Shui, other Mr. Lee said paid for $2100(HK) will give me a new front wheel and he got my broken one, because this one I bought from Flying Ball and he is not the dealer of Spinergy, and Chung Yeung is the dealer if I buy from Chung Yeung will get a very low price to get a new one. I also get hurt at this accident, after I read this report I felt very angry and why I need to paid $2100 (HK) for a wheel that make me get hurt?
I only use for 2 month on road without jump then it broken, now I only use the wheel for road but this is design for mountain bike, also the hub of the wheel (Serial No. 255925) have another problem, the rivet on the hub was coming loose cause by the disk brake force, before I break the wheel I already found and took some photo, before I got the new one I set it to Spinergy but no reply, so now I use the v brake for this wheels, if possible I hope I can get reply from Spinergy about this two problem and get back my money for this wheel.
Spinergy Report 12: The accident happened August 1st 1999 during the Burlington Vermont criterion. I was sprinting all out for the finish line when all of a sudden I heard a loud "SNAP" and was catapulted over the handle bars landing first on my head , and then on my back. I was in incredible pain for what seemed like an eternity. I remember my wife just holding my feet and praying. There was a huge crowd around me and I felt embarrassed because maybe, I thought, it was my fault. I summoned all my strength, and against the advice of the EMT's, I struggled to my feet. I didn't know what happened until witnesses showed me my front Spinergy wheel and told me what they saw; the wheel collapsed from under me. My helmet was also cracked in the front.
The medical team attended to my road rash urged me to go to
the hospital as I was experiencing some acute pain in my lower
back and ribs but I really could not think clearly and refused to
go. It wasn't until a week later that I could not stand the pain
any longer that I went and got x-rays for my ribs. The film was
inconclusive of any fractures. A
week later, I woke up in the middle of the night in atrial fib (an
erratic heart beat). To make a long story short,
my cardiologist indicated that the crash could have been the
cause given my history of never having any heart problems.
Serial Number: 146154; Date of purchase : 1997.
Spinergy Report 13: I was on mile 252 of a 262 mile brevet to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris. The accident happened at 3:15 AM. There were four riders in my group. We went on to a bike path (concrete) that ran for about 3 miles. I was about 20 feet behind the guy in front. The other two had tailed off for a pit stop. All of a sudden I hit the ground with the left side of my body and especially my head. The most pain I felt was to both hands. It appeared that I probably went over the top of the handlebars and braced for impact with my outstretched hands. The front Spinergy wheel had come undone at the rim. Two of the blades snapped into three pieces. As the wheel came undone, it appeared that my forward momentum was halted.
I bought the wheels in October 1996 largely in par t because in 1994 while descending on my Krestel the bike developed a high speed wobble. I was only doing about 25 MPH at that time. Ever since I have been a very cautious descender. The Spinergy wheels worked great on descents. I later changed to Mavic H elium wheels on my Kestrel. Those wheels were great, too. I went 47 MPH on a shallow downhill with the wind at my back on the Eastern Sierra Double Century. But on September 27, 1998 my Kestrel developed a very bad speed wobble.
Lucky for me on the night I was riding my Colnago C40 with my Spinergy wheels, we had descended through the city of Corona. Lucky for me the Spinergy wheel didn't explode on me. The crash would have been far worse. On that descent I was going about 35 MPH. At the time of the crash on the bike path I was only going about 12 MPH. Other than the bruised knuckles on the palm of my hand, I didn't sustain any injuries.
I did the Death Valley Double Century within two weeks after the crash. I let Spinergy off the hook rather easily. They r eplaced my Spinergy wheels with Ambrosio wheels with Dura-Ace hubs and they replaced my damaged Dura-Ace shift/brake levers. These are the best wheels I've had to date.
Report 14: I was returning from a 60 mile ride out and
back that included some climbs and fast descents. At about the 50
mile point while in a pace line going about 21 MPH down a flat
straight road, suddenly my front
end started to wobble and quickly amplified until I could not
control it and I went down hard. The rider behind me said he saw
me wobble and go down. Afterward we inspected the
bike and no could see anything wrong at all. The only clue is a ticking sound coming
from the front Spinergy Rev-X. The sound goes away when I sit
back in the saddle. So the sound is there only when weight is on
the wheel. After getting patched up by a nearby
lifeguard, I rode home on the bike a lot slower and carefully but
no more problems, but I noticed that the ticking sound is now
louder. I plan to look more closely at the wheel and perhaps
report it to Spinergy for a replacement but I don't think I will
feel confident riding this wheel up front anymore. I curious if
others have had a similar experience.
Serial Number: 213293; Date of Purchase: Approximately 1998.
Spinergy Report 15:Riding mainly 15 mile a week and took bike into the mountains came down off about a 2 or 3 foot drop and front spoke shattered and rim bend rear wheel the same. Fell lots of scraps and bruises. Serial Number: 279028; Date of Purchase: 1997.
Spinergy Report 16:: I had just built a Trek Y 5.0 worth over four thousand us dollars. It was my dream bike at the time. The bike was outfitted with Spinergy rev x rocs and a top of the line component level. After about seventy miles on mild trails and roads, I decided to try the bike on the terrain it was intended for. Not five miles on the ride on a steep climb I shattered the rear wheel. The hub spun inside the assembly, after making it back to my truck I went to the bike shop. They called Spinergy and they replaced the wheel with a stronger downhill version with disc brake mount and riveted hub. SO far the wheel is strong and reliable. I only suffered a harsh fall over the handle bars from the wheel failure. I was lucky. I am a 225 lb. rider and ride aggressive stuff. I am now looking to build a traditional wheel that will hold up to my abuse. I wish that Spinergy would give me the money back for the wheels but I guess I should have done some research. Date of Purchase: 1998.
Spinergy Report 17:: I have ridden many thousands of miles with my Spinergy Rev X without problems.... until recently.
I had been climbing out of the saddle on a very steep hill when I had noticed that the rear end started to feel "loose" or mushy in the lateral direction. I proceeded to inspect my bicycle looking for cracks in the frame, etc. since I have plenty of experience in failed frames (four to date). I soon discovered a problem with my rear wheel. I had experienced a failure of rear wheel at the spoke to rim junction. The rivets pulled through carbon fiber spokes and started to pull apart the aero portion of the rim. I have not ridden the wheels since.
Being a mechanical engineer with experience with composite construction, the failure did not surprise me. I am in agreement with the "mechanical engineers" statement above about potential failure modes.I am a very aggressive rider weighing in at 235 lbs and had never babied the rims. I had subjected them with all types of stressful situation s with absolutely no failure. I have even subjected them to highly stressful "bunny hopping" of my bicycle in place for minutes on-end with no problem. The wheels have even survived a brutal crash at 40 mph with out even going out of true.
High performance wheels (and bicycles) by their nature require frequent inspections to ensure that there are no conditions which could cause an accident. Frequent inspection of my high performance cycling equipment such as my bicycles and my Spinergy wheels have certainly averted potential disasters. Considering the Spinergy wheel is made by hand laying carbon fiber material in the proper orientation it is not beyond the realm of possibility that there may have been defects in some of the in the wheels above. It is also t rue that carbon fiber composites can suddenly fail, but I have reservations that there was "no" indication of a problem. I had noticed an indication of a problem prior to catastrophic failure. Maybe I'm just more observant than the average person.
In most cases engineers try to engineer something to be idiot-proof, often it is not enough. For example, a person to go off a drop off and land on the front wheel and not expect the possibility for a failure, even a wheel as strong as a Spinergy is simply stupid. I'm sure many of the people above either failed to notice any precursor indications that led to the failure or omitted significant facts that could explain the real root cause of the failure. Ignoring even minor changes in the performance of your bicycle just invites disaster. As with any high performance equipment it behooves the owner to take responsibility for examining his/hers equipment to ensure their own safety. Please note I DO NOT work for Spinergy or in any capacity with anything in the bicycle industry, I'm just an avid cyclist and I thought I'd put my two cents worth in.
Please Report Accidents The sudden and catastrophic failure of a bicycle wheel can cause death or serious injury. We would ask that if you have had any functional wheel failures that you immediately bring them to the attention of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. You may make a Report of an injury- death- or unsafe product to the Product Safety Commission by directly filing a Report of an injury- Consumer death- or unsafe product .
You may also wish to report the accident to: Spinergy Inc.
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