What Happens When the Six Million Dollar Man (bike) Crashes?

Today's coffee talk: Are the benefits of carbon worth the increased cost of potential replacement/fixes/injuries? To keep my somewhat silly comparison going, when the Six Million Dollar Man fell off a building or got ran over, the secret segment of the Government and their team of doctors fixed him right up for the next episode. Same with carbon bikes for the pros. The average pro goes through...many bikes in one year. The crashes are nothing short of a terrifying, spectacular show at ridiculous speeds. The bikes and riders are often shattered, but the team car arrives, with new bikes and doctors, fixing the rider right up.

But for the average local rider/racer, it's not such a 80's action sit-com ending. Your bike is gone, your crash is painful and there you are in a situation that may not have been as severe (financially) than if you were on an aluminum or steel frame.

Recently trusted bike-fitter extraordinaire, (Big) George Mullen (Peak Cycles, Golden) and I were discussing this very topic during a fit. His prediction for the future: all major bike shops will have their own carbon repair person in house. That's how common repairs are becoming. In his opinion, "It will simply become a necessity.". Read the article below and give us your opinion.

From the mobile.nytimes.com
-Ian Austen,
July 26, 2014, Periguex, France


Photo: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

In terms of technology, Greg LeMond, the three-time Tour de France winner, was a pioneer. In an age when steel still dominated, LeMond rode bikes made of carbon-fiber composites, then an exotic material mostly used by the military.

At this year’s Tour, carbon fiber is the only material used for bikes, and it has also replaced aluminum in wheel rims. The strength, lightness and the design flexibility offered by carbon fiber have ensured its dominance. And its most extreme form, the special aerodynamic time-trial bicycle, was on display Saturday in the 20th stage.

But there has been a catch. Unlike steel or aluminum, carbon fiber does not bend in crashes. Rather the bikes and wheels frequently shatter, often hurling riders to the road and, many fear, increasing the severity of injuries.

“Anyone in a team who’s being honest with you will tell you how frequently their bikes are breaking; everybody knows,” said Mark Greve, a physician and assistant professor of sports medicine at Brown University who studied injuries to 3,500 competitive cyclists. “Few people in the public appreciate how many bikes a pro team will go through in a season, because they break for one reason or another. The bikes, they completely explode.”
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For the entire article, click here.


Photo: bikeforums.net

*And by the way, if you DO happen to be in need of this service, call Sam Morrison, Brady Kappius and their crew at
brokencarbon.com. I just picked up two bikes (mine and a neighbor's) last night. They did amazing work. Much cheaper than a frame/crash replacement. Much. For more on their business, go to Brady Kappius and Broken Carbon.

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20 Comments

Then don't buy it..

I never understand why people like you care what other people are riding. Why does it matter to you if people want to buy the newest widget?
It really comes down to what people enjoy. If someone buys a new S Works Venge and rides it 10% more because they really enjoy the bike and it keeps them motivated to ride then more power to them. If someone else wants to ride a simple single speed old Dean ti frame and that motivates them then more power to them.

At the end of the day it is about people enjoying bikes in ways that work for them isn't it? You are the dictator of the "right" way to have fun on a bike?

And BTW to the other poster re: disc brakes. They are light years ahead of cantilevers for 99% of the races in Colorado. Maybe in Belgium where every race is pretty much muddy and you have problems with pad wear it is an issue but not in our climate. I've also about ran off the side of Sunshine trying to descend it on a more budget version of cantilevers, not even close to the control and stopping power of discs.

Sorry, Joe... but if you're

Sorry, Joe... but if you're using your brakes in cross races here in CO to tell the difference between discs vs cantis, you're doing something wrong.

You've got it ass-backwards as to which conditions favor discs vs cantis. Dry conditions shouldn't need anything more powerful than cantis, though you may prefer the extra modulation with good discs. The increased braking power of discs over cantis with wet, muddy rims is where the benefits to discs really shine. Seems you've got some misconceptions on discs in mud based on the single example of folks running the wrong pads at one muddy race a couple of years ago. With the right pads, discs are far superior in MUD than cantis. Dry, dusty races, not so much.

Agreed. Discs are better,

Agreed. Discs are better, but cantis are good enough. I'd be perfectly happy to ride cantis in CO, but unless you're buying used, or NOS, you can't find a decent bike that comes with cantis anymore. And, if you buy a canti-equipped NOS bike, you won't be able to give it away in a year or two. Forget resale.

Discs = good enough For JPows to destroy the nationals field

As a guy with one bike (and one set or race wheels) for road and cross, discs are not a good option. The ironic part of this is that discs came out just as the canti caliper & carbon rim brake compounds were just about perfected. A well set up set of shorty ultimates with the new swiss stop black prince pads leaves almost nothing to be desired. And you don't have to $hit a brick on race day to swap wheels when your discs are rubbin'

I have the same setup

I have the same setup (Ultimate's/Swiss Stop) and I feel my CX bike brakes are just as good as my road bike with SRAM Red brakes. My setup is very impressive even with carbon wheels. It's also light. I obliviously run disc brakes on my mtb, and they are fantastic. In a couple years CX hydraulic disc brakes will be dialed and the argument will be pointless, however, right now a very good case for canti's can be made. Run what you got but if you don't have a disc CX bike don't worry too much about it and remember JPow, Nys, Stybar...

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