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Should BMX reduce its carbon footprint?

30 11 2011

If you caught the footage from the ABA Grandnationals this past weekend, you no doubt caught AA Pro Denzel Stein‘s scary crash caused by his carbon forks snapping.

Truth be told, I’ve never really been a fan of carbon forks and things like this are not making me any more comfortable.

Die-hard carbon fork fans claim that carbon is stronger than chromoly but you never seem to see this level of catastrophic failure with a steel fork.

And the lightness argument? The gap between a good-quality chromoly race fork and a carbon fork is so small these days it hardly seems worth it from a safety and price perspective (carbon forks are generally the more expensive than other types of forks).

Word on the street is that some how an insert/sleeve to strengthen the steer tube was  not installed. That’s all well and good but if this kind of thing gets overlooked on a top pro’s bike…how many average joes are riding similar setups (without the insert/sleeve)? Seriously, it’s not worth the risk.

Ironically up until this year, Denzel was often seen running chromoly S&M forks on his factory Redline whip.

Did he make the switch due to pressure from his sponsor? Or maybe to cash in on co-sponsorship money? I wonder if he’s rethinking his decision and whether it was worth it.

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13 responses

30 11 2011
David Monroe

I don’t run carbon anything. I actually looked at all the federal product recalls for all types of bicycles this year, there where two basic categories:

1. Junky department store bikes and random issues all over the map.

2. Very expensive bike parts – made from carbon fiber (usually on road bikes)

The middle? Nothing. If you don’t want something that the feds will find unsafe stay in the middle.

I run a mix of aluminum and chromoly, and I’m careful about where I put the aluminum. The frame is fine, but not the forks. I may run aluminum forks for a kid, but not someone in my weight range. My Sinz forks are almost the same weight as my 7005 aluminum frame and my Sinz forks aren’t heavy, but I prefer finishing over picking dirt out of my teeth.

30 11 2011
Paco

Just a point about that video: it was the steerer which snapped, which was aluminium. The carbon did not break.
I agree though that steel is the sensible choice for forks.

30 11 2011
cruiserrevolution

It’s true, in this case the forks broke at the aluminum steer tube…but that’s just one more thing that should make people think twice about using these types of forks. The need for a reinforcement sleeve there (and this crash) seem to indicate that it won’t hold up to the wear/abuse it’s going to encounter in BMX riding.

30 11 2011
Brett L. Grogan

An aluminum steerer tube seems like a bad choice to me. There is a lot of stress on that part of a fork. Seems cro-mo would be a better option for that part of the fork, and with the extra sleeve in the aluminum, wouldn’t the weight be pretty close to cro-mo anyway?
Cipes, I have been riding hard since the late 70’s and just got an alum frame bike about a year ago. Steel all the way before that. At this rate I will be trying carbon fiber by around 2041…

30 11 2011
David Monroe

By 2041 they may actually have it to where it doesn’t break and tear all the time.

30 11 2011
mattyjo

my rule of thumb has been to avoid any component that is marked “for race use only.”

also it makes me laugh when people try soooooo hard to shave weight off the static parts of the bike- they’d be much better off trying to get their tires, tubes and rims to be as light as possible. rolling weight is a much greater penalty that static weight, since you need to expend more power to get heavier wheels turning.

i see bikes with carbon fibre everything, and then they’re rolling on alienation rims with big fat tires… but hey at least the ano is color coordinated!

30 11 2011
Adam

I’ve watched the vid over & over. The steer tube looks intact while the fork is bouncing away w/ the front wheel.
What broke that would have pulled the stem off the steer tube?
at one point, it looks like the steer tube angle is moving to the blades – like crown broke or steer tube slopping in the crown, but why did the stem come off & the steer tube pull out with the fork? I can guess….

That being said, carbon forks are fine on someone else’s kid’s racebike, but not coming out of my garage…..

1 12 2011
Buddy

Maybe the steerer broke at the stem,only thing I can figure.

1 12 2011
934g

Steerer tube busted. Defective fork that slipped through the cracks…
There is a fix. Answer has taken care of it quite admirably.
Unfortunate but, that’s what happens when the envelope is pushed. Glad everyone is OK.
I’d run set. It’d be my third set…
934g

2 12 2011
BobbyP

What ever happened to the rider being the one that won the race and not the bike he was on? I understand trying to be competitive, especially at the AA pro level. But everybody just gets it in their head that lighter is better/faster and will make them better/faster if they put said part on their bike. I worked in a bike shop for many years and this mentality is the same for road bike racers, MTB racers as well as BMX racers. If you want to win races, you train hard and practice hard. Your level of riding ability has nothing to do with the parts you are riding on your bicycle.

7 12 2011
dan

my 26″ pitch fork has an insert, stuff brakes, answer makes a good forks.

7 12 2011
Buddy

HUH,WHAT?

31 08 2015
Scott Towne’s sorta bike check | cruiser revolution

[…] mused before over whether BMX should or should not reduce its carbon footprint. I have considered using carbon in the past but in the end have always stuck with […]

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