Thursday, September 04, 2014

Snazzy graphics

Dire warnings really add something to the look of a bike. There you are, you've shelled out a couple of thousand clams for your hot new rocket and it's covered with colorful stickers advising you to up your insurance and write a will.

When I was growing up, every kid knew the world was a dangerous and deadly place. We didn't need stickers on our bikes to tell us we could get splatted. Most of us developed first hand experience.

Back then, Mom was usually home to attend to minor casualties and do triage to determine if the wounded one rated a trip to the dreaded emergency room. Perhaps today's protective parents are motivated as much by economics as by a fear of harm to the little yard schnauzers. When you have to hand off to the pros early in the process your bill mounts quickly,  even for something that turns out to be minor.

Or maybe we truly have become a nation of wussies who can't figure stuff out for ourselves.

Bikes seem to baffle people. Or maybe I just see the baffled ones because the self sufficient ones are all out riding. In any case, the bike industry sees the need to cover its ass and its products with copious warning labels. This one had a restrained total of four: one on each wheel and one each on the frame and fork.


Chandra said...

I am reminded of the 'warning' inside a sunshage, which read, "Do not drive with this on".

I have not seen one rim break in my 40+ years of cycling.

Some of those warnings are a scare tactic and also a marketing ploy.

Take care.

Peace :)

cafiend said...

The annals of seemingly absurd warnings abound with things we would have howled at in Three Stooges movies. Apparently while we were laughing, some viewers were using the Stooges as role models and considered the films instructional documentaries.

That being said, there are things you and I know from being around bicycles for years that we take for granted. I have seen rims fail from wear and from fatigue. I never saw it until the mountain bike boom brought together rim brakes, abrasive environments and a vast number of riders, but then it became pretty commonplace.

With hard core mountain bikers shifting more or less entirely to disc brakes the incidence has dropped right off. I still see fatigue failures of alloy rims pretty frequently, but almost no failures from brake pad wear.

Scare tactics and marketing do come into play. I still believe that CYA is a dominant factor.

Thanks for dropping by!

RANTWICK said...

Hey Cafiend, got a question. Some of my bikes have been in use for a long time with wheels that have remained remarkably true with little or no maintenance and very infrequent washings.

How do I evaluate rim wear? How worn is too worn?

cafiend said...

Rims worn dangerously thin by the brake pads will feel concave when you run your fingers along the braking surfaces. You may be able to see it. A beefy rim can last a while even after the side walls have developed concavity. If you feel wear when you run your fingers over the side wall, deflate the tire and then reinflate it to full pressure while pinching the rim between your fingers. If you feel the rim flare outward at the bead as you add pressure you should retire that rim.

When it's really bad you will see cracks in the braking surfaces. That's really a hand grenade waiting to happen.

Also check all the spoke holes for small cracks. Sometimes when a wheel has been straight, round and trouble-free and suddenly develops a deviation, even a slight one, you discover a fatigue failure at one or more spoke holes in the rim.

RANTWICK said...

Thanks man! That was a great answer, simple enough for even me to understand!

cafiend said...

You're absolutely welcome. There's a lot less rocket science in the bike biz than the industry would have you believe.

Matt Boulanger said...

In the early days of my bike-geekdom, I killed a set of Velocity Fusions with brake wear- because I didn't realize how bad my pads had worn during a wet commuting season and it was basically a metal on metal situation. Expensive lesson.

cafiend said...


Chandra said...

You have firsthand experience and I have none. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.
It is good to know that rims can break and I will keep an eye out for signs of wear.
Peace :)

cafiend said...

I'm glad to be helpful and relevant when I stumble on the opportunity.


greatpumpkin said...

Mostly the warnings are put there on the advice of attorneys to cove the cpmpany's butt when someone gets hurt, or to conform with some law requiring disclosure. And you can see how well safety warnings work. They've been on cigarette packs for decades.