Friday, March 5, 2021

Omerta in the bike biz...of a different sort

 Omerta in the bike biz...of a different sort.

You may have seen this article. We published a post recently complaining about the bike enthusiast press downplaying or ignoring things like these, but this is kind of the reverse. How?

In this case it would be hard to downplay or ignore the failure of a bicycle ridden by one of the big stars of the sport, especially when so many video images of what could have been a catastrophic failure went viral.

So what did the bicycle enthusiast press do instead? If you read the article we provided the link to (and copied the photo from - so we're using it to promote the article so we hope copyright lawyers don't come calling) you might conclude (as we did) the author is trying to blame the rather embarrassing failure on the technician who put this bike together instead of the people who manufacture and market these products.

There's also a sub-headline about torque wrenches and carbon grip paste, which implies neither were used to assemble this bike and somehow led to the handlebar breakage.

Seems rather easy to blame (but not name) someone rather than call into question the quality and/or engineering of the handlebar, especially when you think of the potential advertising revenue, product-review junkets, etc. the bike brand might bring to a cycling website vs the (so far) anonymous mechanic who put this bike together. 

Sadly, the mechanic won't likely defend himself against this as who pays his salary? You almost never hear a bad word said about a sponsor's products unless maybe it's a malfunction that happens time after time or in a key moment of a race that leaves someone very HERE.

Further, in the comments section the author spends more time trying to counter arguments that quality control or intelligent design might be lacking here despite this same bicycle's already well-documented shortcomings with a different component - the seatpost.

So this is not OMERTA, but a big dose of finger-pointing, seemingly trying to shift responsibility for this failure away from the manufacturer/marketer of the products. Since this article appeared the bike maker has issued a warning against continued use of these bikes which would seem to indicate a bigger issue than a ham-handed technician's assembly work.

We don't expect much in the way of facts here, this is just another angle on the OMERTA idea. If you want a carbon-fiber handlebar we'd suggest looking at makers who seem to understand the unique properties of this material and how it must be designed/engineered and manufactured to be able to withstand the forces involved.

Here's one.

UPDATE: MVdP won Saturday's Strade Bianche race riding his usual bike with a lower-spec (as in cheaper/heavier..and perhaps stronger?) bar/stem combo which also required using a fork to match. Holes had to be drilled into the frame since the original setup has all the cables/hoses running internally through the bar/stem and headtube. More details and photo HERE.

UPDATE: Now the bike brand is asking owners of these bikes to ship them back (to Germany, Taiwan?) for a replacement handlebar/stem combo that's been reinforced, but they won't have these replacements available for months. They promised a rebate of around $1000. while also promising a fix for the seatpost issues with these bikes. Will that resolve all the ill-will caused by someone's expensive toy being sidelined for months and make them consider this brand again when it's new bike time? Details HERE.

Even more issues with carbon** HERE, but at least they're not making excuses for these folks using their customers instead of doing their own R & D.

FINAL UPDATE: Go HERE  Zio Lorenzo's favorite quote from this is - 

“We all know bikes are the new toilet paper." 

What? As in use 'em once and flush them away?

Disclaimer: Ursus is an official supplier to CycleItalia/Piedmont Cycling Resort
** All CycleItalia rental bikes have steel or aluminum steerer tubes for reasons like these.

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