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  1. #1
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    Apr 2006
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    Trek Madone 6 forks breaking!

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    Last night while working, I received a couple of calls. It seems that a couple of my customers had seen a report where there was a problem with Trek Madone 6 series forks breaking and wondered if I had the ability to warn potential people. I thoroughly checked their reports both online, and through a couple of friends who are owners of a TRek shop. Unfortunately, it is true and there now are several reports online.( check out Velonews.com)

    According to many different sources, it seems that the carbon forks on the Madone 6 series have been breaking. Trek recommends that ONLY the stems that came with the bike are recommended, although the original stem/forks are also breaking. Trek seems to think that it is incorrect installation that may be the problem... improper torque ratings ?? They also suggest that the problem exists with many brands, although again, Trek is also the only one reported. They are currently working with the Consumer Safety Protection.

    If this is the case, I wonder why the fork broke on George Hincapies bike several years ago? Not only was his bike serviced and assembled by a professional; it definitely has more care than most people.
    Last edited by ridebikeme; 06-19-2010 at 03:24 AM.

  2. #2
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    Sep 2006
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    2 completely separate incidents. George had an aluminum steerer, for one. The Madones have a full carbon steerer and fork instead of a 2 piece aluminum/carbon fork. They are snapping at the part of the steerer that is just below the stem. The design of these carbon steerers is different than George's old bike. It's not a tube of uniform thickness throughout anymore. So, it seems that it's more finicky with torque tolerances. Perhaps it goes farther than that into being a dangerous design mistake.

    This has been a problem for a (formally) Trek sponsored team in my area (referred to in the Velonews article). However, local talk indicates that at least one of the steerers broken around here had a stock Bontrager stem. It seems fishy to me that Trek has been shipping new 6 series bikes with a reinforced steerer tube and also says that people should be using a lot of carbon paste on their steerers when applying the stem plus using certain spacer arrangements above and below the stem to reduce pinching at the top and to reduce overall torque needed. Why have a 6 or 7nm spec on the steerer if you really want someone to use 5nm plus carbon paste? Why also announce in June that the Madones are not compatible with any non-stock, Trek stem?

  3. #3
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    Trek MAdone 6 forks breaking

    I did realize the difference in Geroge Hincapies fork and the current ones... my point was that something is definitely wrong. As for the new forks, "you're right about some of them coming with Bontrager stems. The other issue here is that the same Bontager stem has a cutout inside the stem where Trek is recommending that consumers stay away from. Seems to be a huge contradiction there.

    I have spoken to owners of three Trek shops,and all very good shops and with great mechanics... and very good at working with recalls and issues such as these new forks. One shop did receive the service bulletins from Trek and all mechanics were aware of the problem... the other two shops did NOT receive any of the service bulletins. So this is another issue as well.

    The reality is this: as long as we have carbon frames, forks and accessories we will continue to have problems. Now that isn't to say that we shouldn't use this material, it does mean however that the bike owners and the manufacturers need to take responsibility.

    Seems to me that this is another example like the Mavic situation last year, where the manufacturer blames everyone else and perhaps they should also be looking at their part in this as well.

    At any rate, I hope that this situation is taken care of properly and that no one gets hurt!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridebikeme View Post
    At any rate, I hope that this situation is taken care of properly and that no one gets hurt!
    I would like to see a TdF requirement of lugged steel
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

  5. #5
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    Nov 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridebikeme View Post
    The reality is this: as long as we have carbon frames, forks and accessories we will continue to have problems. Now that isn't to say that we shouldn't use this material, it does mean however that the bike owners and the manufacturers need to take responsibility.
    Hubby had a crack in his Specialized Roubaix Pro (I think it's a 2004) where the top tube meats the seat clamp area. The nearest Specialized dealer took it back and sent it back to Specialized. A comparable frame was sent within days.

    We thought that was good service, but it made me pretty happy to have an aluminum frame with only carbon fork and seatpost. Sure, it's rough as heck on our chip-sealed roads, but there's a certain sturdiness with this "old school" material, it seems.
    Kirsten
    run/bike log
    zoomylicious


    '11 Cannondale SuperSix 4 Rival
    '12 Salsa Mukluk 3
    '14 Seven Mudhoney S Ti/disc/Di2

  6. #6
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    hmm.. I've seen enough cracked aluminum bikes (often chainstay cracks where the failure wasn't caused by a crash) that I consider aluminum to have no significant durability advantage over carbon.

  7. #7
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    Interesting. I had not heard about this, but then, I don't have any Trek bikes. Makes me glad to be a steel gal, but any material can fail.

  8. #8
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    Yes, but when carbon fails, it fails suddenly and catastrophically.
    2008 Trek FX 7.2/Terry Cite X
    2009 Jamis Aurora/Brooks B-68
    2010 Trek FX 7.6 WSD/stock bontrager

  9. #9
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    Apr 2006
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    Maine
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    trek Madone 6 forks breaking

    Absolute, you're right any fame material can break. After 18 years in the industry, I've seen aluminum, steel and carbon crack. Although as Zen mentioned, when carbon breaks there is NO warning, at least with most of the other materials there is generally some sort of warning upfront before something happens. I'm sure that Margo from Luna can attest to that.

    The important thing here is that people take care of their bikes, have them serviced often and do visual checks frequently... if there's a question have a shop check it out. Always, air on the side of safety above and beyond everything else.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by ridebikeme View Post
    when carbon breaks there is NO warning, at least with most of the other materials there is generally some sort of warning upfront before something happens.
    What is your basis for this statement? A friend of mine was quite surprised the day the chainstay of his aluminum frame came apart at the weld to the seat stay one day last winter. I've also seem that kind of failure on a different brand Al bike happen during a race for no apparent reason.

    Zen, I've seen carbon failures that weren't catastrophic (in terms of crashing and burning). You can easily crush a seat tube at the collar without causing the frame to splinter. Some steerer tube failures happen where cracks extend lengthwise through the tube rather than causing the stem/bars to shear off. Hincapie's aluminum steerer failure was just as catastrophic and sudden as the failures of the carbon steerers 2010 6 series Madone.

    As for steerers, how often do you take your fork off your bike to assess the steerer tube?

  11. #11
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    Trek Madone 6 forks breaking

    Generally when aluminum or steel has a problem you may see a dent, crack, paint cracking etc... Although a frame breaking at the weld is another story in itself. As for answering your question, I have worked in shops for many years and have seen many frames crack... but not more than with carbon. You mention situations on the racing front, and as you know, many maunfacturers even exclude their warranty for racing. I don't agree with that, but it isn't my call. However most reputable companies will help a consumer in those situations, and again, it's their call.

    As for seat tubes cracking etc... perhaps that's a wake up call for shops/home mechanics to make sure they use torque wrenches.

    And to answer your question about taking off the fork?? If I owned a carbon bike, I would definitely inspect it OFTEN! there is NO doubt in my mind about that. Then again, I encourage all of my customers to inspect their bikes often regardless of frame material and have for many years.

    No one here is bad mouthing carbon, simply stating facts. The whole point to this conversation was to make light of it and how it is handled by various companies and to caution people to take care of your bike. At some point, when another frame material is being used in the future... we will have this conversation again. We certainly have had it in the past with aluminim and steel.

  12. #12
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    Jul 2008
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    Interesting. Are they just breaking or might you see some of the carbon fibers separating? I dont have a 6 series but my 5.1 has something that I thought just might be a thinning of the paint a few inches under the stem. I replaced the stock stem with a longer one about a month ago. Should I be worried about this?

  13. #13
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    Trek Madone 6 forks breaking

    I haven't heard of any problems with the 5.1, but it might not be a bad idea to have your LBS check it out. At least that way, you can be sure of what is happening. You also might ask them about the stem that you just installed. I know Trek is recommending only to use their stems, and ones without a inside cut out... but I also know that some of their stems still have a cut out. More than likley, the forks on the two different models are different but again, always good to check.

  14. #14
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    Here's a picture from the Velonews article.

    Presumably, the failure was happening underneath spacer(s) below the stem (or hidden in the head tube if this stem was flush with the frame).

    Where are you seeing a paint problem?

    I also don't know of any issue with the 5 series.

  15. #15
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    Jul 2008
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    I was at the "other" LBS and the mechanic was using a flashlight to look at the frame. He thought it looked like the paint was maybe thinner in that spot. I will take it to the Trek LBS and see what they think. This is a little lower down, in the front, and only visible with a flashlight. Off the top of my head I think the new stem is a Bontrager but I could be wrong. I will get it looked at this week and make sure I dont have it too tight. I installed it myself.

 

 

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