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  1. #1
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    raced crit on 20-spoke Easton EA-90's and crashed

    I was racing cat5 today (my 9th race) and went down 6 laps in, after (I thought) someone clipped my rear tire in a corner. Hit really hard and saw stars, cracked helmet, and really bad road rash on my right side.
    This was a 6-corner crit in a downtown area. I had hit the corner 5 times before, and was sitting in around 8th place. I picked my line, hit the corner, pedaling and then BAM I was down. Garmin shows 25 mph entering the corner and then a rapid drop in speed and rapid rise in heart rate as I crashed. I'm 5'11" 160 lbs with an FTP of 280W and peak power of 1,500W.
    I went back and checked the corner, and there was a nice long skid mark. I didn't brake? Everyone was taking the exact same apex as me, so I had a good line. I didn't touch my brake before or in the corner.

    I believe the high speed corner combined with pedaling caused a ton of pressure on one of the wheel's spoke nipples (http://imgur.com/c2OjWfm.jpg) causing it to pop, un-true the wheel and lock up my rear brake (thus the skid, although I didn't notice because I was crashing) ... my memory of the event is foggy.

    The spoke broke at the head http://imgur.com/U8NYEFe.jpg on the non-drive side, and wheel is way out of true (~3/8" by my measure). The spoke head is rattling around inside the rim. Here is a picture of the broken spoke nipple head:http://imgur.com/c2OjWfm.jpg

    Anyone ever heard of this happening? I guess my takeaway is to not race crit on lightweight low-spoke count wheels with aluminum spoke nipples.


    So, I'm now looking for a replacement wheelset. Something with brass spoke nipples, 26-28 spokes in the rear, and a solid hub.
    For a crit weight is not that crucial, a deeper rim profile is better even if it adds a little weight. Right now I'm looking on wheelbuilders.com at a Mavic CXP33 deep-section aluminum, 28 count with bladed spokes (brass nipples) and a Chris King R45 hub. I want a solid crit racing wheel that can take power in the corners.

    Any other suggestions?

  2. #2
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    The HED Belgium C2 is not as deep as the Mavic but stiffer because of the extra width. I think it will serve you better for what you want to do with it.
    The rest of your build is pretty good, IMO. 28 14/15 double butted spokes will give you the stiffest wheel, which is what I believe you need. The main benefit of the bladed spokes to you, as the rider, will be slicker looks but you will pay a dear price for it.

  3. #3
    'brifter' is a lame word.
    Reputation: cxwrench's Avatar
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    Have you seen a doctor? Sounds like you were possibly concussed and probably should be checked out. If you were concussed you want to rest your brain, big time.
    i work for some bike racers...
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  4. #4
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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    You pedal in corners? The first time I saw a pedal bottom out I told myself I'm never pedaling thru a corner ever again in a race.
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  5. #5
    A wheelist
    Reputation: Mike T.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CleavesF View Post
    You pedal in corners? The first time I saw a pedal bottom out I told myself I'm never pedaling thru a corner ever again in a race.
    Happened to me - caught a pedal, lifted the back end of the bike up (I'll assume; it all happened so fast) and it came down, breaking a light tubular rim and flatting a band new tubular.
    .
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  6. #6
    Big is relative
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    Clipped a pedal in a crit, slammed into the pavement, and slid about 20 feet on my side, hip, and knuckles pinned under the bars. Broke my arm at the elbow and had to see a dermatalogist twice a week for a month until the skin healed over. Still have nasty scars and my right pinky finger doesn't completely bend.

    As far as wheels for crits, unless you intend to break away and ride off the front for the whole thing, aero wheels have limited benefit. Lighter wheels with a reasonable amount of spokes imho, work best for crits. You'll likely be in a pack so you're drafting a dozen or more people and if you're sitting in for a sprint, positioning and some explosive power for a sprint far exceed any benefit you'd get from a low spoke or aero wheel.
    Retired sailor

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by CleavesF View Post
    You pedal in corners? The first time I saw a pedal bottom out I told myself I'm never pedaling thru a corner ever again in a race.
    I lifted the back wheel once like this, didn't drop the bike but did end up riding riding the large chain ring along a granite curb as a result. (Had to replace the Campy NR large chain ring).

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by dcgriz View Post
    The HED Belgium C2 is not as deep as the Mavic but stiffer because of the extra width. I think it will serve you better for what you want to do with it.
    The rest of your build is pretty good, IMO. 28 14/15 double butted spokes will give you the stiffest wheel, which is what I believe you need. The main benefit of the bladed spokes to you, as the rider, will be slicker looks but you will pay a dear price for it.
    Thanks, I am strongly considering the HED Belgium 28 round spoke with a Chris King R45 hub ... actually, I'm also thinking about going tubular ... could glue up some Clement or Vittoria tires for road racing, then switch to cyclocross tires in Sept. and race those ...

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazunemono View Post
    Thanks, I am strongly considering the HED Belgium 28 round spoke with a Chris King R45 hub ... actually, I'm also thinking about going tubular ... could glue up some Clement or Vittoria tires for road racing, then switch to cyclocross tires in Sept. and race those ...
    I have the exact same setup in clincher and 32/28 and I love it. Personally, I dont want the hassle with tubes; I run larger tires and its pretty comfortable.

    These wheels are stiff; some may argue a bit too stiff for a 160lbs rider but i think you could take care of this with the tires.

  10. #10
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    You don't need light wheels. You don't need aero wheels. You don't need carbon wheels.

    You need wheels you can afford to break on Sunday and replace on Monday.

    You're an amateur racer so replacement parts are coming out of your wallet, not from some sponsor. Get your 32H, 3x basic hub/rim combo with steel spokes and brass nipples. Your speed will come from genetics and training.

    And yeah; I think you clipped a pedal as you pedaled through the corner. You just don't remember it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by tazunemono View Post
    I'm 5'11" 160 lbs with an FTP of 280W and peak power of 1,500W.
    That's really impressive. It's just under my stats and I race p1/2 -- I've won two crits in the past three months. If true you could (should) just ride off the front in those Cat 5 MadMax crashfests. Then you should blow through Cat 4 without looking back. That's what I would do, while pedaling through the turns.


    Are you training with power? Powertap just lowered the price of their g3 hub by $500. Their wheelsets are around $900 MSRP.



    I'm divided on the importance of wheels. I train and do all my practice races on garbage wheels, 2000+ gram shimano r500s. I win the majority of the tuesday night worlds and I don't fall off on the saturday morning hammerfest hill with those heavy, flexy eyesores.

    But I race with a zipp 808 tubular in the rear. If stiffness is your priority you may want to go deep carbon. I rock a that 808 rear in all my races, including the ones with hills. It's so stiff that it is probably overkill.
    Last edited by Local Hero; 08-01-2013 at 07:46 PM.

  12. #12
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    Since there are multiple war stories about clipping pedals I'll share. I clipped a pedal, crashed, sat out a lap, then jumped back in to win the crit.

    I was racing on shimano 7850 scandium wheels, tubeless with 16/20 spokes.



    Great wheels.

    RIP.
    Last edited by Local Hero; 08-05-2013 at 07:35 AM.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter P. View Post
    You don't need light wheels. You don't need aero wheels. You don't need carbon wheels.

    You need wheels you can afford to break on Sunday and replace on Monday.

    You're an amateur racer so replacement parts are coming out of your wallet, not from some sponsor. Get your 32H, 3x basic hub/rim combo with steel spokes and brass nipples. Your speed will come from genetics and training.

    And yeah; I think you clipped a pedal as you pedaled through the corner. You just don't remember it.
    Here's the video from the race ... I found a guy who filmed it with his GoPro. I unfortunately was out with 2 laps to go, but I was behind the guy with the blue/yellow stripe Jersey for the most of the race, so our speeds were matched. Corner #5 ( at 0:07 seconds in, 1:40 and 3:05) was taken around 25 mph and as you can see in the video even at 25 mph there's little chance of a pedal strike ... 30 mph, maybe. Who knows.

    I scoured Strava for other racers, and found that 3 other cat5's were hitting that corner around 25mph.

    New Albany Crit 2013 - YouTube
    Last edited by tazunemono; 08-02-2013 at 04:09 AM.

  14. #14
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    I had the Easton EA90 wheels, the ones with the spoke breakage issues. I fixed them and sold them after they left me stranded. I'll never run a wheel under 24 front/28 rear ever again, unless I enter a hill climb or drop my weight down to 120 lbs. I just don't trust light wheels with very few spokes, all's it takes is 1 spoke at the wrong time to make the whole wheel unrideable. Many people get by with them, I learned my lesson.
    "I felt bad because I couldn't wheelie; until I met a man with no bicycle"

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nOOky View Post
    I had the Easton EA90 wheels, the ones with the spoke breakage issues. I fixed them and sold them after they left me stranded. I'll never run a wheel under 24 front/28 rear ever again, unless I enter a hill climb or drop my weight down to 120 lbs. I just don't trust light wheels with very few spokes, all's it takes is 1 spoke at the wrong time to make the whole wheel unrideable. Many people get by with them, I learned my lesson.
    I'm a firm believer in keeping enough spokes on a rim, especially after seeing one of the pro riders go down from a bidon in the wheel. One of those fancy lace jobs with the big gap. Faced between the 2 options I'd like the chance that the bidon (or any road trash) might just hit the extra spoke and bounce off vs. go into the gap.

  16. #16
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    I'm not a fan of low spoke wheels, especially in crits. I'm not much of a fan of lightweight wheels for them either. The reason is that I like the handling characteristics of the stronger wheels. I'm not light at 220 but feeling a wheel flex in the corner is not the most confidence inspiring thing in the world. Crits are different than road races in that the race can be won and lost in the corner so going through corners fast is a huge deal. When I was still in the cat 4's, this is where we would beat up the younger riders because they weren't confident in corners and we didn't want squirrels up in the front causing havoc and doing the typical "cut the corners on the last lap because I want to sprint and didn't plan ahead." Always one person from 10 or more back who tries to barrel into the last corner messing up the flow into the finish, at least in my area.

    I find it surprising that some people don't pedal through corners, since I was in cat 4's if I didn't pedal through corners, I got dropped. I won't pedal through really tight corners where I'm banked pretty far over but generally I only stop pedaling at the apex when I the most leaned over. Coast into the corner if it's tight and start pedaling as soon as possible. If it's a "wide open corner" then keep pedaling the whole time.

    I'm not a pro, but I've raced a few crits like many others here. I just can't imagine doing well not pedaling in corners. I do practice sharp cornering through drills to see how leaned over I can be before touching pedals, it's a surprisingly far angle. Clipping the pedal a little isn't that big of a deal, lifting yourself up is a bit different. Usually it seems like the spot where you would clip the pedals is only a very short distance of the corner.

  17. #17
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    Not sure I agree with all of this low spoke count stuff. I run Zipp 303 Tubs 18/24 spoke count. Vittoria Corsa CX, Crits, RRs, hammerfest training rides with thousands of feet of climbing, I'm 5'11' 170lbs.

    Never had an issue once.

    I also run a set of generic Asian 50mm deep-v wheels with chosen hubs/aero blade, GP4000S tires. Never an issue with those either.

    I think you just had some bad luck, or there was some inherent spoke/nipple issue.

    BTW TS: with that FTP and power, just ride off the front...that is ridiculous power for a Cat 3/4/5 even. Most 1/2s have FTP at that level or just above. I know plenty of guys that are 295/300w NP at higher level amateur that are winning plenty of races and top 10s in the 30+ A and Cat 1/2 races....haha..get your upgrade and move on...and put some money into better wheels.

    All this talk about you are an amateur and it comes out of your pocket...no kidding genius....we all pay for our hobbies and stuff out of pocket. Get the best you can afford. Stuff happens, things break, crashes happen etc...

    As long as you are physically OK, who cares about the rest. Then again, $3k frame is nothing to me personally, to other guys, that might mean no more racing/cycling...so, I understand that perspective as well.

  18. #18
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    Low spoke is okay if the rims are there to compensate, such is the case for most carbon rims. Aluminum rims have higher capability to flex especially since they are run at shallower depths most often. Nicest thing about high spoke counts, in my opinion, is that if one spoke goes the wheel is more likely to survive. Having said that, I've rarley had issues with any wheels even being heavy. For mtb it's a different story but the conditions aren't even close to the same.

    It comes down to preference somewhat I think. I wish wheels could be test ridden just like bikes since the ride varies substantially between products. I believe reynolds has a program for test riding but test riding wheels in general doesn't seem to be common.

  19. #19
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    What I would do, is build that wheel back up with brass nipples and wait until you get to Cat. 3 and buy some real race wheels as a reward. What you need now are wreckin' wheels, and I think you have them, your rear wheel is now damaged goods, and you won't care if you destroy it.

    I think you are looking at buying some nice training wheels with the cxp33, and that isn't going to do much to improve your race results. Your nipple probably did break on its own, I have had Al nipples do that, I think sometimes you just get a bad one, especially if they are from an off brand. Or, you really are that strong, but I think brass will be fine for you either way. The 20 spokes and Al rim just meant the broken nipple put your wheel farther out of true and locked it up. The prevalence of spokes or nipples breaking JRA is not high, so I wouldn't expect it to happen again.

    Buy new wheels if you want, but it seems like you don't need to, and saving up for something more special makes sense. And pedal through corners, just not if you aren't sure if you will scrape or not.

  20. #20
    changingleaf
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    You may not have hit your pedal, but I must say the first thing I though of when you said pedaling through the corner was a possible pedal strike with the ground. But if you have enough recollection of the crash you would have felt it. Anyway if you've been riding enough you tend to know which corners you can pedal through and which ones you can't.

    The nipple probably broke because the spoke was a little too short which put pure tension on the alloy nipple. The spoke needs to thread into the head portion of the nipple to be more structurally sound.

    Check out the H Plus Son SL42 for a very strong aero rim.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Local Hero View Post
    That's really impressive. It's just under my stats and I race p1/2 -- I've won two crits in the past three months. If true you could (should) just ride off the front in those Cat 5 MadMax crashfests. Then you should blow through Cat 4 without looking back. That's what I would do, while pedaling through the turns.
    I'm 150 lbs and have an FTP of 280 and I'm having trouble in NorCal in the 4s! I do need to work on some crit skills and 5 min power though. Seeing how you race for Don Chappin you're NorCal too, I don't think 4.1 W/kg FTP is going to make you breeze through the 4s here!

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by deviousalex View Post
    I'm 150 lbs and have an FTP of 280 and I'm having trouble in NorCal in the 4s! I do need to work on some crit skills and 5 min power though. Seeing how you race for Don Chappin you're NorCal too, I don't think 4.1 W/kg FTP is going to make you breeze through the 4s here!
    Maybe you're right. But that 1500 watt sprint has to go a long way for a 160lb rider.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Local Hero View Post
    Maybe you're right. But that 1500 watt sprint has to go a long way for a 160lb rider.
    Indeed, and as most cat 4 crits come down to a field sprint that should help! Max I've done is 1100 watts and that was on a good day.

    Although you are right too. Looking at the table in Racing and Training with a Power Meter 4.1 W/Kg is a high-end Cat 3/low-end Cat 2.

  24. #24
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    This is is silly. One broken spoke is not enough to lock up your wheel and send you tumbling. It's impossible to lock up your wheel with one brake pad, as would happen if your wheel went out of true. Most likely that skid mark was from the guys behind you who said, "oh crap, that guy in front of me just wiped out".

    Stripping spoke nipples takes an incredible amount of force, more than you or I can dole out. Most likely, you had another inexperienced racer plow into your rear wheel, you both went down, you broke a spoke and some body parts, and scared the chamois off some guys behind you.

    i've raced these wheels entering turns at 40 mph without issue. Most all wheels are able to withstand these forces. You just had a bad day. It's not the wheel.

    Quote Originally Posted by tazunemono View Post
    I was racing cat5 today (my 9th race) and went down 6 laps in, after (I thought) someone clipped my rear tire in a corner. Hit really hard and saw stars, cracked helmet, and really bad road rash on my right side.
    This was a 6-corner crit in a downtown area. I had hit the corner 5 times before, and was sitting in around 8th place. I picked my line, hit the corner, pedaling and then BAM I was down. Garmin shows 25 mph entering the corner and then a rapid drop in speed and rapid rise in heart rate as I crashed. I'm 5'11" 160 lbs with an FTP of 280W and peak power of 1,500W.
    I went back and checked the corner, and there was a nice long skid mark. I didn't brake? Everyone was taking the exact same apex as me, so I had a good line. I didn't touch my brake before or in the corner.

    I believe the high speed corner combined with pedaling caused a ton of pressure on one of the wheel's spoke nipples (http://imgur.com/c2OjWfm.jpg) causing it to pop, un-true the wheel and lock up my rear brake (thus the skid, although I didn't notice because I was crashing) ... my memory of the event is foggy.

    The spoke broke at the head http://imgur.com/U8NYEFe.jpg on the non-drive side, and wheel is way out of true (~3/8" by my measure). The spoke head is rattling around inside the rim. Here is a picture of the broken spoke nipple head:http://imgur.com/c2OjWfm.jpg

    Anyone ever heard of this happening? I guess my takeaway is to not race crit on lightweight low-spoke count wheels with aluminum spoke nipples.


    So, I'm now looking for a replacement wheelset. Something with brass spoke nipples, 26-28 spokes in the rear, and a solid hub.
    For a crit weight is not that crucial, a deeper rim profile is better even if it adds a little weight. Right now I'm looking on wheelbuilders.com at a Mavic CXP33 deep-section aluminum, 28 count with bladed spokes (brass nipples) and a Chris King R45 hub. I want a solid crit racing wheel that can take power in the corners.

    Any other suggestions?

  25. #25
    'brifter' is a lame word.
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    You do realize the last time anyone cared enough to reply to this thread was last August, right? I'm pretty sure everyone involved is well and truly over it by now.
    i work for some bike racers...
    2013 Trek Madone 5.9 w/ '12 SRAM Red
    2010 Cervelo T1 sprint bike
    Ruger 10-22TD
    Smith&Wesson M&P 15-22
    Smith&Wesson M&P 9
    oh, those belong in another forum

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