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  1. #1
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    User error... or too much for my 13' Trek Marlin 29er

    User error... or too much for my 13' Trek Marlin 29er-photo.jpg
    Took my bike out to the best single track in my area. Doing fine a mile into it when I caught some air and next thing I know I'm buried in fern. I get up and couldn't believe that my wheel had just snapped. It looked like a car had ran over it or something.

    I had a good 1.5 mile hike back to the car and had a lot of time to think about what went wrong:

    1. Bad wheel?
    2. Bad landing angle/weight distribution?
    3. Maybe I should look into DH,FR, or AllMtn bike instead of XC if mine can't handle the occasional jump or crappy landing.

    Let me know what you guys think.

    ps. I got the wheel replaced later that day and hit the same trail that night with no issues. Nothing to show for the spill except a buttload of mosquito bites from the hike of shame.

  2. #2
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    Dang! Nice job OP. glad you're ok.

    I don't believe any wheel should just fail like that on the trail. You probably landed a little wonky with too much lateral force and caused the taco, but maybe it's just a crap wheel. Hard to say.

  3. #3
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    Could be too much depending on your riding weight. It's an entry level wheel. Check to see if it is tensioned properly 100kgf at least.
    If you are at 200lbs or less an ArchEx ZTR wheel would work.
    NoTubes ZTR Arch EX 29 clincher front wheel 29"
    The fork is rated by Suntour as--
    RTR: Recreational trail
    "Work out with your buddies: No rough terrain, no steep climbs or downhills! Just floating along the city river or through the forest behind your house."
    Nick at Suntour has some upgrade options. The Epicon is light and the ArchEx has 15mm end caps available.
    If you want to upgrade your Suntour fork

  4. #4
    g3h6o3
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    Did it snap at the joint?
    Check out my SportTracks plugins for some training aid software.

  5. #5
    human dehumidifier
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    The LBS should've sold you a better bike. Seriously. They probably missed a real chance to upsell there. Wouldn't you have paid more for better if you knew about the fork description before buying?
    I Just Wasn't Made For These Times

  6. #6
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by North Guy View Post
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Took my bike out to the best single track in my area. Doing fine a mile into it when I caught some air and next thing I know I'm buried in fern. I get up and couldn't believe that my wheel had just snapped. It looked like a car had ran over it or something.

    I had a good 1.5 mile hike back to the car and had a lot of time to think about what went wrong:

    1. Bad wheel?
    2. Bad landing angle/weight distribution?
    3. Maybe I should look into DH,FR, or AllMtn bike instead of XC if mine can't handle the occasional jump or crappy landing.

    Let me know what you guys think.

    ps. I got the wheel replaced later that day and hit the same trail that night with no issues. Nothing to show for the spill except a buttload of mosquito bites from the hike of shame.
    Nah... nothing wrong with it, per se. You must have landed wrong on it. I've tacoed expensive rims and cheap rims alike. Generally cheaper rims are just heavier for the same strength.

  7. #7
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    Looks like it broke at the reflector...I'd upgrade to a more AM orientated one.

    Not sure how heavy you are, but one place I'm not a weight weenie is the wheelset. I'd rather have confidence mine is going to be solid at the cost of a few hundred grams.

    I sure hope the shop helped you out on this one. If they didn't, they should have.

  8. #8
    ballbuster
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    BTW, to save some walking, you can always try this trick. Looks like your wheel was cracked at the seam pretty badly.

    Skip to 1:20 for the fun stuff.




  9. #9
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    Geez, you learn something new every day.
    2013 SC Tallboy C
    2011 Niner EMD9

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by PissedOffCil View Post
    Did it snap at the joint?
    yup right at the seam

  11. #11
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    So sounds like this entry-level bike is worth entry-level riding. I guess I thought I could get away with pushing it a little harder. WRONG. I'll consider making some upgrades until I can afford an All Mountain bike that will take more of a beating. Any suggestions there? Thanks again

  12. #12
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    Good job!

    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    BTW, to save some walking, you can always try this trick. Looks like your wheel was cracked at the seam pretty badly.

    Skip to 1:20 for the fun stuff.



    Very cave-manish but legit nonetheless.Thanks!

  13. #13
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    After riding 13 years on the same 26" wheelset, I have destroyed 2 front wheels in 3 weeks. I'm very frustrated about this. Didn't break the rims, but I did taco them beyond repair. The 2nd front wheel was a Stan's Arch, so from my data set of 1, I'd recommend looking at a Flow if you're replacing it.

    Beating the rim on the trail works great to get home. I was 5 miles out when I busted mine.

    It could just be bad luck. And if it is technique, then you're likely to do the same damage to an AM front wheel if/when you land that one wrong, too. Don't be so quick to upgrade the bike/blame the equipment.

    Are you using all the fork travel? If you're hitting the bump stops, add preload to the fork. Check tire pressure, too. If you don't know, tie a zip tie around a fork leg and see how much travel you're using. If you're fork is too stiff, you could add some cushioning with less pre-load.

    Are you landing on the front wheel? Are you landing on the front wheel and catching something (like roots or rocks)? Don't. That is all technique. Get your weight back and keep the front wheel in the air. Land on the rear wheel or both wheels.

    As has been said above, how heavy are you? Most XC gear is targeted towards riders (with all their gear) under 200#. Any mass produced bike should be safe for a rider up to 250# at least, but you'll break stuff more often.

    You said you were buried in ferns. Did you land off-trail? Did you hit something when you landed? That can catch the front wheel which becomes a pivot for the rest of the bike. That's all technique to stay on the trail.

    How much air did you catch? 3" or 3'? If you are catching 3' then, yes, AM is for you.

    Glad you didn't get hurt.

    Look at the rim where it separated. Any evidence of a crappy spot weld? Missing pin? Look at the extrusion and make sure any internal bracing is present. If the rim broke at a seam, it could be a manufacturer's defect.

  14. #14
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by North Guy View Post
    Very cave-manish but legit nonetheless.Thanks!
    Yeah, it's mostly a technique for when you're out in the field, you bent a wheel so bad it won't turn and you just want to get it working well enough to get back home.

    Let's face it, if you bend a rim that bad it's toast anyway and should replace it.

    And yeah... it separated at the seam. Lower rent rims are pinned instead of welded. The only thing holding them together at the seam is the pins in the rim extrusion press/interference fit with nothing else really holding it together. Welded is stronger.

    BTW, Sun Inferno23 rims are welded and pretty dang strong and stiff. They have a list price around $45, which is super cheap for a good welded rim. Your LBS can get them from QBP. I'm 210 pounds and get occasional 1' kinda air and the set I got are holding up very well. I haven't even had to true them once since I built them myself. The rim I bent in that video was a DT Swiss X470, which is a pinned rim. I replaced it with the Inferno23 rim and immediately it felt a lot stiffer. If it has the same ERD as your tacoed rim, just get new nipples and swap it directly over.

    Amazon.com: Sun Inferno 23 29er 32h PV Disc Rim 559 Black: Sports & Outdoors

    On my trailbike, I got some of those Light-Bicycle carbon all mountain rims. They're actually wider, lighter and stiffer than the Sun rims.

  15. #15
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    Shitty wheels suck. A wheel build that's suitable for your riding style and weight will do what you need, but you quite simply don't get good wheels on most production bikes, regardless of cost.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by North Guy View Post
    So sounds like this entry-level bike is worth entry-level riding. I guess I thought I could get away with pushing it a little harder. WRONG. I'll consider making some upgrades until I can afford an All Mountain bike that will take more of a beating. Any suggestions there? Thanks again
    You probably don't need an 'all mountain' bike just better components. Keep in mind a good set of XC wheels, cost more than your entire bike. Not being rude, you just need to keep things in perspective and not go over board because a low end part failed.
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  17. #17
    ballbuster
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    Quote Originally Posted by OneBadWagon View Post
    Shitty wheels suck. A wheel build that's suitable for your riding style and weight will do what you need, but you quite simply don't get good wheels on most production bikes, regardless of cost.
    No equipment is going to make up for a bad rider error, especially wheels. Yeah, you can make wheels you are not ever going to bend, but they would be heavy as heck. They would feel like dragging a dead body around with you on the trails.

    I'm not convinced that these wheels were that underbuilt. I mean, look at that taco. That isn't just a little wave that cheapo wheels develop by themselves because of uneven spoke tension. That was landed on crooked, or tire slipped down the side of a big rock, or sideloaded, or something.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by pimpbot View Post
    No equipment is going to make up for a bad rider error, especially wheels. Yeah, you can make wheels you are not ever going to bend, but they would be heavy as heck. They would feel like dragging a dead body around with you on the trails.

    I'm not convinced that these wheels were that underbuilt. I mean, look at that taco. That isn't just a little wave that cheapo wheels develop by themselves because of uneven spoke tension. That was landed on crooked, or tire slipped down the side of a big rock, or sideloaded, or something.
    Agreed on most points, but it could have been something like loose spokes or a bad joint in the rim that may have made it more susceptible to failure. My point was that the wheels that come on most production bikes are generally heavy and/or weak compared to the specs of the bike.

    To the OP, beginners break stuff if they're pushing their skills to the limit. Some of them break EVERYTHING. Take a good look at the bikes that those in your area ride. If they're on XC bikes, then you're probably on the right type of bike. You'll learn finesse and technique or you will keep the bike shop in business. Don't sweat the rim. I did the same thing on my first bike on a 2" square edge on the uphill side of a creek crossing. I've only busted one other rim since in thousands of miles of riding.

  19. #19
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    Actually man, you are doing good. Out there breaking entry-level stuff shows some commitment and that you really want to mountain bike! As others have said, the wheels on off the showroom floor bikes are most always the weak link. I work at a shop, and part of bike building floor bikes, is sometimes de-tensioning the entire wheel and basically starting over. Keep at it and upgrade what you need to continue enjoying the sport!

  20. #20
    Zaf
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    Wheels, chains, handlebars, seatposts, derailleurs, hangers, etc. Everything can break on a MTB, and run it long it enough, or punish it hard enough and it'll fail on you. It's a awful shame when it happens, it's a million times worse when the failure leads to an injury. But these things do happen. they're even more likely when you're pushing your equipment hard, which MTB'ing does.

    Take it in stride, I always keep what my dad told me one day after I was chatting with him about luxury expenses, "It's only money, you can make more". Not sure about you guys, but I pretty much work to fund the things that I love doing, and I love my riding.
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  21. #21
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    My $0.02, for what i's worth at this point, is that the wheel got side loaded (bad landing/stuck/whatever) and folded. No bicycle wheel is designed for that kind of side loading.

  22. #22
    The White Jeff W
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    Land on the front wheel, crappy fork bottoms out, wheel is left to take the brunt of the landing.

    I cant speak to the quality of your bike, but the 2008 26er Marlin I had was junk. Maybe a notch above a Walgoose, but not much good for real trail riding. The fork (Rockshox Dart) was the primary weak link, but the wheels weren't that great either.
    No moss...

  23. #23
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    Great vid but those guys need to get out of the middle of the damn trail.

  24. #24
    Rub it............
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    Inexpensive, entry level bikes have inexpensive parts. Wheels are usually the weakest link on any bike unless your spending big dollars - $2k and up.

    Just keep this in mind.

    Cheap, light, strong. Pick 2.

    My recommendation for a good wheelset that will set you back about $200 bux total would be a Sun Rhyno Lite rims laced to Shimano Deore hubs.

    I've installed a couple sets of these on customer bikes that have ruined wheels on inexpensive 29ers. Have not seen them back in the shop with wheel issues. Now granted, anything can fail, but these wheels are beefy and are good for those with a budget and weigh close to a stock wheelset on a budget bike.


    Unfortunately in the cycling world, you gotta pay to play. Want nice, strong, light stuff, gotta fork the cash over.

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