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  1. #1
    Kiwi that Flew
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    Broken Carbon Handlebar anyone?

    Anyone broken a carbon handlebar?

    The reason I ask is that I have.

    I came down after an 'off' and got up to find my handlebar had snapped half an inch in-board of the brake level. The bars have been sent back and I have just now received an assessment back from the UK distributer stating that the brake leavers must have been over-torqued. However, the fact is that the brakes have been on the bike untouched for over a year. Surely if they were infact over-torqued, then they would have broken way before now??

    Or am I being fed some BS?
    (adding that this is my third carbon bar since 2006 and the first failure)
    Any thoughts?

    Cheers,
    deano

  2. #2
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    It's hard to say deano. Carbon isn't known for its crashworthiness... overtorquing or not. If you set the torque on your lever to the recommended amount, it would be pretty easy to refute the claim of overtorquing. If you overtorqued your brake lever, I would be concerned about overtorquing your bars at the stem as well. I suggest getting a torque wrench and being mindful of the recommended settings from the bar and component manufacturers.

  3. #3
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    Dump, thanks for your comments.
    Good point about the stem. I'm not one for over tightening and in the past have had to retighten my stem as it slipped after reassembly after flying to the Alps (didn't have a torque wrench with me).


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  4. #4
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    I did once too, really nasty crash.

    Its possible I couldve overtorqued my bars as I didnt own a torque wrench back then, but I've never been hamfisted and knew better than to over tighten things. Nothing on my bikes was ever close to being particularly tight.
    This bar also broke about an inch inboard from the levers. Ive never bought carbon bits since then... not even

  5. #5
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    I have crashed pretty hard on my Carbon Heavens. One really bad at Fort Duffield, TN. I broke the brake, but the bar has been stellar.

    What kind of bar was it?
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by irishpitbull View Post
    I have crashed pretty hard on my Carbon Heavens. One really bad at Fort Duffield, TN. I broke the brake, but the bar has been stellar.

    What kind of bar was it?
    As I have asked the manufacturer to reconsider their assessment, I thought it would be polite not to name them (yet - pending some good news). That said if I was you irishpitbull I would be very (very) concerned. I had a big crash 4 months before the bars actually broke in a relatively small crash.

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    Quote Originally Posted by deanopatoni View Post
    As I have asked the manufacturer to reconsider their assessment, I thought it would be polite not to name them (yet - pending some good news). That said if I was you irishpitbull I would be very (very) concerned. I had a big crash 4 months before the bars actually broke in a relatively small crash.

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    Thanks for the concern.
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  8. #8
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    Thanks Hongzheng.
    Worth noting that the handlebar installation instructions have NO advise on torque settings.


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  9. #9
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    I had a carbon bars on two bikes that I've since sold. Crashed multiple times, broke brake levers on two separate occasions, but never had any issues with the bar breaking. It seems weird that the distributor would be making the call as to the cause in your case - I would be more comfortable with a verdict from the manufacturer who would have purposely broke many bars during design and testing and would understand from the broken bar probably quite a bit about why and how it failed. I'm not saying the distributor isn't qualified, but it seems less likely that they would be.

  10. #10
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    I've never broken a carbon bar. However when
    I was a kid I broke quite a few steel ones.

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    I have only broken Alum bars, never carbon ones and I use carbon bars for DH, and AM and have crashed many times hard on them and I am not concerned. The brake lever could have been over torqued if you check the bolts every so often and move the bolt just a little bit it will add up over time, there was an article on it that most bolts are way over tightened due to the checking of bolts and not people reefing on them when installing

  12. #12
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    I broke my carbon monkeylite bar in a wash out type crash. Snapped it halfway into the ODI grip (which shattered and tore as well).
    Definitely wasn't from torque spec, it was from me using it as a plow. I am 145lbs though...
    "...like sex with the trail." - Boe

  13. #13
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    they say you overtorqued, you say you didn't. how can they prove you did or didn't? well, they don't really have to. they can't prove you did, you can't prove you didn't. the only deciding factor is that they are the deciding factor and they tend to favour their own best interests.
    RIP Adam Yauch

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine View Post
    they say you overtorqued, you say you didn't. how can they prove you did or didn't? well, they don't really have to. they can't prove you did, you can't prove you didn't. the only deciding factor is that they are the deciding factor and they tend to favour their own best interests.
    This is exactly my predicament.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Beater View Post
    I have only broken Alum bars, never carbon ones and I use carbon bars for DH, and AM and have crashed many times hard on them and I am not concerned. The brake lever could have been over torqued if you check the bolts every so often and move the bolt just a little bit it will add up over time, there was an article on it that most bolts are way over tightened due to the checking of bolts and not people reefing on them when installing
    Your point about overnighting over time is very interesting. I guess that is why Easton state that you should use 'carbon friction paste' on their stems to help with slippage?


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristatos View Post
    I had a carbon bars on two bikes that I've since sold. Crashed multiple times, broke brake levers on two separate occasions, but never had any issues with the bar breaking. It seems weird that the distributor would be making the call as to the cause in your case - I would be more comfortable with a verdict from the manufacturer who would have purposely broke many bars during design and testing and would understand from the broken bar probably quite a bit about why and how it failed. I'm not saying the distributor isn't qualified, but it seems less likely that they would be.
    I agree. On seeing the response from the uk distributed I forwarded it on to the US manufacturer for comment. No response yet.


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  17. #17
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    Carbon paste is always worth it the fsa stuff claims you can use 30% less torque or something like that

  18. #18
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    Here are some interesting comments from PinkBike on carbon bars and paste.

    Pinkbike Product Picks - Pinkbike

    Easton recommends using both a torque wrench and a carbon friendly friction paste during installation, and it is well worth spending a few minutes to make sure that there are no burrs on any of the aluminum control's clamping surfaces. Our single complaint stems from having our brake levers rotate a little too easy when crashing, even when tightened down quite snug. Having them rotate from a crash isn't necessarily a bad thing, but the marks that the clamps left in the bar's clear coat certainly are, even if they weren't deep enough to compromise the bar in any way. Despite the slippery surface, the Havoc Carbon is still one of our favorite bars due to its light weight, high stiffness and great comfort. - Mike Levy

  19. #19
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    Why doesn't Easton put torque specs in the manual? Anyone know what they are?

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by trap121 View Post
    Why doesn't Easton put torque specs in the manual? Anyone know what they are?
    my 35 carbons came with torque specs.

    my guess why they broke is either over torquing which is very easy to do with them or a defect in the molding process. i am hoping they are not Enve because i know of a few people who broke them. but its was due to over torquing then when they crashed they broke like yours.

  21. #21
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    I have havens and havocs and neither came with torque specs. Makes no sense while they would sell carbon bars with no specs?? That being said, Im very happy with mine and have not had any issues with numerous ugly crashes. If they do fail, I will gladly buy new ones.

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    Never broken mine, but that sounds unlucky

  23. #23
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    I've been riding and crashing a bontrager Trekking carbon bar for 6 years now. It has survived crashes on asphalt, a broken clavicle on a downhill bomb, and numerous trees/rocks/other stupid stuff. It's a 620mm so it's too short for my new bike build so it will stay on my xc bike. Brand name carbon is where its at.

  24. #24
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    The thing I donít understand is, if I had over-torqued them (possible but very unlikely as the carbon bars I have from 2006 and 2007 are still going strong with the same torque settings), why did they take over 12 months to fail? This does not make sense to me. I would have thought they would have broken after a big crash I had in May or maybe during 6 days heavy riding in the French alps in July. But it was a medium crash in Wales 12 months after the leavers had been installed.

    I guess if I have had at least 2 years use of them I would just be happy to get a new set, but 12 month is just not long enough. I thought also that a BIG name brand that specialises in the best bars on the market would be keen to give me the benefit of the doubt. This is why I forwarded my claim directly to the manufacturer for their comment, and not just the opinion of the UK supplier who donít specialise in design and manufacture but specialise in selling stuff.

    Still no response from them.
    Last edited by deanopatoni; 10-18-2012 at 12:57 AM. Reason: spelling error

  25. #25
    FX4
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    Well you know how it goes, the squeaky wheel gets the oil. I would keep after them.

    I know CF is stronger but when it fails it's frequently a catastrophic failure. I probably have an unrealistic fear of the handlebar or fork failing at the wrong moment and getting seriously hurt. So I don't see using CF parts in my future. There are just a few too many gory failures floating around the net for my taste.

  26. #26
    dwt
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    I've broken two; both Easton. One on a road bike, no less.

    The road bike had never been crashed, but the bar broke when I hit a pothole hard enough to pinch flat the tire, and dent the rim. The bar broke on the hood where my left hand was, near the upper bend but NOT near the brifter clamp on the lower bend. So it was the sudden force of hitting the pot hole coupled with my weight on the bar.

    Mtb bar break was similar though that bike had crashed a few times. The bar broke above the left brake clamp (no shifter clamp it was on a 1 X9) as I was descending a rocky staircase. 120 mm fork, but it did NOT bottom out. Again the cause was force of impact and weight on bar.

    Scary stuff that, but I still have carbon bars and seatposts on 2 mtb and 1 road.


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  27. #27
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    Correct me please if I'm wrong but doesn't CF have a cyclical fatigue life? A lot of sailboats with CF masts are experiencing the same type of failures at the base. Seems to me because CF is an epoxy system it will have a crystalline structure. So if there's a notch defect like a deep scratch or a torn layer of CF weave it could initiate a tear, and rather quickly. CF seems just too stiff for cyclical loading. Look what happened in the beginning of CF frame building. Even now I'll never put my ass on a CF bike because it just simply isn't inherently flexible to ANY degree. Just as a bone will flex slightly before breaking so too does a bike part or sailboat mast. CF works great for flat panels like sailboat hulls and car fenders but I'm still not sold on the 3D forming of CF into bike parts. My 2 cents anyway.
    I am a mech engineer but I don't do CF.

  28. #28
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    everything bends to some degree. but i'm not a doctor.
    RIP Adam Yauch

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  29. #29
    FX4
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    Quote Originally Posted by C-Dale_Rider View Post
    Correct me please if I'm wrong but doesn't CF have a cyclical fatigue life? A lot of sailboats with CF masts are experiencing the same type of failures at the base. Seems to me because CF is an epoxy system it will have a crystalline structure. So if there's a notch defect like a deep scratch or a torn layer of CF weave it could initiate a tear, and rather quickly. CF seems just too stiff for cyclical loading. Look what happened in the beginning of CF frame building. Even now I'll never put my ass on a CF bike because it just simply isn't inherently flexible to ANY degree. Just as a bone will flex slightly before breaking so too does a bike part or sailboat mast. CF works great for flat panels like sailboat hulls and car fenders but I'm still not sold on the 3D forming of CF into bike parts. My 2 cents anyway.
    I am a mech engineer but I don't do CF.
    This is exactly my thinking on the topic.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by saturnine View Post
    everything bends to some degree. but i'm not a doctor.
    Can you bend a column of ice? How about a pure carbon rod? I asked to be corrected if I was wrong and your statement does nothing to this effect other than act as a troll. CF does bend, that is not the question. The issue is CF doesn't yield as much as other materials common in the cycling industry like aluminum or Ti alloy. CF has an awfully abrupt stress-strain curve, too much for me to consider it for CYCLICALLY LOADED APPLICATIONS. Do let me know if I am wrong and please cite examples.

    BTW, I have a very freaky Bontrager trekking bar in CF with the grab handles in the middle and I am always skeptical of it every ride. I inspect it thoroughly before each ride out of paranoia. Alas, someday it too will succumb to cyclical stress fracture and hopefully I won't be on the bike when this is discovered. CF has no business being used for bars, frames, rims, seatposts, or crank arms in my educated opinion. Next time you're on your aluminum bike hit the brakes and stomp a pedal and watch how much your frame flexes. Do this same procedure on a CF bike and you'll begin to understand why CF sucks for frames and sailboat masts in terms of durability.

    Oh and if you lay up the CF too thin it will appear to flex but in reality (meaning you have to look really close) the crystalline structure of the epoxy is fracturing. Every single movement no matter how minute will cause some degree of fracture to take place. The matting weave is there to prevent the whole thing from falling apart too soon. Think of it like reinforced concrete. Concrete will always crack and is not flexible to any degree but what keeps buildings and bridges in the air? Reinforcing steel does. Same with CF. Weave is the rebar for CF.

  31. #31
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    listen, i said i wasn't a doctor.

    i don't even know what the argument is anymore. there are people who straight up bend, break and destroy every part made of every material and there are people who can't break any part made of any material. then there are those who break carbon and wonder about it's place and strength and those who break alloys and wonder if they should have picked carbon instead. we're 10 or so years into this argument and probably another 10 or so years from the end. nobody's wrong (yet) and nobody's right (yet). those who are anti-carbon will enjoy their alloy stuff and the pro-carbonists will enjoy their fancy, expensive composite stuff. both sides win.

    i hope i can break my carbon bars so i can finally have a side to stand on but right now i'm smack dab in the middle, hoping what they tell me is right.
    Last edited by saturnine; 10-18-2012 at 08:39 PM.
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  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by trap121 View Post
    Why doesn't Easton put torque specs in the manual? Anyone know what they are?
    Quote Originally Posted by trap121 View Post
    I have havens and havocs and neither came with torque specs. Makes no sense while they would sell carbon bars with no specs?? That being said, Im very happy with mine and have not had any issues with numerous ugly crashes. If they do fail, I will gladly buy new ones.
    I've contacted Easton on this very notion. They clearly stated that their bars are capable of supporting any properly installed handlebar mounted component (e.g., shifterpods, stems, brake levers, grips) that is torqued to the specs provided by the component manufacturer.
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    @ c-dale rider... check out this link and tell me if you still think carbon has no place in bike frames at least. Santa Cruz Bicycles - Test Lab - Pinkbike
    its all about the weave and layup used for different areas of the bike that determine its strength, flex/stiffness, and weight. as for carbon wheels... the claim has been floating around that at least the santa cruz downhill team has gone from going through new al wheels every race, to using 1 set of wheels laced up with enve carbon hoops for the entire season. you dont have fully trust carbon, but i personally dont see a reason to worry.

    as for bars ive heard bad things about Eastons EXCEPT for the Havens and Havocs.
    with carbon bars in general some people have had great experiences, others have not. could be a defect, over torquing, or just sheer force of a particular incident.

    regarding properly torqued parts, at the shop i work for we ALWAYS use the Ritchey torque key when installing carbon bars and controls, and have not had any issues. the torque key is $15-20 pretty inexpensive vs the cost of new bars.

    i actually set up my controls so they will move in a crash instead of breaking, but are not so loose they move just by bumping them. i believe this has saved my levers from breaking a few times.
    Juice

  34. #34
    All fat, all the time.
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    Bottom line is you crashed and they broke. Buy another bar and hopefully you don't wreck again bad enough to break anything.

    I've wrecked a few good times, never broken my carbon bars. Did break my brake levers, collarbone, and cracked stem.

  35. #35
    RTM
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    To touch on the question of how the manufacturer is handling this...they are in a tough spot. Instead of pushing for a replacement, maybe settle for a discount on another bar. The manufacturer can't outwardly, and readily agree with you without pushing back a little bit. Otherwise they're sending the message that this kind of thing does happen under normal conditions even when torqued perfectly. That would not fly.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by RTM View Post
    To touch on the question of how the manufacturer is handling this...they are in a tough spot. Instead of pushing for a replacement, maybe settle for a discount on another bar. The manufacturer can't outwardly, and readily agree with you without pushing back a little bit. Otherwise they're sending the message that this kind of thing does happen under normal conditions even when torqued perfectly. That would not fly.
    This is a good point RTM. They have offered me a 'crash replacement' at 50% off full RRP. I'm thinking as I have had the use of a bar of a year already, 50% for a new one is reasonable (?). Adding to this I have asked for their more robust DH bar that has a 35mm diameter, so will need a new stem from them as well. They have offered me a great price on that also. So in summary I guess I'm getting a far deal.

    Next time I will take photographs of the installation along with the torque wrench and keep these with my sales receipt for save keeping....

    Thanks all to those who have commented on this thread.
    Thanks to MerlinCycles.co.uk for their efforts on my behalf.

    Cheers
    deano

  37. #37
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    well, I say you handled this with class, and the manufacturer stepped up to meet you half way. you can both be satisfied with this deal. imagine that! reason, compromise and happiness in a carbon breakage thread!

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTM View Post
    well, I say you handled this with class, and the manufacturer stepped up to meet you half way. you can both be satisfied with this deal. imagine that! reason, compromise and happiness in a carbon breakage thread!
    Good words RTM. Good words.

  39. #39
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    Here's the photos.
    Noting that the bar broke at the shifter clamp and not on at the brake clamp.

    I was lucky that when I landed on the bar end it hit bone and not soft tissue, else the bar may have gone a bit deeper.

    Next time I'm taking photographic documentation of the installation with torque wrench so that there can be no argument if I break the next one.

    Happy New Year trails...

    deanopatoni

    (PS - Please excuse the nipple shot!)
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Broken Carbon Handlebar anyone?-img_2460.jpg  

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  40. #40
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    ^^^I'd hit up Vegas after that. Mine snapped mid-grip, so there's no way it was torque related. Snapped in a wreck.
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  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by stumblemumble View Post
    ^^^I'd hit up Vegas after that. Mine snapped mid-grip, so there's no way it was torque related. Snapped in a wreck.
    True - I definitely got lucky
    Not so lucky with the Easton warranty - quote below as returned to my place or purchase:

    "After an inspection of this item it has been deemed as not covered by our warranty. It is our opinion that the brake leavers have been over tightened causing a stress fracture to the carbon. Over time this would have weakened the bar, a small impact can then cause the snap that has occurred. I would recommend discussing the use of a torque wrench with our customer and explaining the importance of this"

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by deanopatoni View Post
    "After an inspection of this item it has been deemed as not covered by our warranty. It is our opinion that the brake leavers have been over tightened causing a stress fracture to the carbon. Over time this would have weakened the bar, a small impact can then cause the snap that has occurred. I would recommend discussing the use of a torque wrench with our customer and explaining the importance of this"
    Schweeeeew I'd be pissed and would definitely be fighting that one.
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  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by OO7 View Post
    Schweeeeew I'd be pissed and would definitely be fighting that one.
    Sent Easton the photos, my email and the email from the UK importer. Easton refrained to comment or to respond to my polite email.

    Like I say. If you want a warranty, try another brand. Bars are expensive enough, so I would definitely not buy wheels with a worthless "advertised" warranty.

    I was surprised with the response from Easton (or none response).

  44. #44
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    Yeah, I'm really surprised as well . . . and would definitely make me think twice about another Easton product. A failed part + poor warranty is not a good thing.
    Alcohol may lead nowhere, but it sure is the scenic route!

  45. #45
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    Man I have never seen a bar snap personally except once YEARS ago and this just confirms my fears of a bar snapping - dean you were lucky.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by mojojojoaf View Post
    Man I have never seen a bar snap personally except once YEARS ago and this just confirms my fears of a bar snapping - dean you were lucky.
    Cheers Mojojojoaf.


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    Going to hang around for this one to see the out come

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    I think I would be adding the words broken Easton Haven bar and no warranty to the title. I am sure a bit of bad publicity would not be liked by Easton!

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Draper View Post
    I think I would be adding the words broken Easton Haven bar and no warranty to the title. I am sure a bit of bad publicity would not be liked by Easton!
    True.


    --- deanopatoni ---

  50. #50
    Kiwi that Flew
    Reputation: deanopatoni's Avatar
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    Nov 2005
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    732
    UK Sale of Goods Act 1979 CHAPTER 54 .... an Act to consolidate the law relating to the UK Sale of Goods .... the seller or buyer, the party not at fault may maintain an action for damages against the party at fault.

    (Edit)
    This is what they are referring to when they say that something "does not effect your statutory rights"

    --- deanopatoni ---
    Last edited by deanopatoni; 01-08-2013 at 06:43 AM.

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