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Spicer/Sibex/XACD 700C titanium forks failed at fork leg welds.
From http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=196562 dated 2006, download 2010/02:
Fork was reportdly under 3 months old, with a rider weight of about 70 kgf. The rider was a vigorous rider "the defending police games world mtb champion and finished up second in the wvmba series last year ".
The rider reportedly suffered a compound fracture and severed tendons on the sharp edge of the fork leg.
The failure was at the edge of the welds, in the heat-affected zone (HAZ). Both legs failed, suggesting the failure is not due simply to fatigue from braking, which would have been concentrated in one leg. Once the brake leg broke from fatigue, the non-brake leg would tend to crumple and tear, rather than snap.
The short (3-month) use before failure also suggests a non-fatigue failure, although in some bicycle structures fatigue does happen quickly.
It would be interesting to see a close-up of the weld to look for signs of fatigue and/or weld contamination.
A second poster, "Enoch" reported a similar problem with 3 months use and a rider about 75 kgf.
A third poster, "mtbyker", reports a similar failure with a 26" V-brake version.
From the same URL, dated 2004:
The fork was also about 3 months old, and that happened while riding over a logpile - [not] freeriding. Luckily, my injuries were only a mild scab on my knee. People were quick to blame rider weight, but 2 other locals with the same vintage fork broke theirs shortly after mine (and one weighed 140 lbs). I thought it was possibly a quality control problem at XACD.
Before I shipped it back to Gene, I had the resident metallurgist at work check it out - his guess was a contaminated weld (oxygen got to it). Gene Spicer was excellent with customer service, so I have no complaint against him. But I wouldn't put a lot of faith in XACD after seeing this issue creep up again 2 years later.
Another poster reports importing XACD forks under the name "Vanguard Titanium." Of two imported, one broke in the crown area.
Another poster reports that as of sometime in 2006, XACD switched from 0.9mm to 1.5mm wall thickenss.
Another poster, "chequamagon" from Salsa Cyclessays (excerpted/summarized, not verbatim):
Both Spicer and Sibex forks are XACD. Sibex used a "Russian" appearance to sell over Chinese, and some frames may have been made in a Russian factory, but forks and other small parts were XACD.
I am the original designer of the XACD fork. It was designed in 1998 for 26" wheels. The look is a 90s-ish Fat Chance design. I had several models made with different legs diameters and thicknesses, etc., and tested from there.
I NEVER sold these forks for 29er wheels, and they never should have been made for 29er wheels. Sibex did NOTHING to change the design, just contacted XACD and had them build my fork with longer legs. THIS IS WHY THEY ARE DANGEROUS! I chose the leg size to make the lightest possible 26" fork, and simply increasing the leg length increases the leverage on a joint that was not designed to take it.
I stopped dealing with XACD in 2003 due to their poor quality control. I was receiving stems without tapped holes, seatposts with the heads at an angle, frames with disc tabs not even close to the right spec., etc. It does not suprise me to see forks break due to contaminated welds, in addition to having a leg length longer than proper, so the leverage is breaking the weld.
If you own a Sibex or Spicer fork of the box-crown design, in 29er format, I would STOP RIDING IT NOW.
To create a 29er fork, these companies should have gone back to the drawing board and created a new fork.
In addition, if you deal with XACD direct yourself, speccing a thicker wall on the tubing will not solve the issue. The tubing is not really the problem, its the tubing size. That crown junction is too small to handle the torque, and what needs to be done is a larger leg diameter, combined with a SIGNIFICANTLY larger crown tubing diameter. Something that would further wrap around the fork leg is necessary to beef up this junction.
Furthermore, I would not use such a critical structure made by XACD. You guys pay dental insurance right? Consider it part of your plan to pay extra and have an American maker create your fork. I have nothing against asian manufacturing, I am a big proponent of it, but this factory (XACD) is very poor in quality, and I have not really seen a good quality asian titanium maker.Or save weight elsewhere and ride a steel fork. You will probably ride faster due to the peace of mind knowing your fork wont spontaneously collapse. I know I do.
I have emailed Mr. Sibex on the issue to discuss him using my design, etc, and he confirmed he does get his MTB forks from XACD.
Poster "Walt" says:
I ordered 3 of these forks (the 26" version) in 2001 for the Fuentesdesign team guys (the precursor of the Waltworks team). All three broke (including the one I got for myself) in less than a season under riders weighing 175, 150, and 125 pounds, respectively. Only one of these failures was sudden, but it's worth taking chequamagon's advice and simply not trusting any titanium fork (26" or 29") made or relabeled by XACD/Spicer/Sibex.
Posted in 2004 at http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=20809 and available as of 2010/02:
Note the fork has a cantilever mount but is a left leg so may have been used with a disk brake.
Poster "yoginasser" (possibly of Black Sheep bicycles, a Ti fork maker) says:
I have seen 4 of these forks fail. The crack on 3 of them was on the blade tubes that out lined the weld and 1 cracked on the steerer tube just over the crown race, I have not seen the welding itself fail. It is my understanding that these forks will fail even if you get the worlds greatest ti welder because the flaw is in its design (given this chosen material) and not its construction. I mention this because I have not seen anyone give any evidence of contaminated welding from XACD at this point. In fact,this fork is the only product that XCAD makes that people have bothered to report and complain about that I know of. I am not saying this to defend XACD, but if there are any other problems with their products then I would love for people to voice them and preferably show some pictures (I think that if it wasn't for those pictures then this and all the other broken ti fork threads would not keep on reviving). This way I`m sure many more people would not be mindlessly lured by the low cost of Chi Ti or be dissuaded by unsubstantiated reports.
Poster "munson" says (2007):
I just snapped a Sibex 2 weeks ago. Same exact location just below the crown. Snapped like peanut brittle. Luckily on an uphill section or injuries could have been much worse. I'm going back to suspension forks until I have more time to repress the memory. Not sure what I'll do with the warranty replacement forks.
Poster "indigosky" suggests the Sibex fork's internal weld discoloration is due to contamination, because the weld area was not purged before welding.
Called Sibex today, they said go ahead and use the 185 rotor. They have only had five forks break [since] 95 and all of them involved running into something or jumping.
It would be interesting to know how many total forks they sold and what is the failure rate for other forks. That was also as reported by the vendor who (a) has a vested interest in selling more forks, and (b) only knows about those broken forks where somebody contacted them, so actual failure rates may be significantly higher.
Be sure the thickness is no less then 1.75mm on all the tube especially the blades and steerer [...].
i sure loved [my fork] for a couple of years...right up until i had the bike up in the workstand for a little maintenance and discovered BIG cracks, front and back, both sides!
i called gene at spicer and he does seem like a genuine nice guy. he said that he has not had any luck on warranties but did offer a fair deal on a new one. (i'm still thinking about it...)
See also FAIL-122.html