Monday, November 24, 2008

H Plus Son rim failure

Do you know what that is? That's a picture of a bad component going badly. The story is here, but the abridged version is: some kids were riding on poorly made rims, and one failed impressively.

A few months ago, an unheard-of company called H Plus Son started making deep dish aluminum rims marketed toward the fixed gear crowd. The rims are an even Deeper V for the crowd who enjoys matching accessories on their street-fixes.

Since H Plus Son's rims were only made in 32 and 36 holes, I speculated that they weren't made to be aerodynamic, but rather that they were just made to be a bigger rolling surface to match to your toestraps or grips or saddle - or whatever. Had they made rims with 20, 24, or 28 holes, I would have considered lacing up one to a front wheel for track use.

H Plus Son also boasted that they're lighter than Velocity's Deep V, which is known to be something of an anchor. But what happens when you make aluminum thinner, longer, and lighter? Stories of rim sidewall failure are surfacing already, which actually doesn't surprise me as much as the fact that internet forums are somehow already calling these rims "durable" - presumably because they're riding the coattails of the Deep V's only arguably deserved reputation.

The lesson here is that companies with no reputation who surf trend waves into style scenes should be viewed with skepticism until they prove otherwise. Admirable performance over prolonged use is the proper vetting process when new bits and pieces hit the market. To jump to claims of durability and performance is, well, a bad choice.

Photo and inspiration from Flickr user ganring, with thanks to John Prolly for the link.

EDIT: Update - more information from the event; generous skepticism from Prolly; words of warning at Bike Albany. If I hear more stories about other manufacturers' rims failing like this because a tube blows, well, I would back off a bit. But I haven't. That's not to say that it doesn't happen - I'd be learning something.

13 comments:

  1. yerks!

    good write up. Also, the word verification below the comment box at the moment is "racep". Does this mean you have to race "prolly"?

    I hope not. I'll lose.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't have the rim in my office yet, so i can't say much.
    To say we are a new brand is true. But the factory has been making rims for the past 10 years at around 6-7 million rims a year. And about 2 million of that are double wall rims.
    So even though the brand is new, the factory is experienced in making rims.

    The tire well has the same specs as most standard road rims. 0.8 mm plus or minus 0.1 mm

    I am as shocked as anyone about this. No one in the factory has ever seen something like this happening.

    ReplyDelete
  3. mavics do this too on occasion. It's what happens when a tube blows right at the valve stem hole as the rim is loaded at that point. To be fair, it's a bit of a freak accident and is only getting attention because people like to hate on these rims.

    ReplyDelete
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