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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First, The last thing I want this to turn into is a Lefty bashing thread.. I have two lefty's myself and dont see that changing. I did want to put this out there to see if: 1) anyone has seen anything like this before 2) in the event this happens to anyone again.

I wasnt present when this occurred, but have met the racers and other racers who were present. It occurred during a state XC racing series (FSC/ Florida State Championship racing series) at Ft Clinch State Park, Fernandina Beach, FL. The racer was going "downhill" (a term I use loosely since this IS Florida after all, and it was an XC race).

The racer was in Cat 2 40-49. He was injured; fracturing his sternum, jaw, and a vertebrae, along with breaking at least one of his teeth. He was airlifted from the scene and required surgery.

He was riding a 2011 or 2012 29er Scalpel with an aluminum Lefty.



Now if youre familiar with a Lefty, you know that particular area of the clamp appears to have holes on the underside, maybe to shed more weight? A picture of the underside of the clamps from my own personal bike:


So has anyone ever seen a failure like this? When I heard the failure, then saw the pictures, I was surprised as it was not where I would have expected.
 

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Norðwegr
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I've pictured something like that happening when riding, but never seen or heard about anything remotely like it until now. My oldest lefty is a 2004 and it works like a charm.

More pics of the damage and of where it happened would be needed to even make an uneducated guess.
 

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A friend of mine sent me this pic knowing I have a Lefty on my Flash Carbon 29r. I still feel there is more to this story then what we actually know about. I am guessing that he either hit something before the fall at speed, or the fork was damaged in someway before this race. I have a hard time believing it just broke causing the fall. I hope there is a way we can eventually get the full story. I know I will be checking out my fork before every ride, but I am not going to be afraid to ride it at all.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
More information will surface with time. Unfortunately the rider is still in the hospital. The only updates are of his medical status. Im sure once he is out and mobile again, we will have additional pictures and information. Since it was the first lap of a 3 lap race, he was probably in a pack, so there might even be video of the incident.

here is a video of a race from the prior year, so you can get an idea of what the terrain is like: FSC#2 Ft Clinch State Park - Fernandina Beach, Expert FL 40 to 49 - YouTube
 

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Hybrid Leftys aren't real
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Ouch.

My only guess would be that someone over tightened the ever lovin' piss out of the clamp bolts.

If tight is good, tighter still, is always better, right??????

Between folks tightening their hubs on so hard that they pull the helicoil out, to clamps developing cracks at the bolt holes from the same thing, yeah, over tightening is my bet.

Never seen a failure like that, now I can say I have!

Glad the guy is okay overall though.....
 

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Looking at the video I doubt it was anything to do with the course. I would be more inclined to think it was what Mendoncycle said. Again, we have to wait this out. Hopefully the guy comes out of this with no issues.
 

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Helmetless Crasher
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Interesting failure. Glad the rider is "OK".

I have the same fork, weigh about 220 geared-up and have bombed (and crashed) fairly gnarly DH repeatedly with it. Bent a front wheel. Zero indication of damage to the Lefty, though.

My crazy out of left field BS bogus nonsensical hypothesis:
Over time, the brake hose rubbed a divot into the Lefty "triple clamp" creating a stress riser that ultimately resulted in the failure.

More likely - as Mendon said: over-trq'ed the clamps to all hell.
 

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Let the mass hysteria begin.
OMG...................OMG........................OMG
My lefty is dangerous, must selllllllllllllllllllll
I have a 2006 carbon max with 140 mm travel upgrades to 2012 internals. I will let it go for $4,200. Please don't ask for free shipping as that is as low as I can go.

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:skep:
 
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Crazy... I was racing there as well that day. Apparently it was making a minor clicking noise and then gives out....Head impact and then black out. The hills on this course are at best 6' at the highest point. My elevation profile on strava looks like a bunch of little speed bumps. Lots of sand and roots, but nothing that I would think that could cause it to snap apart like that despite how poor of a line one chose. Unfortunately, one of those "1/1,000,000" failures.
 

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o°<o NYC pebble jumper!
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After watching that video... definitely do not feel there was anything significant on the trail that would cause failure.

I would also be lead to believe that the failure of the part was due to poor negligence of the bike.
 

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o°<o NYC pebble jumper!
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Sorry... should I have first put up several hundred posts before my opinion is of worth?
Or should my qualifications in metals be questioned?

I'm not an MTBR pro. I don't have enough posts here to prove that.

However I have worked with enough metals when I worked with manufacturing and designing of race engine parts. Even through the rigors of mountain biking, the metal isn't subject to extreme tolerances where the aluminum is consistantly being heated and cooled. With forged aluminum, the metal is not heated and cast. It is milled out of raw blocks of aluminum which there would be no air pockets in between the metal. So the only things that would cause forged pieces to fail are excessive stress placed onto the metal itself.
 

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No good in rock gardens..
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Sorry... should I have first put up several hundred posts before my opinion is of worth?
Or should my qualifications in metals be questioned?

I'm not an MTBR pro. I don't have enough posts here to prove that.

However I have worked with enough metals when I worked with manufacturing and designing of race engine parts. Even through the rigors of mountain biking, the metal isn't subject to extreme tolerances where the aluminum is consistantly being heated and cooled. With forged aluminum, the metal is not heated and cast. It is milled out of raw blocks of aluminum which there would be no air pockets in between the metal. So the only things that would cause forged pieces to fail are excessive stress placed onto the metal itself.
You have not even examined the item in question. Have you seen detailed photos of it? I'm just interested in why you think the guy hasn't maintained his fork. If you make a remark like that it's fair for people to ask why you have formed that opinion.

Mendon - as you know I'm not a Lefty kiss-ass like some. Lefty is great. I love mine.

When it's working.... ;)
 

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Not dead yet, just playin
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I don't think lack of maintenance caused the issue. I think lack of appropriate knowledge on how tight the clamp bolts should be caused the issue. Obviously the clamps sheered off. The big question is why. If the clamps were too loose, its immediately noticeable when you try to turn the front wheel. If the clamps waaaaay over torqued, you'd conceivably start making cracks on the opposite side of the clamps. What I can't get my head around is how tight that must've been. In order to break the clamps like that you'd have to tighten the bolts to the point where the entire face of the open end of the clamp is jammed up against the other side. You'd really have to work at it...
 
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