[CR]Hi-E rim failure

(Example: Production Builders:Peugeot:PX-10LE)

Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2002 09:15:09 -0400
From: "Jamie Swan" <jswan@optonline.net>
To: classicrendezvous <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>, Craig Roberts <crliwa@aol.com>
Subject: [CR]Hi-E rim failure

Hi Gang, While we are on the topic of Hi-E hubs I thought I would tell about a Hi-E rim failure that I witnessed. The circumstances of the failure are at least as interesting as the failure itself.

It happened in the final ride of an open roller race that our club put on. The perennial favorite was my friend Craig Roberts. A guy showed up from Jersey that nobody recognized. Later we found out that he was the reigning national Veterans (35-45) sprint champion.

Roller races are structured like matched sprints, with a double elimination format. Each race is a head to head, standing start, 1 mile.

On all racing rollers that I've seen 1 mile equals 10 "laps" on the clock. Each rider has 2 spotters: one on each side. One spotter holds the rider for the start. The spotters are permitted to touch the rider/bike until the first lap is over. After that if the rider looks like he is about to fall, it is up to the spotter's discretion to hold him (her). If a spotter touches a rider he is D.Q.ed.

The races take between a minute and a minute and a half. It is fast, furious and very exciting to watch the riders making an extreme effort right in front of you while struggling to keep the bike on the rollers and pedaling in excess of 150 rpm. Crashes are common.

Craig and the other guy each worked their way through the rounds easily. Both of them were super fast. We were used to Craig murdering everyone but this time it looked like he might have met his match. Needless to say the final came down to those two. BTW: Craig had a pair of Hi-E track wheels with Continental track tires pumped to 175 psi.

I was one of Craig's spotters. The race was wild. Both guys were absolutely flying! The crowd was going crazy. After about 8 laps Craig had almost a slight advantage when his front tire exploded like a gun shot. Instantaneously Craig was bellowing at the top of his lungs "DON'T TOUCH ME!". I can't say that I had even figured out what had happened.

Amazingly Craig was able to keep the bike upright, and in fact, was pressing on to try to win. Needless to say, the flat front tire was a significant handicap and Craig's small advantage was quickly dwindling. They only had 1 lap (about 7 seconds) to go but for Craig it must have felt like an eternity... Craig won my the narrowest of margins. The crowd was screaming their lungs out!

After the dust settled we took a look at Craig's front tire. For those of you who have never seen one, the Hi-E rims were made out of flat aluminum sheet material that was so thin it looked like roof flashing. The sheet metal was rolled into the correct shape and overlapped on the surface where you glue the tire and secured with pop rivets. Craig's tire had burst it's stitching. The force of the exploding tube was directed at the glue surface. It actually bent the two plies of sheet metal creating a window into the interior of the rim that was the size of your finger tip.

Craig, do you still have that rim?

Jamie Swan - Northport, N.Y.