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Mavic Responds to R-SYS Wheel Debacle

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Ben's post-wreck wheel. Photo by B. Moynihan, Illustration by Mavic.

Mavic has issued a response to VeloNews’ Ben Delaney’s article in which they sum up the ongoing investigation by saying “There are several key facts which may indicate that the cause of the accident was not the failure of the Mavic wheel.”

I can certainly understand the potential negative impact that admitting fault would carry, but some of the supporting reasons cited by Mavic are a bit far fetched:

  • REASON #1: The tire had separated from the wheel
  • REASON #2: The valve stem had been sheared off the innertube
  • REASON #3: The bike frame had broken on the main (top) tube

The problem is, any one of these (or all of them) could very well have been the result of the crash as much as the cause of it.  In this case, Mavic’s response has diminished their credibility.  If I were the PR manager, I would have simply stated that all of their testing and subsequent pro-tour level usage has shown the wheel to be safe.

I’m a big fan of being fair, and to be fair to Mavic, perhaps one of the spokes on the front wheel was a) not up to spec or b) was chipped/scratched/damaged before the race (Delaney said the wheelset was new and had not been serviced, trued or altered prior to the race).  Eitherway, in my opinion, they’ve handled it all wrong, and backtracking is awfully hard to do in a case like this.

spinergy-stealthpro-pbo industry-nine-9-superego

What I don’t understand is why would a technology that has potential for such catastrophic failure be used on such a critical piece of equipment…especially when more proven materials for that application have been used and are widely avaialble.  Cases in point: Spinergy’s PBO spokes and Industry 9’s fatter alloy spokes.  Both are lightweight, thick and beautiful.  Mavic’s going to have a tough sell of these rims after this…

For a far more sarcastic opinion on this, BikeSnob NYC doesn’t disappoint.

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