UPDATE: One of our replacement rims failed too. Click here for a continuation of the story.
I will be updating this post over the next few days as we sort out our wheel dilemma. My rear rim has failed and Tara's is on the way out in the exact same fashion.
July 11th / Day 101 / 4000km
The rim joint on my rear wheel, a Velocity Cliffhanger is no longer flush, causing a very pronounced skip while braking.
I am concerned about the rim failing and send an email to Velocity with the above photo attached. They respond promptly with this:
Sorry for the delay in my response.
This does not look like a big concern right now. We use a join at the seam, not a weld. There is a separate piece of rim extrusion inside the rim holding it together, so the rim isnt going to come apart on you. I attached a pic to show you what I mean. However, we will do anything we can to take care of you. If you need a rim shipped to France, we can do that, but you would need to find a shop that would re-build the wheel for you which shouldnt be to difficult. Worse case scenario we will have to send you a complete wheel with our hubs.
Please tell me what size and drilling the rim is? Rim or disc brakes?
Let me know if you have any other questions. Feel free to call us here.
Relieved, I gently push the rim joint back to flush but there is still a slight skip while braking. I now rarely use my rear brakes.
August 22rd / Day 144 / 5500km
I use my rear brakes during a steep descent and the "skip" is much worse than it has ever been. At camp while replacing brake pads I inspect the rim; there is a hairline crack along the center of the machined braking surface on both sides of the rim joint. I check Tara's rear wheel and discover the same, though her rim joint is still perfectly flush. Both front wheels appear fine.
August 23rd / Day 145 / 5550km
During our ascent to Julierpass my rear rim's braking surface pops open.
The rim is still true so I perform a makeshift "repair", breaking off the broken pieces, bending the sharp edges out to accomodate the wheel bulge and covering it in gorilla tape to prevent flats. We ride over the 2284m pass without issue and contact Velocity when we arrive in camp.
What an amazing journey you have embarked upon. I am very excited for you both. I love the way you are documenting the whole trip with such dedication and passion. I am sorry that the broken rim caused a little bump in the road. I hope your new wheels make it to you post haste. I am sure they will carry you safely and swiftly through the rest of your adventure. Happy trails.
and the Velocity crew.