How does bike design stop a rider from getting injured?

17 October

The frame I’ve been riding on has been developed over eight years and in the beginning I’d ride the bike to its limits, going through a frame every two weeks. The bike would generally crack. I’d experience catastrophic failure very rarely, though it has happened – there’s no such thing as a bike that lasts forever, not at the extreme end of the sport. Over the years I’ve learned where those cracks and breaks occur and we’ll redesign the bike to ensure it doesn’t happen again. I can use my current frame for six months without it breaking.

Most of my injuries come from falling off. I once cracked my collarbone when I came off a bike riding around a track in the States; I tore my meniscus when I landed awkwardly and slipped in a pile of goose crap in Vancouver. Though I remember when I was making my second film, Way Back Home, I jumped over an old red telephone box. When I landed, the handlebars snapped. The jagged edge carved a big flap of skin from my palm.

You’d like to think that bike companies are always working on safety; that they’re not selling parts that are going to break too easily. It’s also important a rider works on a bike that suits their skill level, in the same way that somebody wouldn’t buy a basic car, take it to a rally track, and expect it to perform effectively. The car will slide out of the bends quite quickly. That’s why trials bikes are so expensive. They have to execute to a very high level.

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