Broke carbon rim with plastic tire lever

Today when I was changing an inner tube on my Giant SLR 55 mm. It’s tough to get the tire back on these rims but today the outcome was the worste possible. When trying to get the tire back on the tire made a “crushing cracker” noise and the rim was totally destroyed. The plastic tire lever had gone through the carbon, popping the brake surface out.
I have been thinking if I did anything wrong, could I? Could the rim have been damaged before where I put the lever. Well it doesn’t matter to much, the rim is done and nothing will change that.
Then what about warranty? It’s a Giant rim, purchased from rutlandcycling (online) in Britain and its almost on the date 14 months ago I ordered the bike. What do you think I can expect, if anything? Has anything like this happened to any of you and how did everything turn out?
I send an email to Rutland more or less asking for creating a warranty case. Will also check my home ensurance tomorrow but I am really hoping for just geting a new wheel without to much problem. :confused:

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I can’t help you on the warranty, but I have carbon Giant SLR TR 35mm (came with my Defy Advanced Pro), and getting tires on those wheels can be an absolute bitch. It usually takes me about 7-10 minutes to get a new tire on these wheels, and that is under a controlled setting (my aluminums on my other road bike take me about a minute). I don’t run mine tubeless yet, but blew a tube last year in the late spring in the cold mountains and it took me a ton of effort on the roadside to get those back on.

That said, I wonder if you already had some hairline fractures or structural problems with the carbon already there? I can’t imagine a tire lever in itself would cause damage like that. Wheels take a beating (chipseal, pot holes, rider weight, sprints, out of saddle force, etc), and unless you were super careless – and even then – I wouldn’t expect a lever to do that. In addition to the retailer, you might want to reach out to Giant directly, but I’m guessing they’ll just say “oh well” if it’s out of the warranty period.

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Chances of this being handled as a warranty are pretty slim…they will likely chalk it up to “mechanic’s error” or improper use of tools, etc.

But you should absolutely go through the process, at minimum. You don’t ask, you don’t get…

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The whole point of plastic levers is that they break before you do any damage to your bike.

I dont know how successful you would be but definitely pursue a warranty claim. Even if you did misuse the tools, it should be pretty difficult to brake carbon before plastic

Carbon is fairly weak when it comes to compressive forces, which may be what happened here. It’s also why if you torque down a bit too much on some clamp it’s possible to compromise a piece of carbon fairly easily which is why we need to use torque wrenches. Other forces, carbon is able to fare pretty well, but it’s those compressive forces that kill carbon. I can see how, with a strong plastic lever you create enough crushing force to cause a failure as you pivot on carbon to get the tire on. That sucks.

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Check the wheel user guide, it probably says dont use levers. AFAIK all carbon rims suggest no levers

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Appears to the the case:

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Yep they all do. I still use levers, can’t manage without it.

yeah i still use them on mine sometimes (tubeless), but im super careful. My rims are generics from china too, so no warranty in any case!

use a koolstop bead jack for tubeless tire installs. thank me later

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Did the exact same on a Giant SLR rim about 4 months after purchasing my TCR, Giant warrantied the rim (my local bike shop handled it). About a year later the rim had delaminated and they had to warranty it again, then the other rim delaminated too. I love my TCR but I now ride a different brand of wheelset. I’ve never had as many problems changing tires as I did on those SLR wheels.

Is there anything similar that can fit in a saddle bag?

I’ve never tried a roadside tubeless repair with a tube so not that I know of. I carry a dynaplug, co2 and sometimes sealant, and a tube… so in theory I could do it but never tried. I’ve also used levers on carbon rims knock on wood, but at home I always pull out the beadjack

Huh, well I’m not surprised. But I wonder why they send me tire levers with the bike, Giant branded. Thanks for the reply :slight_smile:

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Should be a 2 year warranty if you bought them in Europe, it’s EU law. Gives you a better chance of at least getting something back from Giant than if you’d bought them outside the EU.

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Okey. How long did you have the wheels after they broke? 4 months until you crushed the first one but with the two others you mentioned?
What kind of wheels do you use now?

For getting the tire off, not mounting it…

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This was very useful stuff. If you have a link where I can read more of this please add it, anyway I will be googling it. I bought in from the UK to Sweden so within the EU, for now :slight_smile:
Thank you for your idea.

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Haha of course. But they only mentioned tubeless tires, I tried to mount a “regular” tire. They never mentioned that in the fineprint…

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Pretty standard, I’ve had a few warranty claims on goods that are over 1 year old but less than 2, never had a problem. Manufacturers and sellers don’t tend to advertise it (particularly the ones that are trying to upsell you on an extended warranty!) but they all have to abide by EU law and both Rutland and Giant will be well aware of it.

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