A small group of road racers have recently broken the carbon steerers on their 2010 Trek Madone 6-Series bikes. Of all things to fail on a bike, nothing can be more fatal than a steer tube. So the question becomes, is it incorrect stem installation, incorrect stem choice,
or the fact that Trek 6-Series Madone steerers are prone to breakage even when all of Trek's instructions are followed?
As you would expect, Trek says installation and compatibility problems are at fault and notes that the same concerns apply to carbon steerers from other manufacturers. The company is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission on a consumer alert, and has made a running change to add material to 6-Series Madone steerers. All owners of forks with carbon steerers should pay attention to the concerns raised and installation instructions when installing or buying aftermarket stems.
If as Trek alleges the problems lie with improper installation or incompatible stems, then the onus is on the Bicycle shop and mechanic to be aware of these issues. To that end, I have dealt with shops that are truly aware of problems and take safety very seriously, and also had the misfortune of shops that are just concerned with a sale, and do nothing in terms of education about safety issues.
On Saturday May 15, 2010, Bryan Vaughn was on lap 4 of the Poolesville Road Race when he pulled up on the bars of his 2010 Trek 6 series Madone,and felt the handlebars come off in his hands as he crashed to the ground. One can't help but imagine the feeling of horror Bryan felt with the bars in his hand and no control over his bike as steerer had sheared off just below his FSA stem.