'Wheel ejection theory' heats up again

Chatter on the Usenet about James Annan's 2003 wheel ejection theory - a concept backed by tech gurus Jobst Brandt from America, Leonard Zinn of VeloNews in the US and Chris Juden of the UK's CTC - has been increasing in the last few days. However, there's still a lot more smoke than fire, and Annan still hasn't read 'How to win friends and influence people'.
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There have been hundreds of 'Annan theory' posts to Usenet forums in the last two weeks. Annan's disc-brake-QR-wheel-ejection theory was a hotly debated topic in the summer of 2003 but, apart from updates to Annan's website, discussion of his theory has been relatively low-key since then.

For the background to the 'Annan theory, see the links below and type 'Annan' into the search engine.

Dr Annan works on the Japanese Earth Simulator supercomputer in Yokohama, and is a dogged, prickly character, not afraid to say what he feels. His combative posts on Usenet and on MTB forums win him more enemies than friends.

He is incredulous the bike industry appears to do little about his wheel ejection theory and is also scathing of news websites - such as BikeBiz.com and singletrackworld.com - that have covered the story.

In a recent Usenet post he wrote: "I have a few documented cases of manufacturers being informed of the problem, and effectively saying 'we've never head of this - it must be your fault'. ...[Most] riders don't bother to tell the manufacturer. Some of them were presumably conned by the nudge-nudge-wink-wink job done by 'journalists'."

Despite his poor PR skills, Annan has some heavy-weight champions.

Bike expert Jobst Brandt from America, author of the classic book The Bicycle Wheel, supports Annan's theories:

In 2003, Brandt wrote: "The mechanism has been clearly stated, the forces have been identified in magnitude and direction, and credible descriptions of failures have been presented. What's going on here? There is no Easter Bunny. Believe it!"

Brandt has also been contributing to the recent Usenet flare-up in the debate.

"At Interbike I mentioned it to several of the disc brake people as I pursued the issue of why bicycle discs [are] a mere filigreed ring rather than a solid disc ring. Most of them knew about the wheel ejection issue and chose not to comment on it as far as I could see. In any case they said, yes we've heard of it, and changed the subject."

Annan and others believe serious injuries have been caused by front wheel ejections and that the bicycle industry risks future negligence claims from riders injured thanks to a "known" and "well documented" and "easily prevented" problem.





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