my final conclusion to it all is that, there will never be a final figure or conclusion to the dreaded rod bend, as so many different factors can contribute to it, which have pretty much all been mentioned. the rod bends that have happened, have happened for a reason that we may never know exactly why. they havnt happened alot mind, but the fact is it CAN happen, that can not be ignored. its evident that with the rods failing (not just on here, but right across the 1.8t tuning community) the threshold of these rods isnt very high, otherwise it wouldnt happen, and PROFESSIONAL tuners wouldnt advise upgrades beyond a certain level.
what i personally advise myself to do is to be careful, be safe, and when it comes to me tuning my car further, i wont be saying 'get the most power out of it' il be saying 'is the torque curve smooth, is boost safe, is it delivered smooth and consistent, are the fuel/air ratios ok, is timing safe etc etc' these are the things that will massively reduce failure. And i dont mean that people who it has happened to have been careless, because uncontrollable mistakes do happen! they have been unlucky.
if people want to tune the hell out of there car, and are totally happy keeping standard rods so be it, theres no reason why in that case they wont last if the above are followed, but the chance is still there no doubt, its down to how safe that person wants to be, how much power they want, how they drive, and how much they want to gamble.
for me, il be upgrading, because then my engine WILL take alot more abuse, and its less of a worry. some people arent ***** if it happens, some are, whatever.