New carbon steerer tube nick / scratch
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  1. #1
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    New carbon steerer tube nick / scratch

    Hi all,

    I was installing the crown race on my new fork when I noticed a nick a little below the halfway point of the steerer. There looks to be some lacquer around the nick / scratch. As can be seen from the picture the nick is clearly felt by hand and I would estimate it's 0.5-1.0 millimeter deep. There's also a small, hair-like scratch that continues from the nick perpendicular to the steerer tube (horizontally) about 5mm long. The area is where the straight part joins the tapered part.

    The fork is a Selcof Carbon fork from Planet-X, received it with a titanium frameset I bought. I talked with a guy on the warranty department of Planet-X via chat, below are some comments from him:

    "That is normal, nothing to worry about. As the steerer tube is an internal part it just isn't finished off very nicely so the lacquer isn't always very smooth.

    Lines like that are common, the lacquer is quite thick. Every carbon steerer I've seen has similar formations, it's just because they're not nicely finished cosmetically.

    You can see that line under the lacquer all the way around, it's just where the layers of carbon join. Yes it will be safe to ride."

    Feels a bit strange that "every carbon steerer" from them would have such marks, considering I have another fork from them which doesn't have such a nick. Also, I'm wondering why there is this clear lacquer visible only on that area and not elsewhere? Could it be possible that the layering didn't end up perfectly and this part was just filled with lacquer to cover most of the damage (obviously not compensating for the loss of structural integrity)?


    I was doubting his reassurance a little bit, so he told I could send it to them for inspection, but if it was declared to be cosmetic damage I'd need to pay the return shipping costs. If they think it would be under warranty then obviously would be sent new one and shipping covered. Shipping costs would be around 20 to 25 euros I think, so around 30$.

    I had a service team member of my LBS look at it and he couldn't say much about whether it could be ridden or not, just mentioned there had been some defective forks in the shop and the manufacturer would then be contacted if a replacement was needed or if it was just cosmetic.


    I experimented with some alcohol poured over the nick, it looks like it's not coming from the inside of the steerer tube so the nick is not extending through the steerer. When assembling the fork, the nick would be positioned inside the head tube (more or less halfway the head tube) and not in the crown or stem clamp area.


    I don't know if there's anyone here with some knowledge of carbon manufacturing and whether this is something to be concerned about (or anyone who's had similar finding). I'm in two minds about whether to cut the fork and mount it or return it... was hoping to finish the build this weekend... Any help would be highly appreciated.


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  2. #2
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    Why would you be willing to trust so stranger on the internet, but not a representative of the company that made, and is responsible, for the integrity of the fork?
    Too old to ride plastic

  3. #3
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    That's a relevant question. I actually came across this topic on mtbr with an exactly similar finding: https://forums.mtbr.com/general-disc...e-1101819.html

    The guy had his LBS (from where he bought the fork) have a look at it and they said it's completely fine, nothing to worry about. Yet when the guy called Salsa (the manufacturer of the fork), he was advised to send it back (and was told the shipping would be covered). The topic does not reveal the end of the story and whether he received a new one or if it was just cosmetic.

    This is why I'm not sure. I don't know if the person I was talking with has decent knowledge about carbon. Yet his findings would indicate this is normal and nothing to be worried about. Because Planet-X sells its own products I can't contact a "manufacturer" like the guy in the topic linked above did.

  4. #4
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    I don't know anything about carbon tube or their construction. But I do know structural design. 1/2 the way from the top of the headset to the base bearing of the headset, is the location of maximum tensile stress of the member. That is the force along the axis of the fork at the material diameter.
    Your picture did not show the fork crown/fork legs to determine where that problem is in relation to the fork legs, which is something that maybe considered.
    I would not ride that fork! If the fork is not inspected by a respected person, dental work can be very expensive & painful.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks, here's the picture requested.
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  6. #6
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    Are you sure that's 'really' a carbon steer tube? As opposed to an alloy one with a cosmetic sheet so it looks like carbon and they can use the word carbon in marketing? I've only seen that done with stems and seat posts but wouldn't shock me if it was done with forks.
    If it's not just cosmetic your answer lies here: "I could send it to them for inspection, but if it was declared to be cosmetic damage I'd need to pay the return shipping costs. If they think it would be under warranty then obviously would be sent new one and shipping covered."

    Or you could just buy a new fork and be done with it,

  7. #7
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    Ok, thks for the picture. It is my opinion that that running crack is at exactly where the max tensile stress would be on that member, if you hit an object while riding. Just sitting on the bike from typical loads, the maximum would be on the other side.
    My recommendation would be to ship it back, I'll bet they send you a new one.
    It has to be reviewed by a person with carbon construction experience, something lacking at the LBS, although they have probably had past experiences with fork returns over the years.
    I've built/have looked at all the carbon forks I have had (about 3) and never seen anything like that, CW has more probably seen 100x more.

    After a little more thought, that wouldn't be the max point, the max point would be at the fork crown, but you are not too far away from that location. The fork crown may be able to handle all the stress, which leads to failure at the next vulnerable location, and guess where that would be? ... right there.
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  8. #8
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    "Full-carbon monocoque fork" says on the product description. Yes, it's definitely a carbon steerer, it can be seen when looking inside the steerer tube from above, and also by tapping it, makes a different sound than a metal.

    The problem is exactly that I don't know if it's just cosmetic or not. Wouldn't want to pay the extra to have them check it and then tell me the same thing that their customer rep already told me.

    My mistake I had already assembled the crown race, hopefully would accept the return even if there would be some slight marks from the assembly. The Cane Creek 40 crown race was helluva tight to get seated, might take some trouble to get it off now... Even so, the mentioned scratch wouldn't have anything to do with the crown race assembly.
    Last edited by aurabiker; 1 Week Ago at 06:30 AM.

  9. #9
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    Do you really want to pay for dental work?
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  10. #10
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    No, I wouldn't (although we do have decent public health care system in Finland). The problem is that I'm being told this is not a concerning finding by the shop from where I bought it. Yet it looks like it's not insignificant. So I would like to trust the shop yet I also care about safety.

    I am now getting more inclined to returning the fork. However the crown race has proven to be seemingly impossible to remove without splitting it. I've been tapping with a screwdriver and mallet for a good 30 minutes and it won't budge. *Sigh* why didn't I inspect the fork more accurately before assembing the crown race...
    Last edited by aurabiker; 1 Week Ago at 06:55 AM.

  11. #11
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    Are you sure that's 'really' a carbon steer tube? As opposed to an alloy one with a cosmetic sheet so it looks like carbon and they can use the word carbon in marketing? I've only seen that done with stems and seat posts but wouldn't shock me if it was done with forks.
    If it's not just cosmetic your answer lies here: "I could send it to them for inspection, but if it was declared to be cosmetic damage I'd need to pay the return shipping costs. If they think it would be under warranty then obviously would be sent new one and shipping covered."

    Or you could just buy a new fork and be done with it,
    That's a carbon steerer. I've NEVER seen an aluminum steerer w/ a layer of carbon covering it. I'd send that one back. Hard to believe that thing ended up w/ a QC 'pass' sticker on it.
    #promechaniclife

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by cxwrench View Post
    That's a carbon steerer. I've NEVER seen an aluminum steerer w/ a layer of carbon covering it. I'd send that one back. Hard to believe that thing ended up w/ a QC 'pass' sticker on it.
    Agree. It's possible that it's just fine, but you have to wonder what kind of QC is going on that they let that pass. The fact that it's caused the question to end up on an Internet forum brings their reputation into question.

  13. #13
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    Annoyed to say this, but there's more. I was about to assemble the bottom bracket cups and wondered why the non-drive side cup would only screw a couple of turns by hand when there was already resistance so that it wouldn't turn anymore. Inspected the threads of the BB shell and noticed the threading was off at the lower part of the shell (picture attached). I wonder how this is possible. I would've accepted the fork as an odd manufacturing defect but this is starting to seem ridiculous. A complete day wasted first because of the fork issue and lingering at the chat to reach for a customer service rep. Disassembling all the parts from the previous bike and then finding out the frame is defective, too. I'm out of words.
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  14. #14
    'brifter' is f'ing stupid
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    I'm guessing this is an internet frame/fork?
    #promechaniclife

  15. #15
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    Yes, ordered online from Planet-X. However I don't feel like it would be expected just because it's an "internet frame". Canyon is also an "internet bike" company and the quality is top-notch.

  16. #16
    tlg
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    The BB thread can be easily repaired and won't harm anything. Although you shouldn't have to do it.

    The fork, NO way would I accept that. I wouldn't trust my life base on the word of the representative of the company that diagnosed it and said it's fine from a picture. You can't tell from a picture if it's ok. It's definitely more than a scratch.
    I love how the QC/Pass sticker is right next to it. Surprised they didn't put the sticker right over it.
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  17. #17
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    That's exactly what I was thinking. Fortunately I had seen pics of failed carbon steerer tubes to be alert enough with regards to this finding. But I think one shouldn't have to go on the internet and post on a forum in order to find the truth (although I'm not saying the majority of comments on this topic necessarily represent the truth). I'm wondering how it's like for most people (without much knowledge or experience in cycling or maintenance) who buy the bikes from the same online shop and would make a similar finding, if they accept what they're told by a sales representative and just ride it. I just can't for the life of me understand how the finding was being regarded insignificant and I was told it's fine to ride it. I would exercise a lot of caution when it comes to carbon and especially steerer tube.

    I don't know if chasing the threads on a titanium frame is the same as a steel or aluminum one. Didn't find too many people posting similar problems on cycling forums but the ones I found indicated it would need some special tools / knowledge. It's Sunday now so I'm not able to ask any local shops. In any case I don't know if the LBSs in my small hometown were able to do it, and if they were, it would probably take 2 to 3 weeks extra as they're having their hands full of work at this time of the year when the weather is warming up. And it's off topic anyway so wouldn't go into that now. I need my bike almost every day so I need to put all the parts back on the previous frame now, after stripping it yesterday, and adjust everything.

    I contacted the shop and requested a return for both frame and forks, will see what happens.

  18. #18
    xxl
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    Quote Originally Posted by tlg View Post
    ...
    I love how the QC/Pass sticker is right next to it. Surprised they didn't put the sticker right over it.
    This made me LOL.
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