Oxidation / Rust on a New Steel Fork
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  1. #1
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    Oxidation / Rust on a New Steel Fork

    I recently received a new Soma Fab steel fork in the mail and opened the packaging to discover oxidation on a variety of areas of the paint. I contacted Soma about the issue and the following is their response:

    In manufacturing there are tiny particles of metal nearly everywhere. In the painting process most of these particles are cleaned off or blown out with compressed air, but like my shoes after going to the beach, no matter how much they are cleaned some remain. On the bottom of the fork you'll see little vent holes that aid in the capillary action of the brazing process. The small particles come out of the vent holes and over time in shipping (it's pretty wet on the boat, and for that matter here in San Francisco ) the small particles oxidize causing a small amount of cosmetic surface rust. The rust you see is purely cosmetic and comes right off with a little cleaner wax. Bike mechanics, as part of the prepping process for building a bike, will wipe the bike down with a little wax and spray a little light oil into the fork (or better yet JP Weigle frame saver) I understand it looks a bit unseemly. If you'd like we will definitely send you a new fork with a call tag. The protocol for sending a new fork is such that we must insist on a small deposit (40 bucks) upon sending the new fork (so that we can assure we will receive the old one). It's very important to us that you are happy with your product. Please advise as to what you'd like to do.

    To their credit Soma has offered to replace the fork, albeit with a $40 deposit, but I would think the proper customer service would be to not send out the fork in the first place with the expectation of the customer to clean it up.

    Can anyone verify that it is really that simple to just wipe it off with a cleaner wax? If so, what product and brand would work best? I was able to remove some with a damp cloth and from what I can tell the remaining rust has worked its way into the paint. I've consulted with a mechanic at an LBS and he said they've not encountered this issue before with prepping new bikes. I'm inclined to just send it back.




  2. #2
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    If it were me I'd keep it. Their response was prompt & they certainly offered to make it right. I'd just take some wax or cleaner, remove the rust and go from there. If you're concerned about the rust reappearing apply 2-3 coats of clear fingernail polish.
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  3. #3
    Carbon Fiber = Explode!
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    Rust never hurt any of my two steel bikes. New or old.

    people get all crazy like you have to rub it off or it will rust to through the tube. It's really not. You can leave it on, and it'll look like crap but it'll still ride for many years...
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  4. #4
    wim
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    Much ado about nothing.

    A few wheel ins-and-outs and the paint will be all scratched or even gone in that area. Wipe off what rust you can get off and forget about it. This is solid steel, not thin-walled tubing. Time worrying about this is completely wasted, IMO.

  5. #5
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    Soma is giving it to you straight, this is a common issue. They might have cleaned it first, since initial reactions are so important, but since most of their business is with dealers, probably didn't think of it.

    But it brings up another issue. Most steel frames that rust through, rust from the inside out. While rust through is fairly rare, it does happen especially in humid climates or to winter riders because of internal condensation.

    Soma forks have open blow holes at the bottom, take a moment to spray some WD-40, or framesaver in there and spread it around then let the excess drain.
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  6. #6
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    Thank all of you for your feedback.

    I do intend to use Framesaver for the inside of the fork, but what wax cleaner or other product will remove the rust on the outer surface?

    I was able to wipe off some with a damp cloth, but still can't get other spots clean. It's not just on the dropouts, there's spots on the crown and blades also.

  7. #7
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    Okay, so maybe I see this differently. You're the customer, you're not happy with a rust belimished fork. They should send you a new one. I have purchased steel forks and have never had one that had spots of rust on them. IMO, something is not right. It might only be cosmetic but it is still not right. I would speak to a supervisor and try to get SOMA to correct the problem.

    BTW, I worked in a bike shop and never had a new fork look this way either. Whether that was on a bike or after market.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by raymonda
    Okay, so maybe I see this differently. You're the customer, you're not happy with a rust belimished fork. They should send you a new one. I have purchased steel forks and have never had one that had spots of rust on them. IMO, something is not right. It might only be cosmetic but it is still not right. I would speak to a supervisor and try to get SOMA to correct the problem.

    BTW, I worked in a bike shop and never had a new fork look this way either. Whether that was on a bike or after market.
    Ummm . . . they already said they would. The discussion here is all about which of us would bother to take advantage of that.

    Kev, for the "cleaner wax'" they suggested, just use anything from an auto parts store, like Turtle Wax. Be sure to get the kind for clear coats, which doesn't contain abrasives.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia
    Ummm . . . they already said they would. The discussion here is all about which of us would bother to take advantage of that.

    Kev, for the "cleaner wax'" they suggested, just use anything from an auto parts store, like Turtle Wax. Be sure to get the kind for clear coats, which doesn't contain abrasives.
    Ummmm....I think they said they would for a $40.00 deposit. (Got it?)

    They should just replace it without any further hassle, thus a discussion with a supervisor. I've never had an item replaced which required a deposit. Usually you send it back and they send you another.

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