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View Full Version : Cracked Fork - Close Call


ckamp
10-06-2014, 12:44 PM
So, participating in an event, during the last 5km as I was descending to the finish, at speeds of about 70 km/hr (43mph) the bike felt loose in the front end.

After finishing (after slowing down and taking it easy), I closely inspected my frame and fork to find out that the fork was cracked! When I took off the wheel and applied about 2 fingers of force outwards to the blade, the fork bent with ease..


Scary stuff, keep it safe out there and don't forget your bike checks!

Also, I am trying to find a new 1" threaded fork for my 63cm frame... :)

redir
10-06-2014, 12:48 PM
Wow man... Just Wow! :eek:

vqdriver
10-06-2014, 12:50 PM
wow. holy moly...

mktng
10-06-2014, 12:53 PM
Steel. Wins.

mktng
10-06-2014, 12:56 PM
I have a one inch carbon fork. Alu steerer. Should be more than enough to accommodate that bike. You could have it threaded... No?. It's also unfortunately in celest green........

William
10-06-2014, 12:57 PM
Steel. Wins.

Steel, for the slow demise win.;)


Glad you are okay!:cool:







William

bobswire
10-06-2014, 01:02 PM
Whoa, good catch.:banana:

Anyway.... http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=steel+bicycle++Fork&_from=R40&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.Xchrome+st eel+bicycle++Fork&_nkw=chrome+steel+bicycle++Fork&_sacat=0

josephr
10-06-2014, 01:18 PM
like everyone else...whoa....beyond close call, just don't realize how lucky we can be sometimes. I'd rather take my chances with an Alaskan Grizzly getting ready for hibernation!

bobswire
10-06-2014, 01:31 PM
BTW I have a Merckx flat crown fork I was going to use for threadless, steer tube was too long for my Merckx.
It has some flaking but it excellent condition otherwise, no rust.
8 inch threaded steerer tube.
$75 shipped

http://i62.tinypic.com/2cgdmvl.jpg http://i59.tinypic.com/fa97jd.jpg http://i61.tinypic.com/2d6ttkx.jpg
http://i62.tinypic.com/23s81uu.jpghttp://i60.tinypic.com/n49l06.jpg

ckamp
10-06-2014, 01:34 PM
Ill have to check my steer tube length when I get home tonight and get back to you, it might even be longer than that one!

Don49
10-06-2014, 01:41 PM
Scary stuff, keep it safe out there and don't forget your bike checks!That's one of my nightmare scenarios. Glad it ended well!

How would someone check for a pending failure like that? I'm thinking remove front wheel and apply significant force by hand to the fork blades? Would corrosion be a factor?

bobswire
10-06-2014, 02:01 PM
Ill have to check my steer tube length when I get home tonight and get back to you, it might even be longer than that one!

Yeah, my Merckx is too short for your frame. I see a few on ebay that should get you on the road. http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=Fork+1%22+threadless+steel&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.XFork+1%22 +threaded+steel&_nkw=Fork+1%22+threaded+steel&_sacat=0

berserk87
10-06-2014, 02:21 PM
Legend has it that anyone that can make a steel fork fail is one bad hombre.

weaponsgrade
10-06-2014, 02:29 PM
Ooh, that could've ended bad. Many yrs ago I was on a ride with a friend when at a rest stop I happened to notice a small crack on the down tube of his Merlin. We had just finished a descent and after I pointed out the crack he said he was wondering why the front was feeling weird. We were at the furthest point from home and he decided to very slowly ride it back. In hindsight it probably wasn't the best idea, but he made it back. By the time we got back the crack was more than halfway around the tube. I think the frame was 10yrs old at this point but Merlin replaced the tube under warranty and also replaced the head tube from a 1 inch to 1 1/8. I couldn't even tell it had been replaced.

mktng
10-06-2014, 02:31 PM
Wow. Warranties after.... 10 years. That's customer service!

8aaron8
10-06-2014, 02:37 PM
Man that is scary, glad you came out unscathed.

Mark McM
10-06-2014, 02:38 PM
How would someone check for a pending failure like that? I'm thinking remove front wheel and apply significant force by hand to the fork blades? Would corrosion be a factor?

That crack didn't suddenly appear on the last ride. It would have been visible for some time before that. Frequent inspections can find these cracks.

I also once had a cracked steel fork that was discovered in the middle of a ride (and also just a few miles after a 40 mph downhill). There was so little metal left still connected, that after removing the wheel just a slight tug on the fork blade was enough to complete separate the blade from the fork.

When I got home, I took a good look at the both pieces at the crack. There were a few small dribbles of rust just below the crack, as if a few drops of water had gotten in through the crack and run down the inside of the blade (no rust above the crack). I hadn't ridden in wet conditions for many, many miles before the crack was found. What this means is that the crack had been growing slowing over time, and had I just taken a close look at the fork earlier, I could have discovered it long before it had grown so large.

Corrosion was not a factor in my fork crack (the small driblets of rust on the inside were just surface rust, and obviously formed only after it cracked all the way through the blade wall). I doubt that it was factor in the OPs fork either, as there should be no place for water to get in or collect under the fork crown above the blade.

cnighbor1
10-06-2014, 02:58 PM
Cracked Fork - Close Call

The Columbus Air forks were know to fail. Is this one or those
Charles

bikingshearer
10-06-2014, 03:28 PM
Agree with all of the above:

-- thank goodness you are safe;
-- that be scary stuff;
-- thank good ness steel fails sloooooowly;
-- I think I'll go check my forks.

seanile
10-06-2014, 03:54 PM
Steel, for the slow demise win.;)seriously

charliedid
10-06-2014, 04:40 PM
Oh sheet!

Everything breaks eventually, glad it wasn't your face.

eddief
10-06-2014, 04:54 PM
so he can integrate the data into his anti carbon spreadsheet.

shovelhd
10-06-2014, 04:58 PM
Holy crap.

zap
10-06-2014, 04:58 PM
Yikes.

timto
10-06-2014, 05:31 PM
Glad you are ok! Wow!

Tandem Rider
10-06-2014, 06:12 PM
Don't bother with a lottery ticket, you just used up your luck!! Good catch before the faceplant.

Ken Robb
10-06-2014, 06:43 PM
I wonder if he had braked when he felt something amiss in his front end what would have happened. Would that have stressed the fork leg to its breaking point?

Years ago on a 45mph descent down a pretty steep hill I got into a big shimmy. The knee to the top tube trick didn't help and braking made it worse. Just about the time I thought I was going to have A BIG ONE I came to an intersecting road that went uphill. I made the turn and gravity did the rest. Any time I let that bike exceed 32mph downhill it shimmied. I tried swapping wheels and they moved the shimmy onset speed up to 34mph. I sold the bike to a lighter man after I insisted that he try a descent to test for shimmying. He could not get it to wiggle a bit. Ghosts?? :)

Peter P.
10-06-2014, 07:35 PM
The fact that you were able to finish the race with the fork intact and given some clue there was a problem shows one of the traits of steel frames-cracks propagate slowly, providing more potential to catch them before they fail catastrophically. Aluminum and carbon cracks progress faster with sometimes dangerous results.

I've broken 2 steel forks through long term crack development. On one, I'd previously bent the dropout. About 2 years later, the cantilever brake arm kept diving toward the spokes. It took me about 3 stops to figure it out, then I rode the bike home about 3 miles.

The other fork was on a Trek sport touring bike. I was on group ride; the bike started to handle funny when riding out of the saddle. I stopped twice to try and figure out what was going wrong when I found it-the steerer was separating from the fork crown. I told the group to ride on and I'd limp it home. I got another 10 miles when one member of the group returned in his pickup truck to take me home.

I had a friend with a Bob Jackson and a 531 fork that cracked in the same place as the OP's. He rode that bike for a couple years with no clue it was cracked.

I'm not saying you can't get hurt in any of these scenarios or that steel is perfect, but it is forgiving in the above respects.

P.S. If you can't find a fork on eBay, there are many framebuilders that will build just forks. Save the existing fork so they can match its specs for you.

ckamp
10-06-2014, 07:40 PM
That crack didn't suddenly appear on the last ride. It would have been visible for some time before that. Frequent inspections can find these cracks.

I agree with you, the description you wrote is pretty much spot on. I did find some corrosion on the cracked surface that is evident of the crack being around for at least a few rides. However, I did do an inspection about 3 rides prior during a clean and didn't see anything alarming, it would of likely been very thin and not noticeable, or I missed it because its not something I would expect to look for!

Legend has it that anyone that can make a steel fork fail is one bad hombre.

HAHA!!


Also, out of curiosity, I contacted Casati:

"Thanks for your email, your Casati bike is still really beautiful !!
Your bike was built about 20 years ago, so there's no warranty for it.
We saw the photos you sent us, the damaged fork can't be used, it's dangerous.

A new fork - totally chromed - can be supplied at following price: Euro 230,00 + shipping cost Euro 75,00.
Total amount: Euro 305,00 (Converts to about $385 USD)

We remain at your disposal for further info.
Awaiting for your news.
Best regards.

Stefania
Massimo & Luca Casati"


This would not of been fun: