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Replace Fork or keep on riding?

DefUnctUKDefUnctUK Posts: 38
edited April 2017 in Workshop
Hi, i'd like to get some opinions regarding fork life. Now i know there is no generic answer, it's very individual and short of a very thorough (cost prohibitive) inspection you can't really tell, unless its obvious - but any view is welcome.

I have a 2006 Trek 1000 SL, which has never been crashed and has been very well looked after (it's now my spare bike so not much use in the last few years). It has a carbon fork with alu steerer. I've been reading about fork life, bonding and plus of course some reports of fork failures. Given it has not been crashed, has no visible damage and have never noticed anything out of the ordinary, would it be worthwhile just on the basis of possible end of life (10 years) to replace it preventatively?

Posts

  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Without a proper inspection by an expert it's impossible to definitively say yes or no but if it's still in perfect condition, hasn't been crashed etc etc etc then no - it'll be fine.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    Without a proper inspection by an expert it's impossible to definitively say yes or no but if it's still in perfect condition, hasn't been crashed etc etc etc then no - it'll be fine.
    Unless it's been exposed to moisture.... :wink:
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Exactly! thank you very much for pointing that out - safety is paramount and so a very valuable post.

    Thank you again.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • gethincerigethinceri Posts: 1,188
    I think the carbon and moisture thing is a bit of a dead heron, I asked about it down at Halfords and they looked at me a bit strange so I think I made myself look a bit of a censored .
  • I asked a similar question of Lennard Zinn (the Velonews technical guy) a few weeks ago, after our local paper reported the findings of a coronial inquest into the death of a local cyclist due to the failure of his fork steerer (an aluminium steerer).

    Report on coroner's inquest: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/should-there-be-a-safe-life-for-bicycle-parts-20161117-gss41s.html

    My question to Zinn and his response: http://www.velonews.com/2016/11/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-bottom-brackets-carbon-fiber-fatigue_425464
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Gethinceri wrote:
    I think the carbon and moisture thing is a bit of a dead heron, I asked about it down at Halfords and they looked at me a bit strange so I think I made myself look a bit of a fool.


    I think you just stumbled upon someone who may not be at the top of their game - it's not Halfords because you get good staff and bad staff in every neck of the woods but Halfords get a bad rep because bike snobs feel it's below them to buy a fantastic value really good bike (e.g. Boardmans when they sold them there) from Halfords.

    It's worth popping into your local trusted mechanic bearing a coffee and having a chat with him about it - it's very surprising indeed what you learn about the cycle industry over a coffee on a "no names no pack drill" scenario.....
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    And to tell you truth I'm actually a bit disappointed that they made you feel a bit of a fool- I do instruction bits at work and I personally feel that if I've left someone feeling foolish then I've failed in my job.

    It's not big or clever to make someone feel foolish - it's big and clever to help them as much as you can.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    To the OP matthew has a fun game he's got going just winding people up about CF and water. It is hilarious but misleading.

    I'd be happy with the fork.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    it was actually Svetty who raised the point on here - nothing to do with me.

    Or are you now saying that at least 2 of us are wrong?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    Gethinceri wrote:
    I think the carbon and moisture thing is a bit of a dead heron, I asked about it down at Halfords and they looked at me a bit strange so I think I made myself look a bit of a fool.

    Either there's now 3 of us playing silly beggars or someone did actually ask this at Halfords :shock: :shock:
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,380
    Who's playing silly beggars? I for one have all forumites safety as a primary concern whether they are nice to me and others or not.........

    Safety first kids!
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • Nick Payne wrote:
    I asked a similar question of Lennard Zinn (the Velonews technical guy) a few weeks ago, after our local paper reported the findings of a coronial inquest into the death of a local cyclist due to the failure of his fork steerer (an aluminium steerer).

    Report on coroner's inquest: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/business/consumer-affairs/should-there-be-a-safe-life-for-bicycle-parts-20161117-gss41s.html

    My question to Zinn and his response: http://www.velonews.com/2016/11/bikes-and-tech/technical-faq-bottom-brackets-carbon-fiber-fatigue_425464

    Hi, thanks, it was actually also partly the above that prompted my post - due to the responses regarding life etc (10 years or so mentioned).

    I would like to think the fork has some life in it yet, but as mentioned, there really is no easy way to be 100% sure. At the end of the day i think the question is at what point is it best just to replace it to be on the safe side, without being too prematurely cautious.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    I don't know if this will reassure you exactly but...

    I'm an unusually heavy rider (120kg) and I ride a lot - for the past three years since I've been cycle commuting around the 7000mile/11000km mark each year.

    I've broken two alu frames, a carbon fibre trek frame, one vintage steel frame, and written off another steel frame in a crash.

    None of them failed so spectacularly that I was thrown from the bike or in any way injured - well, except for the crash, and I was actually able to finish my ride to work on the bike, despite the buckled downtube.

    Never have I broken a fork.

    Stop worrying. If it starts to make a new noise, or feels different somehow, investigate thoroughly, until then, keep on riding.
  • TimothyW wrote:
    I don't know if this will reassure you exactly but...

    I'm an unusually heavy rider (120kg) and I ride a lot - for the past three years since I've been cycle commuting around the 7000mile/11000km mark each year.

    I've broken two alu frames, a carbon fibre trek frame, one vintage steel frame, and written off another steel frame in a crash.

    None of them failed so spectacularly that I was thrown from the bike or in any way injured - well, except for the crash, and I was actually able to finish my ride to work on the bike, despite the buckled downtube.

    Never have I broken a fork.

    Stop worrying. If it starts to make a new noise, or feels different somehow, investigate thoroughly, until then, keep on riding.

    good advice
  • jgsijgsi Posts: 5,029
    The actual steerer tube is always worth an occasional inspection... say during a headset bearing service.
  • DefUnctUKDefUnctUK Posts: 38
    TimothyW wrote:
    I don't know if this will reassure you exactly but...

    I'm an unusually heavy rider (120kg) and I ride a lot - for the past three years since I've been cycle commuting around the 7000mile/11000km mark each year.

    I've broken two alu frames, a carbon fibre trek frame, one vintage steel frame, and written off another steel frame in a crash.

    None of them failed so spectacularly that I was thrown from the bike or in any way injured - well, except for the crash, and I was actually able to finish my ride to work on the bike, despite the buckled downtube.

    Never have I broken a fork.

    Stop worrying. If it starts to make a new noise, or feels different somehow, investigate thoroughly, until then, keep on riding.

    Thanks :-) makes perfect sense.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    DefUnctUK wrote:
    TimothyW wrote:
    I don't know if this will reassure you exactly but...

    I'm an unusually heavy rider (120kg) and I ride a lot - for the past three years since I've been cycle commuting around the 7000mile/11000km mark each year.

    I've broken two alu frames, a carbon fibre trek frame, one vintage steel frame, and written off another steel frame in a crash.

    None of them failed so spectacularly that I was thrown from the bike or in any way injured - well, except for the crash, and I was actually able to finish my ride to work on the bike, despite the buckled downtube.

    Never have I broken a fork.

    Stop worrying. If it starts to make a new noise, or feels different somehow, investigate thoroughly, until then, keep on riding.

    Thanks :-) makes perfect sense.
    Funnily enough, in the time since I wrote that post I've broken another steel frame - failed at the weld between driveside dropout and seatstay.

    Still so far so good. WIggle warranty replacement is pending...
  • TimothyW wrote:
    DefUnctUK wrote:
    TimothyW wrote:
    I don't know if this will reassure you exactly but...

    I'm an unusually heavy rider (120kg) and I ride a lot - for the past three years since I've been cycle commuting around the 7000mile/11000km mark each year.

    I've broken two alu frames, a carbon fibre trek frame, one vintage steel frame, and written off another steel frame in a crash.

    None of them failed so spectacularly that I was thrown from the bike or in any way injured - well, except for the crash, and I was actually able to finish my ride to work on the bike, despite the buckled downtube.

    Never have I broken a fork.

    Stop worrying. If it starts to make a new noise, or feels different somehow, investigate thoroughly, until then, keep on riding.

    Thanks :-) makes perfect sense.
    Funnily enough, in the time since I wrote that post I've broken another steel frame - failed at the weld between driveside dropout and seatstay.

    Still so far so good. WIggle warranty replacement is pending...

    Ahh ... but judging by the fact you are still alive you have clearly never got carbon wet*!


    * NB "safety first kids" as someone once said - watch out for damp carbon and BS it's a popular cause of irrational fear and there is a little part of the brain that detects sarcasm that is incapacitated by fumes from damp carbon (so no that's not three of us now) and of course ... bicycle induced death
  • The RookieThe Rookie Posts: 27,748
    Travrelling to India a lot I've clearly picked up their ability to reincarnate, I've ridden my carbon forks near enough daily through the winter rain and....well more rain and died a dreadful death countless times, yet each time I come back for more. Its clearly catching as my fork self repairs as well.
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Forks rarely fail catastrophically without warning or indication, particularly if not been crashed. Does the fork show any signs of cracked or bubbling paint or white powdery residue? Apply the front brake and rock the bike back and forth - provided the headset is adjusted OK there should be no movement. Bonded aluminium to carbon composite construction for bike forks has been used for 25+ years - unless you have any of the signs above, I'd carry on riding.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • Hi OP,

    No-one can guarantee your fork life but if you have the skills then I suggest you drop the forks out, remove front brake and any removable headset parts and even the crown race if possible. There will be crud all around the crown. Scrub and clean the whole fork and steerer until gleaming and look for any cracks/damage/splits. Try to compress/distract the legs and look for any play around steerer. It should be absolutely rigid around the crown. If all OK then you will have a lot more confidence in your forks and it may be time to replace headset anyway.

    Regards

    Alan
  • on-yer-bikeon-yer-bike Posts: 2,974
    You can get galvanic corrosion around the fork crown which will probably be aluminium. Can you remove the nut that holds the front brake on or is corroded in? Is the paint bubbling up around the hole where the nut sits? I'm not sure how much this corrosion will effect fork safety but it cant be good.
    Pegoretti
    Colnago
    Cervelo
    Campagnolo
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