It is on the dropout of my new tarmac, one month old.

The shop owner said "It's normal for this side to crack it might be from the chain"

But when I did test the chain it didn't touch the frame (there got 5mm gap between). But I don't know exactly that when I ride.

So has this happen to anyone?

And how do I know if my frame has cracked or not?

enter image description here

  • 1
    From the look of it it does appear to be simply cracked paint, though it's hard to tell for sure from that single picture -- one would really need to inspect first-hand. I'm guessing it's due to a combo of overly-thick paint (used to achieve that high gloss) combined with a slightly poor fit for the derailer hanger. It looks like the hanger bumping against the dropout initiated the cracking, and it progressed from there. Mar 19, 2017 at 12:31
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    The obligatory note is that there are a lot of fake S-Works/similarly high end bikes on the market, so assuming its authentic (the fakes are often sold well below Specialized's price, usually online; they can look pretty good though), I'd be disappointed with this.
    – Batman
    Mar 19, 2017 at 13:42
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    Check the warranty. I think Specialized has a lifetime warranty on the frame.
    – paparazzo
    Mar 19, 2017 at 14:00
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    If indeed you bought just the frame and then added your own derailer hanger it's likely that you are at fault for using one that dug into the paint at that point. If it was a factory-installed hanger then I would tend to blame Specialized. Mar 20, 2017 at 0:48
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    This is really interesting as a rider from my club recently bought a Tarmac and had exactly the same issue.
    – Drew
    Apr 20, 2017 at 9:29

1 Answer 1


It looks like a chain jam from a wrongly adjusted rear mechanism. The paint finishes on these bikes tends to be fairly hard and a good smack will chip the paint.

The next question is what's been done to the frame. Without testing, x ray type inspection, history etc. Its impossible to tell. So that just leaves whether you trust it enough not to lay out for a new frame. Me, I'd trust that sort of catch if there is nothing obvious in the carbon layup and it rides ok. Go easy to start, build confidence in it; or not. You decide.

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