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I just bought this second hand Ridgeback Impulse folding bike for my partner. I'm a wheelchair user and it was dark and rainy when I collected the bike.

So... I didn't check it (facepalm) I just got the seller to put it in the boot for me.

It's been in the boot for 3 days, folded, and as far as I am aware, nothing has happened to it while it's been there.

Took it to the bike shop (and nothing happened on the way there either), and we notice a big old dent on the frame, in a bad place, which means the bike is unsafe.

Seller thinks I did it, I think she just didn't notice it. She has no photos on the affected side. It's pretty hard to spot unless you're in the lighting conditions that we were in when those photos were taken. It also looks almost like it's meant to be there - until you realise there's no reason, there's also a crease down the middle of it.

My question for you guys is... in your experience - how would a dent like this happen? Could it happen from a folded bike in the back seat going over a road hump? etc? What force would be needed to make a dent like this? It's pretty big - and would have been inside the fold if it happened in the car. Just don't see how it could have happened, while the bike was folded, in a car. But at the same time, if it has been me, I don't want to screw over the seller either.

Help!!

Thank you enter image description here

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  • 7
    Where does the dent end up when the bike is folded? You said, it's on the inside of the fold - is it perchance right where a tube on the other side of the fold happens to be? If that were the case, the dent might either be due to 1) the manufacturer trying to ensure enough clearance, or 2) the bike has been folded with too much force once. Mind you, you need a lot of force to create such a big dent (this is by far the strongest tube of the entire frame). – cmaster Nov 3 '18 at 13:55
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    Is the paint cracked along the edges of the dent? If it was damage as opposed to designed you might see paint flakes – Warren Burton Nov 3 '18 at 16:12
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    Hard to tell from this distance, but the dent doesn't seem to be that fatal to me. And (again, without seeing it firsthand) it could be a "feature" from manufacturing, to facilitate folding. Finally, when I see damage like this on a bike it's usually obvious that it's due to a motor vehicle accident -- the bike got bumped in the garage. – Daniel R Hicks Nov 3 '18 at 16:57
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    If that is damage, it would have required a huge force. Definitely not something that would have happened just by having the bike in the boot of your car. @DanielRHicks 's suggestion is rather convincing. – David Richerby Nov 3 '18 at 17:56
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    I'd be more concerned about the welds than the 'dent' in question... – Lamar Latrell Nov 4 '18 at 9:08
28

It seems that this dent belongs in the bike.

Here are two photos of a similar bike. While they are of low quality, the dent is visible:

However, as pointed out by Lamar Latrell in comments, in your second photo the weld to the headtube has a dark spot in it. I cannot tell from the photo, but you or your bike mechanic should check if it is a damage in the weld seam, or just damaged paint.

  • 2
    Excellent find! +1 for better google-fu than me! – Criggie Nov 4 '18 at 18:45
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    If the bike mechanic is the one saying that the "dent" makes the bike unsafe, maybe he shouldn't be trusted too much. – Martin Argerami Nov 5 '18 at 5:22
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    To me the 'damage' at the weld rather looks like scraped paint which may have be caused by the cable housings rubbing against the frame a) from normal riding and b) from folding the frame. Cable housings get dirty and work like sanding paper. – Carel Nov 5 '18 at 8:56
  • @Carel, I don't see any damage at the weld myself, they just look low quality. The comment I made (that jpa refers to) was a relative distinction between the 'dent' (a non-issue in my opinion) and the welds, which while not pretty to look at, are very unlikely to be an issue as well. – Lamar Latrell Nov 5 '18 at 19:51
21

If it is damage then no one here can say for sure how it happened.

However, it's in the realm of impossible-ish for a dent that severe to happen without paint damage or a clear mark in the paint from whatever did it. It sure looks like it's there intentionally to buy clearance for the steering mast when folded. If folding the bike up corroborates this, there's your answer.

If it did somehow happen via the mast or another part of the bike getting smushed into it, that would have taken a huge amount of force and then it would be an unlikely coincidence on top of that for there to be no paint damage or damage to the mast or wherever else. So that's probably not what happened.

15

I think you'll find that the handlebar 'stem' folds to the left, and will line up with the dent when folded.

If the dent is not supposed to be there, my best guess is that the handlebar was folded then, pressed into the frame, perhaps be the wheel and fork being forcibly turned to the left.

The dent just does not look like it's accidental. There are no paint cracks and the seat stem presumably is not damaged. Any force that could dent the frame like that surely must have damaged something else too.

  • Or as Nathan Knutson points out, the dent could be intentionally made by the manufacturer to allow space for the “stem“ or mast or whatever the correct term is. – Michael Nov 3 '18 at 19:28
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    To me it doesn't really look like a dent. Too clean! It definitely looks like some intentional feature. Check for cracks in the paint around the edges of the 'dent'. If there are it might be a real dent. Or else contact the manufacturer with this picture. – Carel Nov 3 '18 at 19:50
  • @Carel, agree, it does not look like damage, there are no paint scrapes and it's wider than the handlebar mast, and the mast isn't damaged. – Argenti Apparatus Nov 3 '18 at 21:46

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