2

I'm about to buy this used Giant TCR (year?) road bike, but I noticed it has a raised mark on one side of the fork. The bike shop knows nothing about it and it seems structurally fine. May it look like a fixed fork? Could be an acceptable defect? It seems to be happening in a transition between aluminum and carbon fiber.

Strange raised mark in fork

Bike


EDIT: Adding picture of the other side: Other side

10
  • 4
    What does the other side of the fork look like? If you drop the front wheel out and look up at the underside of the crown area, then what does that show?
    – Criggie
    Oct 26 '21 at 3:24
  • 2
    It is definitely not a manufacturing defect, it wouldn't leave Giant like that. Without knowing what was done and by who, I wouldn't trust the fork. If you are heart set on the bike, I would ask the bike store for a replacement fork or reduced price to cover a replacement fork.
    – DWGKNZ
    Oct 26 '21 at 12:44
  • 4
    Apparently some forks similar to this do use an aluminum crown with bonded-on blades (would not be surprising if all-carbon forks also had bonded-on blades). Raoul Luescher has an example here. This is not to say that the flaw on this bike is anything but cosmetic.
    – Adam Rice
    Oct 26 '21 at 15:50
  • 2
    If you have doubts, don't buy the thing. You'll avoid being nagged by incertitude.
    – Carel
    Oct 26 '21 at 17:45
  • 2
    Thank you all for your input! "Since 1972" was painted. In the end I bought the bike, as it was the cheapest one they had there, and the only one on my budget. The other side is showing a similar defect; I guess it’s just a stress sign showing in the crown-blade interface (thanks @adam-rice). Probably it’s not like a new one, functionally wise, but will be enough for my first road bike. Will be watching it, though. Again, thanks for being part of my first road bike.
    – aguadopd
    Oct 31 '21 at 20:53
4

To me it looks like a very shoddy job of quality control initially, or a poor repair that has been painted to match the bike. I'd suggest comparing the paint on both sides of the fork to see if there's a difference in colour, gloss, or texture. The decal on top might also not be original.

Noone can tell you categortically it is safe, or if it will last for years. There are services that do non-destructive testing and scanning of items like frames, but they're more about looking for voids and delaminations.

Your bike shop's warranty should give some indication of how much they really trust the bike. If they are only offering the minimum warranty period in your country, vs offering a 2 or 5 year or "lifetime" warranty on the frame.
Note Giant bikes mostly had "lifetime" frame warranties on anything that wasn't a downhill bike.

In the end, you could buy and fit a new replacement fork, to reduce the risk.

Talk it out with the shop, and see what they say. If used bikes are selling well, they won't move. If they want to get the bike sold, they might offer to install a new fork for free, if you buy a fork through them. Negotiate.

4
  • 5
    Suggestion for talking to the manager/sales person "I really like the bike and it's a great fit, but this weird damage on the fork is the one thing stopping me from trusting it. What can we do to solve this ?"
    – Criggie
    Oct 26 '21 at 3:35
  • 1
    The color shade of the fork is close, but different enough for me to suspect it’s not the original fork. The fork finish looks spray painted.
    – P. Barney
    Oct 26 '21 at 18:41
  • @criggie: Well, it was the cheapest one in the shop, and they I can take it back whenever if there’s a problem there. It was the only one in my budget, so I took it and already rode a few km without problems. I added a picture of the other blade in the original post. Thanks for the suggestions!
    – aguadopd
    Oct 31 '21 at 20:54
  • 1
    @p.barney : upon close inspection, the fork looks like original, there's no sign of a bad paint work. It's had it's km though, so paint has chips and marks here and there. The other side of the fork looks the same; see edited post. Thanks!
    – aguadopd
    Oct 31 '21 at 20:56
1

I don't want to be the naysayer but the fork exhibiting the same flaw in both sides in the same place and being the type of construction it is, I would very strongly advise you to consider replacing it, especially as a new carbon fork of better quality, from a recognised brand name, can be obtained for 100-200£, depending on the quality you want. If "any fork will do", you can spend as little as £30 on a cheap steel fork.

The carbon legs are bonded to an aluminium crown and the point the paint is cracking is the top of the carbon, which is sleeved over the aluminium section. As the fork has done some work, the bonding between the two is now allowing some movement which has cracked the paint and implies that the bond between the two sections is not as secure as it once was.

Newer carbon forks tend to be fully carbon, which eliminates this weak spot. Even where the steerer is alloy on a newer fork, the fork crown is generally now carbon.

The likelihood is that yours won't fail unless you crash or bump something fairly hard, but it is still a weak point and they don't last forever. It is the least pleasant part of the bike to fail, debatably!

Ultimately it's your choice. I'm advocating replacement.

2
  • The new photo does look more suspicious than the old one (which just looked like excess epoxy from the bonding). Assuming it’s really a paint crack at the bonding interface and not just a scratch.
    – Michael
    Nov 1 '21 at 7:59
  • *paint crack due to bad/weak or broken bonding
    – Michael
    Nov 1 '21 at 15:11

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.