I got involved in a frontal crash with another cyclist: they turned back to greet a friend and while doing so they invaded the opposite lane of the cycling path, where I was transiting. Impenetrability of the bodies made the rest.

We bumped heads and fell to the ground, with no major physical damages.

However, my bike's front wheel is not true anymore, and I will need it replaced.

How and what can I check for other damages? I am mostly concerned about the fork being bent/twisted and possible damages to the handlebar.

Bike has aluminum frame, rim brakes, hub dynamo, belt drive.

  • 1
    What's the bike (especially the fork) made of? Al, chromoly, carbon... Carbon isn't bent if it's not cracked. The best way to check that the fork isn't bent is to slap a known-good wheel into it, and make sure it's not askew in any direction (this is easier with rim brakes).
    – DavidW
    Jan 19, 2023 at 3:11
  • 2
    Are you fixing the damage out of pocket, or is the other person paying?
    – MaplePanda
    Jan 19, 2023 at 3:20

1 Answer 1


Start by removing the untrue wheel and tweaking it back to straight. Can be easier to do if the tyre/tube is removed.

While the wheel is off, give it a good clean and dry. Assuming your frame is metal, under a generous light, examine these areas closely:

  • front/back of both fork legs
  • Welds around the fork's crown.
  • Welds around the head tube
  • The first 200mm of the top tube and down tube

You're looking for cracks or wrinkles. Chips can sometimes tell you the metal moved and then moved back.

Refit front wheel then check the headset bearings by clamping on the front brake lever hard with one hand, and with the other hand hold around where the steerer exits the head tube. You should feel only the slightest of play when rocking the bike back and forth.

Check fork alignment visually - for a frontal it would generally bend right below the crown. Most forks will have a centerline from the steerer tube, and then the fork tines/legs are in-line or bend forward of that centerline. If they go backward at any point then its been pushed there (or is some weird design like lauf forks)

Check wheel tracking by riding straight through a water puddle then onward over dry concrete without wiggling. The two wheel tracks should lie on the same line. If the fork is bent sideways the rear wheel will follow its own path.

Finally consider your helmet - you say that you bumped heads. Have a close look inside and out, and consider replacing if it is over 10 years old anyway.

You may choose to redo bartape or grips if they got torn or damaged. Its not uncommon for brifters to get pushed toward the centerline of the bike.

Make sure you can change through all the gears still, and that rim brake pads are still lined up to press on the rim not the tyre. Disk brake pads, confirm they're still operating as expected.

If your bike is carbon fibre, most of this advise won't apply, sorry to future readers.

  • 3
    This is the kind of checking I'd do for my bike when it was my fault. Depending on your situation, you might elect to have a bike shop do the checking if the other rider is contributing to repairs.
    – Criggie
    Jan 19, 2023 at 3:27
  • 2
    I'd replace the helmet right away. It's designed to take just the one hit.
    – SQB
    Feb 1, 2023 at 14:10

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