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Got my first road bike with a carbon fork and when installing the front wheel the skewer slipped a little. Now I got some shiny surface lines there on the carbon surface. I wouldn't even call it scratches or abrasions as it's only visible with reflecting light. Is this already a problem with carbon or am I good to go?

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Edit: In addition two more pictures made in daylight of outer dropout part. On one side there seems to be some small damage but I can't imagine the happened from the slipping skewer as it was almost lose already. Just want to make sure if this looks ok. If one can even say this over pictures...

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  • Curious that its a QR on a new bike - Is it a rim brake ? I can't see any mounts.
    – Criggie
    Apr 7, 2023 at 2:57
  • It's actually a DT Swiss RWS. Just wrote QR for easier explanation. It has rim brakes.
    – conste
    Apr 7, 2023 at 8:38

2 Answers 2

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This is a common concern. It is inevitable that exposed carbon wear surfaces are going to get scratched.

I think you'll find a range of opinions on this. My own is that this is a problem and it is irresponsible of bike makers to sell frames like this. Some do (or did) have metal faceplates on the wear surfaces, which I think is the right thing to do. There are carbon repair shops that will add them on. I did a little checking just now and was surprised that I could not find aftermarket dropout faceplates sold retail.

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    I have to agree. We know that carbon doesn't stand up well to scratching or impacts. This was not a good design choice. It could be that the manufacturer reinforced the area somehow, so that it can better stand up to clamping by a knurled skewer nut, but who knows.
    – Weiwen Ng
    Apr 7, 2023 at 1:33
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    Corroborating statement by carbon fiber repairer youtu.be/TPcm7-KvytI?t=459
    – Weiwen Ng
    Apr 7, 2023 at 2:00
  • Thanks for your reply. I added two more images in daylight. On one dropout I can see a small nick but I think this didn't result from the slipping skewer as it was almost lose already. Would really appreciate if you could take another look though.
    – conste
    Apr 7, 2023 at 10:10
  • It's not a problem now but it's going to get worse with time, and carbon fiber shreds in a way that other materials don't. It makes me wonder if anyone's tried applying an ablative coating and reapplying it periodically.
    – Adam Rice
    Apr 7, 2023 at 14:31
  • @AdamRice A couple of thin steel washers is likely a better solution.
    – MaplePanda
    Apr 9, 2023 at 20:28
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I'll tend to think the opposite to @Adam, with today's liability and consumer protection laws, if these scratches, which a normal wear and tear, are a problem, the manufacturer has a huge liability on its hands. Ther reputational risk probably exceeds the no unsubstantial financial risk.

Obviously, this depends on the frame manufacturer. If it is a frame from a big name, common brand, I would say you have no problem to worry about. If it is a direct import from a cheap Chinese clone maker, I would be less happy to assert its not a problem.

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  • I added two more images in daylight. Would be really glad if someone could take another look. I can see a small nick but can't imagine it's from the slipping skewer.
    – conste
    Apr 7, 2023 at 9:57
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    @conste Your pictures were fine already. It doesn't change the answer: The drop outs should have been made out of metal, but the manufacturer obviously thought it was ok. You don't have anyting but normal wear and tear.
    – Nobody
    Apr 7, 2023 at 20:07

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