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  1. #1
    Senior Member skiracing's Avatar
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    Steering Tube Question and Pics

    Hi All,

    Just wanted to get your opinion on my CF steering tube. When I take the top cap off on the stem inside the steering tube a bit of the layering has seperated off. The fork is a Ritchey CF. In your opinion do you think this may be a serious problem or is it OK the way it is as I don't think the split goes below the support plug. I've ridden with it but don't want to one day end up face planting into the pavement.

    And here are the pics:







    Would this be caused by overtightning the stem? Anything else could of caused it? I'm kinda bummed out if I have to replace the fork

    Thank you!
    Work hard, play harder.
    2004 Giant TCR C2

  2. #2
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    You might want to try sending those pics in an e-mail to the manufacturer of the fork, along with your questions. It doesn't look like a structural problem to me, but the manufacturer should be able to say for sure.

    Better to be safe than sorry.

    Bob
    Be the Bike

  3. #3
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    +1 on Bobby's comments. It doesn't look threatening as is but may indicate a more serious underlying defect. I'd send these pictures to Ritchey for their review and appraisal.

  4. #4
    Senior Member skiracing's Avatar
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    Good idea about contacting the manufacturer even if it's just for the opinion. I'll do it today and post an update if I hear back.

    Thank you!
    Work hard, play harder.
    2004 Giant TCR C2

  5. #5
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    That looks like a vertical crack trying to develop at the 6-o'clock position. I would be concerned.
    Good photo job!

    Al

  6. #6
    Senior Member skiracing's Avatar
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    Thanks for the photo praise! This thing has been on my mind the whole day... Ritchey Carbon WCS fork.... now possibly trash. The fork has been like that for awhile but I've kinda ignored it. Searching for others with similiar problems my guess is that the previous bike owner overtightned it or someone else did. The funny part is he gave me the bike's original fork which is carbon with with aluminum steerer when I bought the bike.... pretty much brand new.... I might have to install it but that sucks cause I'd prob feel the difference.

    I'm gonna come home and take it apart and have a look and try to get a better idea of how far it extends.... maybe I can still save it by cutting off the top portion and having the stem one spacer lower. But going out and trying to replace one with the same kind is pricey.... or if I go the Ebay route... it's risky. And Ritchey hasn't replied yet though I don't expect to hear much from them unless it's my lucky day and they say they want to give me a replacement....

    This particular fork has no logos on it and the original owner told me how he got hooked up with it through a connection. I might email him and see if this "connection" is willing to replace the fork... again prob not but I feel desperate lol
    Work hard, play harder.
    2004 Giant TCR C2

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiracing View Post
    Thanks for the photo praise! This thing has been on my mind the whole day... Ritchey Carbon WCS fork.... now possibly trash. The fork has been like that for awhile but I've kinda ignored it. Searching for others with similiar problems my guess is that the previous bike owner overtightned it or someone else did. The funny part is he gave me the bike's original fork which is carbon with with aluminum steerer when I bought the bike.... pretty much brand new.... I might have to install it but that sucks cause I'd prob feel the difference.
    My guess is that it was over tightened. This happened to me when I built up my Colnago C50. I used the torque spec shown on the stem, 8nm, which was too much for the carbon steer tube. That turned out to be an $850 mistake, cost of a new fork.
    The only real difference between a carbon fiber fork with an aluminum steerer and one with a carbon fiber steerer is weight. I doubt that there is any real difference in performance assuming that the forks' legs are the same and the length and rakes are the same.
    Al
    Last edited by Al1943; 11-15-07 at 09:00 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al1943 View Post
    The only real difference between a carbon fiber fork with an aluminum steerer and one with a carbon fiber steerer is weight. I doubt that there is any real difference in performance assuming that the forks' legs are the same and the length and rake are the same.
    Al
    Absolutely agree. I don't think you will notice any difference at all and if someone changed them at random, you would never be able to tell which was which from the ride.

  9. #9
    Senior Member skiracing's Avatar
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    I looked at it again and everything looks the same as it did back then (a few months ago when the pics were taken). The other thing is, based on the pics I've seen where it was known that the steerer tube cracked from overtightning.... this one looks different.... it doesn't have any split heading towards the outside, I'm not exper but that's my "observation".

    Also, I got a response from the original owner and this is what he said:

    "It is probably caused by pressure from the top cap not being well distributed across the cut surface of the steerer tube. Usually this sort of problem is limited to a small section above the compression plug. If it doesn't extend too far down the steerer then it's probably safe to ride. The important thing is to make sure the steerer is solid in the section that the stem is clamped."

    Has an1 ever heard of that happening? And how does the pressure not get distributed?

    And this fork apparently costs 500!? That's bizzare!!!!
    Work hard, play harder.
    2004 Giant TCR C2

  10. #10
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    The only thing i can say is DAMMM!!! 1st time i see such a thing ever. Im even wondering if the cap did that, usually the steering compresion cap fits almost perfect in there so u have more support from inside out when tighten the stem. Just a question, the wacked part is aluminum or carbon? shines like aluminum.

    Doesnt look like a seriuous problem, hope the steering column is uncut because u can cut the wacked part out. Just a and idea.


    Thanks

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiracing View Post
    Also, I got a response from the original owner and this is what he said:

    "It is probably caused by pressure from the top cap not being well distributed across the cut surface of the steerer tube. Usually this sort of problem is limited to a small section above the compression plug. If it doesn't extend too far down the steerer then it's probably safe to ride. The important thing is to make sure the steerer is solid in the section that the stem is clamped."

    Has an1 ever heard of that happening? And how does the pressure not get distributed?

    And this fork apparently costs 500!? That's bizzare!!!!
    If the steerer and stem are properly sized, the top cap will never touch the top of the steerer tube. The top of the steerer tube should be 3 mm below the top of the stem or there should be a spacer on top of the stem giving the same gap.

  12. #12
    Senior Member skiracing's Avatar
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    The shiny part is the compression plug inside.... the steerer tube is all carbon. Steerer tube is definetly cut from original but i could potentially cut a bit more off.... I have to see how it feels with the handlebars being lower. At the moment everything is properly spaced... but who knows how it was with the original owner or whoever worked on it. He has told me he never knew about it but I also know that this wasnt done by me cause it was there the first time I ever took the compression cap off. I've had the bike since June so I don't see a reason for him to deny unless he is saving face.

    The idea of the cap doing that sounds kinda bizzare.... even if the pressure isnt distributed evenly you got to have some insane amount of pressure to do it.... probably more than it would take the stem clamp to do damage. Plus the only warnings I've heard from overtightning the compression cap is the effect it would have on the bearings in the headset.... so go figure.

    Could the steerer tube be potentially defective? It's just so wierd how an almost even layer if sticking away. The pics here show how another guy screwed his up from not having the set-up done properly in the first place and overtightning it... the damage looks completely different from mine.







    And still no response from Ritchey.

    This kinda re-enforces for me the importance of a torque wrench for anything carbon.... so now I'm paranoid and won't touch anything until I get one... not that I did much before, I've really only adjusted the seat tube brace, the stem, and installed bottle cages.
    Work hard, play harder.
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  13. #13
    Your mom
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    Grim. Yet another reason to avoid plastic.

  14. #14
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    this is why i stay with steel frames.

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