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Defect with a new VO Campeur fork, what would you do?

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Defect with a new VO Campeur fork, what would you do?

Old 05-17-16, 03:34 PM
  #1  
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Defect with a new VO Campeur fork, what would you do?

I need a little advice on this issue. I first noticed it when I picked my new fork out of the box: one of the dropouts looked to be at a slightly different angle than the other. But I figured as long as I was able to get the wheel centered it would be ok (and on my test fits, the wheel mounted fine).

But when I finally built the whole bike, my rack would not mount centered and I've figured out this is due to the right dropout having been welded on to the fork at a slight inward angle, causing the entire front rack to angle off to the left side. Thankfully it is still rideable as it does not hit the wheel, but I'm not sure it is acceptable to me or within VO's manufacturing tolerances.

The pic below shows the issue. The off center rack is obvious. If you zoom in to the dropouts, I've drawn two sets of parallel red lines showing the alignment of the lugged dropouts on each side. The left good eyelet is in line with the dropout and fork. On the right dropout you can see that the upper eyelet and entire dropout is slightly twisted in to the bike center. Over the length of the front rack, this slight angle offsets the mounting of a rack to the left 5-10mm.

VO is claiming it could be my rack and that you can't tell from the picture whether it is the fork or some other issue. They are suggesting to just bend my (new, expensive) Tubus rack or use washers (rather than sending me a replacement fork). How do others deal with these kinds of defects when building up a frame? Should VO remedy this or do I try and make it work and live with it? Functionally I think it will work, although I am concerned the right eyelet may eventually strip because there is a bit of twisting pressure on it that would be worse under load. Otherwise, aesthetically I'd have to look at an off center rack while riding miles on end.

How would you get it to mount straight short of a replacement fork?



If you need to download or view the full version of the pic, click the picture above or here's a link: https://www.flickr.com/gp/erinandshady/4cib4w

Last edited by emailsfh; 05-17-16 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 05-17-16, 03:37 PM
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By the way, here's my whole build thread: http://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/...ry-getter.html

Everything else has gone relatively well (despite the fact that I'm still not sure whether I should have gone a size up on the frame). I took it for its first commute to work today and it rides nicely.
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Old 05-17-16, 03:42 PM
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It's impossible to see if the rack is crooked in that photo due to parallax. Re-shoot with the camera directly over the centerline of the wheel.

But really, if the fork is defective you should replace it.
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Old 05-17-16, 03:53 PM
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There's a fairly simple tool to check fork alignment. Then you just use the tool as a lever to bend the fork into submission. I have one. Somebody in your area should have one too.
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Old 05-17-16, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by AnkleWork View Post
It's impossible to see if the rack is crooked in that photo due to parallax. Re-shoot with the camera directly over the centerline of the wheel.

But really, if the fork is defective you should replace it.
Hmm, that picture is almost dead centerline. Also, be sure to view the full version and zoom in. I have some other Flickr photos I'll post below also. I'm 99% sure it is the fork because everything points in that direction as far as the angles things are off and how my rack is mounted as a result (you can see at the front of the wheel the offset of the rack to one side).

I can't replace it unless VO helps me with that (trying now). More pics (probably not as centered as the first):



Last edited by emailsfh; 05-17-16 at 04:07 PM.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
There's a fairly simple tool to check fork alignment. Then you just use the tool as a lever to bend the fork into submission. I have one. Somebody in your area should have one too.
I'm pretty sure that such a tool was already used as the actual dropout allows my wheel to mount centered in the fork. But the right lugged dropout as a whole with corresponding eyelets is still welded off center a bit (only the dropout portion was corrected I think?).

Who would have such a tool? Bike shops or framebuilders? And will it really help me if the dropout has already been brought into compliance, but the eyelets are still off?
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Old 05-17-16, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by emailsfh View Post
...VO is claiming it could be my rack and that you can't tell from the picture whether it is the fork or some other issue. They are suggesting to just bend my (new, expensive) Tubus rack or use washers (rather than sending me a replacement fork). How do others deal with these kinds of defects when building up a frame? Should VO remedy this or do I try and make it work and live with it? Functionally I think it will work, although I am concerned the right eyelet may eventually strip because there is a bit of twisting pressure on it that would be worse under load. Otherwise, aesthetically I'd have to look at an off center rack while riding miles on end...
It's hard to tell from the pics.

Sounds like you may have to fight VO a bit to get a replacement fork.

You could bend the rack to fit - steel and even Al racks can be bent somewhat to improve fitment.

I'd be more concerned what a misaligned fork might due to handling/safety. If the dropouts are misaligned, won't the axle not fit perfectly? Will this cause axle to bend slightly when skewer is clamped? Will this in turn cause increased friction and early bearing/cup/cone/hub/wheel failure?

I don't like like things crooked either.

If you haven't damaged the fork (steerer cut), VO should be willing to swap you a fork. I would think they would not want their reputation tarnished on a public bicycle touring forum over something as financially inconsequential as a ~$100 fork.

Even the best Taiwanese frame builders make mistakes. Maxway screwed up a batch of Surly LHTs back in ~2006-7. The red powdercoat was not right at all, it would rub off easily if you tried polishing the frame. This was likely the powdercoat supplier's fault, not Maxways. A phone call to Surly got me a replacement fork years afterwards, after I bought a bad fork off eBay. eBay is notorious for this, sellers moving defective and potentially dangerous product because you cannot inspect it before buying. I got a Thompson X2 stem once that looked like new in the HD eBay pics, except for the obvious hairline crack going 80% through the clamp area. Seller must have been nuts thinking no one would notice it - I got my money back.

You're not going to be happy until you get a second fork, if for no other reason than to evaluate fitment and your impression of the "defective" fork. IMO, VO should make this right - you shouldn't have to pay for alignment checks and corrections at the LBS to fix their defective product.

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Old 05-17-16, 04:17 PM
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In that first picture you posted, it looked like the fender was off center not the wheel. Notice how close the left side of the fender is to the tire compared to the right side? The wheel looks nicely centered.
The forks are put together in a jig then soldered/ brazed up so everything is nice and square. I can see just a little inward offset on the right drop out and I doubt this should be an issue, it is just where the drop out settled in before being soldered/ brazed together.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by seeker333 View Post
Sounds like you may have to fight VO a bit to get a replacement fork....

I'd be more concerned what a misaligned fork might due to handling/safety. If the dropouts are misaligned, won't the axle not fit perfectly? Will this cause axle to bend slightly when skewer is clamped? Will this in turn cause increased friction and early bearing/cup/cone/hub/wheel failure?

I don't like like things crooked either.
Thanks for the solidarity. I'm working with VO. Their first response was "The rack may be the issue in not being straight, not the fork. You can give the rack a twist or pop a washer under the opposite eyelet to move it over a hair to make it center."

Going to keep pushing with them.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by 2 Piece View Post
In that first picture you posted, it looked like the fender was off center not the wheel. Notice how close the left side of the fender is to the tire compared to the right side? The wheel looks nicely centered.
The forks are put together in a jig then soldered/ brazed up so everything is nice and square. I can see just a little inward offset on the right drop out and I doubt this should be an issue, it is just where the drop out settled in before being soldered/ brazed together.
The fender is a different issue, don't worry about that. And it was never the wheel that was the issue. It is the front rack position. The wheel is actually quite centered in the fork, but the eyelets are angled in as you rightly saw, and that causes the entire rack to be off to the left side.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:23 PM
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Originally Posted by emailsfh View Post
Thanks for the solidarity. I'm working with VO. Their first response was "The rack may be the issue in not being straight, not the fork. You can give the rack a twist or pop a washer under the opposite eyelet to move it over a hair to make it center."

Going to keep pushing with them.
Well, yes, I could align the rack in 30 seconds with a few pushes and pulls and be happy if that was the only issue.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:23 PM
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I have an AWOL with the same issue, only the fork was sent as a free replacement for one destroyed by a foreign object in the wheel. I tried to live with it but ended up purchasing a new one as I didn't feel right looking a gift horse in the mouth. If it were on a new purchase I wouldn't hesitate to demand a replacement.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:30 PM
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I can't believe you're having an issue with the manufacturer. The right dropout is clearly and visibly bent. I would not put my weight on that bike for a second with that defective fork. And I wouldn't put my wheel in that fork.

If you can't get satisfaction from the mfr, find a shop with this tool and get it straightened right.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
I have an AWOL with the same issue, only the fork was sent as a free replacement for one destroyed by a foreign object in the wheel. I tried to live with it but ended up purchasing a new one as I didn't feel right looking a gift horse in the mouth. If it were on a new purchase I wouldn't hesitate to demand a replacement.
Did you try to get them to replace the defective replacement or just pony up for a new one?
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Old 05-17-16, 04:39 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
I can't believe you're having an issue with the manufacturer. The right dropout is clearly and visibly bent. I would not put my weight on that bike for a second with that defective fork. And I wouldn't put my wheel in that fork.

If you can't get satisfaction from the mfr, find a shop with this tool and get it straightened right.
Wouldn't that tool just straighten the dropout portion where the wheel mounts, but not necessarily bring the whole lug into alignment? I'm pretty sure that the two eyelets will not be fixed. In fact, as I said further up the thread, I'm pretty sure a tool like this might already have been used since the wheel seems pretty straight in the fork, though I might need to check that out more closely now that I think about it.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by emailsfh View Post
Wouldn't that tool just straighten the dropout portion where the wheel mounts, but not necessarily bring the whole lug into alignment? I'm pretty sure that the two eyelets will not be fixed. In fact, as I said further up the thread, I'm pretty sure a tool like this might already have been used since the wheel seems pretty straight in the fork, though I might need to check that out more closely now that I think about it.
If the tool was used before the photo was taken, it certainly did not fix the issue. From the photo, especially the first one blown up in the link, it's not even close.

The tool is only as good as the person using it. A good frame person should be able to easily straighten the eyelet and align it with the other eyelet. And frankly, the eyelet issue is minor compared to the safety of the wheel sitting in the fork. But it shouldn't even come to that--the mfr should replace it for you. Good luck.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus View Post
If the tool was used before the photo was taken, it certainly did not fix the issue. From the photo, especially the first one blown up in the link, it's not even close.

The tool is only as good as the person using it. A good frame person should be able to easily straighten the eyelet and align it with the other eyelet. And frankly, the eyelet issue is minor compared to the safety of the wheel sitting in the fork. But it shouldn't even come to that--the mfr should replace it for you. Good luck.
Thanks. I'm relieved that at least you can see what I'm talking about clearly. Is this a common "bike shop" kind of repair or who would only a framebuilder have this tool? I'm going to take the wheel off and try to get better pictures from different angles and continue taking it up with VO before I go that route. Will post up any interesting pics here.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:15 PM
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I don't spend much time in bike shops, but I have seen that tool in at least two shops in the last ten years. I think it's a fairly common tool for repair, not so much frame building. I don't think everyone has it.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by emailsfh View Post
Thanks. I'm relieved that at least you can see what I'm talking about clearly. Is this a common "bike shop" kind of repair or who would only a framebuilder have this tool? I'm going to take the wheel off and try to get better pictures from different angles and continue taking it up with VO before I go that route. Will post up any interesting pics here.
I would suggest that you remove the rack and anything else which would complicate/clutter the photos or their interpretation. Stand the bike vertical and point the wheel straight ahead. Maybe including a straightedge or ruler showing the lack of parallelism would also help to make the issue clearer. Also, getting farther away and zooming in will result in less perspective distortion than a closeup shot.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by emailsfh View Post
Did you try to get them to replace the defective replacement or just pony up for a new one?
I purchased a new one but only because Specialized gave me the wonky fork for free as a "warranty replacement" for a fork I destroyed, severely bent, due to a foreign object into my wheel. I just didn't feel right asking for them to replace for free something they gave me as a replacement for a fork I destroyed. Had I paid for the fork I would have demanded a replacement and had the fork I paid for had the same issue I would have rejected it.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:26 PM
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Bending your rack is not the correct solution.

If the dropouts are as screwy as they look, the crooked rack is the smallest problem. Bent dropouts cause bearings to wear out and axles to break.

It's possible it's shipping damage. Fork dropouts are somewhat vulnerable to getting bent in transit. If it's shipping damage, any decent bike shop could straighten that for you for a fee, but they shouldn't have to IMO. If it's a manufacturing defect due to sloppy alignment etc, it may not be fixable. Normally this doesn't happen because the ends are held in a jig when they are brazed in, but someone could have gotten sloppy.

What it comes down to is that it's either 1) shipping damage or 2) defective workmanship. Either way, VO should not be telling you to 'fix it' by adding a spacer to your rack.

I was a professional mechanic for 12 years.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
I would suggest that you remove the rack and anything else which would complicate/clutter the photos or their interpretation. Stand the bike vertical and point the wheel straight ahead. Maybe including a straightedge or ruler showing the lack of parallelism would also help to make the issue clearer. Also, getting farther away and zooming in will result in less perspective distortion than a closeup shot.
+1 This.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:48 PM
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Seems others have had similar issues. After I confirm whether my dropouts are indeed parallel, I may just do something like this: http://www.bikeforums.net/touring/65...l#post11058919
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Old 05-17-16, 05:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Bending your rack is not the correct solution.

If the dropouts are as screwy as they look, the crooked rack is the smallest problem. Bent dropouts cause bearings to wear out and axles to break.

It's possible it's shipping damage. Fork dropouts are somewhat vulnerable to getting bent in transit. If it's shipping damage, any decent bike shop could straighten that for you for a fee, but they shouldn't have to IMO. If it's a manufacturing defect due to sloppy alignment etc, it may not be fixable. Normally this doesn't happen because the ends are held in a jig when they are brazed in, but someone could have gotten sloppy.

What it comes down to is that it's either 1) shipping damage or 2) defective workmanship. Either way, VO should not be telling you to 'fix it' by adding a spacer to your rack.

I was a professional mechanic for 12 years.
Originally Posted by dsbrantjr View Post
I would suggest that you remove the rack and anything else which would complicate/clutter the photos or their interpretation. Stand the bike vertical and point the wheel straight ahead. Maybe including a straightedge or ruler showing the lack of parallelism would also help to make the issue clearer. Also, getting farther away and zooming in will result in less perspective distortion than a closeup shot.
Thanks for this. I'd say it was very well packed (frameset came in with fork uninstalled, so I doubt it would have tweaked loose in the box).

I will hopefully get around to taking clearer pictures Thursday morning sometime when I can be home during daylight and get the bike on a stand with a better camera than my iPhone.
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Old 05-17-16, 07:09 PM
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Boy there's a lot of assumptions and poor suggestions going on in this thread. But some good nuggets too.

Forks and racks can both be poorly built/symmetrical/aligned. Both are likely jigged up when joined/brazed/welded. But people place parts in jigs a bit off sometimes. Sometimes the jig is a bit off. Sometimes all is right but the joining process warps things a bit.

So what's important here is to start with the base and confirm it's condition first. The fork. Any competent builder or better wrench can check the fork alignment. Simple and a must before claiming defects or warranties. And often very correctable if actually present. Using photos to show small amounts of offness is a poor replacement for a surface plate and proper alignment tooling (or the experience to use a good wheel and a steerer sighting tool with straight edges). A fork can be in proper steering alignment and have non parallel drop outs. Drop out aligning tools are only able to directly correct one minor aspect of fork issues (and if you don't understand this stay away from making broad claims).

Only after determining the fork's status can the rack be dealt with. We see many racks that are not straight when mounted. Straight racks are not a safety or performance problem 99.9% of the time. Simple during mounting aligning is all most ever need to become straight.

If I were the fork's manufacturer I would want to have the fork in hand before any judgments were made. Andy.
Andrew R Stewart is offline  

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