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Cracked Fork Crown?

Old 04-25-21, 06:58 PM
  #1  
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Cracked Fork Crown?

Hi everyone would love your thoughts on this, I am considering a new purchase but the cracked chrome (or worse) on the fork crown has me concerned (no damage anywhere on the frame). Do you this we have a complete crack or just cracked chrome? Thanks!




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Old 04-25-21, 07:17 PM
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That appears to me as being failing clear coat- when confronted so, I have chipped it off
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Old 04-25-21, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
That appears to me as being failing clear coat
I'd say so also. Nothing to worry about.
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Old 04-25-21, 10:03 PM
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That looks very unusual to me. Pull the front wheel and observe the apparent crack area as you squeeze the drops of the fork blades together with your hand. If the apparent crack changes in appearance, even a little bit - be concerned.

Also, I would like to see what the other side looks like. I would also like to see pictures of the front, back and underside of each side. That might help me to make a more informed decision.

Personally, I would want to remove the chrome to be absolutely sure that the crack is not structural. A failed fork could result in serious damage to the rider.
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Old 04-25-21, 10:10 PM
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Thanks for feedback. Here are some additional photos. They are not too great but will definitely squeeze the fork blades (great idea and never occurred to me) when I see the bike again.

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Old 04-26-21, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
That appears to me as being failing clear coat- when confronted so, I have chipped it off
If so, most people will be able to easily tell with a fingernail; the clear-coat will be a step, much like finding the end of the cellophane tape.

Though why it has chipped so would be worth investigating.
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Old 04-26-21, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
That appears to me as being failing clear coat- when confronted so, I have chipped it off
I do believe Mr. repechage has nailed it again. If you look at the second set of photos you can see the same peeling clear coat on the fork legs.
Brent
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Old 04-26-21, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
That appears to me as being failing clear coat- when confronted so, I have chipped it off
I wouldn’t be so sure to blame paint. A closer look at the picture shows something looking like a crack running down the front of the fork. Squeezing the fork like randyjawa suggested would be the most prudent course of action. A pick could also show if it were just flaking paint or cracked metal.
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Old 04-26-21, 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
I wouldn’t be so sure to blame paint. A closer look at the picture shows something looking like a crack running down the front of the fork. Squeezing the fork like randyjawa suggested would be the most prudent course of action. A pick could also show if it were just flaking paint or cracked metal.
peeling lifting clear coat left unattended
chip it off and even with a razor blade or scalpel ( my choice - Swan-Morton )
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Old 04-26-21, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
peeling lifting clear coat left unattended
chip it off and even with a razor blade or scalpel ( my choice - Swan-Morton )
So you’ve said. I disagree. There are examples of other clear coat peals on the fork and they don’t appear nearly as thick.
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Old 04-26-21, 06:33 PM
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If you're not sure, pass. There are other fish in the sea.
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Old 04-26-21, 06:36 PM
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Dang! It's a San Rensho! You really want this to be "a happy ending", hope it's nothing structural. There sure seems to be evidence of some discoloration/patterning to the chrome near that jagged line. So I'm a little bit hopeful.
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Old 04-26-21, 06:47 PM
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I'm with cyccommute on this one. At what point do you put a clear coat on top of chrome? My understanding of chrome is that it is a series of layers ending up with a nickel and then the chrome over it which is a clear coating. I suspect you can have cracking of the chrome plating but it would only be from some sort of flexing, like a sideways crash. I would think that you could do an X-ray on it to find out but it wouldn't be worth the cost or the time riding on the fork. My dental work cost a bunch of $ and that thing says "Death Fork" to me. Smiles, MH
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Old 04-26-21, 07:23 PM
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There's also a sunburst of cracks in the clear where the brake bolt installs. I can't believe anyone still insists that there's a possibility of an actual fork crown crack.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
So you’ve said. I disagree. There are examples of other clear coat peals on the fork and they don’t appear nearly as thick.
They also are shielded a lot more from the ever-so-slight drizzle of grease gradually oozing out of the headset, and the brake dust from the front pads. Add those two together and the edge of the paint starts to build up grime at the end.

Also, if the fork was painted vertically, the crown would be more likely to pool a thicker coat of clear than the blades.

Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
I'm with cyccommute on this one. At what point do you put a clear coat on top of chrome?
That point is when you are Motobecane. Finding out that they typically clearcoated over their chrome ends ruined all the excitement I had for them when I got my hands on a Grand Jubilee. Just couldn't accept it.

-Kurt
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Old 04-27-21, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
I'm with cyccommute on this one. At what point do you put a clear coat on top of chrome? My understanding of chrome is that it is a series of layers ending up with a nickel and then the chrome over it which is a clear coating. I suspect you can have cracking of the chrome plating but it would only be from some sort of flexing, like a sideways crash.
Plating has a large number of variables, some of which affect the colour of the finished item. Most people (anomolous trichromats possibly excepted) can easily tell a plain nickel-plated item from a chrome-over-nickel one, but after that the colour that the chromium layer gives can vary widely. Of course, the thinner it is the closer to "clear" it will be, but obviously completely clear would mean zero thickness.

Chromium plating does crack, to the point that some platings are deliberately micro-cracked to distribute the inevitable crack-induced wear more evenly. In the cycle world I see it most often on dropout faces and the races of cheap headsets, places where the underlying steel has elastically (one hopes) deformed more than the chrome layer will stand. And of course any place where rust has got under.

I have no problem with clear-coat over chromium plating. (Clear powder coating excepted, due to the relative difficulty of getting the stuff off.) It's going to crack eventually somewhere enough that rust *will* get in, an additional layer or protection is a good thing. And if it's a good job, it is essentially invisible.
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Old 04-27-21, 04:59 AM
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Take it to a automotive machine shop and see if they would magnaflux it.
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Old 04-27-21, 06:02 AM
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Clear-coat has often been used to protect the finish on chrome.....many bikes have it on their "socks". Older frames often have the appearance of dull chrome on them because of the clear deteriorating/aging. I have never had a problem removing the clear.....paint stripper and a wipe then a rinse is all that is typically necessary...no steel or brass wool ever, the chrome will be shiny after that.

Regarding the crack, if it is the clear, I would get some paint stripper and apply it to that small area and remove the "clear", if the edge disappears all is good, and no crack....if not then I would use an Exacto blade with the tip pointed down without scraping to see if the tip will go into the edge (hard to explain, but you get the idea), scraping will always give the feeling that there is a crack if the surrounding clear is not removed because of the edge, etc.

Seems suspicious to me because the edges are sharp/jagged unlike the ones on the blades, but stranger things have happened... hopefully, it's only clear.

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Old 04-27-21, 06:45 AM
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@joluja, any updates?

Looking forward to finding out that it's cracked clearcoat...

-Kurt
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Old 04-27-21, 09:04 AM
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Thanks for everyone’s thoughts/suggestions. I am going to see it again this weekend and will update with my findings.
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Old 04-27-21, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
There's also a sunburst of cracks in the clear where the brake bolt installs. I can't believe anyone still insists that there's a possibility of an actual fork crown crack.
You mean these




Those match the spacer on the brake and can be seen in this picture.



Frankly, I can’t believe that someone who has not physically inspected the fork can positively rule out a crack. It may not be cracked but further inspection is required. At the very least, probing the area with a pick or Exacto knife to see if it is paint and can be removed would be prudent.
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Old 04-27-21, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Mad Honk View Post
I'm with cyccommute on this one. At what point do you put a clear coat on top of chrome? My understanding of chrome is that it is a series of layers ending up with a nickel and then the chrome over it which is a clear coating. I suspect you can have cracking of the chrome plating but it would only be from some sort of flexing, like a sideways crash. I would think that you could do an X-ray on it to find out but it wouldn't be worth the cost or the time riding on the fork. My dental work cost a bunch of $ and that thing says "Death Fork" to me. Smiles, MH
Colnago did, Masi did, Mondia did, plenty of others. Why? Some protection and most important, Faster, less effort, think production.
the issues come years later.
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Old 04-27-21, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You mean these
No, these - the cracks caused by the spacer biting into what's obviously thick clearcoat. The cracks have similar visual attributes to the large crack in question.



Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Frankly, I can’t believe that someone who has not physically inspected the fork can positively rule out a crack. It may not be cracked but further inspection is required. At the very least, probing the area with a pick or Exacto knife to see if it is paint and can be removed would be prudent.
I'm still convinced it's not a crack, but I fully agree with you on this point. Eliminate all ambiguity.

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Old 04-27-21, 03:30 PM
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There seems to be a difference in the level of luster on the side of the "crack" between the line and the crown race vs between the line and the fork leg. The upper part looks a little shinier, which at least suggests it's the clear coat. My '74 Campania is a Japanese frame that was most likely produced by either Kawamura or Fuji, and the extensive chrome (front and rear socks, lugs, mid section on down tube and seat tube) was completely covered in clear, which I removed with a razor blade.

If it were an ebay sight unseen purchase, I would leave it with "buyer beware," but since you're seeing it again this weekend, there is no reason not to physically inspect it, and I agree with others that physical inspection is essential in this case. It's no minor crack if it's a crack, but there is good reason to believe it's not a crack.

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Old 04-27-21, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by noobinsf View Post
The upper part looks a little shinier, which at least suggests it's the clear coat.
I would have expected the paint to attract more particles between the surface, resulting in the pure chrome coming off shinier than the clear.

Not that it matters, just testing my own theory if the OP gets the bike

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Old 04-27-21, 04:26 PM
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Clear coat edge check. A Q-tip dipped in acetone and gently rubbed at the "edge" on a tiny spot. If the clear gets erased at this spot, then its good. If there is a crack, some hairs from the swab will get "torn" off when the acetone evaporates within 10 seconds or so.

Or you can do what I do sometimes..................bring a loupe!

ETA- In real life, it's very obvious with the naked eye (or with readers ) to see clear coat demarcation lines actually, granted you know what you are looking for.

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