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No longer inspecting frames for crash damage

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

No longer inspecting frames for crash damage

Old 05-29-19, 06:44 PM
  #1  
TiHabanero
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No longer inspecting frames for crash damage

Our shop is no longer inspecting frames for crash damage. It started with a carbon frame that harbored a crack for 3 months and then it catastrophically failed in the down tube. We never experienced that before with aluminum or steel frames, so now we simply decline crash damage inspections for all frames. We tell them to contact the manufacturer or if it is one of ours we will contact the maker for them.
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Old 05-29-19, 06:55 PM
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carlos danger
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And you are proud of this?

of course you should inspect frames. and charge the customer accordingly.

Sure you can only do a visual inpection, but you should still do it. Because if the "customer" comes to you he is even more clueless than you are.

And he is the person you make your money from!! so do you want to alienate your money stream?
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Old 05-29-19, 07:15 PM
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Makes perfect sense in today's world. You can't know if the frame is OK so why risk a guess?
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Old 05-29-19, 07:27 PM
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What is the name of the shop?
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Old 05-29-19, 07:33 PM
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Inspecting frames is a liability issue. So unless you can do a "professional" examination, you're better off leaving it to others.

When I damaged my carbon frame I asked 3 different shops and all 3 gave me their "unprofessional" opinion and of course, nothing in writing.
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Old 05-29-19, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Our shop is no longer inspecting frames for crash damage. It started with a carbon frame that harbored a crack for 3 months and then it catastrophically failed in the down tube. We never experienced that before with aluminum or steel frames, so now we simply decline crash damage inspections for all frames. We tell them to contact the manufacturer or if it is one of ours we will contact the maker for them.
If they contact the manufacturer, I assume they will in turn tell the customer to deal with the shop where it was purchased.

I assume at that point the customers only recourse is to have that shop disassemble the bike and return to the manufacturer for inspection. If it passes, it gets sent back to be reassembled. $200 all told ?. Or gets sent back for the customers choice to use/discard/fix. Or maybe a biggie like Trek pulls a “if you send to us for inspection and it fails, we destroy the frame” policy. A CYA policy.

In truth and short of ultrasound or CAT scan, X-Ray, etc.... it’s a bit of a crapshoot for a shop to inspect a carbon frame and declare it to be sound, when in reality you can’t tell what’s really going on under the paint.
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Old 05-29-19, 07:49 PM
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carlos danger
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Now when thinking about it TiHabanero I think you should simply destroy all the frames/bikes on the spot that the owner wants tested. better safe than sorry right.
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Old 05-29-19, 08:00 PM
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Seems reasonable. You'd need diagnostic imaging equipment to properly inspect a carbon fiber frame.
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Old 05-29-19, 08:06 PM
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Steve B.
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Originally Posted by carlos danger View Post
Now when thinking about it TiHabanero I think you should simply destroy all the frames/bikes on the spot that the owner wants tested. better safe than sorry right.
Let’s think about that a bit.

How exactly does the LBS inspect a carbon frame ?.

Customer A comes in and says “I had a small accident and want to know if the frame is OK to ride ?”. I assume the shop might completely clean the frame so as to better be able to look at the frame in detail. They spot no obvious cracks or deformities, do the nickel tap, still looks OK, so they tell the customer the frame seems to be OK, but to CYA state “to the best of our ability”, with, and as Oldnsw stated with nothing in writing. Maybe the shop calls manufacturer Z who trusts the shop based on prior experience. Don’t know if that happens, Tihabanaro could chime in on that.

200 miles later the fork fails and the customer correctly or not, blames the shop.

I think in in this scenario and if I owned an LBS I’d tell the customer that only the manufacturer can accurately determine if the frame is OK.

Makes sense ?. Blame our litigious society, not the shop who cannot afford a lawsuit.
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Old 05-29-19, 08:22 PM
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carlos danger
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Let’s think about that a bit.

How exactly does the LBS inspect a carbon frame ?.
the 4lb hammer test??

-------------

to be honest this is just another reason to avoid carbon like the F-ing plague (that it is).

steel is real.

customer comes in wondering if the steel frame is cracked?? well do you see a crack?? no? well then its not cracked. good day sir!
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Old 05-29-19, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by carlos danger View Post
the 4lb hammer test??

-------------

to be honest this is just another reason to avoid carbon like the F-ing plague (that it is).

steel is real.

customer comes in wondering if the steel frame is cracked?? well do you see a crack?? no? well then its not cracked. good day sir!
Complete BS. Not unheard of for steel to develop rust under the paint, not unheard of for that same frame to suddenly fail. Same with aluminum. Maybe the only materials that avoids hidden issues is unpainted titanium or aluminum.
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Old 05-29-19, 09:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Let’s think about that a bit.

How exactly does the LBS inspect a carbon frame ?.

Customer A comes in and says “I had a small accident and want to know if the frame is OK to ride ?”. I assume the shop might completely clean the frame so as to better be able to look at the frame in detail. They spot no obvious cracks or deformities, do the nickel tap, still looks OK, so they tell the customer the frame seems to be OK, but to CYA state “to the best of our ability”, with, and as Oldnsw stated with nothing in writing. Maybe the shop calls manufacturer Z who trusts the shop based on prior experience. Don’t know if that happens, Tihabanaro could chime in on that.

200 miles later the fork fails and the customer correctly or not, blames the shop.

I think in in this scenario and if I owned an LBS I’d tell the customer that only the manufacturer can accurately determine if the frame is OK.

Makes sense ?. Blame our litigious society, not the shop who cannot afford a lawsuit.
Bingo. Last guy that touched it is to blame unfortunately. Not always rightly but in the mind of the customer, the guy that touched it last must have broken it/missed something etc. In the car electronics world, we like to call this "The Ever Since Club" IE Ever since you put my new radio in, my tires are flat. I know if I was one of these shops I wouldn't want someone coming back to me because their carbon frame failed catastrophically going 30mph and now they have brain damage because of it.
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Old 05-29-19, 09:12 PM
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The way to approach this is to get an ultrasound machine at the shop, charge 150.00.

Have the customer sign a document stating "this shop is capable of finding most types of damage to carbon fiber frames but they cannot guarantee that there is no "hidden" damage to an inspected frame. They can determine certain types of frame damage and upon detecting that type of damage will let the customer know that a frame is unsafe to ride. The shop cannot be held liable for damage to a frame that is undetected."

Have a lawyer do the word smithing.
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Old 05-29-19, 10:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Wilmingtech View Post
The way to approach this is to get an ultrasound machine at the shop, charge 150.00.

Have the customer sign a document stating "this shop is capable of finding most types of damage to carbon fiber frames but they cannot guarantee that there is no "hidden" damage to an inspected frame. They can determine certain types of frame damage and upon detecting that type of damage will let the customer know that a frame is unsafe to ride. The shop cannot be held liable for damage to a frame that is undetected."

Have a lawyer do the word smithing.
You could just use that last sentence and skip buying the ultra sound machine. You’d still be sued.
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Old 05-29-19, 10:08 PM
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That's what we did at the shop I worked at.

If you brought in a carbon frame with perceived carbon damaged we partnered with an area carbon repair shop and gave the customer a few options:

1.) If you bought the frame from us we'd strip it down and prepare it for shipping free of charge, we'd also build it back up after the repair / clean bill of health.
2.) Otherwise we'd charge our normal fee, if the bike was not purchased from us.

But we absolutely would not perform the service on-site. I don't recall what specific documents were signed, but I know there was more than one (I worked in sales, this was a service department offering). In my 3+ years at the shop, maybe two people took us up on the offer. All the others just paid for a whole frame replacement. In at least 5 of those cases (that I specifically remember) the frame had obvious, catastrophic carbon damage.
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Old 05-29-19, 10:21 PM
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Originally Posted by carlos danger View Post
Now when thinking about it TiHabanero I think you should simply destroy all the frames/bikes on the spot that the owner wants tested. better safe than sorry right.
They should just flip a coin. Heads they tell the customer to ride it, tails they say no way
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Old 05-29-19, 10:30 PM
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But how many undamaged frames would fail an ultra sound test?
Manufacturing flaws, defects, voids etc.
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Old 05-29-19, 10:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dean V View Post
But how many undamaged frames would fail an ultra sound test?
Manufacturing flaws, defects, voids etc.
Thats where the money is. Out of warranty frames with manufacturing flaws. Let me show you the frames we do have. These Giants over here come with a 2 year no questions asked warranty...
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Old 05-30-19, 01:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
You could just use that last sentence and skip buying the ultra sound machine. You’d still be sued.
Yeah. Its not about "winning" the lawsuit. Its about not getting sued in the first place.
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Old 05-30-19, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve B. View Post
Complete BS. Not unheard of for steel to develop rust under the paint, not unheard of for that same frame to suddenly fail.
+1. My old Trek 660 developed a rust crack in the head tube so I relegated it to the trainer. During one workout the drive side chain stay snapped completely through, also due to corrosion. Glad it didn't happen while I was on the road.
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Old 05-30-19, 07:17 AM
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If I owned a shop and someone wanted a carbon bike inspected and given a clean bill of health, I would send it out for a professional analysis. If a shop says that it is okay and there is a catastrophic failure, then the shop can be held to some degree of liability. If a lawsuit would follow, the shop would end up with attorney fees and if they lose the judgement, likely the shop.

There is a thread up in A&S of a similar nature.
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Old 05-30-19, 07:21 AM
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I don't blame your shop for its decision. It is a wise one. If I had a shop that would be my policy too.

The good news is that BF members can still post a thread with pics of their CF damage (or the details of the crash if potential damage is hidden) to get the "safe to ride" A-ok.
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Old 05-30-19, 11:49 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
The good news is that BF members can still post a thread with pics of their CF damage (or the details of the crash if potential damage is hidden) to get the "safe to ride" A-ok.
You forgot the eyeroll.

Trusting strangers on the interweb to tell you if a bike frame is safe is_______

You can fill in the word.
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Old 05-30-19, 11:58 AM
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There's nothing really newsworthy here. Most shops in my area refer people to a CF repair shop for analysis.
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Old 05-30-19, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by oldnslow2 View Post
You forgot the eyeroll.

Trusting strangers on the interweb to tell you if a bike frame is safe is_______

You can fill in the word.
The word I would choose would be censored.
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