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Steel fork dropouts damaged in shipping - can I pry it back?

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Steel fork dropouts damaged in shipping - can I pry it back?

Old 04-26-22, 11:21 AM
  #1  
dirtchurch
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Steel fork dropouts damaged in shipping - can I pry it back?

I recently had my Gunnar Sport steel bike shipped. It seems like one of the front fork dropouts was damaged in transit, sadly. I cannot fit the front wheel skewer into the dropout.

But before I file a claim with FedEx, I want to see if it can be wrenched/pried back in place. It's a steel fork, so my sense is yes - but how?

Here are pictures. I don't have a wrench small enough to fit inside that gap, grip and twist. Any creative ideas how I could use a wrench or other tool to move this back to its original position? I'm worried that it'll be out of alignment if I don't do it properly.


EDIT: BikeForums won't let me post pictures until I have 10 posts or more. Is there any other way to upload photos?
<removed>
Bent dropout pic #1

<removed>
Bent dropout pic #2
<removed>
Unbent dropout on other side of fork
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Old 04-26-22, 12:29 PM
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The frame should have been shipped with dummy axles in the dropouts. Did they?
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Old 04-26-22, 02:08 PM
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If you can get adequately compensated for the bike or fork with the insurance money then you probably should file it and get a new fork.

If this is a new bike, what do the people you bought the bike from say. I doubt the manufacturer would want to say that fork is okay if it is bent.

If used bike, then you are at the mercy of the rock and hard place you might be between.


You can't post pics or hyperlinks in your posts yet till you have 10 post and maybe a day.

However you can post your pics on imgur.com or similar place and just write the sharing URL to the pics in your post. Delete the https:// and maybe put a space on either side of any . in the URL. Don't use the link tools or file manager in the editor. There is also a gallery on BF you can upload to and just let us know they are there. Though sometimes those too take a while for us to see.

Last edited by Iride01; 04-26-22 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 04-26-22, 02:15 PM
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Oh, I see you did upload to BF....


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Old 04-26-22, 03:12 PM
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Might send the picture to Gunnar and ask them. They may be able to recommend someone local. 40 years ago a friend did that to his Motobecane. I’d still ask Gunnar. My friend did wreck his bike pulling up the front end over a pot hole and the front wheel with loose QR came off. He did not Sue but we still got lawyer tabs.

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Old 04-26-22, 03:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
The frame should have been shipped with dummy axles in the dropouts. Did they?
Unclear from the OP who packed and shipped the bike.

Drafting tip: The passive voice is often weak.
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Old 04-26-22, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Unclear from the OP who packed and shipped the bike.

Drafting tip: The passive voice is often weak.
It was a quick-and-dirty post. Are you commenting on my inconsistent references to the shipper?
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Last edited by ThermionicScott; 04-26-22 at 04:47 PM. Reason: grammar is hard
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Old 04-26-22, 04:12 PM
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There is a fork drop out alignment tool.
Not sure all shops will have one. The shop I work at doesn't. The previous shop I worked at did, but this shop repaired, sold and built far more high end bikes than my current shop.
If you are stuck with it look for a shop with the alignment tool or perhaps send it to a repair facility with the proper tools to align the fork tips.
Steel is so forgiving. It can usually be manipulated more drastically and often than other metals.
Good luck and keep us informed.
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Old 04-26-22, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
It was a quick-and-dirty post. Are you commented on my inconsistent references to the shipper?
I was “commented” on the OPs choice of phrasing. “I recently had my…[bike] shipped….” Who packed and shipped it could be key.
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Old 04-26-22, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
I was “commented” on the OPs choice of phrasing. “I recently had my…[bike] shipped….” Who packed and shipped it could be key.
Derp, gotcha.
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Old 04-26-22, 06:35 PM
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I think that's a bonafide advantage of steel, can modify the frame in all manner of ways through sheer brute force... i believe though that in general a pro should be entrusted with the task, for saftey's sake... unless u know what ur doing ofc
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Old 04-27-22, 04:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Oh, I see you did upload to BF....


I’ve carefully opened bent dropouts before but this one looks so bent that I wouldn’t personally attempt it, particularly on a fork. Might be worth seeing what a frame builder/repairer thinks though.
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Old 04-27-22, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by dirtchurch View Post
I recently had my Gunnar Sport steel bike shipped. It seems like one of the front fork dropouts was damaged in transit, sadly. I cannot fit the front wheel skewer into the dropout.

But before I file a claim with FedEx, I want to see if it can be wrenched/pried back in place. It's a steel fork, so my sense is yes - but how?

Here are pictures. I don't have a wrench small enough to fit inside that gap, grip and twist. Any creative ideas how I could use a wrench or other tool to move this back to its original position? I'm worried that it'll be out of alignment if I don't do it properly.


EDIT: BikeForums won't let me post pictures until I have 10 posts or more. Is there any other way to upload photos?
<removed>
Bent dropout pic #1

<removed>
Bent dropout pic #2
<removed>
Unbent dropout on other side of fork
First, I'd ask the shop that sold it to you and/or the product manufacturer before doing anything rather than asking bikeforums members, that's for sure.

Secondly, I'd return them and ask for a replacement.
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Old 04-27-22, 06:06 AM
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Given the nature of the damage, I’m wondering if the frame itself is bent, too. I would strip it down and send the whole thing back to Waterford/Gunnar for evaluation and repair.
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Old 04-27-22, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator View Post
First, I'd ask the shop that sold it to you and/or the product manufacturer before doing anything rather than asking bikeforums members, that's for sure.

Secondly, I'd return them and ask for a replacement.
It's worth noting that the OP didn't mention anything about buying the bike new/from a shop, so there many not be a shop to contact. It's also worth noting that the OP isn't asking for advice on "who to contact". They are specifically asking if they can DIY this repair and if so, how?

Several people have mentioned contacting the manufacturer. It's a good thought, but I have a feeling the manufacturer would just tell the OP to bring the bike into a shop and have them look at it. Seems like the OP has probably thought of this already and is maybe seeking other ideas, hence the post on BF?

I'm also not sure why you feel the need to admonish someone for seeking advice on an internet forum.
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Old 04-27-22, 10:42 AM
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I wouldn't be comfortable trying to straighten out fork ends bent that much. Even on a steel bike. That just seems like there'll be micro fractures that you won't see until some time later. By then the possibility of insurance money or returning the item is well out of the picture. And most decent forks aren't cheap.
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Old 04-27-22, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for all your responses! My friend packed up the bike for me, and he either forgot to put the axles through the dropouts, or they fell out. They were loose in the box. (This is a bike that he was storing for me while I relocated.)

I took it to a shop yesterday and they said what bboy314 said - it's too bent to safely wrench it back, although they offered to do it if I really wanted as long as I signed my life away. I was more interested in safely getting back on the road, so they ordered me a steel fork for $90 and will put it on next week. I also contacted Gunnar and they said they could repair it in about 3 weeks, so i might just do both. Would be nice to have that fork back in good shape.

Sorry for the delayed responses from me - BikeForums wouldn't let me post until I waited 24 hours.​
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Old 04-27-22, 11:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
Oh, I see you did upload to BF....

​​​​​​​Impressive that you were able to find the pictures! I have no idea how you sleuthed those up but well done.
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Old 04-27-22, 11:55 AM
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On and old steel beater bike ya fished outta the dump this is a simple fix. Ya heat up the end with a simple Butane/Propane torch then let it cool off slowly. Then ya get out the big screw driver or the tire tool and bend it back as close as you can get. Then ya heat it up again and quench it with an oily rag. Ta-Dah....

Is it poven? No!
Is it safe? Questionable!
Is it done? Yes!

But if its not and old steel beater bike ya fished outta the dump... Most likely ya don't want to do this...
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Old 04-27-22, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by dirtchurch View Post
Impressive that you were able to find the pictures! I have no idea how you sleuthed those up but well done.
Not really.

I just checked the Gallery page on the site and then clicked the "recents" tab. Though you have to know how to alter the URL if the pics on the first recents page aren't what you are looking for. As clicking page 2 or more doesn't give you slightly less recent pics than page one. Seems to just give you popular pics or at least a month or two old.

Also, though it's not a sure thing with noobs, we could click on your profile and see any albums you create.
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Old 04-27-22, 07:39 PM
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BITD, most high-end dropouts were forged from relatively mild steel that could be realigned multiple times without problems. When investment cast dropouts became fashionable, they were less tolerant of re-bending. I can't tell from the picture whether yours are cast or forged. Best to contact the builder for advice on how to proceed.
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Old 04-27-22, 11:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dirtchurch View Post
Thanks for all your responses! My friend packed up the bike for me, and he either forgot to put the axles through the dropouts, or they fell out. They were loose in the box. (This is a bike that he was storing for me while I relocated.)...​
If he used those plastic fork spacers that more or less stay in place with friction, those always seem to fall out in my experience. With both thru axle and QR bikes, I've just used the QR or thru axle with going through a piece of PVC pipe cut to the spacing of the fork and rear dropouts. The pvc functions as a solid spacer to keep the fork and rear drop outs from succumbing to pressure from the sides. The QR or TA keep it in place. It also prevents the dropouts from being crushed like OP's. And you don't have to keep track of the QRs and TAs!

OP: glad you came up with a reasonable short and long term fix. Sounds good.
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Old 04-28-22, 06:52 AM
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Late yesterday, I actually found a metal repair guy who builds custom steel bikes. He fixed the dropout by cold bending it back into place. He said he didn't see any micro cracks and that it should be like new (minus the paint job chipping). He also pointed out that the bent part doesn't take on as much pressure when riding - it's the bottom side of the dropout, so the majority of the bike's and bike rider's weight is put on the other unbent side of the dropout.

But now I'm leery about riding it based on comments here. I want to ride it asap, but don't want to risk a bigger personal injury. I'll still send it to Gunnar to fix in the long-term, but does it make sense what he said - that this high quality fork's cold bent steel back into place is rideable like new? He pointed out that the steel in question is a higher quality steel like chromoly and wasn't stamped from sheet metal like some cheaper bikes are.

For reference, Gunnar's website says that the bikes are TIG welded steel, if that helps.
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Old 04-28-22, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by dirtchurch View Post
Late yesterday, I actually found a metal repair guy who builds custom steel bikes. He fixed the dropout by cold bending it back into place. He said he didn't see any micro cracks and that it should be like new (minus the paint job chipping). He also pointed out that the bent part doesn't take on as much pressure when riding - it's the bottom side of the dropout, so the majority of the bike's and bike rider's weight is put on the other unbent side of the dropout.
Ask him to put all that in writing. Your lawyer will love you for it.
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Old 04-28-22, 08:35 AM
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Originally Posted by dirtchurch View Post
Late yesterday, I actually found a metal repair guy who builds custom steel bikes. He fixed the dropout by cold bending it back into place. He said he didn't see any micro cracks and that it should be like new (minus the paint job chipping). He also pointed out that the bent part doesn't take on as much pressure when riding - it's the bottom side of the dropout, so the majority of the bike's and bike rider's weight is put on the other unbent side of the dropout.

But now I'm leery about riding it based on comments here. I want to ride it asap, but don't want to risk a bigger personal injury. I'll still send it to Gunnar to fix in the long-term, but does it make sense what he said - that this high quality fork's cold bent steel back into place is rideable like new? He pointed out that the steel in question is a higher quality steel like chromoly and wasn't stamped from sheet metal like some cheaper bikes are.

For reference, Gunnar's website says that the bikes are TIG welded steel, if that helps.
A guy who builds steel bikes or some random people who havent seen the fork and are just gut guessing.
Those are your options for who to listen to.
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