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The Dude Abides
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was on my way to Arizona for a bicycle trip when I pulled off my fork to find this. It was my first time taking the fork off since I put it on last spring, so there was no way for me to know this was going on. But sure enough, after I pulled it off I wiped a rag in there and found several steel beads lightly coated in a film. I have to assume they made their way from the top tube to the head tube, wedged themselves between the race and steerer tube and have been grinding away for who knows how long.

Now I'm not here to rant. I took the bike to my dealer and they are waiting to hear back from Ells. Sounded like this was something they haven't seen before. The gouges are pretty deep. Deep enough (and located in "the" high stress area) to where I don't feel comfortable riding the fork any more. I'd say this is a bit more significant than a few scuff marks on a seat post.

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Spanish Marathon Racer
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120 Posts
I am lloking at the pics but I don´t understand.

Could you explain?
 

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The Dude Abides
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Rapier said:
I am lloking at the pics but I don´t understand.

Could you explain?
The two rings you see on the steerer tube are grooves that have been cut into the metal. You can see two matching grooves on the headset race. They don't look like much in the pictures, but each one is probably 0.050" deep, which is a significant stress riser to a part that is already very stressed. I believe they were caused by the same beads that have been marring up everyone's seatposts.
 

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Spanish Marathon Racer
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120 Posts
Ok, I am looking at the pics more slowly and I think it´s a problem with the headset.

What do you think?
 

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712 Posts
So NOW will you foam your tubes, i know you shouldn't have to, but it's your neck if that steerer tube had snapped.

I think they should take care of you with a new headset and fork uppers. Good luck.
 

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Time is not a road.
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4,150 Posts
So, the headset looks toasted, too. I guess now it's been a good idea for me to have swapped forks about 4x :eek:

Good luck and let us know how it goes with Ellsworth. Maybe you'll get one of those new frames in exchange.
 

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Silver bullet
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204 Posts
WOW!! It’s good you found this before something snapped. I take my Moment completely apart every year at least once (it’s apart now for winter rebuild) and never found any beads in mine. No reaming, no foam. Maybe I'll foam it while it's apart just to be safe.

On another note…what did you ride in AZ?

Let us know what or if Ells decides to do. Good luck.
 

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The Dude Abides
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think the headset should be fine. The grooves are equally as deep, but they're not as critical as the fork. At least its on the inside where you can't see it, unlike the seat posts. My dealer showed me Ellsworth's recommend process to remove all the beads, which I'll do now that its in the stand for a while. And I know there are other things that can get in there and cause this, but the only thing I found in the head tube were a few of those beads and some grease.

I visit family in Az (Scottsdale) every year, and I try to ride different stuff. But South Mountain is far and away the best place I've ridden. I will continue to go back there.
 

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Rolling
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11,120 Posts
Yep, you can clearly see the beads there where they rolled out. They got jammed in the right spot and created their own bearing race, lol.

But as some posts suggest, I don't think this is an emergency :accident waiting to happen" situation. The shaft itself is mostly under tension wheras the forces are put mainly on the bearings. I think with a steel steerer, it would take much deeper grooves and much more torque on the system to actually cause it to snap. Probably a force which would bend or break the fork stanchions themselves in the process.

However, that said, I wouldn't ride anything I don't feel comfortable about.
 

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UP Dude said:
My dealer showed me Ellsworth's recommend process to remove all the beads, which I'll do now that its in the stand for a while.
What was this process? What year is your frame? I'm about to build up an '05 Truth (demo frame that was never built) and would like to try to avoid the problem you faced. (I did go read the seatpost foam thread, btw.)

Thanks in advance! :thumbsup:

Cathy
 

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The Dude Abides
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
lidarman said:
Yep, you can clearly see the beads there where they rolled out. They got jammed in the right spot and created their own bearing race, lol.

But as some posts suggest, I don't think this is an emergency :accident waiting to happen" situation. The shaft itself is mostly under tension wheras the forces are put mainly on the bearings. I think with a steel steerer, it would take much deeper grooves and much more torque on the system to actually cause it to snap. Probably a force which would bend or break the fork stanchions themselves in the process.

However, that said, I wouldn't ride anything I don't feel comfortable about.
I don't have the fork with me, so I can only speak out of memory. But I'm like 99% certain the steerer is aluminum. The gouges wouldn't be so deep if it were steel, especially since the headset race is definately aluminum and the gouges there are nearly equal. However, you're right in that the bending forces are significantly reduced from what the steerer sees inside the crown. But you've only spoken of ultimate forces thus far. I'm not as concerned about that as I am fatigue.

A notch like this will have a much greater tendency to form a crack. Once a crack forms, its all over. The reciprocating stresses will work to propigate the crack (especially in aluminum), and eventually break. And its not like this would all happen within 1/2 mile, the aluminum there is pretty thick. The catch is that it is all concealed inside the head tube, and it is difficult for me to know if and when a crack has formed. Am I going to pull my fork off before every ride to make sure it won't break off? They recommend you check your skewers before every ride to make sure they are tight, but how many people actually do that?

It is obviously difficult to say if this is a serious problem or its no big deal. But when I first pulled my fork off and saw the gouges, it made me feel unsure. And when I showed the guys at the shop, they all agreed that it would be sketchy to ride. And like you said, in the absense of hard data, it is important to go on comfort or confidence. I have enough background knowledge of this stuff to feel sketched out. I just hope Ellsworth will feel the same way and help me out. It is a weird situation though, since it was the frame that caused damage to the fork and headset. I'm anxious to find out how this one will turn out.
 

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Rolling
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11,120 Posts
UP Dude said:
I just hope Ellsworth will feel the same way and help me out. It is a weird situation though, since it was the frame that caused damage to the fork and headset. I'm anxious to find out how this one will turn out.
We are all ears on this....and certainly the Turner folks are peeping in....

Based on the How Dave Turner bends his back over there on details like this, added to that the past criticism of EW on these things, if EW doesn't come though, I will be, among many, hugely shocked.

This is an opportunity for Ellsworth to step up and get a big kudos by YOU. I imagine based on my experience it will happen and you will be taken care of....least I hope so.

......................
 

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Student
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820 Posts
I hope they take care of that for you, or your out a huge chunk of change to replace the fork and the headset.
 

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The Dude Abides
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212 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
lidarman said:
This is an opportunity for Ellsworth to step up and get a big kudos by YOU. I imagine based on my experience it will happen and you will be taken care of....least I hope so.

......................
I've been Ells loyal for almost 5 years now, and even when everyone was really giving them a hard time about customer service, I received some amazing help from them. Between building top notch bikes and supplying top notch service, I've supported and promoted them on everything. I've had two incidents that I needed help from them on, and they did a great job. And compared to those replacements, this is quite a bit cheaper. All I need are new fork uppers and maybe a headset. No one at the shop could say for sure if you can get just uppers (stanchions, crown, steerer) from Fox. It would really suck if I had to buy a whole new fork. Again, time will tell.
 

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Could someone please explain what a bead is? Are you talking about a weld bead?

Aside from that, I don't understand how this is entirely Ellsworth's fault or even their fault at all. If there are gouges that are .050 deep on the steerer and equally as deep on the headset, there had to be .100 of interference. Unless things changed after assembly, it had to be present and I'd think detectable at that time. I'd say it is the shops fault for not inspecting the parts before or during assembly. If it did change, maybe it wasn't assembled properly to begin with. Also, isn't this something you'd feel? There had to be some grinding???

I'm not bashing you or anyone, just trying to understand the problem. I have an '04 Truth and have not had any problems with it. I also have a new Enlightenment on order. If there is something that I need to look for when it arrives, I want to understand.
 

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Silver bullet
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204 Posts
Personally I would be concerned about the fork tube. We could all speculate on what the different forces may do and if cracking would be a concern. If it were me I would call Fox (judging from the pics it looks like a Fox) and give them the details and see what they say. I would guess they do some type of stress anylisis on their components. It may just be an area that isn't of any concern. These tubes (if it's a Fox) are aluminum so there may not be much allowance for this kind of damage.

I too would like to know what Ellsworth recommended to clean the blast beads out of the frame.
 

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Rolling
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11,120 Posts
SLP2002FH said:
Could someone please explain what a bead is? Are you talking about a weld bead?

Aside from that, I don't understand how this is entirely Ellsworth's fault or even their fault at all. If there are gouges that are .050 deep on the steerer and equally as deep on the headset, there had to be .100 of interference. Unless things changed after assembly, it had to be present and I'd think detectable at that time. I'd say it is the shops fault for not inspecting the parts before or during assembly. If it did change, maybe it wasn't assembled properly to begin with. Also, isn't this something you'd feel? There had to be some grinding???

I'm not bashing you or anyone, just trying to understand the problem. I have an '04 Truth and have not had any problems with it. I also have a new Enlightenment on order. If there is something that I need to look for when it arrives, I want to understand.
People are referring to the shot peening balls that are used to texture the frame. In the past there have been instances of the balls getting trapped in the voids of the tubes, in particular the seat tube and eventually making an appearance. As alluded to, the most common is the seat post and when the balls appear, they scratch up the post when the user inserts the post.

It's also been a problem with the BB shell and there was even a warning to make sure the threads were clean before installing a BB.

Thus as you can see, those balls can be appear in the head tube as well.
 
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