Exotic Carbon Fork: 2 broken & Terrible Customer Service
Some of you might remember from this thread back in July that I managed to loosen the aluminum steerer in a 44.5 cm Exotic carbon fork. The fork was clearly the source of a popping and release under hard braking, as the noise disappeared when I switched to any other fork. Anyway, I was brushed off by Exotic. You can see the details here:
Useful Exotic Carbon Fork Info
And so the old saying goes, "You trick me once, shame on you. You trick me twice, shame on me." I should not have been so stupid to buy another Exotic fork. The night before a race last week, I discovered that the carbon steerer was delaminating on the inside, despite all of the proper precautions on my part (see my email below). After removing the fork, I also found that my weak press of the crown race had worn away even more material over time. The race now spins freely on the crown seat, which was and is now even more grossly undersized according to the digital calipers.
Please see below for my email exchange with Exotic, and buyer beware. Sometimes you're not paying for the product, but for the customer service that comes with the product. Niner has had many Jet9's break, but they are manning up and treating their customers right. Under-the-table importers like Exotic just can't do that I guess.
Look...I know that I'm stupid for buying another one, so please spare me the obvious. I'm simply posting this as a warning to those considering one of these forks. Not only did Exotic not honor their warranty, but also they insulted me in the process of doing so.
On Sat, Sep 12, 2009 at 7:32 AM, Dogdude222 wrote:
After my bike started to make a nasty popping sound when torquing the handlebars, I removed the stem to find that my steerer is broken. Though the exterior has the normal marks from mounting a stem on a carbon steerer, the interior of the tube is delaminating in the upper 1 cm. The steerer was cut with a park guide and a sharp saw. Additionally, the fork was never run without a spacer on top of the stem to prevent this from happening nor was the stem overtightened. Tacx carbon assembly paste was even used on the steerer. Attached you will find pictures of the delamination.
Considering that this fork was purchased as a replacement for a aluminum/carbon fork with a creaking steerer, I have to say that I'm very disappointed. Despite my complaints last time and my offer of clear proof that the fork was the source of a noise (the steerer was moving in the crown), I was blown off and still purchased a replacement fork from you. I cannot allow this to happen this time.
This fork was purchased on July 13th with packing slip number 554013. This could not have happened at a worse time, considering that the first race of the collegiate season is tomorrow morning. I expect that this issue will be resolved in a timely and appropriate manner. Namely, I would appreciate a replacement 42.5 carbon/aluminum disc only fork to be shipped out immediately as a replacement.
On Sep 14, 2009, at 9:40 PM, Customer Service wrote:
Unfortunately competition training and competition riding are not covered under the CarbonCycles warranty. Please see
Sorry you've had problems with the forks.
Interestingly we have not had any other reports of creaking steerers or delaminating carbon steerers.
Expect this to find its way onto the MTBR forums. I've treated and used the fork exactly as it was intended to be used. For you to weasel your way out of the warranty is beyond low.
In addition, insinuating that I am the problem is even worse. I've built cars, worked as a team mechanic, and, beyond that, I'm pretty darn smart too. Attending the number one college in the US and then going to an Ivy League med school puts me pretty high up there. And I can say for sure that from this vantage point, your company is very disappointing. Treating customers right is what separates true businessmen and those who succeed from those who will ultimately perish of their own selfishness and dishonesty.
Link their e-mail addy for those of us that would like to correspond with them . You should also e-mail them with a link to this thread . Thanks for the heads up , nice to know who you can and can not do buisness with .
I have been looking to add a carbon fork to my 29er. This thread takes one off my list.
After reading that warranty it would not matter what type of failure it was it is not covered by that warranty.
San Diego County
Rat-bastards. I almost bought one of those forks too. Don't you just love it when they say your the only one who EVER f-ed up their fine product?
Originally Posted by turnerbikes
I don't get it. The paragraph states that warranty is void under a laundry list of uses. But you still purchased it and expected a warranty after using it in "competition."
I'd refrain from using lines like that.
Attending the number one college in the US and then going to an Ivy League med school puts me pretty high up there.
I've built cars, worked as a team mechanic, and, beyond that, I'm pretty darn smart too. Attending the number one college in the US and then going to an Ivy League med school puts me pretty high up there.
No doubt to be burnt by that type of product failure is painful especially when you are pretty high up there.
I've never met anyone who has built a car... or gone to an Ivy League school... and those team mechanics are world class.
Again, I'm sorry for your situation but man what a smug finish to an otherwise well written letter.
Course, I'm not so "up there" enough to buy a bad product twice. I usually take 3-4 purchases to realise my errors.
Oh, and I work for NASA.... I was the guy who designed the O rings on the challenger. Also did some work at Chernobyl. They thought I was waaay up there.
Now, I'm slinging beans at Taco Bell. In a year or two I should be night manager which makes me pretty high indeed.
------ (*)/ (*)
Running is for prey.
LOL, the warranty basically releases them of any responsibility except for maybe if the bike fell off the sofa onto a freshly weaved sheepskin rug.
And though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours...I simply am not there.
Thanks for the information; I considered the Exotic fork, but thought better of dealing with a potentially unreliable supplier. My friends have had excellent results with the "SIMILARLY APPEARING" White Brothers and Origin8 forks. I think that this warning applies to carbon "Ritchey-like" forks and handlebars too, at least for me.
worth a repost here:
Originally Posted by Dogdude222
You were doing well until you ended up being a d-bag. Lame to hear about the exotic fork, cause I was eying them, too.
Would you say a carbon fork is better than a good steel bike, minus warranty issues?
"The Warranty does not cover any damage resulting from normal wear and tear, including the results of fatigue or any damage, failure or loss caused by abuse, neglect, improper installation, improper repair, improper maintenance, alteration, modification, failure to follow instructions or warnings in the owner’s manual, an accident or other abnormal, excessive, or improper use."
I'm sorry... a carbon fiber fork manufacturer does NOT warranty against normal wear and tear, fatigue? REALLY???
normal wear and tear should be a design consideration.
fatigue IS a design consideration for any carbon maker worth their salt, moreso than any other material.
and "improper use" is the industry catch-all... it's in everyone's literature for a reason, but hardly ever used by professional companies
I like the "jumping" and "competition training" warranty requirements.
define jumping.. you mean curb drops?
competition training>? so if I'm bored and ride hard and decide 6 months down the road that I feel like tossing my hat in the ring at an amateur ride-out... then my casual riding is now considered training.
does the ride for heart count as a competition?
If steel is real then aluminium is supercallafragiliniun!
Beware the Blackbuck!
Thanks for the words of warning. So much for scoring a cheap carbon fork for my pair of rigid bikes.
After reading the terms in Niner's recall, they probably would have overnight-ed you a replacement fork with a new bike attached. The extra cash for a Pro/White Brothers/Bonty seems like a discount after reading that reply.
You should have said, "Oh, no problem, the eXotic fork was on the bike I ride around my living room carpet. I did all my competition training on another fork, and I clearly haven't raced this fork because it broke before my first race of the season..."
Post this up in some other forums. I know the "Where's the Best Deal?" forum would be one spot, and the single speed guys like their rigid forks.
I apologize if I offended anyone with my "d-bag" last line in the letter. I basically saw red when he implied that the problem was me. I'm sure that many of you have made similar slips (and worse) in situations that really angered you. I just felt like I was being dragged into the gutter of idiocy by someone already there. I know it is not the classiest strategy to reply as such, but, like I said, we all make mistakes. Living my life in academia, where pretty much everyone is mechanically inept, I was quite pissed to be accused of that particular inadequacy.
Regarding me being an idiot for not reading the warranty...you'd have to be an idiot to read that document and think that it means anything at all. As some people have already mentioned, the thing could have shattered in a vacuum in a glass case, and I'd be out of luck. At the same time, I've seen similar warranty policies that weren't taken so seriously by the manufacturer. You can't know how seriously a company will take its "warranty policy" until you come to use it. Read that Air 9 carbon thread. I especially like the dude on the Intense who sends a 20 foot stair gap out of warranty, and they still sent him a new frame.
Anyway, the point remains. John basically spends his days convincing people to buy these forks and then finding a loophole in every warranty claim that comes his way. He must feel great when his head hits the pillow at night.
I assume that you meant to ask if it was as good as a good steel fork? The answer is...maybe. How much does weight matter to you? Cause these mofos are light. If they had better quality control (i.e. Niner), they'd be the bees knees. They have a way of absorbing A LOT of high frequency trail chatter.
Originally Posted by umarth
In terms of actual feel, though, nothing has ever felt as good...nowhere close...to the custom Walt fork that my Dad has. That 5 week waiting list sounds terrible, but I think that it might be about time to hop in line.
I understand being angry about the fork. I wasn't calling you a d-bag specifically, just the tail end of the response.
Thanks for the fork info/perspective.
This makes me appreciate my KM fork.
Five weeks is fast.
Originally Posted by Dogdude222
LOL...well, I'm glad that I've allowed the two of you to grow closer...
Originally Posted by seat_boy
I agree...for full custom. I'm just an impatient mofo, and the collegiate mtn season will be over in 5 weeks.
Originally Posted by rmb
Recently, I was at a restaurant with some friends. We waited, and waited, and waited for our food after ordering it.
I went inside and said to the manager, we've waited over an hour for our food...
We got it for free.
Now, don't go to Perkin's, they'll screw you over if they take longer than an hour.
Ernesto, I definitely see your point. Its not like I was expecting the best customer service from some shady importer. I'm just posting this up in case there was any doubt. Perhaps others can avoid my mistakes in the future.
Originally Posted by ernesto_from_Wisconsin
"I'm pretty darn smart too."
Looks like it.
Thank you. I hope that you're not mocking me. The 29er forum is a harsh, harsh world.
Originally Posted by mdb1974
Others have already pointed out the irony of such a claim when I failed to read the warranty, bought a second fork, and let my anger cloud an otherwise poignant response. Still, intelligence and wisdom are two different things, especially when one is operating inside the haze of anger.
Big Paws on a Puppy!!
With all this negative press and drama I think I personally would have just offered to give you your money back for the fork.
The other this is I seem to recall reading a bunch of threads where folks claimed that the White, Origin 8, Exotic, and a bunch of other carbon forks were basically the same exact fork with a little "rebranding" applied. Is this not the case?
"My bicycle masters boardwalk and quagmire with aplomb." - Tom Nuttall
Thanks for the info. Not sure I would have bought a second one after the issue with the first, but I do appreciate hearing about their unwilligness to even consider the warranty claim.
I was looking at the exotic - now it's off the list.