The Fork Saga - Oh Hai - CycleBlaze

The Fork Saga

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I didn't actually get pissed off at the Factory until after my bike arrived. Everything else that had happened was just the inevitable consequence of dealing directly with a factory (any factory, anywhere in the world) as an individual customer instead of as a brand representative. 

I may have been frustrated but I was never actually angry.

I'll gloss over the fenders (that I paid far too much for) not being in the box when the bike arrived, or them taking more than a week to determine that they didn't actually have any of those fenders in stock, or the grumblies about my wanting to be refunded the cost of the fenders that I didn't receive.

I'll gloss over the fenders because the situation with the fork is so downright ridiculous that my local mechanic (who is currently planning on buying a road bike from this Factory's retail brand) took this as a sign to go with a stock frame instead of custom.

Just under a month before I was due to start touring, my bike arrived with the fork steerer tube already cut so that the handlebars on my custom geometry tour bike were more than 2 inches below the saddle.

I say that the steerer tube was already cut but that's actually incorrect. The catalog shows a 28cm steerer tube and although I have a 22cm steerer tube, it wasn't cut. It was manufactured that way. 

The touring spec fork that I wanted wasn't in stock so they fabricated it for me. This would be all fine and well (and super ultra cool awesome) if they'd perhaps considered telling me I was getting a custom fork, sending me any pictures, asking me questions, or getting any kind of confirmation at all. But nope. This wasn't done. And the person who fabricated my fork decided on the basis of apparently not paying attention to any of the spec requests that an 38 year old overweight American woman wanted to go full aero.

Then, when I complained about this, I was told I was wrong. I was told that tour bikes are supposed to have the handlebars below the saddle. After I shared some fifteen or twenty manufacturer and brand pictures of tour bikes with handlebars at or above the saddle, and challenged them to find me a single photo either domestic or international of a tour bike with that much drop to the handlebars, they finally managed to get me a picture (singular) of an audax bike they OEM for a European brand which has a carbon fork, no front rack, and is only shown with the huge drop in one of multiple pictures of that bike on that brand's website. They then continued to maintain that their way was correct, everyone else's was wrong, and in particular, I was especially extra wrong (or at least weird).

This is a gorgeous bike. However, despite what the brand says, this is not a touring bike.
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It was somewhere around this time (which was also the time that they switched from "ohh we love your awesome tour bike, that's such an incredible thing" to "your bike is super weird") that I found out that my fork was custom and couldn't just be swapped out and replaced for something in stock.

However, it wouldn't be for another week, the ordering of a steer tube extender, or the discovery that raising the handlebars would also mean changing out the cables that I found out my so-called tour spec fork was missing eyelets and most of the braze-ons for attaching racks.

Steer tune extender and partially raised handlebars.
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It so happens that these racks required zipties with my last bike's fork since most of the available attachment points didn't line up with the holes but that's beside the point.
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I brought that up, in order to make sure that they knew from the get go that when I sent the fork back in December, that I'd also be expecting that to be dealt with. Which they've said they will do. But not before telling me that it's normal for non-standard front racks to mostly be held on with zipties and that all standard front racks mount this way. He didn't have any pictures of this mythical "standard" front rack to counter my pictures of forks and racks, but, rest assured, even though he agreed that this too will be fixed, he simply couldn't end things without saying that I was wrong. 

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