How to check your bike after a crash!

In, looking through the great wide inter-webs recently, we came across a great article from the folks at FSA about how to check your bike after a crash. It happens to all of us and luckily we get the chance to get up and ride away, but before you do this is a good check list at least to keep in mind.

You can read the original article here –>


Your bike can take a battering in a crash so it’s important to make sure it’s safe to ride before getting back in the saddle

Crashing isn’t fun but for the majority of the time you’ll bounce back up again, relatively unscathed. But before you jump back in the saddle fueled by your adrenalin surge, always take the time to thoroughly check both yourself and your bike over to ensure that there’s no damage or anything dangerously wrong before setting off again.

Check to see if the wheels are still straight – give both of them a spin to check they’re running true and free. If there’s a puncture you’ll obviously also notice this at the same time. If the wheel(s) don’t spin freely then check your brake caliper hasn’t been knocked before concluding that the wheel is buckled or bent.

STI Shifters/Brake Levers
Quite often in a crash you’ll find that your brake levers/shifters will get knocked about. It’s likely that the position of the shifters may have got moved around the bar in the impact – most of the time, you can work them back into position but if they’re too tight you’ll need to undo the clamp bolt, move the shifter, and then re-tighten once they’re in the correct position. Remember to follow our advice on how to tighten the STI clamp bolts here.

Cosmetic damage on the lever is okay, but make sure that nothing is broken and that that you can activate both brakes as normal. If you can’t, don’t ride. If the gear shifter mechanism is damaged you can still usually get home.

The next stop is checking the bars for damage – especially after a big off. Bar damage can be difficult to spot visually as bar tape covers much of the visible area, however – particularly for carbon bars – hold on to the bottom of the drops with each hand and push down repeatedly: if there’s a significant or imbalanced amount of flex then there’s most probably bar damage and you shouldn’t risk riding a damaged bar. If everything feels okay, then you should be good. Also visually inspect the bar area around the stem clamp to see if there are any obvious stress risers, creases or dents. If there are, don’t ride. We have a crash replacement program that will make it easier to replace components outside of our warranty terms. Take your bar to your local FSA dealer and have them contact us.

SL-K compact handlebar colored 2
A common occurrence in a big off is the stem moving around on the fork’s steerer – this is obvious as the front wheel will be pointing in a different direction. Just undo the steerer stem bolt clamp, straighten it with the front wheel, and re-tighten the bolts in the following order: the bolts should be tightened ¼- ½ turn at a time. Alternate between the two bolts so both reach recommended torque simultaneously. The bolts tightening the stem cap (faceplate) should be tightened ¼- ½ turn at a time in an “X” pattern. Alternating between all four bolts so the clamp applies pressure evenly to the handlebar. Failure to follow proper bolt tightening sequence can cause the stem to not be secure on the steerer tube, and cause damage to carbon handlebars.

Check your saddle is intact and that the saddle rails aren’t bent or showing signs of fatigue or other damage. If they are, replace the saddle as using a damaged saddle can result in throwing out your bike position and lead to injury over time. Similarly, check that the seat post isn’t damaged – particularly around the seat clamp area where it enters the frame.

The first thing to do is to check that the rear mech hanger is straight – which is easy to happen after a crash. From the rear of the bike, look at the rear mech to check it’s vertical – if it’s going off at an angle then it’s most likely that the mech hanger itself is bent. This can lead to the mech going into the wheel spokes when you ride and change gear up the block – leading to a possible crash and a broken wheel and mech. Costly. If it’s bent, then limp home and replace the mech hanger. To limp home you’ll also need to adjust the low-limit screw to prevent the mech being able to go into the rear wheel.

Frame & Forks
Take the time to thoroughly check over your frame and forks for signs of damage. If you have a carbon frame and you see any cracks or splinters, then the frame is unsafe to ride. Similarly, if you see any cracks on an aluminum frame – particularly around the welds – then again, the frame shouldn’t be ridden. Conversely, steel or titanium frames shouldn’t fail catastrophically so if there are any dents in the tubing you could still limp home, however we wouldn’t advise it.

For all frames, be methodical: start at the forks and the front of the frame and then work meticulously backwards. Key areas to pay attention to include the fork where it enters the head tube; the dropouts (both fork and frame); the downtube/ headtube/ fork junction (particularly if you’ve had a front-on collision); the top tube where the handlebar may have hit the frame; and the seat and chainstays. If everything looks good, then you should be fine to continue riding home. Of course, if you’re still concerned then take your bike to a trusted bike shop to get them to look at it for you.”

  • Found from FSA (Full Speed Ahead)

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