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6 years or so ago I purchased a Merlin Cyrene from my LBS. It had lots of problems(cursed bike) that the LBS fixed usually without issue, might have taken some time but what can you do when its shipped far away to be dealt with. Around a month ago the front fork snapped(link for pics, hope it works), causing a pretty serious accident that will cost me 15k$-20k$ in dental work and some facial scarring. The accident also destroyed the head tube,handlebars, and headset.

I'm posting for a couple reasons

1: If you have a Real designs Fork....be very vigilante with inspections. My fork broke with no warning, and seemed totally fine, however I did not take it apart to look at the steerer tube(which broke).

2:Any idea why it happened, and if it happened to anyone else. It was never in an accident that I considered serious

3: Both merlin and Real Designs went out of business, so my LBS is a bit lost as to what to do. What do people think they should do?

Flickr: Psychillist's Photostream
 

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What lead up to the accident?

During the life of the bike how was the bike/fork in regards to wobble?

Looking at the pictures, the failure is where you'd expect it to be with the design (weak area of the carbon next to a strong metal collar).

As to what you should/can do? Nothing you can realistically do. My guess is yearly inspections of the steerer may not of have caught this either.
 

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Sorry to hear about your accident. That sucks.

3: Both merlin and Real Designs went out of business, so my LBS is a bit lost as to what to do. What do people think they should do?
Merlin still exists.

On March 16, 2011, American Bicycle Group announced that bicycle retailer Competitive Cyclist of Little Rock, AR had acquired the rights to the Merlin Metalworks brand.

Merlin Bikes


Not sure about Real Designs. But the website takes you here.
http://www.real-design.com
 

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That must have been terrifying. It sounds like the front of the bike collapsed sending you face first to the deck. Are you sending this info from a hospital bed? Miracle if not. Your lucky to be alive. Glad your still kicking and a quick recovery!
 

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holy cow that's some scarry looking pics. Glad you're still alive!

I find it a little odd that the steerer tube seem to be a solid core and embedded with some sort of plastic bubbles?? Most carbon steerer tubes are hallow all the way down the core. Very strange construction. With a seemingly (appearance wise) solid core, one would think that the steerer tube would be rock solid!

As for trying to do something about it, as in trying to recovery money for you dental procedures. I think you can pretty much forget it unless you have solid proof that it broke while you were operating it properly and within guidance. It's a very hard case for you to prove. Your only real chance at a recovery is if there was a recall or a known defect on this particular fork model.
 

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There's a reason why I won't ride carbon forks; those pictures.

It possibly occurred because of the sharp transition from the metal to the carbon steerer sections. As the steerer flexed at the junction, the metal cut into the carbon fibers.

Your LBS needs to gently steer you toward a new bike.

Carbon may be strong but its failure mode can be fast, which leads to little warning before it becomes catastrophic.

If neither company is in business, I don't see how you can recover any damages. Also, if their original owners' manuals listed periodic inspection in them and you can prove you adhered to such a schedule, you're out of even more luck.

Move on; lesson learned.
 

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Merlin still exists.

On March 16, 2011, American Bicycle Group announced that bicycle retailer Competitive Cyclist of Little Rock, AR had acquired the rights to the Merlin Metalworks brand.
CC bought the rights to the name to manufacture new frames, they didn't buy the former companies issues.
 
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