Sunday, July 22, 2007

Used Waltworks forks on Ebay

I've seen a couple of used Waltworks frames and forks pop up on Ebay in the last 6 months or so, and I wanted to let everyone know that I strongly discourage buying them unless you are very conscientious about doing your research about whether the frame/fork is appropriate for you. The forks are what bother me the most, because the consequences of having one fail are much worse than most frame failures.

Unless your riding style, size, and intended application (not to mention frame geometry) closely match those of the seller, you should steer clear. A custom fork built for someone else may be TOTALLY inappropriate for you, and the consequences of a fork failure can be pretty ugly.

Just as an example, I once built a custom fork for a 130 pound racer who wanted it nice and light - full on tricked out fork, with a custom machined crown, ultra lightweight blades, etc, etc. Then a year later, someone I've never heard of (let alone built a fork for) calls me and says he broke one of my forks. Turns out the 130 pound XC guy sold the fork to some 220 pound dude, "in good faith". While I'm sure that the fork was fine when it was sold, it was also totally inappropriate for the 220# guy, yet that thought never crossed the the buyer or seller's mind, apparently. Luckily nobody was hurt, but someone easily could have been.

Here's the bottom line, guys - I build CUSTOM forks and frames. That means they are designed for ONE rider. They also *might* work for lots of other folks, but as soon as something ends up on Ebay, I have no control over who is going to buy the frame/fork I built, or how/where they're going to ride it. That's not cool. I can't offer a warranty on a product when I have no idea how it'll be used, or by who. Honestly, you're much better off buying a production product instead - it'll be cheaper, strong enough for any size of rider, and fit (presumably) about as well as a custom bike that wasn't designed for you. And it'll come with a warranty for you, the original owner. If you want a custom bike, save your pennies and get one that's actually built for you. There are really no shortcuts here - if you don't want to spend the time or money, just get a production frame or fork and get out there and ride it.

Sorry for the ranting. I'll do a race post with some pictures tomorrow, hopefully.


Anonymous said...

Maybe add a sticker or engraving to the light custom frames/forks you are worried about which says something like "road use only - rider weight limit 150 lbs."

Anonymous said...

walt, thanks for the advice - having the patience and the cash to save up for the good stuff can be tough, especially when you see the possibility of buying your product at half of what it costs new. However, your post brought to light some of the same things I was thinking when you mentioned the WW forks I have seen recently on eBay - how do I know it will/would work for me, for my riding style, and what frame was it designed for.