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  1. #1
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    Aluminum: wear out?

    A bike salesperson told me that aluminum frames eventually wear out, or become dead. Does this happen and what does it mean?

  2. #2
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardpatz
    A bike salesperson told me that aluminum frames eventually wear out, or become dead. Does this happen and what does it mean?
    Yes it does. An AL frame can and will eventually feel less responsive or "dead" usually this happens after several years of riding. A general rule of thumb is five years though there will soon be plenty of people here to dispute this.

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    What do you mean less responsive and dead

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    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardpatz
    A bike salesperson told me that aluminum frames eventually wear out, or become dead. Does this happen and what does it mean?
    I put that in the same mental box with worrying about my steel frames rusting away or feeling assured because I can have a tube replaced on my lugged steel frame. I'm sure that all three things happen but, a guy my age probably won't live long enough for it to happen to me. All of my bike frames have always lasted longer than I really wanted them to last. After awhile bicycle frame designs evolve. Rear dropout spacing changes or headset sizes change or I just feel like I want something new.

    Incidentally, that comment about aluminum frames losing their "feel" in some period of time - I can remember when exactly the same comment used to be made about steel frames. Back in those days people also said they didn't like aluminum frames because they weren't stiff like a good steel frame. If you live long enough some of these old bikers tales are going to change. Then you get to laugh at the guys who keep repeating them.

  5. #5
    Senior Member phinney's Avatar
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    It means he'll make more money if you buy the bike that doesn't have the Aluminum frame.

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    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Yes it does. An AL frame can and will eventually feel less responsive or "dead" usually this happens after several years of riding. A general rule of thumb is five years though there will soon be plenty of people here to dispute this.
    That's nonsense.Aluminum will eventually fail from fatigue. Design enginers know how aluminum works and design around it. Frames, unless ultralightweight are designed for several lifetimes of use. And, it doesn't go dead, it just breaks.

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    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardpatz
    A bike salesperson told me that aluminum frames eventually wear out, or become dead. Does this happen and what does it mean?
    It means the salesperson is a moron and knows just enough drivel to regurgitate a few chunks.

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    One of the big complaints about aluminum is it's too stiff. "Responsive" and "lively" are terms you hear when people are talking about high-end steel or TI frames.

    I dragged an ancient Raleigh "technium" alu frame out of the trash and built a retro-rocket to ride while my new bike was in the lay-a-way. Thing must have been 20 years old; worked fine.

  9. #9
    jur
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    I have a 12-14 year old Giant Farrago with Al frame (I'm guessing the age, it has an early 90s date stamp on the stem) and a new Giant Sedone with Al frame. Besides the different size issues, these feel the same to me.

  10. #10
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardpatz
    A bike salesperson told me that aluminum frames eventually wear out, or become dead. Does this happen and what does it mean?
    It means he wants you to spend more and buy carbon fiber or titanium.

    My aluminum bike is 19 years old and has >50,000 miles on it. It is not less responsive or "dead".

  11. #11
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    when I got my al GT track bike 6 yrs ago many people told me it was going to break soon. Since then i put 35,000 miles on it on nyc streets. still fine after couple falls.
    Yes they want you to buy more expensive frame. Carbon sucks

  12. #12
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Bob
    It means he wants you to spend more and buy carbon fiber or titanium.

    My aluminum bike is 19 years old and has >50,000 miles on it. It is not less responsive or "dead".

    Cool !! What kind of bike is it?

  13. #13
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    Aluminum, steel, titanium, carbon fiber: all have finite lives. Given reasonable care, all will outlast you. (And I don't even know how old you are.)

    Doc
    Say Ya to da Yoop, eh!

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    Senior Member robo's Avatar
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    I don't know if this is still the case today, but about 10-12 years ago, it was the 'common wisdom' that aluminum frames were not meant for extended use, but rather to be raced a season or two and then retired, because the metal would fatigue and the frame would not be safe.

    This might have simply been a bit of retro-grouch lore, or perhaps back then aluminum frame technology was less refined and frames _were_ weaker.

    Looking at the godzilla tubing and giant gussets on Al frames today, i doubt this is still the case, unless you are jumping off small buildings on a daily basis.

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    Older Than Dirt
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    Many of the aluminum frames of yesteryear were glued together as skilled welders were in short supply. These had a short life, in general.

    Doc
    Say Ya to da Yoop, eh!

  16. #16
    Über member! sorebutt's Avatar
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    The only reason someone would care about a frame "going dead" is if they want to up sell you on a CF or Ti frame..
    "With a bent derailleur, shift happens"...

    ~~~~- My Mellow-Yellow-Velo -~~~~

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    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DocF
    Many of the aluminum frames of yesteryear were glued together as skilled welders were in short supply. These had a short life, in general.

    Doc
    Nonsense... Outside of a defective bond there were noissues. Welds can be defective too. And neither is a part of the lore of aluminum tuning to mush with age.

  18. #18
    cycles per second Gonzo Bob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2manybikes
    Cool !! What kind of bike is it?
    Vitus 979 Duralinox - not welded but "glued and screwed" so it must be one of those "short life" frames

    Here is the frameset at Nashbar!
    http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=13102&brand=

  19. #19
    Senior Member sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gonzo Bob
    Vitus 979 Duralinox - not welded but "glued and screwed" so it must be one of those "short life" frames

    Here is the frameset at Nashbar!
    http://www.nashbar.com/profile_morei...u=13102&brand=
    Yeah, you obviously got a defective one.

  20. #20
    Get the stick. darkmother's Avatar
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    Metal bicycle frames do not go dead. This is an old wives tale. What can happen with aluminum frames, as well as those made from other materials is a fatigue failure. Essentially, after many low amplitude stress cycles, the frame can crack under a fairly light loads. I have broken many frames this way (no aluminum ones yet though!)

    Most aluminum frames are quite well designed, and will last more than long enough under normal conditions. I have an old cannondale that I have not been able to break yet, but I am trying. I wouldn't worry too much about it. There are good frames made from aluminum, just as there are good frames made of carbon, steel and ti. The design and manufacturing of the frame is more important than the material used.

  21. #21
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    I like my aluminum frame better since it has gone dead and isn't so darned harsh.

  22. #22
    Sometimes knows stuff. rmfnla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    Yes it does. An AL frame can and will eventually feel less responsive or "dead" usually this happens after several years of riding. A general rule of thumb is five years though there will soon be plenty of people here to dispute this.
    Heck, I think all aluminum frames feel dead. Steel is real!
    Today, I believe my jurisdiction ends here...

  23. #23
    Dog is my co-pilot 2manybikes's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Gonzo Bob]Vitus 979 Duralinox - not welded but "glued and screwed" so it must be one of those "short life" frames



    Nice bike.

  24. #24
    I couldn't car less. jeff williams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phantoj
    I like my aluminum frame better since it has gone dead and isn't so darned harsh.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Trogon's Avatar
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    Here's a picture of my De Rosa. PROOF that aluminum wears out. Those tubes used to be straight. 3 years of hard riding later......well, you can see for yourselves what happened.

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