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Old 06-16-03, 10:54 PM   #1
gingi0
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Frame bent in accident

I was involved in an accident this morning where an oncoming car decided to turn left (without signaling) at a lighted intersection (we both had a green light) directly in front of me. I was not able to clear the car and crashed into the car. I'm okay. The driver said she didn't think I would go straight. Looking at the bike, only the handlebar seemed misaligned. I gave her a little rant and let her go. She seemed shocked enough.

After getting back on the bike, I noticed that the frame is bent. I have a 1982 Mercian with a Reynolds 531 steel frame. Both the top tube and the down tube are bent on the underside, right behind the head tube. I now kick myself for letting her go without exchanging information. But now I don't know what to do. I heard that it's totally repairable, but I'm hearing several estimates (over the phone, I haven't brought the bike into a shop). They usually quote me around $700 to replace the tubes plus paint and labor. Is that reasonable? Given that the tubes are only slightly bent, could they be fixed without replacement?

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Gingi
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Old 06-16-03, 11:15 PM   #2
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I don't know about that, but let me just reinforce what you said earlier- damn! I can't believe you didn't get that woman's information. What's worse, she assumed something that wasn't even true, which is ridiculous. How often do people in cars say "Oh, that car may be going straight, so I'll jump in front of it so I can turn right into this intersection. You didn't signal, so why would she make that assumption. I think she probably didn't look for you, and that's why you got hit. She was driving irresponsibly.

I would go to the police station and try to fill out a police report. Give the police as much detail as possible about the car, and if you ever run into her again, get her information, complete the police report, and take her to court to pay for the cost of whatever the cost is for the repairs to your bike or in the event you have to buy a new bike.

Good luck with the question though. I did a slight hijack of your thread, but I meant well.

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Old 06-16-03, 11:47 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Koffee Brown
if you ever run into her again, get her information

I'm not sure you quite meant it that way, Koffee...

But as to the original question, while I am no framebuilder, "slight bends" in tubes on bikes, especially around the head tube, are no to be trifled with if you want to stay in one piece. These are compression deformations which indicated the force that the bike hit the car with. By the way, you'll probably need to check the fork as well -- if the top and down tubes are bent, there's a good chance the fork is cactus.I think you will be up for quite a few dollars to have that sort of repair done.

Have respect for the frame-builder. Not only are you buying the paint job and new tubes, but the person's craft, and that doesn't come cheap.

You'd probably be better writing the bike and accident off to experience, unless the Mercian means a lot to you.

By the way, just hang out around the same place as the accident for a few days and see if the driver returns. If you get lucky, let her know then that the bike suffered more damage than first thought and take it from there.

R
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Old 06-17-03, 09:57 AM   #4
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hey, a guy in my naigburhood bent his fram the other day, and we bent it back usin a crow bar. jus rap a bunch towels aroun the tube real good, tie the bar up to the tube, and push reel hard-worked for us!
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Old 06-17-03, 10:01 AM   #5
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My steel frame was bent in what sounds like a similar way. I took it into my LBS. They referred me to another shop that had all the alignment tools. I took it in there to see if it was salvagable. (it was only slightly bent as well) He looked it over, and straightened it out for a grand total of... 10 dollars.
No problemo with a steel frame.
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Old 06-17-03, 10:11 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by L Lortami
hey, a guy in my naigburhood bent his fram the other day, and we bent it back usin a crow bar. jus rap a bunch towels aroun the tube real good, tie the bar up to the tube, and push reel hard-worked for us!
Now when his frame stress fractures at that spot he'll have someone to sue.
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Old 06-18-03, 11:06 AM   #7
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I've bent and had frames bent back for me when I didn't have access to the tools needed for less than $100. Get some more estimates ( try some " oldtimers")

Ride Straight
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Old 06-18-03, 01:26 PM   #8
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531 frames are double butted, they have a thinned out section in the middle and are thicker on the ends. It there is no kink in the tube and the bends are smooth, it may be feasible to "bend them back" with heavy pressure. There is a risk the tubes will crack at some point. I had this happen with a 531 touring frame in the mid '70s, the frame about 25yrs old at the time. Initial insult was hitting a curb instead of the wheel chair cut out. Frame lasted a few hundred miles before cracking in the down tube above the shifter. Bike 'rode funny' for a few miles before I got off and looked at it and discovered crack. Subsequent weld failed, had a strange ride home with 14g electric wire holding the completely separated down tube to the top tube. Web sites for frame painting and repair a few yrs ago were ~$200/tube for repair and paint would be $100-250 depending. So $700 is ballpark. The fork needs a close eyeball as you really don't want a fork failure.
Bending is likely to damage the paint so, by the time you factor this in and LBS frame alignment you are probably closer to $100 or so for a bend job and more for paint repair. If they take the bike apart and rebuild, $150-200 is more likely. Frame alignment requires some disassembly. If a complete repaint is suggested and you agree you are upto $400 or so. In for a dime..... I might opt for a complete tube rebuild if you are really attached to the bike. Steve
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Old 06-18-03, 05:22 PM   #9
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gingiO sorry to hear about your very bad luck I bet you are real attached to that classic Mercian too
If the frame means anything to you at all then take it to a registered lightweigh steel frame builder for an opinion and estimate. Reynolds 531c cannot be `cold bent' back into shape using an iron bar or whatever. If the frame doesn't actually fracture, the tube walls will be seriously weakened and it will never be straight and true. Most likely the frame builder will recommend light heating and bending orpossibly replacing the head tube and lugs

You might be able to get some cold bend re-trueing done with a heavy mtb frame or frame made from `gas pipe' but without a proper frame jig it will never feel right or ride true if its even a couple of degrees out.

Invest some money and have a nice new paint job too All the original decals can be reproduced now.
good luck
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Old 06-19-03, 10:00 PM   #10
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Is there a reason you don't want to send it to Mercian? They are still in business, and I bet they will charge you less including shipping than anyone in the states. <www.btinternet.com/~merciancycleslimited/>
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