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Old 09-29-12, 05:57 AM   #1
Johnny Rebel
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Bent seat stay... safe for dirt roads?

Hi, I posted this in framebuilding forum, but it might be better off here...

My steel frame (61cm 2007 Bianchi Castro Valley) was hit by a car at slow speed, bending the left seat stay inward slightly. It left a smooth bend, no kinks.

I took the bike to a frame builder who builds custom steel frames. He checked it out and straightened the alignment by cold-setting. He left the bend rather than fatigue the steel by straightening the bend.

He told me that I could basically keep riding it, but to keep an eye on the seat stay to make sure no cracks appeared, etc. He also said I shouldn't ride off-road with it. Thing is, since that time (4 years ago) my favorite rides by far have become dirt road/gravel rides -- bumpy, potholey dirt and farm roads, not singletrack. Also, I'm a pretty big guy at 6'2" 210lbs, if that matters.

So, experts, should I find a new frame and swap components or keep riding this frame? Would a picture help? The bend is hard to photograph.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 09-29-12, 06:00 AM   #2
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You already have advice from an expert - "....keep an eye on the seat stay to make sure no cracks appeared..." and you want more from people you don't know, who can't see the frame in person? You're not riding off road, and I assume you are not running roughshod, butt in the saddel over the potholes, so don't worry about it - ride.
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Old 09-29-12, 06:31 AM   #3
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All true, it's just that the local framebuilder moved away, I have been riding over rougher roads a lot more lately, and I guess I'm afraid the seat stay will break while I'm bombing down a dirt road, but steel shouldn't break so suddenly, right?
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Old 09-29-12, 06:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cny-bikeman View Post
You're not riding off road, and I assume you are not running roughshod, butt in the saddel over the potholes, so don't worry about it - ride.
Ahh, but he is.
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Old 09-29-12, 10:23 AM   #5
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If the bend is so slight that it's hard to photogrph, then it doesn't sound too serious.
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Old 09-29-12, 11:49 AM   #6
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Sounds like a good time for +1 in the form of a cyclocross or MTB setup. Building yourself a trail bike is a great winter project, they also serve well as winter/foul weather bikes.

OTOH, if the frame is steel and has held up for 4 years since the incident, it probably isn't going to fall apart on a gravel road. From a quick look at a couple images online it appears that the Castro Valley is not a delicate machine so I would be very surprised if you experienced catastrophic failure from anything short of a jump or the mother of all potholes.

Last edited by Myosmith; 09-29-12 at 11:58 AM.
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Old 09-29-12, 12:03 PM   #7
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It's steel, it will break slowly. The seatstay is the least loaded tube on the frame. Ride it!
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