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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 03-25-14, 05:17 PM   #1
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Oh NO! Bierwagen Suffered an Alloy Asplossion!

I was JRA (Just Riding Along). I swear. When, as I approach a very slight climbing corner, I stood up and upon exiting heard a "pop" and "th,th,th" that I initially thought was a puncture.

Stopped. Examined both tires and both appeared firm. Spun both wheels and no sound. Remounted the bike and started to pedal away, "th,th,th".

Repeated the above examinations and got on the bike again. This time I looked down for the noise and saw that the rear, drive side, dropout had cracked and was allowing the tire to rub the chainstay near the bottom bracket.

I knew Mrs. Fred was out for a run. Her parents were visiting, but, I knew that trying to give them directions to my location would result in two lost seniors and me still on the side of the road. So, I elected to attempt to ride home. Up hill was actually easier than down. As long as I kept steady pressure on the pedals throughout the entire revolution, chain tenstion would keep the crack closed up. But, down hill I had to grab as much front brake as my hand was capable of in order to pedal softly against that resistance and keep things tight. Fearing that the other side might let go at any moment I didn't dare go any faster than I was willing to crash:-)

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

[IMG][/IMG]

I initially planned to only go as far as the nearest coffee shop and then call for help with an address and business name the olds could find. But, by the time I reached the first one I was so close to home that I simply carried on.

Now, for the reparations.

In the meantime it's back to the old Caad4 and 180mm cranks for me. Riding the shorter cranks for the last few rides has certainly convinced me that the longer, proportional cranks are the way to go for me. I would be curious to ride some 190s in addition to the 200s on Bierwagen. But, the 200s are certainly superior to the 180s for me.

Check out the framebuilders forum if you want to follow the repair efforts.
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Old 03-25-14, 05:40 PM   #2
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dang that is scary!!! Crazy place to have it fail too
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Old 03-25-14, 05:44 PM   #3
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Can you say manufacturing defect?

Glad you made it out alright!
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Old 03-25-14, 06:01 PM   #4
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dang that is scary!!! Crazy place to have it fail too
Tell me about it! I'm glad it went on the last of three ascending corners and not in the middle of an 70kph descent.

Most of my failures have been surrounding the bottom bracket. Commonly it's been the drive side chainstay. The only time I remember breaking at frame near a drop out was one of the cantilevered Cannondale 3.0 frames I had broke the seat stay just about the weld. But, a failure of that type doesn't have quite the potential for catastrophic consequences.
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Old 03-25-14, 06:10 PM   #5
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Can you say manufacturing defect?

Glad you made it out alright!
I'm also very glad there were no negative consequences to me. I've been on the ground too many times lately. I'm already recovering from gravel rash on the right from an mtb off and road rash on the left from a slow speed fall on the road bike.

I think "design flaw" might be a better description than "manufacturing defect". You can imagine how the second screw necessitates that the dropout be relieved for the hanger plate on the inside. That leaves precious little metal in that region.

I have every reason to believe the dropout come from Nova. If you look at their current offerings you'll see an almost identical dropout that has the hanger on the outside and secured with only a single screw. It also has a horizontal web of material joining the seat and chainstay attachment points. All of this resulting in a lot more material in the region of this failure. I suspect they may have identified this weakness a while ago.

Anyhow, if you remember the Bierwagen build saga, the frame came to me as a second hand custom. The previous owner/designer had done his own tubing and fittings selection and mitering and then had a torch hand from a reputable California builder do the welding. So, there isn't a warranty of any kind.

We'll see if I can breath new life into it to get me through to the point that I build a frame to my dimensions.
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Old 03-25-14, 11:58 PM   #6
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I vaguely remember the details (waves hand around).

This completely contravenes the carbon assplodes but steel/AL is durable argument of course. I don't know how the hand-wringers will explain that away. Of course, that piece is metal on 100% of all bikes anyway.
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Old 03-26-14, 12:01 AM   #7
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Ouch! You must be putting out some serious torque to crack frames like that!
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Old 03-26-14, 03:35 AM   #8
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Pffftt! I rode an entire 400 randonnee with a broken dropout just like that one. Admittedly, I did have a rear rack to help hold it together, and I did have problems getting into the granny gear without the chain dropping into the spokes. I didn't find out until I took the rear wheel out at home after the event, and the drop-out fell on the floor.

The bolt-through for the derailleur hanger now doesn't seem such a good idea, eh?
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Old 03-26-14, 04:46 AM   #9
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Having had to abandon a 400 (was a very hilly one, and most were still to come), and ride 100km back to the start single speed due to a very bent hanger, replaceable hangers are the way to go, would prefer a frame with a more substantial dropout / better bolt positioning than #Bigfred 's though, as the lower bolt is close to the edge of the dropout, and the failure seems to go straight through it.
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Old 03-26-14, 09:55 AM   #10
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bigfred Dap weldwood is not the correct repair glue for that!

good luck on the repair.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:07 PM   #11
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I vaguely remember the details (waves hand around).

This completely contravenes the carbon assplodes but steel/AL is durable argument of course. I don't know how the hand-wringers will explain that away. Of course, that piece is metal on 100% of all bikes anyway.
It's all about failure "modes". I rode home on that. Carbon whould have surely placed me in the ditch, trying to reach my cell phone for a cal to the ambulance:-)

See? Aluminum is better!

Ha, Ha,
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Old 03-27-14, 03:09 PM   #12
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Ouch! You must be putting out some serious torque to crack frames like that!
It's not just the torque I'm obviously producing. It's the Terawatts of power I dialed it up to!
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Old 03-27-14, 03:12 PM   #13
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Pffftt! I rode an entire 400 randonnee with a broken dropout just like that one. Admittedly, I did have a rear rack to help hold it together, and I did have problems getting into the granny gear without the chain dropping into the spokes. I didn't find out until I took the rear wheel out at home after the event, and the drop-out fell on the floor.

The bolt-through for the derailleur hanger now doesn't seem such a good idea, eh?
Well, I didn't pick that dropout and hanger design.

The frame has been handed to a local frame builder to have a pair of plate style dropouts from Ceeway welded in. Still with a replacable hanger. But, an all around more durable looking item with more material in the web between stays.

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Having had to abandon a 400 (was a very hilly one, and most were still to come), and ride 100km back to the start single speed due to a very bent hanger, replaceable hangers are the way to go, would prefer a frame with a more substantial dropout / better bolt positioning than #Bigfred 's though, as the lower bolt is close to the edge of the dropout, and the failure seems to go straight through it.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:12 PM   #14
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bigfred Dap weldwood is not the correct repair glue for that!

good luck on the repair.
Maybe some 5 minute epoxy would do the trick.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:15 PM   #15
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Two words - Duct Tape.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:15 PM   #16
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Dodgy Frame Dealings,

So, there I was, parked in an industrial park parking lot, handing my frame/bike over to some guy I had never met before and only communicated with via two texts.

It was somewhat comforting when one of the local oldtimers I was riding with yesterday gave the guy a hearty recommendation.

We'll see what I get back in a week or two.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:17 PM   #17
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Two words - Duct Tape.
Wrapped really tight, with a hose clamp over top of it for good measure.
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Old 03-27-14, 03:30 PM   #18
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It's not just the torque I'm obviously producing. It's the Terawatts of power I dialed it up to!
And the guads... don't forget your mighty guads
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Old 03-27-14, 04:52 PM   #19
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My Cannondale, 1989 3.0, broke it almopst exactly the same place. I was on the trainer with it and the bike slumped to the side after a breaking metal sound. A guy at work welded it. I only use it on the trainer now.
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Old 04-06-14, 03:13 PM   #20
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We Can Rebuild It, Better, Faster, Stronger!

It's baaaaackkkkkkkk.

Let's see how this does:

[IMG][/IMG]

The welds aren't as neat and tidy as the original. But, he was having to manipulate things a little to make the plates work.

For those interested in seeing the now removed original:

[IMG][/IMG]

Precious little metal for the rear end of a clydecycle. Made worse by the fact that the machining for the hanger left a very sharp 90 degree stress riser at the bottom of what effectively became a hinge. Really, no surprise this gave up on me. I'll keep this in mind for any future frames.

While I was at Mike's shop we discussed the possibility of him building another frame for me. I have to say, he has one of the most "study" looking jigs I've ever seen:-) The thing is "robust" to say the least.

Well, the hiatus from Bierwagen has actually been a good thing. It's forced me back onto the 180s long enough to get reaquainted with them and now I'll get to move back to the 200s, for a better idea of how they compare than I would have otherwise had the patience for.
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Old 04-07-14, 03:27 PM   #21
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I vaguely remember the details (waves hand around).

This completely contravenes the carbon assplodes but steel/AL is durable argument of course.
That's not as assplosion, that's a crack. If it were carbon, it would not have cracked but would have failed catastrophically without warning of any kind. The only nursing home that would have been done would have been BigFred in the back of an ambulance.

Personally, I really don't understand the fascination with carbon fibre. Sure, if you're Lance Armstrong and have cars loaded with bikes, parts and mechanics following you (except when you run short of bikes because they were sold to fund your blood-doping program, but I digress), then fine. Trouble is, none of us have even a prayer of riding at that level. If you want to shave a few pounds off of your bike, then go on a diet.

Okay, rant over.
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Old 04-07-14, 03:47 PM   #22
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Personally, I don't understand the mentality of the crowd that bemoan carbon fiber and then put a carbon fiber fork on their bikes.

I guess we should all go out and get a GMC Denali too, because that's more "level appropriate" than whatever we're currently riding.
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