Please forgive my asking, but how much did the rider weigh at the time of the breakage?
What still needs to be determined though is if DT's "tubes are failing outright" or if this is related to how the OP uses the bike. As a fellow commuter, I know how I treat my IXFS esp. now that I don't use public transportation anymore, and enjoy the challenge of getting home as fast as I can.
Last edited by spambait11; 11-21-07 at 05:44 PM.
You don't need a problem all the way through the tube....all you need is one 'dotted line' and time will take care of the rest.
I will say that before this actually broke, I would suspect that there was at least some sort of tell-tale signs going on if the owner would have inspected everything very closely. Probably this would have been more closely than normal. I would also think that there might have been a few seconds of the bike really moving around under the rider before it actually let go. But, since there isn't much bending in the ends of the tubes, it very well might have been a sudden brittle fracture.
My guess is that you could weld this, gusset the tubes a bit and get a fair bit more time on the bike. It would take a decent fabricator to do it, but they aren't _that_ hard to find. The bike is 6061 AL if I remember right, and that's a very common alloy that is easy to weld. Once it's welded, it will be no stronger or weaker than it was previously (except for the possibility of an undercut weld). The gusseting would made a big difference, though.
Regardless of the warranty limitations this is an obvious defect in materials and/or workmanship and Downtube should provide a new frame. In fact many states do not allow certain warranty limits regardless of what the manufacturer specifies. Downtube would also gain a lot of good publicity, and reroute the negative impacts of this occurence, by helping resolve the issue to the customer's satisfaction.
BTW I am recovering from a broken left hip and plan to buy a Downtube once I am riding again. So for both of those reasons I am watching this thread very closely.
Last edited by Cascade; 11-22-07 at 01:19 AM.
EvilV - thankyou for posting those pics - worth 1000 words and v sobering.
“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain
I love my Downtube NS-9 and hammer it daily for a 10mile to and 10 from
commute. Its totally flat here but you can still feel everything flexing like Gumby
In a hilly situation I suppose this would be even worse. But to be fair, a search using the
word 'crack' in the Roadie forum would show plenty of hyper-$$$$$ expensive bikes of
all types of materials crack too.
thanks for all the replies, I'm not going to have it welded as I really want to trust whats under me for safety's sake.
I would say that like a few of the people who replied, i like to ride speedily to and from work. the route is fairly flat and well made, but of course a few jolts have happened. not sure what my weight is as i don't have scales. If your riding style sounds like mine then maybe best to check the seat tube before you ride just in case. it could of course be that i have a duff unit but it doesn't hurt to be careful.
"If I went to Walmart and bought a cheapo MTB for $50, I'd expect this type of failure..."
I don't think so. There are ten million lawyers anxiously waiting for just this sort of thing!
Well as a Downtube owner (front suspension only) I can't deny I'm a little concerned. Was that frame a non suspension or just front suspension frame? Reason I ask is that the two frames do differ a little with an additional supporting member between the bottom bracket and top tube on the frame with just front suspension. This *might* prevent such a failure....
Anyway I know that frames do and can fail -even with the best quality control. More worrying would be more instances of this happening compared to the number of Downtubes used in a similar manner assuming usage within the weight parameters of Downtube (don't know how you find that out, but probably the best thing is to compare against the number of bikes sold and assume many of them aren't used as often, but I digress).
As a side note, when I buy a bicycle -whether from Walmart or any other source -I would not expect a frame breakage under normal usage for at least a couple of years worth of use. If the frame is prone to catastrophic failure, it shouldn't be sold, it's that simple. What's more difficult is ascertaining what "normal usage" is, and what "prone" to catastrophic failure means, what an acceptable timeframe involved is, and what are deemed acceptable limits. Having said that, I bought a Downtube knowing that there was only a year warrantee on the bike -frame and parts. In hindsight with respect to this post, I can't help wondering whether this was prudent.
Yan, if ever you need to reply to a thread, this is a good one!
just to confirm, its a black 2007 front suspension model.
Yan contributes to this forum pretty regularly - I'd be surprised if he hasn't been alerted to this thread. Has he been in contact with you on this? Have you emailed him? If so, what response? This is one DT problem I'd have expected him to be all over (to the extent of getting the bike mailed back to him to inspect). Having been made aware of this pretty serious failure, if he hasn't checked out whether its a more widespread design or manufacturing problem (as opposed to just an unlucky one-off) he could find himself on the end of some pretty toxic lawsuits if any other DT bikes break in the same way and someone gets hurt.
I would like to address a couple points. First I want to address this failure issue. Everyone seems interested in trying to determine the cause of this failure. I too am interested in the question, however there seems minimal information given. Rider weight/height has not been defined, exactly how it happened, was there an incident along the line of breakage previously? Ever have a shearing force at that point. Without more information I do not think anyone can make any claims about the bike. However I will agree that calling it defective from the pics and limited information would most likely be the proper judgment.
Now let me ask another question.....How likely is it that a manufacturer has no frames break? I would think it to be impossible for no frames to ever break by a manufacturer. I have broken two frames, one a Marin, and the other an off brand I can't remember. Does this information imply anything bad about the bikes? Maybe maybe not. It is the beginning point to asking the right questions and understanding.
Question #1 What is the defect rate of Downtube frames.....assuming this one is defective?
Answer: Well less than 1 out of a 1000.
Question #2 Are the frames tested?
Answer: Yes both by stress testing machines and by real life riding.
Question #3 Have the frames passed all tests?
Answer: Yes we have only broken one prototype frame during stress testing, and that frame was changed before production.
Question #4 are the current frames the same?
Answer: No there were some changes in 2008 to accommodate taller riders.
Question #5 Will the frames stay the same?
Answer: We have plans to change most of our lineup every year. As we have in the past.
Again I think the claims of our bikes being compared to Walmart bikes are a little premature.
This is the first I have heard about this problem, and I do not think it is proper for me to deal with it in a public forum. We handle many warranty claims every year, all are discussed privately. Hence I would prefer to do the same here.
I think we have a quality product with minimal defects and we have many customers that feel the same. FYI if our defect rate was high we could not sell our bikes for the prices we do. Our low problem rate make our business model feasible.
Several writers have mentioned that they were surprised I have addressed this issue before. I have stopped coming to the forums as frequently and will probably not attend as much in the future. In 2005/2006 I had a great time here....lots of fun & friends. Many of the old friends have moved on & several other members have used the forum to attack me. In short it is not as much fun as it was and I do not think I will be as active for a while. Hopefully it becomes fun again for everyone....why else would we all be here???
The Downtube bikes were never Walmart bikes, else they would never have had the reception they have had here. It seems to me that DT have produced some innovative cycles and given a lot of people pleasure for not a lot of money. They seem far and away in the bracket of 'best value' - not the cheapest, but far and away a better buy than many other low cost models. So they don't have top class componentry - well, if you want a lot of Campagnalo and other expensive makes, go out and pay through the nose for no more functionality.
I can buy a 2007 Mini here in Britain with all taxes paid ($190 tax and shipping) for an all in cost of £286. There is no decent folder here for ANYTHING like that, and that includes my beloved Merc which is £330. I have no doubt that the mini is the equal of that at least.
As for Matt's mention of law suits - what a bizarre idea. Everyone who ever gets on a bike knows that they take their life in their hands every time they do. We all want lighter and lighter bikes and any poster here knows that metal fatigues, especially aluminium. So who are we going to sue if a bike breaks? Personaly, I wash and minutely examine each of my bikes every hundred miles and on the ally ones - which is most of them, I look extremely carefully at the paintwork, especially around joints. I've never had a problem, but I'd count myself a fool if I rode a bike mile after mile knowing that ally frames let go occasionally and hadn't checked them out at known trouble spots on a regular basis.
“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain
You have to take rough with smooth; surely this forum is a feedback arena for 'real world' experience of 'real bike users' and hopefully for manufacturers. It's a pity that Yan doesn't want to hear the negative because it isn't fun. I read these threads to hear when things go wrong as-well as right.
I have a Downtube IX FS; I got it partly because of what I read on this forum and I will still buy a DT Mini (when shipped to UK). This one frame failure hasn't totally tarnished the brand. It has made me think about checking my 'stress lines' occasionally, so it's been useful. Of course if my frame failed i'd never buy that brand again so erm! (things that happen to me have more impact!)
The bike mechanic who set up my DT reckoned the frame was stronger and better engineered than many other folders he's worked on - so - what?
Where can I get a Walmart bike in the UK? (only joking)
But, realistically, how many people chime in
with negative stuff on any given multi-page
thread that are just opining with no first hand
knowlege of the product, as in, I wonder what the
ratio of real Downtube owners to opinionaters is
in the loooooong, ongoing Downtube thread ?
If I was a manufacturer my patience would wear
thin too....To its benefit, this is a friendly forum
compared to alot of the other ones, though.
Also, WAL*MART is soley responsible for the decline of our society...
You really dont want one there
A couple of things bothered me in this thread: The OP has no idea of his weight because he has no scales? Hmmm. What did I weigh the last time I checked? Was it 375? No no, silly me, it was 175.
The other is the shear point in the pics makes a lot more sense if that was where the saddle post ended. I know he said it was waaaay down further but the OP is the calmest guy in the thread, no evident anger, just willing to trash his 1.5 yr/old frame and move on. I'd like to see a pic of the post itself. Mine shows where it's insertion point is.
I'm all for open info but I'd bet a case of beer that the OP would have had a new frame on the way if he'd have handled this privately as Yan suggested. As others have said, bike frames do break. That breaking near the weld stuff was scary but we all know it happens. Given the compactness of folders, maybe our frames are stronger than larger bikes. I used to crew on an offshore aluminum dive boat. Things broke all too frequently. They got welded back together before 6 am next day.
Isn't the mini here in the UK? The DT site seems to suggest I can get one here. Maybe I missed something. I was tempted now the dollar price makes it so attractive. The mini has had some VERY enthusiastic reports on here - almost universally 'joyous'.
“Get a bicycle. You will not regret it, if you live." - Mark Twain
In this case it didn't seem like the OP thought he had or should have had a chance of getting any resolution from Downtube. I think that is often a mistake. Most companies want to have satisfied customers. If they can't see clear to replace the part in question sometimes they make other concessions like a deep discount on a replacement for the broken part.
I know that I have had great service from several companies in this regard and it tends to make me more loyal to their product. I am more likely to buy again and also to recommend the product to others.
Unfortunately, I can sympathize with his point that this path has been overused and perhaps abused.
Oh well, all good things eventually come to an end. RIP...
Last edited by SesameCrunch; 12-05-07 at 09:10 AM.
A frame break was brought to light publicly in the Swift forum and I believe it ended happily, with the owner getting a new frame, and showing pictures of the frame design changes Xooter made (which may not be necessary in this case).
BTW, I finally convinced my girlfriend to take the plunge and get a foldie, and am still seriously looking at the Mini. I'm going to have her test ride it at the NYC spring foldie ride if one's available.