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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Frame condition - how do I know?

    About eight months ago, I acquired an '87 Appel. It rides very well, handles, climbs excellently, etc. Aside from some rubbed-off paint, but no real evident rust, I wonder about how the frame is internally. Is the only way that I can tell if it is rusted internally is by stripping the frame down? I would like to get it repainted at one point, so maybe then would be the time, unless there is some other way to find out about the frame's condition.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Randomhead
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    I've had the same kind of worries, although I had a bike that had significant rust. I finally lost confidence in that frame and built myself a new one. It's really difficult to judge the condition of a frame like that, but in the absence of rust I don't think you have much to worry about. I have thought about using an ultrasonic thickness gauge, that's big money just for an inspection if you don't have the equipment.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I've had the same kind of worries, although I had a bike that had significant rust. I finally lost confidence in that frame and built myself a new one. It's really difficult to judge the condition of a frame like that, but in the absence of rust I don't think you have much to worry about. I have thought about using an ultrasonic thickness gauge, that's big money just for an inspection if you don't have the equipment.
    I have a 1974 Porsche 911 which I worried endlessly over about rust. (Funny thing now is I'm trying to sell the car, though that's another story entirely). Anyway, my auto mechanic said the only time one has to worry about rust, at least on a car body, is when the paint begins to bubble out.

    I'm not a body guy, nor a frame builder. But like the Porsche, the Appel excels at everything I would like it to do. If rust is an issue, compromising the frame in some manner, wouldn't that reveal itself in how the bicycle rides? I'm asking, essentially, because I might like to have the frame repainted. But why bother with hundreds of $$$ to have a respray if the frame might sooner or later break apart, right?

    If that's the case, I'm more than willing to one day have another frame built which mimics this frame's measurements and angles. It's by far the best lugged steel frame I've ridden, and I love the Columbus SL tubing it's made out of, which is also my favorite tubing.

  4. #4
    Randomhead
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    All the Appels I have seen were lugged. On a lugged bike frame, rust almost always shows up on the outside. Most steel bikes have a nice patina of rust on the inside of the tubes, but it doesn't usually go unstable like the rust on the outside. This is unlike a car, which can have horrible problems with rust on the inside and you don't know it until it rusts entirely through a body panel. On bikes, rust problems generally start from paint problems, not the other way around.

    With a lugless bike frame, it is possible that water might get trapped down by the bb shell. This can cause rust-through just like on a car.

    One thing you should do with a steel frame is apply framesaver or equivalent at the recommended interval.

  5. #5
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    All the Appels I have seen were lugged.
    In the mid-80's Appel made a fillet-brazed frame (the "Limited") that used off-the-peg geometry rather than full-custom. He sold a lot of these to shops.

  6. #6
    Randomhead
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    that's interesting John, I didn't really follow his career because he went into business after I really stopped paying much attention to bikes. I just threw that in there because there is the possibility of a fillet-brazed frame rusting from the inside.

    I always thought of fillet-brazed as being a cheaper method of building, but I was looking at Bilenky's price list and they actually charge extra for it.

  7. #7
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    Yes, this Appel is lugged. I really love this bike, even if it is a CM or so too large (the top tube is right against my crotch). I've considered new steel frames, like Gunnar or IF frames, even Serotta, but just can't justify them as this frame rides so well. In its current build with Shimano 105, Ultegra and DA parts, it weighs in at 19 lbs. Light, IMO, with a Goodrich steel fork.
    Appel left..jpgAppel Right..jpg

    I'm thinking of British Racing Green for the frame, or Molteni Orange. I just hope the decals can be preserved, or at least well duplicated.

  8. #8
    Senior Member ftwelder's Avatar
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    If any loose material falls out of the frame when you tap it with a light piece of wood it has a problem. It will also lose it's "fine china tink" sound. I have heard *** smiths have some type of device for viewing into a *** barrel.

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