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Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

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Old 01-21-08, 08:48 AM   #1
foamy
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Has anyone ever broken a frame?

Just wondering. Everyone talks about toughness and durability in a touring bike frame. Who's actually broken one? One that wasn't bent or damaged to start with? I've broken a low-end Trek 830 after nine years of serious abuse mountain biking (and they honored their warranty, no problem), but other than that, I've read of one touring frame that broke and it had been dinged on the seat tube, and that failed many miles (years?) afterward.

At what point is enough—enough? I think people are into over-kill on this bit and place way too much stock in it. If you tour off-road, that's a different matter.

So, c'mon, let's hear about broken frames.
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Old 01-21-08, 09:45 AM   #2
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In earlier days of riding in city traffic, when I was less confident, I felt a car bearing down on me so bailed out and ran into the back of a parked van. The front fork was obviously bent, but at the bike shop the mechanic pointed to cracks in the paint around the front lugs and said that the frame couldn't be relied on and should be replaced.

I've been reading that one advantage of lugged frames is that they can be repaired. If so, I wonder why this wasn't the case here?
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Old 01-21-08, 09:47 AM   #3
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MTB frames yes a couple. Road or touring never.
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Old 01-21-08, 09:50 AM   #4
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I killed a lugged steel frame with a slow head-on crash-- cracked the head tube.

I had a steel crowned fork go bad on me-- a really hard shimmey. I thought the fork was bent, but it wasn't. It's just worn out. The seat stay on the same bike has a crack in it as well. I have no idea how many miles it had on it, but a lot.

I broke a rear drop-out on a Alu MTB frame-- most likely bad from the factory.

I've seen a number of broken frames at bike shops over the years, steel, alu, carbon-- nothing lasts forever. But bike frames do last a long time. Rust seems to kill many more steel frames than the road does.

As for as touring bikes, the thing most likely to break are the braze-ons. Steel seems to be better for attaching racks, IMO, although some alu frames are designed better for racks than others. Cannondale touring frames are really, really though-- there are lots them still around-- the same with all the steel frames like Panasonic and Trek.
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Old 01-21-08, 09:52 AM   #5
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yup.

aluminum frames.

when I get chainsuck on the trail due to lack of chainring
maintenace and mayhem, I backpedal out. it eventually saws
through the frame if you do it enough times


other than that, nope.
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Old 01-21-08, 09:57 AM   #6
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Cracked chainstay at rear dropout on an Ishiwata tubed early Trek. Replaced by factory.

Cracked seat tube below lug on a bought used 531 tubed touring bike.

Neither were from abuse or crashes. Touring bike had provided many years of service.
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Old 01-21-08, 10:17 AM   #7
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Not a touring specific frame per se, but I did give up on my old Raleigh Technium mtb that I'd used for mtbing then touring. I'd had suspicions that the frame was parting ways (the Technium was a rear steel triangle chemically bonded to a front alu triangle) and to prevent any accidents when I decided to toss it I hacksawed the frame. As suspected, at least one of the bonds had completely failed -you felt like it had, but since you couldn't test it adequately when the frame was together, I was never completely sure.
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Old 01-21-08, 02:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by foamy View Post
Just wondering. Everyone talks about toughness and durability in a touring bike frame. Who's actually broken one? One that wasn't bent or damaged to start with? I've broken a low-end Trek 830 after nine years of serious abuse mountain biking (and they honored their warranty, no problem), but other than that, I've read of one touring frame that broke and it had been dinged on the seat tube, and that failed many miles (years?) afterward.

At what point is enough—enough? I think people are into over-kill on this bit and place way too much stock in it. If you tour off-road, that's a different matter.

So, c'mon, let's hear about broken frames.
Not touring bike...or any road bike for that matter...but I have broken 4 frames. Two steel mountain bikes and 2 aluminum mountain bikes. Contrary to poplar opinion, the aluminum ones didn't shatter and fail without warning. They creaked and groaned for weeks but I was too dumb to recognize it. The steel ones, on the other hand, when 'ping' and were broken without warning.

I have broken a touring bike frame but that has something to do with slamming it into the side of a car
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Old 01-21-08, 06:45 PM   #9
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Yes Sir I broke one.

I am a big boy 6' 1'' 225. I road a new steel lugged touring frame made by Raleigh for about 1000 miles and then took it on a cross country self supported tour. I was carrying 45 lbs. of gear. I made it the whole way but when I got home and rode the bike unloaded it wobbled on high speeds. To make a long story short.... The seat stay was cracked at the rack mount braze-on. I think the rack was holding the frame together for the last 1000 miles of my trip. I got a new frame out of the deal and am still riding it.
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Old 01-21-08, 06:48 PM   #10
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In 73 I had the head tube brazing break on the 10 speed Dutch bike (name?) that I had bought about 3 months before. Rebrazed under warranty until I sold it a year later to upgrade.
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Old 01-21-08, 06:54 PM   #11
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"Everyone talks about toughness and durability in a touring bike frame. Who's actually broken one?"

The most comon thing we hear, is about buying a frame with long enough chain stays. I don't think there is a lot of reason to be concerned about breakages. Durability is the standard though for touring, so even if most of us don't need it, it's the objective. There is certainly lots of room for improvement, even if most of us don't need it. Same thing with most high performance bikes, the average joe doesn't get the full benefit.

I think the mega touring frame comes from the need to eliminate shimmy; get the right compliance for the load, or americanasuarus riding it; And stop the little bits from coming appart, ever. Not the same deal as launching your bike into a tree but potentailly taxing.
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Old 01-21-08, 07:14 PM   #12
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In 1976, early in Trek's corporate life, I bought one of their bike frames. Shortly after the third ride, the seat tube and down tube on my Trek bike pulled out of the bottom bracket lug due to defective silver solder brazing. That was my first and last Trek.

I sold the warranty repaired frame and bought a Mondia Special Swiss touring bike which I rode for ten years before switching to a mtn bike for touring.
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Old 01-21-08, 08:17 PM   #13
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Never broke a touring frame...in fact I still have my 70's vintage Moby that carried me across country in 1977. I have been riding for over 35 years and have only broken 2 frames; a Schwinn Heavy Duty that was replaced under warranty and a Teledyne Titan (and that was a known issue with them).

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Old 01-21-08, 09:22 PM   #14
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I've broken two frames. Both involved running into something (at 10 and 14 MPH) hard enough to go over the handlebars. The down-tube and top tube both buckles near where thewy join and the front fforks bent near the top. A Bianchi Volpe and a Miyata 1000 tourer.
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Old 01-21-08, 09:32 PM   #15
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I saw quite a few broken MTB frames when I worked at Mount Snow VT.

Road frame failures that weren't because of a crash? Two in the 18 years I have been riding and working on bikes. One was an aluminum Raleigh that broke at the down tube/ headtube weld. The other was a custom steel touring bike that broke at the seatstay/seatlug joint.
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Old 01-22-08, 08:46 AM   #16
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I have never broken a touring frame, but did manage to damage one. After tipping over on its side and crashing to the ground, the top tube and down tube were dented. I rode the bike for two years without problems, but after being warned by a bike mechanic that I was walking on thin ice, I replaced the frame.
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Old 01-23-08, 02:29 AM   #17
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Not quite the frame, but after ten years the fork on my Dawes fractured at the drop out. It was quite well timed as I'd just got home after 6 months on the road.
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Old 01-23-08, 08:22 PM   #18
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Aluminum-framed REI Novara Gran Fondo (sold as sort-of a credit-card touring bike) cracked behind the chainstay bridge. Got my money back.

Lugged steel Trek 400 with Reynolds 531 destroyed in a head-on collision.
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