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  1. #1
    gnz
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    Seeking expert advice: Al Frame crack after flight... will it break? [see pic]

    Hi, well I am so frustrated right now, I just finished putting together the bike to start my tour tomorrow and noticed the frame has a crack at the derailer dropout. See pictures below.

    I need some expert opinion... do you think the frame will break all the way if I ride the bike loaded? I found no trace of the crack on the other side of the derailer dropout attachment hole, it seems it is only on the thin side... Right now I'm thinking that I will take my chances and just ride carefully.

    I am in Portugal right now and headed towards Spain, When I reach Sevilla I will look for some aluminium welder place to have a bar soldered and reinforce the frame...

    Any opinions / advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.




  2. #2
    apocryphal sobriquet J.C. Koto's Avatar
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    It *will* break all the way. Get it fixed ASAP!! Your derailleur hanger plate might slow down the damage, but that's a potentially catastrophic, injury inducing kind of fault.

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    uh... more like get a new frame. did the airline break it? you got insurance?

  4. #4
    Day trip lover mr geeker's Avatar
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    i second goldfishin. after all, the grand canyon was once but a crack in the ground.
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    that look's bad you better start looking for somebody who can weld aluminium.

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    I disagree with everyone here. The crack clearly cannot progress any further because of the derailleur mounting hole. The section that is cracked is only going to be loaded in compression when you are riding. I can't think of any riding situation that could exert any tension on this crack except for popping a wheelie and balancing on the back wheel so that the seat stay goes past vertical. I can see no impact on the performance of this frame. It was probably caused by the derailleur hanger getting torqued during shipping, check that it is still straight. Don't pop any wheelies.

  7. #7
    don't try this at home. rm -rf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J.C. Koto View Post
    It *will* break all the way. Get it fixed ASAP!! Your derailleur hanger plate might slow down the damage, but that's a potentially catastrophic, injury inducing kind of fault.
    But the axle would still be clamped to the chainstay on that side if it broke all the way across. It would be more of a wheel off center and rubbing the stays problem, I think. The rider should be able to stop without crashing, but might be stuck at the side of the road.

  8. #8
    Bike Nerd Mr. Jim's Avatar
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    I can offer no opinion as to what the frame might or might not do. I can however offer my personal opinion, I would not ride a bike with that crack.
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    Senior Member ricohman's Avatar
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    As a hobby welder....
    You should be able to find someone to fix that fairly easily.
    He will notch the crack and fill it. You can then grind it smooth and apply some paint if you want.
    The repair should be plenty strong.
    The crack appears to have been there for some time judging by the paint thats missing.
    Last edited by ricohman; 05-26-09 at 10:32 AM.

  10. #10
    rhm
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfishin View Post
    uh... more like get a new frame. did the airline break it? you got insurance?
    I agree, this calls for a new frame, especially if you can get the airline or insurance to pay for it.

    That said, I must admit I also agree with Dan:
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    I disagree with everyone here. The crack clearly cannot progress any further because of the derailleur mounting hole. The section that is cracked is only going to be loaded in compression when you are riding. I can't think of any riding situation that could exert any tension on this crack except for popping a wheelie and balancing on the back wheel so that the seat stay goes past vertical. I can see no impact on the performance of this frame. It was probably caused by the derailleur hanger getting torqued during shipping, check that it is still straight. Don't pop any wheelies.
    I also agree with this....
    Quote Originally Posted by ricohman View Post
    ...
    The crack appears to have been there for some time judging by the paint thats missing.
    but, bottom line, I also agree with this.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Jim View Post
    ... I would not ride a bike with that crack.
    Well, at least, I wouldn't ride it far or fast.

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    I agree with Dan, it looks like the crack can't propagate any further because of the hanger bolt hole. I'd expect that the forces from the axle and racks are supported by the area of the dropout behind the hole, so I wouldn't expect it to break from touring.

    I'm no engineer, but I have broken few bikes. I'd ride it, and if it falls apart or bugs me I'd replace the frame which shouldn't be to hard to do in Spain, even on tour. Also, if it does break catastrophically while riding you're only dealing with a severely rubbing tire and wheel, which is usually pretty easy to control.
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    Senior Member bentbaggerlen's Avatar
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    As to repairing the frame. Yes it can be done...
    First off what make of frame is it?
    What series aluminium is the frame made of?
    The most commonly used alloys are 6061, 6061T6 and 7071,7075 etc, look for a sticker on the frame.

    It is unlikely that the crack formed in shipping, unless the frame was subject to a large impact.
    Everyone assumes that the crack started at the front of the drop out a traveled to the hanger hole, more then likely the crack started at the hard edge of the hanger hole and traveled to the front of the drop out. Cracks in aluminum like to form at hard edges and the heat affected zones around the welds. All the forces that caused the crack to form are now being applied to another section of the frame.
    Last edited by bentbaggerlen; 05-26-09 at 05:21 PM.
    Bentbaggerlen
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  13. #13
    Senior Member DukeArcher's Avatar
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    Gonz, you must fix the damage - do NOT get a new frame! So much history with that one and you love the damn thing! I say get it welded mate!

  14. #14
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    How effective would an adhesive be in that location? Any glass/carbon fibre wrap would have to go around the seatstay and the chainstay. Its the kind of bodge that might hold if you cant find an Al welder or get a replacement. The main purpose would be to take some stress away from the bolt-to-dropout section to stop that from cracking.

  15. #15
    Mad bike riding scientist cyccommute's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gnz View Post
    Hi, well I am so frustrated right now, I just finished putting together the bike to start my tour tomorrow and noticed the frame has a crack at the derailer dropout. See pictures below.

    I need some expert opinion... do you think the frame will break all the way if I ride the bike loaded? I found no trace of the crack on the other side of the derailer dropout attachment hole, it seems it is only on the thin side... Right now I'm thinking that I will take my chances and just ride carefully.

    I am in Portugal right now and headed towards Spain, When I reach Sevilla I will look for some aluminium welder place to have a bar soldered and reinforce the frame...

    Any opinions / advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
    No your bike won't break. It is already broken. I don't think it was the airline that broke the bike either. It looks like something that happened during previous riding and would probably be covered under a frame warranty. Try contacting the frame manufacture and see what they say before you have it repaired (which will void the warranty).

    Personally, I wouldn't ride it.
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    as long as he's the original owner he will be ok im sure (hopefully).

  17. #17
    Senior Member RoMad's Avatar
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    I was a welder for many years and still work in the construction industry. It does not look like a new crack to me, but I would get it repaired before going too far on it. You have probably been riding on it for a while without knowing it. It should not be hard to find someone in most towns to repair it. Just make sure they identify the base metal and use the proper filler metal. As for warranty I would think that if you are in a remote area and have it repaired, having the photos should be plenty of evidence to cover a warranty replacement. I don't think any frame manufacturer would go to the trouble to repair it, they would just give you a new frame. If they don't cover it under warranty, look at the bright side. You can always upgrade to a steel frame .

  18. #18
    gnz
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    Quote Originally Posted by goldfishin View Post
    uh... more like get a new frame. did the airline break it? you got insurance?
    It seems to me the airline did break it. But I've been in Portugal already for more than three weeks. No longer have any papers/receipts which make my chances slim... also, airlines nowadays make you sign they are not responsible for anytihng. I've got no separate insurance.

  19. #19
    gnz
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan The Man View Post
    I disagree with everyone here. The crack clearly cannot progress any further because of the derailleur mounting hole. The section that is cracked is only going to be loaded in compression when you are riding. I can't think of any riding situation that could exert any tension on this crack except for popping a wheelie and balancing on the back wheel so that the seat stay goes past vertical. I can see no impact on the performance of this frame. It was probably caused by the derailleur hanger getting torqued during shipping, check that it is still straight. Don't pop any wheelies.
    I think so too. I also think that if it failed I'd still be able to make a controlled stop and that's why I rode it... I'll post a report on a next post.

  20. #20
    gnz
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    Quote Originally Posted by rm -rf View Post
    But the axle would still be clamped to the chainstay on that side if it broke all the way across. It would be more of a wheel off center and rubbing the stays problem, I think. The rider should be able to stop without crashing, but might be stuck at the side of the road.
    Yep, I agree... I've ridden it for 300km already, have some more details to report on a following post...

  21. #21
    gnz
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricohman View Post
    As a hobby welder....
    You should be able to find someone to fix that fairly easily.
    He will notch the crack and fill it. You can then grind it smooth and apply some paint if you want.
    The repair should be plenty strong.
    The crack appears to have been there for some time judging by the paint thats missing.
    I'm in Faro, a small town in Portugal... Someone is helping me find an aluminium welder, after talking with him I will decide if I will attempt some sort of repair.

    I'm pretty confident the crack is new... see the report on a following post...

  22. #22
    gnz
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    Quote Originally Posted by bentbaggerlen View Post
    As to repairing the frame. Yes it can be done...
    First off what make of frame is it?
    What series aluminium is the frame made of?
    The most commonly used alloys are 6061, 6061T6 and 7071,7075 etc, look for a sticker on the frame.

    It is unlikely that the crack formed in shipping, unless the frame was subject to a large impact.
    Everyone assumes that the crack started at the front of the drop out a traveled to the hanger hole, more then likely the crack started at the hard edge of the hanger hole and traveled to the front of the drop out. Cracks in aluminum like to form at hard edges and the heat affected zones around the welds. All the forces that caused the crack to form are now being applied to another section of the frame.
    It is a New Zealand made 2001 Avanti pioneer bike. The frame material is 6061.
    I'm pretty confident the crack is new and it appeared during transit between home (U.S.) and Lisbon Portugal, see report on a following post...

  23. #23
    gnz
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeArcher View Post
    Gonz, you must fix the damage - do NOT get a new frame! So much history with that one and you love the damn thing! I say get it welded mate!
    Hey Kyle!, well this proves you right with yet another thing, the frame material!. Remember our discussions? so far I've: gotten fenders, gotten wider tires... replaced my brooks with one with springs, now the frame!!

    I think I'll try the soldering as a temporary solution until I can crash somewhere nice for enough time to have a new frame shipped. Yes I will miss my frame, so many kms, but I don't want it failing catastrophically while in the middle of nowhere.

    cheers mate!.

  24. #24
    gnz
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
    No your bike won't break. It is already broken.
    I was referring to having it breaking off completely.

    Thanks for your insight.

  25. #25
    gnz
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoMad View Post
    I was a welder for many years and still work in the construction industry. It does not look like a new crack to me, but I would get it repaired before going too far on it. You have probably been riding on it for a while without knowing it. It should not be hard to find someone in most towns to repair it. Just make sure they identify the base metal and use the proper filler metal. As for warranty I would think that if you are in a remote area and have it repaired, having the photos should be plenty of evidence to cover a warranty replacement. I don't think any frame manufacturer would go to the trouble to repair it, they would just give you a new frame. If they don't cover it under warranty, look at the bright side. You can always upgrade to a steel frame .
    Im almost sure it is a new crack, and it happened during the recent transport. Yes I will start my shopping for a new steel frame.

    thanks.

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