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  1. #1
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Give me the facts, just the facts...

    I posted this in another thread, but thought it might deserve a thread of its own.

    I know this is going to be like talking religion or politics and may get me in trouble, but here goes...

    There are two common beliefs in touring that get repeated so often, they have become dogma.

    The first is that a dollar bill can be used if necessary as a tire boot. Have you actually tried this? I don't want you to tell me what you've heard. I want to know from real experience. Dollar bill=tire boot ? Rubbish.

    The second is that traveling in foreign lands with anything but a steel frame is asking for trouble. Afterall, no matter how remote the location, you will find a villager with a full machine shop in his mud hut and you will be able to have a broken frame welded. Once again, has this ever happened to you? I'm not interested in speculation, or remote theoretical possibilities. I want the facts, just the facts. Where were you when your frame broke, and how did you get it mended?


    Now I'll stand back and watch for arrows and insults.
    Is this what they call "trolling", stirring up trouble with inflamatory statements on the internet?
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  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    The first is that a dollar bill can be used if necessary as a tire boot. Have you actually tried this? I don't want you to tell me what you've heard. I want to know from real experience. Dollar bill=tire boot ? Rubbish.
    Not sure about a dollar bill. Where I live, it would have to be a five. We don't have dollar bills.

    But a granola bar wrapper works.


    Here's a thread I started a little while ago which you might enjoy ... it presents a scenario of a hole in my tire and my options for booting the hole. And there are some very creative answers.
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...-and?highlight



    (Incidentally, I have also tried electrical tape as a boot, and that does not work)

  3. #3
    Hooked on Touring
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    Dollar bill worked in the past - 20+ miles no problem.
    But they don't make dollars the way they used to.

    PS - I wouldn't trust those Canadian dollars - they're loonie.

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    We don't have dollar bills in Australia, only dollar coins. So can't really comment there.

    I broke my right rear drop out in half before a 400 randonnee on my touring bike. Rode the ride without knowing, but did have shifting difficulties. Found out when I got home, got the oxy-aceylene going at work and brazed the pieces back together. It's still OK 3-1/2 years later.

    Anything can happen on a tour, but I make my decisions based on risk management. I know enough to braze a make-shift repair, if I can find the kit to do it with. I am also aware that if I do a repair, it will be makeshift and that there might be issues later with weakening of the structure of the alloy steel.

    I would not let a stick welder near it, and I wouldn't trust a TIG or MIG operator unless he was into fine welding.

    Plumbers, however, are a good resource in braze welding -- I had one braze some brake bosses on to the seat stays of an old tandem frame I upgraded to V-brakes, and he did a swift, good job worthy of a six pack of beer (I did the aligment beforehand, and he was careful to avoid too much heat penetration into the tubing).

    Much will depend on where you wish to travel, and what bail-out options you have. I've toured/randonneed (fast toured) in some remotish areas on steel, titanium and carbon. But there have always been bail-out options and the rides weren't particularly long or onerous.

    For the longer or more isolated trips, I have chosen steel, and some of that relates to ability to carry heavier touring loads without becoming noodly. The repairability factor is just one in several areas of decision making on a frame.

    I will say that a bent bike (as in being damaged by a vehicle hitting it) might be more retrievable if steel than aluminium, and titanium and carbon would probably be right-offs. However, there would need to be some judicious judgment on bending tubing back something that resembles the original shape -- a suitably shaped dolly and rubber mallet might be very useful, along with some round steel crowbars and vices (or maybe a tree fork ).
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    I should add that our money bills start at $5 and go up to $100, and the increase in size with each step. So you could carry $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills in your seat bag and cover all sidewall gashes up to about 5" in length.

    They're also made of plastic that is almost impossible to tear in half.

    On the frame material, another thought that is relevant is the vulnerability of the derailleur hangers. I've eased both steel and aluminium ones back into alignment before, but I am always leery of the alloy ones breaking. The alloy one in my case wasn't out by much, but enough to cause issues with shifting (it was a second-hand frame bought on spec).

    I would be far more comfortable with a steel bike with integrated hanger. Or an aluminium or carbon one with a screw-on hanger with a spare in the tool pouch. Or simply a Rohloff.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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    yes, a dollar bill (or even a five or ten) works well as boot for short period of time. I have used them on several occasions for small sidewall blisters or cuts in the tread. A piece of tyvek (from a fedex or express mail envelope) works well too as does a piece of powerbar wrapper.

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    Well I travel to a very foreign country (Canada) to ride often and I have survived only because of my steel framed bike ;-)
    1965 Moulton Speed 4, 1974 Fuji 12 speed, 1987 DB Ascent EX, 2006 Dahon Speed TR, 2009 Salsa Fargo, 2011 Gravity 29.4, 2011 Salsa Casseroll, 2012 Surly Moonlander

  8. #8
    Garlic
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    First time I booted a tire was with a gum wrapper I found and it worked to get me home. I was a poor kid in the early sixties and didn't have a dollar. Next time, I used a dollar bill. I was on a two track road about 20 miles from town and it did the trick. Both serial numbers survived so I was even able to trade the bill in for a new one at the local bank. A piece of Tyvek is a great idea--I'll carry that now.

  9. #9
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    I have used dollar bills in the past, now a piece of a Fedex envelope would be my choice. I prefer steel because that is what I am comfortable with, and as Rowan has pointed out it can be easily brazed. Newer steel frames are TIG welded, however not everyone has the ability to do that, brazing is much more common.

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  10. #10
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Yes, I have used a dollar bill and it worked OK but prefer a couple pieces of duck (duct) tape as they stay in place better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skilsaw View Post
    I posted this in another thread, but thought it might deserve a thread of its own.

    I know this is going to be like talking religion or politics and may get me in trouble, but here goes...

    There are two common beliefs in touring that get repeated so often, they have become dogma.

    The first is that a dollar bill can be used if necessary as a tire boot. Have you actually tried this? I don't want you to tell me what you've heard. I want to know from real experience. Dollar bill=tire boot ? Rubbish.

    The second is that traveling in foreign lands with anything but a steel frame is asking for trouble. Afterall, no matter how remote the location, you will find a villager with a full machine shop in his mud hut and you will be able to have a broken frame welded. Once again, has this ever happened to you? I'm not interested in speculation, or remote theoretical possibilities. I want the facts, just the facts. Where were you when your frame broke, and how did you get it mended?


    Now I'll stand back and watch for arrows and insults.
    Is this what they call "trolling", stirring up trouble with inflamatory statements on the internet?
    Tire boots are cheap these days, that using a dollar bill is unnecessary anymore. I've used it, but when it rains, the bill doesn't last as a proper tire boot. Save the money and get the boot pack from REI or MEC in Canada.

    Steel frame welding together is really an old myth. It may be true in the old days where Tour De France riders were more independent. There were no support cars and no isntant wheel change. Steel frames then were easily fixed by a competent welder. Unfortunately these days with TIG welded frames, this is no longer true.
    The problem with welding back a frame is that, you need to align it the frame because usually it is damaged. A misaligned frame can cause slight shimmy effect at certain speeds and this is noticeable even by the original owner. Recently, a wife of my friend got hit by a car and her steel frame got bent. She took it to the person who built it and they fixed the frame up by replacing the damaged top tube and rebending the front fork all to a tolerance of about 1mm off. Sadly, she noticed the shimmy with a load and at high speeds deccent that she never noticed before after 19 years riding the frame. In fact, she is contemplating replacing the frame. The repair itself costed her $1000 Canadian dollars. A rip off perhaps when you can get a Surly LHT or Soma at close to that price.
    In reality, steel, aluminum or carbon make no difference. In fact, several riders we sponsored on long tours when I was working for this company mailed, yes mailed them a new frame when their frames got trashed. It is called Fedex or UPS and it is obviously cheaper and more reliable. Frames are aligned and is new.
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  12. #12
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    I have sought and found a welder to patch together a frame crack, mid tour,
    they made architectural air Ductwork of stainless steel as their actual business.

    Cost was just a 20 Punt note [pre EU currency integration Ireland]

  13. #13
    Woof! venturi95's Avatar
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    I worked for a framebuilder in the 1980s. One time a couple of guys from India were touring the U.S. on a super cheap steel tandem, and needed the rear seat stays reattached, we did a "better than new" repair.

  14. #14
    Every day a winding road spinnaker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robow View Post
    Yes, I have used a dollar bill and it worked OK but prefer a couple pieces of duck (duct) tape as they stay in place better.
    And with inflation, it will take at least a 20 dollar bill to provide the same protection a dollar used to.
    "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

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  15. #15
    <riding now> BigAura's Avatar
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    I cut a plastic soda bottle, found on the side of the road, and affixed it with duct tape as a boot. I rode for 250 miles on The Alaska Highway till I was able to get a new tire.

  16. #16
    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    I have used dollar bills in the past, now a piece of a Fedex envelope would be my choice.
    I like to carry a pretty big chunk of Tyvek, something like 12X12, to use as a work surface while doing repairs. I've lost one to many tools to the apparently allen wrench colored ground.

  17. #17
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    I used a dollar tire boot. Inch long gash in the sidewall, 20 miles, no problems.

  18. #18
    Senior Member robow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
    And with inflation, it will take at least a 20 dollar bill to provide the same protection a dollar used to.
    and yet another good reason not to go back to the gold standard or gold as a transferable currency because gold bars or nuggets make a terrible boot.

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    Never used a dollar bill, have used fiber tape, and it lasted for years, it was so effective that the tire had a depression where the tape was because it did not stretch like the tire did.

    The welding is totally true. Tour de France, what the heck? TIG has nothing to do with it, TIG is a great way to weld the steel in a bike, but repair and a building from scratch are very different things. You can do either with just about any welding method if you are determined enough and skilled enough, but TIG is so good it is beyond structural and into the art of what the weld looks like which repair is not.

    I did a piece on how to prepare for roadside welding situations which I think would have made a nice FAQ, but I guess not. I think finding machine shops and welders all over the place is actually pretty easy. But finding folks who know how to weld bike steel, or even tack it together with some channel, might be a whole other deal. So that was the idea of my article, inform the cyclist what to look for in a welder, and some basic consumables to carry that would allow you supply the welder with the stuff he will need, and rather tan depend on his being able to dial down structural stuff to your level.

    Over the years the idea that steel weldability is a myth comes up over and over here, and we have had pictures. It happens. What is a myth is that you can't relatively easily scab back together other material. Epoxy and carbon fiber will hold almost anything. You can carry the stuff you need, and pull off the repair yourself. Couplers make a bike that is a lot more fixable than other alternatives, assuming something other than the couplers fails.

  20. #20
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    I have not personally done the dollar bill thing, but have seen it done. I have assisted someone else in doing a duct tape repair (worked fine) and have seen the powerbar repair as well.

    On the frame welding thing. I guess it may be done now and again, but if you are somewhere really remote I'd expect that the frame might be really ruined in the process. If it keeps you going maybe that is OK. If somewhere that you could get a decent repair weld (TIG or MIG) on a steel frame it is likely you could get one on a aluminum one as well. I guess brazing might be available fairly frequently for steel though. As was said carbon fiber could be repaired (crudely) anywhere if you have epoxy and suitable fabric, but is someone weight conscious enough to use a CF frame really going to carry that? No personal experience with remote frame repairs, but have seen pictures of quite a few such repairs to steel frames. The ones I saw were often bad enough that I would replace the frame when I could with the majority of them.

  21. #21
    Senior Member tarwheel's Avatar
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    I have booted a tire with a dollar bill and it worked just fine. However, I carry a piece of Tyvek from a USPS mailer envelope in my seatbag because it's cheaper.

    Although I have not had to get a steel frame welded, twice I've the rear dropouts straightened in steel frames. That is a more likely occurrence from sliding out on a curve or getting a stick jammed in a rear derailleur. Steel is relatively compliant, so a rear dropout is easy to repair for any decent mechanic. An aluminum dropout is more likely to just break and can't be repaired unless designed with replaceable dropouts. I don't think they make carbon fiber dropouts because they would be trashed for similar reasons.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by MassiveD View Post
    Never used a dollar bill, have used fiber tape, and it lasted for years, it was so effective that the tire had a depression where the tape was because it did not stretch like the tire did.

    The welding is totally true. Tour de France, what the heck? TIG has nothing to do with it, TIG is a great way to weld the steel in a bike, but repair and a building from scratch are very different things. You can do either with just about any welding method if you are determined enough and skilled enough, but TIG is so good it is beyond structural and into the art of what the weld looks like which repair is not.

    I did a piece on how to prepare for roadside welding situations which I think would have made a nice FAQ, but I guess not. I think finding machine shops and welders all over the place is actually pretty easy. But finding folks who know how to weld bike steel, or even tack it together with some channel, might be a whole other deal. So that was the idea of my article, inform the cyclist what to look for in a welder, and some basic consumables to carry that would allow you supply the welder with the stuff he will need, and rather tan depend on his being able to dial down structural stuff to your level.

    Over the years the idea that steel weldability is a myth comes up over and over here, and we have had pictures. It happens. What is a myth is that you can't relatively easily scab back together other material. Epoxy and carbon fiber will hold almost anything. You can carry the stuff you need, and pull off the repair yourself. Couplers make a bike that is a lot more fixable than other alternatives, assuming something other than the couplers fails.
    The TIG factor relates to the amount of heat applied to the welded area. With the propensity for sophisticated steel alloys to be used, the reduced heat extending up the tube from brazing is more desirable. There's less expertise needed to run a bead from a TIG along or around a cracked tube than applying a braze weld, at least in my opinion.

    Farmers (who are a useful source of repair in remote areas) are likely to have plain old arc stick welders first, then oxy-acetylene for cutting and other stuff we won't go into here. But many are sophisticated enough with their machinery repairs now to have TIG as well, especially if they use the coated wire (but they are also as likely to have a bottle of argon, too). However, their experitise is unlikely to extend to aluminium, even if they had the wire and gas on hand to do it, simply because aluminium doesn't comprise much in machinery components.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowan View Post
    The TIG factor relates to the amount of heat applied to the welded area. With the propensity for sophisticated steel alloys to be used, the reduced heat extending up the tube from brazing is more desirable. There's less expertise needed to run a bead from a TIG along or around a cracked tube than applying a braze weld, at least in my opinion.

    Farmers (who are a useful source of repair in remote areas) are likely to have plain old arc stick welders first, then oxy-acetylene for cutting and other stuff we won't go into here. But many are sophisticated enough with their machinery repairs now to have TIG as well, especially if they use the coated wire (but they are also as likely to have a bottle of argon, too). However, their experitise is unlikely to extend to aluminium, even if they had the wire and gas on hand to do it, simply because aluminium doesn't comprise much in machinery components.
    This is very fascinating Rowan. Despite the fact that on 2 West Coast bike shows in Seattle and Portland, most to all of the frame makers seemed to suggest otherwise. I asked, because it seemed to some people in the industry wants to market their frames as repairable compared to certain "alloy" or "fiber" frames in foreign countries.
    Are you providing factual information with base of support or is it based on your conjecture and speculation?!? I like to know who are these farmers with names and their country of origins?

    Thank you.
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  24. #24
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    ......My names Friday,I carry a dollar......Bill and I were working out of bunco division when we stumbled across a bicycle with a flat......

    American paper money is made from the flax plant,the same plant they make linen/some rope from.It's tough stuff,you could pick up your car with a dollar bill.

    And yes I have used it before,worked fine.Have also used tape,cardboard,chipboard,styrofoam from the back of a hamburger package and anything else that was in the trash.
    Last edited by Booger1; 09-10-12 at 01:30 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacificcyclist View Post
    This is very fascinating Rowan. Despite the fact that on 2 West Coast bike shows in Seattle and Portland, most to all of the frame makers seemed to suggest otherwise. I asked, because it seemed to some people in the industry wants to market their frames as repairable compared to certain "alloy" or "fiber" frames in foreign countries.
    Are you providing factual information with base of support or is it based on your conjecture and speculation?!? I like to know who are these farmers with names and their country of origins?

    Thank you.
    Sorry, but what is the point of the question? Suggest otherwise to what?

    I just don't get it. I didn't mention anything about frame makers. I am talking about out-in-the-field repairs where there are no bloody frame makers to call on!

    There are many farmers in Australia. I LIVE in a farming district. I WORKED on a farm. I used the farm's oxy set to repair my steel bike's frame. How do you think I know these things? Pull them out of my arse?

    When I got into strife on my first ever tour, it was a FARMER who helped me get it all back together, along with a small-town machine-shop owner.

    You don't have to be on a South American or Sahara Desert tour to have issues in the middle of nowhere. Try in the middle of the Canadian Prairies. Even in the Rocky Mountains. But it does help to know what you might need to look for when someone comes near your bike frame with a stick welder.

    Sheesh. As if I am going to supply you with names of farmers. Did you ask the frame makers if they themselves have ever done remote area bicycle tours where everything has turned to crap. Tell us what stories they had.
    Dream. Dare. Do.

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