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Steel bike failure. Is this manufacturing or something else?

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Steel bike failure. Is this manufacturing or something else?

Old 12-04-19, 12:23 AM
  #26  
CliffordK
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Originally Posted by CB HI View Post
Without knowing the real story of what Ronnie was doing with the bicycle, I would be reluctant to award him more than 50% of proven damages.

The government will likely be on the hook for a substantial portion of his medical and living expenses if he doesn't collect it from a private party.

It is quite possible that if Ronnie Woodall hit as hard as he appears to have hit, then he would have no first-hand recollection of the event.

Thus, the missing video and witness statements will be key.

With some luck, there might even be photos or video somewhere indicating the condition of the bicycle prior to the collision with the fence.

There is no way to attribute blame or damages without corroboration of what actually happened.

If the cracks happened without warning, JRA, then All City Bicycles could have substantial liability.

On the other hand, if he crashed first, then the bike crumbled on impact, then All City Bicycles could have zero liability, and depending on state policies, might even be able to recover legal expenses.

Was Ronnie Woodall doing jumps and riding consistent with the advertising of the bike? Warning notes on the bike?
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Old 12-04-19, 12:24 AM
  #27  
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I have noticed that several cheaper off-road frames have gussets that the All City Bikes seem to lack.
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Old 12-04-19, 12:37 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
All City Bicycles Macho Man Flat Bar



https://allcitycycles.com/bikes/macho_man_flat_bar

It is supposed to be:
Frame: 612 Select double-butted CroMoly tubeset, double bottle cage mount, 135 mm rear spacing, 1-1/8" headset, English BB
Fork: 612 Select double-butted CroMoly, tapered fork blades, lugged crown & matching dropouts w/IS disc tabs
With their notes on 612 Select:
https://allcitycycles.com/blog/what_is
612 is the Minneapolis area code.
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Old 12-04-19, 05:40 PM
  #29  
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My money is on deliberate or previous damage ignored.
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Old 12-04-19, 07:17 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
My money is on deliberate or previous damage ignored.
Letís see:

Step 1: Sabotage my bike
Step 2: ?
Step 3: Profit

Yup, makes ďsense.Ē

-mr. bill
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Old 12-05-19, 06:42 AM
  #31  
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So the story is from October. For all we know, this might have been quietly settled by now. Anyone have info to the contrary?
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Old 12-05-19, 06:46 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by DrIsotope View Post
That crease in the downtube makes me wonder if someone didn't run headfirst into a curb, but how clean those welds came apart makes me question the integrity of the bike's construction.
If the top tube separated first, that might have caused the crease.

Since that's really rare, people might not be considering it as a possible cause.

Last edited by njkayaker; 12-06-19 at 06:54 PM.
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Old 12-05-19, 08:40 AM
  #33  
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if he did run directly into something, the crease in the downtube that you mention is to be expected. However, the tube(s) should bend, not just pop apart cleanly like that. What I can see from the pictures sure looks like inadequate penetration at the head tube welds (which would be TIG). I've seen many bikes crashed, running into cars and other seriously immovable objects. The tubes buckle and bend. The fork may bend. But the mitered joints do not pop apart. Look how "clean" the separation is ! I'd suspect that the TIG welder was not set to the right voltage, sufficient to get full penetration and a large enough bead for an adequately strong joint..

REI house brand bikes (Novarra) had a spate of these about 10 years ago - "just riding along" and the head tube separated. Like they got past QA, got painted and shipped, and then failed while riding.

I sure would like to look at one that came from the same batch as the indcident bike. I wonder if visual inspection would show the lack of a weld bead.

Mark Petry
Bainbridge Island, WA USA

Last edited by mpetry912; 12-05-19 at 11:10 AM.
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Old 12-05-19, 11:55 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by mpetry912 View Post
if he did run directly into something, the crease in the downtube that you mention is to be expected. However, the tube(s) should bend, not just pop apart cleanly like that. What I can see from the pictures sure looks like inadequate penetration at the head tube welds (which would be TIG). I've seen many bikes crashed, running into cars and other seriously immovable objects. The tubes buckle and bend. The fork may bend. But the mitered joints do not pop apart. Look how "clean" the separation is ! I'd suspect that the TIG welder was not set to the right voltage, sufficient to get full penetration and a large enough bead for an adequately strong bead.

I sure would like to look at one that came from the same batch as the indcident bike. I wonder if visual inspection would show the lack of a weld bead.
Here are a couple of screen-caps from the video.


A very clean tear all the way around the tubes.

However, it is the toptube and the downtube that have torn. The weld itself is intact. And, the weld has not separated from the headtube in any place that is visible.

If it was a penetration problem, then the weld would have torn off of the headtube. Or, potentially we would have seen a socket of weld around the top/down tubes with the tube sliding out. Neither of this is the case.

The miters appear good, and I don't see any signs of excessive gaps.

I'm not seeing signs of rust, discoloration, or rubbing indicative of a slowly progressing crack, although better photos would help. The view from inside the lower dowtube/headtube joint (top right) seems to show good penetration through the tube. But, again, we need better shots to verify that follows all the way around on both affected joints. Still, in no place have the two tubes separated below the weld that I can see.
  • I can not discern tube thickness at the weld. Butting? All the way around?
  • One would have to carefully inspect for erosion, or lack of filler. I don't see signs of that, but it is possible, even localized in critical areas could be problematic. One would need good photos and careful measurements. Of course, there could also be an element of stretching as the tube fails, confounding potential analysis. Does weld erosion often have a sharp edge which one could look for?
  • Heat affected zone & grain structure. The tear seems to be a tear of the tube within about 1/16" from the weld. I don't have comparative data on grain structure, but that does look like fairly course grain.
    I assume the frames aren't post-heat treated. But, perhaps that is something that the TIG industry should consider.
  • The prominent ripple in the downtube is seen in the left photo. I am having troubles envisioning how that ripple could have occurred other than hard frontal impact of the wheel. If it had happened as say the tubes were separating (JRA), then one would expect a simple bend at the weld, rather than a compression ripple. Say the top tube separated, leaving the downtube attached to the headtube. I'm not sure one could replicate that kind of compression ripple. But, it would be easy enough for the company to test with a partly welded frame, and certainly worth a couple $million to build the test jigs.
  • There are no gussets on the toptube and downtube. This is common on MTBs, especially aluminum, and should be considered with cross bikes, and steel bikes. Probably best if brazed (like a lug).
Overall, I find this tubing and heat affected zone failure deeply concerning. However, it appears to me to be damage as the result of (A) crash.

We don't have data to verify whether the crash that damaged the tubes was the crash that broke the guy's neck. However, say there were 2 crashes, one that damaged the tubes, and a later one from riding on a damaged bike. I'm not sure one could hold the company liable for a person riding a CLEARLY damaged bike if that was the case.

Steel has the advantage that crash damage is frequently visible from residual bends, or even paint cracking. Unfortunately, that is one of the big debates about carbon fiber that may hide unseen damage.
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Old 12-05-19, 02:49 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by MaxKatt View Post
I guess steel isnít always so real.
That fence sure was
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Old 12-05-19, 03:56 PM
  #36  
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Must have been the "select 612" tubing....... isn't that All City's area code?
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Old 12-05-19, 04:17 PM
  #37  
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It is just an example of the cheap way bikes are built these days. Butt welded frames can quickly be welded up by robots. It is a cheap and weak way to make frames. Back in the 80s and before we had brazed lug frames.
They were much stronger and almost never failed.

Last edited by rydabent; 12-26-19 at 04:12 PM.
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Old 12-06-19, 07:43 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post
Must have been the "select 612" tubing....... isn't that All City's area code?
Post # 28 above.
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Old 12-06-19, 09:20 AM
  #39  
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Apparently I sped read the post and didn't see the other reference to 612 tubing being All City's area code....... long time joke, because their frames seem heavy and WTH is 612 tubing?
Photos look like he crashed and the frame came apart..... not the frame came apart and he crashed.
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Old 12-06-19, 10:33 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by wgscott View Post
Assuming it goes to trial, it will be up to a jury and/or judge to decide the facts of the case based upon the evidence provided by both sides. Since we aren't privy to any of that evidence, I think the only reasonable thing to do is sit and wait, and hope each side receives a fair hearing. (I have a considerable degree of sympathy for both sides.)

It is also worth keeping in mind that even if the plaintiff himself has no desire to go to court, his health insurance company would file a suit on his behalf, to recover the expenses.

If I had to bet at this point, my money would be on we'll never know what happened because it will be quietly settled or dropped.
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Old 12-06-19, 11:14 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
It is just an example of the cheap way bikes are built these day. Butt welded frames can quickly be welded up by robots. It is a cheap and weak way to make frames. Back in the 80s and before we had brazed lug frames.
They were much stronger and almost never failed.
There have been plenty of photos of lug failures posted here on BikeForums. I believe examples of failures at just about all main joints.

But, I was wondering a bit about brazing.

I had mentioned gussets.



I think these are welded on, but brazing the gussets would be an excellent way of attaching them and in many senses, lugs are a natural form of gussets.

The other thing that is happening is a movement towards thinner/lighter tubes, but two very different technologies of attaching them. One with lower heat/heat affected zones, and natural gussets. The other with high focal heat and bare tube to tube connections.

Nonetheless, that bike took a hard frontal impact which would have damaged many "road" frames. But should the All City Macho Man have been made stronger?

Limit liability to a new replacement frame (for someone who is confined in a wheelchair)?
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Old 12-06-19, 11:37 AM
  #42  
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The article says this was a brand new frame. Subject to interpretation of course.

The tube edge is improbably clean. There is one point facing the camera about the size of a tack weld where the metal seems to have torn. To the extent the rest of the tube edge is ragged at all it could just as well be what high speed production mitering looks like. It does look like we are seeing a complete tube and there was no effective joining of metal at all. Others here know more about welding than I do and would be happy to hear their input.

Seems like a massive QC failure. I would like to think that this could have been avoided. Would like to think that a sharp mechanic would have spotted the weak joint, that an alert rider would have noticed the ride was bad, that All-City would have inspected what arrived from their vendor and caught this. I would like to think that but do not know. Further I would think that any metallurgist could examine the physical evidence and provide a complete explanation. Again I would like to think that but do not know. If there is a clear explanation then the next accident can be prevented. And the victim deserves to know what happened.

Lugged frames did have cognate failures and they were common. Very common. Most frequent was a lug with no brass inside at all. The joint might have been pinned and that would hold it for a while. And then the tube would have to move fairly far before popping out of lug. The other common failure was approximate mitering or tubes that migrated during brazing. Tube ends did not meet and all load was taken by the lug. Heavy production lugs as Raleigh or Peugeot would survive that for a very long time but would always crack in the end.

Frames are built by people. Steps in process may be robotized, process control is always by human. People mess up.
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Old 12-06-19, 02:41 PM
  #43  
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That image doesn't seem to show a weld failure, but a tube failure just behind the weld. Maybe embrittlement? Cooling too quickly?

From millerwelds.com:
"Note that if the tubing is below 60 degrees F, use a small propone torch to heat the base metal to up to 300 degrees F. Otherwise, the metal could cool too quickly and become brittle. Welding cold metal may also promote hydrogen cracking, so thatís another reason to preheat 4130 if itís cold."

Last edited by BFisher; 12-06-19 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 12-06-19, 05:14 PM
  #44  
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I don’t know why anyone would store steel tubing in a refrigerator. Do you?

Craftspeople

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Old 12-06-19, 05:35 PM
  #45  
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"Refrigerator" is a bit of a jump.

No one here knows how the process that went into making this bicycle unfolded. Manufacturing defects can and do occur, even to the best of companies. That may or may not be the case here.

Still, the failure looks like brittle steel. Whether that is the case is pure speculation.
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Old 12-06-19, 05:42 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
"Refrigerator" is a bit of a jump.

No one here knows how the process that went into making this bicycle unfolded. Manufacturing defects can and do occur, even to the best of companies. That may or may not be the case here.

Still, the failure looks like brittle steel. Whether that is the case is pure speculation.
Their frames are made in Taichung, Taiwan. Unless they are storing the steel tubes outdoors, in December, January or February, and they built the frame at around 4:00am, the tubes simply aren’t below 60F. Unless they refrigerate the tubes.

But do speculate.

-mr. bill

Last edited by mr_bill; 12-06-19 at 06:15 PM. Reason: speeling
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Old 12-06-19, 06:16 PM
  #47  
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Ha ha.

Look, I've no dog in any of this. Maybe the bike was abused. Maybe the heat went out in the factory that day.

It does seem to be an odd failure, and all of us are just speculating as to the cause. The discussion is interesting.

Thanks for sharing. Happy riding.
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Old 12-09-19, 01:27 AM
  #48  
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Based upon the article alone there is no way to tell what may have happened.
Not sure why anyone would want to even seriously discuss it without more info
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Old 12-09-19, 08:04 AM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by downhillmaster View Post
Based upon the article alone there is no way to tell what may have happened.
Not sure why anyone would want to even seriously discuss it without more info
And if the History Channel has taught me anything, it's that we can't rule out the possibility that this was caused by aliens, therefore it was caused by aliens.

I agree with you completely. There's a lot of "that dent looks like one that was caused by x, therefore x must have happened" reasoning going on here, ignoring the fact that probably none of us have seen a dent caused by y, and therefore have no idea what it would look like.
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Old 12-09-19, 08:26 AM
  #50  
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Bah humbug.

Give me a news story to share with my friends and let the speculation begin. Good times, good times.


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