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Frame Failure

Old 06-04-13, 04:30 PM
  #1  
nelson249
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Frame Failure

Last fall I posted about the frame on my 2010 Norco City Glide with 5000 km on the clock developing cracks. The manufacture and my LBS responded effectively and replaced the frame within a week. Today, only a thousand kilometres later, the second frame developed serious cracks on the downtube. The week point appears to be where holes had been drilled to pass brake and shifter cables inside the frame. The LBS is having to go to bat with the manufacturer again over it. Norco is very good at honouring warranties but this should not have happened the first time never mind the second.

If anyone has this bike or has an AL frame with holes to pass cables through they might want to check it over carefully.
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Old 06-04-13, 11:18 PM
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Thanks for the warning, but maybe it should be limited to specific Norco frames. Aluminum frames have been drilled for years, for cables, for shift lever bosses, cable stops, and so on with no significant issues.

It isn't aluminum and/or drilling that are the issue, but the engineering and production quality of specific bikes that may be.

OTOH, this is a very quick failure (the second time) And if others aren't experiencing similar issues, than it's possible that the problem is specific to you and your use.
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Old 06-04-13, 11:31 PM
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In looking over the current product line: https://www.norco.com/bikes/urban/urban-lifestyle/
I see only external cables. Perhaps they had chronic problems with the internal cabling.
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Old 06-05-13, 07:33 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Thanks for the warning, but maybe it should be limited to specific Norco frames. Aluminum frames have been drilled for years, for cables, for shift lever bosses, cable stops, and so on with no significant issues.

It isn't aluminum and/or drilling that are the issue, but the engineering and production quality of specific bikes that may be.

OTOH, this is a very quick failure (the second time) And if others aren't experiencing similar issues, than it's possible that the problem is specific to you and your use.
The bike, as intended by the manufacturer, has been used for commuting and general running around on pavement and the odd gravel community trail with no additional weight over the front wheel. I haven't exactly been using it for trials riding. I suspect that the problem is metallurgical with the 2010 frames. I just today noticed that the 2013 model City Glide as noted by Shimagolo that the cables are routed externally and the frame itself has a different appearance.

The first frame cracked at the exit holes for the brake and shifter cables near the bottom bracket and the second one did so at the upper grommets where the cables enter the frame. It seems that there is a weakness in some of the 2010 frames at these particular points. I have never experienced this kind of situation with any bicycle that I have owned in nearly 40 years of cycling.

Fortunately I can swipe my wife's Specialized in the meantime.
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Old 06-05-13, 10:49 AM
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Drilling holes in the bottom of the down tube is not a good idea.

Glad you caught these in crack stage. When down tubes break they can jam into the front tire and cause sudden launching of rider.
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Old 06-05-13, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by RobertHurst View Post
Drilling holes in the bottom of the down tube is not a good idea.

Glad you caught these in crack stage. When down tubes break they can jam into the front tire and cause sudden launching of rider.
More old wives' tales (with apologies to old wives). Downtube failure rarely leads to a crash, though it can. However it won't be because a failure at the bottom caused the tube to jam the front wheel. If/when the tube fails, the relationship of the tube to the front wheel is unchanged, maintained by the still intact DT/head tube joint. I would have no serious worries other than being stranded riding a bile with a suspect down tube.

Usually, after a DT failure the top tube holds things the frame together as it bends upward, allowing the front wheel to move forward and slowly settling the bike to the ground. This happens most of the time, but if the frame fails because of bad joints at the headtube, it's common for both to fail simultaneously (or in rapid order) causing the same kind of crash as a broken fork would. It was injuries from these failures of low end steel bikes that led to the CPSC to first look at bicycles over 40 years ago.
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Old 06-05-13, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
More old wives' tales (with apologies to old wives). Downtube failure rarely leads to a crash, though it can. However it won't be because a failure at the bottom caused the tube to jam the front wheel. If/when the tube fails, the relationship of the tube to the front wheel is unchanged, maintained by the still intact DT/head tube joint. I would have no serious worries other than being stranded riding a bile with a suspect down tube.

Usually, after a DT failure the top tube holds things the frame together as it bends upward, allowing the front wheel to move forward and slowly settling the bike to the ground. This happens most of the time, but if the frame fails because of bad joints at the headtube, it's common for both to fail simultaneously (or in rapid order) causing the same kind of crash as a broken fork would. It was injuries from these failures of low end steel bikes that led to the CPSC to first look at bicycles over 40 years ago.
I know of two instances where a down tube failed, then jammed into the front tire causing the rider to endo. Both tubes failed a few inches below the head tube joint. Drilling holes right there doesn't seem like a good idea. True if the tube fails near the BB it probably won't cause any major problems.
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Old 06-05-13, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by RobertHurst View Post
I know of two instances where a down tube failed, then jammed into the front tire causing the rider to endo. Both tubes failed a few inches below the head tube joint. Drilling holes right there doesn't seem like a good idea. True if the tube fails near the BB it probably won't cause any major problems.
Yes, I responded to your comment regarding a break at the bottom of the downtube. I also described the issue of simultaneous head tube joint failure, which is vary serious.
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Old 06-06-13, 04:49 PM
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My LBS just called and Norco is honouring the warranty. I have two choices either pay about a $100 to swap parts from my old City Glide to a new 2013 frame OR just buy the 2013 machine outright with $250 taken off the price tag. The problem with swapping the parts off the old frame is that the configuration is different but Norco said they would cover any difference in the parts required.
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Old 06-07-13, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by nelson249 View Post
My LBS just called and Norco is honouring the warranty. I have two choices either pay about a $100 to swap parts from my old City Glide to a new 2013 frame OR just buy the 2013 machine outright with $250 taken off the price tag. The problem with swapping the parts off the old frame is that the configuration is different but Norco said they would cover any difference in the parts required.
Doesn't seem as though it's your fault that parts have to be switched from their faulty frame, which, if it was sold as an assembled bike by Norco, they would logically be obliged to provide you with at no additional cost on a new, hopefully fault-free frame of their make.
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Old 06-14-13, 08:38 PM
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On a related note, Salsa has just recalled certain (steel) Vaya forks because some have bent above the disc caliper tab. There have been 8 reported instances out of 1600 forks with zero injuries. My fork is being replaced next week but, in the meantime, I have to get to work so am still riding it. There is no sign of any problem. It doesn't seem like this presents a huge risk but if knowledgable people think otherwise I'll reconsider. Any thoughts?
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Old 06-29-13, 06:57 PM
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FWIW on the internet site for the bike it is listed as a light duty city bike. I too think the mfg should pay the full ride to switch the componets to the new frame.
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Old 07-01-13, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
FWIW on the internet site for the bike it is listed as a light duty city bike. I too think the mfg should pay the full ride to switch the components to the new frame.
I agree with you. The wording of the warranty is that they are only required to pay for the replacement frame not labour and assembly bits like cables. Norco did throw in colour-coordinated green fenders, a replacement for the old quill headset and a couple of other bits and pieces. Anyways, I picked up the bike on Saturday and it ended up costing me $160 or only $90 less than the deal Norco offered on a new machine. My bike had a few upgrades that I was reluctant to give up. Here's a picture of the new one:

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Last edited by nelson249; 07-01-13 at 04:40 PM.
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