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Is bonded Alum safe?

Old 08-28-05, 12:41 AM
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poopncow
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Is bonded Alum safe?

I found an aluminum Vitus road frame (used) and fell in love with the artistry of the flowing lines. The rumor I've heard is that the "glue" that was used by Vitus will lose strenght over time and that there are instances of failure with not so pleasant results to the rider. So are these rumors true? Am I putting myself in un-necessary risk for being attracted to this hottie?
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Old 08-28-05, 01:22 AM
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I had an old Raleigh Technium Peak and it is still in good shape (1990). Frame is bonded aluminum/steel, which is basically glued. My daughter uses it now.
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Old 08-28-05, 02:51 AM
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how much is it?

I wouldn't ride one because there is SO much better welded alu out there, which is probably just as cheap.

Apparently those bikes were SUPER flexy
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Old 08-28-05, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by poopncow
I found an aluminum Vitus road frame (used) and fell in love with the artistry of the flowing lines. The rumor I've heard is that the "glue" that was used by Vitus will lose strenght over time and that there are instances of failure with not so pleasant results to the rider. So are these rumors true? Am I putting myself in un-necessary risk for being attracted to this hottie?
The joints could fail.Most don't a few do. What more to say. Any frame can fail.
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Old 08-28-05, 08:03 AM
  #5  
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As you say, those Vitus frames are notorious for unbonding. It's sort of like early CF. Some would delaminate and some wouldn't. Perhaps even most wouldn't, but then what's an acceptable failure rate? If a pistol is only 17% likely to fire a live round, would you still put it to your head? (And no, I'm not saying frame failure is like shooting yourself in the head.)

And yes, the frames are also super flexy because it was before the industry realized building with aluminum required oversizing the tubes to compensate for Al's greater flexibility.
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Old 08-28-05, 08:13 AM
  #6  
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I would avoid a Vitus bonded Al frame. As noted, they had a reputation for unreliable assembly and were extremely flexy because they used "standard diameter" tubing.

I have a '92 bonded Al Trek that has been completely reliable for over 20,000 miles but, by the time it was built, bonding technology had greatly improved and the tubing is "oversize" so the frame stiffness is very good. Also, since I bought mine new, it has a lifetime factory warranty.

The Vitus is older, much more flexible and has an unknown history. Don't do it unless you are going to make it a display piece, not a rider.
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Old 08-28-05, 08:32 AM
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I had a Vitus for a couple of years. The frame performed flawlessly even after hitting some very nasty potholes. But since it was only 2 years old the glue didn't really have a chance to fail so I'm not sure about that. As far as being flexy I never really noticed since I'm not exactly what you'd call a power rider, but it was the most comfortable frame I've ever ridden.
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Old 08-28-05, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by sydney
The joints could fail.Most don't a few do. What more to say. Any frame can fail.
On aluminum frames, wouldn't stress cracking in the aluminum tubes be more likely than adhesive failure at the joints? If the guy's wild about the frame, couldn't he use solvents to dissolve the original joint adhesives and then then reglue with fresh epoxy? Just asking...
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Old 08-28-05, 03:35 PM
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Hehehe, Ok, yeah i am in love with the frame. But don't love it enought to get hurt or spend a ton of money on it to make it safe. Not knowing when Vitus made this frame or how many years did Vitus make bonded frames (lessons learned) b4 this frame or what kinda "glue" they used, puts a lot of much mystery in the equation. Lets see what additional insight will appear in these pages. I just got a new house, so the walls are a bit bare, so maybe some art would be good
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Old 08-28-05, 03:50 PM
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I've put 30,000 miles on this baby and she's still going strong! The most comfortable aluminium bike I've ridden.

My 1998 Vitus 992 Road bike



Also, Nashbar was selling new(early 90s) Vitus 979 frames. They've disappeared now but sold at the end for $130 ! Last one appeared yesterday online but was a 60.5cm & pink in color - I would have bought one to replace mine but can't handle the pink color

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Old 08-28-05, 04:17 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by poopncow
I found an aluminum Vitus road frame (used) and fell in love with the artistry of the flowing lines. The rumor I've heard is that the "glue" that was used by Vitus will lose strenght over time and that there are instances of failure with not so pleasant results to the rider. So are these rumors true? Am I putting myself in un-necessary risk for being attracted to this hottie?

I've got one (979) from about 1987 or 88 and it just recently (2 months ago) became totally unbonded where the seat tube connects to the bottom bracket shell. The bond probably loosened over time as I was always getting creaks from that area and lots of automatic (under heavy load) down shifting from the big chainring to the small. Now it doesn't take much load to cause a downshift! I guess I got about 25-30k miles on this frame and retired it to mostly commuter duty in the last few years. I heard that the frame can be re-bonded, I was thinking of trying it in the off season. I am fortunate to have a Raleigh Technium Pro (another bonded Aluminum frame) to use as my commuter and it doesn't have any bonding problems yet.

I think you should think hard about the possibility of glue failure.

Good luck!
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Old 08-28-05, 05:24 PM
  #12  
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1998? Wow, I didn't realize they were still making bonded Alu frames that late. I was thinking more along the lines of late 70s/early 80s. One would think by the late 90s, they would have figured out a better bonding and tubing for them.

One would think.
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Old 08-28-05, 06:50 PM
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'One would think by the late 90s, they would have figured out a better bonding and tubing for them.'

- every time I ride I'm hoping they have

I do plan to replace the frame (initially only wanted 25K miles out of it) with some aluminum/carbon mix. I'll move my old Ultegra over - never been too much of a gear buff, only good mileage impresses me
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Old 08-28-05, 10:37 PM
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Interesting, so the frame I was looking at could be as new as the late 90's. It took 17 yrs for kgatwalk's frame to let go and when it did, there was not face plant. So there may be 5 or more yrs left in the frame I was looking at .... and thats assuming that there has not been improvements in the "glue". But really, the bonds are made between a lug and the tubes (right?...right) so if the glue does let go, there is still a plug section in the tubes. and since the tubes andd lugs all slide in together all at once, losing one bond will not cause the entire triangle to collapse, it will creek and sway or eventually break the tube, but the joint won't just snap off...would it? hmmmm btw, it is the way the forks blend into the head tube and the joint at the BB that makes this bike so so.... like a redhead.
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Old 08-29-05, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by poopncow
Interesting, so the frame I was looking at could be as new as the late 90's. It took 17 yrs for kgatwalk's frame to let go and when it did, there was not face plant. So there may be 5 or more yrs left in the frame I was looking at .... and thats assuming that there has not been improvements in the "glue". But really, the bonds are made between a lug and the tubes (right?...right) so if the glue does let go, there is still a plug section in the tubes. and since the tubes andd lugs all slide in together all at once, losing one bond will not cause the entire triangle to collapse, it will creek and sway or eventually break the tube, but the joint won't just snap off...would it? hmmmm btw, it is the way the forks blend into the head tube and the joint at the BB that makes this bike so so.... like a redhead.

...sure in the meantime I'm just going to superglue the joints as and when they come apart and try and do another 25K
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Old 08-29-05, 03:23 PM
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If you think Vitus is unreliable, check out a Peugeot Comete. They proclaimed it used similar non-glue/non-welded construction as in the Concorde... HAH!!! I ripped the head-tube cleanly off the downtube on a final hard push at the end of a time-trial! would've hate to see what would've happened if it had happened in a sprint at the end of a crit...

Yeah, go for the 7000-series welded aluminium bikes, much, much nicer..

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Old 08-29-05, 09:01 PM
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French engineering gives me the willies...eek. Hey Danno, is that a red head on your hood? but seriously, it is not about getting an alumium frame, its all about this particular aluminum frame. Btw: posted a simular thread in "vintage" and someone sent a link to an outfit in Canada (?) that specializes in fixing bonded Vitus frames ... really... If this doesn't work out, I'll just stick w my lugged Reynolds 531 Austro Daimlier
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Old 08-31-05, 07:05 PM
  #18  
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I have a Vitus 979 aluminum from 1986. I've got over 50,000 miles on it.
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Old 06-01-06, 07:28 PM
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so, does all this mean I'm a dummy for just agreeing to buy this guy's '88 Raleigh Tech Pro for $50? i did notice the headset was loose....
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Old 06-01-06, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by poopncow
I found an aluminum Vitus road frame (used) and fell in love with the artistry of the flowing lines. The rumor I've heard is that the "glue" that was used by Vitus will lose strenght over time and that there are instances of failure with not so pleasant results to the rider. So are these rumors true? Am I putting myself in un-necessary risk for being attracted to this hottie?
Yes they are saying the true. I found an old Peugeot with a bonded aluminium frame dumped in the rubish because every pipe in the frame was coming loose. Take wheels and components of the bicycle and consider your self an happy man
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Old 06-01-06, 11:28 PM
  #21  
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I was looking for a Vitus when I found my Sakae.

The Sakae is quite similar to the Vitus in appearance, though paradoxically the Sakae is both lighter and stiffer than a Vitus.



Its a delightful ride.
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Old 06-02-06, 01:54 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by poopncow
French engineering gives me the willies...eek.
+1.

My brother had a Peugeot 505 many years ago that spent more time in the shop for one problem or the other, than actual time it spent on the road. A good friend also bought a brand new Renault Fuego in 1998 that had problem with its alternator constantly. If I had known b/4 she bought it, I would have advised against it, based on my brother's experience. She regretted it, and couldn't get rid of the car fast enough. And I remember a neighbor of ours when I was a kid, who had a Citroen that was a good-looking car, but was also a lemon. It was always a major event in the neighborhood whenever he got it to start and drive a few miles. The Citroen would kind of gurgle a few times, then elevate on its tires, as if it was going to take off like an airplane, then stutter in a loud constant roar, before dying out. It was impressive in its "show". But like they say in Texas, it was "all hat and no cattle"

That is three different French car manufacturers!

Sorry to digress a little bit, but the French know cheese, cordon bleu cuisine, fantastic cognac, and of course, wine. But when it comes to good old-fashioned engineering, they are "all hat and no cattle"

I actually read a joke once that went like this: The reason the French make lousy and unreliable cars is because most of their cars are assembled in the afternoon, after their long extended lunch hours, which had been well-lubricated with a lot of good wine.

I would think very carefully about putting my a$$ on a french-glued aluminum Vitus bike frame.

A lot of rant, I know.

Regards,
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Old 06-02-06, 02:21 AM
  #23  
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French cars, I would not touch with a barge pole - I know of too many engine blow-ups.

French bikes are some of the world's best, and as an Englishman, I don't say things like this lightly My best bike is made by Time, and is an Alu frame with carbon rear stays. It's beautiful, light, smooth and quick.

Cheers,

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Old 06-02-06, 06:00 AM
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I think most of the replies here are being overly cautious. I had a secondhand Alan (also bonded and similarly flexy) for several years and did a lot of brevets on it, until a car took it apart.

It was mostly the carbon/aluminium frames that came apart, due to galvanic action between the carbon and aluminium with the epoxy soaking up a little sweat (now think about carbon forks with alu steerers). The alu/alu frames were much more reliable and tended to fail 'softly' rather than 'full faceplant' style.

By the way, that pic of a Vitus early in the thread was the last bonded style they made. Giveaway is the integrated headset. It used larger diameter tubes and was actually reasonably stiff. The early ones were more flexible.
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Old 06-02-06, 08:12 AM
  #25  
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Mavic is French and no one complains about their components (except for the two abortive attempts at electronic shifting ). So are Look and Time so they can make good products. Just not automobiles.
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