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Bent aluminum frame is a crash

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Bent aluminum frame is a crash

Old 03-31-08, 10:16 AM
  #1  
bwbass
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Bent aluminum frame is a crash

So last week I t-boned a car that pulled out in front of me on my aluminum-framed Brodie Ocho. The impact folded my steel fork into the frame and bent the frame a bit as well. The frame looks ok from a distance, but if you put a straightedge on the top or down tube, you can see that they're both bent. A 12" straightedge on the down tube shows about an 1/8" gap near the head tube where it's bent down.

I'd estimate the head tube angle has changed by about 2 degrees, so I'm worried about how this will affect the handling and safety of the bike.

The question is, is it repairable or should I just replace the frame? I've heard some people say you can't/shouldn't straighten an aluminum frame...
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Old 03-31-08, 10:32 AM
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You should probably have someone very knowledgeable look at the frame for cracks. It would be hard to tell what the damage is on the internet. I would probably replace,and I would see to it that the driver picks up the cost.
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Old 03-31-08, 10:33 AM
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I would get it replaced. Why take a chance?
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Old 03-31-08, 10:34 AM
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The car driver should replace your frame and fork
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Old 03-31-08, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
The car driver should replace your frame and fork
+1
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Old 03-31-08, 11:04 AM
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definitely replace the frame, there is no doubt that it has been severely compromised.
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Old 03-31-08, 11:06 AM
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+1 on the driver's insurance replacing it.

Also you're right in that straightening an aluminium frame is iffy. Part will depend on what alloy it is and part will depend on what they do for heat treatment to let it be straightened. Generally the word is that you can not straighten a bent aluminium frame. And certainly this is the case for cold bending it back into place. However I do know from talking a lot with a buddy that is an airframe sheet metal and structural tech that bent aluminium parts CAN be straightened and will pass inspections... BUT! This needs to be done in connection with carefully controlled heat related annealing and it needs to be done with each alloy and T spec in mind or the part will just be junk when it's done. But the heating involves temperatures that will definetly ruin the paint on the frame. And even if you can find someone locally that can do this properly and provided you don't already have any stress cracking in the frame which would render it useless before you start the cost of doing all this would be well up there. And then you'd need to get it repainted.

So the short answer is no, toss it and replace.
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Old 03-31-08, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by BCRider View Post
+1 on the driver's insurance replacing it.
Unfortunately, he was driving without insurance.

I'll ask him to pay, and I could always sue, but I get the feeling I won't see any money out of him. He said he had just gotten the (older, used) car, and his high school graduation tassle was hanging from the rear-view mirror.
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Old 03-31-08, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by bwbass View Post
Unfortunately, he was driving without insurance.

I'll ask him to pay, and I could always sue, but I get the feeling I won't see any money out of him.
He said he had just gotten the (older, used) car, and his high school graduation tassle was hanging from the rear-view mirror.
That's hardly your problem.
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Old 03-31-08, 12:02 PM
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Yeah, it sounds like he might have to sell his older, used car with the tassel. It's Not OK To Hurt People And Break Their Stuff.
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Old 03-31-08, 12:06 PM
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I am glad you are not hurt seriously (or dead). That kind of accident can result in more than a bent frame.

Seriously, make him pay for the bike and any medical expenses. Was there an accident report?

Last edited by barba; 03-31-08 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 03-31-08, 12:12 PM
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Originally Posted by barba View Post
I am clad you are not hurt seriously (or dead). That kind of accident can result in more than a bent frame.

Seriously, make him pay for the bike and any medical expenses. Was there an accident report?
As others have said . . . the driver should pay. In a perfect world, no problem. However, I know from experience that getting a 'judgement' against the driver . . . and collecting any money are two very different things.

Good luck! [also glad you were not injured]
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Old 03-31-08, 12:31 PM
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Yes, the police came and filed a report. I went to the ER with a sprained ankle, broken finger, and a gash on my thigh (darn 'cross-style cable-holders!), but at least I didn't hit my head! I expect between the ER bills and a new frame and fork I'll be looking at around $1500 - $2000 in expenses.

Anyways, it sounds like the consensus is to replace the frame.. Thanks, everybody for the advice!

Last edited by bwbass; 03-31-08 at 12:40 PM. Reason: fixed a typo
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Old 03-31-08, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by bwbass View Post
Yes, the police came and filed a report. I went to the ER with a sprained ankle, broken finger, and a gash on my thigh (darn 'cross-style cable-holders!), but at least I didn't hit my head! I expect between the ER bills and a new frame and fork I'll be looking at around $1500 - $2000 in expenses.

Anyways, it sounds like the consensus is to replace the frame.. Thanks, everybody for the advice!
What did the police report say - was it indeed the driver's fault? A lot of people have assumed so, but it's not certain from what you say. I know from personal (stupid) experience that a driver can pull in front of a cyclist, and it's the cyclist's fault. (i.e. passing cars on right at an intersection, running a light or stop sign, etc.).

If it is indeed his fault, and you can document expenses that aren't covered by your own insurance, you might consider small claims court.

Good luck.
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Old 03-31-08, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by bwbass View Post
Unfortunately, he was driving without insurance.

I'll ask him to pay, and I could always sue, but I get the feeling I won't see any money out of him. He said he had just gotten the (older, used) car, and his high school graduation tassle was hanging from the rear-view mirror.
Maybe a call to his Mom or Dad might be in order. Simply letting them know that you are going to hold him responsible might make them do the right thing. Was the car in his name? Is he living at home?? Is he a dependent? I wouldn't give up so easy; especially if you are in the right.......
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Old 03-31-08, 08:59 PM
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pictures

He was definitely in the wrong - he turned from a side street to the one I was on about 10 feet ahead of me. He was stopped at a stop sign, looked both ways, but apparently never saw me.

Here are some pictures I took with a straightedge on the frame:



click here for wrecked brodie album
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Old 03-31-08, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by bwbass View Post
He was definitely in the wrong - he turned from a side street to the one I was on about 10 feet ahead of me. He was stopped at a stop sign, looked both ways, but apparently never saw me.

Here are some pictures I took with a straightedge on the frame:

click here for wrecked brodie album
Wow, that really sucks. I want to add onto what dwood said above about the difference between suing, prevailing, and receiving a judgment in court AND actually collecting the money.

Part of my new job is providing mediation to small claims litigants to avoid trial. There are many benefits including it's faster, the parties come up with the agreement which makes it much more likely to be followed through with than if a judge orders it, a payment plan can be set up, and the non-prevailing party avoids the judgment appearing on their credit report. You may not end up with everything you ask for, but you'll be much more likely to actually receive it. In Oregon, the likelihood of following a mediated agreement being followed through with is 73%, whereas it is only 23% for a trial judgement. (I have the stats in front of me because I'm supposed to be working on my portion of a grant.)

You can also avoid court costs and a lot of spent time by contacting your local Dispute Resolution Center first: http://www.mediatethurston.org/. You always have the option of going to court if it doesn't work, so there's little to lose.

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Old 03-31-08, 09:18 PM
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I'd always claim as much as you can on an insurance claim. So throw in the frame, fork, labor to swap over parts and tack on 10-20% more for unforseen damages and labor. Have a bike shop fill out a damage estimate report. You want the estimate a little high because insurance will always undercut your claim.
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Old 03-31-08, 09:21 PM
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Originally Posted by nitropowered View Post
I'd always claim as much as you can on an insurance claim. So throw in the frame, fork, labor to swap over parts and tack on 10-20% more for unforseen damages and labor. Have a bike shop fill out a damage estimate report. You want the estimate a little high because insurance will always undercut your claim.
...

Originally Posted by bwbass View Post
Unfortunately, he was driving without insurance.
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Old 03-31-08, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by JiveTurkey View Post
...
well you should still get an estimate and use that in small claims court
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Old 04-01-08, 05:08 AM
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Do you by any chance have insurance of your own. It is possible that the uninsured motorists clauses my take care of you?
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Old 04-01-08, 05:36 AM
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If he is living at home, try his parents household insurance.
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Old 04-01-08, 05:50 AM
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Originally Posted by AndrewP View Post
If he is living at home, try his parents household insurance.
Yeah but they'll direct you to car insurance. I tried that before when I was in a bike accident. When I got hit, it was a state employee with a state vehicle. They have sovereign immunity so they don't have to pay a dime if I have coverage for anything.

I'd talk to your own auto insurance too. My bike accident is actually on my DMV record which i need to get straightened out.
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