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Big Dent/Bend in the top tube of a steel bike - Safety/Value Concerns?!

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Big Dent/Bend in the top tube of a steel bike - Safety/Value Concerns?!

Old 06-27-11, 12:45 PM
  #1  
TheDLake
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Big Dent/Bend in the top tube of a steel bike - Safety/Value Concerns?!

I have a top tube cover pad on my fixed gear and I took it off to adjust something and found a huge dent/bend there. Is the integrity of the bike ruined? Is this safe to ride? can the whole thing just buckle if I hit the wrong pot hole?

Also, is the frame now not worth anything?

Specs of both frames (one is a fixed gear Fuji Track and the other is a Raleigh One way)

Steel/Chromoly (4130? i think)
Fixed/Single Speed
Both are a few years old
The Fuji Bike's dent looks a lot like this one






Thanks a lot!
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Old 06-27-11, 12:54 PM
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gyozadude
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Wow! Looks bad. The integrity is probably too compromised for someone heavy to ride. It may continue to survive and function okay if someone light rides it casually. But it's still risky. What happened? someone drop the bike off the top of a car and it landed on the top tube?
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Old 06-27-11, 01:17 PM
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jimc101
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That's a big dent, and the top of the seat tube is in very poor condition from the look of the photo as well, would say it's scrap in that state, doubt it would be cost effective to get the tube replaced.
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Old 06-27-11, 03:53 PM
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gyozadude
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I've heard of someone who dinged his seat tube once on a vintage steel frame, and the person was able to perform somewhat of a "balloon" angioplasty-type of operation to push out the ding from the inside. It involved getting long threaded rod and using a similar wedge like a handlebar stem. He slid the assembly down the tube and then turned the rod slowly, and the expander did the rest. But his ding, I don't think was this acute. And on the top tube, there's no way to get in there except with a wire snake, or if you drill a hole in the back of the seat tube where the top tube is joined. But that's a risk too. But OTOH, the only other option is to scrap the frame.
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Old 06-27-11, 03:59 PM
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Ride the bike. It is steel and it will fail gradually.
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Old 06-27-11, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Ride the bike. It is steel and it will fail gradually.
Maybe it may fail gradually. Maybe not. If the top tube fails, the likely method is by compressible buckling. Because the fork and weight of the rider will exert torque on the frame around the base of the head tube. Should the frame begin to fail, it's unlikely to be gradual. It's likely to be catastrophic and change the head tube position and therefore direction of the bike. If you have heads-down, forward moment and it folds, and then you hit another bump, it's likely to be and face-plant or at least head first injury. There's a risk associated, and my guess is that it's pretty high in this case.
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Old 06-27-11, 05:01 PM
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MilitantPotato
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I'd not ride one with a dent that bad.
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Old 06-27-11, 05:25 PM
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Prudent advice is to scrap the two frames. Either frame can possibly last for many, many miles, but nobody wants to see an injured rider.

Brad
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Old 06-27-11, 05:35 PM
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I'm no structural engineer, but I wonder if there is a way to "sleeve" the dented portion, either with steel or better yet, carbon fiber. Then cover that with the bar wrap and it is invisible. Just a notion.
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Old 06-27-11, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by davidad View Post
Ride the bike. It is steel and it will fail gradually.
+1, this bike is built with a fairly ductile steel. When, and if it fails there'll be plenty of warning, in the form of crack propagation occuring over a period of weeks and months not hours or days, and certainly not over a period of minutes and hours.

Your main concern should be whether the tube is bent enough to have twisted the head tube with respect to the seat tube, which will cause tracking and handling issues.

Otherwise, if it rides go ahead and ride it.
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Old 06-27-11, 06:19 PM
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hey thx a lot everyone!

I got the bike for free from a friend for $60 didn't need it/want it anymore. I had it literally in storage for the past 7 months because it needed a bunch of crap done to it (it was winter and I had 3 other bikes to worry about) so I just never even looked over it because it was night time when I bought it... Then I just saw that dent in it yesterday when I went to start fixing crap on it, and now I'm thinking I should just part the damn thing out and sell it on ebay/craigslist. Might be worth more like that. The components aren't that great on it.. so I could get maybe $100-$150 tops (it does have a decent wheel set. black alex entry level wheels) if I do it right in parts. $200 ish maybe if I sell it whole? maybe stupid to sell it whole huh? I dunno...

Atleast it was $60 right? ugh...
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Old 06-27-11, 06:22 PM
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Nothing it will happen to that bike maybe ever, as for the fuji. Nothing it will happen maybe ever either.

As for the steel in those bikes, who knows. Sincerely that a bike has a sticker (specially this type of frames) saying that has what ever tubing doesnt mean it has them all. Usually is just one or 2 that are the real thing and all the other tubing is just cheap ass straight gauge steel. Not bad quality but good enough for the bike to last 50 years instead of 200 years. As long as the frame has one real tube (a good one) the manufacturer have the right to put a sticker in the frame. the issue is that the decal doesnt say how many tubes are real, so who knows and the dealer will tell you it has reynolds tubing, yes, but which one? How to know? only master builders can tell you because is just ding and hear the tubing to know.

Just in case this have been done since forever and even with good brands, their low end china made is like that, one good tube and all the other stuff is just straight gauge tubing.

Good luck with the bikes, ride them man, nothing will happen at least to the one u have in there.
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Old 06-30-11, 12:25 AM
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"got the bike for free from a friend for $60"

If I uncovered a dent like that in a bike I paid money for, I'd be unhappy I wasn't told about it before hand. To me, the frame is worthless - who would buy a frame that looks like that? But that's me, maybe someone would buy it.

Only you can decide how to sell it. You never know, but if they're no-name or low end components, you might be lucky to get $60 for the parts. All you can do is try and see what happens. Again, I come back to who would buy a bike with a frame like that? Would you have?
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