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buying an aluminum frame from the 90's

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buying an aluminum frame from the 90's

Old 11-07-11, 11:21 AM
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Jonpwn
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buying an aluminum frame from the 90's

I found this aluminum road frame on ebay from 90-96 (based on cannondale head badge). It looks pretty used, scratches and scuffs, and a small ding on the top tube. I asked for a picture of the bottom bracket shell to see if there are cracks, but I want to know if buying an aluminum frame this old is a risk? I've read that on a microscopic level, vibrations and whatever cause the aluminum to slowly wear from the inside out or some thing like that, causing aluminum frames to need to be replaced every few years.

thanks!
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Old 11-07-11, 11:42 AM
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fietsbob
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You need a friend who knows bikes and inspecting for condition,
& damage signs on them, to go with you.
an invisible internet friend is really not a substitute.


CL , maybe.. GIVEN ; you go look at those in person

Last edited by fietsbob; 11-07-11 at 05:24 PM.
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Old 11-07-11, 11:49 AM
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HillRider
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Conceptually, buying an Aluminum frame that old and in noticably worn and possibly abused condition is a very poor idea. As you noted, aluminum can and will eventually fail from fatigue and that one has has plenty of opportunity to experience it. I'd pass.
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Old 11-07-11, 12:00 PM
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Aluminum frames have a nasty habit of not showing any signs and then all of the sudden "bam!". Its part of the way aluminum is. But Cannondale have lifetime gaurantee though? No?
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Old 11-07-11, 12:03 PM
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The lifetime warranty is for the original purchaser only- it requires a dated receipt of purchase from an authorized Cannondale dealer. I would pass as well, unless I got to see and carefully inspect the frame in person.
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Old 11-07-11, 12:48 PM
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It would have to be a pretty good deal... a new aluminum frame with a lot of the technology that was state of the art in 1995 can be had for ~$100 from some of the online retailers.
Edit: Example: https://www.performancebike.com/bikes..._20000__400314
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Old 11-07-11, 12:58 PM
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prathmann
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Originally Posted by triplebutted View Post
Aluminum frames have a nasty habit of not showing any signs and then all of the sudden "bam!". Its part of the way aluminum is.
Unfortunately it's also 'part of the way' all other bicycle frame materials are. My only personal experience is with two of my steel bikes. Neither gave any useful warning before failing suddenly. So far the frame that has lasted the most miles of any of mine is my only aluminum frame - a Cannondale made in '89 with over 110 kmiles.

There's certainly a risk with any used bike since you don't know much about its previous history. But then even a new bike can have hidden defects that lead to premature failure.
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Old 11-07-11, 02:29 PM
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Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
...even a new bike can have hidden defects that lead to premature failure.
Except with a new bike you usually have some recourse to at least get the frame replaced... not that a frame replacement matters if you are being dragged underneath a taxi.
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Old 11-07-11, 03:10 PM
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Thanks guys, i've only dealt with steel frames so i wasn't sure about aluminum. the frame was an r500 for 50+23 shipping or 123 BIN if anybody was curious. Sort of wanted a new project but i don't want to pay for something that's likely to break soon. Thanks!

Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
You need a friend who knows bikes and inspecting for condition,
& damage signs on them, to go with you.
an invisible internet friend is really not a substitute.
not sure if you really read my question.. first of all i found it on ebay so i can't really inspect it in person, and my question was a general question about 10+year old aluminum frames. i appreciate you trying to help but it would have benefited both of us if you perhaps looked over your post and determined if you really answered my question.
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Old 11-07-11, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jonpwn View Post
not sure if you really read my question.. first of all i found it on ebay so i can't really inspect it in person, and my question was a general question about 10+year old aluminum frames. i appreciate you trying to help but it would have benefited both of us if you perhaps looked over your post and determined if you really answered my question.
That was the whole point that fietsbob was making, without checking the frame physically, you will never know the condition of it; nothing wrong in how he put it.

Additionally to this, you don't know how the frame has been ridden, if it has lived a nice summer life of short dry rides, or all year all weather riding.
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Old 11-07-11, 03:55 PM
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prathmann
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Originally Posted by DCB0 View Post
Except with a new bike you usually have some recourse to at least get the frame replaced... not that a frame replacement matters if you are being dragged underneath a taxi.
True, but I am most concerned about the 'dragged underneath a taxi' scenario. In neither of my bike failures was there much financial loss. One was a bike that I had purchased new and it was fully covered under warranty. The other was a bike bought used but a local frame maker was able to repair it for $25. The bike was fixed long before I was back to normal and I still have some visible scars 35 years later (still have the bike as well).
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Old 11-07-11, 04:34 PM
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Jonpwn, Any frame of any material bought sight unseen, aside from photos, is a gamble. Scratches and scuffs aren't cause for alarm, the TT dent is another matter. Often it can come to nothing, but if severe enough, especially on a 2.8, can lead to a frame killing crack.

Brad
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