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Can I use any frame for my riding position?

Old 02-24-15, 03:50 PM
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Scott12703
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Can I use any frame for my riding position?

Ok, I got an old racer frame to build up as a commuter, I put quality parts that fitted but was looking for comfort so had installed a higher handlebar stem and riser bars. It rode well till last week but when I got home, the bike, the headtube was completely split open, The frame a write off, but there was no crash, just normal commuter riding, some uphill a few times
It was an older frame, a reynolds 501 so maybe corrosion inside was the cause but my father reckons it's because the increased stress of higher handlebars was too much as the frame is designed for dropped bars and not strong enough for another riding position

My question is, was this just bad luck with a corroded frame or is there rules about what these frames can take, does changing the ride position really put more stress on weak points in the frame, I plan to replace the frame and reuse the parts but is there only certain frames that can be used with an upright position?
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Old 02-24-15, 04:22 PM
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le mans
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where abouts on the head set....got a picture of the damage?

cant imagine changing handlebars had anything to do with it


reynolds had a range of 501 frames, which one was it.....it should be written after the 501?
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Old 02-24-15, 04:39 PM
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The head tube doesn't see that much of a load from the handlebars and stem. I would guess that the main load comes from hitting bumps through the fork and steering tube.

How bad was the internal rust?
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Old 02-24-15, 05:12 PM
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CliffordK
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Post some photos.
Was it the frame head tube or the fork steer tube that failed?
Did the head tube have lugs?

Older steer tubes had a groove, perhaps to help orient a center-pull brake cable stop. Newer ones don't have the groove.

There are a couple of different headset sizes.

In particular, the Asian Crown races may be 30.0 mm in diameter.
Other crown races may be 30.2mm in diameter. They may interchange somewhat, but perhaps forcing a 30.2mm race into a 30mm head tube could potentially cause stress and eventual failure.
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Old 02-25-15, 03:22 AM
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ok, here are a couple of photos, the damage is in the welding round the front of the frame which has split and went right round, the photos also show the height of handlebar stem being used. The frame is reynolds 501 claud butler, used to be an 80s racer with drop bars but there is no longer any frame or serial number just the reynolds sticker. I am wondering whether to rebuild on the same kind of fram, if it's just due to corrosion or to look at a different frame. It was actually a great commuter before this, fast and comfortable ride, and it was only used on tarmac cycle paths no crashes or bumpy off road use. It was pedaled uphill so maybe the pressure on the frame was more then when out of the saddle pulling the handlebars. But shouldn't a racer frame cope with this unless it's corroded. I will get a better look at the corrosion when I dismantle the bike and get the forks off, the headset and bearings are original to the bike, only the handlebar stem was changed and it's the same diameter.
Thanks for all the replies
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Old 02-25-15, 03:27 AM
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I would like to reuse the parts and keeping with a reynolds 501 frame, I could build it up almost the same, another frame such as mtb frame would use 26 inch wheels and a different stem diameter, but if I rebuild it on another 501 frame, will this damage happen again on a frame in good condition?
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Old 02-25-15, 03:31 AM
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The frame sticker just says reynolds 501 double butted frame tube, nothing else
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Old 02-25-15, 03:38 AM
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ok, here are a couple of photos, the damage is in the welding round the front of the frame which has split and went right round, the photos also show the height of handlebar stem being used. The frame is reynolds 501 claud butler, used to be an 80s racer with drop bars but there is no longer any frame or serial number just the reynolds sticker. I am wondering whether to rebuild on the same kind of fram, if it's just due to corrosion or to look at a different frame. It was actually a great commuter before this, fast and comfortable ride, and it was only used on tarmac cycle paths no crashes or bumpy off road use. It was pedaled uphill so maybe the pressure on the frame was more then when out of the saddle pulling the handlebars. But shouldn't a racer frame cope with this unless it's corroded. I will get a better look at the corrosion when I dismantle the bike and get the forks off, the headset and bearings are original to the bike, only the handlebar stem was changed and it's the same diameter.
Thanks for all the replies
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Old 02-25-15, 03:40 AM
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Leverage is leverage. Drop bars and riding on the hoods is unlikely to be particularly more gentle than what you ran.
I'd say rust or some internal defect caused that. Looks like the crack follow the curve of the lug real well.
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Old 02-25-15, 04:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Scott12703 View Post
ok, here are a couple of photos, the damage is in the welding round the front of the frame which has split and went right round, the photos also show the height of handlebar stem being used. The frame is reynolds 501 claud butler, used to be an 80s racer with drop bars but there is no longer any frame or serial number just the reynolds sticker. I am wondering whether to rebuild on the same kind of fram, if it's just due to corrosion or to look at a different frame. It was actually a great commuter before this, fast and comfortable ride, and it was only used on tarmac cycle paths no crashes or bumpy off road use. It was pedaled uphill so maybe the pressure on the frame was more then when out of the saddle pulling the handlebars. But shouldn't a racer frame cope with this unless it's corroded. I will get a better look at the corrosion when I dismantle the bike and get the forks off, the headset and bearings are original to the bike, only the handlebar stem was changed and it's the same diameter.
Thanks for all the replies
could be reynolds light weight tube set but still.. that shouldn't happen under normal ridding conditions

looks to me like a front end collision caused it

did anybody else ride the bike before hand?

as you'd know the stem fits inside the fork tube
once you get it dismantled, be interesting to see the condition of that
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Old 02-25-15, 04:41 AM
  #11  
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That looks like a freak event - corrosion, manufacturing defect, past damage. The stem is very tall, but if you aren't in the habit of really levering hard (really hard) on it, shouldn't matter. If the fork steerer tube is intact, that would further suggest to me that the stem want the cause.
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Old 02-25-15, 05:16 AM
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Ths stem is completely enclosed inside the steering tube on the fork. Increased stress would cause the frame to crack on either the top tube or down tube. That's why mountain bikes have reinforcement on them. Have you ever seen the plates welded onto the front of the frame. The damage he has, has to be a defect.
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Old 02-25-15, 06:26 AM
  #13  
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It appears as if the crack follows the top of the back side of the head tube lug.

My guess is the crack began at the back side of the head tube along the top of the lug, then propagated around to the front ending in a spectacular crack across the front of the head tube.

Was there creaking for weeks, or perhaps months before the bike fell apart?

You have both burgundy and white paint??? Overall the paint looks good, so I doubt rust/corrosion was the issue.

Leverage? I'm not sure. The interface between the steer tube and the head tube would be the two bearing races, but it should be quite strong.

The angle of your photo isn't great, but the seat doesn't look excessively high. You do have high bars, but the frame may not be too much too small. An option, of course, on newer frames would be to use a sloping top tube which effectively gives you a longer steer tube, and shorter seat tube. Many "hybrids" are configured that way.

Technically it would be possible to repair the frame. But, it probably isn't worth it unless you weld/braze, or have friends who do that, or perhaps have access to a really good bike co-op. I think the head tube can be removed and replaced.

Anyway, I'd just throw this into the freak occurrence category, and just replace (or repair) the frame. The rest of the bike looks solid enough that you should be able to transfer everything over to a new frame.
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Old 02-25-15, 07:00 AM
  #14  
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I'm in no position to say what caused your frame damage, but clearly you will need a new frame. I suggest you look for a "hybrid." They are generally cheaper and more numerous than drop bar frames and may more easily accommodate your upright position.
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Old 02-25-15, 07:03 AM
  #15  
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if i wanted to break a headtube like that, i'd would put a long thin pipe in the the top and push hard on it, like that overly long stem is doing every time the bike is ridden. so i'm blaming the stem. it looks like it may even be a DIY type of thing.
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Old 02-25-15, 09:32 AM
  #16  
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A 1 foot long stem? Are you joking? Maybe start with a new frame that fits you. And don't frankenstein parts to fit. Get some riser bars or ape hangers if you want your hands that high.
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Old 02-25-15, 10:12 PM
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Sting-Ray bars and a short stem would not change the leverage over what one gets with a long stem and flat bars assuming the grip position is set to about the same spot.

As far as "leverage", I think there are a few different forces.

Push forward/Pull Back along the axis of the frame. This would increase somewhat based on the increased leverage, but should be relatively minimal, EXCEPT DURING A CRASH, or perhaps an emergency stop. Although it may depend a little on the rider and riding style. Riding off curbs?

Pull Up (and side torque). One can get a fair amount of twisting torque with this, especially on a hard standing hill climb. Clips/Cleats? The main leverage is based on the width of the handlebars, and I don't believe is significantly impacted by the stem/bar height. The longer stem may in fact reduce the leverage here.

Anyway, I would inspect a future frame for cracks periodically, and listen to its creaks and groans. However, I'm not convinced that this problem would recur if this frame was repaired, or a similar bike was built (perhaps using a different brand of frame).

A larger frame or one with a sloping top tube would have its advantages, but many modern racers are riding on frames that look too small for them.

Definitely look at the Hybrid and Cyclocross frames when looking for a new bike, or a frame to rebuild. But, there are many nice steel frames that would work great on a commuter for less than $100.
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Old 02-26-15, 08:46 AM
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The fact that the part of the head tube below the break is pulled back relative to the part above makes me think that there's probably some latent frame damage from an old accident of some sort. Perhaps a very shallow bend in the down tube pulling back on the bottom lug and creating a sheer load on the head tube. Rust, fatigue, latent heat damage from brazing, could all weaken the tube to the point where the sheer load caused a failure.

Tall bars shouldn't create sheer in the head tube. Forces on the bars are translated to the fork's steer tube which is supported by the headset at the top and bottom of the head tube. Pushing/pulling force at the top bearing creates torque that is resisted by an opposite force on the bottom bearing. Failure mode for these forces would be cracking where the top tube and down tube meet the lugs. However, if the high bars are creating that kind of load, the bike would likely go through a number of headset bearings before the frame failed.
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Old 02-26-15, 09:26 AM
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I don't think it is the length of the stem as some have hypothesized because I think the steering tube would have been the first part to fail in that scenario. (for example the bulging that can hppen from over-tightening the wedge)

Regardless of the length of the stem (ignoring the ridiculous like an eight foot long stem), unless someone is doing handstands on the handlebar/stem or has Lou Ferigno (or whoever the modern strong men are) strength, I suspect that the majority of the leverage on a headset and head tube will always be from the fork.
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Old 02-26-15, 11:20 AM
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Reynolds 501 was seam welded tubing. It also was a lighter, butted tubeset.

If it failed once with no signs of corrosion attacking the welded seam and no crash or other event to bring failure about, I'd pick another tubeset.

Some tubesets had weight limits and you are putting more leverage on the frame by using a longer stem.

What happens if you are riding somewhere dangerous with no room to spare, then you do hit a severe, unexpected bump, and it causes your next headtube to come undone, causing a crash in a place you really can't afford? It could happen if your old one split from normal riding.
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Old 02-26-15, 11:47 AM
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I'm in with jyi and le mans--I vote for some defect possibly (likely) combined with a previous front end collision. Have you pulled the forks to have a look. That may give you important clues.
At any rate I doubt you want to repair this frame. Like several others have said, 80's or 90's MTB frames can be had fairly cheap or a lightly used hybrid would give you a better riding position. It's getting to be the time of year when people start to officially give up on the New Year's resolution that prompted the purchase of their shiny hybrid. It's time to clear out that which reminds them of their increasing shame.
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Old 03-02-15, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Scott12703 View Post
My question is, was this just bad luck with a corroded frame or is there rules about what these frames can take, does changing the ride position really put more stress on weak points in the frame, I plan to replace the frame and reuse the parts but is there only certain frames that can be used with an upright position?
There are lists you could probably google up which tell you how much weight each tubeset was intended for. Some of the racing tubesets are only meant for a 125lb rider.

Yes increasing the stem height and the seatpost height definitely puts a lot more stress on the frame.

You didn't say whether it was actually corroded or if you thought it might be due to its age but the Reynolds 501 tubesets were unusual because they were seam welded but also high performance butted and tapered tubing.

Usually the lower end frames are seam welded and they are fine because the metal is thick and makes for a good wide weld.

The high end tubesets except for Reynolds 501 and 502 were drawn into tubes from the outset. They were the same high grade alloy all around, without a welded seam.
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