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Perhaps vintage is not the best choice

Old 10-16-21, 09:35 AM
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prairiepedaler
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Perhaps vintage is not the best choice

Well, after a ride yesterday I went to move the bike into the garage and noticed that the seatstay has snapped on the drive side near the top tube/seat tube junction and on the other side the stay separated from the frame at the weld contact point. The snapped portion was definetely the tube and not the weld. I'll get some photos up soon. It's a good thing it happened near home, I presume. This means, as of right now NO BIKE to ride.

This is the 3rd old mountain bike frame I've had fail thus far and I'm thinking going with of something newer now, perhaps with less metal fatigue. These old mountain bike are good in the sense that they are robust (for most) and are relatively inexpensive (definetely a bonus). It has come at a bad time (end of season) and I was about to prep this bike for winter duty. I'll have to build up that Maruishi frame now (see sidebar). I'm not rough on bikes; strictly pavement, no curb jumping etc. A trailer is a pain. The rider is not overly heavy (6'4". 210). But, I do haul on them and yet nothing outside of what they should be able to handle. Bit of a puzzler there.
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Old 10-16-21, 09:43 AM
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have you heard of chromoly?
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Old 10-16-21, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by hose View Post
have you heard of chromoly?
did you notice the bikes he has?
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Old 10-16-21, 09:58 AM
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Originally Posted by thook View Post
did you notice the bikes he has?
no i just wanted to be a smug dink
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Old 10-16-21, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by hose View Post
no i just wanted to be a smug dink
lol!!
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Old 10-16-21, 10:03 AM
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I had a bicycle that I was riding one night and thought that I had got a flat in the rear wheel as the bike suddenly felt squirmy. I got off the bike and felt the rear tire and it was hard. SO I figured maybe loose hub cones or broken axle. I pulled on the wheel. Wheel felt fine but moved a bit. Shone my headlight on the frame and saw this. Both seatstays had torn off the seattube. Sometimes bike frames just wear out.



Cheers
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Old 10-16-21, 10:07 AM
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"Sometimes, Bike frames wear out"

~a smart man, 16Oct2021

a wise man also said, always own more than 1 bike : ]
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Old 10-16-21, 10:16 AM
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I like my Karate Monkey a great deal, you can put on together fairly cheaply if you have a parts bin
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Old 10-16-21, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
Well, after a ride yesterday I went to move the bike into the garage and noticed that the seatstay has snapped on the drive side near the top tube/seat tube junction and on the other side the stay separated from the frame at the weld contact point. The snapped portion was definetely the tube and not the weld. I'll get some photos up soon. It's a good thing it happened near home, I presume. This means, as of right now NO BIKE to ride.

This is the 3rd old mountain bike frame I've had fail thus far and I'm thinking going with of something newer now, perhaps with less metal fatigue. These old mountain bike are good in the sense that they are robust (for most) and are relatively inexpensive (definetely a bonus). It has come at a bad time (end of season) and I was about to prep this bike for winter duty. I'll have to build up that Maruishi frame now (see sidebar). I'm not rough on bikes; strictly pavement, no curb jumping etc. A trailer is a pain. The rider is not overly heavy (6'4". 210). But, I do haul on them and yet nothing outside of what they should be able to handle. Bit of a puzzler there.
Well, not doubting your program but something odd going on here, if you've broken 3 bikes. I would bet less than 1% of the members, bikes, etc, whatever have had a frame failure.

Many things are possible, top of the list for me would be climate and location or just plain old bad dumb luck.

If you are near a MTB hot bed or coastal salt, humidity, those could be key factors, if not then hard to say.

Very strange IMO.
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Old 10-16-21, 11:32 AM
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Best choice? Eh, maybe, maybe not. It sucks that those have been your experiences for sure. But one can find plenty of examples of much newer stuff that has failed, regardless of material.

Might not be worth it to some, but a competent welder or frame builder can repair a lot of these failures. I have a 48 year old frame here that had a hole worn into the inside left chainstay from rubbing. I had a local welder fill it in. Cost me $35. Good for another 48? Maybe?
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Old 10-16-21, 11:41 AM
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I always wondered why most steel bikes just seem to have the smallest area of brazed or welded unterface between the seatstay ends and seat lug, being that there's a lot of weight shifting around there that would flex those joints constantly while riding.
The way some British bike makers wrapped and brazed the seatstay ends around the seat lug seems to make a lot of sense, because of this.
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Old 10-16-21, 11:55 AM
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Back in the '70s, I used to reattach seat stays and brake bridges pretty often. But I'm pretty sure it was only on cheap bikes. Usually lower-end French bikes.
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Old 10-16-21, 12:18 PM
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Maybe time to try mass-produced aluminum. I've always had a theory stiff, alloy frames last longer with trailers than steel.
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Old 10-16-21, 01:07 PM
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I was expecting to see one of those infamous Trek's with the investment cast top eyes and too little material.

From the appearance the tube failed, but from the rust there was fair warning if you had been watching.
While just a closeup, the bike appears quite weathered and not paid attention to, if cleaned often where problems might show up with inspection.
It has a rack, no idea on your mass and or how much load the rack sees.
Riding style too. Some guys just ride "heavy" never lift their weight off the saddle when an abrupt change in road surface. pothole, driveway apron with 1" lip up is encountered.
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Old 10-16-21, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
I always wondered why most steel bikes just seem to have the smallest area of brazed or welded unterface between the seatstay ends and seat lug, being that there's a lot of weight shifting around there that would flex those joints constantly while riding.
The way some British bike makers wrapped and brazed the seatstay ends around the seat lug seems to make a lot of sense, because of this.
In general the seat stays do not carry that much load. Load the saddle up with an upright riding position...
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Old 10-16-21, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
I had a bicycle that I was riding one night and thought that I had got a flat in the rear wheel as the bike suddenly felt squirmy. I got off the bike and felt the rear tire and it was hard. SO I figured maybe loose hub cones or broken axle. I pulled on the wheel. Wheel felt fine but moved a bit. Shone my headlight on the frame and saw this. Both seatstays had torn off the seattube. Sometimes bike frames just wear out.



Cheers
First generation rear suspension
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Old 10-16-21, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
Well, after a ride yesterday I went to move the bike into the garage and noticed that the seatstay has snapped on the drive side near the top tube/seat tube junction and on the other side the stay separated from the frame at the weld contact point. The snapped portion was definetely the tube and not the weld. I'll get some photos up soon. It's a good thing it happened near home, I presume.
Do you get winter road salt? Perhaps look for a vintage Litespeed or Lynskey frame?

Photos will be interesting. The construction of many bikes is to have a seat stay cap that is about 1" long or so. Thus you may have a joint an inch or so below the end of the seat stay.

.
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Old 10-16-21, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
Well, not doubting your program but something odd going on here, if you've broken 3 bikes. I would bet less than 1% of the members, bikes, etc, whatever have had a frame failure.

Many things are possible, top of the list for me would be climate and location or just plain old bad dumb luck.

If you are near a MTB hot bed or coastal salt, humidity, those could be key factors, if not then hard to say.

Very strange IMO.
I've broke 5 frames over 5 decades, six if the broken weld on a Pinarello AK61 counts
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Old 10-16-21, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
First generation rear suspension
What surprised me was that I was able to continue on to the store I was going to and then ride home. I guess I could have had those brazed back on but I just scrapped the frame instead.

I have a 1980's Miele rigid frame/fork MTB that I've converted to a dropbar and V-brakes and it's still going strong even when loaded.

I guess that broken frame of mine was just bad luck. It's the only frame of mine that has broken.

Cheers
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Old 10-16-21, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by GhostRider62 View Post
I've broke 5 frames over 5 decades, six if the broken weld on a Pinarello AK61 counts
So that would probably put you squarely in my hypothetical %1, you and the OP would seem to be members of a pretty exclusive club.
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Old 10-16-21, 04:25 PM
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That can be fixed fairly easily from the looks of it:
Bicycle Frame Seat Lug Repair at Yellow Jersey
Typical Seatstay Repair at Yellow Jersey

Yellow Jersey has a dozen more pages of this stuff.
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Old 10-16-21, 04:39 PM
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Over the last 20 years or so there has been more emphasis on oversized tubes and shaped tubes. Plus gusseting. Likely some manufacturers have taken failures to heart and have taken steps to make their frames stronger and better.

Keep in mind that while cycling has been around since just before 1900, the MTB craze is relatively recent, with the big boom in the 80's and 90's.

Early MTBs highly resembled road bikes with fat tires. And, likely through a lot of trial and error, those models have highly evolved.

Of course the old MTB frames may be dirt cheap so you could go through quite a few $50 frames before you pay for a $1000 frame.
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Old 10-16-21, 06:06 PM
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Originally Posted by merziac View Post
So that would probably put you squarely in my hypothetical %1, you and the OP would seem to be members of a pretty exclusive club.
They are just charter members of the destructive testing club.

There was one customer of the bike shop who could break anything, 280#, never lifted his weight off the saddle, under-inflated tires, dented lots of rims too.
Today, he would be best on a fat tire bike.
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Old 10-16-21, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
They are just charter members of the destructive testing club.

There was one customer of the bike shop who could break anything, 280#, never lifted his weight off the saddle, under-inflated tires, dented lots of rims too.
Today, he would be best on a fat tire bike.
I've never understood those who couldn't, wouldn't, didn't even try to ride light in the saddle and upweight when necessary.

Heavyweights get a bit of a pass but they are the ones that would benefit most from these strategies.

And we can't always be proactive, gonna miss one or misjudge one once in awhile but again, riding light in the saddle can save you from them often.
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Old 10-16-21, 06:50 PM
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The Elkhorn (subject bike) has always been used on flat terrain for the time I've ridden it. In fact, I haven't even put that many miles on it myself. I'd bought the frame, built it up and had it sit as standby in case I needed an extra. I was going to use the Elkhorn as the main 3 season bike, and the other (a BRC) as the winter ride. But, last fall the BRC failed so this Elkhorn was called into winter duty. I've used it one winter. I also treat my frames to Rustcheck spray from the inside, and spot treat bare surface metal. Messy, but it doesn't rust. I'll have some photos of the Elkhorn damage up tomorrow. I think this situation could be welded or brazed back into place no problem. I see so many bikes built with basically just an apparent tacking of the seatstay to the seat tube. Elegant looking, but maybe something a little more robust with more surface area contacted would be better.
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