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Old 01-11-13, 06:11 PM   #1
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Vintage Speedwell titanium frame repair

I have been slowly, but meticulously, working on a restoration of a '73 Speedwell (badged as Ron Kit) titanium bike. After over a year of acquiring parts, cleaning, polishing, rebuilding wheels, etc., I finally started to hang parts on the frame, and my heart sank when I noticed something that I had overlooked previously: A crack by the seat clamp!

The crack starts at the the gap between the seat binder ears, and runs about an inch or so along the bottom of the weld where the non-drive-side stay meet the seat tube. I've included a couple pics below. The other issue is that there is some (drop though?) material on the inside of the seat tube at the rear side of the seat tube below the gap which prevents the seat tube from fully entering the seat post. The previous owner had sawed off his seat post at that point, which I have to assume contributed tot he crack. It also appears that this area may have been repaired once before since the weld near the seat binder bolt is not smoothed out as is the case on the rest of the frame. Of course, none of this was mentioned by the seller.

I have put a lot of work on this bike and feel committed to getting this it bike on the road. I do plan to ride the bike, though not a lot. Perhaps a half dozen times a year or so.

I'd be grateful for your feedback on whether this can be repaired, and what that repair might entail, as well as suggestions for framebuilders who might be qualified & wiling to take on the job.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by gaucho777; 01-11-13 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 05-25-13, 09:33 PM   #2
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There are folks around that can do titanium welding these days. It is a specialized skill requiring special equipment. I have been told that perhaps one in a thousand welders can do titanium. Do a Google search for titanium welding in your area. It will not be cheap. However due to the rarity of the frame it is worth the investment.

I was concerned about what I thought was a weld cracking on my Speedwell, but found it was just an imperfection and have put over five hundred miles on the bike. It is a really great ride and draws all kinds of attention.

Steve Bauserman
Missouri City, Texas
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Old 05-26-13, 07:55 AM   #3
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Randy, there are a couple of local guys in the Paceline framebuilder list who do titanium TIG. One is Jason Grove in Emeryville, and the other is Dan at NTP Bikes in the Hunter's Point neighborhood in San Francisco. Dan's website says specifically that he does Ti repair.

I don't know either of these guys, but since they're both local it may make sense to call them and see it they'll take a look at the frame. That would also give you a chance to look at the quality of their work. The big issue with welding Ti is atmospheric contamination, so the use of an inert shielding gas is absolutely necessary.
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Old 05-26-13, 08:07 AM   #4
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pretty sure I saw this subject with answers somewhere else. MTBR, I think
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