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hi tensile steel frame life expectancy

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hi tensile steel frame life expectancy

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Old 12-01-16, 12:10 PM
  #1  
TreyWestgate
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hi tensile steel frame life expectancy

How long will my nashbar hi tensile steel frame last?. I would try to protect it from rust and don't abuse it with riding more aggressive than its intended for. even though it works for light gravel trails.

how long will it last usually??. and while hi tensile steel is not the best, it's still hopefully better than aluminum which I think I heard has a shorter life of other frame materials.

The rust is one danger but I also wanted to ask if I could use a rust guard that the LBS sells.

want to buy a bike that lasts but I paid 187$ for it since it was on sale when I got it.

you might say that anything at that price won't last and you get what you pay for.

187$ on sale but otherwise a suggested msrp 449$ quality bike.
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Old 12-01-16, 12:13 PM
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willydstyle
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As long as it doesn't rust it should last basically forever if it is free from manufacturing defects.
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Old 12-01-16, 12:57 PM
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It all depends on if you take care of your bike or not. I have an old 72 Chicago Schwinn that while cosmetically isn't in great shape, it is mechanically sound. Be it carbon, aluminum, titanium, or steel - I highly doubt that you would have any problems with it for a very, very long time. What is more likely to wear out and need replacing are the parts that are on the frame.
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Old 12-01-16, 12:59 PM
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A Planning Figure...

...could be 50 years. Barring damage from a crash or an act of vandalism, of course. You could use 50 years as a good round planning number to answer your question.
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Old 12-01-16, 02:57 PM
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Plenty of 30, 40, 50+ year old bikes rolling along nicely.
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Old 12-01-16, 03:06 PM
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willydstyle
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Originally Posted by Homebrew01 View Post
Plenty of 30, 40, 50+ year old bikes rolling along nicely.
Yup. My bike is a 37-year old touring bike that's lighter than most modern touring bikes and has zero structural rust.
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Old 12-01-16, 03:14 PM
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Steel bikes have near infinite life. And Hi-Ten will tend to have a higher life that the higher alloys used in lighter frames.

The most likely places for eventual failure (if you don' crash) are the seat or chainstays, or a frame or fork end. None of these failures are likely to cause injury.

Keep in mind that historically manufacturers not only designed so frames wouldn't fail for a very long time, but also for how they would fail when that time came. They overbuild critical places, often by factors greater than two.
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Old 12-01-16, 03:22 PM
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I'm surprised it hasn't crumpled under your mighty power output already.
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Old 12-01-16, 03:26 PM
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Is anybody building "High Tensile" steel bikes now? Perhaps a few kid's bikes.

Almost all mid-level or greater bikes use some kind of chromoly or similar tubing.

It is hard to say how long it will last. Even rusting is a slow process, so as long as a person brings the bike inside at night, I wouldn't worry about rust. Is it parked in the rain during the day? Salt Exposure? There is some kind of a "frame saver" internal treatment. I've never done it to any of my bikes.
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Old 12-01-16, 04:03 PM
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Hi-Ten?

You'll get sick of it long before it fails...
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Old 12-01-16, 04:14 PM
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I've got one at home going on 50 years, and it still looks new.

So, as long as you take care of it, I guess.
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Old 12-01-16, 05:22 PM
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TreyWestgate
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Great everyone am glad it's a keeper, my mountain bike on the other hand I'm not sure what you might think of this.

The mountain bike I have is aluminum and it has some paint bubbles which when scratched off show some white sort of dust, maybe corrosion and I've used rustoleum aluminum primer and now it's just ugly looking but maybe I've stopped the corrosion hopefully.

You might think you can avoid cosmetic problems with aluminum but it will corrode and that means shorter life perhaps right there. is it a bad quality if the paint bubbles and gets the white dust under it?.

also glad that my road bike is steel and the mountain bike is aluminum, or maybe that's not really a good thing.
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Old 12-01-16, 06:24 PM
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Bromptons are made with hi-ten steel. That's why I have a Bike Friday ;-)
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Old 12-01-16, 06:31 PM
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My 1948 Hi-ten Raleigh still seems OK. 68 years so far.
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Old 12-01-16, 06:47 PM
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My hi-ten Peugeot UO-8 is older than me and it'll probably still be rideable when I die.
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Old 12-02-16, 02:54 AM
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Originally Posted by TreyWestgate View Post
The mountain bike I have is aluminum and it has some paint bubbles which when scratched off show some white sort of dust, maybe corrosion ...
Yes, the white dust is aluminium oxide. It's not pretty but my understanding is that it's generally not as harmful as rust is to steel. That's because the oxide tends to form a stable layer which protects the underlying metal whereas rust tends to come away and expose the underlying metal. In fact if you have alloy wheels and other parts they are usually protected by anodizing, which is a method for increasing the thickness of the oxide layer.

With any frame, once it reaches the point where it's looking too shabby or you are concerned about rust or oxide damage, you can get them re-enameled or powder coated. A friend of mine had nothing but praise for the work done by Colour-Tech on his frame, for those of you in the UK. Have a look at their gallery - they've done some lovely work and they aren't expensive.

John
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Old 12-02-16, 03:13 AM
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Originally Posted by TreyWestgate View Post
Great everyone am glad it's a keeper, my mountain bike on the other hand I'm not sure what you might think of this.

The mountain bike I have is aluminum and it has some paint bubbles which when scratched off show some white sort of dust, maybe corrosion and I've used rustoleum aluminum primer and now it's just ugly looking but maybe I've stopped the corrosion hopefully.

You might think you can avoid cosmetic problems with aluminum but it will corrode and that means shorter life perhaps right there. is it a bad quality if the paint bubbles and gets the white dust under it?.

also glad that my road bike is steel and the mountain bike is aluminum, or maybe that's not really a good thing.
60xx series (6061) aluminum should be fairly corrosion resistant (it is used with salt water applications
70xx series (7075) aluminum has higher tensile strength, but is more prone to corrosion.
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Old 12-02-16, 11:54 AM
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Keep doing preventative maintenance, and stay out of crashes, and a steel bike can last a very long time.


Remember, too, that things like a frozen bottom bracket or headset may lead you to either wreck the frame trying to get the old part out, or walk away in disgust.
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Old 12-02-16, 12:25 PM
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My Hi-Tensile steel '75 Fuji is still going strong after 40+ years. I have absolutely no reason to think it would not last another 40.
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Old 12-02-16, 12:31 PM
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As long as it's protected from the weather, and if it hasn't cracked somewhere yet, it will last forever.
Steel, specifically, has a fatigue endurance limit. A stress value below which it will never develop damage that could produce a crack.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Is anybody building "High Tensile" steel bikes now? Perhaps a few kid's bikes.
Quite a few nice bikes, Shinola, for one, Public for another.

This one logged about 40,000 mi (unfortunately the frame was bent in a crash this year, and I upgraded it)

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Old 12-02-16, 02:18 PM
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I regularly ride a 1937 Raleigh Tourist - "The All-Steel Bicycle"
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Old 12-02-16, 02:49 PM
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old bikes

I see a lot of old bikes at the Bike Exchange. If you see a really rusty one it usually has the same pattern:

Rust on the top of the frame tubes and the bottom of the steel wheels indicating that it was sitting outside against the side of the house unused for years.

Keep your bike inside, clean it once in a while, and wax it if you feel like it and a bike will last pretty well indefinitely.
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Old 12-02-16, 03:16 PM
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My wife still rides her 1977 - 78 Peugeot and it is built like a Tank. I have a friend rides a 1974 Panasonic. No Rust and also built like a Tank.
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Old 12-02-16, 07:43 PM
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50 years? More than that, heck low level steel gas pipe bikes are still around from the early 1900's, in fact the late great Sheldon Brown commuted almost every day on a 1916 Mead Ranger up until he couldn't ride anymore from his illness. The weird thing about that bike is that the paint is mostly missing and there is a rust colored patina on the bike and it was still rideable.

My 1916 Mead Ranger
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Old 12-02-16, 07:54 PM
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for most of the bikes we're discussing, gas pipe is a misnomer.
Specifically, gas pipe is seam welded, only about 0.1C, and has a tensile strength of about 50 ksi.
High-ten C-Mn steel such as TI 20-30 is seamless and has a tensile strength of about 90-100 ksi (v. 120ksi for 531) - that's why they call it hi-ten, for high tensile strength.
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