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To weld or not to weld?

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To weld or not to weld?

Old 03-07-18, 07:32 PM
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macmets
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To weld or not to weld?

I have an old Nishiki Olympic12 that I absolutely love. While riding today the frame broke. It snapped near the back axle, a part of the frame they call the chain stay. Question to anyone who's kind enough to answer: Is this break in the frame worth welding or should I consider buying a new bike? I'd hate to lose my baby.
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Old 03-07-18, 07:45 PM
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"Is this break in the frame worth welding?"

I think that it comes down to sentiment vs, economics. You could almost surely source an equivalent replacement bike for less than the cost of stripping, repairing, repainting and rebuilding your old frame. Then again, it would ever be your old bike. It's one of those questions that only you can answer.
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Old 03-07-18, 07:56 PM
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A bike is just a bunch of parts welded together. I'd check out the price of replacing with a similar frame. It will still be your bike, just with a different frame. So you can keep all the emotional attachment with it. I've been riding the same bike for 10 years, tho the only original part that remains is the seat post.
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Old 03-07-18, 08:00 PM
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Depending on where on the chainstay it broke, a local welding place could probably do a solid repair weld on it for 50 bucks. Maybe less if you prep the area for welding beforehand. No need to strip the whole frame of components if you're taking it somewhere local.
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Old 03-07-18, 08:03 PM
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Normally I would say no to this question, but if the bike really is your 'baby', I'd say yes, worth getting repaired if it's soemthing fairly simple.
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Old 03-07-18, 08:13 PM
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Ebay has recently sold frames for about 50 bucks, and whole olympic 12 bikes for 120. Welding may cost you more.

That said, if this is the bike your grandpa gave you just before he passed, and the sentimental value is there, it's should be weldable. Tahat is, the frame should be chrome-moly. Probably best to find a good TIG (GTAW) welder. He/She will know the right filler and the right procedures for thin wall 4130.
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Old 03-07-18, 08:18 PM
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Photos of the break would help determine what to do. Take the wheel off to photograph.

Go to the Advanced editor and click on the paper clip (attachments)

A lot will depend on the actual break. Many of the vintage frames were brazed together. Replacing a dropout should be easy enough if you can source the parts. On the other hand, a cracked tube could be a pain if it is considered a non-weldable alloy, and is contaminated with brass.
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Old 03-07-18, 10:25 PM
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I'm with CliffordK. Got pics? There are at least a few different modes of failure and your repair options are going to vary accordingly.

Did the chain stay break? If so, why? Is there an underlying problem like corrosion inside the stays that could lead to additional failures? Or did the dropout separate from the stay, or maybe even break?

If the chain stay broke, it may be repairable via welding. If the dropout separated from the stay, it might be able to be brazed back into place. If the dropout broke, a new one can be brazed in.
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Old 03-08-18, 07:31 AM
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Without seeing the problem, it's hard to recommend an appropriate fix. But in general, a chainstay is probably the easiest tube to replace. Whether it would be cost effective on your bike is another matter.
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Old 03-08-18, 12:06 PM
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Monkeys dancing?
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Old 03-08-18, 12:41 PM
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Just went through a similar situation with some vintage tube stereo equipment. I had someone work on it and it worked for about a year and then a whole bunch of stuff went wrong and it is now inoperable and parts can't be had for it. It is my dad's and very sentimental to me. I spent way too much on it and now I have learned that OLD IS OLD.
Go find another bike or frame that is a step up and you will fall in love all over again. That is what I did and don't miss the old tube set at all. If the bike were a top line model, then my reply would be different.
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Old 03-08-18, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by odiolalluvia View Post
A bike is just a bunch of parts welded together. I'd check out the price of replacing with a similar frame. It will still be your bike, just with a different frame. So you can keep all the emotional attachment with it. I've been riding the same bike for 10 years, tho the only original part that remains is the seat post.

So in other words you've been riding the same seat post for 10 years.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I get your point. It's still your same bike and you've swapped out parts over the years.
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Old 03-08-18, 03:29 PM
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Im not familiar with that brand & such model, but if it's steel & nothing else, it shouldnt be an issue.
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Old 03-08-18, 03:41 PM
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Is it welded or brazed? I've repaired brazed frames twice successfully, once by myself borrowing a friend's equipment, once from a local guy who worked out of the garage it seemed his wife had exiled him to. Welding can be trickier.

Is it possible that more of it is about to break? Did it break because you hit a pothole or did it just wear out?
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Old 03-08-18, 04:29 PM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
now I have learned that OLD IS OLD.
But the Nishiki Olympic 12 is probably from the mid 80's.

That is pretty new in bike years.

A lot may depend on the overall condition of the rest of the bike and frame. If it has been battered for decades, then perhaps it is best to just let it go. If it is in relatively good shape, then a repair may make it as good as new.

Wreck damage may induce stresses that may not immediately be visible, but could show up later.
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Old 03-08-18, 06:17 PM
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Some frame builders could repair it by replacing the chainstay, but it might cost more than a comparable used bike. You might be able to learn more about your bike on the Classic and Vintage forum.
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Old 03-08-18, 06:19 PM
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Was likely Brazed together, it got lugs?, not welded TIG is more common now..
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Old 03-08-18, 06:52 PM
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May be a good time to consider a belt drive conversion, something that I am hankering to try, though it's typical to put the separation joint in the seat stay.

Do a few more posts so you can reach the picture posting threshold.
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Old 03-09-18, 09:52 AM
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Might have been better ask in the frame builders forum. I'm not sure you got answers from anyone that really knows about welding or brazing tubes for bicycles.

If I had to ask the question, then I wouldn't trust myself to weld or braze it. The tubes used in bikes can be pretty thin. Nor would I trust just any welder. It's not just simply reconnecting the to ends of the fracture. Heating the tube to the temps necessary for welding and brazing always brings embrittlement as a factor to the immediate area around the fix. That means that the person doing the fix needs to know if the part experiences tension, torsion, compression, flex, etc so they can decide if an insert or collar is needed or if the entire tube should be replaced. So you might pay more for that knowledge than the bike is worth.

Or just simply have it welded by any joe blow welder and you might get lucky. But don't be surprised if they hit it with too heavy a rod and the metal heats up too much and melts completely and turns into a big hole.
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Old 03-09-18, 10:12 AM
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I broke a seat stay near where it attaches to the seat tube on my 1980 Schwinn Voyageur which is a lugged frame. I took it to a local frame builder who stripped the area with a grinder and fashioned a new connecting piece out of some scrap tubing. Then he brazed it all back together. I think he charged me $25 or $30 bucks.
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Old 03-10-18, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
So in other words you've been riding the same seat post for 10 years.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I get your point. It's still your same bike and you've swapped out parts over the years.
It's like the "Argo". If you replace one board at a time on a wooden ship, at what point is it no longer the original ship?
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Old 03-10-18, 03:27 PM
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If it truly is your 'baby' and worth some time. Find (google or better yet the phone book) the name of local welders, pick one that you like for whatever reason. Call him up and tell him you've got a bicycle or a pedal bike not a bike (he'll assume that you're talking about a motorcycle - a more common customer) that has a broken steel thin wall tube that you'd like to repair and can you get his opinion on how best to repair. Then you bring him the frame and you can make an realistic and informed decision. Without seeing the break I'd couldn't give an worthwhile opinion on feasibility or cost.
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Old 03-11-18, 03:32 PM
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I have had two different frames break and two crack. Sure, you may really be attached to it, but once your new frame is built up you won't miss your old one. Knowing my luck if I had one repaired and painted, on the maiden voyage ride the other side would break. It would be like getting remarried to your ex after a really bad divorce. Just move on. You can thank me later.
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Old 03-16-18, 10:49 AM
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Update

I want to thank everyone who took the time to respond to my post. In the end I decided to have the frame welded. Turned out the welder noticed a second break on the seat stay. He welded both for $50. I then needed to have a cable replaced and the breaks adjusted, etc., which cost me an additional $35. So for $85 I now have my baby back on the mean streets of Los Angeles. However, if one more break should occur, I'm afraid that will the end of her...
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Old 03-16-18, 12:55 PM
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Thanks for the update. It's always nice to hear what steps the OP of a thread finally took to remedy their issue. So many just leave us wondering.
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