General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Do frames wear out?

Old 03-27-03, 11:36 AM
  #1  
mjw16
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 1,096

Bikes: IRO Model 19, Surly Crosscheck, 1989 Arnie Nashbar, Cannondale CAADX, Niner Air 9

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Do frames wear out?

I have a '96 Gary Fisher Kaitai (aluminum hardtail) and ride mostly xc. Last summer I noticed that: 1) the rear wheel sits loose and gets crooked in its dropout unless I really crank down on the skewer, and 2) the front wheel seems to be off-center relative to the top and down tubes (even with a new headset, fork-and since upgrading to disc, a whole new wheel). There are no visible bends or cracks in the tubes or welds, but it does have its share of scratches and dings. Do aluminum frames just wear out or fatigue in a way that would cause these problems? Is it time to replace after about 7 years of carrying my 250 pounds over logs, stumps, jumps, rocks, etc? Although I love the bike, I think I'm looking for an excuse to upgrade to a full-suspension.

Thanks
mjw16 is offline  
Old 03-27-03, 12:09 PM
  #2  
D*Alex
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: upstate New York
Posts: 1,688
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Your frame is bent.
__________________
Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!
D*Alex is offline  
Old 03-27-03, 12:30 PM
  #3  
scubagirl
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Arlington, Tx
Posts: 163
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
When I was shopping around for a road bike, I read aluminum frames had a life of around 5 years. I’m not sure about mt bikes. I think the technology changes so fast you don’t wear them out as much as up-grade them.
scubagirl is offline  
Old 03-27-03, 08:12 PM
  #4  
stumpjumper
Lagomorph Demonicus
 
stumpjumper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Dayton, Ohio, USA
Posts: 795
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm 225 and broke my last frame after 7 years of reasonable (not abusive) use. At our size, I's suggest steel. Much better fatigue life.
stumpjumper is offline  
Old 03-28-03, 01:39 AM
  #5  
froze
Banned.
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Posts: 4,761

Bikes: 84 Trek 660 Suntour Superbe; 87 Giant Rincon Shimano XT; 07 Mercian Vincitore Campy Veloce

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
If you are riding a lot or abusing the frame or weigh a lot the chances are that AL frames will fatigue faster than any other frame material. Even the new issue of Velonews comparison issue relates this same information in regards to AL fatigue problems. I have know strong riders to fatigue AL frames right around the 5 year period as Scubagirl pointed out. I have one friend who use to weigh 240 but is now around 220 who was a muscle builder construction worker (now teacher) type that had a 86 Vitus AL (his bikes are all road bikes), he broke the frame after only about 7 months of ownership. He took the bike back and replaced it under warranty but the LBS was concerned about his weight so exchanged it for a Klein. Over the next 9 years he broke 3 of those Kleins, then switched to Cannondale because some LBS nut said they were better. After 2 years he broke the Cannondale, but Cannondale took 7 months to replace it, so during that wait in 97 he bought a Gios Pro steel bike which he rode till the new Cannondale arrived, this newer Cannondale lasted about 2 years again, but by this time he was fed up with Cannondale and just tossed the frame so he wouldn't have to bother with the warranty nightmare. Again he pulled out the steel Gios and rode it; he still rides it today after about 5 years and no problems-YET.

He has been so happy with the Gios steel that he last year he bought a Rivendell so he could go touring on it, and he loves that bike. Grant at Rivendell built the frame and components to not only withstand his weight and strength but also to take on the additional weight of touring gear. He did a short 500 mile loaded ride and had no problems; this summer he plans on a 5,000+ mile ride.

BUT please note. I have never personally meant anyone else who has ever broke a AL frame by just riding it. But I have meant several who had worn out their AL frames, and I have read about plenty of people that had problems with their AL frames on boards such as this one. Regardless if technology changes, you should not have to buy a new frame every 5 years-that's insane! I ride on a 84 Trek 660 with Reynolds dble butted 531cs tubing. This tubeset was the lightest 531 tubeset Reynolds made, later renaming the cs to pro. And you and I know that lighter means thinner tubes, yet this frame now has over 70,000 miles on it and still rides like new according to my LBS mechanic that test rode it for 8 miles last year (because he likes Suntour Superbe stuff).

I think that TI and steel are the strongest and longest lasting material currently available with CF close behind. But be careful because some of the new steel is made with such thin metal to cut weight, you could find a problem here too! Also tig welded steel is not as strong of a joint as lugged construction. The only reason manufactures are embracing tig welding is because it cost less to do! The weight savings that these manufactures are claiming is bogus because a tube that is being tig welded has to have a thicker butt or else he could burn through the tube while welding it, thus the thicker butt nearly offsets the loss of weight (about 1 to 2 ounce difference) associated with not using lugs! Also if you crash a bike with lug construction, it can easily be fixed without throwing away the frame whereas tig welded steel makes tube replacement impractical to impossible due to the underlying tube melted during the original weld process.

Just too be fair to AL frames though, they are the lightest (besides CF), the cheapest and the fastest bikes on the market next to CF. Their stiffness (due to trying to eliminate frame flex which leads to fatigue) allows the riders energy to be directly transmitted to the rear wheel without loss of power; AL bikes make great mountain climbing bikes and time trial bikes for this reason. Plus a beginning racer can buy a lightweight AL "club" bike and not plunk down wads of cash to get it, and a racer will buy better bikes as they get better at racing so the fatigue issue doesn't have time to become an problem.
froze is offline  
Old 03-28-03, 06:36 AM
  #6  
mjw16
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Alexandria, VA
Posts: 1,096

Bikes: IRO Model 19, Surly Crosscheck, 1989 Arnie Nashbar, Cannondale CAADX, Niner Air 9

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanks everyone for the usefull information. I've started shopping around for a steel frame to replace my Kaitai. As I'm not concerned with the weight, rather the strength and durability, I'm looking for a well-built xc frame. I'd like similar geometry and I'll just move all my components over. I've been considering Rocky Mountain's Blizzard, Specialized Stumpjumper, and I really like the looks of some of the Strong frames (although the one I like doesn't have a replacable dr hanger). Any suggestions on who sells good, reasonably priced ($300-$500) frames?
mjw16 is offline  
Old 03-28-03, 07:55 AM
  #7  
KrisA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Regina, SK, CA
Posts: 945

Bikes: 2002 Rocky HT

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have never heard from anyone who didn't absolutely love their RM Blizzard. Unfortunately they are on about 8 month back order. But like the old saying goes, good things come to those who wait!

The Kona Explosif might be a good bet as well.
KrisA is offline  
Old 03-28-03, 09:09 AM
  #8  
John E
feros ferio
 
John E's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: www.ci.encinitas.ca.us
Posts: 19,364

Bikes: 1959 & 1960 Capo; 1982 Bianchi; 1988 Schwinn KOM-10;

Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 687 Post(s)
Liked 11 Times in 11 Posts
At 138 lbs / 63 kg, I have broken three steel frames through metal fatigue:

1971 Nishiki Competition (Ishiwata CrMo), 20 years / 40K mi / 65K km, at the BB shell's seat tube lug.

1973 Peugeot UO-8 (carbon steel), 25 years / ? miles, at the right chainstay, between the chainring and tyre clearance dimples.

1960 Capo (Reynolds 531), 30 years / ? miles, downtube just behind the butt taper. This one probably does not really count, since the frame had been bent back in a crash, then restraightened. The used 1959 Capo with which I replaced it is still going strong ...

Also, the original owner of my Schwinn mountain bike (Tange Prestige II CrMo tubing) told me that Schwinn had replaced the original frame under warranty.

Based on what I read, and because I value high reliability over low weight, I will probably continue to choose steel frames.
__________________
"Far and away the best prize that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing." --Theodore Roosevelt
Capo: 1959 Modell Campagnolo, S/N 40324
Capo: 1960 Sieger (2), S/N 42624, 42597
Peugeot: 1970 UO-8, S/N 0010468
Bianchi: 1982 Campione d'Italia, S/N 1.M9914
Schwinn: 1988 Project KOM-10, S/N F804069
John E is offline  
Old 03-28-03, 10:10 AM
  #9  
D*Alex
Banned
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: upstate New York
Posts: 1,688
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a friend who is nearly beastly in dimensions (6'6", 245 lbs) who has an old Trek 770(?) ATB. He used to weigh a full 300 lbs. He's had it for several years, rides it quite hard, and the frame is still solid. It's a 22" steel frame-probably the biggest you can get for an ATB.
__________________
Je vais à vélo, donc je suis!
D*Alex is offline  
Old 03-28-03, 10:18 AM
  #10  
Richard Cranium
Senior Member
 
Richard Cranium's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Deep in the Shawnee Forest
Posts: 2,888

Bikes: LeMond - Gunnar

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 4 Times in 4 Posts
Actually, frames wear "in". The sum total of all the stress put on a frame after manufacture ever so slightly change the nature and character of the frame's material. (no matter what kind) I would suppose that a significant change in how a frame responds to ongoing stress is perceptible to a rider , even when no visible cleaving, cracking or bending is obvious......but I don't think that's what your noticing......
Richard Cranium is offline  
Old 03-28-03, 10:49 AM
  #11  
Pat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 2,795

Bikes: litespeed, cannondale

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Well years ago, there was a notion among many cyclists that frames went "dead" in a pretty short period of time. They based this on hearing that pro riders replace their bikes annually.

Now, I have known a number of people who have put over 50,000 miles on a single frame and one of them was pretty big and strong (6'6" 240 lbs). I have put quite a few miles on a number of frames and I tend to ride Cannondales. I do not notice any difference in ride over time. But how could you? The change unless it was awfully pronounced would not be noticeable.

Now I do know that wheels come apart. I used to get about 5,000 miles on most wheels. I went to 36 spoke MA-40s and got about 10,000 miles on a rear wheel. I am now riding Mavic T-519 and I have 35,000 miles on a rear wheel. I would think that the rear wheel would go long before a frame would. I am a large cyclist (195 lbs 6') and I in pacelines I go oh 22-25 mph. I am not a racer but I am a fast recreational rider.

I had one frame fail to fatigue. Cannondale did a weird thing with one generation of bike. At the rear triangle instead of having the rear strut (or whatever that thing is called) join at the hub it joined about 2 inches short of it. And they drilled a hole right through the chain stay in between the strut and the dropout where the wheel hub inserts. It was like they were TRYING to weaken the bike. The stay broke right where that hole was but that was at something like 25,000 miles. By the way, I ride Shimano 105 components and they start failing at between 20,000 miles and 35,000 miles. And they replaced the frame with no questions asked.

So is frame failure from fatigue a major problem? Well not in my experience. You have to figure that a normal high mileage cyclist only does about 3,000 miles per year. That means they have to ride about 6+ years before they can have a chance of frame failure. By that time, most will have been seduced by the siren song of advertising to get a bike with all the new goodies on it. And your components will probably start going anyway so you might as well get a new bike.

I suspect that the only cyclists who would have problems with frames failing routinely from fatigue would have to be very large or very strong or put on lots of miles and most probably all three. Ordinary riders, probably will never have this problem.

My other bikes, I have replaced because of either component obsolescence or creeping component failure or both before the frames went.
Pat is offline  
Old 03-28-03, 12:56 PM
  #12  
oscaregg
Banned.
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: western Washington
Posts: 293
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Two other frame brands to consider in steel are Surly and Soma; they're both US designed, Taiwanese made semi-botique frames very similar to the former steel production frames by many major bike cos. The factory producing them is Hodaka, who have made frames and bikes for Pro Flex, Breezer, and others. Price is in the area of $350 without fork.
oscaregg is offline  
Old 03-29-03, 02:30 AM
  #13  
froze
Banned.
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Posts: 4,761

Bikes: 84 Trek 660 Suntour Superbe; 87 Giant Rincon Shimano XT; 07 Mercian Vincitore Campy Veloce

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Pat; did you say that a high mileage rider does aobut 3,000 miles per year? When I use to race back in the late 70's and early 80's I put on 10,000 to 11,000 a year; but now that I don't race and I'm older and working with a family, I slowed down to about 5,000 to 6,000 a year. I consider myself a medium mile rider since I know others that race (or wanabe racers) put in more than I do. So the question is what is "ordinary"? the person that rides around the block with their children once a month are more "ordinary" and common in America than those that ride for fitness such as myself.

The "dead" feeling you mention is more of a perceived thing. I think the longer you ride a bike the more "dead" it appears because you get use to it and perhaps bored as well. Fatigue issues crop up when your cranking hard the chain is chanking against each side of the front derailleur and/or your pulling the chain down to the smaller sprockets in the rear when you crank hard and adjustments don't fix the problem. That "dead" feeling was something I thought was going on with my bike for the last 5 years and that's why I took in last summer and had my bike mechanic ride it and give me the bad news. Well it turned out to be good news, the frame was still very lively after well over 60,000 miles (at that time, now is just over 70,000), and I had about 8,000 racing miles on it in the beginning of it's life.

I personally have never had a frame fail due to fatigue, but I raced on steel (all this other material was not widely available yet). I crashed my first steel frame bike (another Trek) and it had about 50,000 miles on it when I killed it.

Lets not forget good ol Sheldon Brown who rides a 1916 Franklin steel bike to work almost every day!! He doesn't seem to complain about the fatigue issue with it! and I bet that thing has way over hundred thousand miles on it. And that old Franklin has no where near the technology in that tubeset or in assembly that we have available today. And there was this guy that was spotlighted on the Parade magazine (I think also in Bicycling) who lives in the New York area that had documented proof of over 1 million miles on one bike-a steel bike, and he has not complained about his frame being dead!!
froze is offline  
Old 03-29-03, 03:01 AM
  #14  
ngateguy
Center of the Universe
 
ngateguy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 4,374

Bikes: Bianchi San Remo, Norvara Intrepid MTB , Softride Solo 700

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have 2 steel frames now one 20 years old the other 14 I am getting a third one soon I too hope it lasts 20 years. I have never tried TI I hear rumor that although strong it can be brittle?? any thruth to that? I put in around 8000 miles a year give or take a couple. I think that is pretty close to average fro the commuter out there it might even be a low average.
__________________
Matthew 6
ngateguy is offline  
Old 03-30-03, 01:02 AM
  #15  
froze
Banned.
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Posts: 4,761

Bikes: 84 Trek 660 Suntour Superbe; 87 Giant Rincon Shimano XT; 07 Mercian Vincitore Campy Veloce

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I never owned TI and only know one person who has one, a Litespeed; but never heard of the brittleness your speaking of in all the various things I read about it. I have heard nothing but good things about TI as long as you get American TI tubes. Supposely some of the cheaper TI bikes use Russian TI tubes and those tubes are not as good as the American. I did see a test where they stressed different frame materials to their breaking point and found TI could bend a lot more before it broke and when it did the metal developed a tear rather than a crack, the article did say, that like steel, you could ride the bike home after a problem like that whereas CF and AL your were walking..
froze is offline  
Old 03-30-03, 02:50 AM
  #16  
greywolf
aka old dog
 
greywolf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: tauranga New Zealand
Posts: 1,173
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Im riding about 12,000+ks a year on a lugged steel frame , an old Avanti sprint , some time in the future I`d like to save my penny,s & treat my self to a new bike , but what ever it is it`l have to last me to the end (I`m 56) , so if I read this right, if I invest in a bike with an alluminium frame I should`nt plan on living a lot past 60 . A ti or cf frame is out my price range, I`d be 90 before I could afford it .So what you are all saying is go for another steel lugged frame , right ,or keep the one i`ve got :confused: :confused: .p.s I weigh +/- 87 kgs

greywolf is offline  
Old 03-30-03, 05:41 AM
  #17  
Raiyn
I drink your MILKSHAKE
 
Raiyn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: St. Petersburg, FL
Posts: 15,061

Bikes: 2003 Specialized Rockhopper FSR Comp, 1999 Specialized Hardrock Comp FS, 1971 Schwinn Varsity

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by D*Alex
....snip.....It's a 22" steel frame-probably the biggest you can get for an ATB.
Not quite D*Alex. My GF rides a 23" 1999 Specialized Hardrock FS. Yes it fits her, and no the seatpost isn't all the way down. (the seat is about 6" off the seatube clamp)
__________________
Raiyn is offline  
Old 03-30-03, 07:23 AM
  #18  
ParamountScapin
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 900
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Aluminum frames definitely fatigue (regardless of what R. Cranium may state). Fatigue is cummulative. That is, it adds up over time. Materials such as steel, titanium and graphite composites are much more resistive to fatigue and thus have much higher fatigue limits than does aluminum. They also have the ability to deform in a 'plastic' manner, which aluminum doesn't do very well. Both these properties lead to a long life for steel, ti and graphite. Steel rusts. Most often from the inside of the frame as most builders/owners do not protect the inside of the tubes. I use framesaver on all my steel bikes and have yet to detect any corrosion (I'll probably find in another 20 years when one breaks).

Richard Zinn, one of the most respected bicycle people in the U.S. (see his Technical Q&A column in Velolnews) states that the normal fatigue limit of aluminum frames is 4-5 years.

Your aluminum frame, with all the good work it has done for you, is most likely quite worn out. Steel will not only last longer but will give you a much better ride.
ParamountScapin is offline  
Old 03-30-03, 09:08 PM
  #19  
froze
Banned.
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Posts: 4,761

Bikes: 84 Trek 660 Suntour Superbe; 87 Giant Rincon Shimano XT; 07 Mercian Vincitore Campy Veloce

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
ParamountS.; high quality steel frames (at least Reynolds) are zinc treated and have been so for at least 20 years and that alone prevents a good amount of rust. As I stated before I ride almost daily a 18 year old Reynolds 531 steel frame that does not have a spot of rust in or outside the frame. I also have 26 year old steel True Temper frame and that one sat outside in the rain, rode on beaches etc and only rust is on the rear dropouts where the paint is gone. Neither of these frame have been treated with any rust inhibitor. It's all in the matter of how their taken care of, but how does that explain the True Temper that wasn't taken care of? How does that explain Sheldon Browns 86 year old steel bike that he rides almost everyday?
froze is offline  
Old 03-31-03, 01:50 PM
  #20  
closetbiker
Senior Member
 
closetbiker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Vancouver, BC
Posts: 9,599
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally posted by ParamountScapin
Steel rusts. Most often from the inside of the frame as most builders/owners do not protect the inside of the tubes. I use framesaver on all my steel bikes and have yet to detect any corrosion (I'll probably find in another 20 years when one breaks).

Aluminum frames definitely fatigue. Richard Zinn, one of the most respected bicycle people in the U.S. (see his Technical Q&A column in Velolnews) states that the normal fatigue limit of aluminum frames is 4-5 years.
At a police auction, I bought an old, steel, lugged (possibly Ishawata) stipped of paint and poorly primered frame, that was, I don't know how old. I rode it for 5 years every day until I bought a second bike. Then I rode it for 6 years in the rain only. It was parked in the rain with no cover. I didn't do the yearly grease the seat post thing nor did I put into the frame linseed oil or frame saver. After 11 years and 53,000 kms it rusted from the inside out.

My replacement is a lugged, double-butted steel frame with a Vitus 172 sticker on it. I remember alluminum and carbon fiber frames that Vitus built in the 80's but I don't know when they stopped making steel frames. My guess is this frame is from the 70's. The paint is in good shape and I park it out of the rain so I would expect this frame to last longer.

I don't understand the concept of frame fatigue in the context of how it affects the ride. I have a Cannondale that I bought in 97 and as far as I can tell it rides as good as new.

Last edited by closetbiker; 03-31-03 at 03:34 PM.
closetbiker is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
intransit1217
General Cycling Discussion
7
09-10-18 08:42 PM
theREEDeffect
Road Cycling
56
09-16-10 11:16 AM
Blackberry
Road Cycling
2
08-12-05 02:13 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.