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Trek ZX6000 Aluminum frame bonding - aging & safety?

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Trek ZX6000 Aluminum frame bonding - aging & safety?

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Old 10-24-09, 12:43 PM
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EnvyofSisyphus
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Trek ZX6000 Aluminum frame bonding - aging & safety?

Hello, everyone

I'm new to Bike Forums. I have an old Trek ZX6000 hard tail mountain bike. I bought it new in 1997 or 1998. Right after I bought it, I did a fair amount of off road riding -- bouncing around on Southern California fire trails; nothing extremely rough. In the past two or three years I haven't ridden it much, but when I have, it's been on paved streets.

I'm thinking about getting back into bicycling again, but I'm concerned about the reliability of the ZX6000 frame. The information on the seat tube says that the frame is made of Easton aluminum and that it is "bonded," which I assume means that it is glued together rather than TIG-welded. I am worried that after 12 years and some off road riding, the bonding agent [glue] might not be reliable any more. I don't want a frame failure. Can somebody enlighten me about the longevity of bike frame glues? And, would a local bike shop mechanic be able to give an opinion of frame safety after inspecting the frame?

Thanks
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Old 10-24-09, 02:23 PM
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I have no experience with this frame, but I would share your concern about the bonded construction.

Are you able to go back to the LBS where you bought it? If not, try to find a trek dealer that has been around at least as long as the frame has. it also might not hurt to try contacting Trek directly.
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Old 10-24-09, 06:02 PM
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I still bang around on a 1997 Trek 8000zx with the bonded tubes. I primarily do light trail riding and some technical singletrack but nothing hardcore with it. Any bike needs to be inspected from time to time, especially an old bike, but unless you are using the bike for what it wasn't intended for I wouldn't worry.
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Old 10-24-09, 10:08 PM
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Does Trek still do this bonded construction?
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Old 10-25-09, 01:29 AM
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1997 was the last year for the bonded aluminum MTB frames. All in all, they were really well made, and they didn't suffer from fatigue related failures like the welded AL frames from the same era. The downside to bonded construction was crash survivability. The thin walled tubes were no match for the beefy head/seat/bb lugs. A sharp impact would usually cause the bonded joint to fail. To be fair, a similar impact to a welded frame might rip it in half as well.

In summary -- they were great frames that could easily outlast a welded frame in the fatigue department, but they certainly had their weaknesses too.
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Old 10-25-09, 01:42 AM
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Originally Posted by EnvyofSisyphus View Post
I am worried that after 12 years and some off road riding, the bonding agent [glue] might not be reliable any more. I don't want a frame failure. Can somebody enlighten me about the longevity of bike frame glues? And, would a local bike shop mechanic be able to give an opinion of frame safety after inspecting the frame?
There are no bike frame glues. The bonding agent Trek used came from the aerospace industry, and in theory if used correctly, results in a joint that is stronger than the metal the frame is made of. Reality is a bit different. The LBS mech won't be able to tell you anything you don't already know.

The very first sign of failure on those frames was a crack in the paint at the tube/lug junction. A good visual inspection is all you really need. If it hasn't failed by now, your frame should be fine. Just don't crash it.
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