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Need help choosing a new frame

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Need help choosing a new frame

Old 07-02-19, 12:32 PM
  #1  
rjcarter3
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Need help choosing a new frame

Hi all. I just signed up because I'm unexpectedly in the market for a new frame. I mistakenly thought that bike frames were something that just lasted forever provided that you don't crash them, and I was hoping to ride my current frame until I dropped dead. So much for that.

A couple of weeks ago, I was riding home on my daily commute on my ~2004 Litespeed Tuscany as I have for years, and the downtube cracked straight through just below the welds. The bike has about 18,000 miles on it, and unfortunately, since I'm the second owner, Litespeed's lifetime warranty doesn't apply to me. They said the frame repair would be $1100, but that only gets me a 1 year warranty and I worry that I'd be facing another stress crack in another location in the near future. I could buy a replacement with discounted crash pricing to get the lifetime warranty, but their new bikes are super expensive and the discount is not that substantial. Also, I'd much rather buy a bike with a lifetime warranty that I wouldn't have to use, and I'm no longer confident that this wouldn't happen again with another one of their bikes.

I've commuting on my mountain bike in the meantime, so I don't have to rush into a decision. But, I'd like to get some advice on what kind of frame material I should get or a brand and/or model. I do mostly commuting, occasionally do some weekend rides with friends and we had sort of penciled in a cross-country trip for next year. I'm unsure if that's going to happen, but I'd like for this to be the bike that I use for that too. My current frame is a 49cm (I'm short guy), and I weigh about 170.

Basically, I'd like something as light as I can get that will stand the test of time. I'm willing to pay extra for durability...to an extent. I've heard that steel or carbon is the best material for that purpose, but maybe others disagree. I wouldn't be opposed to aluminum as I like a good value as much as anyone, but I've read that those are the least durable. Of course, I expect it's all a function of weight. My heavy aluminum mountain bike frame I could probably put 100k miles on before it failed if all I was using it for was commuting. So, maybe someone makes a slightly beefier aluminum road frame that will last 50k miles or more. I'll probably stay away from Titanium again as they seem to have all the cost without the long haul durability. They do look pretty damn awesome though.

I've cannibalized all of the components worth keeping from my Litespeed, so I wouldn't be opposed to just buying a frame and building a new bike with them. I also wouldn't be opposed to buying a complete bike.

What do you guys think? Any input and advice is welcome.
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Old 07-02-19, 08:41 PM
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Lrdchaos
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Personally I would sell the parts you have and look for a left over bike. You keep bikes a long time, or so it seems, might as well start new and enjoy the bike for years.
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Old 07-03-19, 04:29 AM
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Posting as to follow the discussion. I have no wisdom to offer but am very interested in frames and your basic question.
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Old 07-03-19, 08:50 AM
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Iím sure itís traumatizing to have your frame split open. Sorry for your trouble.

But, 18,000 miles over 15 years is not a lot. In fact, that is really low mileage. I suspect your commuting or the previous owner may have had some extremely bad crashes and/or otherwise placed undue stress on the frame, perhaps by overloading it more often than not. That definitely should not have occurred with normal use and is certainly not indicative of the expected life of a titanium framed road bike.

I wouldn't buy a new frame and outfit it with 2004 components. Given you extremely low mileage and intended use I would be inclined to look for another good used bike.

As far as frame durability over time, there are quality vintage bikes of every material ever used to build a bike frame still in use today. It really gets down to use and care. Still, itís hard to argue against a quality steel frame as being more robust than frames made from other materials. Of course, itís also the heaviest.

Happy cycling!
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Old 07-03-19, 10:03 AM
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It sounds to me like you have a groupset/wheelset that needs a frame. That could be your back-up bike. Then you need a replacement bike to ride as your primary for road/commuting.

Have you looked at BikesDirect for their titanium frames. For about $1000, you get a frame, carbon fork and headset. Boom. That's for the backup bike.

Then you can find that Lynskey on sale through their website...
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Old 07-03-19, 10:16 AM
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A non-crabon bike asploded? Unpossible!
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Old 07-03-19, 10:21 AM
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My main single ride is still my '99 carbon Trek 5200. Maybe 70,000 miles on it, frame and fork still perfect. One new BB, 2 new brifters, many chainrings and cassettes, 3 wheelsets. I can't think of a reason to buy a new bike. I stripped all the paint off it a couple years ago because it was failing, now ride it naked. Looks cool.

Ti does fail. Most of the folks I've been riding with for the past 20+ years, who had one, have broken theirs. I think there's one left unbroken. The body count is 1 broken steel, no broken carbon, 3 broken Ti.

If I were buying new, I'd get a Roubaix. Which one is just about the money. https://www.specialized.com/us/en/sh...ormanceroubaix

A much less expensive option would be to buy a bike like mine, a 5200 on ebay or better, Craigslist. Have to find the right size, though. Convert it to 10-speed, which might have been on your Litespeed, easy to do, and you'd have a very nice bike.
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Old 07-03-19, 10:40 AM
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I understand being colored by your recent (lousy) experience, but I'd say that was an anomaly. All respectable frames built by reputable makers, regardless of the material, are designed to be durable and live a long life, unless crashed or something like that. So I'd vote for finding a bike you like that suits your needs and wallet, and chalking up the recent failure to bad luck...
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