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Fixed by the village smithy?

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Fixed by the village smithy?

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Old 05-04-17, 10:47 AM
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jefnvk
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Fixed by the village smithy?

I'm sure we've all heard that saying that steel is best, because it can be fixed by any village smithy in the middle of nowhere. It, along with hearing about putting different sized wheels on bikes if that was all that was available in a locale, got me thinking about how often these scenarios actually happens. Without (hopefully) this turning into a equipment material/quality debate, what I am curious to hear about is what folks have actually had to cobble together on tour.

Has anyone here actually ever had a frame welded or brazed back together by someone who doesn't work on bikes? Any other interesting breaks, and rigged up fixes when you couldn't find a shop? Even if you weren't helped by a local, I'm curious as to some of the non-typical repair folks here have gone through, regardless of where or how long the tour was.
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Old 05-04-17, 10:55 AM
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Not personally, but back in the 90s I did an organized, supported cross PA tour. One participant was planning to continue riding after the trip. During the tour, some part of his steel frame cracked/broke. He found a farmer in Pennsyltucky to weld the frame and he was able to continue. He was riding an older bike, so his tube walls were likely thicker than what you might find on a bike of "today."
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Old 05-04-17, 11:14 AM
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i wrecked my schwimm spyder 5-speed, stickshift on the toptube,
square-profile slicks and banana seat with sissy bar. mangled the
fork. the farmer that lived behind us welded it back together.
it survived many evil knievel style jumps.

too wide tires rubbed a small hole inside a chainstay. local dude
(frame building his hobby) brazed a quarter-size patch of donor
cromoly tubing. bike was sold five years later, currently resides
in alaska.

and here we have the internal steel struts of a topeak handlebar
bag. the potholey-washboardy gravel roads in laos snapped them
in half. local scooter repair-dude welded them back together,
added a couple 8D nails as support.
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Old 05-04-17, 12:24 PM
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Yep, I've posted this picture at least three times before. Here it is again...



Fixed by the village smithy in Booneville KY (pop 77) on a TransAm tour back in the 80's. The drop out/chainstay snapped on the last hill of the day. I was back on the road the next morning and continued on to finish the tour in OR. Likely a less challenging location than on one of the three main tubes. A solid drop out to the fairly thick end of the chainstay.

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Old 05-04-17, 01:20 PM
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While riding PAC Tour in 1991, one of the riders' aluminum frame broke (I think it was a Raleigh Technium) in Arizona or New Mexico. The organizers took it to a muffler shop and had it welded. The rider then rode it the rest of the way to the Atlantic.
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Old 05-04-17, 07:40 PM
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A long time ago touring in British Columbia a fork dropout cracked. I continued riding very cautiously for a couple of hours until I came to a logging company’s maintenance yard. The welder grabbed my bike and put it on his welding table. When he turn on the AC welder. I cautioned that it was chrome/moly and couldn’t be welded. He assured me he had welded dozens of bikes and proceeded. When I turned my back to avoid the arc flash, there was an explosion followed by the sound of my dropout bouncing off the concrete floor. My heart sank. He muttered something about it being alloy and reached for his gas torch. A few minutes later and a big glob of brass I was back on the road riding safely back to Vancouver. It held for another month until my LBS got the replacement fork.

For extra credit what should we call “dropouts” for thru axle bikes? Maybe “screw-ups”.
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Old 05-04-17, 08:05 PM
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I tried to get my cracked frame welded in rural Japan, proved to be impossible, even with the help of a Japanese speaking friend. Kept riding for the next two weeks whilst monitoring the crack. Fixed it ghetto when I got home at a local engineering works, but the BB shell needs chasing now.
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Old 05-04-17, 08:56 PM
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Number of examples can be found on crazy guy site.
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Old 05-04-17, 10:09 PM
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How long did you ride on the repaired frame? Any interesting points about riding conditions after the repair? Or anything that might have contributed to the failure?
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Old 05-04-17, 10:38 PM
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Yes. My Peugeot UO-8 right chainstay broke at the brace behind the BB. I was building racing sailboats at the time. Next door to us was a rigger who made the mast and rigging for the boats. He welded up the chainstay and I rode the bike another two years until I ended its life on an opening cart door.

He wasn't quite the villiage blacksmith, but bicycles were NOT his thing.

Ben
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Old 05-04-17, 11:59 PM
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Originally Posted by 79pmooney View Post
I ended its life on an opening cart door.

He wasn't quite the villiage blacksmith, but bicycles were NOT his thing.

Ben
Genius!
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Old 05-05-17, 02:21 AM
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Interesting that I'm not seeing any Aluminum or Carbon-Fiber field repair stories
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Old 05-05-17, 07:06 AM
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Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Interesting that I'm not seeing any Aluminum or Carbon-Fiber field repair stories
Everyone knows aluminum and CF are unrepairable.
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Old 05-05-17, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Everyone knows aluminum and CF are unrepairable.
Well at least the aluminum can go into the recycle bin. CF is only landfill.
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Old 05-05-17, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by mrveloman View Post
While riding PAC Tour in 1991, one of the riders' aluminum frame broke (I think it was a Raleigh Technium) in Arizona or New Mexico. The organizers took it to a muffler shop and had it welded. The rider then rode it the rest of the way to the Atlantic.

The Raleigh Techniums came out in the mid-1980s, with the Tri-Lite version coming along a little later (1988, I believe). While the frame's main triangle was aluminum, the rear triangle was steel. The frame tubes are swaged and glued together. I think this is a Huffy-built bike with the Raleigh name made possible through a Huffy-Raleigh franchise deal.

***

Further info on Technium frames. I have owned a Technium Team Raleigh
since new in 1991 without a problem. Mine has Reynolds 753 steel main
tubes, standard sized with a 25mm TT, a 753 fork made by Harry Halvorson
Racing, and a chromoly rear triangle. The lugs are cast aluminum including
the all-in-one head lug, seat lug, and bottom bracket. The tubes are
pressfit, and spaceage adhesively bonded, over the ends of the lugs, thus
the lugs are both internal and external. There are rings circling the
tube/lug joints.

The tubes are 0.6mm unbutted since no heat was involved in joining, and
butting was not necessary. The combination of aluminum lugs and steel
tubes yields a smooth ride, and was praised by Bicycling Mag when they
reviewed Ultegra equipped bike similar to mine. Mine is equipped with the
first DuraAce STI group, and at $2000, was the lowest priced DuraAce STI
bike sold at that time. I believe Raleigh abandoned the Technium program
because of the expense in manufacturing them, compared to TIG welding
frames in Taiwan, etc.


***

Toward the end of the line for Technium, Raleigh had models that
bonded Reynolds steel alloy tubes to their bulge formed alumimum
lugs. They had 531 and 753 models for sure. Rear triangles were not
Technium and were TIG'ed cro-mo steel.

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Old 05-05-17, 09:03 AM
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Not sure I'd still ever let it affect my frame material choice, but good to know there is a little more than what-ifs behind the logic!

Originally Posted by BigAura View Post
Interesting that I'm not seeing any Aluminum or Carbon-Fiber field repair stories
I suppose the correlating thread to this would be "What COULDN'T the village smithy fix?"
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Old 05-05-17, 09:58 AM
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I have a welder (for steel) in my garage, but I would never try to weld a steel bicycle frame, I do not have that much skill. For each success story above, I wonder how many disaster stories there are?

Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Everyone knows aluminum and CF are unrepairable.
I know nothing about welding Aluminum, but one factory I used to work at, my boss's kid broke his motorcycle brake or clutch lever which was Aluminum. My boss had one of the welders there weld it back together. But that was before Aluminum bicycle frames existed, so maybe that welder did not know it was impossible before he did it.
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Old 05-05-17, 10:50 AM
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So far I haven't broken a frame (steel, aluminum, or carbon fiber).

I broke my steel bike rack in a small town in Italy on a Sunday, I think. A local welder welded it back together, and it lasted me about one day before breaking again, but close enough to "home" that I made it back with a single strut.

For materials, that steel bike rack is also the only one that I've broken. No breaks on my aluminum rack... yet.
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Old 05-05-17, 11:06 AM
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Had an early 80's Bottechia road bike that cracked below the lug at the top of the down tube. Screwed up chrome process. It was only a year old and the shop replaced it. The idea steel is preferable because it's repairable is a weak one. It's preferable the design and construction is up to the use.
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Old 05-05-17, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
For each success story above, I wonder how many disaster stories there are?
zero because the bikes in question are already scrap.
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Old 05-05-17, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by tombc View Post
zero because the bikes in question are already scrap.
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Old 05-06-17, 08:18 AM
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Calfee will do carbon repair. I may have heard of Trek unglueing a frame and replacing pieces.
If you can find a welder skilled enough for thin steel I'ld guess the same welder might be set up for Alum. Maybe there's better craftsmanship in Al welds. At least Alum is thicker, does that make it easier to weld? Carbon joints are certainly well designed. The few carbon crashed frames I've seen pictures of were broken mid tube. Luckily busted frames don't happen often enough to worry about.
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Old 05-06-17, 09:18 AM
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I get such a kick out of these sorts of threads where the village expurts postulate on the skill (or lack of) of someone else.
Golly.. can they do it?

My best friend in High School started welding in metal class at age 15 and started his own farm welding business shortly thereafter. He's been welding day in and day out for nearly 40 solid years. But yeah, show him a thin metal tube and he'd be stumped. His experience mirrors most of those who weld for a living in rural settings. Introduced to it in school, done it most of their lives.

It's like saying someone who was an accountant all their lives couldn't do more than simple addition and subtraction. Don't take your division problems to them ooohh...

People who talk about the "village smithy" as a derogatory just show how little actual real world experience they themselves have. Most people I have met who work with their hands all their lives to earn a living are pretty darned skilled at what they do.

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Old 05-06-17, 09:44 AM
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Best to find a village smithy mid morning, after his hangover has worn off and before he hits the local watering hole for lunch. The welds are more likely to hold on those thin tubes.
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Old 05-06-17, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk View Post
I'm sure we've all heard that saying that steel is best, because it can be fixed by any village smithy in the middle of nowhere. It, along with hearing about putting different sized wheels on bikes if that was all that was available in a locale, got me thinking about how often these scenarios actually happens. Without (hopefully) this turning into a equipment material/quality debate, what I am curious to hear about is what folks have actually had to cobble together on tour.

Has anyone here actually ever had a frame welded or brazed back together by someone who doesn't work on bikes? Any other interesting breaks, and rigged up fixes when you couldn't find a shop? Even if you weren't helped by a local, I'm curious as to some of the non-typical repair folks here have gone through, regardless of where or how long the tour was.
Since you are trolling me, I'll bite. I've broken 4 frames but not on tour. One of the frames was a steel mountain bike that broke multiple times. The fork broke at the steer tube and I even had the sales rep from Miyata tell me that they were suggesting people replace the forks because the tended to break. He didn't offer to warranty it but said that all of them eventually broke.

The frame broke at the chain stay bridge on both sides which is where I found out about how welding them up isn't as simple as most people believe. The machinist that did mine is a master welder and bicyclist. He was surprised at how thin the metal was and how easy it would be to burn through the frame rather than fix it.

Later, the rear axle broke which broke the dropout and he welded that too. The final straw was when the chain stay bridge broke again but on the other side from the repair.

I had another steel frame...a Specialized Rock Combo... break at the dropout but it was under warranty...Specialized is a great company! Much better than Miyata.

I had a Specialized Stumpjumper Pro M2 frame break at the chain stay bridge. Again, it was under warranty so it was replaced.

Finally, I cracked the seat mast on a Nashbar Flashback (a Kinesis aluminum cruiser style mountain bike). The crack went most of the way around the tube and was slightly bent backwards out of place. The same machinist that had fixed my steel bike fixed this one too. I stopped using seat posts with massive off-set and used the frame for another 3 or 4 years. As far as I know the guy I sold it to is still using it about 20 years after the bike was repaired.

Contrary to what most people think, I do have some experience with this kind of problem and am not just talking to hear myself think
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