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Has anyone toured on a Trek 920?

Old 03-18-24, 01:30 PM
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Has anyone toured on a Trek 920?

I ask because I have a 920 I have ridden around on for the past two seasons. I have an opportunity to go touring this summer. My plan is to get an appropriate wheelset (I don't trust the 28 spoke Bontrager "elite"), change the crankset to alivio 3x9 (for a 10 speed drive train), new stem and handlebars.

I have no issue with aluminum frame bikes. I would trust a Cannondale touring bike. Trek? I don't know. Integrated headset? I don't know. The aluminum racks that came stock? I don't know. Going off for hundreds of miles in eastern Maine with a bunch of I-don't-knows makes me a little anxious.

Anyone toured with the 920? I would love to hear how the bike performed and held up.

Side note: My buddy is leaning hard on me to buy a 2022 Kona Sutra SE that's available. As far as touring bikes go, it's kind of apples and oranges. His point is that Sutra with Tubus racks is a proven, Trek 920 is not. Ya pay your money, ya take yer chances.
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Old 03-18-24, 02:44 PM
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Looking at Trek 920, thoughts? - check this
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Old 03-18-24, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by SoCaled
Wow, I should have explained that I did a search and have read every (there's not many) thread on the touring forum regarding the 920. However, I'm really sick of having to over explain myself for every single question I post. My OP was quite clear. I'm asking for feedback from anyone who has actually toured on a 920. I even gave reasons for my concern. Not one person in that thread toured on a 920. The thread is from 5 years ago. The OP from that thread ended up buying a Trek 520. The thread is a conglomeration of opinions and hypothesizing based on zero information. I have no idea why you responded with a link to that thread.

How did you think that thread was going to be helpful? That's a real question, not a snarky rhetorical one.
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Old 03-18-24, 04:08 PM
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My colleague. It ended with a cracked frame under the saddle - the frame was replaced under warranty.

S.
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Old 03-18-24, 04:47 PM
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There are some videos on YouTube with cyclists documenting their experiences with the 920. Here is one:

(I have a Trek 920 but have only done credit card touring on gravel. I liked the 920 but ended up switching to a Salsa Fargo because I'm a small person and the smallest 920 was a tad to big.)
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Old 03-18-24, 05:40 PM
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If you have a bunch of concerns and already want to downgrade components on it that is probably not the right bike for you. I rode it and didn't love it but it is not a terrible bike by any means. I would agree on 28 spokes but I am a bigger rider I want my 32-36 spokes on a handbuilt wheel but a lot of more modern gravel type bikes are going the fewer spoke route but on a bike with 2 racks it is a bit short sighted but Trek is just being Trek, like a lot of companies, Trek has redefined what we want in a touring bike and unfortunately they didn't really take a poll of touring cyclists they just went with trends and what they thought was cool.

I would highly recommend the Kona that is a solid bike or if you are willing to spend a little look at Co-Motion. I own a Cascadia and honestly if I was doing it again I would probably go with a Divide frame. I built mine from the frame up and learned a lot about what I like and don't like after years in the industry and on bikes and now my tastes have changed a little.

I would also give a +1 to the Salsa Fargo. I want one but I already have a Timberjack Ti and the frame isn't that different enough to really justify it. That one I also built from the frame up as a mountain bike (not really for bike packing but I have the matching frame bag so I could) and it is fantastic but I can see easily bike packing with it would make a great candidate for that and the Fargo Ti more so.
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Old 03-18-24, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by simonthread
My colleague. It ended with a cracked frame under the saddle - the frame was replaced under warranty.

S.
Yikes. My biggest aluminum anxiety issue. I'm assuming the cracked/split was on the seat tube? Was there a cause determined? Did it happen while touring? Did he continue to use the replaced frame?

Originally Posted by Pearson100
There are some videos on YouTube with cyclists documenting their experiences with the 920. Here is one: https://youtu.be/yxPXLDGdmLQ?si=_5Cn36WonWIQO1V5
(I have a Trek 920 but have only done credit card touring on gravel. I liked the 920 but ended up switching to a Salsa Fargo because I'm a small person and the smallest 920 was a tad to big.)
I've seen all the youtube videos. They're all pretty old. I'm hoping to hear from someone who has used it for a number of years and how well it held up. The 920 is a rather big bike, but I'm 6' tall so it's OK for me. The Fargo has been on my high interest list, but I ride mostly very rough, broken pavement and lots of gravel roads of all conditions, and some jeep trails (that's what they call them here in Maine) that most cars could not navigate. How do you mostly use your Fargo? Is it strictly your touring bike, or is it multi-purpose?

Originally Posted by veganbikes
If you have a bunch of concerns and already want to downgrade components on it that is probably not the right bike for you. I rode it and didn't love it but it is not a terrible bike by any means. I would agree on 28 spokes but I am a bigger rider I want my 32-36 spokes on a handbuilt wheel but a lot of more modern gravel type bikes are going the fewer spoke route but on a bike with 2 racks it is a bit short sighted but Trek is just being Trek, like a lot of companies, Trek has redefined what we want in a touring bike and unfortunately they didn't really take a poll of touring cyclists they just went with trends and what they thought was cool.

I would highly recommend the Kona that is a solid bike or if you are willing to spend a little look at Co-Motion. I own a Cascadia and honestly if I was doing it again I would probably go with a Divide frame. I built mine from the frame up and learned a lot about what I like and don't like after years in the industry and on bikes and now my tastes have changed a little.

I would also give a +1 to the Salsa Fargo. I want one but I already have a Timberjack Ti and the frame isn't that different enough to really justify it. That one I also built from the frame up as a mountain bike (not really for bike packing but I have the matching frame bag so I could) and it is fantastic but I can see easily bike packing with it would make a great candidate for that and the Fargo Ti more so.
I hear what you're saying about the components, but I was going to buy the frameset, then the frameset wasn't available anymore and they discontinued the model, then I found a used 2020 for a good price, then later that summer the frameset became available again even though they never made the complete bike again. A HA HA HA!!! I'm a lucky man. So I went into it knowing I was going to change the components.

Any bike I get will end up with an upgraded wheelset of some sort. As you said, 32 or 36 spokes, although the Sutra comes with 36 spoke wheels, so even if the rims and hubs are crap, they will probably do just fine for a season or two. There's something to be said for that. However, with that 70mm BB drop, I would definitely end up with a 650b wheelset, with the intent of using nothing smaller than a 47mm tire.

I would be interested in hearing why you recommend the Fargo. I have never ridden one but I do love many things about it on paper, especially the stack and reach. But for my purposes it would still be used for roads. Very rough roads, yes, but roads for the most part. In that context, how do you think the Fargo fits?
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Old 03-18-24, 11:18 PM
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There are literally hundreds of videos and articles on the current 920. Check them out. It looks like you want to change some components for personal preference rather than what would work best for a long tour.

As much as I want to resist, the 28 spoke wheel is the approaching standard for touring bikes.
I purchased a set of Mavic Crossmax for touring. 29", They have 28 spokes but according to Mavic have a 150kg capacity.
In the end, with all the changes you want to make, that is a good percentage, financially to buying your ideal touring bike
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Old 03-19-24, 02:26 AM
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Originally Posted by JWK
Was there a cause determined? Did it happen while touring?
Nobody knows.

Originally Posted by JWK
Did he continue to use the replaced frame?
He sold the bike
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Old 03-19-24, 12:25 PM
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A long time ago, in a Pennsylvania county not that far away, a company named Cannondale made a few aluminum touring frames. I put 10,000 miles on mine in less than a year and a half during three extended trips.
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Old 03-19-24, 12:41 PM
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Originally Posted by MarcusT
...
As much as I want to resist, the 28 spoke wheel is the approaching standard for touring bikes.
...
I hope they are extra good spokes.

My touring bikes are 36 spoke except my light touring bike is 36 rear and 32 front.

Road bike is 28 spoke.
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Old 03-19-24, 02:27 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
A long time ago, in a Pennsylvania county not that far away, a company named Cannondale made a few aluminum touring frames. I put 10,000 miles on mine in less than a year and a half during three extended trips.
I bought a Cannondale Trek T1000 in 1991 and cycled across the USA in 1992, across Canada in 1997 and half-way around Australia in 2001 - as well as many week-long shorter trips in the decade. The reason it was half-way around Australia was because I cracked the frame at the chainstay. Crack below goes ~75% of the way around the tube. This was most likely caused by abuse (frame was forced open to put in a slightly wider wheel this meant it was off center with gravel/grit going along the frame and also under stress). I was taking apart my old wheel when the bike shop did this and wasn't paying attention. Around 1500km later I noticed the crack.

I also had a second aluminum bike develop a crack at the chain stay. This was in Bariloche Argentina after having cycled from Banff on this bike.

Despite two experiences with cracked frames, I don't hesitate to tour on aluminum frame bikes going forward.
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Old 03-19-24, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by mev
I also had a second aluminum bike develop a crack at the chain stay.
In 1999 I was with an ACA TansAm tour. A group member bent his rear wheel beyond repair in Walden CO. The best we could do to get him back on the road was with a wheel we found at a local hoarder's garage. The only problem? The hub was a few millimeters smaller in dropout width than his original hub. We installed it anyway and just tightened the quick release enough to flex the gap shut.

However, It was an aluminum frame! Several days later it developed a crack at chainstay/BB junction from the stress. I don't recall if it was a Trek. It might not have happened on a steel frame. He had to have another bike shipped from home while we layed over at Yellowstone.

Last edited by BobG; 03-20-24 at 03:25 AM. Reason: re-worded for Trakhak
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Old 03-19-24, 04:16 PM
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Originally Posted by BobG
In 1999 I was with an ACA TansAm tour. A group member bent his rear wheel beyond repair in Walden CO. The best we could do to get him back on the road was with a wheel we found at a local hoarder's garage. The only problem? The hub was a few millimeters smaller in dropout width than his original hub. We installed it anyway and just tightened the quick release enough to flex the gap shut.

However, It was an aluminum frame! Several days later it developed a crack at chainstay/BB junction from the stress. I don't recall if it was a Trek. It would not have happened on a steel frame. He had to have another bike shipped from home while we layed over at Yellowstone.
Unfortunate, but such cracks are not exclusive to aluminum bikes. For their higher-end models, bike manufacturers have always had to strike a compromise between strength and weight, regardless of the frame material. Stronger bikes are heavier, and heavier bikes don't sell well. Quality Bicycle Products performed a miracle when they managed to sell their undeniably heavy Long Haul Truckers in (comparatively) great quantities.

By the way, anyone who worked in a bike store in the days when steel bikes dominated saw plenty of similar cracks. You see fewer cracked steel bikes and more cracked aluminum these days simply because bike companies have sold more aluminum bikes than steel since the mid-'90's.

After all, replacing frames under warranty is expensive. If aluminum frames regularly failed in significant numbers, the major bike companies would have reverted to building steel bikes instead.

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Old 03-19-24, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by JWK
Yikes. My biggest aluminum anxiety issue. I'm assuming the cracked/split was on the seat tube? Was there a cause determined? Did it happen while touring? Did he continue to use the replaced frame?


I've seen all the youtube videos. They're all pretty old. I'm hoping to hear from someone who has used it for a number of years and how well it held up. The 920 is a rather big bike, but I'm 6' tall so it's OK for me. The Fargo has been on my high interest list, but I ride mostly very rough, broken pavement and lots of gravel roads of all conditions, and some jeep trails (that's what they call them here in Maine) that most cars could not navigate. How do you mostly use your Fargo? Is it strictly your touring bike, or is it multi-purpose?



I hear what you're saying about the components, but I was going to buy the frameset, then the frameset wasn't available anymore and they discontinued the model, then I found a used 2020 for a good price, then later that summer the frameset became available again even though they never made the complete bike again. A HA HA HA!!! I'm a lucky man. So I went into it knowing I was going to change the components.

Any bike I get will end up with an upgraded wheelset of some sort. As you said, 32 or 36 spokes, although the Sutra comes with 36 spoke wheels, so even if the rims and hubs are crap, they will probably do just fine for a season or two. There's something to be said for that. However, with that 70mm BB drop, I would definitely end up with a 650b wheelset, with the intent of using nothing smaller than a 47mm tire.

I would be interested in hearing why you recommend the Fargo. I have never ridden one but I do love many things about it on paper, especially the stack and reach. But for my purposes it would still be used for roads. Very rough roads, yes, but roads for the most part. In that context, how do you think the Fargo fits?
Ahhh yes frame up is the way to go. Then I would certainly skip the Trek all together and solve that problem.

In terms of Sutra wheels I am sure the hubs are meh but the rims are decent enough. My touring bike is running WTB rims as well as my Single Speed/Fixed Gear RandoCross FunTime Machine and no issues. Both are handbuilt wheel sets though so keep that in mind. I don't know but doubt Kona is building wheels at those pricepoints!

I love my Timberjack Ti that is why the Fargo. The geometry feels pretty right on that one and I have known people with Fargos who love them (one of them eventually ended up on something custom because well he loves bikes a lot and wanted the dream bike) and it is just good solid bike. I like larger tire clearance on anything so I would rather have a little more than I need than less than I want. With titanium it is a good long lasting material easy to clean and maintain without worrying about paint.

Plus if you are riding on "Jeep" Roads then probably wider tires are better anyway so having that clearance Clarence is important.
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Old 03-19-24, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BobG
In 1999 I was with an ACA TansAm tour. A group member bent his rear wheel beyond repair in Walden CO. The best we could do to get him back on the road was with a wheel we found at a local hoarder's garage. The only problem? The hub was a few millimeters smaller in dropout width than his original hub. We installed it anyway and just tightened the quick release enough to flex the gap shut.

However, It was an aluminum frame! Several days later it developed a crack at chainstay/BB junction from the stress. I don't recall if it was a Trek. It would not have happened on a steel frame. He had to have another bike shipped from home while we layed over at Yellowstone.
And then you joined us somewhere east of Booneville, NY.

BTW…I learned a couple of years ago that Jerry died in, ironically, in a motorcycle accident. He was the former member of the CHiP who patrolled on a motorcycle for 30 years.
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Old 03-20-24, 12:16 AM
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Originally Posted by JWK
I ask because I have a 920 I have ridden around on for the past two seasons
if you've been riding the bike for two seasons, then you're the expert.
how has the bike held up and performed for you so far?

of course you've loaded up the bike and done a short tour, so what were your concerns?
(aside from the wheelset, which is a given.)
did you load it up with rear panniers, or as a 4-bagger, or bike-a-packing style?
how much weight did you carry, and what sort of terrain did you cover over your test tours?
are those conditions similar to what you intend to ride in the future?
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Old 03-20-24, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by JWK
I ask because I have a 920 I have ridden around on for the past two seasons. I have an opportunity to go touring this summer. My plan is to get an appropriate wheelset (I don't trust the 28 spoke Bontrager "elite"), change the crankset to alivio 3x9 (for a 10 speed drive train), new stem and handlebars.

I have no issue with aluminum frame bikes. I would trust a Cannondale touring bike. Trek? I don't know. Integrated headset? I don't know. The aluminum racks that came stock? I don't know. Going off for hundreds of miles in eastern Maine with a bunch of I-don't-knows makes me a little anxious.

Anyone toured with the 920? I would love to hear how the bike performed and held up.

Side note: My buddy is leaning hard on me to buy a 2022 Kona Sutra SE that's available. As far as touring bikes go, it's kind of apples and oranges. His point is that Sutra with Tubus racks is a proven, Trek 920 is not. Ya pay your money, ya take yer chances.
if you get a new wheelset, make sure that you ride on those wheels for a while, and then get a good wheel building mechanic to go over the spoke tensions and get them as perfect as they can be, uniform tensions--before you go on this trip.
Don't get this done right before the trip also, so you can put a good amount of miles of loaded riding on the wheels to make sure there are no issues.

this is always a good idea before a trip, especially if you are going to be in more remote areas.
Also if in remote areas, I would also recommend getting a spare rear derailleur hanger, in case you ding your bike and bend the replaceable aluminum hanger.-- this does happen.
Last summer I was on a short bikepacking trip in Scotland and met a guy in a campground who had done just that. He had been riding on the sameish route I was on, which had a fair amount of single track and stuff to smack your rear derailleur on if not careful. He was lucky to be able to ride to a bike store where they actually had a spare hanger for his bike, he was very very lucky.

re your headset--if the headset is well greased and properly adjusted, especially with wider tires at appropriate pressures, don't see why you would have an issue. I have bikes that when adjusted properly, go years and years with no headset issues, and really I haven't had a headset issue for about 30 years on various bikes.

final thought, look into doing a bike mechanic course if available, it is so useful to be more familiar with your bike and knowing for sure how things are, especially if going off the beaten track.
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Old 03-20-24, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by saddlesores
if you've been riding the bike for two seasons, then you're the expert.
how has the bike held up and performed for you so far?

of course you've loaded up the bike and done a short tour, so what were your concerns?
(aside from the wheelset, which is a given.)
did you load it up with rear panniers, or as a 4-bagger, or bike-a-packing style?
how much weight did you carry, and what sort of terrain did you cover over your test tours?
are those conditions similar to what you intend to ride in the future?
Expert? Expert on what? Of course I've loaded up the bike and gone on a short tour? Where did that come from?
I went back and read my own OP. Well, there it is. I asked if anyone has toured with the Trek 920 and how it held up. I don't know why you assumed all that from my post, and I don't know why it should matter, but I haven't toured and my riding has been day rides with the longest being about 60 miles, loaded up with nothing but enough water to drink.
Originally Posted by djb
if you get a new wheelset, make sure that you ride on those wheels for a while, and then get a good wheel building mechanic to go over the spoke tensions and get them as perfect as they can be, uniform tensions--before you go on this trip.
Don't get this done right before the trip also, so you can put a good amount of miles of loaded riding on the wheels to make sure there are no issues.

this is always a good idea before a trip, especially if you are going to be in more remote areas.
Also if in remote areas, I would also recommend getting a spare rear derailleur hanger, in case you ding your bike and bend the replaceable aluminum hanger.-- this does happen.
Last summer I was on a short bikepacking trip in Scotland and met a guy in a campground who had done just that. He had been riding on the sameish route I was on, which had a fair amount of single track and stuff to smack your rear derailleur on if not careful. He was lucky to be able to ride to a bike store where they actually had a spare hanger for his bike, he was very very lucky.

re your headset--if the headset is well greased and properly adjusted, especially with wider tires at appropriate pressures, don't see why you would have an issue. I have bikes that when adjusted properly, go years and years with no headset issues, and really I haven't had a headset issue for about 30 years on various bikes.

final thought, look into doing a bike mechanic course if available, it is so useful to be more familiar with your bike and knowing for sure how things are, especially if going off the beaten track.
That's good advice for anyone going on a tour, especially someone who isn't very knowledgeable about bike mechanics.
I do my own wrenching, for the most part. That includes the wheels.

1. Aluminum frame with a touring load
2. Integrated headset
3. Proprietary aluminum racks

Those are my concerns.
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Old 03-20-24, 10:37 AM
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Originally Posted by JWK
Expert? Expert on what? Of course I've loaded up the bike and gone on a short tour? Where did that come from?
I went back and read my own OP. Well, there it is. I asked if anyone has toured with the Trek 920 and how it held up. I don't know why you assumed all that from my post, and I don't know why it should matter, but I haven't toured and my riding has been day rides with the longest being about 60 miles, loaded up with nothing but enough water to drink.....
no, actually i correctly assumed you'd not bothered........................
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Old 03-20-24, 11:12 AM
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Originally Posted by JWK
That's good advice for anyone going on a tour, especially someone who isn't very knowledgeable about bike mechanics.
I do my own wrenching, for the most part. That includes the wheels.

1. Aluminum frame with a touring load
2. Integrated headset
3. Proprietary aluminum racks

Those are my concerns.
Good to know that you are comfortable and experienced working on bikes.
As for your concerns, one big big factor I find that helps a bike a lot is using wider tires and tires that are also not really stiff. Using lower pressures really takes the edge off all the vibrations and jolts, which has a direct impact on having less impacts going into you and your bike frame, wheel set, everything.
I really noticed this using nice supple 2in tires when on long trips in Latin America. I was so glad for me, my frame, my wheels, my racks, with the cushy tires really helping a lot on all the rough roads I was on.

To me, this is a huge factor in making life easier on your bike.

I wouldn't hesitate using an aluminium bike etc etc nor worry about your concerns if I used the proper tyres and pressures, plus also checking your bike regularly for loosening bolts etc.
Use loctite or heavy gear to minimise loosening stuff and you'll be fine.

Last edited by djb; 03-20-24 at 11:15 AM.
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Old 03-20-24, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by djb

I wouldn't hesitate using an aluminium bike etc etc nor worry about your concerns if I used the proper tyres and pressures, plus also checking your bike regularly for loosening bolts etc.
Use loctite or heavy gear to minimise loosening stuff and you'll be fine.
Again:Cannondale. If there had been a significant failure rate, they wouldn’t have been so popular.

While it’s only one example, I put mine on a weigh station scale early on during its 6,000 mile maiden voyage. 90 lbs. with gear. I was another 190. The frame did fine. Technology has improved over the last 25 years since that trip.
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Old 03-20-24, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
Again:Cannondale. If there had been a significant failure rate, they wouldn’t have been so popular.

While it’s only one example, I put mine on a weigh station scale early on during its 6,000 mile maiden voyage. 90 lbs. with gear. I was another 190. The frame did fine. Technology has improved over the last 25 years since that trip.
Fair point.
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