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Aluminium frames and air travel...

Old 09-08-07, 11:38 AM
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Aluminium frames and air travel...

I've got a tour in the planning stage for next year which requires air travel. I might take an alu framed tourer I'm building up, but I'm a bit concerned about the potential for frame damage while in transit at the airport. The bike will be soft bagged with all the usual padding, but I'm wondering, if it gets a bit enough bang, likebeing thrown onto a trolley, or having a suitcase thrown onto it, as I know could very well happen, could the aluminium get stressed without showing it, but stressed enough to fail at a later date?
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Old 09-08-07, 11:55 AM
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Well.... In general I wouldn't tour on aluminum. Too harsh. Although it is nice to leave your bike out in the rain and not worry about something rusting.

Any bangs serious enough to screw up an aluminum frame will also damage steel IMO. AFAIK the first sign of a serious frame failure due to long-term strain, for both steel and aluminum, will be small cracks.

I wouldn't use a soft bag though, I'd get a cardboard box & use some padding. Chances of that getting damaged is smaller.

I use a folding bike in a hard case, and I generally don't worry about the frame. If anything I'm more concerned with the spokes than the frame.
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Old 09-08-07, 12:37 PM
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I wouldn't worry about it, unless you are using an ultralight frame. The cardboard idea is a good one too. (And just ignore dumb aluminum frames for touring comments.)
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Old 09-09-07, 06:55 AM
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Thanks for that. How big would a knock have to be, though to cause stress fractures (even small ones)? Would it leave a mark, or could an impact such as a suitcase being hefted on it cause enough damage without leaving a mark to render the frame dangerous?
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Old 09-10-07, 07:08 AM
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My Cannondale T800 has crossed the Atlantic 4 times with no damage, but I use a box.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:11 AM
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It stress cycles you shouldbe worried about with Al.

Its the same stress over and over, the kind you get in everyday use, not a one time stress (unless its really big).

I think you are being over-cautious. Pack the bike well with bubble wrap or pipe cladding or foam and cardboard or whatever and don't stress yourself too much about it.

Well.... In general I wouldn't tour on aluminum. Too harsh. Although it is nice to leave your bike out in the rain and not worry about something rusting]
What about your chain? Generally leaving your bike outside in the rain isn't a good idea no matter what it is made of.
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Old 09-10-07, 09:20 AM
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Don't forget to put spacers in the wheel drops. That's the weakest part of a bike. If you don't have any, talk to your LBS. New bikes come in with them.
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Old 09-10-07, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Old Hammer Boy
Don't forget to put spacers in the wheel drops. That's the weakest part of a bike. If you don't have any, talk to your LBS. New bikes come in with them.

Great point, forgot about that.
Thanks OHB
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Old 09-10-07, 11:19 PM
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You can often damage an Al frame where a steel would not be damaged, if the tubing is light it can take a dent, where a steel frame might not show anything. However, it is unlikely you would get a problem that wouldn't show. Dents are most likely. You can dent steel also, but it isn't super likely in a touring grade bike.
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Old 09-11-07, 03:09 PM
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Many thanks for the input.
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