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Thorn say all Ti frames break????

Old 07-20-09, 12:36 AM
  #1  
Choccy
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Thorn say all Ti frames break????

Is this true. I was looking on the Thorn website at the Adaux Mk3 and in the "Steel is real" section it says that all Ti frames they have known have broken.

I have an 11 year old Ti frame and am wondering when I need to change it if this is true. Also are they allowed to write this kind of stuff. I know you can write whatever you want on a forum as it is just an opinion but they must have some evidence to back these facts up with. I'm pretty sure the likes of Merlin would have something to say about this.

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Old 07-20-09, 01:22 AM
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I am not a big fan of Ti frames, but you must be aware, these brochures are not written by 'Thorn Cycles' per se, but by Andy Blance, the designer, and to call him an extremist is an understatement! (I knew him personally, I used to work for Thorn.)
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Old 07-20-09, 01:22 AM
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They're right Ti breaks.

Everything made by man eventually breaks.

I wouldn't worry about it.
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Old 07-20-09, 07:23 AM
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quite at odds with Blance's opinion, Titanium is reputed to be verty durable and of long life.

and my frame has a lifetime warrenty
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Old 07-20-09, 08:29 AM
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titanium has low cycle fatigue strength versus steel's nearly unlimited fatigue cycle, doesn't it? or am i mistaken about this?

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Old 07-20-09, 08:46 AM
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I'm here to help.
You should go ahead and send me your ti frame for proper and safe disposal.
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Old 07-20-09, 09:01 AM
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From my experience with military aircraft the only material on those planes that didn't crack was the titanium. The stress on the airframes was enormous, and Ti was mostly used where extremely high temperature cycles existed, like near jet exhaust. The temp cycles were far more than any other material could tolerate, especially steel, which wasn't used in aircraft at all because it's a heavy metal.

This guy is full of crap, when will people get over steel? Maybe never I suppose.
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Old 07-20-09, 11:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Shifty View Post
From my experience with military aircraft the only material on those planes that didn't crack was the titanium. The stress on the airframes was enormous, and Ti was mostly used where extremely high temperature cycles existed, like near jet exhaust. The temp cycles were far more than any other material could tolerate, especially steel, which wasn't used in aircraft at all because it's a heavy metal.

This guy is full of crap, when will people get over steel? Maybe never I suppose.
I too was under the impression that titanium is extremely durable. I have never known anybody break a Ti frame yet I've seen steel, carbon fibre and especially aluminium frames break or crack. I know it is a lot to do with design as much as it is material but the only way Ti frames would break would be at the welds if done poorly.

Steel has a place in cycling as much as the other materials mentioned but it is a very strange point of veiw to dismiss other materials because of a love for one material. He even quotes the great properties of carbon fibre even though this is the material most likely to stop people buying steel.

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Old 07-20-09, 11:20 AM
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Bekologist - you are mistaken, good Titanium alloys also have a fatigue cycle limit. Aluminum is the low cycle fatigue strength material you're thinking of.
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Old 07-20-09, 12:57 PM
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I suspect the problem is not the material, it is how it's used. Most people who choose Ti are looking for high-end road bikes; ti is used for touring bikes on occasion, but it is not very common. So if you weighed down a racing Ti frame and took it on tour, you would be a tad more likely to have issues with the frame -- not because "ti sucks" but just because that frame got used outside its normal spec.

Also, plenty of steel touring bikes have frame issues. You can pretty much break any frame if you try.

That said, I don't see Ti as a fabulous choice for touring. It looks good (to some people) and is corrosion-resistant, but its only real advantage is that you save weight, and there are much more cost-effective ways to rust-proof your bike and shed a couple of kg.
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Old 07-20-09, 01:11 PM
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I suppose that I should feel fortunate to have had my Bruce Gordon Ti RNR last these 20 years of hard touring on and off pavement.

Much of the Ti initially used in Ti frames was castoff from other high or low tech users often from Russia and were fabricated by people who were slowly working their way up the learning curve of Ti. An experienced Ti craftsman will chose bike specific tubing for the frame using clean miters, inert purging and minimal passes over the joint. In my experience these characteristics make for a durable high performance frame, without them you get frames that give Ti a bad name.
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Old 07-20-09, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
titanium has low cycle fatigue strength versus steel's nearly unlimited fatigue cycle, doesn't it? or am i mistaken about this?
You are mistaken. A properly designed and properly welded titanium frame will outlast every other frame material by a wide margin.
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Old 07-20-09, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Choccy View Post
all Ti frames they have known have broken.


I always had a lot of respect for Thorn. This kind of over-the-top statement diminishes their credibility in my mind.

Either (a) they're lying or (b) they haven't seen a lot of Ti frames.

Any builder who tries to promote his/her favorite way of doing business by trashing all others is over-reaching.
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Old 07-20-09, 02:57 PM
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Brochure mentioned by OP.

When I read the section of the brochure that the OP is quoting I did think it was over the top and had a laugh. However, 2 things I considered to put matters into perspective:

1. at least there is a brochure with details on the rationale behind Thorn's choices and explaining the details of their bike designs. This takes a fair bit of effort/$$ and is not the norm in the bike industry where a paragraph of marketing drivel and a geometry/spec chart is all you usually get.

2. I'm buying a Thorn bike 'cause it's a great bike not because they make great brochure copy or that I agree with every sentence in a 16 page brochure.

Finally if you are really tweaked by this specific claim give Thorn a call and ask to speak to Andy or Robin Thorn. At least you'll get some useful feedback from the source. They'll even pay the long distance charges.

From the Thorn website:

"Let us pay the phone bill!
If you want to know more about one of our products let us make the call - If you're in the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia or Norway just click the link below and email us your land line number and preferred time of call and we will do our best to phone you at that time, as long as it is during our normal working hours. We are also proud of our speedy service in answering your questions by email. thorn@sjscycles.com

Thorn Cycles Ltd, 91-93 St John Street, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5HX, England
Company no: 4121096, incorporated in England.

Open: Monday to Friday 08:30 - 17:00 Closed: Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays

Questions - Email us on thorn@sjscycles.com
Telephone +44 (0) 1278 441500
Fax +44 (0) 1278 431107"
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Old 07-20-09, 03:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
titanium has low cycle fatigue strength versus steel's nearly unlimited fatigue cycle, doesn't it? or am i mistaken about this?
Got it backwards - ti has greatest resistance to fatigue of all framebuilding materials.

The only frames I've broken were steel. It had far more to do with the dropouts (breezer/weak butt joints) chosen for easy/cheap assembly and inadequate braze at the joint, than the actual frame material.

Many (cheap chinese) steel frame are more likely to break, IMO, because they're assembled (design, parts, miters, joints) so cheaply as part of the goal of making a cheap frame or bike. It's not the steel tubes, it's the crappy joints that cause frame breaks.

Titanium bicycling tubing is very expensive - a downtube alone costs >$100. So, ti frames tend to be better built because more care is put into joining these expensive tubes into a frame that's going to be sold at relatively high profit.

I doubt a Thorn frame is likely to break. Clearly they are really dedicated to their design, custom made dropouts, charge enough for them that they can take time to build them well. Also, I doubt Thorn is completely unbiased on the subject of frame material. Steel is a wonderful material for building bikes, if you have the expertise and intent to build them right.

Ti makes a great frame. Very durable. The relatively high cost is offset somewhat by a potentially longer useful life as a bike frame. Plus there's no paint to scratch up.

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Old 07-20-09, 03:53 PM
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I gotta tell ya, that ad copy from Thorn is patently ridiculous and leads one to confirm that the company is flushing its credibility down the toilet with gusto! It also leads one to wonder if those guys know anything about frame materials.

One can make a good frame out of steel and one can also make a good frame out of titanium, if one understands the basic characteristics of the material in question, how to design a frame with that material and how to weld that material.

There is enough BS in the bike business without Thorn spewing up even more.
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Old 07-20-09, 04:38 PM
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Originally Posted by randobarf View Post
i gotta tell ya, that ad copy from thorn is patently ridiculous and leads one to confirm that the company is flushing its credibility down the toilet with gusto!...

There is enough bs in the bike business without thorn spewing up even more.
+1000
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Old 07-20-09, 08:32 PM
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Titanium is tough, and good titanium frames (like good steel and aluminum frames) are reliable companions. But, titanium is expensive, and repairs -- when possible -- need to be effected in an oxygen free environment. A friend just found a crack in the toptube of his steel Masi frame over the weekend. A smallish, very proficient rider, he had just finished a +- 50 mph descent when he heard a popping noise -- frame. Any frame can break. I've seen broken steel, aluminum, carbon and ti frames. Some offer more warning (i.e., steel) and others (al, carbon) fail more dramatically.
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Old 07-20-09, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by vik View Post


Brochure mentioned by OP.

When I read the section of the brochure that the OP is quoting I did think it was over the top and had a laugh. However, 2 things I considered to put matters into perspective:

1. at least there is a brochure with details on the rationale behind Thorn's choices and explaining the details of their bike designs. This takes a fair bit of effort/$$ and is not the norm in the bike industry where a paragraph of marketing drivel and a geometry/spec chart is all you usually get.

2. I'm buying a Thorn bike 'cause it's a great bike not because they make great brochure copy or that I agree with every sentence in a 16 page brochure.

Finally if you are really tweaked by this specific claim give Thorn a call and ask to speak to Andy or Robin Thorn. At least you'll get some useful feedback from the source. They'll even pay the long distance charges.

From the Thorn website:

"Let us pay the phone bill!
If you want to know more about one of our products let us make the call - If you're in the UK, USA, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia or Norway just click the link below and email us your land line number and preferred time of call and we will do our best to phone you at that time, as long as it is during our normal working hours. We are also proud of our speedy service in answering your questions by email. thorn@sjscycles.com

Thorn Cycles Ltd, 91-93 St John Street, Bridgwater, Somerset, TA6 5HX, England
Company no: 4121096, incorporated in England.

Open: Monday to Friday 08:30 - 17:00 Closed: Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays

Questions - Email us on thorn@sjscycles.com
Telephone +44 (0) 1278 441500
Fax +44 (0) 1278 431107"
One major think wrong with their brochure statement is flexing wastes energy. Do a search here and you'll find some very knowledgable engineers explain why there's no energy loss from flexing.
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