Realistic expectations for the life of an ally frame.

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Paul, Jun 19, 2003.

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  1. Paul

    Paul Guest

    I'm new to cycling and have heard a fair bit of discussion on the fatigue life of aluminium frames.
    The frame of my bike is plain guage 7005 T6 and comes with a 3 year guarantee. I have seen some
    manufacturers providing only 2 year guarantees on similar frames and at least 1 manufacturer that
    offers a lifetime guarantee on 7005 frames (there are similar variations on steel frames too).

    I was wondering what would be a realistic expectation for aluminium frames in general and the frame
    on my bike in particular. I do a lot of on-road miles and a far bit on rought country tracks but
    keep everything clean and in good repair.

    It would be good to have a rough idea of the life expectancy of the frame to know whether it's worth
    spending money of component improvements etc.for my current bike or just putting the money aside for
    a new bike purchase every 4 or 5 years.

    Thanks for any thoughts, Paul.
     
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  2. Jt

    Jt Guest

    "Paul" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I'm new to cycling and have heard a fair bit of discussion on the fatigue life of aluminium
    > frames. The frame of my bike is plain guage 7005 T6 and comes with a 3 year guarantee. I have seen
    > some manufacturers providing
    only
    > 2 year guarantees on similar frames and at least 1 manufacturer that
    offers
    > a lifetime guarantee on 7005 frames (there are similar variations on steel frames too).
    >
    > I was wondering what would be a realistic expectation for aluminium frames in general and the
    > frame on my bike in particular. I do a lot of on-road miles and a far bit on rought country tracks
    > but keep everything clean and in good repair.
    >
    > It would be good to have a rough idea of the life expectancy of the frame
    to
    > know whether it's worth spending money of component improvements etc.for
    my
    > current bike or just putting the money aside for a new bike purchase every
    4
    > or 5 years.
    >

    A steel frame, painted and kept reasonably dry, will last >100 yrs.
     
  3. Andresmuro

    Andresmuro Guest

    In order of durability, I think it is titanium, steel and aluminum. I have a pair of titanium
    eyeglass frames. titanium is like plastic. You can twist and bend the frames, and they will not
    break. I love to show people my glasses. I grab one temple, wrap it around my finger making a
    perfect loop, release it, and goes back to its natural position.I have had the same pair for years.
    I used to break allow eyeglass frames all the time. They would break at the welds, but that is
    because the alloy was stiff, and the welds would give. Aluminum is very stiff and has no give. If
    you get an aluminum fork (to eat), and try to bend it, it will not bend much, but it will snap. A
    steel fork may bend several times before it snaps.

    Steel is more flexible than aluminum, so it will last a goo long time. But it rusts, if it gets wet
    and it is not protected.

    Andres
     
  4. David Storm

    David Storm Guest

    "Paul" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > I'm new to cycling and have heard a fair bit of discussion on the fatigue life of aluminium
    > frames. The frame of my bike is plain guage 7005 T6 and comes with a 3 year guarantee. I have seen
    > some manufacturers providing
    only
    > 2 year guarantees on similar frames and at least 1 manufacturer that
    offers
    > a lifetime guarantee on 7005 frames (there are similar variations on steel frames too).
    >
    > I was wondering what would be a realistic expectation for aluminium frames in general and the
    > frame on my bike in particular. I do a lot of on-road miles and a far bit on rought country tracks
    > but keep everything clean and in good repair.
    >
    > It would be good to have a rough idea of the life expectancy of the frame
    to
    > know whether it's worth spending money of component improvements etc.for
    my
    > current bike or just putting the money aside for a new bike purchase every
    4
    > or 5 years.
    >
    > Thanks for any thoughts, Paul.
    >
    >
    I've been riding an Al Cannondale for 4 years (>33,000 miles), alot of it on paved but substandard
    mountain roads and it shows no sign of failure. I check it very frequently. As is so often said
    here, it all depends on how the frame is designed and put together. I would have no clue on other
    brand AL bikes. Yesterday I did order a Trek 5500 carbon, not because of any problems with
    Cannondale. I'm just ready for something different and softer riding in my old age.
     
  5. Terry Morse

    Terry Morse Guest

    Paul wrote:

    > I was wondering what would be a realistic expectation for aluminium frames in general and the
    > frame on my bike in particular.

    If it's a well designed and built frame, it will outlive you. Fatigue life is only an issue on
    poorly designed frames, regardless of the material.
    --
    terry morse Palo Alto, CA http://www.terrymorse.com/bike/
     
  6. John Everett

    John Everett Guest

    On Thu, 19 Jun 2003 11:54:55 +0100, "Paul" <[email protected]> wrote:

    >I was wondering what would be a realistic expectation for aluminium frames in general and the frame
    >on my bike in particular. I do a lot of on-road miles and a far bit on rought country tracks but
    >keep everything clean and in good repair.

    For what it's worth, I'm still riding my 1989 Trek 1400, bonded aluminum frame. I'm also riding my
    1992 Vitus 992, also bonded aluminum. I have a friend who weighs upwards of 200 lbs. who's been
    riding his Vitus 979 for fifteen years or so. I wouldn't worry about life expectancy of an aluminum
    (or even an ally) frame.

    jeverett3<AT>earthlink<DOT>net http://home.earthlink.net/~jeverett3
     
  7. Keven Ruf

    Keven Ruf Guest

    I found a frame in an ally several years ago and I am still riding it.
     
  8. Eric Murray

    Eric Murray Guest

    In article <[email protected]>, David Storm
    <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    >"Paul" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    >> I was wondering what would be a realistic expectation for aluminium frames in general and the
    >> frame on my bike in particular.
    >>
    >I've been riding an Al Cannondale for 4 years (>33,000 miles), alot of it on paved but substandard
    >mountain roads and it shows no sign of failure.

    I put a similar amount of miles on a Vitus 979 frame. (small diameter dural tubes glued to lugs)
    It's still in fine shape, the only reason I'm not riding it is that it's not compatable with modern
    9 speed rear wheels.

    I wouldn't worry about it. The regular inspection that you do for any frame is fine.

    Eric
     
  9. "Paul" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]>...

    > I'm new to cycling and have heard a fair bit of discussion on the fatigue life of aluminium
    > frames. The frame of my bike is plain guage 7005 T6 and comes with a 3 year guarantee. I have
    > seen some manufacturers providing only 2 year guarantees on similar frames and at least 1
    > manufacturer that offers a lifetime guarantee on 7005 frames (there are similar variations on
    > steel frames too).

    Long ago I read that Klein designed their frames to last 1,000,000 miles. For most people that is
    much more than they will cycle in a lifetime. I have no idea if Klein still has the same design
    parameters but baring accidents a well designed frame of any material should last as long as you
    care to ride it.

    > It would be good to have a rough idea of the life expectancy of the frame to know whether it's
    > worth spending money of component improvements etc.for my current bike or just putting the money
    > aside for a new bike purchase every 4 or 5 years.

    Bicycles are not investments. If an upgrade will make you enjoy cycling more it is probably
    worth it. If your frame snaps like a twig the day after you upgrade some parts it isn't the end
    of the world. If they are particularly trick parts you will probably move them over to your new
    ride anyway.

    The only frame I ever broke was a steel one that gave me over a decade of good use. I figure I got
    my money's worth several times out of it.

    > Thanks for any thoughts, Paul.

    Bruce
    --
    Bruce Jackson - Sr. Systems Programmer - DMSP, a M/A/R/C Group company
     
  10. Skuke

    Skuke Guest

    On 19 Jun 2003 13:03:06 GMT, AndresMuro wrote:

    > I have a pair of titanium eyeglass frames. titanium is like plastic. You can twist and bend the
    > frames, and they will not break. I love to show people my glasses. I grab one temple, wrap it
    > around my finger making a perfect loop, release it, and goes back to its natural position.I have
    > had the same pair for years.

    To clarify, I think you have eyeglass frames made from NiTiNOL. That's a "memory shape" alloy of Ti
    and Nickel developed by the Naval Ordinance Labs (NiTiNOL)(defense department). So yes, there is Ti
    in the frames, but the plastic property shown in your eyeglass frame is unique to that material
    (NiTiNOL) and is generally not property of most Ti alloys (3AL2.5V, 6AL4V,
    CP...). Incidently, the temperature that the material behaves like a spring and has "memory" can be
    set to different points. Your glasses are set for normal "room temp". It could set so that you
    mangle the frame, then "repair" it by dipping in boiling (or very hot) water.

    > used to break allow eyeglass frames all the time. They would break at the welds, but that is
    > because the alloy was stiff, and the welds would give. Aluminum is very stiff and has no give. If
    > you get an aluminum fork (to eat), and try to bend it, it will not bend much, but it will snap. A
    > steel fork may bend several times before it snaps.
    >
    > Steel is more flexible than aluminum, so it will last a goo long time. But it rusts, if it gets
    > wet and it is not protected.

    Well, these statements are not exactly correct. I'm sure someone else may correct them. I just
    wanted to comment on the Ti eyeglass frames.

    --
    Skuke Reverse the domain name to send email
     
  11. Jay Beattie

    Jay Beattie Guest

    "Eric Murray" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > In article
    <[email protected]>,
    > David Storm <[email protected]> wrote:
    > >
    > >"Paul" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > >> I was wondering what would be a realistic expectation for aluminium
    frames
    > >> in general and the frame on my bike in particular.
    > >>
    > >I've been riding an Al Cannondale for 4 years (>33,000 miles), alot
    of
    > >it on paved but substandard mountain roads and it shows no sign of
    failure.
    >
    > I put a similar amount of miles on a Vitus 979 frame. (small diameter dural tubes glued to lugs)
    > It's still in fine shape, the only reason I'm not riding it is that it's not compatable with
    > modern 9 speed rear wheels.
    >
    > I wouldn't worry about it. The regular inspection that you do for any frame is fine.

    I put a small fraction of that on a first generation 2.8 and it broke at the seat stay above the
    drop out where the tube is squashed flat. I put maybe twice that mileage on a 1985 Cannondale, and
    it is still going strong. Both are 6061 alloy frames. Design and fabrication make the difference and
    not the alloy. Many Al and steel frames are using materials that, IMO, are too thin and not
    adequately resistant to mechanical damage and are fussier to weld and therefore more succeptible to
    over-heating and other fabrication defects. -- Jay Beattie.
     
  12. Robin Hubert

    Robin Hubert Guest

  13. On Thu, 19 Jun 2003 13:03:06 +0000, AndresMuro wrote:

    > In order of durability, I think it is titanium, steel and aluminum. I have a pair of titanium
    > eyeglass frames. titanium is like plastic. You can twist and bend the frames, and they will not
    > break. I love to show people my glasses. I grab one temple, wrap it around my finger making a
    > perfect loop, release it, and goes back to its natural position.I have had the same pair for
    years.

    Those are "Flexon" frames. I just got a pair. But it is a special alloy of titanium, as mentioned by
    someone else. My previous glasses frames were also titanim, but did not have this behavior. I do
    like the glasses but I think that would be a bit spongy for a bike.

    --

    David L. Johnson

    __o | The lottery is a tax on those who fail to understand _`\(,_ | mathematics. (_)/ (_) |
     
  14. "Paul" <[email protected]> writes:

    >I was wondering what would be a realistic expectation for aluminium frames in general and the frame
    >on my bike in particular. I do a lot of on-road miles and a far bit on rought country tracks but
    >keep everything clean and in good repair.

    I have had all-steel bikes (many), all-aluminum (Schwinn Moab, 1997), and a bonded carbon/aluminum
    frames (trek 2300, 1998 model).

    One thing about the steel frame is that you can take it apart easily and change it, or "cold set"
    the frame for a different rear spacing. This is not possible with an aluminum frame, and difficult
    or impossible with titanium.

    So the sarcastic answer to your question is, an aluminum or titanium frame will last only until the
    parts manufacturers manage to change the style of bicycles in such as way as to prematurely
    invalidate your investment in such frames. Since the parts manufacturers are *trying* to do this all
    the time, I believe that this time period is far, far less than the mean-time-to-failure of your
    aluminum or titanium frame.

    - Don
     
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