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So my frame is cracked...

Old 10-17-06, 08:39 AM
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some_guy282
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So my frame is cracked...

After serving me well for two and a half years, I discovered a crack on the frame of my Trek 4500 while it was on the stand in the shop for another repair. Time to get a new frame

Earlier this year I was bitten by the bug and was tempted to buy a new bike. From my looking around I was gravitating to the Cannondale Bad Boy as it seemed a good all around bike, but common sense took over again and I realized I didn't need a new bike and decided to just save my money.

To give you an idea of the kind of riding I do, I live in NYC and commute year round. In addition I use my bike for the majority of my traveling - beats the train and the bus. I got the 4500 originally because I'm comfortable with mountain bikes from my childhood. I thought I might get around to heading out to some mountain trails after I got the bike, but that never happened. All the recreational riding I've done since I've had the bike have been the organized rides in the city (Five Borough Tour, etc.) Although I switched to 1.5 slicks long ago, I could probably go without a suspencion fork (one of the things I liked about the Bad Boy is the lockout ability, although I'd probably be just as good with a rigid fork).

Any suggestions on what I should get, and what would be the most cost effective way of going about it? With the Bad Boy for instance, I could afford the Disc or Ultra versions, but some of the most important parts would be redundant for me (I already have SRAM X-7 shifters/rear derailer, and Avid BB7 disc brakes). I'm doubtful I would make much by selling the extras on eBay. The other option is of course to just buy the frame by itself (Cannondale Furio) but it's my understanding that it would be pretty expensive (about $600) in comparison to just buying a complete bike...

I'm open to suggestions other than the Bad Boy. Any and all help appreciated.

Thanks
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Old 10-17-06, 09:26 AM
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What's the warranty on the Trek? Shouldn't they cover a broken frame?
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Old 10-17-06, 09:39 AM
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Good question. Unfortunately, I had the frame stripped down and powder coated a year ago. I'm pretty sure that voids the warrenty, although I will ask at the bike shop I got it from since I'll be in the area later today...
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Old 10-17-06, 09:47 AM
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Well, out of curiosity I just called up the bike shop expecting to be told no. They said they weren't sure and told me to check the website. Here is a snippet from the relevent information....
This warranty does not cover-
Normal wear and tear
Improper assembly
Improper follow-up maintenance
Installation of parts or accessories not originally intended for, or compatible with, the bicycle as sold
Damage or failure due to accident, misuse, abuse, or neglect
Labor charges for part replacement or changeover

This warranty is void in its entirety by any modification of the frame, fork, or components.
This warranty is expressly limited to the repair or replacement of a defective item and is the sole remedy of the warranty. This warranty extends from the date of purchase, applies only to the original owner, and is not transferable.
I would assume my having the frame repainted classifies as modification of the frame. But modification of fork and components also invalidate it? WTF? Sounds like a useless "warrenty" that becomes invalid the moment you start upgrading things... To be sure, I'll e-mail Trek and ask.
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Old 10-17-06, 10:01 AM
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Not sure if painting qualifies as modification... I think they mean physical modification like adding braze-ons, etc. You might not get it completely replaced, but they may give you another frame at a discounted price. Had that experience with a carbon frame.
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Old 10-17-06, 10:06 AM
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some_guy, if you're looking to avoid another cracked frame, I suggest you go with steel! Nothing wrong with aluminum frames, but they are much more prone to cracking than steel due to the way they fatigue differently. You can get a steel MTB, road bike, tourer, fixie, pretty much any geometry you like. Just my 2 cents as a happy owner of three steel bike and one aluminum bike.
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Old 10-17-06, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by knobster
Not sure if painting qualifies as modification... I think they mean physical modification like adding braze-ons, etc. You might not get it completely replaced, but they may give you another frame at a discounted price. Had that experience with a carbon frame.
Having negotiated enough vendor contracts in my career, I recognise legalese when I see it. The open ended interpretation of what is NOT covered by the vendor contract as listed basically comes down to this:

Unless you purchased only the bike (with out any additional components,) brought it home*, put it in the corner without riding it, and it fell apart like The Bluesmobile, we are not legally bound to replace anything.
If you've ever replaced a tube or tire on the bike, you've voided the warranty.
Replacement of brake pads or a worn chain will void the warranty.


*Depending on your method of transport, bringing your bicycle home may be considered misuse, abuse, or attachment of components not originally intended for the frame.
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Old 10-17-06, 10:29 AM
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If the rest of the bike parts are in good shape, consider buying a new frame and re-using the parts. Nashbar has frames for as cheap as $45 and there's lots of other choices like Surly, Salsa, etc. if you want to get a nicer frame.
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Old 10-17-06, 10:30 AM
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If Trek doesn't cover your frame just get a good new frame and transfer you parts. You could get something like a Surly Karate Monkey (29er) or Soma Groove. If you want to upgrade the fork you could get a new rigid fork at the asme time. There are cheaper bikes but these should last.
If you are building from scratch a complete bike is usually cheaper but if you have all or most of the parts replacing the frame is less expensive.
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Old 10-17-06, 11:02 AM
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Trek is supposed to be pretty good with the warranty stuff; I think you should keep hitting it from that angle. Tell 'em there's no way stripping and painting the frame would affect it structurally and demand they prove otherwise if they deny your claim!
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Old 10-17-06, 11:09 AM
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Pretty fast response from Trek.

Thanks for writing. Repainting the frame yourself does void the
warranty, as the repainting may have had something to do with the frame
breaking.

Matthew Gutowski
Tech Support
Trek Bicycle Corporation
Pretty much what I expected.

Re using my parts is exactly what I'd like to do. I love my current shifters, derailer, breaks, grips, pedals, etc.. However I believe that with buying a new frame there is a good chance some of my current parts wont fit like the seatpost, seatpost clamp, bottom bracket, and fork. I'm prepared to buy new components for all of these things though in the event of getting a new frame. And if I do end up buying a totally new bike, I'll transfer as many of my old components over as possible.

Possible stupid question about the Furio (Bad Boy) frame in relation to other frames. I noticed the Furio frame can accomodate mountain and road wheels. Can all MTB frames do this? I was thinking of getting a set of road wheels for the spring and summer, and switching over to my mountain wheels for the winter...
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Old 10-17-06, 11:09 AM
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+1 to what everyone else said. If Trek refuses to cover it, just tell 'em this experience has caused you to consider buying a frame from their competitors. Then if they still don't cover it, buy a frame from their competitors.

edit: Assclowns. I'd tell 'em I'm going to Cannondale and getting a frame made in the USA as opposed to their craptastic garbage. Then send them the URL to this thread.
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Old 10-17-06, 11:24 AM
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Wow. Sounds like pretty normal riding, and your frame cracked? Where was the crack?
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Old 10-17-06, 11:26 AM
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My experience is if you press the issue that they will usually work something out with a discounted frame.
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Old 10-17-06, 11:33 AM
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Check out the Jamis Coda series bikes. Nice strong, light steel frame with many option choices. Very affordable and a great company to deal with.
 
Old 10-17-06, 11:50 AM
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Some pictures of the crack in question. And yes, I know I need to clean my bike





All of the frames I've ever seen cracked at bikeshops that weren't in crashes were cracked in that area. Major stress point of the bike I'm guessing?

You know, I think I will try to press this with Trek a bit and see what happens.
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Old 10-17-06, 12:00 PM
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Yeah, don't take No for an answer. Tell 'em WTF and you'd think the makers of the TdF winners and all that BS could stand behind their frames. Saying paint ruins the bike is like saying changing your underwear daily leads to ass rash.

BTW, you could fix that crack w/ some chicken wire and duct tape.
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Old 10-17-06, 12:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jyossarian
BTW, you could fix that crack w/ some chicken wire and duct tape.
LOL

Yeah, it's not that bad yet but I know it will only get worse with time. As far as I'm concerned the sooner this is replaced the better.

Just shot an e-mail back off to Trek pointing out the absurdity of their warranty in regards to changing components. I'll keep you all informed. Thanks for the help everyone.
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Old 10-17-06, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by some_guy282
Some pictures of the crack in question. And yes, I know I need to clean my bike

All of the frames I've ever seen cracked at bikeshops that weren't in crashes were cracked in that area. Major stress point of the bike I'm guessing?

You know, I think I will try to press this with Trek a bit and see what happens.
Are you sure it's a crack in the metal, and not just in the paint? DIY paint jobs have a habit of flaking off in a rather ugly manner. I'd lightly sand off the paint around the supposed crack and check that the metal itself is really damaged.

However, I think it is a possibility that a paint job *could* damage a welded frame, especially if sanding/sandblasting wasn't done properly, or excessive heat was applied. Not really a very large possibility, but Trek will probably latch on to that as a reason not to grant your warranty claim
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Old 10-17-06, 01:12 PM
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Pffft. That'll buff right out. An easy way to see if it's the frame or just paint is to put the crank at the 6:00 position and apply side pressure. If it's really busted, you'll see the crack expand. If you're really lucky, it will snap right off and you can mount it on your wall as art.
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Old 10-17-06, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by moxfyre
some_guy, if you're looking to avoid another cracked frame, I suggest you go with steel! Nothing wrong with aluminum frames, but they are much more prone to cracking than steel due to the way they fatigue differently.
Hmm. I actually have a pile of cracked steel frames in my basement and ride all aluminum these days.

It comes down to manufacturing quality first, and materials a distant second. I liked riding steel as much as the next guy, but I did have three steel frames break due to metal fatigue, which was a product of suspect manufacturing.

The flip side of steel is that it can be repaired, and I had a local framebuilder repair a steel Kona that broke, twice, back in the late 90s under my hack ridership.

The repainting thing is just Trek making stuff up, but frame warranties seem to be a thing of the past generally, as noted by earlier posters.
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Old 10-17-06, 02:17 PM
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If you're not riding in the mountains, why replace it with another mountain bike? If the frame warrany doesn't pan out, I'd look at this as an opportunity to try a cyclocross or touring frame, or even just a plain old roadie.

Steel for the record, can crack just like any other material. The advantage of steel is that cracks don't usually propagate in a critical fashion, so there's less risk of catastrophic failure.
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Old 10-17-06, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by ghettocruiser
Hmm. I actually have a pile of cracked steel frames in my basement and ride all aluminum these days.

It comes down to manufacturing quality first, and materials a distant second. I liked riding steel as much as the next guy, but I did have three steel frames break due to metal fatigue, which was a product of suspect manufacturing.
I agree that manufacturing quality is much more important than the actual material, all things considered!

My understanding (based on reading Bicycling Science and a bunch of online articles) is that steel bicycle frames usually fail due to LOW-CYCLE fatigue, meaning they fail due to the effect of 10-1000 of the worst shocks they've received over their lifetime, rather than due to HIGH-CYCLE fatigue, which would be the cumulative effect of millions of very small shocks. Aluminum has no endurance limit, meaning that even the smallest shocks contribute to high-cycle fatigue, whereas steel has an endurance limit, which is a sort of threshold for the severity of a shock: below this threshold it won't contribute to high-cycle fatigue. As far as I understand it, given equally good metallurgy, design, and welding an aluminum frame will be more likely to fail after prolonged use, because it's more vulnerable to high-cycle fatigue.
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Old 10-17-06, 02:50 PM
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After seeing the pictures, I'd be curious to see the crack after the side stand has been removed and the area cleaned up a bit. It would be interesting to see where the crack goes under the layer of dirt.

I have seen more than one frame ruined from chainstay-mount sidestands. There has to be a better way to mount a kick stand that doesn't squeeze the tubes like that.
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Old 10-17-06, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
If you're not riding in the mountains, why replace it with another mountain bike? If the frame warrany doesn't pan out, I'd look at this as an opportunity to try a cyclocross or touring frame, or even just a plain old roadie.

You know, I was kind of thinking the same thing months ago when I was looking at new bikes. A cyclocross bike seemed like a nice compromise for my needs. I do want something with that can accomodate thicker tires though, which is why I was kind of drawn to the Bad Boy as another type of compromise. How many of my mountain components could I use on a cyclocross frame? I'm still open to any suggestions on new bikes/frames.

And for the record, yes I'm certain it's a crack. I tried zooming in closer for those pictures but then the shot comes out very blurry. The owner of my LBS confirmed it as well when I discovered it.

Trek got back to me again. They said it might be possible to buy a frame at a discount, but it would have to be the same frame that is broken, and I would need to speak to the shop I got the bike from about it. I'll have to see what kind of price they quote me, but until then I'm still looking into a new frame...
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