Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Advocacy & Safety
Reload this Page >

Steel bike failure. Is this manufacturing or something else?

Notices
Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

Steel bike failure. Is this manufacturing or something else?

Old 12-09-19, 09:43 AM
  #51  
bakerjw
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: NE Tennessee
Posts: 891

Bikes: Giant TCR/Surly Karate Monkey/Foundry FireTower/Curtlo Tandem

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 161 Post(s)
Liked 76 Times in 54 Posts
To me, it looks like brittle welds as a result of improper set up and temperature control.

My project car is a Jaguar E-Type which has a complex front frame that is brazed together. Anyone who knows anything about these frames knows that they can only be properly repaired by someone very knowledgeable about temperature control and brazing the specific alloy. People have repaired them without proper temperature control and have ended up having catastrophic failures.
bakerjw is offline  
Old 12-15-19, 01:03 PM
  #52  
rebel1916
Senior Member
 
rebel1916's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 11 Posts
This is why I will not risk my life on an archaic steel frame. Modern carbon fiber is so much stronger than anything that was available 20 years ago. It should be against the law to sell these inferior, weaker frames.
rebel1916 is offline  
Likes For rebel1916:
Old 12-15-19, 01:37 PM
  #53  
FiftySix
I'm the anecdote.
 
FiftySix's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: S.E. Texas
Posts: 1,224

Bikes: Norco CityGlide, Schwinn "Speedster" Willy

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 646 Post(s)
Liked 513 Times in 366 Posts
Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
This is why I will not risk my life on an archaic steel frame. Modern carbon fiber is so much stronger than anything that was available 20 years ago. It should be against the law to sell these inferior, weaker frames.
What kind of car do you drive?

FiftySix is offline  
Old 12-15-19, 02:35 PM
  #54  
rebel1916
Senior Member
 
rebel1916's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
What kind of car do you drive?
A BMW i3. Why do you ask?
rebel1916 is offline  
Old 12-15-19, 02:49 PM
  #55  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 2,881
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 729 Post(s)
Liked 135 Times in 101 Posts
Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
This is why I will not risk my life on an archaic steel frame. Modern carbon fiber is so much stronger than anything that was available 20 years ago. It should be against the law to sell these inferior, weaker frames.
No welds in my archaic steel frame.
Gresp15C is offline  
Likes For Gresp15C:
Old 12-15-19, 03:19 PM
  #56  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 1,246
Mentioned: 14 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 657 Post(s)
Liked 386 Times in 219 Posts
Originally Posted by livedarklions View Post
612 is the Minneapolis area code.
This seems to be the only post in the entire thread which is verifiably accurate.

Funny thing is that I have an AC bike made of that tubing, and I grew up in Minneapolis, and I needed livedarklions to point this out to me.
Koyote is offline  
Old 12-15-19, 06:18 PM
  #57  
Moe Zhoost
Half way there
 
Moe Zhoost's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Durham, NC
Posts: 1,754

Bikes: Many, and the list changes frequently

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 526 Post(s)
Liked 214 Times in 130 Posts
Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
This is why I will not risk my life on an archaic steel frame. Modern carbon fiber is so much stronger than anything that was available 20 years ago. It should be against the law to sell these inferior, weaker frames.
Funniest thing I've read today.
Moe Zhoost is offline  
Likes For Moe Zhoost:
Old 12-15-19, 06:39 PM
  #58  
livedarklions
Cyclesomatic
 
livedarklions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 6,272

Bikes: 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; Motobecane Fantom CX; Giant OCR A1

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3244 Post(s)
Liked 1,764 Times in 1,050 Posts
Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
This seems to be the only post in the entire thread which is verifiably accurate.

Funny thing is that I have an AC bike made of that tubing, and I grew up in Minneapolis, and I needed livedarklions to point this out to me.

Helps that I grew up there too.
livedarklions is online now  
Old 12-16-19, 04:10 PM
  #59  
rebel1916
Senior Member
 
rebel1916's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 3,051
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked 19 Times in 11 Posts
Originally Posted by Moe Zhoost View Post
Funniest thing I've read today.
Properly made CF is demonstrably stronger, in more directions than steel. Lighter too, for a given application. Win win.

Last edited by StanSeven; 12-17-19 at 09:31 PM. Reason: Removed insult
rebel1916 is offline  
Old 12-16-19, 04:29 PM
  #60  
unterhausen
Randomhead
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Happy Valley, Pennsylvania
Posts: 19,250
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 206 Times in 163 Posts
I would love to get my hands on this thing and put it under a microscope. I think it's consistent with a fatigue failure from a weld defect. Maybe it saw some hard use. Makes me want to go inspect the welds on my macho macho man disc (3M)
unterhausen is offline  
Old 12-20-19, 12:28 AM
  #61  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 7,765

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1504 Post(s)
Liked 132 Times in 77 Posts
Originally Posted by rebel1916 View Post
This is why I will not risk my life on an archaic steel frame. Modern carbon fiber is so much stronger than anything that was available 20 years ago. It should be against the law to sell these inferior, weaker frames.
Then why do you read here and other forums how your plastic CF frames or fork failed in an instant?
rydabent is offline  
Old 12-20-19, 01:30 AM
  #62  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,107
Mentioned: 189 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10628 Post(s)
Liked 558 Times in 444 Posts
Originally Posted by rydabent View Post
Then why do you read here and other forums how your plastic CF frames or fork failed in an instant?
Moment of inattention?

CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-20-19, 04:07 AM
  #63  
guy153
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
The welds actually look really good and it's failed in the heat affected zone just outside them with a very clean brittle fracture exactly the same on both tubes. There is some deformation of the down tube but very little. When I've tried destruction-testing welds on cromoly bike tubes before the whole tube can be completely folded over and flattened before anything fails. My suspicion is that the actual tubes are not cromoly, either the wrong tubes have been supplied or used, or maybe even they're from a batch of cromoly that wasn't made properly.

See also this video (at about 10:57 if you can bear to watch) for the expected failure mode:
guy153 is offline  
Likes For guy153:
Old 12-20-19, 11:31 AM
  #64  
Wilfred Laurier
Seor Member
 
Wilfred Laurier's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 4,998
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 619 Post(s)
Liked 247 Times in 179 Posts
The prevailing wisdom in the bike industry during the days of steel frames was if you have the telltale ripples on the top-and down-tubes, the bike was in an accident and the failure is not the result of a manufacturing defect. If there is no ripple on the underside of the top-tube then it possibly let go because of a manufacturing defect.

My guess is that the head tube was separated from the top tube before the accident, or as a result of a less serious hit (went through a sewer grate turned the wrong way, for instance), and when the top tube and head tube was completely separated, the down tube held on for a bit, and was deformed before it let go completely.
Wilfred Laurier is offline  
Old 12-20-19, 01:17 PM
  #65  
livedarklions
Cyclesomatic
 
livedarklions's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: New England
Posts: 6,272

Bikes: 1994 Specialized Allez Pro; Motobecane Fantom CX; Giant OCR A1

Mentioned: 42 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3244 Post(s)
Liked 1,764 Times in 1,050 Posts
I think it was mutant termites that eat metal.
livedarklions is online now  
Old 12-20-19, 02:09 PM
  #66  
guy153
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I would love to get my hands on this thing and put it under a microscope. I think it's consistent with a fatigue failure from a weld defect. Maybe it saw some hard use. Makes me want to go inspect the welds on my macho macho man disc (3M)
It's true that cracking open like that is consistent with fatigue but ​​​​​​the thing is it was practically a new bike. Fatigue failures tend to appear after after several tens of thousands of km. I think because it was such clean breaks on both tubes, exactly the same, that the wrong or a defective alloy was supplied. There's no way it should fail like that.
guy153 is offline  
Old 12-20-19, 02:21 PM
  #67  
guy153
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by BFisher View Post
That image doesn't seem to show a weld failure, but a tube failure just behind the weld. Maybe embrittlement? Cooling too quickly?

From millerwelds.com:
"Note that if the tubing is below 60 degrees F, use a small propone torch to heat the base metal to up to 300 degrees F. Otherwise, the metal could cool too quickly and become brittle. Welding cold metal may also promote hydrogen cracking, so thats another reason to preheat 4130 if its cold."
It's generally considered that you don't need to preheat when making a bike frame because the material is so thin (although you do often preheat 4130 as you say).

Agree that it's the tube that's failed and not the weld. I think the bike company should be checking who exactly in China they got thir "612 select" cromoly from.
guy153 is offline  
Likes For guy153:
Old 12-20-19, 02:22 PM
  #68  
CliffordK
Senior Member
 
CliffordK's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Eugene, Oregon, USA
Posts: 24,107
Mentioned: 189 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 10628 Post(s)
Liked 558 Times in 444 Posts
Originally Posted by Wilfred Laurier View Post
My guess is that the head tube was separated from the top tube before the accident, or as a result of a less serious hit (went through a sewer grate turned the wrong way, for instance), and when the top tube and head tube was completely separated, the down tube held on for a bit, and was deformed before it let go completely.
The question is which came first. Before a multi-million settlement, one could try building a frame with the HT welded to the DT, but not welded to the TT. Then see if one can get the same DT bend. I'm not sure the above bend could happen without a significant crash with both welds intact.
CliffordK is offline  
Old 12-20-19, 03:05 PM
  #69  
guy153
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
The question is which came first. Before a multi-million settlement, one could try building a frame with the HT welded to the DT, but not welded to the TT. Then see if one can get the same DT bend. I'm not sure the above bend could happen without a significant crash with both welds intact.
I think you would still get those ripples. If you just weld one bike tube to another and try to break it off there's usually lots of bending before anything breaks. Actually a good test would be to take what's left of the bike and try to snap the top tube off the seat tube. If it snaps off easily and cleanly then there's a problem. It should bend around the butted area in the middle and basically be pretty much impossible to break.



The round tube is 0.8mm wall 4130 cromoly from an old Trek 520 (whose frame failed elsewhere). I've welded it onto some 1.6mm wall mild steel square tube using ER-70S2 filler wire.

Now to test it... To get it into this state I had to really whale on the cromoly chainstay with a 1kg hammer. As you can see it's deformed considerably, with plenty of ripples, and still nothing has actually broken. I think this is roughly what's supposed to happen. Not that it just snap right behind the weld.

Last edited by guy153; 12-21-19 at 02:59 AM.
guy153 is offline  
Likes For guy153:
Old 12-21-19, 12:03 PM
  #70  
Stadjer
Senior Member
 
Stadjer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Groningen
Posts: 1,207

Bikes: Gazelle rod brakes, Batavus compact, Peugeot hybrid

Mentioned: 59 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2603 Post(s)
Liked 160 Times in 116 Posts
The steel looks really thin to me. I have no expertise in this whatsoever other than having seen much thicker steel on bike frames, but isn't there a ratio between the radius of the tube and the thickness of the tube wall for a certain type of steel?
Stadjer is offline  
Old 12-21-19, 01:08 PM
  #71  
guy153
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Posts: 97
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 33 Post(s)
Liked 20 Times in 17 Posts
Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
The steel looks really thin to me. I have no expertise in this whatsoever other than having seen much thicker steel on bike frames, but isn't there a ratio between the radius of the tube and the thickness of the tube wall for a certain type of steel?
The thickness looks about right. Cromoly bike tubes are usually 0.8mm or 0.9mm at the ends which that probably is. The ratio you might be talking about is 50:1 diameter to wall thickness which is a good rule of thumb to avoid "beer canning". The diameter of that top tube is either 25.4mm or 28.6mm which means a ratio of about 30:1 which is fine. The thicker steel you've seen may have been at the top of the seat tube, but it's often thicker or reinforced up there because you're clamping the seat post in.
guy153 is offline  
Likes For guy153:
Old 12-21-19, 01:46 PM
  #72  
mr_bill
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2013
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 4,007
Mentioned: 32 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1754 Post(s)
Liked 256 Times in 194 Posts
He’s been looking at Gazelles.

-mr. bill
mr_bill is offline  
Old 12-21-19, 04:37 PM
  #73  
mrv 
BIKE RIDE
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Michigan
Posts: 943

Bikes: my very own customized GUNNAR CrossHairs

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 182 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Steel is Reel! - if designed and manufactured properly.....

I find this thread fascinating:
1. I had a low speed MTB incident in the '90s where I kinked the top tube / down tube, but did not crash. It was a light weight Jamis Dakota - no bent fork or wheel problems.
2. I t-boned another racer who was sliding across the ground in front of me during a criterium, sending me knee caps over coffee cups resulting in a kinked top tube and down tube - no bent fork, no wheel problems. An early '90s Japanese built Schwinn Paramount
3. Back in August of this year I crashed in a very poorly marked construction zone, resulting in a cracked aluminum rim, a bent steel fork, and me going tibias over tea kettle, landing on my shoulder & side of my head. My helmet did it's job, but my co-riders were generally freaking out. (what was kinda weird was I bent my NITTO bars and sprained my thumb, but opposite sides... weird...and my tire didn't flat, but the rim cracked - let's hear it for inner tubes! )
- - the GUNNAR CrossHairs frame was (is) fine (brand freaking new! like i'd been riding it a week!!!) . No tube kinks. No cracked paint. No frame mis-alignment (checked out by my local bike shop and me with my engineering degree that I bought 25 years ago....)
- - I talked to the construction company. I am not the litigious sort, so we settled on $500 for me to go away. That covered my bike parts replacement (mostly), but not my e-room visit.

Hopefully someone will stumble upon how the whole thing with the All City was resolved and post it here.

My vote is a manufacturing defect. It sure looks like the welds failed. But do you want to take the opinion of someone who keeps crashing bikes?!
ciao!
mrv is online now  
Old 12-22-19, 07:21 AM
  #74  
Stadjer
Senior Member
 
Stadjer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Location: Groningen
Posts: 1,207

Bikes: Gazelle rod brakes, Batavus compact, Peugeot hybrid

Mentioned: 59 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2603 Post(s)
Liked 160 Times in 116 Posts
Originally Posted by mr_bill View Post
Hes been looking at Gazelles.

-mr. bill
Probably. But this is a city bike too, shouldn't they be overengineered a little?
Stadjer is offline  
Old 12-22-19, 05:12 PM
  #75  
noglider 
aka Tom Reingold
 
noglider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: High Falls, NY, USA
Posts: 38,528

Bikes: 1962 Rudge Sports, 1971 Raleigh Super Course, 1971 Raleigh Pro Track, 1974 Raleigh International, 1975 Viscount Fixie, 1982 McLean, 1996 Lemond (Ti), 2002 Burley Zydeco tandem

Mentioned: 464 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6166 Post(s)
Liked 651 Times in 447 Posts
Incidents like these are pretty rare. It shouldn't dissuade one from buying a steel bike and probably shouldn't dissuade one from All City.
__________________
Tom Reingold, tom@noglider.com
New York City and High Falls, NY
Blogs: The Experienced Cyclist; noglider's ride blog

When man invented the bicycle he reached the peak of his attainments. Elizabeth West, US author

Please email me rather than PM'ing me. Thanks.
noglider is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.