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Dented frame with pictures - safe to ride?

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Dented frame with pictures - safe to ride?

Old 11-27-19, 08:06 PM
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countalmaviva 
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Dented frame with pictures - safe to ride?

Today I wandered in a shop which is listed as a Soma dealer today to see what they had. Initially, the proprietor said there was nothing to look at, and so I asked him to quote me a price for a new Wolverine frame. Once we started talking, he remembered he had a damaged frame in storage. Looks like attempted theft from a prying attack on the lock around the downtube.

Lo and behold, the frame, without fork, is in my size, and the gent said I could make an offer on it. He said he would have taken it for himself, except he already has too many bikes at home. In his opinion he said the dent isn't a strength or safety concern. I've never done business with this shop before, so I don't have a history, but as I talked bikes with the guy, I grew to like him. FWIW, he indicated he's a certified framebuilder.

This is one of those situations where I think I could get a deal on something I really want, so I KNOW I'm likely not impartial about the decision! My goal is to build this into a daily commuter (100 miles/week). Would use it for touring, too, and I could see some off-road riding happening. My questions:
  1. Is it safe?
  2. How much money would you offer?
I read several other dent-related threads. Many people point out the difference between a simple dent and a "fold" in the tube. Not sure how "foldy" this is.... This dent is also towards the middle of the tube (the downtube), which has also been said to be more of a problem. Others have mentioned that the dent is more serious when it makes the tube not straight. As far as I can see, that is not the case with this dent. I read the thread about freezing the frame, but I'd likely try the rolling-with-blocks method before that. Luckily, since this is on the bottom of the downtube, it's not visible from the riding position!

In case it matters, this is the 2017 V2.0 Wolverine. Tange Prestige tubing:





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Old 11-27-19, 08:39 PM
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"Certified framebuilder"? Certified by who? (Reynolds was the only company that had a certification process that I know of. Back in the late 1970s when 753 was still the hot tubeset.)

I would check the frame's alignment before buying it. The frame has little or no resale value in the future so offer low. Andy
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Old 11-27-19, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
"Certified framebuilder"? Certified by who? (Reynolds was the only company that had a certification process that I know of. Back in the late 1970s when 753 was still the hot tubeset.)

I would check the frame's alignment before buying it. The frame has little or no resale value in the future so offer low. Andy
Hmmm. I may be misrepresenting what he said regarding certification, but I wondered the same thing. I even asked about Reynolds, and he said he wasn't Reynolds certified....

Alignment -- I would assume the most important would be that the HT and ST are co-planar and that the dropouts are vertical? How easy is this to check without tools? Can I eyeball it?
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Old 11-27-19, 09:31 PM
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Yes, the ST and HT being co-planer is the most likely aspect to have been affected. With a good eye one can view diagonally "through" the main frame and watch the sliver of backround between the right side of the ST and the left side of the HT grow and shrink as one moves their head. Sight both ways and judge whether the sliver is the same each way. For rear end alignment I would use a true and dished wheel, that fits the drop outs, as a gage. Andy
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Old 11-27-19, 09:49 PM
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I don’t know if the frame is good or bad but it occurred to me that the dent was to bad for the original user. Since the shop had the frame possibly they agreed with him at one point. This is assuming it was ever used and not damaged in shipping or some way without being sold.
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Old 11-27-19, 09:52 PM
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I'm confident my LBS would total that frame. That crease looks pretty scary, you would constantly have to watch to see if it was cracking. I would offer whatever the fork is worth
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Old 11-28-19, 05:17 AM
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I would not buy that frame. That is more than a simple dent and no amount of tube rolling or dent repair will make it right again. It also appears to me that the tube is bent, but that may be an optical illusion.
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Old 11-28-19, 07:19 AM
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Looks really bad.... RUN
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Old 11-28-19, 11:10 AM
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Run fast...or, plan on replacing the tube.
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Old 11-28-19, 09:21 PM
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the only way that frame would be worth having is if it were free. The tube is not dangerous like that but it is not repairable and should be replaced. But it will cost as much to fix as it is worth.
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Old 11-29-19, 12:18 PM
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That's a pretty significant dent, even for a steel tube. Prestige tubing is heat-treated and may not respond well to rolling out the dent. The best option would be to replace the tube, but unless you can do the work yourself it's unlikely to be cost effective. I'd pass.
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Old 11-30-19, 11:42 AM
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Thanks, all, for talking me off the ledge here!
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Old 12-02-19, 08:02 AM
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I'd only take that bike off his hands for free if I needed another bike to lock onto a trainer.
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Old 12-02-19, 10:27 AM
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Whew, that looks deep, and sharp.

I'm not sure there is any absolute measurement of risk. And, even with failure, it could run the gambit from picked up while cleaning, leaving you walking, or a traumatic accident. And, a lot of that may depend on your maintenance and riding.

The first measurement would be with simple straight-edge to determine if the downtube was straight. Then eyeball the rest until you can have a closer look at it.

A shallow round dent, I'd probably ride it. A deep, creased dent like above, and I'd probably lean towards repairing.

If the downtube is reasonably straight, then perhaps first roll it with blocks. @JohnDThompson was somewhat worried about tube rolling. Anyway, work some of the high spots down, and make sure the tube is straight.

Then perhaps a two-step approach of filling the dent with brass and smoothing down, then brazing on a gusset over the top.

The end result wouldn't necessarily be pretty, but should be strong. You will lose a fair amount of paint around the damaged spot.

I can't say how much the frame should be worth. I suppose it depends on whether you could reasonably expect to do the repair yourself. I wouldn't expect it to be FREE unless you have a really good working relationship with the shop owner. But, perhaps $50???

You still have to find a fork. I'm seeing several on E-Bay for $156 to $278. But, many of the Wolverine frames seem to be sold without forks, so you can still compare time and cost to buying new.
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Old 12-03-19, 09:12 PM
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Is there any way to test the structural integrity of a frame, something like this or complete?
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Old 12-03-19, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by bikingman View Post
Is there any way to test the structural integrity of a frame, something like this or complete?
I'm not sure there is any way to non-destructively test it. Or that one would wish to ride it after testing for fear that the test itself could do more harm than simply using it.


That video appears to be frontal impact destructive testing. The frame above likely would have difficulties with that, but may do fine with ordinary road riding. It will depend a bit on the use. On road vs off road?

Ok, pedalling fatigue testing:


And horizontal fatigue testing.


One might ask if forward impact type stress is representative of ordinary riding (other than potholes, bumps, etc. Thus, back to the pedalling fatigue (or a combination of the two).

On the other hand, one may be able to simply clean the affected area (wire brush, chemical cleaning, or sandblasting). Then inspect it carefully for cracking. With thin walled tubing, if no cracks are visible, one might be able to conclude that there isn't a hidden crack on the back side. Stressed but not broken?

One issue, of course, is that if the geometry of the bike has been deformed, then this could cause stress away from the actual damage spot. Thus, headtube failures, for example, may be related to previous impact damage and residual stress.
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Old 12-07-19, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
One issue, of course, is that if the geometry of the bike has been deformed, then this could cause stress away from the actual damage spot. Thus, headtube failures, for example, may be related to previous impact damage and residual stress.
Interesting that you mention headtube failure. Is there a reason you point to that failure as a result from frame deformation? Just wondering if the headtube is more susceptible to failure upon frame damage elsewhere.. Also, when I asked about testing above - I was more thinking about a tool that could test the dented frame's structural integrity. i.e. can it with stand the forces of riding? Something like a special torque wrench that measure a frames stability in Nm. Thanks so much for the input.
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Old 12-07-19, 11:32 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingman View Post
Interesting that you mention headtube failure. Is there a reason you point to that failure as a result from frame deformation? Just wondering if the headtube is more susceptible to failure upon frame damage elsewhere.. Also, when I asked about testing above - I was more thinking about a tool that could test the dented frame's structural integrity. i.e. can it with stand the forces of riding? Something like a special torque wrench that measure a frames stability in Nm. Thanks so much for the input.
There have been a few headtube weld/lug failures that have been posted, generally following a front end crash, perhaps with months or years delay.

A bend in one of the tubes will be obvious, and angles will be off somewhat. It is possible that the crack began at the time of the crash and slowly progressed, or that the crash left residual stress on the joints.

In your case, the mid downtube bend probably doesn't affect other joints much, but it might if the tube was shortened, lengthened, or twisted. Hard to say if it was twisted and sprung back.
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