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Is repairing a broken lugged steel frame a viable option?

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Is repairing a broken lugged steel frame a viable option?

Old 09-19-22, 01:25 PM
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Is repairing a broken lugged steel frame a viable option?

After 30 years of day to day use and multiple loaded tours in 12 states and 9 foreign countries, the down tube on my Nishiki Riviera GT frame broke.


The break is about 2 inches below where the double-butted steel down tube joins the head tube, just below the lug that holds those two tubes together.


Is this break repairable?
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Old 09-19-22, 01:49 PM
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Yes, the break is very repairable, but it's very doubtful if that makes economic sense. Besides the dollars, consider that the bike is dying from old age, so even if the cost of this seems reasonable, you may not have much time before something else fails.

It's somewhat akin to replacing kidneys. Makes sense for young people, but not much for an older, frail patient with other complications.
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Old 09-19-22, 02:21 PM
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People that are good at brazing and welding can do pretty much anything you want to a steel bike. However those people have skills that are worth a lot to other employers so it's difficult in many areas to find someone that will want to fix your bike for the little you probably are willing to pay.

If you do happen to have a bike builder in your area that builds steel bikes, they might take it on as a charity case. <grin>

But as above, you do need to consider it might just be time to try something more modern. Though the older bikes are the prettiest bikes to me, I found out the new bikes have been the most fun to ride.
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Old 09-19-22, 03:11 PM
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You might be able to get some kind of a sleeve brazed onto the damaged area, and it may not be pretty, but shouldn't cost that much to do.

But, I agree, make sure your fame seems structurally solid everywhere before doing the repair.



Have you ever had a hard front end crash with your bike? Is the top tube bent?
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Old 09-19-22, 03:12 PM
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doable, but you would want a framebuilder to do it, as they have the skill experience to remove the old tube, put a new one in, align everything

and then you will need repaint

bilenky quotes $300 for for a down tube replacment, add $200 or more for a powder coat.

so worth it if you love the bike and memories and want to keep it no matter what
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Old 09-19-22, 03:12 PM
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Post some photos of the frame, and the toptube and downtube near the head tube to your album:

https://www.bikeforums.net/g/user/559323
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Old 09-19-22, 03:17 PM
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To put it another way, fixing a 30 year old bike that's worn out is possible, but it's probably not viable. It was probably worth $100 or so until it broke. If you spend a few hundred dollars to repair it, it'll still be worth $100. Toss it in the trash or hang it in a place of honor on your wall, then go get a new(er) bike and enjoy the ride.
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Old 09-19-22, 03:58 PM
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OP: if you're serious about wanting to have the frame repaired, you might want to check out the Framebuilders and Classic & Vintage forums on Bike Forums. Some BF members that frequent both may do frame repair as well as building new frames. At least one - @gugie - does frame modifications (and has a helluva good rep regarding that work); others might as well. That might give you some insight into whether or not you really want to pursue that option.

When you have enough total posts (10, I think) you'll be able to send PMs. If you're serious about wanting to keep the frame, a polite inquiry - or posting a polite inquiry regarding frame repair in the Classic and Vintage forum - might be a good course of action. Can't hurt, and you might get some good advice from pros in the field.

Be advised that it will likely make more sense economically to find another vintage frame. Frame work appears to be somewhat pricey, and as others have noted you'll likely have to have the frame repainted or powder coated afterwards.

Only you can answer the question if the old frame is worth saving to you. But it likely won't be cheap to save it if it's done right.

Last edited by Hondo6; 09-19-22 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 09-19-22, 06:25 PM
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Pretty much the reasons to replace a frame tube (or three...) is because of sentimental value or to continue a 3rd world tour

I would really want the rest of the frame accessed by someone with experience before spending a few/many hundreds of $ on it. Andy
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Old 09-19-22, 07:34 PM
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Better off starting your search for another.

​​​​​​https://www.ebay.com/itm/314090870529
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Old 09-20-22, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
You might be able to get some kind of a sleeve brazed onto the damaged area, and it may not be pretty, but shouldn't cost that much to do.

But, I agree, make sure your fame seems structurally solid everywhere before doing the repair.



Have you ever had a hard front end crash with your bike? Is the top tube bent?
Thanks for your feedback. Yes, I've seen reference to the sleeve fix that you describe. I've examined the rest of the frame and do not find any other signs of damage. I've never been in any kind of a crash with the bike.
What you and others say is correct: on the face of it, it is probably foolish to put money into this old bike, but it's like I've been married to it for 30 years and hate to think that I will never ride it again. I guess that there were in days of yore cowboys who felt this way about their horses.
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Old 09-20-22, 11:31 AM
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Thanks for your interest. I'm not allowed to post photos until I've posted 10 good entries, or whatever
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Old 09-20-22, 11:34 AM
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Thanks to everyone for your posts and advice on this topic. I've seen the Nishiki on ebay. It is way too small for me, but it is a beauty. Mine was fire-engine red with yellow accents.
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Old 09-20-22, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by r3dr0ver View Post
Thanks for your interest. I'm not allowed to post photos until I've posted 10 good entries, or whatever
If you try attaching photos, they get stuck in your album. Or you can upload to your album directly:

https://www.bikeforums.net/g/user/559323

Either way they can be accessed and attached to the thread.
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Old 09-20-22, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by r3dr0ver View Post
Thanks for your feedback. Yes, I've seen reference to the sleeve fix that you describe. I've examined the rest of the frame and do not find any other signs of damage. I've never been in any kind of a crash with the bike.
What you and others say is correct: on the face of it, it is probably foolish to put money into this old bike, but it's like I've been married to it for 30 years and hate to think that I will never ride it again. I guess that there were in days of yore cowboys who felt this way about their horses.
where are you located? knowing that might help in finding a framebuilder

of course if all else is good, this is cheaper than buying a new bike

other ideas would be post a want to buy (WTB) in the C&V (classic and vintage) forum (need to be a paid member)
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Old 09-20-22, 12:01 PM
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Is this your pic?

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Old 09-20-22, 12:31 PM
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Old 09-20-22, 02:56 PM
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If it has sentimental value to you and you want to get it fixed you will need to find a good framebuilder that can fix it and hopefully paint it for you also. Just realize that you will have to take all the components off. Then the framebuilder will have to replace the tube and repaint the new tube and the effected part of the frame. Getting the color to match perfectly is a challenge since the paint on your bike has seen 30 years of "weathering"/use. Plus you will need to source some decals that will need to be applied. Afterwards you will have to re-assemble all the components on the bike and make the proper adjustments. At that time it might be good to replace the cables and housing that are probably worn. Can it be done, yes! Will it cost you more than the bike's value, yes! Is it worth it? Only you can decide the answer to that question.
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Old 09-20-22, 08:37 PM
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Old 09-20-22, 09:04 PM
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Looks like an overheated joint that finally developed a crack after many miles. Many Asian frames of this era were made with automatic brazing stations. Ironically Mangalloy was brought out to better handle the production brazing at a lower cost than the top level tube sets did. The two color paint job will be expensive to duplicate or touch up (which i don't suggest as tints are very hard top match well). The only good aspect I see is little dislocation of the cracked tube ends. Andy
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Old 09-20-22, 10:50 PM
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There are other uses for old damaged/broken frames.

stool


small cafe table


hallway table
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Old 09-21-22, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Looks like an overheated joint that finally developed a crack after many miles. Many Asian frames of this era were made with automatic brazing stations. Ironically Mangalloy was brought out to better handle the production brazing at a lower cost than the top level tube sets did. The two color paint job will be expensive to duplicate or touch up (which i don't suggest as tints are very hard top match well). The only good aspect I see is little dislocation of the cracked tube ends. Andy

Thank you, Andrew and thanks to all of the others who posted in response to my question. I don't know how that photo of my damaged frame got uploaded because the website denied me when I tried. I live in northern Illinois. If anyone can recommend someone in this area whom I could contact about doing the simplest fix, a brazed on sleeve, I'd be most grateful.


If it should come to that, I think that a repaired frame this old should look like one, sort of the bicycle equivalent of an old war wound, healed over, so I would not expect to spend a lot of time and money disguising the repair.


Again, thanks to all.
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Old 09-21-22, 12:05 PM
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About 10 years ago Owen was running a frame building collective work space at a satellite location. He's a nice guy and took time out to give me a tour when I had stopped by to buy some old frame jigs from him. Andy
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Old 09-21-22, 01:24 PM
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Originally Posted by r3dr0ver View Post
I live in northern Illinois. If anyone can recommend someone in this area whom I could contact about doing the simplest fix, a brazed on sleeve, I'd be most grateful.
Yellow Jersey in Arlington, WI. Bicycle Frame Repair at Yellow Jersey Website is a mess but very interesting to check out.
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Old 09-22-22, 11:49 AM
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That break is a tube replacement. I once had the seatstays on a Charles Roberts replaced, and a frame respray using DuPont Imron, plus cable guides and one set of bottle bosses, for $150. But that was 40 years ago.
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