Author Topic: Should I be worried about my frame?  (Read 3105 times)

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Offline PeteJack

Should I be worried about my frame?
« on: January 23, 2015, 02:58:59 pm »
I have a Trek520 that I love dearly with 46000+ miles on it. I was in an LBS the other day and mentioned this to the fella and he asked if I was getting cracks in the frame. I haven't found any cracks but then I haven't done a penetrant dye inspection on it or any such thing. About the only thing that hasn't been replaced is the bottom bracket which still seems smooth as silk. Should I be undertaking another big tour with this bike or should I be looking to replace it? If I do it will probably be with a Disc 520, my one beef with my current bike was the brakes it came with were very noisy and not very good.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Should I be worried about my frame?
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2015, 05:39:52 pm »
Just MHO; I'd give it a very careful once-over, and if everything looks OK, enjoy the ride.  Hang the frame up on something (ropes tied to rafters, bike stand, car rack), take the wheels off, clean everything as best you can, and inspect the frame under bright light at close range.  If it's outside, check it once, turn it around and check again; if inside, use a bright work light.  Look for things like bubbles in the paint, hairline cracks, paint delaminating, etc.  While riding, listen carefully for unexplained clicks, groans or squeaks.  Drop the fork out and give it the same kind of once-over.  Look particularly near the joints (head tube, bottom bracket, seatstays), dropouts, around penetrations into the tubes, like the water bottle bracket bolts, and near the braze-ons.

The good news is that steel will normally fail gradually, giving you time to catch (and possibly correct) impending failure.  The bad news is that most of us, like me, cheerfully go for a ride instead of spending that lovely spring afternoon checking the bike.

Offline DaveB

Re: Should I be worried about my frame?
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2015, 06:04:54 pm »
Your LBS is trying to sell you a new bike.  He wants the sale, you don't.  If there are no cracks or other obvious problems, your frame should be good indefinitely.  Steel (and Ti) have the advantage of nearly infinite fatigue life unless badly abused so plan on another 46,000 miles or more. 

I have a '96 Litespeed Ti frame with well over 75,000 miles and it's in perfect condition.  No reason your Trek can't last at least that long.

Offline Doug64

Re: Should I be worried about my frame?
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2015, 11:16:52 pm »
I think folks have pretty well nailed it.

This is a test to see if I can post a photo, and I'll try it with a picture of a crack in my Bianchi Volpe frame.

If it does work, Ill read the instructions :)

This is where my top tube meets the head tube.  It was covered under warranty, and now the only things left of my 2007 Bianchi are the seat post and bars.