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  1. #1
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    Preston FR Frame Cracks

    Anyone else experiencing this on the top tube near where it meets the headtube?? I was seriously considering this bike till my friends cracked after just 4 months and he is a very skilled/finesse rider. Opinions??

  2. #2
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    Frames crack, that is the nature of agressive ridding. transition stands behind their stuff and will take care of you. If you are really worried about it get a bottle rocket, from what i have heard only one has ever been warrentied and that was becuse some idiot over torqued and striped the chainstay seatstay bolt.

  3. #3
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    I've heard of several cracking and have been wondering about this too. A guy at a bike shop told me Transition is revising the Preston frame with more gussets in the headtube/toptube area. Anyone know if this is true?
    "Careful. We don't want to learn from this." -- Calvin & Hobbes

  4. #4
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    Yeah its true someone had posted it before. I talked to my Transiton guy and there gonna add more gussets and I believe a 1.5 headtube and i think a few other changes.. I havent had any problem with my Preston and I am 240lb and ride hard, and its had a Pike on it to a 66 ATA and like I said knock on wood no cracks.. But its good to know they are so cool about it, thats why I love Transition and I will keep riding there bikes
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  5. #5
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    well, mine did crack after about 6 months

    The frame is not exactly light, so this did surprise me! However, if you look at the whole thing, that part is kind of a weak point in the frame design. The forces from the shock enter the downtube right in the middle and at a rather steep angle.

    It was warrantied with no questions asked.
    I do a lot of jumping on it and will continue to do so, we'll see how it holds up.
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  6. #6
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    I've been quiet on the interwebs about my frame breaking... in the same spot. Unfortunately my turnaround hasn't been exactly speedy (no fault of my dealer on his end). I really didn't have a whole lot of trail time on my frame and I was just getting used to it when I noticed the crack. A real drag, especially when faced with getting another frame of the same design as a replacement. I love the frame, but the replacement won't be lasting long with the same issue.
    Last edited by kitchenware; 12-09-2007 at 08:30 PM.

  7. #7
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    great. ya'll are going to have me eyeballing mine much more now. just in case. and i'm a small guy who doesn't do super big stuff.
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  8. #8
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    i have a feeling that if you don't bottom it out too much, you'll be fine.
    Maybe a shock with adjustable bottom out resistance would help, too. My Van R doesn't have that, so even though i run a rather stiff spring for my weight (500# for 160# rider), occasionally you hear a "clunk".

    My replacement frame now has a piece of tire glued to the seattube as an additional ghetto bottom out bumper :P (the rocker did touch the seattube a few times on bottom out). Haven't been able to ride it yet, though.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by lelebebbel
    i have a feeling that if you don't bottom it out too much, you'll be fine.
    Maybe a shock with adjustable bottom out resistance would help, too. My Van R doesn't have that, so even though i run a rather stiff spring for my weight (500# for 160# rider), occasionally you hear a "clunk".

    My replacement frame now has a piece of tire glued to the seattube as an additional ghetto bottom out bumper :P (the rocker did touch the seattube a few times on bottom out). Haven't been able to ride it yet, though.
    lol, this kinda reveals the reason why you cracked yours...and I'd guess that this is also why transition don't offer the frame with less than the DHX5 (hence the bottom-resistance acting as frame protector).
    Last edited by adi518; 12-13-2007 at 04:41 PM.

  10. #10
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    yeah, but it's not like i'm hitting rock bottom on every jump, more like maybe one bottom out per day, so nothing unusual there - can't avoid that when jumping..

    You are probably right about the DHX 5, i was thinking the same thing.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ace_ventura
    lol, this kinda reveals the reason why you cracked yours...and I'd guess that this is also why transition don't offer the frame with less than the DHX5 (hence the bottom-resistance -frame protection).

    Yup , good point never looked at it like that...
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by lelebebbel
    i have a feeling that if you don't bottom it out too much, you'll be fine.
    Maybe a shock with adjustable bottom out resistance would help, too. My Van R doesn't have that, so even though i run a rather stiff spring for my weight (500# for 160# rider), occasionally you hear a "clunk".

    My replacement frame now has a piece of tire glued to the seattube as an additional ghetto bottom out bumper :P (the rocker did touch the seattube a few times on bottom out). Haven't been able to ride it yet, though.
    Yeah, I don't worry too much about it. My prefered shock is the Swinger 4-Way Air, and with how I run it, hard bottom out rarely occurs. 110psi in the main, and 60psi in the spv chamber; just enough to give me a little platform and bottom out control with the volume reduced on the chamber a bit.

    Seems like it's just a tad longer than other rear shocks that also supposedly have the same i2i length. Methinks that helps as well. Like it much better than the RS Pearl I tried on there; at least it's around as a back up shock in case/when the 4-Way Air dies.

    (if someone wants to throw a dhx air my way for me to try, i'll take it...) Not really worried about getting a "nicer" shock on the back end, since I still ride the Peyto hardtail about twice as much as the Preston.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitchenware
    Unfortunately my turnaround hasn't been exactly speedy
    Just because it's snowy in Colorado doesn't mean I'm not riding and wanting to be out riding on my Preston...

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitchenware
    ...the replacement won't be lasting long with the same issue.

    Thats' exactly why I 'm holding out as long as possible with my frame....let's say till umm... uhh....late February!

    So now I need to keep it grounded ('cept for small stuff ), crank up the bottom out resistance, monitor the crack ( in it's infantile stage) and hope it lasts a few more months.

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    Quote Originally Posted by romar
    Thats' exactly why I 'm holding out as long as possible with my frame....let's say till umm... uhh....late February!

    So now I need to keep it grounded ('cept for small stuff ), crank up the bottom out resistance, monitor the crack ( in it's infantile stage) and hope it lasts a few more months.

    I'm not going to change what or where I'm riding on mine... If I did any less I'd be rocking the paved path in town. I could have totally made mine last longer, but I'm not going to risk having something fail at high speeds down a rock garden. I'm pretty sure I found the crack right after it happened cause I was looking there after every ride. That and I had an unexplainable creaking that seemed to be coming from the frame itself.

    The only thing the frame thats coming has going for it is the fact that it's winter and I ride a little less.

  16. #16
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    IMO, the singular shock tab pair as seen above is sub-par on heavy duty frames. On lightweight XC, they might be ok, but depending on the angle of the forces they see, they tend not to be incredibly reliable for heavy duty usage. There are notable exceptions, however, but I'm more in favor of the kind on Titus bikes, where the tabs are part of a plate that is formed to the tube it is welded to, then the weld goes all the way around this plate.

    Fortunately, Transition is a good company, so I think many will be treated well. They seem to know how to treat customers.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by lelebebbel
    yeah, but it's not like i'm hitting rock bottom on every jump, more like maybe one bottom out per day, so nothing unusual there - can't avoid that when jumping..

    You are probably right about the DHX 5, i was thinking the same thing.
    Sorry but I hit drops constantly and you should definitely not be bottoming out once a day. I might bottom out twice a season...including both my DH and trail bike. And that's with 10' to tranny, casing 15' doubles, etc.

  18. #18
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    then your suspension is set up too stiff, or you have a shock that ramps up like crazy. The preston only has 5" of travel, and i prefer to use at least most of that when riding, which also means that it will bottom out once in a while.

    I'm 160# and I'm running a 500# spring, which gives me only about 20-25% sag. If the spring was any stiffer, I could just as well go back to a hardtail.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lelebebbel
    then your suspension is set up too stiff, or you have a shock that ramps up like crazy. The preston only has 5" of travel, and i prefer to use at least most of that when riding, which also means that it will bottom out once in a while.

    I'm 160# and I'm running a 500# spring, which gives me only about 20-25% sag. If the spring was any stiffer, I could just as well go back to a hardtail.
    Hmm I weigh about the same. Weird. My 5" bike is a Prophet MX and it's got a RS Pearl, so obviously that ramps up quick with the progressive nature of an air shock. It is a bit firmer than I'd like at times, although the sag is right at 20-25% as well...might drop some psi to play around with it.

    But my Demo 7 is massively plush w/ a DHX 5 and I have yet to bottom that one. I haven't checked the spring weight on it, whatever is stock with the frame only.

    I've just never heard of someone bottoming out that much, other than on the interwebbs.

  20. #20
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    the preston seems to have a fairly linear linkage, and mine came with a Van R that doesn't have bottom out resistance.
    I think your demo is progressive to start with, and then you have a DHX 5 with adjustable ramp up on it, (plus it has 2 additional inches of travel!) so it must be almost impossible to bottom that thing out.

    as mentioned above, this might be why they stopped selling the preston with the van R.
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    Word, that makes sense...

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by lelebebbel
    the preston seems to have a fairly linear linkage, and mine came with a Van R that doesn't have bottom out resistance.
    I think your demo is progressive to start with, and then you have a DHX 5 with adjustable ramp up on it, (plus it has 2 additional inches of travel!) so it must be almost impossible to bottom that thing out.

    as mentioned above, this might be why they stopped selling the preston with the van R.
    I bottom my 06 Preston with a Roco Air once a ride or so, depending if I am mashing on it or not. I have seen several 07 Prestons crack personally, and not just at the shock mounts. I think its a problem with their heat treating on a batch of the frames and not really what shock you are running.

    Keep an eye on shock mounts, the BB junction and the top tube just behind the gussets.

  23. #23
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    Keep an eye on shock mounts, the BB junction and the top tube just behind the gussets

    Check, check and check: all cracked on mine, sent back for replacement.
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    Good thing we got TBC backing up customers properly.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ace_ventura
    Good thing we got TBC backing up customers properly.

    I'm sure it will be taken care of, but I hope that it doesn't take a MONTH for the warranty turnaround the next time it cracks. Cause that's where I'm at now... Just shy of a month and it's still not here.

  26. #26
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    It could be helpfull to know what month you guys with problems ordered your frames in..

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by kenbentit
    Check, check and check: all cracked on mine, sent back for replacement.

    Wait, you already broke yours too? Wasn't that a replacement for your broken Covert? Did you see Gary's Preston? 4 months old and it looked like it had gotten nuked. Maybe its a combination of all our rocks and hack riders here in AZ

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    I got my replacement triangle back... It's even brown. Gonna throw it together today and stare at it until the snow melts or it snows a little more cover the muddy spots.

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    Cool Beans kitchenware! So that put your turnaround time at what...3 weeks or so? You have me rethinking my original plan. In lieu of the snow here and the unforeseen future of when I'll be able to ride again I may just have to drop off my frame sooner than I anticipated.

    dropadrop- I ordered my frame in July '07

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    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop
    It could be helpfull to know what month you guys with problems ordered your frames in..
    Late June here...

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    I think around 4 weeks give or take a couple days. Slowest warranty turnaround I've experienced, but it's a smaller company than I'm used to dealing with. I'm hoping it's quicker when this triangle breaks, like say I send it in and they ship me one back at the same time to reduce downtime.

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    hack riders here in AZ

    Yep, already busted that one too.. I got exactly 5 mos. out of the Preston and 4 mos. on the Covert. At least the Covert only had one huge ass crack vs. the huge as crack and 4 smaller cracks in the Preston. I thought Gary's was just a fluke but it appears I'm not any smoother than he is. Super hack for life!
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  33. #33
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    Does anybody else feel kind of disillusioned about Transition because of this? I mean, I could have saved several pounds and gotten a different frame, but I got the Preston because I thought it would be able to take some abuse. This cracking issue, along with various other little things, makes me question their engineering. They're a small company, maybe they don't have the sophisticated stress analysis software that bigger companies do, and they certainly have other merits as people and as a company, but I'm not sure my next bike will be a Transition. Please don't flame me too hard. Just wondering if anyone else is starting to feel this way...
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  34. #34
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    kinda, yes.
    Then again, the Transition Bottlerocket is probably the most-abused-yet-least-broken frame i know. They definitely know how to built an almost unbreakable frame, I'd just say they underestimated what people would do on the preston.
    My guess is that it'll get an updated main triangle soon with a different lower shock mount gusset (spread the forces between toptube and downtube, see blindside?) or something, then it'll be fine. I hope they'll do that, because i really like the bike.

    I know a guy with a 06 or 05 preston, he rides and jumps quite a bit more than i do and the frame is doing fine...


    Also [insert the usual "all frames can break, no matter who makes them" blabla]. And, (another guess) we'd be surprised how little stress analysis some of the "big" companies do when designing frames...
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  35. #35
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    Those are valid concerns, I got the Preston for the same reason. I wanna stick with them, but like I said before, it doesn't look good for this replacement triangle. I've been assured that it will be taken care of, if (when) it breaks again, but to be without it as long as I was... again... well, that's going to suck.

    I pulled my frame apart at the first sign of the crack because I was looking for it, but if it does it again before Feb (rumored redesign date), I'm not sure what to do.

    For now though, I'm getting it back together tonight and I'm feeling like a sick day tomorrow.

  36. #36
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    Somehow having a frame crack from all of the front triangles joints does not seem like a problem with the design it self, rather a manufacturing process gone bad.

    It would be nice to hear from Transition what their take on the issue is, but I guess that won't happen. They probably still hope wimps like me don't break our frames and save them a bit of money comparing to changing all Prestons sold from a rather big batch.

    I seem to have gotten my Preston in the beginning of June, so it could be from the same batch, seemed ok upon quick inspection yesterday though.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by dropadrop
    Somehow having a frame crack from all of the front triangles joints does not seem like a problem with the design it self, rather a manufacturing process gone bad.
    clould be, but not necessarily. One crack can quickly lead to more cracks in quick succession, as stress on the remaining joints increases when one of them (partially) fails.
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  38. #38
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    I don't know if its a design issue. I know two people who cracked 2007 Prestons, both within a month of purchase, both at the shock mounts and both were riding (admittedly) beyond the intended use of the bike. I think the problem is that this is NOT a true freeride bike, and people are treating it like it is.

    I have never heard of a Bottle Rocket cracking like that... I sure hope it doesn't happen to my Dirtbag! (then again, I've never heard of it happening to a DB, and Mike Metzger has pushed his way beyond my limits, just watch Stripped...)
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayjudy13
    NOT a true freeride bike, and people are treating it like it is.

    Really? Cause I get a different vibe when I read the website and watch the Preston FR video. Oh, and there's the whole FREERIDE in the name of the bike.

    "The Preston FR is built with strength in mind to tackle those rough freeride trails without weighing you down."

  40. #40
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    I am sure it was a heat treating issue of the aluminum on the Preston's this year. My 07 Dirtbag has held up fine and its the same tubing. Tranny has only had to warranty 1 or 2 BottleRocket's and its also the same tubing.

    If the cracks were only happening at the forward shock mounts I would then say yes, it probably is a design issue, but since they are happening at the other points as well, which are all similar in design to the other frames, then its got to be something else. And it you look at where most of them are cracking, its around the welds, not the welds themselves, proving that the weld is actually stronger than the material.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by kitchenware
    Really? Cause I get a different vibe when I read the website and watch the Preston FR video. Oh, and there's the whole FREERIDE in the name of the bike.

    "The Preston FR is built with strength in mind to tackle those rough freeride trails without weighing you down."
    Ooooh, ooohh, I can play cut and paste too... I've been to the website...

    It also says "Make no mistake, the Preston FR is no large travel huck bike." Which to me is a big hint... just imo...
    "That which does not kill you makes you stronger"

  42. #42
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    First off, I've taken my hardtail off way bigger stuff than the Preston with no problems... and over a 3.5 year period. That's why I purchased the Preston, because of it's short travel, hardtail-like handling. It is clearly marketed as a freeride/trail bike and my particular frame had seen very little 'freeride' action in relation to what I've put other bikes through. At 10lbs for a large frame/shock, this thing should handle ANYTHING I've put my chameleons or bullits through.

    My local XC trail killed my Preston...

  43. #43
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    Yeah, this issue worries me too, but I've been so damn happy with my Preston. I got my 2007 early on, in Febuary, back when Transition still had Rocos to sell with the frames. And while I've used her more as a long-travel trail bike, I've also sent her offa some tall stuff and no problems.

    Maybe this is just whistling by the graveyard, but I've got no regrets. This bike's been all I wanted and more.
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  44. #44
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    I had/have an '06 Preston. I cracked her twice. Once in the CS yoke on the drive side. And once above the rocker pivot tabs on the seat tube. Transition warrantied the swing arm, even though they technically didn't have to, but weren't able to when the front triangle cracked. I ended up going with a different company for a replacement frame. I still have a lot of respect for Transition. I'd still love to own a few of their bikes. But I don't think I'll be going back to a Preston unless they can get the stress risers taken care of, stop the overheating of the welds, and dial in the heat treatment process; my guesses as to why my Preston failed.



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  45. #45
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    What are you guys doing to yours?

    I got mine in the middle of June and have hit some desent sized stuff.

    As soon as I get off work I'm checking mine out real good.


    Checked it out, all good!

    for now...
    Last edited by fattireridereric; 12-18-2007 at 04:57 PM.

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by jayjudy13
    I don't know if its a design issue. I know two people who cracked 2007 Prestons, both within a month of purchase, both at the shock mounts and both were riding (admittedly) beyond the intended use of the bike. I think the problem is that this is NOT a true freeride bike, and people are treating it like it is.

    I have never heard of a Bottle Rocket cracking like that... I sure hope it doesn't happen to my Dirtbag! (then again, I've never heard of it happening to a DB, and Mike Metzger has pushed his way beyond my limits, just watch Stripped...)
    There is no need to discuss what "beyond it's intended use" is, because Transition themselves have never accused anyone of going to big for the bike - not that I know of at least.

    They call it a FR Bike, they have a video of one of the owners doing exactly what I did on it, my frame broke, they replaced it.

    If they felt that people are going too big on it, they would have to take the video down, and rename the bike to preston AM, and tell the riders who broke it to stop doing big jumps on it. But they don't.

    Instead they'll hopefully do the right thing and redesign the main triangle (or fix the manufacturing QC)
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  47. #47
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    I have one of the original Preston's and it lasted for almost 3k miles of hard riding on the exact same trails that the new model lasted 5 mos. on. I'm not sure if the failures are a result of switching to round tubing vs rectangular or if they changed manufacturer. It's good that they still stick by their product but this is the kind of thing that could really hurt the company. Hopefully the redesign will correct these issues, have to wait and see...
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  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by sixsixtysix
    I bottom my 06 Preston with a Roco Air once a ride or so, depending if I am mashing on it or not. I have seen several 07 Prestons crack personally, and not just at the shock mounts. I think its a problem with their heat treating on a batch of the frames and not really what shock you are running.

    Keep an eye on shock mounts, the BB junction and the top tube just behind the gussets.
    I've seen a couple of Transitions crack, splinter and disintergrate in the early years. They've always stood behind the bikes and replaced what had broke. I'd still buy one. I beleive in the company and I know over time they will perfect thier craft. Forging pieces that break etc..

  49. #49
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    I got my 06 preston used, and soon after cracked the chainstay. I got a replacement from them (I payed Not original owner) and so far it has worked fine. I'm hoping it won't break again. Besides that, my only complaint is that it creaks... might just be the bottom bracket though, I'm not sure yet.
    Quote Originally Posted by Hardtails Are Better
    Remember, the proper number of bikes for anyone to have is n+1, where n is the number of bikes you currently own.

  50. #50
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    Reputation: thom9719's Avatar
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    Jan 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by lelebebbel
    kinda, yes.
    Then again, the Transition Bottlerocket is probably the most-abused-yet-least-broken frame i know. They definitely know how to built an almost unbreakable frame, I'd just say they underestimated what people would do on the preston.
    My guess is that it'll get an updated main triangle soon with a different lower shock mount gusset (spread the forces between toptube and downtube, see blindside?) or something, then it'll be fine. I hope they'll do that, because i really like the bike.

    I know a guy with a 06 or 05 preston, he rides and jumps quite a bit more than i do and the frame is doing fine...


    Also [insert the usual "all frames can break, no matter who makes them" blabla]. And, (another guess) we'd be surprised how little stress analysis some of the "big" companies do when designing frames...

    there seemed to be a problem with a run of preston frames. some have been fine, but others have had problems. I know there are a bunch that are holding up fine, including Kevins. If one would crack, I can't imagine how it WOUDLN"T be kevins. 1st he is 6'3+ and ride the thing like a pure DH bike some days

    I know TBC knows whats up with the frames and is making changes. they have also tried to be very quick with the turn around. if they haven't been quick, it is because they probally haven't had frames in stock, or had to pull them from distributer orders. On top of that they are moving into a new building right now, and have been super busy in the last few months getting set up with that + metzger broke his shoulder which really hampered their shipping abilites for a while (he is 1 of 2 guys who ships your guys stuff out!).

    Kyle and Kevin will get everything fixed in the next run, just keep checking your frames and make sure everything is holding together. (you should do that on any bike anyways) and you'll be fine. I am trying to get a preston for a XC/AM bike, and I know I won't have any worries about pushing it.

    Kyle,

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