Opinionaire: Do frames "Wear Out"?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    New question here. Opinionaire: Do frames "Wear Out"?

    Do frames "Wear Out"?

    Maybe the question should be "Should frames wear out?"

    Please take a moment to consider the subject before solidifying your opinion...
    This is not a customer service question.
    This is not a brand specific durability question.
    I'm not talking about pivots and der hangars.

    Some mfgrs and MTBR posters have stated they don't expect their aluminum frames to last more than 2 or 3 years, and that they are alright with that. I personally find this an alarming point of view. AFAIK bike frames, like dishwashers, cars, and clothes dryers are considered "durable" goods and not consumable items. But I'm not comparing bikes to Maytags.

    What I am getting at is, while I understand the concept of metal fatigue, how can some frames be considered to withstand less than a handful of years of use while others last a decade or more? I don't see any frames being offered that are lighter than directly competing products but some are now being considered "worn-out" after about 3 years (according to some comments). What is most ironic is that at least one mfgr offers a warranty significantly longer than 3 years but has posted frames can wear out in that brief period. (but let's not debate that specifically) And what about AL Hard Tails???

    I clearly recall, way back in '95 when the general consensus was a person should change their flat bar after a year's use because it could fail after much more than that. I remember the early CNC days when there was a line of people in my LBS returning tricked-out but broken stem, posts and hubs, that ultimately never made it past a season. Thank goodness we got beyond that, but, is this where frames are headed? And if so, why are components considered to last longer
    ? I've heard of "disposable" road bikes made for race situations, and factory "Team" MTBs, but I haven't seen consumer MTBs being marketed that way. So why are some of us prepared to accept short term relationships with our frames?

    I completely understand the mfgr's need for a 1-3 year warranty and how it can protect the mfgr from warranty claims by bikes that were gang-dropped off of garages, and people looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest for free, but I don't think we ALL should be treated with the assumption that we were abusing our bikes. So I'm okay with 1-3 year defect warranty and crash replacement, but not with the idea a frame shouldn't be expected to be in service past ~3 years.

    Could it be that if the really big players went to 1 year warranties, the sport could nearly die in 5 years? A Radical statement, maybe. Consider:

    -Most of the MTB buying public are not enthusiasts like the majority of MTBR members
    -Most MTB riders are weekenders and low-end and mid-level buyers
    -Few parents would buy their kid a $700 - $1000 bike to beat the hell out of on the trails if it only had a 1-year warranty. I would think few people would buy one for themselves under those conditions.

    So how many new riders could we expect if the industry went that way? We'd be left as a enthusiast-only sport, like road bikes but with a far smaller user base. Okay that's pretty extreme, but I just want to get people thinking about the potential here.

    So I open this discussion to document the consumer's point of view, pro and con, and to hopefully let mfgrs know how we feel in general. There's no need to turn this into a brand bash or pi$$ing match, but feel free to think out loud. I just suggest we be thoughtful & considerate of everyone involved.

    -Cheers(I'm trying to keep an open mind, so I may be persuaded by a good arguement)
    Faster is better, even when it's not.

  2. #2
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    I think the manufacturers are just playing it safe when they say 2 to 3 years before it wears out. If they stated that it would last 5 to 10 years and then the frame snapped in 2 to 3 years people would be pissed because the warranty was only good for 1 year. I believe the companies don't truly know how long it will last given that people ride differently, people are heavier than others, and some people ride more than others. How is it possible to make an accurate statement regarding fatigue life given all of these variables.

    That being said, I have a 10 year old aluminum hardtail that I've ridden steadily throught the years and it's still going strong. I expect my FS frame to have a similar fate. I fully expect in 3 or 4 years my bike will be outdated and I'll want to upgrade anyway. I doubt I'll ever wear it out though.

  3. #3
    jcw
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    Personally I think that bike frames wear out as soon

    as they break, and not a moment before. I've heard the claims that frames lose thier liveleness or whatever, but I think it's akin to the same claims directed at helmets. If treated poorly one can certainly wear either out in a year or 2. But if treated well, not abused, either should last until the structural integrity is compromised. I've also seen a lot of claims that steel will outlast aluminum, but in the frame testing studies I've seen, the reverse is often true. As for the warranty question, I've long felt that the best warranty would be a 2 year no questions asked transferrable warranty, with low cost crash replacement (also transferrable) after that. That way, buyers of good quality used bikes would get some level of protection as well. And after that 2 year period, the manufacturer would at least be making a bit of money on frame failures.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bikezilla
    Do frames "Wear Out"?

    Maybe the question should be "Should frames wear out?"

    Please take a moment to consider the subject before solidifying your opinion...
    This is not a customer service question.
    This is not a brand specific durability question.
    I'm not talking about pivots and der hangars.

    Some mfgrs and MTBR posters have stated they don't expect their aluminum frames to last more than 2 or 3 years, and that they are alright with that. I personally find this an alarming point of view. AFAIK bike frames, like dishwashers, cars, and clothes dryers are considered "durable" goods and not consumable items. But I'm not comparing bikes to Maytags.

    What I am getting at is, while I understand the concept of metal fatigue, how can some frames be considered to withstand less than a handful of years of use while others last a decade or more? I don't see any frames being offered that are lighter than directly competing products but some are now being considered "worn-out" after about 3 years (according to some comments). What is most ironic is that at least one mfgr offers a warranty significantly longer than 3 years but has posted frames can wear out in that brief period. (but let's not debate that specifically) And what about AL Hard Tails???

    I clearly recall, way back in '95 when the general consensus was a person should change their flat bar after a year's use because it could fail after much more than that. I remember the early CNC days when there was a line of people in my LBS returning tricked-out but broken stem, posts and hubs, that ultimately never made it past a season. Thank goodness we got beyond that, but, is this where frames are headed? And if so, why are components considered to last longer
    ? I've heard of "disposable" road bikes made for race situations, and factory "Team" MTBs, but I haven't seen consumer MTBs being marketed that way. So why are some of us prepared to accept short term relationships with our frames?

    I completely understand the mfgr's need for a 1-3 year warranty and how it can protect the mfgr from warranty claims by bikes that were gang-dropped off of garages, and people looking to upgrade to the latest and greatest for free, but I don't think we ALL should be treated with the assumption that we were abusing our bikes. So I'm okay with 1-3 year defect warranty and crash replacement, but not with the idea a frame shouldn't be expected to be in service past ~3 years.

    Could it be that if the really big players went to 1 year warranties, the sport could nearly die in 5 years? A Radical statement, maybe. Consider:

    -Most of the MTB buying public are not enthusiasts like the majority of MTBR members
    -Most MTB riders are weekenders and low-end and mid-level buyers
    -Few parents would buy their kid a $700 - $1000 bike to beat the hell out of on the trails if it only had a 1-year warranty. I would think few people would buy one for themselves under those conditions.

    So how many new riders could we expect if the industry went that way? We'd be left as a enthusiast-only sport, like road bikes but with a far smaller user base. Okay that's pretty extreme, but I just want to get people thinking about the potential here.

    So I open this discussion to document the consumer's point of view, pro and con, and to hopefully let mfgrs know how we feel in general. There's no need to turn this into a brand bash or pi$$ing match, but feel free to think out loud. I just suggest we be thoughtful & considerate of everyone involved.

    -Cheers(I'm trying to keep an open mind, so I may be persuaded by a good arguement)

  4. #4
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    Yes most wear out ...

    I think they wear out their welcome due to the following factors
    • Fatigue, but this process probably takes longer than any reasonable timeframe expectations
    • Available functionality, for example wider tires, disk brakes, make the frame obsolete
    • Technology, but this applies more to FS than rigids or hardtails. Remember bikes have been around 150 years so improvements are more in manufacturing and available materials than design (with some exceptions like suspension components, brakes)
    • Marketting where the bike industry deliberately introduce new stuff and don't support older stuff, for example 1" steerers, 5 (then 6,7,8, now 9) speed gear clusters, U-brakes
    • Fashion 'cause that old bike taking up space can be, and I'd suggest should be, replaced by the latest and greatest in our consumer based society
    • Looks, but this may be part of fashion, as the finish of the bike wears down, gets scratched, peels off
    • Progression of the sport where many road bikes have been replaced with mountain bikes, and within mountain bikes rigids by hardtails by FS (and within that XC by "all mountain" for some)


    Just some random thoughts on why bikes get old and wear out (their welcome). On the other hand older bikes that survive the ageing process become classics and hence wear back in to acceptance.

  5. #5
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    Yes, Absolultely, Most Definitely

    And Whatever You Do, Don't Ever Tell My Wife Otherwise!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. #6
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    clarkgriswald

    I am not a material guys nor a metalurgist. But choosing the best material for the intended application will determine overall fatigue life. It's amazing how some in the aerospace industry can predict metal failures given certain circumstances. Fighter aricraft are designed to absorb tremendous forces from flight as well as absorb missle hits and AAA hits. There is a famous picture, form Israel, of an F-15 that was in a mid-air collision with another aircraft. The F-15's right wing was sheared off, but the pilot still managed to land. Maybe some bike builders have a much better understanding of material science. I think Titus has an advisor who is a materials guy from the aerospace industry.

  7. #7
    Jm.
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    Heck yes, they are limited to how many cycles they can withstand the moment they leave the factory. And while most people will never reach the amount of cycles that it would take for failure, some parts may experience a higher amount of stress than originally planned, some riders may stress the bike beyond its capabilities, and in the end if you are an agressive rider and ride frequently, a lightweight bike isn't going to last you forever. Most race frames are destroyed at the end of the season because they can't sell them, it's due to liability concerns with the lighter tubing that is used in the race-only models that consumers never see. Even if the bike holds up, it simply has to be destroyed usually. The companies don't plan for them to last longer than a season.

    Now most bikes are made to withstand a lot more than a season, but there are factors that shorten the life of the bike no matter what, like riding very regularly or agressively. I know people that have owned cannondales and cracked as many as 6 C-dale frames, even though they did not downhill, they did not do drops, etc.

    I think it mostly relates to a ratio, the ratio is the strength/weight or agressiveness of the rider, to the strength of the bike. A casual rider on a stronger bike is going to get a LONG life out of it. A strong rider on a very light bike will usually have less life than if it was ridden easier.

    Frames most definitly wear out, especially aluminum ones. Some frames like steel and titanium can be made MUCH stronger and last MUCH longer than an equivalent aluminum frame, but it's also harder to work with those materials because they are heavier than aluminum for an equal volume, so they have to be worked and butted more and even still it's difficult to get them down to the same weight as an aluminum frame, and that increased strength and longlivity may be compramised. The other way to design frames is to use so much aluminum material that the number of cycles would be impossible to excceed, and this is done with a lot of aluminum "freeride" hardtails, and other bikes.

    I can see in a few situations where a 5 year warrenty *may* be possible with an aluminum frame, but a 10 year warrenty is ludicrous in my opinion for a normal aluminum mountain bike frame.

  8. #8
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    Metalurgists and bikers

    Quote Originally Posted by clarkgriswald
    I am not a material guys nor a metalurgist. But choosing the best material for the intended application will determine overall fatigue life. It's amazing how some in the aerospace industry can predict metal failures given certain circumstances. Fighter aricraft are designed to absorb tremendous forces from flight as well as absorb missle hits and AAA hits. There is a famous picture, form Israel, of an F-15 that was in a mid-air collision with another aircraft. The F-15's right wing was sheared off, but the pilot still managed to land. Maybe some bike builders have a much better understanding of material science. I think Titus has an advisor who is a materials guy from the aerospace industry.
    From my perspective we bikers are not stressing frames quite the same as fighter jets pulling 4gs, multiple landing and takeoffs (think aircraft carrier), or whatever. Most of us have got suspension components to protect our frames from any significant events, unless the significant event is the failure of a suspension component. Hence we have many choices of materials that work in frame manufacture and it's upto the the designer to optimize the use of the selected material based on their properties. I just don't believe that fatique is one of those properties under consideration during the design process.

  9. #9
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by clarkgriswald
    I am not a material guys nor a metalurgist. But choosing the best material for the intended application will determine overall fatigue life. It's amazing how some in the aerospace industry can predict metal failures given certain circumstances. Fighter aricraft are designed to absorb tremendous forces from flight as well as absorb missle hits and AAA hits. There is a famous picture, form Israel, of an F-15 that was in a mid-air collision with another aircraft. The F-15's right wing was sheared off, but the pilot still managed to land. Maybe some bike builders have a much better understanding of material science. I think Titus has an advisor who is a materials guy from the aerospace industry.
    I've watched the boeing wing-testing video when they were certifying the 777. It had to withstand something like 148% of the maximum load that it will ever see, and it was amazing how well designed it was. The engineers don't design anything heavier or stronger than it needs to be. It got to like 148.9 and it looked normal. Got to 148.99 and it was still stable and in one piece. The load passed to 149 and all of a sudden the wing almost "exploded" as nearly all of the internal parts failed at once. It was pretty interesting to see. And I believe the numers that it had to withstand were like 148 percent of the ultimate load factor, which means that there is a big safety-margin designed in there, but past that the engineers do NOT design it any stronger or heavier than it needs to be.

  10. #10
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruckeeLocal
    From my perspective we bikers are not stressing frames quite the same as fighter jets pulling 4gs, multiple landing and takeoffs (think aircraft carrier), or whatever. Most of us have got suspension components to protect our frames from any significant events, unless the significant event is the failure of a suspension component. Hence we have many choices of materials that work in frame manufacture and it's upto the the designer to optimize the use of the selected material based on their properties. I just don't believe that fatique is one of those properties under consideration during the design process.
    No, your frame is being "cycled", just as any thing made out of metal that sees any use is. Just like a flighter jet or anything else. When you pedal your stays try to flex and they do to a small degree. Your bike cycles all the time(pun intended!).

  11. #11
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    When you can read and understand the material in the following link, you will begin to know why aluminum bikes have a shorter life than steel bikes.

    http://www.mie.uiuc.edu/content/file...nite%20S02.pdf

    This is the basics of fatigue life and crack propogation in metals. To design an aluminum bike with an "infinite" life span, the tubes would have to be so thick that the bike wouldn't be worth riding.

    Kn.
    I used to be with it. Then, they changed what "it" is, and now what I'm with is no longer "it". And whatever "it" is, is strange and confusing.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jm.
    No, your frame is being "cycled", just as any thing made out of metal that sees any use is. Just like a flighter jet or anything else. When you pedal your stays try to flex and they do to a small degree. Your bike cycles all the time(pun intended!).
    Yeah, that 777 wing test is an amazing video. It's all about choosing the best material for the intended application. The bike builders who have that figured out will have fewer catastophic failures.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TruckeeLocal
    I think they wear out their welcome due to the following factors
    [list][*]Fatigue, but this process probably takes longer than any reasonable timeframe expectations
    no. depends on how well the frame is designed, its material, the kind of load it is subjected to, environment (humidity etc). fatiguing a frame to failure does not necessarily take "longer than any reasonable timeframe". the frame life is only as long as the fatigue life of its highest stressed spot. of course, if a steel or ti frame is designed so that any spot has a stress lower than the endurance limit, it will last forever. but above the endurance limit, under higher stress (at any point on the bike) the number of cycles to failure is lower. consequently under abusive kind of riding frame fail earlier. or, if the frame is designed incorrectly so that there is one (or several) spot that experiences exceptionally high stress repeatedly, it will fail earlier. alu doesn't have an endurance limit so it will fail sooner or later even with normal use, and thinner alu tubes generally (but not always) indicate a shorter life. cannondale for example warns their caad7 owners that the frame is designed to withstand about 2 years of riding (the typical usage they had in mind is racing, and of course they had some safety margin built into the frame).

  14. #14
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    Mid discussion reply...

    -Then why do components last so long when some frames do not? Are we expecting only 3-years out of our stems seatposts and cranks?

    -The frequent replacements of some short life frames can't be a good thing considering they weren't lighter than their competition.

    BTW I wasn't suggesting a 10-yr warranty. Just that I thought the 2-3 year life span expectiation of some mfgrs and buyers can't be a good thing.

    And I agreee, for most of us enthusiasts, we'll want to upgrade long before 10 years.
    but that's no reason to expect the frame to blow. Many cars and motorcycles have Al frame and/or sus components and they are not expected to "Wear out" in a few years.

    Okay stepping back to listen again...
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  15. #15
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikezilla
    Mid discussion reply...

    -Then why do components last so long when some frames do not? Are we expecting only 3-years out of our stems seatposts and cranks?

    -The frequent replacements of some short life frames can't be a good thing considering they weren't lighter than their competition.

    BTW I wasn't suggesting a 10-yr warranty. Just that I thought the 2-3 year life span expectiation of some mfgrs and buyers can't be a good thing.

    And I agreee, for most of us enthusiasts, we'll want to upgrade long before 10 years.
    but that's no reason to expect the frame to blow. Many cars and motorcycles have Al frame and/or sus components and they are not expected to "Wear out" in a few years.

    Okay stepping back to listen again...
    I dont know what components you use, but in a good mix of high and low end stuff, I've never found components that outlasted my frames, it's very much the opposite....at least for me, even for cranks and seatposts.

    One of the only components I don't worry about too much is my steel bontrager handlebar, but that's cause it's steel obviously. I've broken and twisted more than one set of cranks, blown out bearings in hubs and BBs, bent plenty of seats, a seatpost, etc.

    For the most parts, stems, handlebars, and seatposts most definitely do have a usefull life, and after that life if you are still riding them, you are playing with fire because it may break at any moment. I've seen this one proven, and after a few seasons there are parts that you need to switch out, even if they appear to be "going strong". The effects of fatique are cumulative and there'll be little or no warning with an aluminum part like that.

  16. #16

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    Statics and the Strength of Materials

    Quote Originally Posted by Bikezilla
    Do frames "Wear Out"?

    Maybe the question should be "Should frames wear out?"

    I think that frames do wear out. I'm only referring to wear out due to fatigue, not breakage due to use beyond specifications. How quickly a frame will wear out (fatigue) is dependant on the following:

    1) Materials
    2) Frame Design
    3) Processing (tube forming, welding, heat-treating)
    4) Use

    Any bike can be designed to last for 5years, 10 years, or even longer..... as long as #1 - #4, above, are chosen, or performed, correctly. If any of the variables are not done correctly, the frame will have a shortened life.

    Designs that go for the "lightest" frame are typically weaker than other designs. These designs, if done properly, would have a listed weight limit (really, all designs should have a listed weight limit). Few, if any, have a stated limit. This is an issue that can usually be placed right on the manufacturers who are so concerned about lost sales that they won't specify weights / usage. Many of us on these boards know enough to steer prospective Clydesdale buyers away from lightweight bikes. The manufacturers and LBS's should be doing the same.

    I think that any bike (excluding race-specific pro bikes) that is used within design criteria (whatever that is) should last at least 5 years. 10 years would be better....and is doable if #1-4, above, are adhered to.

    I think the issue is that many bikes are used way outside of their design parameters. This is mostly the fault of the user, but the manufacturer has some culpability in many cases. Most bike manufacturers don't list rider weight limits and are very vague about intended use.

    Using a little common sense, most people can have a bike last for many years. Lightweight bikes designed for XC use should not be jumped. Sure, many do jump them and have good luck. These people are typically lightweight and/or very smooth on jumps. They can get away with a lot. Put a clyde on the bike and it will snap in 2 on the first jump.

    It's not always the user's fault. A guy I know bought a Trek Fuel from a local bike shop. The guy weighted around 300 pounds. Guess what. He's currently on his 3rd Fuel. In this case, the LBS did him a dis-service by selling him a bike that was too lightweight. Now the same LBS is tring to sell him a beefier bike. What they should be doing is offering him a very low cost upgrade to a beefier bike...and apologising profusely for making him waste his hard earned money on the Fuel

    The bottom line for me is this: A bike, if used properly, should last at least 5 years, and most likely 10 or more. Anything less than this (assuming proper use) is either poor design, bad materials, or crummy manufacturing).

  17. #17
    Jm.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikezilla

    BTW I wasn't suggesting a 10-yr warranty. Just that I thought the 2-3 year life span expectiation of some mfgrs and buyers can't be a good thing.

    ..
    Well, they are obviously trying to cover their arse. I guarentee that I can go out and ride just about any XC frame out there, and break it. I won't drop it, I wont jump it, but I bet I can ride it rough enough through rocks and terrain to break it. It's not really that hard, and the defining factor will be that I am "choosing" to ride it in this way. Would I be out of the context of "normal use"?? It's real hard to define. 5 to 10 years for someone that occasionally goes through a rock garden or pounds their bike through a section may very well equal 2-3 years(or less) of someone that slams their bike down the waterfall on national like I tend to. I am not claiming to be the worst rider in the world, but it's really not that hard to break any bike in my experience, and I am certain that I can do it(again).

    If you really look at the use that mountain bikes get, I'd bet you'd find that most mountain bikes really never see the "dirt" so to speak. Those people that ride more agressively don't make up the majority of mountain-bike buyers that buy the bike, but the bike still has to be able to take that kind of riding to a reasonable degree. The "reasonable degree" is 2-3 years, for every one that isn't riding like that, maybe more like 5 or even more.

  18. #18
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    There's nothing much new here for me to say- weather and k-endo have covered the important bits.

    Pops was a metallurgist for boeing, and I worked at a local bike&frame shop for years. I was always taking him broken parts for us to look at together. Personally I've broken 3 frames and none of them were catostrophic failures. They all broke as a result of *too many cycles*. The two alu FS frames lasted about 2 years each, where as the light steel hardtail lasted 6 years, and was then easily & cheaply repaired. totally consistent with the properties of the materials involved.

    As to your question of why (some) parts outlast frames- there's a few answers:
    -most parts are cold forged, which is the best way to make anything out of aluminum if possible.
    -The cnc's bits that broke are no surprise. CNC'ing does nothing to align the grain of the material with the structure of the part. My old CNC'd hubs that cracked after radial lacing come to mind- the cracks run paralell to the grain of the material. But you can radial lace a shimano or campy hub no problem because they are cold forged- so the grain & density of the material is compacted into the desired shape. Much stronger.
    -As for frames, they are almost always welded which is nearly the worst approach for fabrication. the weld itself becomes a huge stress-riser, and the heat of welding is very destructive to the material. This is why brazing is so great for steel frames- it produces less than half the heat of tig-welding (although it doesn't provide the tensile strength, different story). Less heat means you can use thinner tubes, and get the same strength.
    -Finally, the bicycling industry hasn't taken too many chances with parts, whereas frame companies have been very keen to produce lighter frames, to a point where consumers have unrealistic expectations as to how long an alu. frame should last. 2-3 years for a light alu frame is about right imho. If you want it to last longer, you either need to add material or switch materials. This is partially why I bought the 9lb turner RFX. After breaking a few lighter frames, the extra 2.5 lbs seems like a pretty good idea, especially considering the amount of money involved. My brand_x 4" travel, 5.5lb FS frame wasn't a very good financial purchase in retrospect!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bikezilla
    Mid discussion reply...

    -Then why do components last so long when some frames do not? Are we expecting only 3-years out of our stems seatposts and cranks?

    -The frequent replacements of some short life frames can't be a good thing considering they weren't lighter than their competition.

    BTW I wasn't suggesting a 10-yr warranty. Just that I thought the 2-3 year life span expectiation of some mfgrs and buyers can't be a good thing.

    And I agreee, for most of us enthusiasts, we'll want to upgrade long before 10 years.
    but that's no reason to expect the frame to blow. Many cars and motorcycles have Al frame and/or sus components and they are not expected to "Wear out" in a few years.

    Okay stepping back to listen again...

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jm.
    I dont know what components you use, but in a good mix of high and low end stuff, I've never found components that outlasted my frames, it's very much the opposite....at least for me, even for cranks and seatposts.

    One of the only components I don't worry about too much is my steel bontrager handlebar, but that's cause it's steel obviously. I've broken and twisted more than one set of cranks, blown out bearings in hubs and BBs, bent plenty of seats, a seatpost, etc.

    For the most parts, stems, handlebars, and seatposts most definitely do have a usefull life, and after that life if you are still riding them, you are playing with fire because it may break at any moment. I've seen this one proven, and after a few seasons there are parts that you need to switch out, even if they appear to be "going strong". The effects of fatique are cumulative and there'll be little or no warning with an aluminum part like that.
    i still have my marin nail trail from like 94 and it's still as good as it was when i bought it new, the shifters are the only thing that have worn out. everything else including the mag 21 on it is still perfect. same thing with my 95 proflex, my other marin from 96 and my mongoose from 97. all aluminum frames that are still intact as well as the components that came on them. and they all get ridden regularly too.
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  20. #20
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    Reputation: kfatchor's Avatar
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    If this is Bkzilla I know...

    ..he may expect to wear out his frame in a week.

  21. #21
    1946:2006:2066
    Reputation: FireDog46's Avatar
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    Rocky Mountain's Warranty as an example...

    of what to expect as a minimum for frame life.

    Extracts from the warranty

    Duration
    CroMoly Steel**: Lifetime of Owner Limited*
    Aluminum and Steel Road**: 5 Years - Limited*
    Aluminum Hybrids**: Lifetime of Owner Limited*
    Aluminum Front-Suspended**: 5 Years - Limited*
    Aluminum Fully-Suspended**: 5 Years - Limited*
    Downhill and Freeride: 1 Year - limited*

    What Will Void Your Warranty
    A.Competition racing and any commercial activity
    i.e. Rental fleets, courier use, Police or security use.

    To read the full text visit http://www.bikes.com/about/warranty.aspx

    This pretty well matches the standard warranty for cars...race it and you're on your own!

    As others have mentioned, any frame should last a long time if used within its design constraints.
    Unfortunately, these aren't published.

    And, a bike not ridden will last generations!

    Damned if you do, damned if you don't!

    michael
    "Be not afraid of going slowly but only of standing still." - Chinese Proverb

  22. #22
    Harrumph
    Reputation: G-reg's Avatar
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    Yes, It's common sense. My 3lb Large frame XC bike has seen 30+ races and lots of miles otherwise, hence it is being retired to the trainer or a lamp or something. Itís been ridden really hard, suffered some chain suck, a few dents, and general wear and tear. If I was a lighter smoother rider who didnít crash often, pound the bike in Short track events or race in the mud or do 24hr races, it would have lived much longer. So there is no way to put a time limit on a frame, there are too many variables involved with use, rider, maintenance, etc. And you canít classify the life span of different types of materials. A light steel XC tube set will not last longer than an over built Al tubset, all other things being equal. My 03 Kona Scrap has out lasted my Klein Attutide frame despite being beaten on severly. My point is that it is impossible to put a finite time on frame life. Depending on how it was built and how it has been ridden it may be disposable or it may never fail. Itís up to the owner/maintainer to make the call. Hence the retirement of the Attitude
    Slowly slipping to retrogrouchyness

  23. #23
    Gravity Rides Everything
    Reputation: endurowanker's Avatar
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    I'd say it depends on the frame. Some are built so much stronger than necessary that they will last pretty much forever. Steel and titanium have insane fatique limits.
    Lightweight aluminum race bikes definitely wear out. Aluminum fatigues with every loading. A heavier aluminum bike, such as a trail bike or a dirt jump bike will tend to last much longer. Modern bikes are definitely pushing the envelope of lightness more than in the past, so wearing out is getting to be more of a problem.
    Another thing to keep in mind is how fast the value of bikes drops. After more than a year or 2 it's worth practically nothing. A lot of guys here have shop hook ups and stuff and can get bikes for wholesale prices. In that case it doesn't make sense not to buy a new bike every season.

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