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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I've often thought about the actual predicted service life of different frame materials. I mean, according to some articles I've read, Titanium should last over hundred years and be extremely durable. Steel should last at least fifty years, if kept dry, and be just about as durable as Titanium. Aluminum's fatigue life is supposed to be dependent upon how often it's been used and the amount of abuse it's subjected to. I mean, if you buy an Aluminum bicycle and you ride it only once around the block, it should still be good to go just like new, fifty years later. OTOH, if an Aluminum bicycle has been ridden for a hundred thousand miles and used in urban assault riding, then you really shouldn't expect it's service life to be that long. I've also heard that Aluminum frames should not be used for utility purposes, touring, and carrying heavy loads.

When it comes to Carbon fiber, I've heard that it should last forever and that there's no actual fatigue life. OTOH, I've heard that Carbon fiber is quirky and that it can either last a very long time, or you can go over a pothole at a weird angle and totally compromise the integrity of the CF frame. I've also heard that Carbon fiber has a very short fatigue life and that, if ridden on a daily basis, it won't hold up.

I tend to believe that Carbon fiber has a very long fatigue life. However, since CF is a relatively new material, I think it would be a great idea to have some type of bicycle frame information bank. A place where bicycle consumer information can be saved, catalogued, and archived, for future reference.

Either the government or some type of consumer organization should keep tabs on all failed frames, as consumers should be required by law to report their failed frames to just such an agency.

The agency will ask questions and keep statistics on all bicycles and their manufacturers. Eventually, the bicycle community would become more aware of the actual estimated service life each bicycle frame material potentially has to offer. Consumers then, being more informed, will be able to make more intelligent decisions whenever purchasing bicyles.

This agency would then be responsible for ending all doubts and debates concerning frame materials!

So what do you think?

And don't tell me not to listen to whatever I've heard! :D
 

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Either the government or some type of consumer organization should keep tabs on all failed frames, as consumers should be required by law to report their failed frames to just such an agency.


So what do you think?
As a consumer I'd bury my broken frame in a field somewhere before I reported it to a government agency.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
As a consumer I'd bury my broken frame in a field somewhere before I reported it to a government agency.
If the government scares you that much, then perhaps it would be better for a grassroots consumer organization to keep track of all failed frames. God! I never would have guessed the huge negative impact predicted by George Orwell's "1984" and Big Brother.


Hey! Afterall, the government is our friend! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You are kidding right?
Wouldn't you like to be a better informed consumer cyclist, ten years from today?

Wouldn't it be appreciated, if we could all just click onto a couple of consumer organizational links in order to determine the best frame material that suits our particular cycling activity?

If you say no, then you'd have to be kidding, right? :D
 

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Wouldn't you like to be a better informed consumer cyclist, ten years from today?

Wouldn't it be appreciated, if we could all just click onto a couple of consumer organizational links in order to determine the best frame material that suits our particular cycling activity?

If you say no, then you'd have to be kidding, right? :D
No I wouldn. I can think for myself. I dont need the government or others thinking for me.

Anyway, nothing we ride now will be anything like what we ride in 10 years. The list will be outdated as quick as it gets updated.
 

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Wouldn't you like to be a better informed consumer cyclist, ten years from today?

Wouldn't it be appreciated, if we could all just click onto a couple of consumer organizational links in order to determine the best frame material that suits our particular cycling activity?

If you say no, then you'd have to be kidding, right? :D
That would be true in an ideal world, where there is no crime, and consumer organizations are out there FOR the consumers.

In the real world where most of us live in, government is already bankrupt in most countries and trying to cut back in most essential services, while most consumer groups is out there to urge you to spend spend spend.
 

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Don't see a need for any agency...we already have RBR, right? Questions about frame materials?--do enough searching and asking around here and you can usually find the information you are seeking. If you need a government agency to watch out for you, there is already the Consumer Product Safety Commission; if there are problems with a particular frame, they make sure recalls are issued. So not really sure what you are asking for that we don't already have.

Bikes of Steel, Ti, Carbon, or Alum can last more than long enough for your use. Yes, Alum has a shorter fatigue life than steel, but for most people, that life is longer than they will actually use the bike. Same with the issues with the other materials. Many companies now offer lifetime frame warranties on their bikes of whichever material is used ('course, in my opinion, it's more to do with marketing and making the customer feel good about the initial purchase rather than how long the bike may actually last - infrequent riders won't ride enough to wear it out, and enthusiasts will sell it and go for a new bike within a few years because they develop upgraditis--the warranty does not transfer to new owner. For the few that are actually kept by enthusiasts for 40 years-well, it's not much of a loss for a company to replace them)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Don't see a need for any agency...we already have RBR, right? Questions about frame materials?--do enough searching and asking around here and you can usually find the information you are seeking. If you need a government agency to watch out for you, there is already the Consumer Product Safety Commission; if there are problems with a particular frame, they make sure recalls are issued. So not really sure what you are asking for that we don't already have.

Bikes of Steel, Ti, Carbon, or Alum can last more than long enough for your use. Yes, Alum has a shorter fatigue life than steel, but for most people, that life is longer than they will actually use the bike. Same with the issues with the other materials. Many companies now offer lifetime frame warranties on their bikes of whichever material is used ('course, in my opinion, it's more to do with marketing and making the customer feel good about the initial purchase rather than how long the bike may actually last - infrequent riders won't ride enough to wear it out, and enthusiasts will sell it and go for a new bike within a few years because they develop upgraditis--the warranty does not transfer to new owner. For the few that are actually kept by enthusiasts for 40 years-well, it's not much of a loss for a company to replace them)
There's much truth in what you're saying here, JWiffle.

In these uncertain economic times, it would be nice to have access to information that would allow cyclists with limited incomes, to make more informed decisions concerning the potential life expectancy of their respective bicycle frames. Who knows, your next bicycle purchase, just might be the last one that you'll be able to afford.

At any rate, the following questions need to be answered responsibly:

1) What happens to all of the failed frames?

2) Does the Consumer Product Safety Commision concern itself with old bicycle frames that fail due to possible material fatigue?

3) How often do bicycle owners feel compelled to report a failed frame?

4) Does an actual keeper of such information actually exist?

5) Exactly how credible are bicycle manufacturers concerning their frame warranties?

a) Who tracks the reliability of these bicycle companies with respect to frame warranties?

b) Do bicycle companies actually make a profit from failed frames buy offering cyclists a "discount" for a frame replacement?

6) Which frame is best for DH MTN biking?
 

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When it comes to Carbon fiber, I've heard that it should last forever and that there's no actual fatigue life. OTOH, I've heard that Carbon fiber is quirky and that it can either last a very long time, or you can go over a pothole at a weird angle and totally compromise the integrity of the CF frame. I've also heard that Carbon fiber has a very short fatigue life and that, if ridden on a daily basis, it won't hold up.
While carbon itself is very stable and should last a great while, it is bound together with resins/glues, these will typically be the limiting factor. Seems like all the good adhesives end up getting banned at some point. :)
In my case if I ever look into a carbon frame it will have to be either cheap or if name brand have a great warranty.
 

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I think only a very small percentage of bicycles sold ever see any appreciable use. I think only a very small number of those that get used see any damage that wasnt caused by an event such as a crash or garage door mishap.

I dont think there are bicycles failing in droves. There are just too many ambulance chaser attorneys for people to be getting hurt without anyone knowing.
 

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Either the government or some type of consumer organization should keep tabs on all failed frames, as consumers should be required by law to report their failed frames to just such an agency.

So what do you think?

And don't tell me not to listen to whatever I've heard!
To some extent you should not listent to whatevery you've heard. You have a mix of fact and fiction there.

But regardless your idea is essentially pointless. As has been pointed out what we will be riding in 10 years is not what we are riding now and the vast, vast majority of bikes never fail so the statistics would be meaningless. And in order to have anything meaningful in the first place you would have to have a LOT of information about tube wall thickness, diameter, and shape. Your data couldn't take into account quality of manufacture (early Ti frames failed frequently at the welds - these days it is extremely rare) and a whole bunch of design details that weigh heavily on durability. Like I said: pointless.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
To some extent you should not listent to whatevery you've heard. You have a mix of fact and fiction there.

But regardless your idea is essentially pointless. As has been pointed out what we will be riding in 10 years is not what we are riding now and the vast, vast majority of bikes never fail so the statistics would be meaningless. And in order to have anything meaningful in the first place you would have to have a LOT of information about tube wall thickness, diameter, and shape. Your data couldn't take into account quality of manufacture (early Ti frames failed frequently at the welds - these days it is extremely rare) and a whole bunch of design details that weigh heavily on durability. Like I said: pointless.
I dunno Kerry,

Regardless as to what the various dimensions might be, it would be very interesting to find out that most regularly used Aluminum framed MTN bikes in a particular region, had an average service life expectancy of five years. It would be even more interesting to discover that CF DH racing MTN bikes had an average service life expentancy of eight years, despite their dimensions. That would be just a tip of the bicycle-frame-data iceberg, in terms of the types of possible information that we could possibly glean from such a stored bank of frame information.

Design is pointless, if the material itself has intrinsic properties that render it inefficient under certain persistent and environmentally deleterious conditions.
 

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Design is not pointless, because the design affects the finished product too much to say it was just a material issue. Take your average carbon fiber road race bike and hit it with a hammer. It may take a few whacks, but I bet you can mangle the frame. A magazine crew took a sledge hammer to a GT carbon fiber DH bike - and broke the hammer; the racer whose bike it was continued to ride it. A steel framed bike from Wal-mart will not last long, even if it doesn't rust out in a month from being left out in the rain; however, a 92 year old gentleman is still riding his ancient quality steel Schwinn everyday for over 50 years.

At any rate, unless you want to take it upon yourself to manage a list and the data you are searching for, I don't think you will find it. I would not stand to have the government fund an agency to do so, as I believe that would be even more of my money to be wasted. I feel more than confident in my ability to research and discern what I want with the resources already available. And no one is going to do all that work for free, so unless you volunteer to do it sans compensation, I don't think you will ever get it.
 

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There's much truth in what you're saying here, JWiffle.

In these uncertain economic times, it would be nice to have access to information that would allow cyclists with limited incomes, to make more informed decisions concerning the potential life expectancy of their respective bicycle frames. Who knows, your next bicycle purchase, just might be the last one that you'll be able to afford.
You already said a Ti frame is good for 100 years and a steel frame for 50. I think that makes them frames for a lifetime no?

At any rate, the following questions need to be answered responsibly:

1) What happens to all of the failed frames?
If it's someone's private property then it's none of your business.

2) Does the Consumer Product Safety Commision concern itself with old bicycle frames that fail due to possible material fatigue?
Where will the money to hire staff to address such concerns come from?

3) How often do bicycle owners feel compelled to report a failed frame?
Very often in RBR.

4) Does an actual keeper of such information actually exist?
Who's paying for the upkeep of the information? Are you willing to pay some sort of bicycle tax to fund this database and pay its administrator?
 
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A Government agency devoted to tracking frame life? Really? I can't be reading this.

Anyway, aside from the obvious absurdness....do you really think people who have no problems with their bikes are going to take the time to update the FABFT (Federal Agency Bike Frame Tracking). I suppose you could make it a jailable offence to not report how your frame is doing one a year. That would be great.

You figuree tracking reports won't be full of clowns who got carried away with a tourque wrench or ran it into a garage on a roof rack and try to claim it's a bad frame?
And do you really think such an agency could accurately account for usage (miles) and riding style and adjust the numbers accordinly to be meaningful? Or the same 'rate' for downhill mountain bikes used for such by risk takers vs the same bike used for getting groceries would be meaningful.

I guess in summary: It is not a good idea.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 · (Edited)
A Government agency devoted to tracking frame life? Really? I can't be reading this.

Anyway, aside from the obvious absurdness....do you really think people who have no problems with their bikes are going to take the time to update the FABFT (Federal Agency Bike Frame Tracking). I suppose you could make it a jailable offence to not report how your frame is doing one a year. That would be great.

You figuree tracking reports won't be full of clowns who got carried away with a tourque wrench or ran it into a garage on a roof rack and try to claim it's a bad frame?
And do you really think such an agency could accurately account for usage (miles) and riding style and adjust the numbers accordinly to be meaningful? Or the same 'rate' for downhill mountain bikes used for such by risk takers vs the same bike used for getting groceries would be meaningful.

I guess in summary: It is not a good idea.
Hey there Jay,

It doesn't really have to be connected to any governmental agency. It might very well be a grassroots consumer agency organized by volunteers. Its members could quite possibly be drawn from the RBR membership. I know, I'd like to volunteer for such a project.

Wouldn't you?
 
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