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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I just purchased a closeout deal on a high-end US made ti road frame. I have noticed numerous weld undercuts on it. It's a butted tube frame made by...let's just say that it has the hourglass seatstays and is not made in the NE.

The the two major areas of concern are on at the ST/DT juncture, and a pretty deep gouge on the seatstay by the brake bridge. I understand that these are likely area for cracks to develop. The underscutting also occured at the HT and DT joint - although to a lesser degree. All the cable fitting on the TT and chainstay are also noticeably undercut.

I checked out other TIG frames, even much less expensive ones, non have exhibited the consistent undercutting in areas of acute angle junctions. I am not after cosmetic perfection, but am concerned that the frame will fail prematurely at these spots. The frame does have a life time warranty - but if these are glaring red flags...

I NEED ADVICE ON:

How much undercutting is accceptable in terms of structural integrity?

Would you keep or return the frame - this was the last one in stock, so no possibility of exchange.


Thanks.
 

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My Advice...

I would give Tom Kellog a call or send him an email. You may get a quicker response if you post your question over in the Spectrum forum at http://www.bikefanclub.com He is extremely knowledgeable and eager to help. He may want you to post some pics and that would even be useful in this post as well. It's a little bit hard to say how much undercutting becomes a structural problem.
 

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RBrider said:
I just purchased a closeout deal on a high-end US made ti road frame. I have noticed numerous weld undercuts on it. It's a butted tube frame made by...let's just say that it has the hourglass seatstays and is not made in the NE.

Any reason why the manufacturer name is not disclosed?
 

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Road cyclist said:
RBrider said:
I just purchased a closeout deal on a high-end US made ti road frame. I have noticed numerous weld undercuts on it. It's a butted tube frame made by...let's just say that it has the hourglass seatstays and is not made in the NE.

Any reason why the manufacturer name is not disclosed?
Maybe cause it's a LS and he doesn't want to start a LS bashing thread?
 

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RBrider said:
I just purchased a closeout deal on a high-end US made ti road frame. I have noticed numerous weld undercuts on it. It's a butted tube frame made by...let's just say that it has the hourglass seatstays and is not made in the NE.

The the two major areas of concern are on at the ST/DT juncture, and a pretty deep gouge on the seatstay by the brake bridge. I understand that these are likely area for cracks to develop. The underscutting also occured at the HT and DT joint - although to a lesser degree. All the cable fitting on the TT and chainstay are also noticeably undercut.

I checked out other TIG frames, even much less expensive ones, non have exhibited the consistent undercutting in areas of acute angle junctions. I am not after cosmetic perfection, but am concerned that the frame will fail prematurely at these spots. The frame does have a life time warranty - but if these are glaring red flags...

I NEED ADVICE ON:

How much undercutting is accceptable in terms of structural integrity?

Would you keep or return the frame - this was the last one in stock, so no possibility of exchange.


Thanks.


Moots and Litespeed don't have hourglass chainstays. AFAIK, Seven doesn't either. Cannondale and Merlin have them. But Cannondale doesn't make Ti frames.
FWIW, I have 2 Merlins, 1 is one of the earliest they made, the other a 2001 and they held up pretty well.

The equation is: return it and you lose the opportunity to save on a brand new frame vs. keep it and be contended with what you have.
If you want to save then keep it, anyway it has a lifetime warranty which covers material and workmanship. Or,... wait same time next year and they'll be on sale again :D
 

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I owned a LS and the LBS noticed the rear triangle was off and the wheel wouldn't sit in the center of the stays, it was off to one side. We called LS and they repaired it, which included new dropouts and sent it back. They did a perfect job.
If I were you I'd go back to where you bought it, show them the welds and they'll contact the Manufacturer and send the frame back for them to inspect and fix. If there's an issue they can handle it. If that failed I'd get my money back and go find another bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the advice

Thanks for eveyone's thoughtful advice. Sorry to be so criptic about the identity of the frame. Until I am absolutely certain that there is a real quality or customer service issue, I do not wish to get into the game of name bashing.

Having said that, those of you who are familiar with current major US ti builders can probably deduce the source of the frame.

I just want to do some homework before I contact the BS which is several states away from me. I will try to have the frame looked at by local acquaintences who are quite knowledgable in bike tech. I am planning on sending the frame back the retailer - see what they say about it, and go from there.

NEW Q: THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE HIGH-END TI FRAMES SUCH AS MOOTS, SEROTTA, SEVEN, ETC., HOW MUCH WELD UNDERCUTTING IS PRESENT ON YOUR FRAME?

Thanks Again.
 

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RBrider said:
NEW Q: THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE HIGH-END TI FRAMES SUCH AS MOOTS, SEROTTA, SEVEN, ETC., HOW MUCH WELD UNDERCUTTING IS PRESENT ON YOUR FRAME?

Thanks Again.
I have looked at the welds on my Moots w/ a fine toothed comb.....well, a virtual fine tooth comb. I shave my head, so a real comb isn't necessary except for the real find comb I use to remove the crabs. At any rate, there is zero undercutting of welds on my Moots. None.
 

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No undercutting on a Seven either

I have a Seven and the welds are almost perfect. No issues here.
 

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The post doesn't sound cryptic. The only high end ti builders I know of in the US with hourglass seatstays are either Merlin or Spectrum. Spectrums do not go on closeout sale because they are pure custom made to order bikes so it has got to be a Merlin. Please post some photos of the undercutting I would like to see what it looks like.

I would also suggest contacting Tom Kellogg directly at www.spectrum-cycles.com, he is very helpful in answering questions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
Good suggestion about posting some pictures...

I'll try later today to snap some digital photos of the area in question. Given the tight view and light reflectivity of the ti surface, it might be difficult get a shot to clearly show the undercutting. I'll see what I can do.

EDIT: Sorry, could not get proper focus and lighting to get a clear photo of the weld detail.
 

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RBrider said:
Good suggestion about posting some pictures...

I'll try later today to snap some digital photos of the area in question. Given the tight view and light reflectivity of the ti surface, it might be difficult get a shot to clearly show the undercutting. I'll see what I can do.

EDIT: Sorry, could not get proper focus and lighting to get a clear photo of the weld detail.
Excuse my ignorance, but what is weld undercutting?-Thanks-Jim
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
A weld undercut is...

jordan said:
Excuse my ignorance, but what is weld undercutting?-Thanks-Jim
Base on my understanding...

A weld undercut happens when too much heat is applied during the welding process such that a portion of the base metal is melted away.
The toe of the filler beads actually dips below (undercuts) the surface of the base metal (frame tubing in this case) - resulting in a potentially weakened joint. It's the opposite of a weld with insufficient penetration (heat level too low). Neither conditions are desirable in structurally critical areas.
 
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