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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a nice used 1992 Merlin road bike and am very happy with it. But I have become slightly paranoid after reading these forums about the potential for cracks/failure in this frame (or titanium frames in general, I also purchased a used 1998 Dean mountain bike last year which I love dearly) based on the seeming preponderance of stories about cracks appearing in the bottom bracket area, dropouts, etc. For background I raced seriously for several years but stopped racing several years ago and weigh around 190lbs, about 25lbs more than my racing weight, and never had a frame fail on me, riding two aluminum frames and then two steel frames.

1. first, is titanium more likely than steel (or other frame materials) to develop cracks (or to be specific earlier titanium tubing)? I understand Merlin provides a lifetime warranty on their frames but I'm not sure if that extends to the second owner, anyone know the answer to that question? For reference the welds on my frame appear clean and well made so I don't anticipate that being a problem.

2. second, I perform all the maintenance of my bike so inspect it fairly frequently. If a crack develops is this something you can "feel" right away or is it usually spotted by visual inspection?

3.third, are cracks typically something that just randomly happen or the result of some stress such as a hard crash?
 

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Juanmoretime
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Frame failures occur no matter what. Overall design has more of a bearing on failure verses material. I have a 1997 Litespeed Vortex that was one of the lightest 6.4 titanium versions of the Vortex that Litespeed made, 2.95 lbs for a size 59. This October it will be ten years old and with a few crashes, fortunaltely no frame damage, and tens thousands of miles. It rides like the day I first built it up. Good design will give you great frame life and even a few of those will fail. The most important thing you can do is go with a compant that you know will first stand behind their product and lastly, they will be around tomorrow to support that product. Buy right and get the frame material that your heart desires.

Careful and frequent inspections should allow you to detect a crack before it gets to the point of being a serious injury causing failure. That's why I frequently clean thoroughly my bikes to inspect the tubes and welds all at the same time. I've never found one.

No company will extend the warranty to the second owner but may extend a goodwill repair at a more favorable cost to you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the informative reply, that pretty much answers my questions. I suppose it makes sense if the frame is set up in the jig and welded very well under ideal conditions then it would minimize the stresses on the tubes and joints and minimize the chance of failure.
 
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