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I was taken out hard in a recent criterium and my bars spun hard and put a sizeable dent in my top tube. It looks like the frame alignment is ok, but the dent looks bad. It's about 1 inch long and maybe 1/4 inch deep.

Is my Principia dead?
 

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It may be dead but....

keep it around for an indoor trainer bike (not rollers!). As thin walled as butted tubes are today on aluminum frames, it wouldn't take much to cause a catastrophic failure. It might not feel like it's knocked the bike out of alignment, but it most likely will change the way your bike handles at speed. I had a similar issue with a Merckx Scandium frame and turned a blind eye towards it, but it wreaked havoc with the bike on any sizeable descent and made the handling even more squirrley.

I'm sure some folks are willing to take the risk, but I'd play it safe and pick out another frame. Sucks I know, as I've gone through this a couple of times myself.
 

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Sky's not falling.

Every so often, look for cracks in the area where there are sharp creases, usually at the edges of the dent. If you don't see any, keep riding the frame. The only way a dent is going to change the handling of your frame is by power of suggestion—if you believe it, it will. I've never heard of a so-called "catastrophic failure" from a top tube dent. Once you see cracks, just quietly retire the frame.
 

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I had a Cannondale CAAD7 that fell over in a doorway and got a dent about the size of a nickel on the top tube. I rode it for about 4,000 more miles (at 240 pounds), and never had any issues.

I did make sure to examine the area before and after every ride though.
 

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Alloy is stronger than you think

If the frame is some super lightweight frame ... like those Scott's of about three years ago, then I wouldnt risk it (remembering the trick of standing on an aluminium can, then try standing on one with a small dent in it .. ).

This is my xc mtb frame that got this dent in it about three years ago. We put the frame on the ground and bashed it straighter, and thats it.

Since this dent, this bike has done a lot of miles, and many of them on very rough tracks (think Morzine, Southern Spain, Whistler ... ). It has been fine.

Can you post a picture of yours?

-Chris
 

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Really, that would kill an aluminum bike?

Nearly all my experience is with steel, so I dunno. If it were in my Rambouillet, I'd just hunt up a set of frame blocks and round the thing out as well as I could and never give it another thought. Is a dent like really enough to do aluminum in?
 

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I'm sure I'll get flamed for saying this, but I don't believe you will always see any cracking before it folds. And if it folds very bad things can happen; I mean it's likely to fail when you are putting a load on it. In other words going fast, standing up, cornering hard on bumps, you get the picture.

I broke a customer's frame on a test ride in another lifetime, and you would not believe what it feels like.

My dentist is way too expensive to risk that.
 

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StillKeen said:
If the frame is some super lightweight frame ... like those Scott's of about three years ago, then I wouldnt risk it (remembering the trick of standing on an aluminium can, then try standing on one with a small dent in it .. ).

This is my xc mtb frame that got this dent in it about three years ago. We put the frame on the ground and bashed it straighter, and thats it.

Since this dent, this bike has done a lot of miles, and many of them on very rough tracks (think Morzine, Southern Spain, Whistler ... ). It has been fine.

Can you post a picture of yours?

-Chris

Holy crap! You still ride that?
 

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Picture was before it was straightened.

Now its about 50% straighter.

This bike has seen a lot of use since this, and is showing no signs of failing. I am looking to replace it at some point in the near future, but only because I'm thinking of getting a full suspension bike instead.

-Chris
 
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