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Aluminium frame repair?


afoose
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Yesterday, my aluminium frame snapped clean through in the rear suspension triangle. No injuries, fortunately. Is there any chance my frame can be repaired? If so, please suggest professionals to the the job. There are very few suitable used frames on the market that I can afford, so I really hope so! Thanks a ton. (I can share photos if needed but could not figure how to post here).

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Aluminium is tricky to weld, although some have had success. The problem is that by welding it you're undoing the hardening process the factory applied.

 

You may find some answers in one of the threads: https://community.bikehub.co.za/index.php?app=core&module=search&do=search&fromMainBar=1

 

Post some pics of the frame. Instead of welding it you may be able to put a rod inside and then use carbon fiber / Fiber fix to 'bandage' it. But you'll have to decide if it's worth the risk of it breaking again. You may have to find a new triangle.

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Yesterday, my aluminium frame snapped clean through in the rear suspension triangle. No injuries, fortunately. Is there any chance my frame can be repaired? If so, please suggest professionals to the the job. There are very few suitable used frames on the market that I can afford, so I really hope so! Thanks a ton. (I can share photos if needed but could not figure how to post here).

Where are you based?

Plenty guys have had success with welding Aluminum. One of my tandems has been welded and still going many miles later.

Try post some pics if possible.

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Thanks for the various feedback.  Here is a photo showing the break. Any further ideas will be greatly appreciated.

 

Also, if you know someone who might be willing to sell a 29" frame (dual suspension preferred but good hardtail will be considered), please point them to me. I've checked what's advertised currently but would love other options. Thanks again!

post-126502-0-19796600-1608548653_thumb.png

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Where are you based?

Plenty guys have had success with welding Aluminum. One of my tandems has been welded and still going many miles later.

Try post some pics if possible.

I am in Swaziland but willing to ship my frame/bike as needed. Please let me know where you had your repair done. Thanks!

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Depending on the age/year model of the bike, the agents might be able to supply you with a replacement rear triangle. Even if it is no longer under warranty, they should be able to sell you one

I will give it a try. The bike is an older Gary Fisher, which Trek now owns. I will reach out to Trek and see what they say. Cheers.

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I am in Swaziland but willing to ship my frame/bike as needed. Please let me know where you had your repair done. Thanks!

So it was one of my buddies in the welding shop here at work. I am not sure if he does jobs on the side other than for friends. I will ask him.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Hubbers -- I have decided to go with Steve at Smartco Projects for the repair. I will let you know how it goes. Also, I may get my frame re-sprayed afterward. If so, I'll update you on that too. In the meantime, I am going to get my shocks serviced so that, if the frame repair goes well, I will have a "good-as-new" bike.

 

Thanks for all the input, and have a great New Year!

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I have a customer with a Gary Fischer and same problem . TREK was extremely helpful and supplied a new rear triangle . The bike is 12 years old and had my customer kept the invoice of purchase TREK would have replaced it for free . So if you bought this new and have the invoice try them.

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I have a customer with a Gary Fischer and same problem . TREK was extremely helpful and supplied a new rear triangle . The bike is 12 years old and had my customer kept the invoice of purchase TREK would have replaced it for free . So if you bought this new and have the invoice try them.

Thanks for the info!  I did reach out to Trek (in the USA)  and the rep I spoke with said they couldn't source a rear triangle for me. Perhaps I should try again and see if a different rep delivers a different result. Thanks again.

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Aluminium can be welded and repaired but I've often seen it fail again right alongside the repair. If that thing fails on you at an inopportune time (e.g. on a fast rough downhill or riding along a steep drop off such as a cliff edge), your medical bills may well far exceed the cost of a new bike. Not to mention pain and possible permanent disability. And not to mention potential fatality. 

 

The thing is that aluminium does eventually fail if it has been through sufficient stress cycles. That bike has failed at one point, in all probability because the number of stress cycles which it is capable of handling at that point has been exceeded. You have no idea where else in that frame you are approaching the limit of the number of stress cycles that it can handle. It's an older bike; it may have been ridden a lot. The truth is that everything eventually wears out and mountain bike frames in particular are subject to more stresses than the frames of other bikes used in more sedate conditions.

 

The thing may well have reached the end of its useful service life; which you are only going to ascertain with any certainty at potential risk to yourself.

 

If it was me, I would throw it away and replace it with something newer.

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Aluminium can be welded and repaired but I've often seen it fail again right alongside the repair. If that thing fails on you at an inopportune time (e.g. on a fast rough downhill or riding along a steep drop off such as a cliff edge), your medical bills may well far exceed the cost of a new bike. Not to mention pain and possible permanent disability. And not to mention potential fatality. 

 

The thing is that aluminium does eventually fail if it has been through sufficient stress cycles. That bike has failed at one point, in all probability because the number of stress cycles which it is capable of handling at that point has been exceeded. You have no idea where else in that frame you are approaching the limit of the number of stress cycles that it can handle. It's an older bike; it may have been ridden a lot. The truth is that everything eventually wears out and mountain bike frames in particular are subject to more stresses than the frames of other bikes used in more sedate conditions.

 

The thing may well have reached the end of its useful service life; which you are only going to ascertain with any certainty at potential risk to yourself.

 

If it was me, I would throw it away and replace it with something newer.

Mudlark -- Thanks for the thoughts and very reasonable points. It's a tough one for me. I am not working currently and my budget is tight. I began mountain biking when I arrived in Swaziland and am hooked. I don't want to give up but a new bike (even a "new" used bike) exceeds my budget. So I am trying the repair route to see if I can get the bike going again. My only other option is to try to borrow a bike locally which is fine but will limit how often I can ride. I am not disagreeing with what you wrote at all, just explaining my choice.

 

Your point about the medical bills is not lost on me. I guess I'm rolling the dice!

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