CAUTION REGARDING ALUMINUM FRAMES: Guess I'll be building a new bike...

Discussion in 'Frame Mounted Engines' started by RedBaronX, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    I was just outside fixing something on my bike when I noticed-- the downtube close to where it meets the fork tube is nearly cracked all the way through...!

    This was a brand new bike four months ago, and I've only got about 300 or so miles on it.

    It's an aluminum frame-- I bought the bike before I knew that bicycle engines even existed, so if I had been planning a MB from the start I would have gone with steel.

    I could just cry-- I've put god knows how much money into this sucker, and I've barely ridden it (yes I consider 300 miles "barely" riding it). I started this as an alternative to taking the bus-- I've been without my car for over five months already, and I am $1600 away from affording the repairs it needs. When I started the MB project, I was actually leaning towards selling the car-- otherwise I probably would have skipped the project altogether. If I had, well, I would probably be able to finish paying off the repair by the end of November.

    I wouldn't trust repairing the frame.

    I am currently so broke, I am literally making a batch of cabbage soup.

    Well, I guess this gives me an excuse to make something from a Worksman... just don't know when that's going to happen.

  2. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

    Sorry to hear about your bad luck.

    Count your blessings --It's better to find the cracked frame while looking at it & NOT riding it.

    I'm going to throw out a few ideas for you.....

    You really don't have to buy a whole bicycle. You can use your current wheelset & components on a suitable frame & forks. You might even be able to use your current forks....assuming they are steel.

    Check your local Freecycle and Craigslist. There are tons of bikes out there with bent rims, missing pedals, rusty chains etc.... and folks will give them away.

    Call around to local bike shops. Many have older, heavy weight (sturdy) frames, considered obsolete....just lying around.
    **NOTE-- when talking to your bike shop people....Don't mention motor bike to them, as many find this a turnoff and they will be less likely to help you.

    Check with local Metal Reclaimers.... that's where all my old frames went.

    Just sayin'...... a sturdy older frame... Schwinn, Murray,(I get a bunch of Roadmasters) etc. & some elbow grease & a few hours & you'll be back on the road again, with minimal co$t.

    What size are your wheels? 26" or24" ??
  3. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    I do know how lucky I am that the frame did not fail as I was riding it because a failure like that could have been deadly.

    The forks are aluminum as well I am assuming. The wheels are 26".

    Whatever bike/frame I get, it's going to have to come to me as I have no car to go and get it.

    I would be content with just a replacement frame and forks that would fit the wheels, crank, etc everything else... but with probably only a month or so left in the Wisconsin riding season (unless I want to ride when it gets really cold) I might as well build exactly what I would have built if I was starting completely over.

    I'll look around craigslist and freecycle (one Yahoo Groups allows me to create a danged account...)

    I am going to assume that I'll have to suck it up until spring (tax time) when I can get a complete Worksman-- I was eventually going to get Worksman wheels and such anyway. If I get lucky and find a used one, it will be a huge bonus.
  4. srdavo

    srdavo Active Member

  5. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    the Milwaukee "chapter" is formatted as a Yahoo group... and as I am so singularly-minded, I was thinking in terms of "Free Cycle", not "freecycle" as in "recycle"... well, I've joined and I'll keep watching...
  6. reb1

    reb1 Member

    Aluminum is known for catastrophic failure. Steel will usually give signs of failure that are much easier to detect. I am glad you found the problem before it caved while you were traveling down the road. I worked in bicycle shops when I was younger and have never owned an aluminum framed bicycle.
  7. Al.Fisherman

    Al.Fisherman Active Member

  8. Porkchop

    Porkchop Member

    If the bike came from a department store like Walmart or K-Mart, maybe they'll take it back and you and allow you the purchase price on a different bike. Also, were you using a HT frame mount engine ? I don't see or hear of rack or friction drives breaking frames. I don't think anyone will argue the fact that Japanese brand engines are a lot better. There are many Japanese models to choose form that work well with rack/friction drive kits. Sorry you're in such a dilemma ! Hope your luck and finances make a quick turn for the better !
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2015
  9. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    going with a rack mount would be significantly more money than just a new bike-- more money that does not exist. And I am one of those who prefers the frame-mount look-- rack mounts have no aesthetic appeal to me at all.

    The bike was bought through internet mail order-- little chance I would be able to return it.

    This bike is/was my commuter bike (as well as looking cool). My commute is 30 miles round trip. I need something strong...

    Through the Worksman site, you can buy a bike with no special options for $300... while I am not going for specifically the "BTR" look, the Worksman is probably the best bike...
  10. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    though... the Flying Flea motorcycle has a pretty straight frame like the Worksman:


    not exactly the same, but moderately similar...
  11. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    Aluminum is a fine material for a bike frame. With that said its all how the material is used in a bike frame. With out the frames make and model I can't make any intelligent comment on your situation.
    My motored bike is on a 21 year old Gary Fisher Almuinum mountain bike with a rack mounted GEBE kit. It is extreamly reliable! over 1000 miles as a motored bike for my 66 mile round trip commute.
    The model of this bike is the Gary Fisher CR-7 with many inovations of frame design that carry on to this day. This bike was high end for the time.
    In the mountain bike industry Aluminum frames are standard and very strong and reliable among the name brand manufactures such as Fisher and Trek and specialized bikes.
    I would agree that steel would be a great choice for a motored bike but in reality there are few new high quality steel frames being made right now.
    I would if I were in your situation find a good quality used bike off of craigs list or your neighbors dumpster and build it up with a Japan based motor like the Robin or the tanaka.
    I know GEBE's kits are expensive but I have not been in my cage to go to work for over 3 weeks now. 743 dollars total investment. Thats the kit and a new GEBE rear wheel. Cheap IMO for a way to get to work. Also, about 200 mpg per galleon!
    Of course just an opinion...
    I was on my way home from work and what did I see? An old mid '90's steel framed mountain bike waiting to be picked up by the garbage men. Bent rear wheel other wise the bike is fine. So, there is my back up commuter frame sitting in the basement for my GEBE 743 dollar investment to go on to if needed.
    Sorry to here about your problems.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  12. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    <li><a href="">The Kettle Moraine Biker</a></li>

    Check out my blog. Scroll down and check out my bike. Links don't work just cut and paste into a new browser.
    This is 21 year old Aluminum bike frame technology.

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2010
  13. skyl4rk

    skyl4rk Guest

    Sorry to hear about your bike. I have been finding it very difficult to find old bikes, it seems they are either picked up for scrap or people think they are worth 100 bucks.
  14. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    I've pretty much decided that I am going to save up and get a Worksman... the Pirate Cycles version has dual drum brakes, kevlar tires, and all sorts of other bells and whistles that I wanted anyway-- all for $500. Since the frame of my bike failed so quickly, I really can't trust anything else from the rest of the bike. I wanted to get upgraded wheels ANYWAY, and that alone was going to run around $200.

    I COULD buy a steel version of my bike for under $200-- Micargis seem to be quite popular with MB builders, so they can't be ALL bad-- but then I would still want to get upgraded wheels and such, putting the overall price up along the Worksman again...

    It's nearly November, and this is Wisconsin. I was going to continue to ride my bike as much as I could tolerate, but that still might have only been a dozen or so days until spring.

    So, right now I am selling off some stuff I don't need, pinching pennies... I would like to get something over the winter so I can start painting and building, but I might be waiting all the way to tax returns to get a new bike.
  15. Slackbiker

    Slackbiker Member

    I use an aluminum frame bike for my motorized tour bike, which includes a lot of washboardy roads with a loaded tour bike. But it is a Cannondale, which is a quality brand.
  16. Stan4d

    Stan4d New Member

    Cut and paste does not work on that. When I delete the unneeded stuff it says that the blog does not exist. Please try again........
  17. bucvoss

    bucvoss Member

    I have a trike that the front is alu and back is steel. has a 150cc motor in it and the alu is holding fine. Heck i even migged supports to the alu frame to bolt the steel back to. I like to use alu when ever possible on my trikes.

    heres a couple of pics, just dont laugh as it will hurt my feelings lol

  18. KevinK

    KevinK Member

  19. RedBaronX

    RedBaronX Member

    Gary Fisher and Trek make professional-grade racing bikes, so I would hope that anything they make would stand up to motorizing. I was actually advised to get aluminum by a friend who is a professional mountain- and cross- racer. As a mere pedal bike, my bike in aluminum would probably last a decent amount of time. I don't blame her for "bad advice" on buying aluminum-- when I bought it, it WAS to be a pedal bike. The decision to motorize came after the bike arrived.

    Mine is a Greenline-- I don't know if they ARE the same thing as Micargis, but they look identical and the price level is the same.
  20. KevinK

    KevinK Member

    I have never heard of a brand called green line. Fisher and Trek manufacturer high quality bikes at all of the price points. I still can not make an intelligent comment on your bike frame.
    I am very very new to the motorized bike world but my opinion of many of the "sellers" of kits especially the ones with cheap china engines is not favorable. Since I am so ignorant please take such a comment with a grain of salt. However, GEBE as a reputable manufacturer of high quality motorized bike kits does get my Kudos. I put this motor and kit on a 21 year old useless bike and now have over 1200 commuter miles on it?
    Now I do not want to be negative here but you seriously need to look at better quality manufacturers of your cycling products.
    The frame set being the most important part of any bicycle. Now, if your frame set is good ya can fix anything else that comes along.
    I have little to say to the manufacturers of cheap bike frames with cheap unreliable engine kits on them. I propose that those with limited funds go used for a bicycle and go mainline and ultra reliable as far as the motorized engine or kit they might choose.
    I looked around for a long long time and when I did go motorized I purchased from GEBE. Are they the best out there? Don't know. Did I go wrong? Don't know. But what I do know is that I have had more mechanicals on my bike than on GEBE's kit. That's sure something. 1200 commuter miles and counting.