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pls help: E.Merckx Team SC downtube dented(12 posts)

pls help: E.Merckx Team SC downtube dentedMaverick
Oct 31, 2002 6:03 AM
Merckx Team SC scandium road frame.

my problem goes like this:

as i was not aware of the thin wall downtube, i actually installed a bike pump (inclusive of holder) at the side of the downtube (bolted together with the bottle cage) . after several rides, while cleaning the bike, i found that the side wall at the downtube has 3 minor dents on it. located 6 centimetres away from the bottom bracket position, the 3 dents are evenly place with a total length of 4 centimetres. i estimate the major dent to be about 2-3 milimetres deep.

my question is:
1. would a dent of 2-3mm deep weaken a scandium downtube?
2. will it effect the fatigue life of the frame?
3. is it safe to continue riding the frame?
this is what I don't understand about weight weenie-ismtarwheel
Oct 31, 2002 7:30 AM
Sorry, I can't help you with your problem and I sincerely hope that some can. I don't mean to rub salt in the wound, but isn't this sort of problem inevitable with most (if not all) of the super-light aluminum frames? A friend of mine rides one of the scandium/carbon Klein frames, and when I picked it up one day to see how light it was, I couldn't believe how fragile it felt. The top tube felt like a beer can that would crush with the slightest bit of pressure.

Anyway, I apologize for the thread drift but I just don't understand the appeal of these sorts of frames. As you can probably guess, I ride steel frames that are sturdy enough to clamp in a bike stand. They may be "heavy" -- if you want to call a 4 lb frame that -- but I don't have to worry about dents.

I can understand why bike companies sell fragile frames -- it just means the customer will have to buy another one in a few years. But why do cyclists buy these frames, given their fragility (and high price)? For $1500-2000, it seems like someone could expect a frame to last a few years if not a lifetime.
mmm, I considered this also... another vote for the Opera nmrwbadley
Oct 31, 2002 7:34 AM
You mean the Pinarello Opera?...Bruno
Oct 31, 2002 9:19 AM
I believe that it is made of steel taken to the extreme. I wouldn't be surprised if it behaved similar to very light aluminium frames since it is a very light steel frame.
You mean the Pinarello Opera?...Sherpa23
Oct 31, 2002 10:28 AM
The Opera is the biggest offender of all. Before you jump on me, let me make it clear that I love steel. I had a steel Anvil that I won several big races on it, and often it was the only steel bike in the field, so don't say I am biased against steel. Having said that, the Opera is a big mistake.
This is from some testing I was lucky enough to be in on: to get about 5 years of 7,000 mile seasons out of an aluminum frame, it needs to be 2.8 lbs. For the same expectancy out of a steel bike, it must be 3.1 lbs. I ride about 20,000 miles annually so this is a big concern for me. Sub 1000g aluminum frames are no different than sub 1250g steel frames. If you buy one, you're asking for trouble.
I have a team issue Pinarello Prince that is custom made. This is not one you can buy in a store, but a TEAM ISSUE bike for a professional racer. That thing weighs in at 3.5 lbs for the frame only. Not light, is it? Pinarello is marketing towards people's fears: people think that aluminum/carbon is light but it doesn't last so they make one that lasts. It's not light weight but no one realizes that. They do the same thing with the Opera: people think that steel is durable and great but is so heavy, so they make a 2.6 lb frame.
If you want a top steel bike, even one with a carbon rear end, do yourself a favour and get one from someone like Anvil who will build you the right bike for you as light as possible for your needs. It's better than having bad stuff happen in a year and then you're out $2500 or whatever Operas go for.
BTW, I don't race on the Pinarello now but an incredibly fantastic frame from a custom carbon builder. I am going to convert the Pinarello to a crappy weather bike and maybe also put some 'cross tires on it.
Thanks for the tip... I also have fears of gettingrwbadley
Oct 31, 2002 12:31 PM
'too light' a bike, for this reason. I am not sponsored, and would prefer the bike last longer than a season.. If the light steel bikes are similar to the light gauge al. then the big concern is durability, and I am looking for something that will last.

Thanks for confirming a doubt that I had about both of these bikes (see previous thread)

Your bike now has soul. Enjoy it! (nm)Spunout
Oct 31, 2002 9:27 AM
re: pls help: E.Merckx Team SC downtube dentedscary slow
Oct 31, 2002 11:21 AM
I have a Klein Adroit mtb with ultra thin tubing. It has several dents in it from a few years of hard riding and racing. Some are from rocks kicking up on the trail, others are from arguments with trees, rocks, etc. My point is, I don't think you have anything to worry about. Consider it normal wear and tear and as one post stated now your bike has some "soul".
Oct 31, 2002 11:27 AM
In reply to your questions:

1. Well considering that a "scandium" tube is really an aluminum tube with 1% or 2% scandium in it, the tube is very thin walled aluminum. I would say that it is slightly weakened.

2. Considering that the life expectancy of a scandium frame is only about 1 or 2 years, and the location of the dents, fatigue life is probably not compromised.

3. I don't know how much you weigh or what kind of riding and mileage you do so it's hard to answer. I would think that if it did break at the dents, it wouldn't be catastrophic. I have broken a bike before on the down tube and I was able to ride it home. Slowly.
Scandium life expectancy is only about 1 or 2 years???Horace Greeley
Oct 31, 2002 12:10 PM
Just curious where this tidbit of info comes from.
It depends on how much and how hard it is ridden...Gregory Taylor
Oct 31, 2002 12:41 PM
...but, yes, a very light Scandium frame has a limited safe life span. I was shopping the Dean Ole' pretty hard (Scandium - Carbon seat stays, 2.5 lbs.) and the dudes at Dean informed me that it was basically a disposable race bike that would last a season or two of racing. The guarantee reflected that.

That said, the average cyclist doing 7,000 or so miles a year probably isn't likely to rack up the stress of two seasons of full-on racing and training. Treated like that, the frame is likely to last much longer.
Info SourceSherpa23
Nov 1, 2002 7:19 AM
This is what I was told by an Easton engineer who was partly responsible for the tubing and also Nova Cycle Supply, who distributes the tubing. Someone there told me that no one should offer a warranty on scandium and if they do, it should not be longer than a year. The big bike manufacturers are not always as up front as the tubing manufacturers.