Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

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Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby TCAT » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:19 pm

My aluminium bike has had to be ‘put down’ after a crack has been found in the head tube. Image
I am surprised this has occurred as although the bike maybe 15 years old it has only done about 25,000km. The bike has been ridden on mainly good roads and bike paths and has been looked after quite well.
Would I be correct in assuming that a crack like this would be expected on an aluminium bike at this age? Have others here had their bikes frames crack for no apparent reason?
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by BNA » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:36 pm

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Re: Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby queequeg » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:36 pm

TCAT wrote:My aluminium bike has had to be ‘put down’ after a crack has been found in the head tube. Image
I am surprised this has occurred as although the bike maybe 15 years old it has only done about 25,000km. The bike has been ridden on mainly good roads and bike paths and has been looked after quite well.
Would I be correct in assuming that a crack like this would be expected on an aluminium bike at this age? Have others here had their bikes frames crack for no apparent reason?


Yes, I have broken two Alu frames after substantially less use than that, and over a 1 year period.

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Re: Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby Nobody » Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:25 pm

As queequeg said, it's fairly common for an Al frame ridden that distance. They eventually fatigue and crack. One way to try to avoid cracking (and then there is no guarantee) is to get an overbuilt steel or Ti frame.
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Re: Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby rangersac » Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:48 pm

Cracked a downtube on a Al flatbar road commuting bike. Had probably done less than 15,000 km and was about 5 years old. If you are going for Al again get one with a really solid warranty for piece of mind (Orbea honored mine no questions asked). If you after longevity look for some in the touring market, they are designed that way for a reason.
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Re: Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby find_bruce » Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:38 pm

Yep, my alu frame from the early 90s also cracked - head tube & seat tube - if you look at current alu frames you will see how much they have beefed up the head tube around the bearings to try & prevent it.
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Re: Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby zero » Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:00 pm

I've cracked a couple of trek aluminum frames. First one lasted 12000 kms, the second one lasted 12000 kms, the replacement has lasted 18,000 and is still going, but a fuel 9 frame isn't exactly a lightweight frame. Bear in mind 12000 kms is 2 years for me so I tend to find that lifespan cheesy and inadequate.

The good news is that you didn't faceplant as a result of the crack.
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Re: Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby bigfriendlyvegan » Tue Jul 23, 2013 8:06 pm

At least now you have a dedicated trainer bike, just like my Al Giant.
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Re: Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby warthog1 » Tue Jul 23, 2013 9:08 pm

I've had 2 aluminium bikes crack. Head tube on the first, chain stay on the second.
Light frames can crack over time. I've heard all major frame materials crack on here.
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Re: Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby TCAT » Tue Jul 23, 2013 10:37 pm

Thanks for your responses.
Seems I may have got more distance from mine than others on here have.
Anyway it probably is a good excuse to go get the touring bike I have been wanting to buy this past year but have put off for various reasons.
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Re: Cracked head tube – aluminium frame

Postby stanzarallyman » Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:05 pm

That frame has cracked due to a stress raiser at the headset junction. Suspect not smooth, or not really round when headset went in.

My 1996 Cannondale touring bike is still going strong and it does over 12,000km a year.
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