RE: [CR]What happens to ride quality in old frames?


Example: Framebuilders:Chris Pauley

Date: Mon, 20 May 2002 08:30:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tom Dalton <tom_s_dalton@yahoo.com>
Subject: RE: [CR]What happens to ride quality in old frames?
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
In-Reply-To: <C102531FB711D411B5B90060B0A468760DADAC@mail.bulgier.net>


Mark Bulgier <mark@bulgier.net> wrote:

steel can't lose any "ride quality" over time, unless there are fatigue cracks...

I have to wonder if this is not what people feel when old frames "go soft" If there are a number of small cracks that don't fully penetrate a tube it will certainly be less stiff. The question is how common is this problem? Can it be seen on painted frames? On stripped frames? with x-rays? I tend to think most "worn out" steel bikes are owned by guys who flatter themselves regarding the intensity and number of miles they log, but I do know guys who break steel frames and I bet they get squishy before they totally let go.

Tom Dalton Bethlehem, PA

bjectively what
> happens to an aging steel frame, does the ride characteristic
> become softer and more noodle-like, or harsher and brittle?
> Is some rust a determining factor in its characteristics?
> Does anyone have the scoop on what to expect with old frames?

I think the agreement is 100% among the scientists that study these things, steel can't lose any "ride quality" over time, unless there are fatigue cracks, or a substantial amount of the original material is gone, rusted away like Jamie's Jewel. If all or most of the steel is still there and not cracked, then the ride is the same as new.

Many riders have claimed to feel a softening over the years, but I believe this is easily explained by psychological factors and the unreliability of human perception. I think if there were some attribute of metal that is lost over time or hard miles, that the metallurgists would have discovered it by now. You might say I take this on faith.

Mark Bulgier
Seattle, Wa
USA