General Question

zarnold's avatar

Is my bike frame recoverable?

Asked by zarnold (695points) September 17th, 2009

I was recently in an accident and both wheels of my bike were bent out of shape. The frame looks pretty OK, but I need some advice from bike experts on whether I should attempt to rebuild it or if it’s just better to get a new bike. Thanks!

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19 Answers

PandoraBoxx's avatar

It probably depends on what the frame is made of, what type of bike, and how bad the accident was. You can get a hidden stress fracture in the bike frame that could worsen over time. Where you hit by a car, or did you hit a surface flaw?

zarnold's avatar

I was hit by a car. The frame is pretty tall and is made of steel, and while the frame looks relatively unscathed, I can’t eyeball it that well.

whatthefluther's avatar

As with auto repair shops and automobile frames, a good, large bike repair shop should have the tools necessary to inspect and calibrate your frame and provide you results and recommendation. It will cost you tho, so you need to consider that cost and any potential repairs against replacement cost. See ya….Gary/wtf

YARNLADY's avatar

Don’t try this yourself. It could have some damage you can’t see. Take it to a reputable bike repair shop and pay for a full inspection. They can give you some recommendations if you insist on doeing the repairs yourself.

cosmosheep's avatar

@YARNLADY I’ve never taken in a bike frame to be fully inspected like that, but I feel that it isn’t a bad idea. I also feel like it is something that a decent bike shop (mind you, not a bike dealer) should maybe be willing to do for free. From their view they’re probably gonna get to, at the least, sell you a new wheel set (about $200 min. for ones that aren’t scary – lethal to ride). At most, a new bike? Sorry that you got hit. I’ve been it, and it isn’t really an enjoyable experience. It is a bummer.

jaytkay's avatar

Park Tools has great on-line bike repair advice on. Here’s Frame Alignment which shows how a pro would look over the frame.

rottenit's avatar

Steel should be more forgiving if there is minor damage to the frame but there can be some damage that you dont see as someone else said, stress fractures suck they can start small and get bigger until one day BOOM its failed.

Take the bike into a LBS (local bike shop) NOT some large department store type thing, have them look it over tell them what happened.

Bottom line is get it looked at by someone who knows what they are doing, I have seen the result of massive failure on bikes and its not pretty.
I have seen alot of accidents that the wheels and/or frame is shot but somehow most/all of the components are in good condition

sandystrachan's avatar

Change the wheels and see how it feels

sandystrachan's avatar

You might also need new forks

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

You should get the frame x-rayed. Steel frames can usually be cold worked if they’re a little bent, but if you’ve got any stress fractures around the lugs, you could wind up having the bike come apart on you, which is not a good thing. You can’t pick these things up by the naked eye, either.

I once had a Reynolds 531 frame that I wanted to have repainted, so I sent it back to the factory. They X-rayed it and found stress fractures around the bottom bracket. Since I had a lifetime warranty on the frame, I got it replaced, but I was lucky I didn’t have it disintegrate on me. That’s when I stopped jumping railroad tracks.

zarnold's avatar

Is getting an estimate like that expensive? It’s like a $100 bike, but I put some work into it and it really was perfect for me and for where I live. I guess maybe it’s a lost cause, given the cost of a new set of wheels?

rottenit's avatar

If the bike is a $100 I dont think its worth it, my LBS charges 19.99 for a safety check (Most of the time he dosent charge people). But unless you have a source for parts I think you are way better off looking on craigslist for a decent bike.

zarnold's avatar

Yeah that’s what I’m thinking at this point. I’m just really reluctant to part with it I suppose.

rottenit's avatar

If you are anywhere southern MN I can take a look at it for you.

zarnold's avatar

I’m in Chicago actually , but thanks for the offer!

rottenit's avatar

Cool, thats where I am from, palatine to be more specific.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@zarnold , what kind of bike is this? Road bike with drop handlebars, hybrid bike, or mountain bike with 26” rims? A new wheelset is going to cost you more than the bike, but around here, people just set their old bikes out by the curb on trash day. I have seen some perfectly serviceable bikes sitting out just because people are cleaning out the garage and nobody rides them. If you drive around the suburban neighborhoods, you might find something you can scavenge for parts and not have to spend a dime. I am in DuPage, BTW.

75movies's avatar

Where in Chicago? I live here as well and am very comfortable with recommending bike shops.

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