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Do Aluminum Bike Frames Crack? (REAL FACTS) – Pro Bike Corner

Do Aluminum Bike Frames Crack? (REAL FACTS)

Do Aluminum Bike Frames Crack

Do you know if Aluminum bike frames crack? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.

There are many advantages to having an aluminum bike frame. They are lightweight. They are fun to ride. They are easy to maintain.

This can lead to many people wondering whether there are any downsides to owning a bike frame like this. What could be the damage of an Aluminum bike frame?

On this page, we are going to answer the question ‘can aluminum bike frames crack?’

Do Aluminum Bike Frames Crack?

Do aluminum bike frames crack? Yes, aluminum bike frames will eventually crack. It may take an exceedingly long time if you have a quality bike frame, but it is something that will eventually happen, and there is nothing you can do that can really prevent it.

One of the major downsides of having an aluminum bike over a steel one is that they tend not to last as long as the steel option.

You also do not really get a warning that the bike frame is going to crack. You could be riding it perfectly fine one day, and then the next day the bike frame could be nigh on unusable.

aluminum bicycle frame crack
Bicycle Aluminum Frame Crack

The problem is that, sometimes, it can be difficult to tell whether your aluminum bike frame has cracked. In many cases, it may just be a small mark in the powdered coating.

If you are unsure whether it is a crack or not, the best option is to take your bike to a specialist and they will be able to tell.

Alternatively, you can remove the powdered coating around the potential crack and get a better look.

What Causes Aluminum Bike Frames to Crack?

Age is probably the main factor in a bike frame cracking. The older it gets, the weaker the material gets.

The weaker the material gets, the more likely the frame is to crack. Simple as that.

Of course, there are some manufacturers that will make stronger bike frames, and these will take a little bit longer to age.

If the bike has been put through a lot of bumpy off-roading, then it won’t last anywhere near as long as a bike that has been ridden mostly on flat roads.

The same goes for the amount of weight on the bike. If there is a heavier weight on the bike, it will be putting a lot more pressure on the bike frame. This will cause it to crack quicker.

Read also: Are Trek Bikes Good Quality? (All Facts You Need to Know)

There isn’t really much you can do to lower the chance of an aluminum bike frame cracking.

Remember; one of the advantages of owning this type of bike is because there is so little maintenance that is required.

The only real thing you can do is not put the bike through its paces, but we can’t really tell you to do that. The whole purpose of having a bicycle is to actually ride it, right?

All you really should be doing is wiping down your bike after every ride.

While this may not reduce the chance of cracking, it can help to reduce the chance of scratches, which may potentially lead to weak spots in the future. Those weak spots, in turn, could become a crack.

Which Parts of the Bike Frame Are Most-Likely to Crack?

While any part of the bike frame could potentially crack, it is more likely that the first cracks will appear in either the steering tube or on the seat posts.

This is because these are the parts of the bike frame that have the most amount of pressure put on them. 

Why is a Bike Frame Crack a Bad Thing?

There are some people that will tell you that it is perfectly fine to ride a bicycle with a small crack on. It isn’t.

The second that your bicycle starts to develop a crack is the second that it starts to become unsafe to ride.

Cracks develop over time. They do not stay small. The more pressure that is put on that crack, the larger it will get.

Eventually, that crack in the aluminum frame will get so big that the bike frame will completely give way.

There is no telling when that crack may become too large either.

You could go out cycling on your bike with the smallest of cracks, and then partway through the bike ride, your frame could just snap in half.

This could cause serious injury.

Whenever you get back from a bike ride, you are encouraged to check the bike frame for any cracks.

If you spot one, then it is important that you deal with the problem before you get back on the bike again.

In some cases, you could quite literally be risking your life.

How Long Do Aluminum Bike Frames Last?

How long do aluminum bike frames last? In most cases, you can expect an aluminum bike frame to last somewhere between 5 and 10-years. A lot of it will be dependent on the manufacturer.

Generally speaking, the better the manufacturer, the higher the quality of the bicycle frame.

There are some manufacturers that claim their aluminum bike frames can last upwards of 50-years. Some are even guaranteed for life.

Remember what we said before; there will be no warning that your bicycle frame is going to crack.

it will just crack one day. The longer you own the bike, the more likely that day is going to become. 

How Can You Repair Cracked Aluminum Bicycle Frames?

Firstly; it is important to remember that most bicycle manufacturers will have some sort of warranty on their bike frames.

This means that if you notice a crack in your bike frame, you may have a claim under the terms of your warranty.

Perhaps the best way to know whether you could have a successful warranty claim is to head to the local bike dealer that deals with your manufacturer.

They can tell you whether they are able to help.

It is probably worth pointing out that even if your bike frame claims to have a lifetime warranty, it may not necessarily have one.

The lifetime warranty will apply to defects in manufacturing as opposed to general wear and tear, which is going to be the cause of most cracks in bike frames.

If your bicycle isn’t covered under warranty, then just buy a new frame for it. Yes.

This is going to be an expensive option, but we promise you that it is going to be a far better option than the final one.

The final option is to weld the crack. This is not recommended and is more of a ‘stop-gap’ measure. You would have weakened the aluminum frame, and it is going to continue to crack.

You have really delayed the issue from being a major problem for maybe a few months. It will then come back with a vengeance.

Honestly, no matter what people may tell you if there is a crack in your aluminum bike frame, then it needs to be replaced.

The frame has come to the end of its natural lifespan. It is beyond saving, no matter how small the crack may be right now.

Conclusion

Despite the many benefits to aluminum bike frames, they will eventually crack.

If you do spot a crack on your bike frame, it is important that you get the problem rectified before you get back on it.

References

https://ridemonkey.bikemag.com

https://bicycles.stackexchange.com

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John Muranko

John is Founder and Senior Bike Editor at ProBikeCorner. John is a bike and travel addict who has cycled through 17+ countries and doesn't really have any plans of stopping. He´s passionate about helping others by creating technical resources, in-depth reviews and more…

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