Am I going to die?

So I got this Repco Eurosport Tri-A off a friend for beer (which I ended up helping him drink) with idea of building it up and as a town bike / wet weather commuter / etc. It’s not amazing, but it was complete, full Shimano 105 running gear and the frame is Tange Infinity. The paint is rad though, which is why I really wanted it… I was pulling it apart this morning and as I was undoing the headset because it needs to be serviced, I noticed these on the top tube and down tube. The paint has chipped away on the top and a very, very slight bulge (you can only just see it and feel it) on the underside of the tubes. It has obviously been crashed at some point. I pulled out the forks and they look fine.

So what I want to know is should I even bother building this up? It’s a pretty awesome frame that fits me, but is it going to catastrophically fail on me? I plan to only spend very little on this bike (cables, chain, VO Porteur bars, seat post). I’m a bit pissed because I thought all would need to do it have the rear wheel trued and unstick the seat post.

EDIT: I’m assuming it has been ridden since its been crashed.

I’m no expert, but i would tentatively say it’s fine.

But i will wait for the Brakefrees and Spiritos to chime in.

We are all going to die.
But at the hands of this bike not sure it would be a shame to ditch it.
Like hmc said ill leave it to the brains trust.

i also think it’ll be fine.

i’ve seen a few frames where the paint has cracked at the tail of the lugs. in your case, this has lead to further flaking.

I doubt it will fail.

You will be able to see a crack forming long it causes an accident, may fuck with the handling though depending if the headtube has been bent back

Alright.

I’m feeling little better about this now. I’ll sand the rust back and have a closer look later.

I was going to run a Porteur rack or front basket, but I think I’ll leave it off this bike for now.

Thanks Internet people!

you’ll be fine. I’ve seen worse bulges ridden harder for longer.

Sounds like Mr. Dylan’s Tumblr…

my gold track bike has a bit of a bulge on the down tube from the day i bought it. Just tightens up the geo, ya dig?

Zing!

FWIW, I reckon it’ll be fine too.

Tight geo is rad as well! Sikk!

But in all seriousness, I’m glad it will (hopefully) be okay. I had enough trouble convincing my wife to let me keep it (I’ll feed it and look after it and walk it every night, I promise!), and I didn’t want to have to tell her it’s no good.

Did you get her the concorde?

Nah, she decided she didn’t want it because it looked too much like my F(ake) Moser…

try riding the frame ‘no hands’ when it is built up, it can be a good way to tell if/how bad a front end crash was - thou you already know its been crashed.

same on my track bike, is no big thing

You’ll be fine. All that’s gonna happen is you already know where it’s going to fail next time it takes a big front end crash.

Typical “can opener effect” from thick lug points which act as a stress riser. On older frames framebuilder’s who went to the next level and showed a bit of artisanry use the “thin out” (file down) the lug points to lessen the chance of the lugs points acting as a can opener. Lug thinning really is an art. Mostly started with British frame builders and some Italian’s, found popularity with the US framebuilders during the 70’s and Japanese shortly thereafter. Very few Aussie frame builders use to do anything to lugs before or after brazing, not that they couldn’t … people just didn’t want to spend any $ and an Aussie built frame was always going to be half the price or less of an imported Euro frame. That meant that local framebuilder’s would spend no extra time on refinements and even though they were talented few people ever paid for or supported them to showcase their talents. . Same goes for any production frame (like yours) from Japan, Europe or Taiwan (99.9% of frames built).

Lug thinning is done after brazing and really takes a lot of skill. You can easily make flat spots, and even ruin a frame if you mark or cut into the tube. It’s also tricky to ensure the lug shoreline’s are also crisp and uniform. + it takes a lot of time and patience. It’s likely that many of you haven’t seen a frame that has thinned lugs.

Oh … I should add, thinned lugs won’t make a stronger frame. Just one that won’t act like a can opener if it’s had an impact. It’s likely that such an impact will do damage somewhere else. I guess that’s the irony of going to the extra effort of thinning lugs … it’s mostly just for show.

Below are pics of precisely thinned lugs by a master and then a rough attempt by lowly apprentice (me). I haven’t finished as you can still see some cast reference points on the lug ends but I’d run out of patience, my hands were busted and to go any further I’d need to be rested, sharp and very careful to not slip and score the tube (= fuck the frame up). And yes the seat tube hasn’t been trimmed as yet.

And below are some examples by truly gifted framebuilders who were perhaps born to file Chris Kvale (grey) who is probably one of the most underrated framebuilder’s ever and Peter Johnson (blue)who attained a cult like status in the 70’s and early 80’s and really raised the bar on such lug crafting.


I could read these post’s all day,
Ever thought about a book.

wow. insanity.

Nah, that’s what forums are for.

Here’s a pic of a bare frame by Peter Johnson showing how he also used to add brass fillets to the lug to change the contour and shape. This was done prior to brazing as brass has a higher temp than silver (which is what he brazed the frame with). All of this is just to make standard lug look exactly so once painted and perfectly formed. Extreme subtelty, lug wankerism if you will.

These are the things that people should remind themselves of when they decree that frames should cost less than $1800. If it takes 80 to 120 hours+ to build a frame that’s truly a work of art and the materials alone cost between $300 to $500 then only an idiot is going to waste their time on doing anything other than the bare essentials.

Steel frames far exceed carbon in terms of raw material costs. They also take far longer to prep, build and finish too and thus labour is the biggest cost. Amusingly, the market is happy for overpriced mass produced carbon, yet a well built steel frame that’s made with some artisanry gets no love.

I will admit that none of this fancy lug stuff will make a frame ride differently. That’s solely dependent on design, geometry and to a small extent choice of materials (tubing spec. & diameter). But since the extra step of hand building a frame has been taken I feel there’s opportunity to make something beautiful as well as built for a purpose. We already pay extra for iPhone’s, European cars, and good coffee … why not throw some extra $'s on a frame that’s more refined than 99.9% of every other production frame, and something that’s unique?

How many things in your life can you say were truly hand built for you?

^ This guy gets it