Results 1 to 21 of 21
  1. #1
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Posts
    55

    How long does an aluminum frame last?

    I'm looking at getting a CAAD9. I've read that unlike steel or carbon, aluminum will eventually fatigue and fail. How long would this likely take? Is it the kind of thing where it could realistically fail in 5 years, or is it the kind of thing where it would take 50 years of hard riding to fail?

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    2,293
    ahh jeez. propaganda, or should i say its a prejudice against alu from the carbon and steel folks... any decent design will not see this be a factor in your lifetime...

    anyways, u said u're looking at a caad9. lifetime warantee. Ride it and be happy.

  3. #3
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    343
    I still have my 1998 F500 with many many many miles on rough terrain. No sign of cracks yet.

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Addict
    Reputation: jtferraro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    673

    Agreed

    Quote Originally Posted by wankski
    ahh jeez. propaganda, or should i say its a prejudice against alu from the carbon and steel folks... any decent design will not see this be a factor in your lifetime...

    anyways, u said u're looking at a caad9. lifetime warantee. Ride it and be happy.
    +1...
    -Jeff

  5. #5
    RoadBikeReview Addict
    Reputation: jtferraro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    673
    Quote Originally Posted by LeDomestique
    I still have my 1998 F500 with many many many miles on rough terrain. No sign of cracks yet.
    and I still have my 1995 F700 (which I received in July '94)!
    -Jeff

  6. #6
    CHL
    CHL is offline
    Naso Unicornis
    Reputation: CHL's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    908
    I've had my CAAD4 R800 since 2002. Since then, I've averaged about 2,000-2,500 miles per year. It's had a close encounter with the top of my garage on my car roof racks and it's still rolling. After so long, I still smile at the brute acceleration of my CAAD4.

    There's no reason the bike shouldn't last for many years, if properly used and maintained. Have no fear of buying aluminum, especially from a company that specializes in manufacturing bikes with it.

    CHL

  7. #7
    eRacer
    Reputation: jmlapoint's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    2,554
    My 1978 Cannondale SR900 is still going strong.
    I've got the 'wrinkles', but the Cannon shows no signs of getting old.
    John Lapoint / San Diego
    God is Great, Beer is Good, and People are Crazy!

  8. #8
    LA CHEVRE
    Reputation: Dan Gerous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,271
    It may be true for pure aluminum (which is never used for bikes) or early alu-based alloys but current alloys are pretty durable... and from a company that has so many years of experience with the material like Cannondale? Not a concern IMO...

    DAN GEROUS

    : ROAD
    : CYCLOCROSS
    : MOUNTAIN BIKING

  9. #9
    Soft Woman w/ a Hard Tail
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    23
    This is a silly question...

    Barring design/manufacturing flaws...frames of any material will generally last until broken or wrecked in any episode that exceeds the capacities they are originally designed for....

    unfortunately most human bodies will (like carbon) catastrophically fail when crashed and over time *fatigue* much faster than a CAAD:

    ALUMINUM B52 Bombers (last produced in 1962) are being flown by the grandchildren of the original B52 Pilots and are scheduled to remain in military service until 2040

    bang for buck CAAD's are the *$H1T* my lovie...
    Last edited by Feminine; 03-22-2009 at 10:01 AM.
    Just buy a bike, and ride it.

  10. #10
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    46
    Here here! I am a happy current owner of a CAAD4 r800 and have ridden it hard for 3 years (commuting and recreation) prior to that it was owned by a Good fellow at our best LBS Smoothcycle. I can't imagine he did not ride the balls off it.
    Still going strong.
    I have and further intend to upgrade parts but don't really feal the need for a new frame.

  11. #11
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    121
    geez, guys, if you debunk the aluminum fatigue myth then how will you justify the purchase of a new frame to your significant others? i mean, "catastrophic failure" went along way to getting me on the saddle of a new system six.

  12. #12
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Bluechip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    263


    My late 80's Cannondale 3.0 is still going strong. It gets about 2-3K miles a year. Most of those miles I am pretty close to 200lbs.

  13. #13
    LA CHEVRE
    Reputation: Dan Gerous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,271
    Quote Originally Posted by pomole
    geez, guys, if you debunk the aluminum fatigue myth then how will you justify the purchase of a new frame to your significant others? i mean, "catastrophic failure" went along way to getting me on the saddle of a new system six.
    We're hoping they dont come here...

    DAN GEROUS

    : ROAD
    : CYCLOCROSS
    : MOUNTAIN BIKING

  14. #14
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    2,677
    It will start to creak and make strange noises before it ever fails.

    20 years of hard use, and you might get some creaks.

    This one is 13 years old and no problems yet.
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    With people like Peter P. around, I am done posting on this website. Mean people have driven me off after 9 plus years. Good luck newbies beware.

  15. #15
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,386
    I found most of these testimonies to be quite encouraging about aluminum. However, you do hear about aluminum horror stories of sudden catastrophic failure and you also encounter articles like the following: www.livestrong.com/article/87520-bike-frame-aluminum-vs.-steel/
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  16. #16
    LA CHEVRE
    Reputation: Dan Gerous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    2,271
    Quote Originally Posted by Zeet View Post
    I found most of these testimonies to be quite encouraging about aluminum. However, you do hear about aluminum horror stories of sudden catastrophic failure and you also encounter articles like the following: www.livestrong.com/article/87520-bike-frame-aluminum-vs.-steel/
    Now THAT is funny, using a Livestrong article to bring a myth to light....

    DAN GEROUS

    : ROAD
    : CYCLOCROSS
    : MOUNTAIN BIKING

  17. #17
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,386
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Gerous View Post
    Now THAT is funny, using a Livestrong article to bring a myth to light....
    So what's wrong with Livestrong? I always thought quite highly of them...It is true that aluminum has fatigue issues. We just don't know the extent to which these issues exist!
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  18. #18
    10-81
    Reputation: fireplug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    632
    I have a 2010 CAAD9 with about 8,000 miles on it. I wish the frame would give out so I could have a excuse to buy a new one....not a sign of wear on it yet.

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,386
    Quote Originally Posted by fireplug View Post
    I have a 2010 CAAD9 with about 8,000 miles on it. I wish the frame would give out so I could have a excuse to buy a new one....not a sign of wear on it yet.
    Then that's great news!
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

  20. #20
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: headloss's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    2,515
    @zeet, have you actually experienced a failure of aluminum or are you just obsessed with the idea that aluminum is somehow inferior? My personal experience was several C'dale frames from the 90's has been nothing short of spectacular. That said, I'd rather ride one of my steel bikes as a personal preference (they are lighter and I have more money invested in them). Aluminum is fine unless you wreck it.

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Posts
    1,386
    Quote Originally Posted by headloss View Post
    @zeet, have you actually experienced a failure of aluminum or are you just obsessed with the idea that aluminum is somehow inferior? My personal experience was several C'dale frames from the 90's has been nothing short of spectacular. That said, I'd rather ride one of my steel bikes as a personal preference (they are lighter and I have more money invested in them). Aluminum is fine unless you wreck it.
    True. I do feel that I have some kinda latent subconscious Aluminum phobia, due to the fact that I've heard so many horror stories about Aluminum in the past. I've only personally witnessed one Aluminum failure, but I've witnessed three steel failures. However, that's only because I grew up during a time where the cycling scene was comprised primarily of steel bikes. Aluminum abruptly merged into the scene much later. I just sold my Trek 7.5FX and now, for some reason I miss it already...I'm now beginning to think more and more about a Synapse with brake levers on the hood.
    A chromoly steel bicycle will last just as long as titanium, if kept dry.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Hot Deals

Contest

Tour De France

Latest RoadBike Articles


Latest Videos

RoadbikeReview on Facebook