Author Topic: Vitus - frame broke  (Read 2887 times)

Vitus - frame broke
« on: February 05, 2017, 05:53:08 pm »


Warning to everyone, watch out if you have a Vitus bike with carbon fibre tubes bonded to aluminium.  My wife has such a machine and enjoyed it for around 16 years probably covering only about 1000 miles.  It was purchased second hand so could be 20+ years old, but this is not the point.  Whilst out for a quiet Sunday ride the frame suddenly and cataclysmically broke as per the picture.  The bonding failed on the tubing, resulting in the front and rear end instantly separating.  She bashed her knee hard, however this was nothing compared to her right wrist which was shattered, resulting in a couple of operations involving screws and plates etc.

As long term cyclists, we have never encountered such a thing and feel the onus, and responsibility is the manufacturers.  This has put her off cycling for life I think.

Has anyone else experienced a road bike frame breaking in two?

Should manufacturers have a responsibility for their products, despite the age?

What words can be said to my wife so she will ride a bike again?



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Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2017, 06:11:00 pm »
Sadly, old aluminium-carbon bonding was not reliable, long term.

Newer stuff is fine.

Sorry to hear of your wife's injury, I've had a badly broken forearm/wrist, requiring subsequent plating. It is no fun.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2017, 06:15:50 pm »
Sounds very painful - all the best to your wife for recovery.

Moderately well known failure mode for lugged/bonded frames, I believe though, at least older ones. Aren't Alan and Vitus different brands though (albeit both suffered separation/failure)?


LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2017, 06:18:22 pm »
Sympathies to your wife. It is never fun breaking bones while on a bike.

Obligatory pedant bit - that is a Vitus, made in France. Later Vitus carbon frames swapped in carbon stays too. Alan used to make a similar style of frame made in Italy, though the bonded joints were also threaded. The threads meant that debonded joints didn't tend to come apart. Heavier frames used aluminium tubes bonded to aluminium lugs. Lighter ones swapped in carbon tubes. Similar frames were also made by Look/ TVT and Peugeot. In fact, that frame might be a Peugeot. They used Vitus lugs mated to larger diameter carbon main tubes with Al reducers.

Early Alan and Vitus carbon frames have been historical wall decorations for at least two decades. Bonding carbon tubes to aluminium lugs is a long-obsolete construction technique. The problem was that sweat/ sports drinks would get into the slightly porous epoxy and form a battery between the Al and carbon. The current would then progressively degrade the epoxy, virtually regardless of whether it was ridden or not. Frames bonding Al tubes to Al lugs would occasionally separate but the carbon models were notorious for it. Early carbon Treks were bonded to Al lugs but with a layer of fibreglass between, which almost completely stopped it happening.

You won't find any modern frame using this construction technique. Al frames are welded and carbon frames bond carbon lugs and tubes, hence no battery formed.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2017, 06:29:23 pm »
The story that they came with a tube of glue so that you could re-bond the tubes might be an urban cyclists' myth.

It is very rare for frames to fail catastrophically, and then it's mostly the forks (okay, that might not be helpful).  A nice light steel frame might be the the most reassuring steed to resume riding.

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2017, 06:30:39 pm »
You won't find any modern frame using this construction technique. Al frames are welded and carbon frames bond carbon lugs and tubes, hence no battery formed.
What about carbon forks with aluminum crowns?
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2017, 06:34:51 pm »
Sympathies to your wife. It is never fun breaking bones while on a bike.

Obligatory pedant bit - that is a Vitus, made in France. Later Vitus carbon frames swapped in carbon stays. Alan used to make a similar style of frame made in Italy, though the bonded joints were also threaded. The threads meant that debonded joints didn't tend to come apart. Heavier frames used aluminium tubes bonded to aluminium lugs. Lighter ones swapped in carbon tubes. Similar frames were also made by Look and Peugeot. In fact, that frame might be a Peugeot. They used Vitus lugs mated to larger diameter carbon main tubes with Al reducers.

Early Alan and Vitus carbon frames have been historical wall decorations for at least two decades. Bonding carbon tubes to aluminium lugs is a long obsolete construction technique. The problem was that sweat would get into the slightly porous epoxy and form a battery between the Al and carbon. The current would progressively degrade the epoxy regardless of whether it was ridden or not. Frames bonding Al tubes to Al lugs would occasionally separate but the carbon models were notorious for it. Early carbon Treks were bonded to Al lugs but with a layer of fibreglass between, which almost completely stopped it happening.

You won't find any modern frame using this construction technique. Al frames are welded and carbon frames bond carbon lugs and tubes, hence no battery formed.



Thanks for the replies folks, and to answer one question it is definitely a Alan Vitus, this is stated on the bottom of the BB as per the picture.


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Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2017, 06:55:36 pm »
I can see the Vitus, but I cant see the Alan.

THIS is what an Alan Vitus looks like.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2017, 07:01:09 pm »
You won't find any modern frame using this construction technique. Al frames are welded and carbon frames bond carbon lugs and tubes, hence no battery formed.
What about carbon forks with aluminum crowns?

I don't use them and the manufacturers recommend replacing them at fairly frequent intervals. Every Al/ carbon fork I've looked at in detail (only a couple) used Trek's method to minimise the problem.

An Alan Carbonio looks different.
https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/205356/

Later Vitus Carbone frames had carbon stays too.
http://www.retrobike.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=277633

I like riding historic bikes a lot but I won't ride early carbon bikes.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2017, 07:12:34 pm »
You won't find any modern frame using this construction technique. Al frames are welded and carbon frames bond carbon lugs and tubes, hence no battery formed.
What about carbon forks with aluminum crowns?

I don't use them and the manufacturers recommend replacing them at fairly frequent intervals. Every Al/ carbon fork I've looked at in detail (only a couple) used Trek's method to minimise the problem.

An Alan Carbonio looks different.
https://www.lfgss.com/conversations/205356/


My point for this posting is to simply warn other cyclist with a similar bicycle construction of the danger, and feel that the manufacturer should have provided a warning!   The unnecessary injury to my wife's wrist is no joke, and had we been aware of such an inherent defect the bike would have been scrapped.


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LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2017, 11:42:07 pm »
I notice that some folk are repairing damaged Vitus and Alan frames with unused frame components and apparently somebody is selling NOS Vitus bonded frames.

Perhaps the manufacturer should warn of possible frame failure. On the other hand, your wife's frame is probably around 30 years old and the current brand owner has little connection with 'that' Vitus.  http://vitusbikes.com/about/#goto1152 notes that the 979 Carbone was first produced in 1982 and it was built as a cutting-edge superlight racing frame, with the normal expectations of trade-offs between performance and durability.

At least you can be sure that Google will find this thread in the future and hopefully others might learn about the inherent flaw of this design.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2017, 09:47:53 am »
I have only once ridden a Vitus frame.  The movement of the alloy forks was unnerving.

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2017, 09:50:53 am »
I can see the Vitus, but I cant see the Alan.

THIS is what an Alan Vitus looks like.

Hi All, this is a Vitus frame sorry for any confusion.


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LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2017, 10:26:30 am »
No problems. I rode a lot of miles on an Al Alan (including my first 1000 brevet), until I put it (and me) under a car. A great-riding bike, if not particularly suited to stand-up sprints. I repaired an Al Vitus that popped a seatstay joint and the owner loved racing it.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2017, 08:28:49 pm »
What words can be said to my wife so she will ride a bike again?

I'll buy you a nice new bike, dear  :thumbsup:
I am often asked, what does YOAV stand for? It stands for Yoav On A Velo

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #15 on: February 06, 2017, 08:31:38 pm »
What words can be said to my wife so she will ride a bike again?

I'll buy you a nice new bike, dear  :thumbsup:


Thanks, mentioned this to her as she wretches in pain with the smashed wrist, her answer was swift and to the point, using only two words, the second ending in "off". 


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Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2017, 04:06:17 pm »
Bl....day hell, that lasted some time! Vitus ( all alloy, or carbon+ alloy) were great frames for a season, but It was well known that they weren't frames to keep too long. Pro teams that used them had a monthly turn over it in some cases. The same frames appeared as Peugeot, and were used by a few teams including ANC. Standard practice was to drop the forks out virtually every day to check for cracks in the alloy steerer. However, they were very light by the standards of the day, and much sought after by climbers in particular.

Don't forget that Kelly won Roubaix on Vitus frames, so they weren't that fragile!

To be fair, it's lasted well, most frames of any material don't go on that long unless they are wrapped up and preserved as collectors pieces.

Virus now is a brand used by Chain Reaction, nothing as far as I know to do with the old bonded frames.

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2017, 05:05:53 pm »
What words can be said to my wife so she will ride a bike again?

I'll buy you a nice new bike, dear  :thumbsup:


Thanks, mentioned this to her as she wretches in pain with the smashed wrist, her answer was swift and to the point, using only two words, the second ending in "off". 


Send her my sympathy.

My mishap displaced my palm on top of my wrist joint (carpals on top of metacarpals) and smashed the end of my radius into 3 large pieces and many crumbled small pieces. A misplaced assumption that it would heal ok in a cast led to it being sawn apart, a graft from my hip and a 6"x1" plate almost exactly the shape of a CDC. It took a year to recover.

I hope Mrs Sedge has a swifter journey to recovery. Keep a close eye on the shape of things as it heals and when they try to 'discharge from supervision', don't accept it, insist on follow up checkups, even if in 3 month's time.

Once 'discharged', you can only be re-admitted for investigation as a totally new case and you have to rejoin the waiting list.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2017, 06:52:48 pm »
What words can be said to my wife so she will ride a bike again?

I'll buy you a nice new bike, dear  :thumbsup:


Thanks, mentioned this to her as she wretches in pain with the smashed wrist, her answer was swift and to the point, using only two words, the second ending in "off". 


Send her my sympathy.

My mishap displaced my palm on top of my wrist joint (carpals on top of metacarpals) and smashed the end of my radius into 3 large pieces and many crumbled small pieces. A misplaced assumption that it would heal ok in a cast led to it being sawn apart, a graft from my hip and a 6"x1" plate almost exactly the shape of a CDC. It took a year to recover.

I hope Mrs Sedge has a swifter journey to recovery. Keep a close eye on the shape of things as it heals and when they try to 'discharge from supervision', don't accept it, insist on follow up checkups, even if in 3 month's time.

Once 'discharged', you can only be re-admitted for investigation as a totally new case and you have to rejoin the waiting list.

Your injury sounds horrible!sorry to hear this., and trust it is OK now!

We, my wife and I, only ride bikes to stay a little fit as the years pass us by.  We have MTB and road bikes.  We try and take it really easy on the road bikes using quiet roads etc. And the same but in the parks for my wife on her MTB.  I used to try the brave stuff on my double suspension MTB, but usually lost resulting in many scuffs, cuts and bruises (Including  spectacular black eyes resembling a Panda), so I have stopped most of these antics.

The point I am at pains getting to, is there are plenty of hazards waiting for us on and off road (particularly cars I think), so the last thing we expected was the frame to break so cataclysmically.  I didn't realise they had a sell by date, or it would have been disposed of years ago.  Hope my already 16 year old Matrix Titanium frame is still Ok,  as I would hate to through it away. 


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Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2017, 07:14:50 pm »
just occurred to me; where are you in the country? I have one of these, now surplus to requirements:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004J71MLG

They do need to be the right size, there is a guide in the amazon listing.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2017, 07:25:23 pm »
just occurred to me; where are you in the country? I have one of these, now surplus to requirements:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B004J71MLG

They do need to be the right size, there is a guide in the amazon listing.

Looks like a good idea, I am now a dab hand at taping on bin bags.


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Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #21 on: April 11, 2017, 06:50:32 pm »
What words can be said to my wife so she will ride a bike again?

I'll buy you a nice new bike, dear  :thumbsup:


Thanks, mentioned this to her as she wretches in pain with the smashed wrist, her answer was swift and to the point, using only two words, the second ending in "off". 


Send her my sympathy.

My mishap displaced my palm on top of my wrist joint (carpals on top of metacarpals) and smashed the end of my radius into 3 large pieces and many crumbled small pieces. A misplaced assumption that it would heal ok in a cast led to it being sawn apart, a graft from my hip and a 6"x1" plate almost exactly the shape of a CDC. It took a year to recover.

I hope Mrs Sedge has a swifter journey to recovery. Keep a close eye on the shape of things as it heals and when they try to 'discharge from supervision', don't accept it, insist on follow up checkups, even if in 3 month's time.

Once 'discharged', you can only be re-admitted for investigation as a totally new case and you have to rejoin the waiting list.


Hi, just a quick update on wife, she is ok now, hand half as strong as it was with some limited movement, but a lot better.  She still hasn't tried a bike yet!


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Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2017, 08:49:17 pm »
The word is that the aluminium suffers from some kind of corrosion, which causes the joint to fail (basically the glue ends up not sticking to the alu any more).  I don't think many bonded frames are made now.

FWIW, I see more broken titanium and steel frames on here than anything else.  The material isn't as important as how it's joined; an overheated weld or brazed joint means the famed fatigue limit of these metals is a bit academic, since it is so weak at the joint that it exceeds the fatigue limit every time you hit a bump and will inevitably crack in time.  Come to that, I'm not totally convinced that a well-made steel frame doesn't rack up fatigue points when you hit a really big pothole...
Never tell me the odds.

Rhys W

  • I'm single, bilingual
    • Cardiff Ajax
Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2017, 04:37:38 pm »
A friend has one of the Peugeot-branded Vitus frames which he got as a schoolboy in the 80s, and kept it in his wardrobe at university. He still uses it as a pub bike - I have warned him about the possibility of the glue failing!

The problem still persists in modern frames, where aluminium dropouts are bonded to carbon stays. Not so bad with bikes that are ridden only in summer, but could fail if winter salt gets to them.

Re: Vitus - frame broke
« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2017, 09:12:25 am »
Quote
but could fail if winter salt gets to them.

Not just could. Will.
Happened to me, and I hate winter now XD