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9 aluminum (that I can remember), 1 cracked at BB/seat tube junction and retired
No other failures from:
1 scandium
2 steel
2 CF
 

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4,878 Posts
I have no idea. When we were kids we broke our bikes so many times there is no way to remember. One of the problems is I started welding at age 12 and I wasn't that good of a welder then so that didn't help.
 

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Owned over 20 bikes, steel and aluminum, never broke one. My buddy can crack a frame by looking at from across the street.
 

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psycho cyclo addict
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Cracked two aluminum frames (both where top tube and post meet). Both of those were ridden down many staircases during a decade of urban assault rides in and around Washington, DC in addition to lots of rocky and rooty terrain.

Dented one of those two, another aluminum frame (which I still ride) and a steel one too!

Haven't broken a carbon frame yet (only have owned one, which I still ride).
 

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One Santa Cruz Bullit and one Kona Honzo -- both aluminum. The Honzo just had a flawed weld, but the Bullit definitely broke from doing huge hucks over several years. I'm not very hard on bikes, despite being a downhiller/freerider at heart. I've never taco'd a wheel in 35 years of riding. Flat spots, sure.
 

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Wanna ride bikes?
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8,853 Posts
2 alloy, 1 broken
12 steel, 4 broken
1 carbon, still good

The vast majority of my ride time has been on steel frames. Had it been on aluminum my guess is that the failure rate would have been much higher. I also think hardtail vs full suspension would be a relevant data point in this narrow sample set of broken frames. All of my broken frames were hardtails, which again is where I spend most of my time.
 

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slow
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Since 1985 (only MTB and not counting bikes I had as a kid):
15 steel (all rigid or hardtail) - 1 cracked (super light, thin walled race frame with 10,000+ miles)
5 aluminum (3 FS, 1 hardtail, 1 fat bike) - no issues
3 titanium (all soft tail) - 1 cracked at head tube/steer tube welds
1 carbon (hardtail) - no issues
 

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So I Just totaled the mountain bikes i've owned, catergorized them in material type and calculated the % of broken, cracked frames per material type and here it is.

Alloy 12 bikes, 4 broken 33% failure rate
Steel, 1, no failure
Carbon, 5 bikes, 1 broken 20% failure rate.

Whats your stats.
Our of the 1 carbon mtb I have owned I broke it twice. 2>1 so 200% failure rate. I have had a dozen aluminum and steel bikes and broken none, 0% failure rate.
-Paul
 

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45 Posts
1 alloy/steel, 1 steel - no problems
2 titanium - no problems
2010 Superfly 100 carbon - cracked 3 rear triangles, all warrantied
2011 Epic carbon - cracks developed by 2020, replaced frame under warranty
2020 Epic Evo carbon - good so far but there's a gouge on the seatstay I'm keeping an eye on
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Interesting stats. It seems some people are hard in bikes and some are not.

Now that I think of it, most of my bike breaking was done before downfaces became popular. We would huck to flat repeatidly then wonder why our badly designed bikes kept snapping.
 

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Magically Delicious
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10,580 Posts
2 steel - no damage - 1 full rigid, 1 hard tail
4 alloy - 3 cracked welds over 12 years- 1 full rigid, 1 hardtail, 2 full squish
on 4th Carbon - no damage - all full squish
 

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steel 1980-ish electroforged Schwinn BMX - survived
steel 1980's Huffy 24" - survived
steel 1990-ish Novara - FAILED, bent fork
aluminum 2001 Specialized Hotrock - survived
aluminum 2016 Diamondback - survived, 2016 model close out only briefly owned in 2017-18
aluminum 2018 Salsa - surviving, has been ridden hard enough and overforked but admittedly still not that old

Notably none of these were premium bikes. The Novara predated suspension forks on cheap bikes and probably bit it from too many hard wheelie landings
 

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Failures not counting childhood bikes

Steel- 2
Alu - 4
Carbon - 4

Both steel bikes failure were crashes, all others fatigue etc. I'd guess 75% or so of frames owned long term have failed in one way or another. Warranty support is a huge consideration when purchasing now... lessons learned.
 

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4 steel - 0 broken/cracked
5 aluminum - 1 cracked, though to be fair, I think it was more a stress crack due to a design flaw, common with this model

5 or so road bikes, mostly steel and not broken/cracked, though I really tried by crashing my CX; it held up a lot better than I did.

I'm only 140 lbs.
 

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change is good
Switchblade with a 38, 29+ rigid WaltWorks
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Carbon FS x 5, one was the fault of my LBS
Alloy FS x 5-6
Titanium road x 1
Alloy HT x 2

220-240lb, strong legs, with extremely long inseam riding in rocks. The current AM frames are tanks. There was a period when I would always wonder when my frame would fail.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk Pro
 

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Hmm
1st bike, steel rigid, bent rigid fork.
2nd bike, steel HT, no issues.
3rd bike, aluminum FS, no issues
4th bike, aluminum FS, dropout/pivot stripping/rounding issues
5th bike, aluminum FS, linkage ripped out of swingarm, not repairable long-term
6th bike, aluminum FS, no issues (but a really shitty suspension design)
7th bike aluminum FS, linkage bolt constantly bent due to poor design (extremely long bolt)
8th bike, aluminum FS, linkage bolt also bent for same reason, poor pivots like before too
9th bike, steel HT/rigid, no issues, but really poor SS dropout design
10th bike aluminum FS, real flexy, rear swingarm broke shortly after selling it
11th bike, aluminum FS, seat tube broke, but likely due to user error with too-long of a seatpost
12th bike, aluminum FS, no issues
13th bike, aluminum FS, no issues
14th bike, aluminum HT, no issues
15th bike, aluminum FS, poor cable routing sawed through swingarm, rear pivot bearings non-replicable, basically disposable rear end (major manufacturer)-real poor bike design
15th bike, carbon HT, hairline cracks near BB
16th bike, carbon FS, developed cracks near main pivot-warrantied and new frame supplied
17th bike, carbon FS, pivot hole bonding came loose, was repaired and held up fine, eventually broke seatstay in an accident with a rake, repaired. Further rear triangle damage may have been due to the original repair being too stiff or long term use with too light of a spring on the rear shock, that too was relatively easy to repair. Frame 100% functional and has seen a lot of abuse.
19th bike, carbon HT, no issues, except one day I accidently hit the seatstay with a hammer. Did a carbon repair "just in case" and it's been great for 3 years (total age around 5 years), have raced it hard in all kinds of conditions.
19th bike, aluminum HT, no issues
20th bike, carbon and aluminum FS, no issues yet

21th bike, aluminum FS-on order

Might be missing a few. The common thread seems to be design. Solid designs, whether carbon or aluminum, should hold up and work for a long time. There's a lot of ridiculous stuff out there that will never hold up in the long term and the bike just isn't engineered with simple replicable parts, like off-the-shelf bearings/parts. Yeti comes to mind with SI link, but also a few bikes that I owned throughout the years. Not only is there the issue of replacements down the road, these tend to not be the best/most reliable systems. Short term gains for long term sacrifices IMO. No real carbon vs. aluminum trend that I can see though. The Lamere fatbike was kind of shitty, a cheap chinese carbon frame re-badged and just not a good one at that. The carbonspeed CS-197 that I've had on the other hand has been outstanding. That's the one I accidently hit with a hammer. The Pivot FS bike developed a well-known flaw near the main pivot, covered by the company. The turner carbon bike had the rotating pivot issue, that was fixed by the company and I can't really fault anything else to the bike, those appear to be all my mistakes and if it wasn't carbon-fiber, DIY repair wouldn't have been possible either. Not against full aluminum or carbon. The reparability of CF is nice. I still remember landing a jump at Northstar a few decades ago and the linkage tearing out of my DH bike, real disappointing.
Impressive collection but confusing. You have two 15th bikes and two 19th bikes. This is really skewing our numbers.
 

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3X steel hardtails and an AL road bike.

But all in the 1990s...Technology has moved along.

Plus, I'm older now, and I ride like it.
 
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