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Service: Complicated Repair Archive // Lemond Tete de Course

Service: Complicated Repair Archive // Lemond Tete de Course

The motto around the Ti Cycles shop is "Anything Is Possible". If something was made once, it can be made again.

One of the more complicated frame repairs in recent memory was a composite Lemond Tete de Course, half titanium and half carbon fiber, that required a downtube replacement.

Before we could replace the titanium tube we needed to un-bond the top of the frame from the bottom. For this task we called on our friends at Ruckus Composites here in Portland, masters of the art of carbon fiber. 

The carbon sections needed to be out of the frame, but able to be put back in to place to set up the frame jig for welding the new downtube to the original bottom bracket shell and head tube. During this process while the downtube is out of the frame the head tube is completely disconnected, as are the carbon fiber tubes, meaning the frame is almost completely disassembled. Only the chainstay welds at the dropouts and bottom bracket shell remain from the original assembly.

After the new downtube was installed the titanium sections were brushed up to a beautiful shine and transported in a box back to the Ruckus labs for the carbon fiber reassembly. Then the frame came back to us one last time for final detailing and wax anti-fingerprint sealant before heading home to its owner.

"Everyone is impressed with the work and craftsmanship of Ti Cycles, as the frame looks beautiful. Your service and final product was excellent."

Service: Titanium Derailleur Hanger Repair

Service: Titanium Derailleur Hanger Repair

For such a small part of a frame, the little dangly derailleur hanger is involved in an inordinate number of repairs. It is a small piece of material, but it is vitally important, unfortunately located, and relatively fragile.

Most classic frames and some modern custom frames built for confident ballers have contiguous or "fixed" derailleur hangers that are part of the dropout itself. Because it is so vital and fragile, modern mass produced bikes generally have replaceable hangers that bolt on with smalls screws, allowing a failure mechanism that in most cases has no potential to ruin the entire frame. Regardless of the main frame material, these replaceable hangers are primarily aluminum or titanium.

A sensible and practical design feature, replaceable hangers can still be poorly executed. Photos below show one such design; a replaceable hanger made of steel on a high end titanium frame where the mounting holes on the dropout leave precious little material around the edge and have a countersink radius that cuts right through the heat affected zone of the chainstay weld.

The latter situation resolved itself in a crack through the weld, even though the hanger was ruined at the same time of the source impact. We can easily repair the crack, but the original flaws in the design still remain and would surely cause the same result in another crash.

As a solution Dave fabricated a new titanium hanger to match the interface and location of the original, and then welded it all together into a solid hanger far stronger than the original. 

Service: YBB

Service: YBB

The Moots YBB system, still in use today, came to prominence two decades ago and saw widespread use by several prominent titanium mountain bike builders. The system is simple, using a monostay configuration with a spring and/or elastomer stanchion up top and vertically compliant chainstays down low to allow for vertical movement of the rear axle. At a time when full suspension designs were often large, complex, heavy, and largely ineffective, a YBB "soft tail" could smooth much of the chatter of XC trails with relatively little fuss. 

With the breakneck pace of modern suspension improvements the YBB soft tail system may seem rudimentary, but it has proven extremely durable and reliable over the years and is an integral part of many great vintage mountain bikes, most of which are still on the trails.

But all things wear out in time, and we have regularly been servicing YBB systems on Moots, Merlin, Litespeed, and other titanium bikes for many years. Generally this consists of cleaning and lubricating the parts still fit for service, or machining a new stanchion, and in the case of Litespeed modifying the Moots YBB guts that are still available to fit in the smaller diameter setup.

A recent Merlin project presented a different challenge; not only did the YBB guts need serviced, the aluminum bridge clamping mechanism connecting the suspension with the rear end had cracked, requiring the machining of a whole new yoke.

As far as we know this is the only Merlin Fat Beat on the planet with a black yoke, made entirely in house.

Service: Serotta Dropout Repair

Service: Serotta Dropout Repair

After building a fantastic titanium bike for a new customer, keeping an older one on the road is the next best thing. Our repair services bring us much joy, and of course our customers are pretty pleased as well!

Most of the frame failures we see on frames manufactured by other builders fit into predictable categories. One of those is "the Serotta crack" on the beautiful windowed dropouts found on Ottrott, Legend Ti, and other frames, which in turn is often linked to improper maintenance of the seat stay bearing those dropouts are used in conjunction with.

If your Serotta frame with this dropout design has not cracked but your bearings have never been serviced, now is the time for some preemptive maintenance. Please get in touch to make arrangements for sending in your frame for bearing service. (Because of the bearing location being in such close proximity to a crucial carbon/titanium bond joint we strongly discourage anyone not familiar with this particular construction from attempting to service the bearings.)

If your Serotta frame with this dropout design has cracked don't fret, we can bring it back to life!

We have done a number of these repairs and have great success. Our current pricing is ~$375 for the full repair service, including the dropout repair and bearing replacement. Bearing service only generally runs ~$125 including parts and labor. You can read more about it on the Serotta Dropout Service page.