Have a look at this pair of cradles from a Campag. Nuovo Record seat post. A beautiful casting, (or is it forging?) Elegant, evocative, even iconic - that's why I dig this stuff - my interest is aesthetic more than functional. I mean, I like to go fast... sometimes.., but I'm never going to be going fast enough to need an aerodynamic seatpost.
Anyway, look closely at these two bits of metal...... Can you see what I can see? Looks like somebody (maybe me) should have followed the advice implied by my user-name!
Being something of a bottom-feeder, I usually get hold of stuff, if I get hold of it at all, after it's been f--ked up by a few previous owners, not that I'm not equally capable of f--king up stuff myself.
Also, a lot of this stuff was of course designed at the outset to be as light as possible, meaning that it exists pretty close to the edge in terms of structural integrity. I was always amazed that these two flimsy looking pieces of aluminium alloy could, even when they were brand-new, be expected to support a rider ... Thirty years of metal-fatigue later I reckon their road-going, load-bearing days are over. Personally I got about ten miles out of them, and I'm a lightweight geezer who gets up outa the saddle for rough road. Now I guess they could live on as a pair of earrings. I've never owned one of these seat pins from new, so I'd be interested to know how often they broke back then. I suppose the alloy bolts (mine are steel) might sort of prevent you from over-tightening the whole assembly because hopefully you'd strip the threads before you cracked the cradles, and bolts are often replaceable.
That got me ruminating about Eroica. In a paranoid sort of way, (which is probably my default setting.) Imagine an event where you take several of the most fragile bicycles ever conceived, and persuade their owners to ride them over some really bad roads with a gutful of Italian food and wine. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole event was funded by the bike industry, intent on breaking as many old bits (and their devotees) as possible so we have to buy some new ones. But I don't know.. I've never been to Eroica. Using the event to sell more old stuff more or less guarantees that the same people will be back next year with another lot of components to fatigue as much as possible before selling them to a mug like me.
All of this makes me wonder about my subconscious motivations for being interested in old bikes, especially old lightweights, in the first place...
Of course the flip-side to that is that these bikes should be ridden...It is arguably better that they should fail in honest service than that they become a static display piece in someone's gaff, you just have to trust them to let you down gently if or when they do fail. I suppose you can meet them halfway by looking out for just such little cracks as can be seen in the photo above.
So the point of this thread is: Show us your dangerous bits. Points (and patronage) can be awarded to any component manufacturer whose products don't appear in this thread.... And I bet you it's the ones that are no longer in business, too. Does anyone believe that crap about the 'market' providing better products through competition between rival manufacturers? Not me.
But maybe it's not entirely the manufacturers fault. Perhaps certain components attract certain types of people: You'd expect heavy people and heavy spanner-torquers to go for solid over-engineered stuff, and lighter folk to be attracted to daintier stuff, but the vagaries of human psychology being what they are, It's just as likely that exactly the opposite set of relations can be found. Also, just because someone is built like a brick shithouse it doesn't mean that they habitually over-tighten bolts, and someone who looks like the wind might blow them away can at the same time be an extraordinarily efficient thread-stripper and component-cracker.
No caricatures or stereotypes here.
Just thinking out loud really. A meditation inspired by two (cracked) pieces of metal. Telling you nothing you didn't already know.. Any thoughts?.... Or bits?