Cracked frame repair help - Alpine stars

drexal77

Dirt Disciple
Hi all,

I went for my first ride in probably nearly a year on my beloved Alpine Stars - Alpine LX which i've had for 32 years from new. And when i got back i went to clean it and discovered its cracked, this crack must of been there for a while as it has some surface rust on it. I'm truly devastated. As this was my first ever mountain bike. I know they're not worth anything as theres one currently on ebay thats "not" selling for £120. But for me its sentimental and i was planning on keeping this for rest of my life. I also heard that alpine stars steel bikes rarely cracked even though A.S. offered life time warranty on their steel and aluminium frames in the early years. Please see images attached.

I had a few questions i was hoping some of you might be able to help me with:

1. Have any of you managed to get a steel bike frame welded back together and has it lasted the test of time after the repair?

2. I know a good welder / fabricator that i was going to get a quote from to repair this. Or you think i should take it to a true bicycle frame welder? and if so can you recommend anyone? and how much do you think it would cost? Or would just say good bye.

3. My dream bike my whole life has been a 1990 Al-Mega (pre-e-stay) or 1991 Al-Mega (e-stay) if the 1990 never happens. But i have read online these are so rare as so many of them cracked. If my steel LX has just cracked and it's never been ridden hard its whole life. I'm now really scared of buying an early al-mega incase it cracks on me. I know there are some big Alpine Stars fans on here. If any of you have owned an early al-mega. Can you please tell me if it's cracked on you? And if it did were you able to repair it? And how much did it cost to get welded? As i know aluminium welding is so much harder than steel.

4. Finally i know they added a big gusset to the top tubes from 1992 onwards. Have any of you done this to your 1990s/1991s, to try and save them from cracking?

Sorry for the mass of questions. Any help would be massively appreciated.
 

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klunkrider

Retro Guru
It needs a new downtube really.

The tube needs to be clean and corrosion free inside and out for any sort of repair to have longevity and it's impossible to clean the inside adequately so welding or brazing that up would be a band aid job that wouldn't last long.

It'd be up to you whether the frame had enough value (financial or sentimental) to make such a repair worthwhile. For a ballpark idea of cost, I've charged around £150 for this kind of thing but that'd come back to you requiring paint and decals. It'd also be brazed if I did it rather than welded. If you want a new tube welding in there, get it done by a framebuilder. Bicycle tubing is thin walled compared to what most welder/fabricators are used to working with.

As for a gusset, not really sure it'd help. Your crack seems to have started from the weld so is probably due to contamination or the heat affected zone. There's plenty of frames without gussets that have lived harder lives and survived. (Realise now you may have been asking about gusseting an ali frame not your steel one, in which case, see below)

With the aluminium frames, it's not my area of expertise but I believe for most alloys, post weld heat treatment is required for any repair to last. If they have a habit of cracking I'd look elsewhere.
 

ishaw

Gold Trader
GT Fan
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That's a real shame, but all is not lost. As it is steel, it can be fixed. If my keeper developed a crack, I'd get it fixed regardless, though mines 6061alu, so I'm sure it would be more complicated but I'd do it.

Many frames on here have been repaired, danson has saved many, he seems a go to guy for such things. I have a ti frame with him and I'm hoping he's going to weld some new chain stays onto it as one cracked, I think through some heavy chain suck from a previous owner (annoyingly I bought it and the issue wasn't mentioned, I had it sat in the garage for ages before I got to it, so too late to complain).

You could find a replacement frame, but you'd lose the soul of the bike you wanted to keep for life. It's served you well for 32 years, I'd treat it to a repair (probably full down tube, or perhaps a sleeved repair) and some paint and you've saved it and it will last many more years.

As for the alu frames, not heard so much about the non e-stays failing, but the e-stays seemed to have a number of weak points based on threads I've seen on here.
 

gtturbo

Retro Guru
Wow, now thats a crack. Lucky you spotted it when you did. As above its a new down tube so beyond economic sense to repair really as your going to need a respray and decals most likely but I completely get the sentimental reason and would probably do it in your position. If done by a reputable frame builder no reason it shouldnt be as good as new really. I believe the gussets were only on the ali frames, I think that is the first steel Alpinestars I have seen cracked. As for the should I buy an Al-mega. To be honest whatever old bike you buy runs the chance of cracking. There are plenty of 'posher' frames on these forums that have cracked. That said done properly no reason again for it to be a massive concern whether ali or steel. Back in the early 90s me and a friend both rode Cannondales and they cracked. Part of the warranty process was you had to cut out the serial number from the chain stay and send it back to get your warranty frame thus rendering the old frame unusable. My friend had a new chain stay welded in by a frame builder and ran that frame as his trials bike for years before it finally cracked again in a similar place to yours. The key is to get it done properly by someone like Danson who understands the materials and not a mate of a mate who works down the local MOT centre.
 

drexal77

Dirt Disciple
It needs a new downtube really.

The tube needs to be clean and corrosion free inside and out for any sort of repair to have longevity and it's impossible to clean the inside adequately so welding or brazing that up would be a band aid job that wouldn't last long.

It'd be up to you whether the frame had enough value (financial or sentimental) to make such a repair worthwhile. For a ballpark idea of cost, I've charged around £150 for this kind of thing but that'd come back to you requiring paint and decals. It'd also be brazed if I did it rather than welded. If you want a new tube welding in there, get it done by a framebuilder. Bicycle tubing is thin walled compared to what most welder/fabricators are used to working with.

As for a gusset, not really sure it'd help. Your crack seems to have started from the weld so is probably due to contamination or the heat affected zone. There's plenty of frames without gussets that have lived harder lives and survived. (Realise now you may have been asking about gusseting an ali frame not your steel one, in which case, see below)

With the aluminium frames, it's not my area of expertise but I believe for most alloys, post weld heat treatment is required for any repair to last. If they have a habit of cracking I'd look elsewhere.
Hey Klunkrider, thanks for quick reply & for all the help. Ahhh what a nightmare. I've just had another closer look at it and your right about it coming from the welds, also that down tube crack goes right around. It looks like the top tube welds also have tiny holes/cracks appearing, please see bellow. So it might need to be replaced to? Unless you think they could be brazed up? where are you based?
 

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drexal77

Dirt Disciple
That's a real shame, but all is not lost. As it is steel, it can be fixed. If my keeper developed a crack, I'd get it fixed regardless, though mines 6061alu, so I'm sure it would be more complicated but I'd do it.

Many frames on here have been repaired, danson has saved many, he seems a go to guy for such things. I have a ti frame with him and I'm hoping he's going to weld some new chain stays onto it as one cracked, I think through some heavy chain suck from a previous owner (annoyingly I bought it and the issue wasn't mentioned, I had it sat in the garage for ages before I got to it, so too late to complain).

You could find a replacement frame, but you'd lose the soul of the bike you wanted to keep for life. It's served you well for 32 years, I'd treat it to a repair (probably full down tube, or perhaps a sleeved repair) and some paint and you've saved it and it will last many more years.

As for the alu frames, not heard so much about the non e-stays failing, but the e-stays seemed to have a number of weak points based on threads I've seen on here.
Hey Ishaw, thanks for the reply, sympathy and advice. Yes gutted. It must of started to cracking back in lock-down as i started using it daily and managed to loose 3 stone by riding it. It must of been my 15 stone weight that it couldn't take. As it's only a 17" frame. God it will be expensive with paint and decals added on. Even though it was the very bottom of the rung for alpines starts models with crap components your right the sentimental valve is super high as it takes me straight back to be in my teens again while on it. Thanks for the Danson contact i will msg him. And thanks for helping me not to be put off searching for my holy grail 90 al-mega. I've just been googling 90's scott bikes as a back up plan to the al-mega and it seems they crack to.
 

drexal77

Dirt Disciple
Wow, now thats a crack. Lucky you spotted it when you did. As above its a new down tube so beyond economic sense to repair really as your going to need a respray and decals most likely but I completely get the sentimental reason and would probably do it in your position. If done by a reputable frame builder no reason it shouldnt be as good as new really. I believe the gussets were only on the ali frames, I think that is the first steel Alpinestars I have seen cracked. As for the should I buy an Al-mega. To be honest whatever old bike you buy runs the chance of cracking. There are plenty of 'posher' frames on these forums that have cracked. That said done properly no reason again for it to be a massive concern whether ali or steel. Back in the early 90s me and a friend both rode Cannondales and they cracked. Part of the warranty process was you had to cut out the serial number from the chain stay and send it back to get your warranty frame thus rendering the old frame unusable. My friend had a new chain stay welded in by a frame builder and ran that frame as his trials bike for years before it finally cracked again in a similar place to yours. The key is to get it done properly by someone like Danson who understands the materials and not a mate of a mate who works down the local MOT centre.
Thanks so much for replying gtturbo, yes i'm super lucky it didn't split on me, on that ride. Really good to hear your thoughts and advice. Yes i shouldn't let this put me off searching for an early al-mega if i can ever get one, or off alpine stars in general. Will try Danson and see what he says. If i needed a re-spray it would be nice to do a complete restoration on my LX and maybe switch out all the old components for same period correct DX or XT if i could find them all. Thanks again.
 

klunkrider

Retro Guru
Hey Klunkrider, thanks for quick reply & for all the help. Ahhh what a nightmare. I've just had another closer look at it and your right about it coming from the welds, also that down tube crack goes right around. It looks like the top tube welds also have tiny holes/cracks appearing, please see bellow. So it might need to be replaced to? Unless you think they could be brazed up? where are you based?
It's hard to tell from the photos how worrying the other welds are. It could well be cracks starting, if the frame has a propensity for them as the original crack perhaps shows then the extra movement that that crack will have been allowing certainly won't be doing you any favours.

If the welds were not already cracking I'd say I could fillet braze over the top of them as a reinforcement as I did with this Schwinn I own but if the start of a crack is there I'm not sure it would do much good.

I'm in Glasgow, people have posted frames to me to work on so that's no problem.
 

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drexal77

Dirt Disciple
Hello thanks for replying and additional info. I'll try and get some quotes for weight and size to ship to Glasgow. Thanks again will be back intouch asap.
 
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