Orbea Alma 2015 alum frame dent - ok to ride?

UPDATE: My lbs mech / owner (same guy) looked at it this AM, says it is good to go, 'ride the hell out of it', he 100% backs it up. And FWIW re: the specifics of this frame and why it's purely cosmetic, he tells me that the top of the top tube, in that area, isn't the load-bearing part (the sides of the top tube are where the material's beefed up and takes the load). Which makes logical sense to me, for this frame anyway (I wouldn't speculate about other frames, I think frame-specific knowledge is key here). The sides of the top tube show zero signs of the impact, no bending / warping, etc etc. Good to go.

Anyway, thanks to all for the input, much appreciated! Ride on... -cw

2015 Orbea Alma alum frame top tube, looking front left to back right. This pic gives the best angle on the contour - the sides of the top tube feel unaffected by this dent, and you can see from the black center line bisecting the tube that the majority of dent is on the left from the left shifter pod, so what you see here is the worst of it I think. Any general impressions regarding whether I have killed this frame or not would be much appreciated, thank you -

  • 1
    Aluminum fails catastrophically & suddenly, steel bends & fails slowly. I'd say ride at your own risk. But.... If you are doing only mild riding; no trail riding where sudden & intense loads will be imposed on the bike, I personally would continue to ride (as it does not seem too serious). Again, personally if I was doing any sort of real trail riding, I'd maybe look for a new frame...
    – renesis
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 2:59
  • Thanks, renesis. I definitely don't do mild riding. I'm not doing crazy jumps or drops or that kind of stuff, but I do like my trail downhills. What bothers me about this (besides the obvious) is that I'd had the bike three days, this was the first ride, and the stem / bar setup was such that the shifter pod was at the height to run over and dent the top tube when rotated that far. Is this not some kind of design or setup flaw?
    – Chris W
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 3:12
  • possible duplicate of Is it possible to repair a dent on an aluminium frame?
    – Móż
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 3:13
  • 1
    Thanks Moz. I saw that, but that dent is much more pronounced than mine is I think..? I showed my pics to a lbs mech near my office and he felt strongly that the bike was safe to ride and that this dent was cosmetic.
    – Chris W
    Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 3:15
  • 2
    From here it doesn't look fatal. And it's perfectly positioned for you to keep an eye on it, and notice if there were any sign of cracks or additional bending. Commented Jul 30, 2015 at 3:21

4 Answers 4


Just off the picture I'd say it's fine. Aluminum is more durable than many people think (you know they build airplanes out of the stuff?!) That said, I would carefully look at the areas where the tubes are welded together. Use a bright light and look for any small, hairline cracks in the paint. Most of the aluminum bikes I've seen fail usually snap at the welds (outside of horrible crashes of course)

  • 1
    Plane is a bad analogy. Plane has a beam type frame and aluminum skin
    – paparazzo
    Commented Jul 31, 2015 at 11:40
  • By the way, planes are built with aluminum alloys. They used a copper and aluminum alloy called duralumin, not pure aluminum
    – c10yas
    Commented Jun 23, 2016 at 1:31

I'd say that's fine to ride. Seems like got created by applying distributed pressure over a pretty big area. Therefore no chipped paint etc. Even if that cracks apart, I wouldn't expect the entire bike to fall apart immediately, you still have the lower tube supporting stuff together:)


It is a very minor dent but horizontal mid tube is not a good spot. Creasing a tube does reduce the strength.

A hard landing or hard bump is where that would likely be the first point of failure. Even if that section has lost 50% strength it would take a lot for the bike to fail. The rest of the frame is there and even 50% strength on that section is a lot as most bikes will take a lot. If you land hard enough to bend that frame you are probably going to crash anyway. Frames that break or bend were typically crashed hard.

If your body landed on the top tube that would be the first point of failure but if you land on the tube hard enough to bend it then ouch.

Once you stress aluminum past the yield point it does fail rapidly but not technically catastrophically (it does bend not snap),

Look at this video for the just ridding along (jra) scenario. That dent is like the opposite of the jra scenario. But is shows you that it takes a lot. Notice once it deforms then it fails petty rapidly - that dent is the start point for the deformation. Pinkbike Visits The Santa Cruz Test Lab Video

In summary I ride it but I just don't ride it hard and don't do jumps. It would take a hard crash for it to fail. I don't foresee any scenario where it fails on a ruff section and causes you to crash.


Don't ride that. Aluminum will randomly snap at the best of times, and a fold-looking bend like yours only makes it worse.


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