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About 2 years ago I got my new bike - an Enigma Ti bike. The frame was customised for Di2 and I had hydraulic disk brakes fitted. An expensive bit of kit that was supposed to last forever and make my commutes a pleasure. I love the bike, it's fantastic but yesterday I found this:

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When the guy at the bike shop (not the one I bought it from) saw it he said I was very lucky it hadn't given way. I had been hearing very worrying noises when applying power. My 18 mile ride home through London was done VERY carefully.

So my question is should I accept a replacement frame or should I ask for my money back? This bike was about £5500 and I've done around 9,500 miles on it in 2 years. What is to say that this won't happen again and I'll end up under a bus?

I am a heavy guy - hovering between about 16 and 18 stone over the last 2 years but surely a Ti frame should be able to cope with that?

If I do decide to get a replacement what should I reasonably expect the bike shop to do about me not having a bike in the meantime. It's likely to be several weeks if not months to get me a new bike. In that time I expect to have a bike to do 180 miles (290 km) commuting on a week and I have long rides like the Ride London 100.

I do have my old £500 bike but I'm probably going to have to spend a fair amount of money servicing it to get it usable again.

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    16-18 stone (101-114 kilograms) is not small but its not massive either - what's the rated maximum weight for this frame? The advise to stop riding that bike right now is good advise - you should heed it.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 10:13
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    I think that manufacturing defects can happen at any level of equipment. As long as the manufacturer is willing to work with you, I would opt for a replacement frame. Unless you have come upon some information pointing to them being particularly prone to breaking, then I wouldn't worry about it. You're going to have to be careful and inspect your bike once in a while no matter which manufacturer made your bike, or which material it was made from. It can happen with steel, carbon, aluminum or bamboo.
    – Kibbee
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 12:57
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    After 2 years, likely they'll argue that you caused the crack, it was not caused by weakness in the frame. But this could well be repairable.
    – PeteH
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 13:07
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    That crack shouldn't have happened, full stop. Only an extremely high end race frame should ever fail like that, as an explicit "so light it can only be ridden a couple of thousand miles" decision. I'd actually expect a replacement frame rather than a repair, and I'd expect the manufacturer to want the frame back for analysis. If they don't, I would assume it's a know design defect and refuse the accept it. That sounds harsh, but for the money you should expect 100,000 miles not 10,000, and decent service when there are problems. A loaner bike is not unreasonable.
    – Móż
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 21:20
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    What happened with this in the end?
    – McDoof
    Commented Oct 24, 2022 at 20:08

4 Answers 4

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I had a Trek which broke entirely through in the same place. Turned out it was still ridable, and I managed to carefully ride it the 6 miles home. The frame was several years old, had seen some heavy use, and the frame, forks and handlebars were pretty much the only original parts. I took it back to my local Trek dealer, and after a bit of debate they contacted the Trek rep and they agreed to replace the entire bike! Good work Trek.

Anyway, I'd certainly take your frame back. They should replace the frame and rebuild the bike for you. I doubt they will provide something for you to ride in the mean time though.

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    Why is this the accepted answer? Its a different brand, and possibly in a different country.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 3:29
  • Because it answers the question about a replacement bike whilst waiting.
    – Roaders
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 15:29
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    “Turned out it was still ridable, and I managed to carefully ride it the 6 miles home.” I’d never do that. If it breaks completely your bike frame is literally in two halves. You’ll immediately crash and possibly impale yourself on sharp metal bits.
    – Michael
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 7:41
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As you're in the UK, the Consumer Rights Act applies. It would seem that a £5,500 bike that lasts less than two years isn't of "satisfactory quality", but I would be surprised if the shop simply gave you a refund. I think you have to give them at least one attempt at repairing the frame (I don't know how feasible that is for titanium), and take it from there. If you can, I'd talk to the Citizens Advice Bureau and/or Trading Standards if the shop gets difficult. All this will be easier if you have proof of purchase, of course.

If I were you, I would want a refund, but would settle for a high-quality repair (and if it failed again in less than several years, I'd want the cash back).

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    The factory or frame-builder should be able to replace the downtube.
    – Carel
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 17:16
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    Personally I'd accept a well-executed repair with additional thickness or reinforcing to prevent it happening again, or a replacement frame with all the same/better specs and the rest of the parts moved over. That bike cost as much as a car! Do note that rebuilding the bike could be chargable time, but repairing/replacing the frame should be free.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jun 18, 2016 at 3:28
  • Thanks for this answer, I didn't accept it as the answer as it didn't answer if I should expect a replacement bit it was still very useful.
    – Roaders
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 15:30
  • Frame manufacturer is now saying it was crash damage... I haven't had any collisions on that bike for 2 years and 10,000 miles. My word against theirs. I may well visit citizens advice. Thanks again.
    – Roaders
    Commented Jun 27, 2016 at 15:32
  • @Roaders this should be a warning for others, not to buy from this manufacturer, if they will not replace the frame under warranty, bad customer service and bad experience
    – robert
    Commented Mar 11, 2019 at 16:07
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One answer above says that ti frames are “renowned for failure”. This is completely incorrect as a general statement. However, the welding does need to be done under inert gas so as not to let contaminants into the weld (I think oxygen is one of the potential contaminants). The crack above seems to involve the weld at the head tube, so it seems like some sort of contamination was involved.

As a general rule, custom bicycles will select tubing appropriate to the rider’s weight. For a heavier rider, a builder will unsurprisingly use stouter tubes. So, as a rule, ti should be suitable for a heavier rider, but any material can be made suitable.

I doubt that Enigma would have offered a refund. They should have offered to repair or replace the frame at their expense. Now, if you are not confident in the manufacturer, you could sell the frame, which would not be a very satisfactory solution - you won’t get the MSRP back on a new frame, and you’ll get even less on a repaired one. It is possible, in principle, to repair a frame. Ti Cycles in the US offers this as a service. Other titanium builders may if you aren’t able to get satisfaction from the original manufacturer, or you’re unwilling to accept their repair. However, I don’t know that all ti builders offer this service.

Under what circumstances should a rider not get the bike repaired at all? I recall a post on a different forum about a failed Enigma within the last 2-3 years, so I don’t think it was this rider. If you become aware of a spate of failed frames from a builder, then it might be better to just cut your losses entirely. This type of failure is an issue that, as far as I know, the industry discovered early on and has generally learned to avoid. If a builder has a number of weld failures, that means there’s a quality problem that they haven’t been able or willing to correct. However, two failures is not a spate of failures. Reports can be hard to come by, and any forum posts are likely to be slanted towards the most dissatisfied parties. So it’s hard to come by actual good data. Basically, I can envision a circumstance where I wouldn’t trust the original manufacturer’s work, but it would take a lot to hit that bar. Enigma is unlikely to have hit it.

In the absolute worst case if you give up on the frame entirely, I encourage riders to try to recycle it, as discussed here.

As to the bike shop supplying you an interim bike: this is sometimes a courtesy in the automotive world, but it’s not generally done in the cycling world. Bikes don’t hold their value as well as cars, so if a bike store were to maintain a loaner fleet, it would depreciate in value rapidly. In contrast, I bought an ex-dealer car that was certified used with extremely low miles for near the MSRP. It’s not impossible that the store owner might do you a favor if they have the right size of something, but I would look to borrow something from a friend, or fix up the old bike, or explore a rental for the events of interest. I would lean on Enigma to get the bike replaced/repaired quickly, explaining that I had events to ride in and that I would be displeased at undue delays.

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    I am not refuting your statement, but I have seen more cracked Ti frames at work than any other material, which says more than it seems given how relatively rare these frames are compared to other materials.
    – Noise
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 10:26
  • I agree with @Noise, the welding quality on Ti frames is so critical to get right that failures just tend to be more common. A slight defect in an alu/steel/carbon bike just eats into the safety factor a little...a defect in a Ti weld has a pretty strong correlation with failure.
    – MaplePanda
    Commented Oct 25, 2022 at 14:44
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I know this is a bit of an old post now but... Titanium Frames are, alas, renowned for failure regardless of the price. You may be lucky and go a lifetime without issue or, like yourself (and I) have a frame failure. The good thing with Enigma is they offer a ten year warranty on all their frames. This is not a bike shop problem, especially after 2 years. Contact Enigma directly, ask for a replacement. A repair will never be as good or as pretty, particularly in that area.

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