I have an early 00' road bike with aluminium frame. I have read some stuff about aluminium having life expectancy of ten years. What it exactly means? I cant see any thing wrong in the frame (there are some crack noise coming from stem) how I can know if my frames have problems ?

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    Metal doesn't have life expectancy. It is all about wear and tear , or subject to manufacturing defect (if serious failure happens, factory will initiate a recall). Bicycle stem are not part of the frame, unless you mean other things. Perhaps snap a photo and let everybody check it out for you.
    – mootmoot
    Oct 11, 2016 at 8:25
  • BTW, you can read some opinion here. bicycles.stackexchange.com/questions/23529/…
    – mootmoot
    Oct 11, 2016 at 8:29
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    If you see crack on stem, just replace it. Aluminium fatique are susceptible to sudden breakage when a show sign fatique is found.
    – mootmoot
    Oct 11, 2016 at 8:38
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    An aluminum frame for a quality bike that's only used on the road and not in too many crashes should last indefinitely. "Metal fatigue" occurs when the metal is stretched beyond a certain point, and that point is rarely reached on a road bike. And it takes many such stretching events to fatigue to the point of failure. Keep in mind that there are many aluminum stems and crank arms on 40-50 year old bikes that are still in daily use. Oct 11, 2016 at 12:07
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    Check the handlebars. They can crack and fail long before stem and frame. If they're cracked they'll be more bendy.
    – andy256
    Oct 12, 2016 at 0:27

2 Answers 2


I have a 1998 aluminium road bike, and it made creaking noises in the stem when pedaling hard. Could replicate this by siezing the bars while stopped and wiggling. So I tightened the quill stem and the noise went away. Its just a bit of play in the steerer tube/quill stem fixing.

Since you're asking, a frame should outlive you, assuming no crash damage and its garaged/treated well.

Give it a good wash and then look over the frame for any cracks... but try and see if they're paint cracks or frame cracks.

Then run your bare fingers over the surfaces - you should feel only flatness, no ripples or bends.

Your bike is probably welded, not lugged, so have a close look at the welds. Ideally they should be smooth and flat, but some bike welds look like beginners (cheaper MTBs are chronic for the industrial weld look)

Forks can be measured to make sure they're not bent too, but this is fiddly and normally only done if the bike doesn't track right, or there was a frontal impact.

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    Just found a website showing some good vs bad welding. davesgtawblog.blogspot.de/2013/01/good-weld-bad-weld.html
    – mootmoot
    Oct 11, 2016 at 15:19
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    I removed the stem bolt all together and tried to move it. It was really stiff and did a lot of nice so I just put the bolt back and tight it hard. So far no more cracks.
    – kifli
    Oct 14, 2016 at 6:22

I would suggest having it inspected by a bike shop urgently. It may be fine but if it is fatigued then a catastrophic failure is more likely and, it it occurs, carries a high risk of injury

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