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View Full Version : Warning - Mikado (ProCycle, Canada) Frame Fiasco (IMO Bad design)


mark freedman
July 13th 03, 02:56 PM
I made the horrendous mistake of purchasing a Mikado
D'Iberville Touring bike in March 2000. Similar specs
to a Trek 520; True Temper OXII tubing, mix of Shimano
LX and 105 componentry. Seemed a better value, and I
like to support Canadian manufacturers (frame made
in Quebec).

I became concerned about the amount of flexing and creaking
as I rode. A closer examination revealed identical cracks which
begin on the top tube about 1" from the seat tube. extend across
the seat tube to the point where the seat stays are brazed to
the seat tube and, on one side, extend around the seatstay joint.


I've just had independant confirmation that the top tube and
seat tube have cracked, and the joint where the seatstay was
brazed to the seat tube has also cracked.

I weigh about 160 pounds and carry a single pannier
weighing another 10 pounds. I don't believe overloading
was a factor. The stock seatpost extends about 5" below the
top of the seat tube, and the minimum insertion mark is well
inside the seat tube. I've ridden about 20,000 kilometers.

Mikado has a sloping top tube design which leaves the top
2" of the seat tube completely unsupported (not sure if the
butted tubing means the top tube and seatstays are brazed onto
the thinner portion of the tube).

The seat stays attach just ABOVE the point where the
top tube joins the seat tube.

There's also a long slot cut into the seat tube so the
clamp can compress it around the post.

Intuitively, this design is weaker than conventional frames
where very little of the seat tube extends above the top tube
and seatstay joints. I suspect it allows flexing and the
eventual breakdown of the tubes and brazed joints
(ProCycle's "Direct Brazing System" - no lugs).

ProCycle in Quebec has not replied to two Emails.
I will escalate next week.

The dealer says I get to pay them to strip the frame
and ship it to ProCycle for examination. Three or four
weeks later, ProCycle MAY decide to ship a replacement
frame. Then I get to pay the dealer to reinstall all the
old parts. Meanwhile I've lost four weeks of prime cycling
season and my holiday plans are ruined.

Ah, the perils of patriotism :-)

Rich Clark
July 13th 03, 08:17 PM
"mark freedman" > wrote in message
om...

> The dealer says I get to pay them to strip the frame
> and ship it to ProCycle for examination. Three or four
> weeks later, ProCycle MAY decide to ship a replacement
> frame. Then I get to pay the dealer to reinstall all the
> old parts. Meanwhile I've lost four weeks of prime cycling
> season and my holiday plans are ruined.

This is why you need two bikes. My sympathies.

RichC

Benjamin Weiner
July 14th 03, 09:28 AM
mark freedman > wrote:

> Mikado has a sloping top tube design which leaves the top
> 2" of the seat tube completely unsupported (not sure if the

> Intuitively, this design is weaker than conventional frames
> where very little of the seat tube extends above the top tube
> and seatstay joints. I suspect it allows flexing and the
> eventual breakdown of the tubes and brazed joints
> (ProCycle's "Direct Brazing System" - no lugs).

You have my sympathies, but lots of bicycles now have this extended
seatmast design and don't crack. It is possibly just a poorly made
joint (overheated during brazing?) If you post a link to a picture
the experts may weigh in. One issue to be aware of is that
the minimum insertion of the seatpost should bring the bottom of
the post below the toptube-seattube junction. If the seatpost is
only inserted <5cm into the mast section of the seattube it might cause
the flexing problem you indicate. (That would usually violate the
seatpost maker's minimum insertion mark, so it hopefully doesn't
happen very often.)

Paul Southworth
July 14th 03, 05:29 PM
In article >,
mark freedman > wrote:
> ProCycle in Quebec has not replied to two Emails.

This is sadly pretty normal for the bicycle industry - they do not
expect to interact with their customers directly via email, they
count on the local dealer to handle the customer interaction. If
you want to talk to the manufacturer, use the phone or talk to the
factory rep in person - sending email is usually a waste of time no
matter how prominently their address is printed on the web site.

> The dealer says I get to pay them to strip the frame
>and ship it to ProCycle for examination. Three or four
>weeks later, ProCycle MAY decide to ship a replacement
>frame. Then I get to pay the dealer to reinstall all the
>old parts. Meanwhile I've lost four weeks of prime cycling
>season and my holiday plans are ruined.

You might try starting the process over with another ProCycle dealer
to see if they have a better deal to offer, such as a loaner or
lower labor costs for the warranty repair. Or if you can meet up
with the factory rep sometimes they can authorize a warranty
replacement on the spot.

Also, if you don't like the frame, you could consider replacing it
now and selling the replaced/repaired one when it comes back,
assuming you can afford that.

--Paul

mark freedman
July 14th 03, 07:29 PM
Benjamin Weiner > wrote in message >...
> mark freedman > wrote:
>
> > Mikado has a sloping top tube design which leaves the top
> > 2" of the seat tube completely unsupported (not sure if the

> seatmast design and don't crack. It is possibly just a poorly made
> joint (overheated during brazing?) If you post a link to a picture

I'd have to get the joint and tube cut apart and analyzed.
If they've placed the joint on the thin portion of the butted tubing,
that might contribute to the flexing. A friend had a Colnago downtube
crack just around the start of the butted portion (where the cable
stops are).

No digital camera, may shoot 35 mm and pay for a Kodak PictureCD.


> > the post below the toptube-seattube junction. If the seatpost is
> only inserted <5cm into the mast section of the seattube it might cause

5" = 5 INCHES. Sorry if " does not mean inches everywhere.

The end of the seatpost extends 1.5" (INCHES) below the bottom of
the top tube joint.

Mikado's website uses FlashPlayer (?) so I don't seem able to clip
the URL.:-(

The following URL shows the Radisson, which seems to use the OXII
frame and geometry, and has a nice close up of the seattube toptube
seatstay joints.



http://www.brauns.com/gc/gc_item.exe?F=D&K=MIKADO-RADISSON&V=Brief&R=H%2FCatalog%3ABicycles%3ATouring%20Rigid%20Bicyc les&ID=07130732236468825859

Benjamin Weiner
July 14th 03, 10:46 PM
mark freedman > wrote:

> > > Mikado has a sloping top tube design which leaves the top
> > > 2" of the seat tube completely unsupported (not sure if the

> I'd have to get the joint and tube cut apart and analyzed.
> If they've placed the joint on the thin portion of the butted tubing,
> that might contribute to the flexing. A friend had a Colnago downtube
> crack just around the start of the butted portion (where the cable
> stops are).

I'm just suggesting you take a picture of the existing crack.

> > > the post below the toptube-seattube junction. If the seatpost is
> > only inserted <5cm into the mast section of the seattube it might cause

> 5" = 5 INCHES. Sorry if " does not mean inches everywhere.

I translated your 2 inches into 5 cm. That's all.

> The end of the seatpost extends 1.5" (INCHES) below the bottom of
> the top tube joint.

Good. Keep in mind, I'm not trying to blame you for this. I just
don't think the seatmast design is necessarily flawed, and think you
might get further with them and the dealer by pointing out that it is
likely a flaw in construction of your particular frame. They still
owe you a new frame, and IMHO should also eat the cost of building
up the new frame. That support is why one buys bikes from local dealers
after all.

I had to trim ont.bicycle because we don't carry it, and set followups
to rec.bicycles.tech which is where this discussion belongs.

Pierre L
July 16th 03, 04:05 PM
It sounds like you may have had a manufacturing defect right from the start.
A steel frame should not creak. What's the guarantee on the frame? It's got
to be more than 3 years - aren't Mikado steel frames guaranteed for life?
Defects do happen.

If it's a bad design, it's one that the whole industry is using nowadays.

The cost of stripping down the frame and rebuilding it afterwards may well
be worth it in order to get a replacement.

Pierre


"mark freedman" > wrote in message
om...
> I made the horrendous mistake of purchasing a Mikado
> D'Iberville Touring bike in March 2000. Similar specs
> to a Trek 520; True Temper OXII tubing, mix of Shimano
> LX and 105 componentry. Seemed a better value, and I
> like to support Canadian manufacturers (frame made
> in Quebec).
>
> I became concerned about the amount of flexing and creaking
> as I rode. A closer examination revealed identical cracks which
> begin on the top tube about 1" from the seat tube. extend across
> the seat tube to the point where the seat stays are brazed to
> the seat tube and, on one side, extend around the seatstay joint.
>
>
> I've just had independant confirmation that the top tube and
> seat tube have cracked, and the joint where the seatstay was
> brazed to the seat tube has also cracked.
>
> I weigh about 160 pounds and carry a single pannier
> weighing another 10 pounds. I don't believe overloading
> was a factor. The stock seatpost extends about 5" below the
> top of the seat tube, and the minimum insertion mark is well
> inside the seat tube. I've ridden about 20,000 kilometers.
>
> Mikado has a sloping top tube design which leaves the top
> 2" of the seat tube completely unsupported (not sure if the
> butted tubing means the top tube and seatstays are brazed onto
> the thinner portion of the tube).
>
> The seat stays attach just ABOVE the point where the
> top tube joins the seat tube.
>
> There's also a long slot cut into the seat tube so the
> clamp can compress it around the post.
>
> Intuitively, this design is weaker than conventional frames
> where very little of the seat tube extends above the top tube
> and seatstay joints. I suspect it allows flexing and the
> eventual breakdown of the tubes and brazed joints
> (ProCycle's "Direct Brazing System" - no lugs).
>
> ProCycle in Quebec has not replied to two Emails.
> I will escalate next week.
>
> The dealer says I get to pay them to strip the frame
> and ship it to ProCycle for examination. Three or four
> weeks later, ProCycle MAY decide to ship a replacement
> frame. Then I get to pay the dealer to reinstall all the
> old parts. Meanwhile I've lost four weeks of prime cycling
> season and my holiday plans are ruined.
>
> Ah, the perils of patriotism :-)

Don Klipstein
July 17th 03, 12:02 AM
In >, Chris Phillipo wrote:

>If they actually brazed them instead of welding then that might be the
>problem right there. I'm not familiar witht he brand but unless it came
>from Walmart, this sort of quality is not acceptable.

Plenty of top notch bicycle frames are brazed. I think the problem was
a design flaw. The frame designer may have underestimated or failed to
realize some stresses. As I remember how this frame was described a few
posts ago, I could see how it could have craked in normal use, whether it
was brazed or welded.
Normally the seat stays are attached to the seat tube at the same height
at which the top tube is attached, forming a distinct "seat cluster"
joint. If I remember correctly, the seat stays and the top tube were
attached at different heights, and the way I see it this can flex the seat
tube in a way that can cause cracks in the rear end of the top
tube or where the seat stays are atached, maybe elsewhere in that area.
And most brazed frames have lugs. (The frame in question here does
not.) You can make good lugless brazed frames, but it's trickier, among
other things requiring built-up braze joints that typically require brass
braze which requires a higher brazing temperature (than silver brazes)
that weakens most of the higher-strength steels used in lighter weight
steel frames. A good steel for brass brazed bicycle frames is Reynolds
531, which seems to have been falling out of fashion the last time I paid
much attention in this area.
There were good brazed bicycle frames before there were good welded
ones. In the 1970's and early 1980's, the usual road racing bicycle frame
had steel tubing and steel lugs and was brazed.

- Don Klipstein )

Andrew Chaplin
July 18th 03, 07:37 PM
Chris Phillipo wrote:

> I have seen and owned an internally brazed Peugot frame, they also do
> apear in Dept. stores. However I have seen tubes pinched flat and
> brazed onto the surface of the seat tube which is what I thought he
> meant. Hopefully no high end bike is made that way.

Not anymore, at least. Carleton frames from the late 60s and early 70s
had a wrap-around seatstay that tapered and was brazed to the sides
and upper surface of the seat lug. Mind you, Carletons were a fairly
well made frame before TI Raleigh screwed them up in the mid-70s.
--
Andrew Chaplin
SIT MIHI GLADIUS SICUT SANCTO MARTINO
(If you're going to e-mail me, you'll have to get "yourfinger." out.)

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