My bud's dream bike turns into a nightmare... - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 03:29 AM Thread Starter
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My bud's dream bike turns into a nightmare...



Hey guys, I’ve wanted to post this up for a long time but my friend told me I should wait for his lawyer’s thumbs up.

Here's the story... my bud loves the look of the choppers and always wanted to build his own, so he finds this outfit called Big Bear Choppers (BBC) that makes some cool chopper kits. He takes out a second on his home and buys a Devils Advocate (DA) kit from them and we truck up to Big Bear Lake and pick up a pallet full of chopper parts. He buys all kinds of upgrades for his DA and basically spent a small fortune on his baby.

It takes him over a year to get it mocked up and another for paint and final assembly. But when its finished, the bike is totally badass. It has become his labor of love and it really shows in all of the details and ideas brought into this project.

My friend is a very devout Christian, so he has Carl Brouhard Designs lay down some awesome hand painted graphics and a couple of scriptures, over a stunning red paint job. When he gets it running and on the road, everyone is in awe of his beautiful chopper, which he names the “Devil Stomper”..

Most peeps would have this sort of bike for a trailer queen to show off at shows and what not, but my bud used his as a daily driver and long distance cruiser, cuz he built this thing to ride.

I’ll let him tell the rest of the story…

Quote:
Dear friends and family,
Yesterday at 4:30 pm a miracle of God occurred. I was riding my motorcycle home from work on Hwy 87 here in San Jose and at 65 MPH the entire front end of my bike broke away from the frame! The bike slammed down on the frame and skidded upright for over 500 feet and came to a stop and I stepped off totally unscathed. This should have killed me several times over, had the bike wavered to the left or the right even a fraction of an inch the bike would have tumbled and me along with it. God's hand was upon me and His angels held that bike upright until it came safely to a stop. No one who sees these pictures can deny that there is truly a God in heaven and that He watches over His children!
I did not feel fear during or after the accident, I knew and know the power of my God and his strength! He is with me always and to Him be the glory the power and the praise!! For He is my rock and my fortress and my salvation in times of trouble! Thanks be unto the Lord my God and to the Son for my life! He has plans to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me hope and a future and He has sent His angels to guard over me and see to the purpose that He has made me for come to pass. Glory be to the most high God and all praise be to Him!

Please join me in a prayer of thanksgiving unto our God and Savior for His mercy and grace.
Thank you Lord Jesus for my life and health and may I always be a testimony to you and your love, protection and saving grace, amen!

Blessings to you all and may the love of the Lord be with you always,
L

He also wrote:
On Friday August 31st 2007 at 4:30 pm while traveling on southbound Hwy 87 in San Jose, CA approximately one half mile north of the Taylor St exit the welds between the neck stem and the top and down tube suddenly and without warning snapped and the front end assembly completely separated from the rest of my 2004 Big Bear Choppers Devil’s Advocate chopper motorcycle.
The motorcycle slammed down on the lower frame rails and while trying to hold on to the now unattached front end I slid for over 500 feet! By some miracle of God the motorcycle did not flip, tumble or fly out of control resulting in serious injury or death.

Wow huh?
Also if you want to read some comments from guys in the chopper scene, click on this linky…

http://www.clubchopper.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=59967

Check out all of the pictures by double clicking on the image and let me know your thoughts.


Rj - WQEU774
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post #2 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 03:57 AM
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Wow. 500' on the frame! That had to be a wild ride.

I don't understand putting that much money into a bike, but to each his own. Hope it works out for him.

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post #3 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 03:58 AM
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Those welds look horrible and I know a thing or two about horrible welds because I can't make good welds. Looks like I Mig welded that frame in my garage (which I didn't, so don't sue me).

Glad Larry wasn't injured.

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post #4 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 04:15 AM
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Wow Larry is one lucky guy and what a shame. That bike looked awesome. Can it be fixed or is he having to leave it that way for evidence?

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post #5 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 05:36 AM
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One possibility is that the welds were smoothed out with a grinder before painting and that removed most (if not all) of the weld?! I've got bigger welds than that on my bicycle!

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post #6 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 05:44 AM
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I'm with Jet on the "I can't make good welds" crew but I'm pretty sure even mine wouldn't have been THAT BAD!

Sounds like a guardian angel had a hand in steadying that bike for a 500ft ride.




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post #7 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 05:46 AM
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I'm no engineer but one must wonder. Aside from the shoddy welds, a bike with this this much radical steering geometry and ridden as a daily commuter. Is it a accident waiting to happen?

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post #8 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 05:58 AM
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Hopefully it works out for him, but I'm with Mike. No way would I want that torture rack for a daily commuter.

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post #9 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 06:14 AM
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WOW!

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post #10 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 08:59 AM
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omg
freakin 11 pages into that thread...i'm done

plus
you made me see this...and i won't forget it
Attached Images
File Type: jpg orly1.jpg (54.1 KB, 37 views)

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post #11 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 09:04 AM
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crappy welds!!! enough said!! the stupid company should have given your friend anything he wanted to start with to keep him quite when they saw those welds, he hopfully will own the company and turn them around for the better, to save lives. We have enough problems riding out there we shouldn't have to worry about the machine failing in that way.

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post #12 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 12:45 PM
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I'll stick with a properly ENGINEERED motorcycle.

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post #13 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 01:35 PM
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Sorry to hear about that! But very glad your buddy wasn't hurt. Goes to show you how blind trusting fly by night mechanical companies can endanger your life. That story underscores the value of boring production quality designs and testing. Hope your bud is back on the road soon!

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post #14 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 02:28 PM
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Very glad your friend was not injured.

The responses from BBC should be read also.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcombs View Post
crappy welds!!! enough said!! the stupid company should have given your friend anything he wanted to start with to keep him quite when they saw those welds
IF (big if) the company was right and the things they commented on did have an effect on the integrity of the frame, giving the guy a new frame out of kindness would've also implied admission of fault/guilt. It seems the rider is looking for a large settlement.

Two sides to every story I suppose.

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post #15 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 02:42 PM
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Yep. I read the admission by him they he did drill the frame and had laid the bike down just prior. Looks like a setup for a good court fight.

"Towards the end of the vid, it looks like she may have had a bafflectomy." - MarylandMike
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post #16 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 03:43 PM
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bet whoever welded that was never Union...

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post #17 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 03:47 PM
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No hole 2" away would affect the weld. The tubes should always fail before the weld. My bike frame did once, it squeaked badly then I noticed a 3/4 cracked tube 3" from the main weld (overheated during a braze-on weld), very fortunate it was prior to it completely failing. On an obnoxiously loud chopper you'd never hear the failure early. It's something to eyeball check before each ride.

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post #18 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 05:53 PM
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That weld should never let lose like that ever... not even during an accident. You wouldnt see a separation of weld - rather a tear or break or ripp whatever of the tube...

That is horrible!

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post #19 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 06:37 PM
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Jesus, don't buy a bike from Big Bear Choppers.

What a POS, he's lucky he isn't dead (I guess he knows that already).

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post #20 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratdog View Post
bet whoever welded that was never Union...
yeah, for sure.
not that it wouldn't have failed - just that it would've taken three times longer and cost five times as much.

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post #21 of 28 Old 03-17-2008, 11:49 PM
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The dirty spot on the bottom where the down tube joined the head tube usually indicates the frame was cracked for some time (picture 14). The weld begins to fail and that area is exposed to the elements. The above that there will be another section that seems "polished, that's where the crack has spread too and the rubbing has polished it, then there will a very raw torn section from where the frame finally failed.

Some of the other guys have comment that the weld should not have failed and that is normally true, it'll be the strongest spot where the tubes join.

What draws my attention is what appears to be inserts or forms of some type inside the tubes (picture 15). If those are a solid metal form of some sort then they would make those tubes so rigid the only flex would be where the tubes joined. That would become a stress riser and failure would be inevitable.

If you were to hand that to a structural engineer I would suspect they'd conclude the failure was a result of a design flaw, no matter how nice a weld you laid down it would fail.

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post #22 of 28 Old 03-18-2008, 12:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danke View Post
The dirty spot on the bottom where the down tube joined the head tube usually indicates the frame was cracked for some time (picture 14). The weld begins to fail and that area is exposed to the elements. The above that there will be another section that seems "polished, that's where the crack has spread too and the rubbing has polished it, then there will a very raw torn section from where the frame finally failed.

Some of the other guys have comment that the weld should not have failed and that is normally true, it'll be the strongest spot where the tubes join.

What draws my attention is what appears to be inserts or forms of some type inside the tubes (picture 15). If those are a solid metal form of some sort then they would make those tubes so rigid the only flex would be where the tubes joined. That would become a stress riser and failure would be inevitable.

If you were to hand that to a structural engineer I would suspect they'd conclude the failure was a result of a design flaw, no matter how nice a weld you laid down it would fail.
Excellent observations! My frame too had rust on the initial side of the crack.

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post #23 of 28 Old 03-18-2008, 02:42 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jetblast10 View Post
Those welds look horrible.
That’s the first thing I said when I saw the bike two day after the accident! No penetration what so ever.


Quote:
Originally Posted by marylandmike View Post
Wow Larry is one lucky guy and what a shame. That bike looked awesome. Can it be fixed or is he having to leave it that way for evidence?
the before pictures really don't show the details and now it's only good enough as evidence for the civil suit


Quote:
Originally Posted by MisterMike View Post
I'm no engineer but one must wonder. Aside from the shoddy welds, a bike with this this much radical steering geometry and ridden as a daily commuter. Is it a accident waiting to happen?
IMHO I've never felt that a chopper is safe for the street, no suspension, no cornering clearance, a single disk brake on a skinny front tire, silly ergonomics and that crazy steering geometry is just the start.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ajcombs View Post
crappy welds!!! enough said!! the stupid company should have given your friend anything he wanted to start with to keep him quite when they saw those welds, We have enough problems riding out there we shouldn't have to worry about the machine failing in that way.
true that aj


Quote:
Originally Posted by BARROSART View Post
I'll stick with a properly ENGINEERED motorcycle.
word barro


Quote:
Originally Posted by gpzTurbo View Post
Very glad your friend was not injured. The responses from BBC should be read also. IF (big if) the company was right and the things they commented on did have an effect on the integrity of the frame, giving the guy a new frame out of kindness would've also implied admission of fault/guilt. It seems the rider is looking for a large settlement. Two sides to every story I suppose.
I agree with you gpz but I think my bud's attorney advised him on the amount to ask for. It seemed high to me too, but I figure those guys know what their doing.


Quote:
Originally Posted by async View Post
Jesus, don't buy a bike from Big Bear Choppers. What a POS, he's lucky he isn't dead (I guess he knows that already).
I've watched most of the Biker Build Off and the other shows about the chopper scene and I think that most of these "custom bikes" are for weekend shows and going bar to bar... not a daily commuter bike, especially here in San Jose, the home of the crappy pot holed roads from hell


Quote:
Originally Posted by Danke View Post
The dirty spot on the bottom where the down tube joined the head tube usually indicates the frame was cracked for some time (picture 14). The weld begins to fail and that area is exposed to the elements. The above that there will be another section that seems "polished, that's where the crack has spread too and the rubbing has polished it, then there will a very raw torn section from where the frame finally failed.
Some of the other guys have comment that the weld should not have failed and that is normally true, it'll be the strongest spot where the tubes join.
What draws my attention is what appears to be inserts or forms of some type inside the tubes (picture 15).
I that is the bottom tube that is mates to the headstock at an angle so it looks a lot thicker. The two metal pieces you see are the bottom tube and the weld itself.
.......................Picture 14................................................ .....................................Picture 15

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post #24 of 28 Old 03-18-2008, 07:58 AM
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So that's one of those digitial shots that kind of fills in info that's not there? I just see a big oval of material there.

The miter on the down tube looks "wrong" still though.

You can go here, http://www.tonyfoale.com/ and download a program from his freeware button called the tube profile cutting guide. Punch in the dimensions of the frame and it'll print a paper template of what the miter should look like based on a more established frame builder's thoughts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by raybobb1 View Post
.......................Picture 14................................................ .....................................Picture 15

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post #25 of 28 Old 08-28-2008, 02:51 PM
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Looks like a cold weld... And poor prep. The downtube's edges should have been slightly beveled so the welder could be turned up the proper heat range without burning the thin edges off.

With the weight of the bike resting on a front tire raked way out I think that node had alot of stress on it, which could (and probably did) attribute to the failure.

I've done some cage work in my time... and I would not trust that naked joint. Some would not like the aesthetics, but I would have added a gusset between the neck, downtube, and backbone to better distribute the stress... This would double the strength of the node, and give you another spot to laser out a skull, angel, devil, whatever...

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post #26 of 28 Old 08-29-2008, 09:44 AM
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YIKES!!! man i couldn't imagine that ride. thank God he's ok

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post #27 of 28 Old 08-29-2008, 10:44 AM
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if you jump to the end of the threads the company eventually started a recall on a lot of frames for the shoddy welding... and that was definatly some cold welding there is zero penetration there

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post #28 of 28 Old 08-29-2008, 11:18 AM
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That is definitely a cold and dirty TIG weld. There is very little overlap of filler rod and there was next to no penetration of the two metals. If you look at the top of the down tube on the right pic you can see that there was less than an 1/8 inch of overlap and the rust on the bevel of the lower portion is because they welded the joint together with a gap on the bottom. If you look the bead projects past the surface of the bevel surface. Very poor fabrication/welding and even worse quality control. Glad the guy made it out alive. That is why I burn my welds deep and use gussets on head tube connections.


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