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I've tried Google, but must not be keying in the right keywords. What is the difference in different grades of non-exhaust tubing steel? For example, 4130 True-Temper, Reynolds 631, 853, etc. What's "Columbus tubing?" Is it just a question of weight or is there a whole fatigue resistance, strength type of deal as well? Is there a "best" grade of steel, or are there trade-offs for each one?

Or better yet, anyone got the URL of a good FAQ off the top of their head? :)
 

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mega-question gets a micro-answer...

keep searching for all the discussions on steel tubing.
Reynolds, Columbus, True Temper, Dedaccaia (?) all do steel tubes. Google them.
The various designations of types of tubing vary according to composition/processing and/or amount of/thickness of butting and/or shape of tubes.
OK that wasn't very helpful.
Keep searching!
 

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Zaurusman said:
I've tried Google, but must not be keying in the right keywords. What is the difference in different grades of non-exhaust tubing steel? For example, 4130 True-Temper, Reynolds 631, 853, etc. What's "Columbus tubing?" Is it just a question of weight or is there a whole fatigue resistance, strength type of deal as well? Is there a "best" grade of steel, or are there trade-offs for each one?

Or better yet, anyone got the URL of a good FAQ off the top of their head? :)
As previously mentioned, a truly large question. Here is a link:

http://claymore.engineer.gvsu.edu/eod/material/material-8.html

Generally, the first two digits refer to the alloying elements, as shown in the link. The second two digits generally refer to the carbon content.

True Temper, Columbus and Reynolds are all tubing manufacturers. Back in the old days, Reynolds produced lots of "531" which was a magnesium-molybdenum steel alloy. Columbus and True Temper (and the Japanese company Ishiwata) produced lots of 4130 chromium-molybdenum (cro-moly) tubing. Ishiwata also produced chromium-vandium steel tubing, which Fuji marketed as "Valite." These days, the companies have ventured into different steel alloys. Reynolds 853 (http://www.reynoldscycles.co.uk/steel853.html) for instance, is a truly groovy maraging stainless steel alloy, which is FAR stronger than 4130 cro-moly.

If you've got time on your hands, you can get a wealth of information at:

http://www.matweb.com/search/SearchSubcat.asp

but the information is not in the easiest format to read.

Here is an article on steel bicycle tubing:

http://www.desperadocycles.com/The_Lowdown_On_Tubing/About_Steel_Tubing_page1.htm

There is much to be learned about steel. Keep Googling on variations of the words and see what comes up.

Have Fun,

FBB
 

· eminence grease
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You want a lightweight - True Temper S3.
You want a medium weight - Reynolds 853
You want a nice traditional solid steel bike that might forever and can be built medium-light if you have a custom guy who likes a challenge - Reynolds 725
You like Italian - Columbus

There, that's about it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Nothing's ever simple, is it? This is exactly why people get all obsessed, you know! LOL

Thanks for all the links to further reading, guys. And for the Cliff Notes version, too. :)
 

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LBK said:
If you can get one, Reynolds 953.
Next on my list, but I'm hearing it remains apocryphal. :D

And, I'm not sure I'd bet the bank on an early one. Great if you have multiple bikes, not so great if it's intended to be a "dream bike."
 

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Definitely a "dream bike," especially this year while I keep it in the realm of research. It'll be my primary bike when I do buy and more-or-less set my present bike aside for touring later.

How good's Reynolds 631 for an all-around material? Looking for longevity first, weight second. How much better than "no-name" cro-moly like on, say, a $700 Bianchi Brava?
 

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terry b said:
Next on my list, but I'm hearing it remains apocryphal. :D

And, I'm not sure I'd bet the bank on an early one. Great if you have multiple bikes, not so great if it's intended to be a "dream bike."
Hmmm. I'm waiting for someone to come out with an Inconel X frame.
 

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Here is a more simple understanding: the tubesets are marketed both as an alloy of some strength, and a particular shape/butting profile. It's not simple round tubes any more. Just like you can take sheet steel and form it into a stiff structure like a car, or a washing machine, you can take a thin-wall tubing and shape it in some way that it's stiff where it wants to be and resists torsion well, you get a bike that is uber-stiff but has a nice ride that is described as, "liveliness."

When tubes are welded together, the area that was heated has been affected, normally weakened. The newer alloys are more resistant to heating and are not as affected negatively by welding. This allows a maker to save money since the frame does not have to be heat treated. Much of this metallurgy is esoteric. Because it is such an esoteric subject, marketing has made a mess of everything, lending all kinds of market-speak claims about their products.

The direction steel tube makers is going in is to offer shaped tubesets that are specific for the stress in that part of the frame. The effort is to make the bike strong enough, yet light enough to compete with aluminum bikes and other materials. There is a downside to these ultra-strong, yet thin-walled tube sets: they can be dented more easily. You just have to understand that, in steel, going under 2.5lbs for a frame weight starts getting you into that beer can thin tubing. (I'm exagerating since even the thinnest steel bike tubing is much thicker than that used in beer cans).

What you can easily do with an entire bike is accept more weight in a frame, and take it away in lighter wheel sets, stems, seat posts, forks and bars. As a complete bike, steel can compete favorably with any other popular bike frame material. One thing I will say, it is true that there is a feel to a steel bike. Some people can feel it obviously, others are, "feel-deaf," in that they can't tell the diference between a steel bike and an aluminim bike of the same dimensions and fit.

I will end with this. Too much focus is spent on the material and not enough on the execution and everything else that makes a bike an ergonomic machine. Who cares how uber-light the frame is if you sit on a brick for a seat or ride with fork so flexible going fast is dangerously squirrely. Wheels and tires make a huge difference in bike feel. Total weight is affected by so many more things that the basic frame weight is a wash.
 

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very well said

Insight Driver said:
Here is a more simple understanding: the tubesets are marketed both as an alloy of some strength, and a particular shape/butting profile. It's not simple round tubes any more. Just like you can take sheet steel and form it into a stiff structure like a car, or a washing machine, you can take a thin-wall tubing and shape it in some way that it's stiff where it wants to be and resists torsion well, you get a bike that is uber-stiff but has a nice ride that is described as, "liveliness."

When tubes are welded together, the area that was heated has been affected, normally weakened. The newer alloys are more resistant to heating and are not as affected negatively by welding. This allows a maker to save money since the frame does not have to be heat treated. Much of this metallurgy is esoteric. Because it is such an esoteric subject, marketing has made a mess of everything, lending all kinds of market-speak claims about their products.

The direction steel tube makers is going in is to offer shaped tubesets that are specific for the stress in that part of the frame. The effort is to make the bike strong enough, yet light enough to compete with aluminum bikes and other materials. There is a downside to these ultra-strong, yet thin-walled tube sets: they can be dented more easily. You just have to understand that, in steel, going under 2.5lbs for a frame weight starts getting you into that beer can thin tubing. (I'm exagerating since even the thinnest steel bike tubing is much thicker than that used in beer cans).

What you can easily do with an entire bike is accept more weight in a frame, and take it away in lighter wheel sets, stems, seat posts, forks and bars. As a complete bike, steel can compete favorably with any other popular bike frame material. One thing I will say, it is true that there is a feel to a steel bike. Some people can feel it obviously, others are, "feel-deaf," in that they can't tell the diference between a steel bike and an aluminim bike of the same dimensions and fit.

I will end with this. Too much focus is spent on the material and not enough on the execution and everything else that makes a bike an ergonomic machine. Who cares how uber-light the frame is if you sit on a brick for a seat or ride with fork so flexible going fast is dangerously squirrely. Wheels and tires make a huge difference in bike feel. Total weight is affected by so many more things that the basic frame weight is a wash.
this is so true - if you take a 3.5 lb high grade steel frame and mount good light wheels - like American Classic 420 -- the bike will ride much better and quicker than a 2.5 aluminum frame with same components and a standard 1800 to 1900 gram set of wheels. the two bikes would weigh the same - but the ride would be completely different
 

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collectorvelo said:
-- the bike will ride much better and quicker than a 2.5 aluminum frame
Now there's a stupid assumption that can't be backed up with anything. See kids, this is why we have a brain: so we can avoid making baseless claims like the one above. Kids, you have to remember that it's about the whole package. You can't make absolute statements about ride quality based on tube type alone.
 

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even kids know

alienator said:
Now there's a stupid assumption that can't be backed up with anything. See kids, this is why we have a brain: so we can avoid making baseless claims like the one above. Kids, you have to remember that it's about the whole package. You can't make absolute statements about ride quality based on tube type alone.

you should know - that if you say 'same components' - lighter wheels by a pound - and heavier frame by a pound -- it simply means a pound of rotational weight is more important than a pound of fixed weight -- and especially out on the rims weight is multipled in effect

and therefore, kids, you should lean to read - it may come in handy
 
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