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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone have a list of US builders who are making frames with either Reynolds 953 or Columbus XCr stainless steel tubesets? Also, is XCr better than 953? I have heard there are issues with the chainstays on the 953 built frames.
 

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Here are a few bulders that I'm aware of:

Independent Fabrication
Waterford
Carl Strong
Bob Brown
Jonnycycles
David Anderson

Fairing Industrial is the Reynolds distributor for North America, and may be able to provide you with the names of other builders working with 953.

Nova Cycles is a Columbus distributor and may be able to provide you with the names of builders working with XCr.

This thread has some comments on the differences between 953 and XCr by a professional steels geek.

I'm not aware of any problems with 953 chainstays. Can you elaborate?
 

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velonomad said:
Anyone have a list of US builders who are making frames with either Reynolds 953 or Columbus XCr stainless steel tubesets? Also, is XCr better than 953? I have heard there are issues with the chainstays on the 953 built frames.
I'm curious about your comment on the 953 chainstays. I haven't heard of any issues, and haven't had any problems with the stays on my 953 cross frame built by Bob Brown.

When I had it built up, Bob was working with Reynolds to do some tests on doing some bent stays, since up to that point, it hadn't been done with 953. Bob built a 953 cross/29er frame for one of the LaLonde brothers to test out the bent stays if I recall correctly. He was planning on using the bent stays on future 953 29er frames, but I haven't paid much attention since.

From what I understand, bending the 953 stays wasn't a simple task.
 

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I think the title should be asking about builders who are willing to build with Reynolds 953. There are some great builders, Richard Sachs, David Kirk, Yamaguchi, Landshark, Brent Steelman, etc. etc. etc. that may not have built out of 953, but I don't doubt that each of them would be very capable of doing so. Plus, some builders have their preferences and there are some negatives as well as positives that go along with a super light steel tubeset like 953. And just because a builder hasn't yet built of out 953 or Columbus' new stainless steel XCr doesn't mean that they aren't perfectly capable of doing so.
 

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barbedwire said:
And just because a builder hasn't yet built of out 953 or Columbus' new stainless steel XCr doesn't mean that they aren't perfectly capable of doing so.
Where did that come from?

I think the OP asked the question they wanted to ask because perhaps they are interested in having an XC or 953 frame built. Why would someone interested in a stainless frame care about builders that don't build with it?
 

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One more

Ionic -- associated with Dean, makes a 953 road frame priced at $1,500. Steep, but the best best price I've seen for the material. Pretty sure I saw that Pegoretti does a frame with the Columbus version, so if you really hate having $$ in your bank account, that would be an option. (Kidding -- in part -- I'm sure it's a great frame.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry for not responding sooner fellas and gals but i have ben very busy lately opening up a new business. Anyway, what I had heard about the Reynolds 953 stays is that they were too flexy for use. This came directly from one of the most respected custom steel framebuilders in the USA. In fact, his name was mentioned by another poster above.

He essentially told me that although he liked the 953 main tubes, he was unhappy with what he had seen regarding the stays and in particular the chainstays. Anway, that's what he said and I respect his opinion enough not to argue with it.

Has anyone any opinion on the quality of Ionic Frames which was mentioned above? Are these guys really related to DEAN titanium builders?

Have a great day folks.
 

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Dean/Ionic

Yes, Ionic is associated with Dean -- part of the same company as I understand it. If you go to Dean's site (deanusa.com) there is a link on the main page to the Ionic site. I think they split off the Ionic brand for their steel frames when they decided to focus the Dean brand on titanium.

Anyway, they make steel frames with several levels of tubing. Prices seem pretty reasonable. I have not heard a lot of direct feedback from owners or seen many on the road, but what I've heard has been positive in terms of the quality of the frames. Seems like there was someone on this forum who posted pictures and a positive review of their new Ionic a while back.
 

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Wow. I've never heard that, and have been regularly reading feedback from framebuilders using 953 on frameforum.org.

As a rider who has put about 3000 miles on a Waterford built 953 frame, and as an experienced rider, I haven't experienced any flexiness in the stays that I would consider at all unusual. I would be interested in seeing any objective data related to 953 stay flexiness that would confirm that they are "way too flexy for use."

Here are the specs for the stays. For comparison, Reynolds 725 chainstays (recommended by Reynolds for 853 frames), P/N FX2510 are 18 x 29 oval (slightly smaller diameter than 953, so not quite as stiff) with 0.8/0.6 mm wall thickness (only a tenth mm thicker than the 953 stays).

Profile of 953 chainstay

P/N: FS4510D
Diameter (mm): 20/31 oval
Wall thickness (mm): butted 0.7/0.5
Length (mm): 410
Butt profile (mm): taper to 15mm tip in 953
Weight (grams): 146

It's true the 953 chainstay tapers to a smaller diameter at the dropout, but that provides vibration dampening rather than making the stay flexy; it's stiff, but compliant. Here's a photo of the chainstays on my 953 frame:

 

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Scooper said:
Beautiful frame, Warwick! Very nice welds.

May I ask how you feel about working with 953 and XCr compared to other steels? Are they tougher on tooling?

Looking at your website, it seems the frame you posted the photo of is XCr. Have you worked with 953?
Hiya,
Yeah, stainless is pretty tough material. Probably in terms of wear and tear, it's the same as Ti I guess. Different, but similar.

As I'm the poor guy in charge of finishing the frames, I will say it's a heck of a lot harder than Ti. Takes a whole day to get it from raw to this level, but I'm still learning really and I'm sure that with a few new techniques I'll be able to get that down. As it stands though, it's good therapy!

We haven't done any 953 frames as yet because I'm not happy with the technical support from Reynolds. We're currently in the middle of trying different welding wires with the stuff because unlike XCR where we used actual XCR welding wire, you can't buy 953 welding wire so whatever you do, there's going to be some technical issues with making sure the stuff stays stuck together.

Having said that, we're weeks away rather than months from being fully confident we can pump out the best stainless bikes, regardless of grade.
 
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