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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Would like to hear your opinions regarding these 2 materials.

Also like to see listed are the options of makes regarding each material.

Xcr is newer and I'm guessing fewer companies build frames based on them (among them are Cinelli and Firefly)

I'm looking to buy a stainless frame in the future, and I'm doing some research on them. I wonder how these 2 materials ride compare to titanium?
 

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Would like to hear your opinions regarding these 2 materials.

Also like to see listed are the options of makes regarding each material.

Xcr is newer and I'm guessing fewer companies build frames based on them (among them are Cinelli and Firefly)

I'm looking to buy a stainless frame in the future, and I'm doing some research on them. I wonder how these 2 materials ride compare to titanium?
I don't think you could go wrong with either one, or with Reynolds 931 or KVA MS2 for that matter.

I've been riding a lugged, polished 953 Waterford RS-22 for six years and love the ride. I've ridden it twice from San Francisco to Los Angeles on the AIDS/LifeCycle ride, and it's very comfortable on long rides, although that probably has more to do with the geometry than the material. The weight of my 61 cm (c-t) frame is 1650 grams.

This chart may help in comparing the four stainless tubesets. 953 and KVA MS2 are both seamed, but the welds are so homogeneous that they are virtually seamless after drawing.



Here's my bike.

 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It looks like the compliancy order from least compliant to most is 953, 931, Xcr

My frame size will be 51cm top tube (effective), so it's on the smaller side. And a smaller frame will flex less compared to a larger frame. I wonder if I should go with Xcr as opposed to 953? Problem for me is so far all the Xcr frames I've seen on the market is in the $4000 range, which is expensive.
 

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The cost for a raw tube set in either XCr or 953 is roughly the same (~$600) and stainless is really tough on the framebuilder's tools (953 more so than XCr, 931, or KVA MS2), so stainless frames reflect these higher costs. At NAHBS, a number of framebuilders who had a good reputation with 953 (Waterford, Dave Wages, Dave Anderson) have started building with MS2 because it's easier on tooling without the availability problems of 953.

SOMA has just introduced the Smoothie SS frame which is fillet brazed polished KVA MS2, and it sells for $2,000.

 

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Compliance is basically a function of Young's modulus (stiffness modulus - E), the wall thickness and diameters of the tubes. Young's modulus of all steels is virtually the same (~200 GPa), and the tubing wall thickness of all four stainless tube sets are similar. The tube diameters from all four are also pretty standard, so I don't think you'd be able to tell the difference among the four in terms of the ride. I'm 6' tall and weigh 180, and my 953 frame with OS tubing has a very similar ride to my '87 Paramount built with standard size tubes (Columbus SL with SP down tube) except for the difference of the longer chainstays and wheelbase on the 953 frame which makes it more comfortable on longer rides.
 

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Here is a comparison from the head of Indy fab.

Project XCr - Page 2

Cinelli claims XCR has a better elastic response than other materials.

Cinelli True Story: A Uniquely Vibrant Ride: Cinelli XCR

One alternative to stainless is normal steel with a rust proofing treatment called Cataphoresis (Cyfac's name). AKA Cataforesi (Tommasini's name) or Cathaphoresis (Casati's name).

I was told by Cyfac that the ride is a lot more tuneable with a Spirit tubeset vs. XCr, which I'm guessing is due to a wider variety of tube diameters and thickness.
 

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Thanks for posting the links. Gary's IF Project XCr write-up is particularly good. He makes no bones about 953 being harder on tooling, but his comment that the 953 is more "compliant" than XCr would seem to be at odds with the Cinelli write-up that XCR as a material has more "elastic response"; Young's Modulus is the modulus of elasticity (that's what the "E" stands for), and since all steels have the virtually the same modulus of elasticity I think their assertion may be influenced by self-serving marketing hype?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Here is a comparison from the head of Indy fab.

Project XCr - Page 2

Cinelli claims XCR has a better elastic response than other materials.

Cinelli True Story: A Uniquely Vibrant Ride: Cinelli XCR

One alternative to stainless is normal steel with a rust proofing treatment called Cataphoresis (Cyfac's name). AKA Cataforesi (Tommasini's name) or Cathaphoresis (Casati's name).

I was told by Cyfac that the ride is a lot more tuneable with a Spirit tubeset vs. XCr, which I'm guessing is due to a wider variety of tube diameters and thickness.
Thanks for the links.

I'm leaning toward Xcr now.

Independent Fabrication is another nice option
 

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Thanks for the links.

I'm leaning toward Xcr now.

Independent Fabrication is another nice option
XCr is a great choice, but if you are concerned about your small frame being overly stiff, I think you should probably consider specifying the new XCr for lugs.

The XCr tubing used for the Cinelli XCr has a larger diameter than normal OS, and will almost certainly have a stiffer, harsher ride when used on a small frame. The new XCr for lugs has standard OS tube diameters, and I think you'd find it much more satisfactory for the frame size you want.

Here are the tubing diameters for XCr and XCr for lugs.

XCr. Note that the top tube diameter is 31.7, the down tube diameter is either 35 or 38 (!), and the seat tube is either 31.7 or 33. A small frame with this size tubing will be pretty stiff.



XCr for lugs. These tubes are regular OS diameter (28.6 TT, 31.7 DT, and 28.6 ST).



 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Didn't know that there are Xcr for lugs. But this sounds interesting.

I have a circa 1993 Casati Laser that uses 4130 thin wall chromoly. Tubes are of standard size (for those days), and fillet welded. Top tube is 51cm (traditional geometry). And honestly, I think this is plenty stiff for me for touring/sportive purposes, with skinny 1" diameter head tube and quill stem.

If I were to get the Cinelli Xcr, then the size I would get is 48cm (sloping geometry), which has an effective 51.5cm top tube. (This is the smallest size from Cinelli). And if the Xcr tubes are oversized, then I can see that the frame will most likely be stiffer then my old Casati.

However, I do want this Xcr build to be semi stiff, not all-out-racer stiff, but somewhat a little stiff. (Reason is I already have a Serotta Ottrott whenever I want to ride a soft couch on a century).

I'm all for lugs, but I don't think Cinelli makes lugs. And furthermore, lugs will probably jack the price up another thousand dollar. (if you go lugs, you gotta go pretty, no ugly lugs will do).

BTW, does any fabricator ever make lugs with oversized tubings?? I wonder if lugs plus oversized tubings will give me the magic combination?

Really wish I could test ride an Xcr bike and 953 bike back to back. But these frames are hard to find, much less test them.
 

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Didn't know that there are Xcr for lugs. But this sounds interesting.

I have a circa 1993 Casati Laser that uses 4130 thin wall chromoly. Tubes are of standard size (for those days), and fillet welded. Top tube is 51cm (traditional geometry). And honestly, I think this is plenty stiff for me for touring/sportive purposes, with skinny 1" diameter head tube and quill stem.

If I were to get the Cinelli Xcr, then the size I would get is 48cm (sloping geometry), which has an effective 51.5cm top tube. (This is the smallest size from Cinelli). And if the Xcr tubes are oversized, then I can see that the frame will most likely be stiffer then my old Casati.

However, I do want this Xcr build to be semi stiff, not all-out-racer stiff, but somewhat a little stiff. (Reason is I already have a Serotta Ottrott whenever I want to ride a soft couch on a century).

I'm all for lugs, but I don't think Cinelli makes lugs. And furthermore, lugs will probably jack the price up another thousand dollar. (if you go lugs, you gotta go pretty, no ugly lugs will do).

BTW, does any fabricator ever make lugs with oversized tubings?? I wonder if lugs plus oversized tubings will give me the magic combination?

Really wish I could test ride an Xcr bike and 953 bike back to back. But these frames are hard to find, much less test them.
You don't need to use lugs with the XCr for lugs tubes. They're called that because the outside diameters are standard for OS lugs, but the butts are beefy enough to be TIG welded. Note that the main tube butt walls for both XCr and XCr for lugs are in the range of 0.65mm to 0.8mm thick. The stay wall thickness at the butts are also the same (0.7mm) for both tubesets.

EDIT - There are lots of lugs for OS tubing, including stainless steel lugs. The lugs on my Waterford are stainless NEWVEX lugs for oversize tubing, and are made by Richard Sachs.





 

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One more thought... Carl Strong has been working with both 953 and XCr for years, and his TIG welding is flawless (he won the best TIG welded frame award at NAHBS), and he has lots of very happy customers. You might give him a call and discuss your options.
 

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XCr and 953

I'm also looking to have a stainless steel road bike made to measure for me.
Been looking for awhile now and I'm leaning towards 953. Don't think you could go wrong with XCr either though.
My bike will be size 52.
What I gathered from this thread is that XCr would be about 50g lighter (a wash, not a factor) and somewhat stiffer due to it's larger diameter tubes, a plus.
If you want stiff but not too stiff, how would a lugged 953 bike ride compared to an XCr bike? I think that trying to peg that down is akin to trying to pick a saddle for someone. We would have to ride these bikes of two different materials ourselves. I feel confident that a good builder could make me a 953 bike stiff enough just as I also feel that an XCr bike could be made to be just as compliant. To get that stiffness and compliance ratio you desire, you have to believe in the builder's abilities.
Cinelli, Independent Fabrication, Waterford, Firefly and Anderson Custom Bicycles to name some of my faves, are the ones to talk to.
My personal taste for each: XCr, Firefly makes awesome eye candy in stainless, not to mention Ti. Road // Stainless | Firefly Bicycles
Stainless Steel 953 Lugged: Anderson Custom Bicycles, ABC Signature Stainless Road. IMG_6090 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
 

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My top three are Anderson, Cyfac, and Casati. If I want to go cheap it would be Quiring in Michigan
I didn't realize Scott Quiring worked with stainless, but I see from his price list that his TIG'd XCr custom road frame is $1800. That's about as inexpensive as I've ever seen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 · (Edited)
I didn't realize Scott Quiring worked with stainless, but I see from his price list that his TIG'd XCr custom road frame is $1800. That's about as inexpensive as I've ever seen.
$1800 is just for frame, not including fork. Still a cheap price!

How is Quiring work?? Very tempted at the price. But last thing I want is a custom nightmare should things go wrong, and while not directing at Quiring, but we all know custom frame can be a love/hate experience.

Also, the pricing list was last updated June 2011. I wonder if prices have changed since?
 

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$1800 is just for frame, not including fork. Still a cheap price!

How is Quiring work?? Very tempted at the price. But last thing I want is a custom nightmare should things go wrong, and while not directing at Quiring, but we all know custom frame can be a love/hate experience.

Also, the pricing list was last updated June 2011. I wonder if prices have changed since?
I've no personal experience, but he's been around a while. Maybe one of his customers will chime in.
 

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I had Scott build a ti bike for me several years go. Everything was on time, on budget. Scott was pleasant to deal with and his craftsmanship was excellent. He has an excellent reputation.

$1800 is just for frame, not including fork. Still a cheap price!

How is Quiring work?? Very tempted at the price. But last thing I want is a custom nightmare should things go wrong, and while not directing at Quiring, but we all know custom frame can be a love/hate experience.

Also, the pricing list was last updated June 2011. I wonder if prices have changed since?
 
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