Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 20 of 37 Posts

·
Reality Star
Joined
·
893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can someone explain why stainless steel frames are so expensive? When you can buy a new Carbon fiber frame from China for $300 why is Columbus XCr and True Temper OX Platinum $3300? I thought stainless steel is 50 year technology and is mass produced? Is this an artificial market based on perceived scarcity? Or are they going to shroud it in the mystery of "it is so difficult to weld"?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
Don Duende said:
Can someone explain why stainless steel frames are so expensive? When you can buy a new Carbon fiber frame from China for $300 why is Columbus XCr and True Temper OX Platinum $3300? I thought stainless steel is 50 year technology and is mass produced? Is this an artificial market based on perceived scarcity? Or are they going to shroud it in the mystery of "it is so difficult to weld"?

What?! Where can you buy a carbon frame for $300?! You're prices seem a little off. All the carbon frames that I have seen from Trek, Specialized, Cannondale, etc are well over $2000. I'm pretty sure that most of the manufacturing for those companies, at least with carbon, are in China. And I've never ever seen a True Temper OX steel frame for $3300. Who has a True Temper OX steel frame out there for $3300?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
padawan716 said:
eBay has carbon frames from 279 + shipping, and the popular Hasa frames are around $400.

Yeah, but eBay also has new steel frames for $125 too. It's not really a fair comparison to take a high end steel frame bought at the bike shop compared to a cheap eBay carbon frame. A more accurate comparison would be eBay carbon vs. eBay steel. Or bike shop Trek carbon vs. bike shop Serotta steel, etc.

I mean, you could even compare a WalMart steel bike to a bike shop steel bike too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,037 Posts
The new stainless steel tubes are not intended to be mass produced and are available in limited quantities and tubing sizes. Incremental increase in strength to incremental increase in price ration compared to existing steels makes the demand low. It is more difficult to build with also. Titanium is still better from a cost/benefit perspective assuming you value corrosion resistance and especially if you want bare titanium. 953 if offered naked but should really be painted like other steels.
 

·
Matnlely Dregaend
Joined
·
4,933 Posts

·
eminence grease
Joined
·
18,538 Posts
Ionic Bikes (Dean's subsidiary) offers a stock/custom 953 frame for $1950. There are a few other offerings around in the price range too.

I think the price remains high among many builders because they don't want to spend a lot of time working with the material. It's a niche product will small demand and so it becomes a "I'll do it if you're willing to pay for it" proposition. The tubeset cost is more than likely far less than the end product cost, but I would guess in the same proportion for every other tubeset.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,255 Posts
"The tubeset cost is more than likely far less than the end product cost, but I would guess in the same proportion for every other tubeset."

You're right about that. I was doing some research on 953 planning the frame I'm going to have Carl Strong build for me and I found a site with framebuilder supplies, including tubesets for most of the popular steels. Sorry, but I don't remember the name, but I did notice that most sets, even for higher end tubing, were less than $200, but the 953 was around $600 or so. This was just for tubes, no lugs, etc., but a big difference in the raw materials.
 

·
Reality Star
Joined
·
893 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Creakyknees said:
stainless... bah.

full chrome FTW.


Creaky, you are the only one to get my point. Why not get an 853 frame and have it chromed? It will ride the same and maybe just 100 gm heavier than 953, OX Platinum or XCr. The money saved would pay for the rest of the parts.
 

·
duh...
Joined
·
9,658 Posts
Don Duende said:
Creaky, you are the only one to get my point. Why not get an *53 frame and have it chromed? It will ride the same and maybe just 100 gm heavier than 953, OX Platinum or XCr. The money saved would pay for the rest of the parts.



don't think ck was serious... but why not? chroming not as common these days, esp for cheap and good non-chipping quality (still gotta face ht and bb), and the weight penalty. plus, people don't want "old technology". ss may be old tech but the tubing is not
 

·
eminence grease
Joined
·
18,538 Posts
cdhbrad said:
notice that most sets, even for higher end tubing, were less than $200, but the 953 was around $600 or so. This was just for tubes, no lugs, etc., but a big difference in the raw materials.
Exactly, so you figure a builder has an $1800 markup on a regular steel frame to cover their production time, shop overhead, staff salaries, consumables, paint, advertising, etc. That same markup on 953 puts the frame at $2400, add a PITA factor and you're looking at the exact price you see on the various custom builder websites.
 

·
eminence grease
Joined
·
18,538 Posts
Don Duende said:
Creaky, you are the only one to get my point. Why not get an 853 frame and have it chromed? It will ride the same and maybe just 100 gm heavier than 953, OX Platinum or XCr. The money saved would pay for the rest of the parts.
Because a chromed 853 frame doesn't look anything like a 953 frame. I wouldn't ride a chrome frame if it was the only thing saving me from being chased down by a bunch a naroterroristas. It's a matter of taste, an shiny metal is not something I prefer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
11,474 Posts
Don Duende said:
Creaky, you are the only one to get my point. .
I still don't get it—what was your point? All I see in post #1 are five questions which people were nice enough to answer. :confused:
 

·
Banned forever.....or not
Joined
·
24,426 Posts
Because stainless is trendy now, and carbon is so........so........last year.
Next year, it may be wood.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,372 Posts
I dunno the skill involved in setting up a stainless frame...might require a delicate touch to work and so the level of maker is key. I was quoted about $300 for a raw stainless tubeset too...so yeah, raw material wise, it's not that much.

Talked with the guys at KVA Stainless at the San Diego show...that frameset appealed to me. At this level of bike, I don't think slight variances in composition are going to be super obvious. I might have a stone age feel though. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
449 Posts
Custom

Virtually all the frames using the new stainless tubes are fully custom, made to order and hand built by relatively small-scale frame builders. That's going to be more expensive, regardless of material, than mass-produced assembly-line frames. If you want a custom-built carbon frame from Parlee or one of the few others that do custom carbon, that will cost you too.

We could argue all day (and many have) over whether the Parlee is "worth" the price difference over a Chinese carbon frame off e-bay, or whether a custom 953 frame from Strong or Waterford is "worth" the price compared with a basic chro-mo frame tig welded in Asia. To some people they clearly are worth it.
 

·
eminence grease
Joined
·
18,538 Posts
Don Duende said:
So $tainless $teel just comes down to bragging rights.
No, it comes down to having an idea in your mind of how a bike should look, and picking the right material to achieve it. There are certain things you can only achieve with stainless, or titanium as an alternative.
 
1 - 20 of 37 Posts
Top