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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does the Firenze lack major quality in the material it uses or the welding process? I am not a big beliver in all these different tube shapes(neither is Seven or Serotta). It seems like Seven and Serotta though do swear by cold working. Is the only reason the bike is so cheap is because it doesn't have the GET or cold worked tubes. What exactly is cold worked, and does it make a huge difference? How is this bike different from Tuscany's of years past that just used straight round tubes? Would the difference just be the cold working aspect? Could someone explain what butted means? Serotta brags triple. Seven and many others claim double. Is single butted standard or is it possible to have no butting at all?

Has any body ridden the Firenze or Solano? How do they ride compared to equally priced steel or to high end Ti bikes?

Thanks John
 

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Well - I haven't seen one of these bikes, but I can answer some of your questions which are non-bike specific

JohnnyCat said:
What exactly is cold worked, and does it make a huge difference?
cold work is the term used to describe the strengthening which is obtained by deforming a material without heating it (it's sort of a misnomer, as the material does heat as you deform it) - essentially, what happens is the deformation induces defects in the material which hinder further deformation - thus increasing the stress required to deform the material again - in other words, it's stronger than it would have been if it were undeformed. Cold working lets you have a stronger tube (the work comes from the actual drawing of the tube) for a given material, so you can use thinner walled tubing to get the job done, and end up with a lighter bike. (cold work is lost when you heat the material significantly, such as with welding - the regions near the weld loose some of that strength, so you would need a thicker tube wall in those regions to be as strong as the rest of the tube (see your question on butting below) - this is why air hardening steels are sort of neat - they get stronger when you heat them, allieviating the softening problem)

JohnnyCat said:
How is this bike different from Tuscany's of years past that just used straight round tubes?
It's probably pretty similar - I do have a question, though - on the Litespeed web page it specifically states that certain tubes are 3-2.5, maybe the others are cp or something like that (and thus are weaker)

JohnnyCat said:
Could someone explain what butted means? Serotta brags triple. Seven and many others claim double. Is single butted standard or is it possible to have no butting at all?
butting, for a tube, means that the tube has more than one wall thickness along it's length - double butting has two, triple has three, etc. This is done because in many materials, you don't need the wall thickness to be very much in the middle of the tube to get the job done, but you do need it thicker on the ends so that you can weld it more readily - so a butted tube on a bicycle is thicker on the ends than in the middle (just like with butted spokes)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info. Got a few more Q's

If a tube is not cold worked can it further weaken where it is welded? Or is welding only capable of removing strength that cold working gives?

If I'm not willing to pay the high price of high end titanium, is it usually always better to get a good steel frame over a budget Ti frame?

Could you tell me more about these air hardening steels?

Thanks John
 

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JohnnyCat said:
If a tube is not cold worked can it further weaken where it is welded? Or is welding only capable of removing strength that cold working gives?

If I'm not willing to pay the high price of high end titanium, is it usually always better to get a good steel frame over a budget Ti frame?

Could you tell me more about these air hardening steels?

Thanks John
Well - in general, (in a material which doesn't harden with heat, like the air hardening steels such as 853) the region surrounding a weld is going to be weaker/softer than a material which has been worked - this is particularly true for cold worked materials, where the difference is greater. Note - this absolutely doesn't mean a frame is junk, or that you would even have a chance at noticeing the difference in a well designed frame - it's just the basic material properties.

As far as what type of frame to buy, keep in mind that the material is really just a small part of the overall frame equation - tubing geometry is very important as well - so large diameter tubes are stiffer than narrow ones, a large frame will be more flexy than a small one, etc. - you have the gambit in terms of frame behavior for any given material. As far as what to buy - figure out what you want to spend, and ride some frames in your price range and see what you like best. Keep in mind that for a framebuilder like Litespeed, you are probably paying a bit of a premium for the name, anyway. Now there are other things which titanium brings to the table - as an example, Ti won't corrode like a steel frame or aluminum frame will (which is why you don't need to paint them) in the types of situations you run into on a bike.

For the air hardening steels, there are a bunch of them out there, the most prevalent probably being Reynolds 853 - they precipitation harden with increased temperature (these are high temperatures - nothing is going to happen to the frame if you, for example, leave it in the sun - the temps we are talking about are those near the weld)
 

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What the hey?

[For the air hardening steels, there are a bunch of them out there, the most prevalent probably being Reynolds 853 - they precipitation harden with increased temperature (these are high temperatures - nothing is going to happen to the frame if you, for example, leave it in the sun - the temps we are talking about are those near the weld)[/QUOTE]

What "precipitation" hardening are you decribing that takes place at weld? PH requires a quench cycle which is a seperate animal altogether. It makes no sense at all for 853 to suffer that process. Perhaps what you meant is that 853 simply hardens at the weld joint (after air cooling). See: http://www.reynoldsusa.com/internet/english/prodrange/steel/ahsmain.htm
 

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Crankist said:
What "precipitation" hardening are you decribing that takes place at weld? PH requires a quench cycle which is a seperate animal altogether. It makes no sense at all for 853 to suffer that process. Perhaps what you meant is that 853 simply hardens at the weld joint (after air cooling). See: http://www.reynoldsusa.com/internet/english/prodrange/steel/ahsmain.htm
How do you suppose the hardening takes place? Magic? In materials like this, you get precipitation (transformation) of portions of the microstructure to martensite. (goes from a bcc to a bct structure which resists dislocation motion, hence raising the yield point, hardening the material.
 

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I've owned a Firenze a couple of months now and have no hesitation in recommending it, based on my time with it and with how it matched against other bikes I demo'd, as well as with what I had been riding.

I tested lots of bikes, made of about every material and material combination that's available. Naturally they all felt and rode differently and, importantly, with no identifiable characteristic feel from various frame materials. i.e., design trumps material.

The Firenze came out on top in my comparison and fortunately the shop that carried it did too--I might have gotten a different bike if I could only get the Lightspeed at a shop I didn't feel right about. There were some close seconds.

IMHO get out and ride as many bikes as you can and *ignore what the frame is made of*. (Vermicelli? Rides great!) There are so many variables--what's important is the synergy of the design, the build and the bits when the bike is assembled. It only takes me five minutes to eliminate a bike (two-thirds of what I test) but it takes at least a half-hour to decide whether it makes the list of finalists.

The Firenze carries the same Lightspeed warranty as one that costs ten grand, so don't worry about corner-cutting. I hesitate to call any two-thousand-dollar bicycle a bargain, but it compares very well against other bikes in the $1500-2500 range. It's responsive and comfortable. It's equally enjoyable on quick training rides and centurys. And so far, everything is holding up well.

I did nix the stock Lightspeed saddle, though.

--Rick

JohnnyCat said:
Does the Firenze lack major quality in the material it uses or the welding process? I am not a big beliver in all these different tube shapes(neither is Seven or Serotta). It seems like Seven and Serotta though do swear by cold working. Is the only reason the bike is so cheap is because it doesn't have the GET or cold worked tubes. What exactly is cold worked, and does it make a huge difference? How is this bike different from Tuscany's of years past that just used straight round tubes? Would the difference just be the cold working aspect? Could someone explain what butted means? Serotta brags triple. Seven and many others claim double. Is single butted standard or is it possible to have no butting at all?

Has any body ridden the Firenze or Solano? How do they ride compared to equally priced steel or to high end Ti bikes?

Thanks John
 
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