Steel frames stainless vs non stainless

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  • Steel frames stainless vs non stainless
  • 953 has a higher tensile strength meaning it can be drawn into thinner profile tubes and create a marginally lighter frame.

    Ride quality is negligible, that comes down to the frame design.

    Rogan Josh
    Member

    Ah ok, I didn’t know that about the ride quality. What about stiffness? Frame design again then I take it? A non stainless with big bb and headtube areas will be stiffer than stainless without?

    Rorschach
    Member

    Modulus of elasticity (stiffness) is the same for all grades of steel.The finite tensile strength is higher in higher grades meaning you can use less,for the same strength.Stiffness is a product of wall thickness and tube diameters.

    A non stainless with big bb and headtube areas will be stiffer than stainless without?

    Correct, it all comes down to frame design, however, with 953 would could have a big BB and headtube with less material. Carbon can make a good or a poor frame, as can steel.

    When I had my Bob Jackson built (853) we talked at length about stainless and their opinion was aside from destroying tools in the workshop due to how hard it is to machine that I wouldn’t notice a difference in ride between an 853 v 953 of the same design.

    it is a ‘tougher’ material so won’t dent as easily but then a dent has never really been an issue with steel and neither has rust really, just look at all the audaxers on 30 year old 531 frames.

    philxx1975
    Member

    The Framebuilding forum I frequent has guys who build stainless frames ,they use Columbus and KVA not Reynolds tubing. Opinions seem to vary between Reynolds being expensive tosh to it actually rusting to some degree.
    I Know Rourke is about the only top flight builder using it here in Britain, you seem to see his name on lots of the stainless bikes in the forum and mags.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    XCR and 931 do the same or a very similar thing as 853, UTS is same range. XCR comes in thinner walls than 853 so at the extremes of tube spec it can make a lighter frame but may be less ding resistant. 953 is stronger than all of them by some margin and the wall thicknesses are similar to XCR. So you should be getting a frame that’s lighter and as-stiff, or very close to as stiff as a normal steel frame, and shiny.
    My experience of 953 vs 853 is that it’s lighter, closer to PG Ti in approx weight, but to ride it it’s tricky to say it’s ‘better’ beyond the weight loss. If a good 853 etc is springy but stiff enough, 953 can be slightly more springy but the loss of stiffness isn’t really noticed. It’s a subtle improvement, diminishing returns etc, but it is nice stuff.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    Opinions seem to vary between Reynolds being expensive tosh to it actually rusting to some degree.

    Interesting, what’s that based on? Early 953 had micro-cracking and staining issues but the alloying has changed a little in recent years to solve that, it seems.

    I’ve never been in a thread on here where 7 posts in there’s still general agreement, is everyone feeling ok??

    Rogan Josh
    Member

    It’s cus we’re not talking about carbon shiiiyte we’d be throwing petrol bombs already if we were

    Rogan Josh
    Member

    Thoughts on Columbus spirit tubing? Seemingly quite knowledgable posters on this subject.

    Rogan Josh
    Member

    Road frames, stainless vs none stainless Columbus tubing, apart from the obviously matter of one being stainless, what are the practical advantages to a stainless road frame, lighter weight? Stiffness?

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    No experience with columbus here sorry.

    http://www.strongframes.com/more_stuff/materials_tech/specs/

    If you wanted to compare Spirit to another tubeset then its nearest equivalent would be 853; the difficulty in comparing steel tubes is that the builders skill and knowledge brings so much to the equation.

    Once your in the 853 ballpark you’re going to get a good, light frame if built well.

    My Cotic Solaris is 853 and that gets hammered so I’m slightly dubious that stainless will add anything from a durability point of view to a road frame, personally this whole corrosion free thing is getting us to buy into a need that doesn’t exist.

    bencooper
    Member

    I’ve used a little bit of Spirit, and fillet-braze stainless quite a lot. The big practical advantage is you can do without paint – or not worry about rusting if paint chips. To ride? I doubt it’s possible to tell the difference – tube diameters make a much bigger difference.

    philxx1975
    Member

    Interesting, what’s that based on? Early 953 had micro-cracking and staining issues but the alloying has changed a little in recent years to solve that, it seems.

    I have been interested by an american frame building website James, I am only repeating or regurgitating what some of the builders have posted up on there.

    As I am not a frame builder I can only base my opinion on what I read? Would I buy one? I own 2 custom bikes and to be honest it is kind of what got me interested in having a go at building a bicycle myself but in my case I suppose I’m basing a buying decision on what I have read there.

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    Phil, I used to read frame forum but haven’t done for a long time now. I know 953 had a varied rep at first, some of that may be down to how hard it is to work with, the faff-factor, and some material issues. I know a couple of factories in Taiwan have got very good with it despite some teething issues, it seems to be more workable now. If I was looking for a custom frame I’d go with the builder’s opinions, no point asking them for something they don’t like working with or doesn’t suit their methods.

    geetee1972
    Member

    I bought a new road frame recently (I went titanium) and did a lot of Q&A around stainless options as I was originally looking to go that route.

    I spoke to several frame builders including Enigma, Roberts and the distributors of IF.

    The general consensus seemed to be that:

    – Yes, a stainless steel frame will end up being marginally lighter than a non-stainless equivalent but it will still be heavier than almost all titanium frames and definitely all carbon frames
    – They are generally made to be stiffer, but that’s because they are made that way, not because of an inherent improvement in the material’s behaviour
    – The ride quality tends to be harsher than regular steel as a result of the above
    – The longevity of the frame can also be impaired as a result of the design parameters of the frame.
    – If you still want a metal frame rather than carbon, then titanium is far superior in almost every respect; it can be as stiff, lighter and longer lasting than the best stainless steel equivalents.
    – That said, there is something incredibly alluring about the stainless option and if you want steel, because you like the aesthetics and the image, then stainless is a great option (but you might be far better off with a regular steel frame for 50% less price)

    Premier Icon jameso
    Subscriber

    – They are generally made to be stiffer, but that’s because they are made that way, not because of an inherent improvement in the material’s behaviour
    – The ride quality tends to be harsher than regular steel as a result of the above
    – The longevity of the frame can also be impaired as a result of the design parameters of the frame.
    – If you still want a metal frame rather than carbon, then titanium is far superior in almost every respect; it can be as stiff, lighter and longer lasting than the best stainless steel equivalents.

    I’d question a big chunk of that, based on having a few ti, a 953 and a number of steel frames all made to my / very similar specs. The 953 was a better mix of stiffness and comfort or ride quality than the ti frames and on longevity, I’m not sure ti has a better rep than steel, depends on how well made it is really. From what I’ve seen, stainless road frames aren’t designed to be stiff any more or less than ti tends to be.
    Ti’s always going to work out a bit lighter though, and 953 vs ti for a similar cost is always going to be a hard sell based on ti’s long-term rep and desirability. A sub 3lb ti frame I had was an awful ride though, way too flexy, so there’s maybe 9-10oz between the ‘worst’ of ti and a good 953. (edit to add, of course my experience of this compared to IF or roberts is minimal! Do roberts or enigma TIG 953 though?)

    Premier Icon tonyg2003
    Subscriber

    I have to agree with JamesSo. The Ti frames I’ve ridden have been to flexy for me whereas my 853 bike rides beautifully and has little flex. Although for low weight, good ride and now even value for money Carbon is probably king.

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