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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:49 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:48 am
Posts: 7414
Location: Bristol
M-Power wrote:
Its the same with the best lightweight frames of the late 80s & 90s they will NEVER be improved on for quality of ride. I have heard this from many who have both new and old variants. Hold onto the old classics !! ;)



"The thing I like is the best thing"


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 Post subject: Re: Re:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 10:55 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:01 pm
Posts: 3770
troje wrote:
My '92 Blizzard rides better than my 2003 Blizzard. Tange Prestige vs. Reynolds 853. The first gives you a refined, racy zinggggg, the latter is just bombproof secure basicness.



Interesting !!!! Never tried an 853 built frame. Thought they were supposed to be amazing. As has been said many times, there are an incredible number of variables that give a top end steel frame a special ride feel. I have even had three of an identical model, made by the same welder and one noticably feels even better than the others. This fascinates me tbh. After comparing the three bikes, I think it comes down to making the tiniest neatest 'coin stack' tig welds possible, joining super light top spec steel tubes. Somedays the welder is 100% on his game and it just flows....the result can be a mind blowing ride. I use the Stradivarius tree growth ring analogy as a comparison. Its all to do with how vibration is transmitted through the frame/instrument structure.

@ CCE Of course, whatever you like at the time will be 'the best thing'. Its with hindsight sometimes you realise how special something was. Read this so many times on car forums, people sell the latest sports car variant and go back to the earlier version they once had ;)


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 3:03 pm 
Retro Guru

Joined: Mon Apr 03, 2006 5:11 pm
Posts: 1132
A custom builder could make you one now in theory better than BITD.

But you would have to convince them to make it not strong enough to pass the current EN test for a mountain bike.

Tell them you want it to look like an MTB, have MTB geometry but you are only going to use it on the road ;)

However nobody wants to be sued, so any series production frame now will be built to pass the EN test by some margin.


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:15 pm 
Devout Dirtbag

Joined: Mon Apr 04, 2011 1:14 am
Posts: 104
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Very good discussion here but one thIng that comes to mind that no one mentioned was the use of stainless tubing now in high end frames as an option to titanium.

Obviously it's more expensive than regular chromo or even the higher end tube sets but is it really that much better? Aside from corrosion resistance and looks does it have the sweet steel ride properties we all strive for in a frame? Has anyone other than myself ridden one for any length of time?

I think it's a fair contributor to the progression of materials the OP was looking for. I love mine but at the same time nothing is better than grabbing my tet kona or 90's altitude and going for a rip down the street....


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 7:13 pm 
MacRetro rider
MacRetro rider

Joined: Tue Mar 29, 2011 6:06 pm
Posts: 2133
Location: Roamin' in the gloamin'
When I had my custom frame done, the builder recommended against 953 stainless for mtb use. He reckoned it makes a great stiff road frame but too stiff and uncomfortable for mtb. In the end we went with theoretically lower end Columbus Zona with an 853 top tube for extra strength for the lefty fork. Best riding steel frame I've ever owned, partly because of custom geometry but also because tubing sizes were chosen for my weight and riding style.

Older steel frames I've ridden have had that zing but have also been too flexy for my size, especially my old Colniago Conic SLX.

Unfortunately most people experience of modern steel is from the likes of On One and Genesis, who use lower grade steel and have to meet CEN. Not all modern steel is like that. I have a Tange Prestige Charge Plug road bike and it rides amazingly.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:44 pm 
retrobike rider
retrobike rider
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Joined: Tue Jan 29, 2008 11:04 pm
Posts: 1958
Location: A wretched hive of scum and villainy...
Evening all,

Interesting discussion...

I think the tendency towards custom stainless steels, rather than custom Ti is down to a few factors:

    -Good cheap Ti frames are available, even full custom, from China and Taiwan, but not stainless, so there's some differentiation in the market if a builder uses stainless.
    -Similar material costs for stainless and Ti make the extra hassle involved with Ti combined with the diminishing Ti premium (see above) make it less attractive for small builders these days
    -Because of the contamination risk, Ti fabrication does not mix well in a workshop which also builds in steel. Stainless and cro-mo are far happier bed fellows. The current 'steel-is-real' and artisan building boom does not combine well with the clinical cleanliness needed for Ti.
    -More steel tube choice, butting and shaping now available than in Ti, especially for smaller builders who can't afford to have tube runs made for them. Custom Ti is inevitably mostly plain gauge mill spec tube, except for the bigger or more exclusive players

On modern steel frames:

The EN rules don't actually specifically test or require a minimum stiffness as such. However, they do have strict yield and fatigue requirements, which, of course, go hand in hand with stiffness. View a copy here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/gb8flhrixib2j ... 0.pdf?dl=0
This, combined with tapered headsets, BB30, dropper posts, slack head angles, curvy stays, disc brakes and fatter, longer frame tubes have easily added 500g to the average production steel frame.

All steels are (pretty much) the same stiffness for a given tube dimension. High end bike steels these days have far higher yield and tensile strengths, so can be drawn with thinner walls and still spring back. However, they also need to be drawn to fatter diameters to get the basic structural stiffness back to reduce the fatigue/yield risk from the increased flexing strain. This runs them very close to the buckling limit (Coke can failure).

As an example, the current 2017 Dedacciai Zero Uno MTB 44mm down tube might have very fine 0.7/0.5mm butting but it still weights in at 390g and still has a marginal fineness ratio of 1:62.
The 31.8mm Columbus Cyber OR downtube on a decent 90s Kona is a chunkier 0.8/0.5mm wall, but weighs in at 272g and has a reliable 1:40 fineness ratio.
The modern tube will be approximately 28% stiffer and 30% heavier than the older one, but more likely to dent or buckle. So no obvious gains there. The old tube is less stiff (mainly from the smaller diameter), so will flex more, making it a little riskier (as per the EN tests) on fatigue and yield failures, but is also less likely to dent or buckle, even taking into account the lower yield strength of the old (Nivacrom) steel.

Plenty of tubes are still around and being newly made to the older style specs...it's just that the tube manufacturers and larger builders are playing it 150% safe now that there is a legally enforceable standard, so they list them as cyclocross or road only.

There's been plenty of research into the ride benefits of less stiff, light steel (road) frames from the guys over at Bicycle Quarterly.

All the best,


Last edited by danson67 on Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:26 am 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:01 pm
Posts: 3770
danson67 wrote:
Evening all,

Interesting discussion...

I think the tendency towards custom stainless steels, rather than custom Ti is down to a few factors:

    -Good cheap Ti frames are available, even full custom, from China and Taiwan, but not stainless, so there's some differentiation in the market if a builder uses stainless.
    -Similar material costs for stainless and Ti make the extra hassle involved with Ti combined with the diminishing Ti premium (see above) make it less attractive for small builders these days
    -Because of the contamination risk, Ti fabrication does not mix well in a workshop which also builds in steel. Stainless and cro-mo are far happier bed fellows. The current 'steel-is-real' and artisan building boom does not combine well with the clinical cleanliness needed for Ti.
    -More steel tube choice, butting and shaping now available than in Ti, especially for smaller builders who can't afford to have tube runs made for them. Custom Ti is inevitably mostly plain gauge mill spec tube, except for the bigger or more exclusive players

On modern steel frames:

The EN rules don't actually specifically test or require a minimum stiffness as such. However, they do have strict yield and fatigue requirements, which, of course, go hand in hand with stiffness. View a copy here: [https://www.dropbox.com/s/gb8flhrixib2jha/EN%2014766%20MTB%20.pdf?dl=0]
This, combined with tapered headsets, BB30, dropper posts, slack head angles, curvy stays, disc brakes and fatter, longer frame tubes have easily added 500g to the average production steel frame.

All steels are (pretty much) the same stiffness for a given tube dimension. High end bike steels these days have far higher yield and tensile strengths, so can be drawn with thinner walls and still spring back. However, they also need to be drawn to fatter diameters to get the basic structural stiffness back to reduce the fatigue/yield risk from the increased flexing strain. This runs them very close to the buckling limit (Coke can failure).

As an example, the current 2017 Dedacciai Zero Uno MTB 44mm down tube might have very fine 0.7/0.5mm butting but it still weights in at 390g and still has a marginal fineness ratio of 1:62.
The 31.8mm Columbus Cyber OR downtube on a decent 90s Kona is a chunkier 0.8/0.5mm wall, but weighs in at 272g and has a reliable 1:40 fineness ratio.
The modern tube will be approximately 28% stiffer and 30% heavier than the older one, but more likely to dent or buckle. So no obvious gains there. The old tube is less stiff (mainly from the smaller diameter), so will flex more, making it a little riskier (as per the EN tests) on fatigue and yield failures, but is also less likely to dent or buckle, even taking into account the lower yield strength of the old (Nivacrom) steel.

Plenty of tubes are still around and being newly made to the older style specs...it's just that the tube manufacturers and larger builders are playing it 150% safe now that there is a legally enforceable standard, so they list them as cyclocross or road only.

There's been plenty of research into the ride benefits of less stiff, light steel (road) frames from the guys over at [url=heine.wordpress.com/2011/10/03/science-and-bicycles-frame-stiffness/]Bicycle Quarterly.[/url]

All the best,



We need more informed posts like this !! Quite a few people on FB prefer the 'ride feel' of their old retro steel bikes on a CX ride, compared to modern. I guess you need both if you are gonna hit the trail park hard.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:28 pm 
Dirt Disciple

Joined: Sun May 16, 2010 6:10 pm
Posts: 32
My 1996 Yo Eddy is 1850g. A 2012 Salsa El Mariachi was 2500g. Lugging around an extra 2lbs in the frame makes the modern one feel harsh, dead and heavy. Much prefer the ride of the older ones but then they wouldn’t pass the CEN tests which seem to require the frame to survive being ridden at speed into a wall...


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 4:47 pm 
Old School Grand Master
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Joined: Sat Jul 13, 2013 8:01 pm
Posts: 3770
GB wrote:
My 1996 Yo Eddy is 1850g. A 2012 Salsa El Mariachi was 2500g. Lugging around an extra 2lbs in the frame makes the modern one feel harsh, dead and heavy. Much prefer the ride of the older ones but then they wouldn’t pass the CEN tests which seem to require the frame to survive being ridden at speed into a wall...


You learn something new every day :shock:


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 Post subject: Re:
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 5:33 pm 
retrobike rider / Gold Trader
retrobike rider / Gold Trader

Joined: Sat Jul 21, 2007 9:48 am
Posts: 7414
Location: Bristol
And it has an eccentric BB and is a 29er. Apples and oranges.


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