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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:50 pm 
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Posts: 47
Dear Weightweenies Hivemind,
A number of years ago I picked up a Lemond Fillmore road fixed gear for general riding and training. While I loved the bike in general, the geometry was off. I have long legs and a short torso so the 57cm seat-tube was great, but the 57cm top tube was a stretch. Now after selling the Lemond I am talking with a friend about building up a new road fixed gear frame.

Steel is his material of choice with options in both stainless steel (KVA) or traditional steel (Columbus Life). Initially, I was thinking stainless steel to have a bombproof frame, but he mentioned that it has a stiffer/less comfortable ride than a traditional steel. After researching I haven't found much in the way of steel tubing comparisons. Overall, I am looking for a frame that I can do 40-100 miles on regularly and comfortably.

So my question is: what is your experience and do you have any links to some ride comparisons or information? I'd like to get a better sense of what my options are before putting money down.

Thank you for all of your knowledge and help.


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Posted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:50 pm 


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:13 pm 
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Diameter of tubing used will make far more difference than whether or not it's stainless. Take Pegoretti as an example, the stainless (XCR) Responsorium is the most comfortable (mainly due to smaller diameter stays). Big Leg Emma is far stiffer than a Marcelo, which is still a little stiffer than the Duende, despite all being made from Columbus Spirit. Better grades of steel allow for lower wall thicknesses which makes for a lighter frame when using these larger diameter tubes.

If you have a good builder, they will select tube diameters and butting profiles to suit the ride qualities you're after rather than take an off the peg tube set and tell you how it will ride.

See http://www.ibiscycles.com/support/technical_articles/metallurgy_for_cyclists/steel_is_real/


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:53 pm 
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As above, but also take into account tyre pressure a 23mm with 120psi runs considerably harsher than a 25mm at 105psi. Tyres can make a huge difference to how a frame feels and if it's a custom job then why no get the clearances for bigger tyres built in?


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:58 am 
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As mentioned, less so with the type of steel as opposed to the diameter and tubing thickness/ butting. And the tyre part is just as significant.

If you have a choice, tell the builder your intended purposes for the bike, and cater for bigger tyres such as 25 or 28mm.

Stainless isn't quite completely bombproof neither is any material, not unless you build it like a frontline battletank. But the plus side to stainless is the factor of ease of maintenance, especially if you live in a moist environment with plenty of rain / salt etc. Simple clean water hose down typically does it for stainless steel, while normal steel would require either nickel / zinc / phosphate treatment before even the paint to protect it from the elements properly.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 7:25 am 
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For the same diameter and wall thickness, stainless steel is stiffer and stronger than steel. Deda, Columbus and Reynolds still offer very high quality steel tubing sets.

Tyres pressure has an influence on overall ride quality but should be consider until you get the frame you prefer and match with your riding needs.

I suppose you need to talk to your builder to see what tube set he can get and if he is comfortable working with stainless. Then discuss with him on geometry and size. Last but not least would be group set and wheelsets. If tyre is important to the overall ride quality. So must be the wheels, right? Take is by step and enjoy the selection process.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:25 am 
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As far as published figures suggest, the stiffness for all steel tubings are more or less equivalent.

Don't mistake UTS and Hardness figures to equate to that of 'stiffness' . They are different things altogether.

I have yet to see any specific 'stiffness' numbers to suggest otherwise.

To add:

Generally, its the Modulous of Elasticity figures that we need to look at if all else is equal.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:23 pm 
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HugoDrax wrote:
Overall, I am looking for a frame that I can do 40-100 miles on regularly and comfortably.


A steel frame needs to be flexible to be comfortable. Note that if comfort is your priority, then the material order from best to worst would be carbon, titanium, steel, aluminum.

Of course you can make a comfortable steel frame, but I'd stick with high quality (strong) tubing in old-school diameters with room for large tires. Sloping geometry and a long carbon post with some flex will also help.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 5:55 pm 
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Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
maxxevv wrote:
Generally, its the Modulous of Elasticity figures that we need to look at if all else is equal.


I agree with this.
If you consider the strength and the modulus of elasticity and design some yield into the seat stays with a steel/SS frame by means of smaller tube of the same wall thickness while keeping it stiff enough that you can transfer the power you will have a more comfy bike.

That being said, tires make more difference than frame and I agree with those that posted this before.


Being comfy is having a proper fit and proper shape and size of saddle. The rest you will grow used to.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:45 am 
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There has been a blind test years ago between Columbus tube sets. Suffice to say the results were sobering. Nobody felt much difference.

My own experience is remarkably similar. I feel a difference between my steel and OS Alu bike.... for about 30 seconds then I forget about it. And that difference is more in the handling category (taking a sharp corner feels slightly different and that could be a slight geo difference more than the material). I have a similar experience with rims. High rim or low rim, It's hardly noticeable. Saddle, handlebar and tires are key.

So my advice: Buy what you think is sexy. If well built it's just as comfortable as any other material. If you want comfort, get good (wide) tires and don't have too much PSI.

Oh and as an aside: don't get too hung up about "proper fit" a few mm size difference in a frame is a wash due to the dynamic nature of cycling. Indeed, some days you have a sore shoulder, other days you are just a tad more flexible. Same goes for during a ride, you move hands and buttocks all the time. A few MM front or aft are well within that range. Indeed, realize that you probably have several brand bibs and that those also change during usage.

That doesn't mean any frame will fit, certainly not, but people into custom steel often fret over the perfect fit of a frame. It's tell tale that people like Pegoretti and Sachs pretty much eyeball your measurements and then do what they know works.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:10 am 
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I have both. KVA Stainless & Columbus steel.
I love the ride of both. I would not say the SS frame is drastically stiffer or more harsh. I got the SS built with the S&S couplers for traveling. Packs up sweet, no paint to worry about scratching, and can take almost any size tire I want to toss at it. Even with the couplers, it is a reasonably light bike (well, for any place but here. ;-))
I have done far more than 100 miles at a time on both of these, and would be glad to do it again.
Both are custom and fit like a glove, but yes - trust your builder to do what he knows how to do. That's one reason you go custom.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:49 am 
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Thank you all for the posts! Also, as an aside it is nifty to see people commenting from the future (different time zones).

While I am continuing to do research on the tube sets I have an initial price of $1,800 for a Columbus Life frame and $2800 for a KVA stainless frame. I am curious if the extra $1,000 is worth it for stainless.

I think the next order of business will be determining if I can get all of my desires stuffed into one frame. Also, a fresh fit session will help me dial in tube lengths.

Some of the things I am looking for in this frame include:
-Fairly standard tube diameters
-Generally a tall top tube and tall bicycle with a short reach to accommodate my dimensions
-Internal cable routing for rear brake line
-Fender tabs front and rear with a modified Enve 1.0 or 2.0 fork
-Possibly a split frame for a belt drive (I like the pro's, but the con's might weigh this out)
-Standard bottom bracket because track cranks seem to mostly use English threads

I agree with the tire discussion as well, I'd like to run something in the 25-28 range. Anything smaller doesn't offer much in the way of ride quality.

As for build list I was thinking:

Fork- Enve Carbon
Headset- Chris King (with some color)
Crankset- Dura Ace or SRAM Omnium
Bottom Bracket- Octaling or Chris King External (with some color)
Chain- 3/32” rather than 1/8” or Gates belt
Cog- Phil Wood or Shimano Dura Ace or Gates belt
Pedals- Shimano SPD-SL
Brakes- Cane Creek SCR-3 Long Reach
Brake- Levers TRP RRL SR Drilled in Brown
Hubs- Phil Wood Low Flange Track (In some color) with a QR Phil Low Flange Road front hub (matching color)
Rims- Enve 25 depending on cost or Velocity A23
Spokes- 28-32 Single Butted Rear 24-28 double/triple butted front
Nipples- Brass/Aluminum
Tires- 700c x 25c or 28c
Handlebars- Ritchey Classic 44cm Silver
Stem- Ritchey Classic or Thomson Silver
Seatpost- Ritchey Classic or Thomson Silver
Saddle- Brooks Cambium
Bar Tape- Cork or Leather

Feel free to add your comments, I will keep updating this as I learn more. Thank you for all of your feedback!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:54 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 20, 2006 1:03 am
Posts: 283
Location: Phoenix, AZ
maxxevv wrote:
As far as published figures suggest, the stiffness for all steel tubings are more or less equivalent.

Don't mistake UTS and Hardness figures to equate to that of 'stiffness' . They are different things altogether.

I have yet to see any specific 'stiffness' numbers to suggest otherwise.

To add:

Generally, its the Modulous of Elasticity figures that we need to look at if all else is equal.


This advice is dead on. It's not just all steel tubing that's equally stiff--all steels have roughly equivalent stiffnesses. It's the strengths that vary. Any differences in frame stiffness come from tubing diameters and, to a much smaller degree, wall thicknesses.

Here are some numbers for a few relevant steels. The links have a huge amount of data...if you're looking for stiffness, find the line items for tensile modulus or modulus of elasticity.

4130 (chrome-moly):
http://matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx ... d5d7646d82

316 stainless, 3/4 hardened:
http://matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx ... 0af430e23d

Aermet 100 (a non-stainless super steel with an ultimate tensile strength comparable to Reynolds 953)
http://matweb.com/search/DataSheet.aspx ... 9f9&ckck=1

Cheers,

Jason


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:20 pm 
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Location: Kingston, Ontario, Canada
HugoDrax wrote:
While I am continuing to do research on the tube sets I have an initial price of $1,800 for a Columbus Life frame and $2800 for a KVA stainless frame. I am curious if the extra $1,000 is worth it for stainless.


Doing most of my fabrication in stainless, I can say that the end result will be similar (especially painted) with the same tube size and shape. the extra $1000 is a personal preference that adds up. I know from working with it that it takes a lot longer to work with since it is a lot harder to cut and requires expensive purging when welding. Ultimate strength will likely be more or less the same but stainless will be stiffer (less elastic) for two comparable tubes.


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Posted: Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:20 pm 


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