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  • Question for all you frame builders. I'm thinking about getting a custom steel frame built up as a kind of midlife crisis treat, and having being doing a bit or research into builders etc. My question is, what is going to build a stiffer frame- 853 or 853 oversized tubing, Columbus spirit (oversized?) or something with a stainless rear triangle/forks like Columbus XCR? The frame will mostly be used on roads, with maybe a teeny bit of rough off road type cycle tracks etc, but I like something with a bit of stiffness for when I feel like putting my foot down. (that said I am really only comparing this to my old 531 frame sets built with differing widths of chainstay/seatstay tube etc.)

    Basically, I can really only afford a custom frame if it's not including XCR or other stainless, but maybe able to afford something more of the peg with some stainless rear traiangle or something, at a push....)

  • Im not hugely experienced, im sure @coldharbour or @skant can give you a more comprehensive answer, but afaik tube stiffness is relative to diameter more than material. So oversize tubing will build a stiffer frame. It is certainly noticeable. I just built a frame with a 38mm dt. Compared to the frame i built prior to this with a 31.8mm down tube it is much stiffer.

  • Frame material - 853, 653, Spirit, XCR, stainless, non-stainless, whatever - will have essentially no effect on stiffness. The Young's Modulus of all steels is so close that the differences will be virtually non-existent.

    The key factors are going to be wall thickness and tube diameter. Most of the tubes you've identified will have wall thicknesses in the non-butted parts of the tubes of 0.45mm or 0.5mm for the main frame tubes. So the diameter is going to be the most important factor.

    If you use a 38mm Spririt downtube and some nice big chunky Max chainstays then it's definitely not going to be a noodly frame. But if you fancy going bigger there's always 44mm Spirit HSS DTs.

  • so basically an Isen frame then? I was wondering about that....

  • I think Isen mostly use Reynolds and Deda downtubes, but there's only so many combinations of the available tubesets to go around. I'm in the process of ordering another couple of 38mm Spirit downtubes for my next build, and the last one had Max chainstays too.

  • All steel alloys are essentially the same stiffness, its wall thickness and diameter that makes the difference, and wall thickness is much of a muchness with above mentioned tubes. It is perfcetly possible to build a bike that is far too stiff from tubes available to us today, dependent on compnent choice. However, with the availability of good quality higher volume tyres, the definition of too stiff has moved. A 54cm frame, with 44mm dt, 31.8st and tt, 18ss and 17x30cs will be (ive tried it) unbearable on 28c tyres at 100psi, to the point that I wouldnt want to ride for more than a few hours, but will be amazing as far as power transfer is concerned. However, the same tubeset built around maybe 40c's, or even 650b x 48 tyres at low pressures, will be perfectly comfortable for a long time in the saddle, while still very stiff (once tyre squirm point has been passed). The biggest thing to effect frame design in the last ten years (in my opinion) is tyres. People like to make a lot of noise about tubes, but the reason we choose specific ones is nothing to do with shape or alloy, but but length, wall thickness, shape and how hard they are.

  • deda or columbus down tubes, reynolds are still too conservative with road tubeset wall thickness. Deda on all seasons, and columbus on R3. the columbus spirit tube is lighter, but can dent with a reasonable whack, which isnt suitable for the all seasons as it is supposed to be an audax ready, treat like shit while sleep deprived frameset.

  • 853db on the Goat though?

    I'm trying to decide whether my new gravellish frame should have a Spirit DT. Part of me says it's too fragile, part of me says dents form character.

  • yeah, main triangle on goat is 853, none of the columbus stuff is hard enough for a mtb in my experieince. Dents do form character, but creases propogate cracks.

  • The R3 would be perfect but doesn't have the option for mudguard mounts(does it?) and I want a bike I can use in the rain if needs be, and I hate getting wet feet.

  • It can do, its one of the optional extras, we made a kit to make any thru axle fork run guards. Drop us an email and fenella can run you through it.

  • none of the columbus stuff is hard enough for a mtb in my experieince.

    None none or none of the butted stuff?

    I’ve used one half of a 1500mm long 35x0.9mm Gara plain guage tube for the downtube on my gravel bike and was going to use the other half for the downtube of a mtb.

    I know it’s heavier than a butted tube but hoped the lack of butting would mean it was strong enough to shrug off the rocks and stuff getting pinged up at it.

  • Never used the plain guage stuff but assume it would be fine. They brought out a anti dent variant last year, but have never been able to actually supply it. I'd just use Reynolds if you think yiu might smack it.

  • I've check the downtube of my current gravel/CX bike and there's no chips so I've decided to see if a .4mm Spirit downtube is up to gravel use. If not, I can always chop it out and replace it.

  • Don't think stones would fuck it, but its the falling off/man handling/ leaning against other bikes that does for them.

  • Columbus Zona 134-149 KSI
    vs
    Reynolds 853 180-210 KSI

    That being said I have never had any issues with Columbus Zona tubes for off road application.

  • That's fine then. I never fall off due to my sublime bike-handling skills, and my team of bike cossetters are on hand to ensure that the bikes aren't man-handled in any way.

  • I'd just use Reynolds...

    You probably have an account with them though. All my materials come from Ceeway. Or chopped up frames actually!

  • 'm in the process of ordering another couple of 38mm Spirit downtubes for my next build

    Shit, I had money on you turning up with a Cento 100 tubeset.

  • I was tempted, I'll admit it. But the wrong tools for the job.

  • If it is custom or for you then I think it is fine, but with isen we have to just work on worst case useage scenarios for everything, as we wont know who is going to use it, and how, so need to be belt and braces.

  • I was tempted, I'll admit it.

    Not me guv'.

  • What does the mind hive of frame builders think about this tubing? It’s rifled/splined, with a round profile and seams to be relatively lightweight.

    Can anyone identify it?


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New forum - Frame Builders

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