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I emailed KVA a few weeks ago, no response yet, so I guess the tubing isn't easily available yet. Freddy may know something, he has a link to KVA on cycledesign.

Wade Barocsi
Cheshire, CT
 

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I am going to try and attempt to build a bicycle with KVA tubing for Interbike. I have yet to receive the tubing but I hope to soon.

It can't ever hurt to have another player in the tubing industry and I am looking forward to seeing what KVA can do.

Essentially though, what they are offering is 400 series heat-treatable stainless steel. Much in the same spec material wise as 953. The good news is that we may be able to get out tubing custom spec'd as far as the temper we want. That is, it doesn't need to be so damn hard if that is what we don't really need or want. It is made domestically and will run the middle on pricing.

I do think it will take some time before Joe (owner) has a wide range of tubing and suitable stays for all applications.

I will keep you guys up to date about how it goes for me and how the material works. I hope to have it in a week or two. I will be the main tubing only for the mean time.

Hope that helps.

Dave
 

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Any idea if the tubes will be geared towards light weight or durability?

The reason I ask is that I have a friend who has expressed interest in a stainless 20" track and trail bike and from what I saw the 953 would never fit that application.
 

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Well, I don't want to supposed what Joe at KVA will do. Of course my frame will be lightweight and it does make sense, at least in the beginning to gear things towards that side of the industry. There is more money and prestige there.

I hope for one that once he gets moving that KVA can address all the needs in the marketplace and because they have their own tube forming equipment maybe they can react to new trends and niche needs easily. I would say though, at least for now you are not going to get some super beefy jump type tubing from KVA but if demand was good, I am sure they could accommodate.

I do know that the tube starts out really thick and they draw it from there. Looked to me like .120 wall or something. That would be strong enough eh:eek:

The other thing I want to add. Is none of the tube companies were built in a day. It may take a year or two to really ramp up but like I said before. Choice is good.

Dave B
 

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Thanks for the reply.

I like the idea of stainless, burn it together, hit it with a wire wheel and ride it ;) no bs'in around with paint.

Try to keep us up to date with the progress, or have your friend Joe fill uss in if you don't want to be bothered.

Thanks, Ted
 

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Man I wish XCR came in something I could use for a 29er.

Hello KVR?
 

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The sport of mt. biking is calling out to stainless tubing manufacturers in a BIG way. The material is a natural fit IMO.

Druelling in anticipation!
 

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swift said:
The sport of mt. biking is calling out to stainless tubing manufacturers in a BIG way. The material is a natural fit IMO.

Druelling in anticipation!
I agree with you 100% But.........

It will never be mainstream and here are my thoughts as to why. Stainless steel is almost everybit as time consuming to deal with as titanium and Ti has a lot better profit margin than "steel" . If one was a builder and could weld either stainless or Ti most high end customers will go with Ti.

It is just my opinion but generally MTB has become so budget oriented in the custom frame world that convincing people to pay 1k+ more than a standard steel ride is going to be a hard sell. Certainly we will probably all love to give it a try and for the hobbiest who cares? but we have to push the threshold price way up to get the public to buy on to a 2-3k MTB frame.

This is mainly why we have not seen much if any stainless to date either in the road or MTB world. But KVA's offerings will be competitively priced with other high end tubing from True Temper, Columbus etc. There will be more labor in the fabrication but maybe less in the paint/powder department and if the material works maybe we can build a niche following for stainless.

All the best,

Dave B
 

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dbohemian said:
I agree with you 100% But.........

It will never be mainstream and here are my thoughts as to why. Stainless steel is almost everybit as time consuming to deal with as titanium and Ti has a lot better profit margin than "steel" . If one was a builder and could weld either stainless or Ti most high end customers will go with Ti.

It is just my opinion but generally MTB has become so budget oriented in the custom frame world that convincing people to pay 1k+ more than a standard steel ride is going to be a hard sell. Certainly we will probably all love to give it a try and for the hobbiest who cares? but we have to push the threshold price way up to get the public to buy on to a 2-3k MTB frame.

This is mainly why we have not seen much if any stainless to date either in the road or MTB world. But KVA's offerings will be competitively priced with other high end tubing from True Temper, Columbus etc. There will be more labor in the fabrication but maybe less in the paint/powder department and if the material works maybe we can build a niche following for stainless.

All the best,

Dave B
Great insight.

I hope it proves viable in the long-run. As you point out, it appears there are some hills to climb yet. I doubt too many mass-production shops will jump on-board due to many of the higher tooling, material and labor cost issues you mention.

On the bright side, some "boutique" mass production aluminum mtb frames have been successful in commanding prices in the ~$2k - $2.5k range for quite some time now. I honestly wouldn't mind seeing the material somewhat confined to the custom/hobby/short run builder. That exclusivity, in and of itself, provides a unique value to many consumers. Maybe there's hope? Fingers crossed. :thumbsup:

All said, thanks for your efforts in helping to work things out with this new vendor and keeping us informed of it's potential. :cool:

Best Regards.
 

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dbohemian said:
Stainless steel is almost everybit as time consuming to deal with as titanium
Dave, what makes SS so time consuming? I know that it's harder to machine than mild steel, but the welding is virtually the same isn't it? I suppose there may be some back purging requirements or something for SS that I'm unaware of....

Seems the Paterk manual said something about cleaning it really really really really really good before brazing but I just filed that away since I'm using TIG.

In TIG though, shouldn't it be about equal to mild steel?
 

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Yes, you MUST back purge SS. It turns to black 'burnt sugar' if you don't. Its not as reactive as Ti at high temp so it should be easier but I've never done Ti so I can't make a direct comparison. IMO, welding SS is the same as mild steel once actually welding. You just have to take more care w/ shielding.
 

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SS has a few time issues. smdubovsky touched on one.

First SS is harder to machine than normal steels. Much more like an air hardened tubing or titanium. It takes longer and uses tooling faster.

For the welding of SS one really should follow all the same procedures as titanium because it is very reactive with oxygen. Maybe not quite as much as Ti but it is a good idea non-the-less to follow strict cleaning procedures, clean handling, back-purging is a necessity and heat input/speed of welding is important otherwise the weld turn grey indicating overheating and oxygen contamination. Bright clean welds like one has with Ti is preferable.

Now, are you going to polish it? or just scotchbrite it? Both take time and certainly take longer than a simple powder coat.

So you start with a tube set that can be between 300-600 dollars. Add procedures that are equivalent to titanium and that adds to the costs tremendously.

All the best,

Dave B
 

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dbohemian said:
... Ti has a lot better profit margin than "steel" ...

Dave B
Where are you sourcing titanium? That statement doesn't ring true for me. There are a lot of small details concerning titanium that pick, pick, pick away at margin.
 

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Hi Smudge, Lets keep this on topic, which is about stainless steel. If you want to have another discussion about ti and the business end of things then we can start another thread.

I think my point was that high end stainless by nature requires very similar fabrication procedures when compared to titanium and will need to cost somewhere in the same vicinity in order to net the builder a similar profit margin.

Dave Bohm
 
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