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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
this is my first attempt at doing any kind of research @ all. its been a little while since i have seen any new input on stainless tubes... anyone with some new input? i've read some back posts and it seemed there were better options... any new input/info would be great... will try to do some research on my own elsewhere but figured i would start here. thanks alot. just pondering the idea.
 

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I have some lugged stainless bikes coming up. I have XCr on the way and I just got some KVA material this morning. I also ordered some straight gauge from KVA to do some practice welding on. I have to say that the finish on the butted KVA main tubes and double taper seatstays is really nice. The chainstays are coming later in October. I'm looking forward to seeing this batch of XCr too. The straight gauge KVA is as-welded and has a visible seam.

I did a couple of test welds today on the straight gauge. This is the first time I've ever welded stainless tubing, so it was certainly interesting. These tubes are 28.6 mm OD x 0.75 mm wall welded to 38.1 mm OD x 1.00 mm wall. I had a brain fart and cratered the tie-in on the second weld, which I was ticked at myself about. I was too excited to put my hood up and look at the weld and I cut the power too quickly. Dumb, I know. I also got melt through on the inside of the 1.5" tube all of the way around. So I need to pick up my pace. The nice thing is it gave me an idea of how my backpurge setup is performing.







Stainless is a viable choice for road at the moment, mostly due to what's available for tubing. The feedback from riders is very positive. The bikes feel like what you would expect a steel bike to feel like. It's an interesting economic conversation though considering the extra work that goes into the stainless frames. For instance, I have to get something set up to passivate the frame at finishing. And you have to prep and weld it as if it was titanium. Is the corrosion resistance and ride of steel valued enough by the customer to warrant the extra cost? Seems like it considering some builders are having success selling the bikes. I'd be interested to hear more from others as well.
 

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Don't waste your money

If you want a ti bike, just get a ti bike. If you want a steel bike, save yourself $500-1000 and get a normal steel bike and put some framesaver in it. There is just not enough of an advantage to justify the extra labor and cost it takes to do a stainless frame.

That's my take after my experiences with 953 and KVA. Haven't messed with XCR, but it looks like it's on the way out anyway?

-Walt
 

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If you want a ti bike, just get a ti bike. If you want a steel bike, save yourself $500-1000 and get a normal steel bike and put some framesaver in it. There is just not enough of an advantage to justify the extra labor and cost it takes to do a stainless frame.

That's my take after my experiences with 953 and KVA. Haven't messed with XCR, but it looks like it's on the way out anyway?

-Walt
Sadly, I have to agree. You know I love da stainless but it is as hard to work with as Ti, sometimes without the financial upside for the builder. I am glad Zank spoke about passivation because it is things like this that are important and some companies have not been using the right procedures resulting in finish problems, minor warranty issues and the like which is only giving a bad name to the material it does not deserve.

With that being said, I still believe in offering a stainless product that you paint anyways and just consider the stainless as a backup to corrosion. Some are willing to pay for it. Realize that this goes over well in the road world but has not been adopted much by the MTB world that has to meet a much more rigid price point.

Zank, BTW, I am impressed you are welding this well so soon. F'n naturally talented people:skep:
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
thanks... had read walts extensive report a while ago. agree that the cost makes ti a better option, was just curious if anyone had actually adressed the issues rather than pushing a non updated product or just discontinues it. apprechiate the feedback
 

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was just curious if anyone had actually adressed the issues rather than pushing a non updated product or just discontinues it. apprechiate the feedback
What are the "issues"?

The materials available to us rock it's just a lack of understanding of the framebuilding community on how to work with them. I understand that the material does not fit into every builders business model and that in and of itself makes a lot of sense to me.

Whether or not it is worth it to spend the extra money and time is up to the purchaser. Remember Ti is more expensive (double) so that in and of itself is not always an option nor does every enjoy the ride of a Ti bike and because of the lesser variability of ti (most of it is straight gauge) it is not always the best material for the job.

If you are asking what new, incredible materials can we use? Well, there is some "steel" out there that is truly Flash Gordon space stuff but we always run into the same issue. Does using 800 dollars of nano-carbon-spidersilk reinforced wonder Excalibur steel make for a better bike? The answer to that question is generally no.
 

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If you are asking what new, incredible materials can we use? Well, there is some "steel" out there that is truly Flash Gordon space stuff but we always run into the same issue. Does using 800 dollars of nano-carbon-spidersilk reinforced wonder Excalibur steel make for a better bike? The answer to that question is generally no.
That's pretty awesome, I'm gonna swipe that. (with credit of course)
 

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thanks... had read walts extensive report a while ago. agree that the cost makes ti a better option, was just curious if anyone had actually adressed the issues rather than pushing a non updated product or just discontinues it. apprechiate the feedback
Ti might be a better option for a tig welder. It does not help us brazers.
 

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Agreed

FWIW, I had nigh-unbelievable distortion problems with both 953 and KVA when tig welding, particularly at the head tube. If I were to work with those tubesets ever again, I'd use lugs or fillet pro (not that I've got the ability to do either at this point, of course). I've failed twice with TIG to produce a stainless frame I thought was worth putting parts on.

Weirdly enough, when I did the KVA frame (or, half-did it, I never finished it) I found that I could cold-set the front end with my bare hands (to be a bit more clear, I could clamp the BB and then wrestle the frame into neat new shapes with no mechanical leverage at all). Anyone else notice this, or am I just crazy or alternately super-strong?

-Walt

Ti might be a better option for a tig welder. It does not help us brazers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
What are the "issues"?

The materials available to us rock it's just a lack of understanding of the framebuilding community on how to work with them. I understand that the material does not fit into every builders business model and that in and of itself makes a lot of sense to me.

Whether or not it is worth it to spend the extra money and time is up to the purchaser. Remember Ti is more expensive (double) so that in and of itself is not always an option nor does every enjoy the ride of a Ti bike and because of the lesser variability of ti (most of it is straight gauge) it is not always the best material for the job.

If you are asking what new, incredible materials can we use? Well, there is some "steel" out there that is truly Flash Gordon space stuff but we always run into the same issue. Does using 800 dollars of nano-carbon-spidersilk reinforced wonder Excalibur steel make for a better bike? The answer to that question is generally no.
the last time i had any interest in stainless at all was several years ago and if my memory is correct... ( very possible that its not ) the main triangle tubes were the only offerings and even they had few choices. so, now i see rear ends are available. thats awesome.
here is my project. recieved a dwnpymt 2 weeks ago for a 58 year old man that is/was scheduled for a hip replacement on 9/29/11. this individual has several bikes. there are at least 3 full blown road 11 speed seven bikes, a 7500.00 us dollar un exported colnago something or other. he has contracted me to build a singlespeed commute type grocery getter. he has been talked to extensivly by his dr. & myself of possible drawbacks of a singlespeed... he really wants me to build a frame/fork for him basically because i am the " local " framebuilder in the area i think, plus i think that money in this job is not a hugh issue to him. so with that said i thought it might be cool to experiment a bit and maybe use a combo of fillet braze and maybe a couple of lugs.
at this point i am just doing some homework, since i have a 5-7 week wait before he is able to come to my shop and do some fitting, since there is no way i will just copy someone elses design.
thats for the input.
at this point in life i really don't have the interest in tig n anything in the bicycle field. i personally love my torch setup... leave tig n stuff for dirt bike/auto projects.
thanks again. this forum is once again very helpful.
 
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