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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just figured out what it would cost me in materials to build an all stainless frame with Fillet Pro, and uh... it's absurd imo... makes TT Platinum tubes seem *really* cheap, and a full build with excellent non stainless parts -even with paint or powder and Framesaver- a damn bargain.

So what's everyone's take on the new stainless tubes? I say flavor of the month, and something more aimed at the affluent custom road market. I just can't see any real benefit to this stuff. Haven't ridden it, but I doubt it's much different than a 'non-stainless' counterpart. But hey, If I end up building one I *will* report back that it rides better than anything out there. Just something new and shiny to play with?

-Schmitty-
 

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Imo

Well, it's conservatively a couple hundred extra $ for the tubes and dropouts and everything else you need over OX plat, but you don't need to paint/powdercoat, so that saves some $ (and in the case of the KVA stuff, you don't have to heat treat it either).

If you're comparing to 4130 or a Nova tubeset or something, of course it's pricier by a lot, but that's not really a fair comparison.

I don't see the cost as being a big deal. The benefits also aren't huge, of course - high end bikes don't rust significantly unless they're abused, at least in my experience. Some folks probably will dig the look.

I have yet to build anything with the stuff, of course. I know many folks (including Dave Bohm, who helped with the development) have and have liked it.

-Walt

Schmitty said:
I just figured out what it would cost me in materials to build an all stainless frame with Fillet Pro, and uh... it's absurd imo... makes TT Platinum tubes seem *really* cheap, and a full build with excellent non stainless parts -even with paint or powder and Framesaver- a damn bargain.

So what's everyone's take on the new stainless tubes? I say flavor of the month, and something more aimed at the affluent custom road market. I just can't see any real benefit to this stuff. Haven't ridden it, but I doubt it's much different than a 'non-stainless' counterpart. But hey, If I end up building one I *will* report back that it rides better than anything out there. Just something new and shiny to play with?

-Schmitty-
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah, tig softens the blow a bit, but add in ss lugs/silver/Fillet pro and it gets spendy.. from what I can see, well beyond the cost of a powder coat. XCR main tubes are $120 each +/- if my conversion from GBP to Dollars is correct and a TT Plat tube is $30 +/-. KVA is way cheaper..at around $65 but still the bb and braze ons are quite a bit more in ss. And of course at this juncture, all the tubes are geared to road at least as far as XCR, and the stay situation is very road biased.. due to difficulty working with the material (XCR).

So $100 more *just* for the 3 main tubes... that's a big difference.

-Schmitty-
 

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Good points.

I was talking about the KVA stuff. At 953/XCR prices, I'd just build a ti bike, personally.

But hey, if customers want it, just charge them more to cover the materials.

-Walt

Schmitty said:
Yeah, tig softens the blow a bit, but add in ss lugs/silver/Fillet pro and it gets spendy.. from what I can see, well beyond the cost of a powder coat. XCR main tubes are $120 each +/- if my conversion from GBP to Dollars is correct and a TT Plat tube is $30 +/-. KVA is way cheaper..at around $65 but still the bb and braze ons are quite a bit more in ss. And of course at this juncture, all the tubes are geared to road at least as far as XCR, and the stay situation is very road biased.. due to difficulty working with the material (XCR).

So $100 more *just* for the 3 main tubes... that's a big difference.

-Schmitty-
 

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XCR has been a good seller for us. It makes a very tidy frame, weight is just shy of Titanium, and price is the same, so the customers more often than not see (perceive) it as the 'ultimate' rendition of steel - which it kind of is, in many ways. Can't complain really - except availability can be patchy.

KVA is a different story altogether. Cost wise it sits right inbetween Steel and Ti, which I think is a good pricepoint - we'll be pitching our new Tephra XK Cross frame at USD1995.

It's just a matter of having options, Schmitty. You can always be 'reductionist' and argue that all anyone really 'needs' is a 4130 frame with powdercoat and Shimano 105, but people like what they like and it's good to be able to have a good spread of materials and finish options so that you're not limited.

I'm pretty stoked to be working with KVA. I think the potential is there so at the very least it's going to be an interesting year.
 

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Not currently, no.

The problem with 953 is it has such bad elongation properties, you can't manipulate the stays well enough to form nice, neat MTB chainstays.

The problem with XCR is that it's not being made in MTB friendly butting profiles.

Your guess is as good as mine as to why manufacturers of Stainless haven't bothered pursuing the off-road market.
 

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Chris must be using non-heat treated 953 stays or something. Never seen them bent like that, so kudos to him for his persistence with the stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thylacine said:
XCR has been a good seller for us. It makes a very tidy frame, weight is just shy of Titanium, and price is the same, so the customers more often than not see (perceive) it as the 'ultimate' rendition of steel - which it kind of is, in many ways. Can't complain really - except availability can be patchy.

KVA is a different story altogether. Cost wise it sits right inbetween Steel and Ti, which I think is a good pricepoint - we'll be pitching our new Tephra XK Cross frame at USD1995.

It's just a matter of having options, Schmitty. You can always be 'reductionist' and argue that all anyone really 'needs' is a 4130 frame with powdercoat and Shimano 105, but people like what they like and it's good to be able to have a good spread of materials and finish options so that you're not limited.

I'm pretty stoked to be working with KVA. I think the potential is there so at the very least it's going to be an interesting year.
Ah, so it is the latest shiny thing for the affluent road market!

My op was not in regards to 'what sells'. I'm building a frame for myself.. I'm not mr money bags but can pop for whatever materials if it makes sense. As I look at what I can build up a Platinum tubed frame, Paragon tidbits, and Deda stays, *and* powder coat, it's way way cheaper than a frame using KVA mains (cheapest), Paragon stainless bits, and the rear being a bit of a question mark but even assuming bending my own out of whatever dia straight pipes.. the cheap solution as compared to bike specific rear tubes.. it's a chunk of change more.. appreciably more.

So what makes that xtra cash outlay worth it? On the ground.

Other points.. the difference b/t straight 4130 and purpose made tubes like Plat is pretty large imo... much larger than the difference than I'm trying to figure out here. Maybe that's my slant... feel like it's got more meat than 'because they want it'.

As for atbs, seems like the KVA stuff would be best suited at this point for some applications. 7/4/7 is as thin as I would go. They do have a disclaimer at the bottom of their tube page 'these tubes not tested for mtn bike use'.

-Schmitty-
 

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Well yeah, if you're just building a utilitarian bike for yourself and you want something at the weight / price / performance convergence then yeah, it's going to be hard to beat OX Plat with a powdercoat.

I suspect you may be a Communist.
 

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Just finished a non-stainless road frame for myself (i can afford more expensive tubes but it doesn't turn me on) and just starting an XCR cyclocross frame for a friend with a fleet of bikes. But his fleet doesn't include a stainless frame...'the heart wants what it wants'
 

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restlessrider said:
Just finished a non-stainless road frame for myself (i can afford more expensive tubes but it doesn't turn me on) and just starting an XCR cyclocross frame for a friend with a fleet of bikes. But his fleet doesn't include a stainless frame...'the heart wants what it wants'
You're comfortable using a .65/.45/.65 downtube for 'Cross?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thylacine said:
You're comfortable using a .65/.45/.65 downtube for 'Cross?
What Thylacine is saying is, you better use a thicker wall tube that weighs the same as as say ......an (egalitarian) TT Plat tube (or any host of others).

Pretty sure using KVA main tubes would be a wash as far as weight, and lets not forget, there are lighter 'non stainless' tubes than TT Plat out there.

Fwiw, my plan is for an x frame as well, but would use KVA for sure based on wall, price, made in USA.

Glad to clear the air and settle that it is the latest shiny thing for men of means to make an emotional purchase.

All in fun.. as said, choices are good (esp if you are tiging road frames).

-Schmitty-
 

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These fancy tubes must be stealing dozens of sales away from carbon and Ti.

My mountain customers want the latest-greatest, but I have to tell them that the tube companies aren't focused on the MTB market.
 

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Thylacine said:
I'm pretty stoked to be working with KVA. I think the potential is there so at the very least it's going to be an interesting year.
Sweeeet looking cross frame! Question on the KVA tubing - does the actual tubing have a pronounced seam, and if so how do you deal with that? I bought some sample pieces and have been playing with them - not too bad to miter, weld, and work with however the samples have a very pronounced seam where the tubing is welded...

I have asked this question before however have not received a response... I am ok if the seam is there on the actual tubesets but want to figure out how you pro guys deal with the seam on polished tubes/etc
 

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I simple see stainless as the next logical step in tubing for bicycles. I paint the stuff. I don't really care if its shiny anymore really, but everything being equal stainless tubes are more corrosion resistant than non-stainless tubes so for that fact alone they are superior.

But....The price will never be justified for all circumstances. 4130 and other tubes are still going to be king and they are great. Stainless will not give some magic ride or other ethereal properties but for some customers it will be what they want.

Why are they not made first or simultaneously for MTB? IMHO, It may very well happen with KVA but the money just isn't there. MTB frames cost half as much as their road counterparts and this overall conversation about value just reinforces the fact that there is a thin market in the MTB world. Most MTB people would rather spend an extra 4 bills in trick brakes or forks or whatever, frames are denigrated to that thing you hang lots of black ano stuff all over.

KVA is a new company and will need time to completely sort out the product. We cannot expect them to be Columbus with almost 100 years of experience on the first try. I know they can do it and look forward to seeing them get better. I was seriously impressed by the first chainstays and seatstays. The seam issue is getting sorted out and if it pans out I am sure that can be proactive for the MTB scene, if and only if you guys spend your money to support your industry!
 

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dbohemian said:
I simple see stainless as the next logical step in tubing for bicycles. I paint the stuff. I don't really care if its shiny anymore really, but everything being equal stainless tubes are more corrosion resistant than non-stainless tubes so for that fact alone they are superior.

But....The price will never be justified for all circumstances. 4130 and other tubes are still going to be king and they are great. Stainless will not give some magic ride or other ethereal properties but for some customers it will be what they want.

Why are they not made first or simultaneously for MTB? IMHO, It may very well happen with KVA but the money just isn't there. MTB frames cost half as much as their road counterparts and this overall conversation about value just reinforces the fact that there is a thin market in the MTB world. Most MTB people would rather spend an extra 4 bills in trick brakes or forks or whatever, frames are denigrated to that thing you hang lots of black ano stuff all over.

KVA is a new company and will need time to completely sort out the product. We cannot expect them to be Columbus with almost 100 years of experience on the first try. I know they can do it and look forward to seeing them get better. I was seriously impressed by the first chainstays and seatstays. The seam issue is getting sorted out and if it pans out I am sure that can be proactive for the MTB scene, if and only if you guys spend your money to support your industry!
You had me at "ethereal".
 
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