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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have traditionally ridden aluminum bikes. I have never ridden a steel frame ever. I can not however find an affordable aluminum frame for my next frame built the way I want. I am considering a Vassago Jabberwocky. However, someone in another thread mentioned that this is not a good steel frame.

I have read about all sorts of different steel frames (Columbus, Reynolds, 853, etc, etc). Can someone educate me about this? Can someone also tell me where in the hierarchy, a Vassago frame might fall? Thanks in advance.
 

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First it would help to say what your intended use is? Are you specifically looking to build a 29" single speed?

For good value steel frames, take a look at the Nashbar 853 frame and the Soma Fabrication Frames.
 

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offroader
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You should ask this question in the frame builder's forum. They are experts on this stuff. The different types of steel you mention are the manufacturers of the tube (ie reynolds i believe is made in Great Britain, Sanko is made in Japan etc) Aside from the maker, steel also has varying characteristics based on how much carbon they contain. High carbon steel is hard but brittle, low carbon is soft but durable. Different types of steel is used on each part of the bike depending on what characteristics is needed.
 

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Former Bike Wrench
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Vassago uses 4130 Cro-Mo steel...not the lightest stuff around but the stuff has been around forever and is well tested. They also heat treat it after welding to give it a nice even strength throughout. Whomever said its not good steel knows very little about steel and probably thinks because it doesn't say Columbus, True Temper, or Reynolds its somehow inferior.

So I take it your looking for a singlespeed 29er with track style dropouts. Another solid 4130 Cro-Mo choice would be a Surly Karate Monkey. Soma makes a very nice 29er frame using Tange Prestige (heat treated cro-mo). Just make sure you get the newer version with the large headtube gusset...the older ones had well documented headtube failures.

I wouldn't get too worried about knowing all the steel out there...look for butted tubing (thicker at the welds and thinner in the middle of the tubes) and figure heat treated tubes are going to be stronger and therefore make a lighter and more lively frame because less material is needed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for the replies. And yes I am looking to build a 29er singlespeed. Heven't decided on rigid or hardtail. It will probably start off rigid and it may end up hardtail down the line.

I should also add that I am 6'3" and weigh 260 pounds. I am not a racer. Relatively slow uphill and let gravity do most of the work downhill.

It is really good to hear that the Vassago is a good quality frame. I am infatuated with it and plan to do a demo in the next couple of weeks.

Again thanks for the replies so far and keep them coming.

EDIT: Also, is it the older Somas I should avoid? Or the older Vassago I should avoid?
 

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You wanna know about steel? I'll tell you about steel. Steel is what they made bridges out of in the 1800s. Steel is what they made tanks out of in WWII, and steel is what they made rail road tracks out of until they replaced them with monorails. Steel is good stuff, a man's metal, not some fancypants BS that science dorks dreamed up while sleeping in their bleached lab coats.

4130 is the cheap stuff, but that's only to say it's the butchest frame material of all. It's a little softer than the more expensive steels, and not as strong, so 4130 tubes are a little thicker to compensate. It's no body oil-coated, strutting-in-a-mankini steel, this is a steel that stomps around in jack boots and swings a chainsaw all day. It's thick and tough, and a 4130 frame isn't gonna bend like a flower just because some little rock got in its way or a 260lb dude is mashing on the cranks.

853 is the baddest-assed steel of all. Ordinary steel is weakened when it is welded, but 853 is the Bruce Banner of steels, as it cools after welding it gets both stronger and harder, transforming into the incredible hulk of frames.

Sanko, Reynolds, True Temper, Tange, Nova, and Dedacciai all make different grades of steel tubes for bikes, and like a penthouse full of playboy models, i wouldn't get too hung up over which one i went home with. Different steels can be welded together, so your "853 frame" may only have 1 or 2 853 tubes implanted into it. Trust a good builder to select the right tubes for you and your desires, or try some premarital riding before you settle and "tie the knot." Or read the catalog carefully before you decide which sexy thing you want imported. Geometry and tube selection are far more important than what flavor of steel it is.
 
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