• 04-14-2009
    wcobley
    4130 chromoly vs. 853 steel
    I am jumping into the world of 29ers. I was pretty sold on the Vassago bandersnatch, if it was not for them running out of frames after I ordered I would already own one. But then I started reading about the Niner MCR. I dug further and looked up the difference between the materials. My question is this. Is it worth it to spend double for 853 steel vs. 4130 chromoly. And what about other hardtail 29ers between $500 and $800, any thoughts.

    Thank you,

    Will
  • 04-14-2009
    freaknunu
    I love a good steel hardtail (I'm not a weight weenie), I defiantly suggest putting up the extra cash
  • 04-14-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wcobley
    I am jumping into the world of 29ers. I was pretty sold on the Vassago bandersnatch, if it was not for them running out of frames after I ordered I would already own one. But then I started reading about the Niner MCR. I dug further and looked up the difference between the materials. My question is this. Is it worth it to spend double for 853 steel vs. 4130 chromoly. And what about other hardtail 29ers between $500 and $800, any thoughts.

    Thank you,

    Will

    It is not which material but how it is used.

    Niner is one of the few companies that has 853 tubes drawn to their specs for the best weight to strength ratio available from the material. This costs extra money.

    Vassago also specs the tubing to best use the material and aimed for a lower price point. Less money, a little more weight.

    After that the two companies have different geometry ideas. Both work. Both have their fans but one or the other may not be right for you. You can also apply this to basically every frame on the market. Lots of choices in your price range.
  • 04-14-2009
    byknuts
    short answer? yes, worth every penny, lighter weight, stronger tubes, and just plain rides better (in my experience)

    long answer? depends, be honest, have you ridden enough miles (and enough different bikes) to be able to tell the difference?

    Also, 1/2 cost 4130 bike usually aren't manipulated for ride characteristics quite a smuch as high dollar reynolds bikes.

    That said, never ridden either, owned a whole BUNCH of steel rides, of both regular cromo (surlys, for example) and the refined 853 reynolds (my OLD norco rampage was an 853 reynolds bike).
    No comparison really... 853's a phenomenal riding frame.
    But I don't own the reynolds bike anymore and I've got 2 surlys and a dobermann pinscher right now so take my "experienced" opinion with a grain of salt, because other factors are important too ;)
  • 04-14-2009
    CupOfJava
    Anyone make 853 frames with paragon sliders?
  • 04-14-2009
    D.F.L.
    Try to understand that 853 rides no differently from any other steel. It's ALL about the diameter and wall thickness. What 853 or OX Platinum CAN do is to last longer, for a given size.

    That said, a lot of people ask me about using these tubes in their 29er frame.It turns out that they don't make a downtube long enough, there's no such thing as 853 chain or seat stays. At best, I could use one of their top and seat tubes. This is about the point that the customer loses interest in 853.

    I don't know why they haven't adapted to make the stuff in modern MTB sizes, but they sure haven't.
  • 04-14-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by D.F.L.
    Try to understand that 853 rides no differently from any other steel. It's ALL about the diameter and wall thickness. What 853 or OX Platinum CAN do is to last longer, for a given size.

    That said, a lot of people ask me about using these tubes in their 29er frame.It turns out that they don't make a downtube long enough, there's no such thing as 853 chain or seat stays. At best, I could use one of their top and seat tubes. This is about the point that the customer loses interest in 853.

    I don't know why they haven't adapted to make the stuff in modern MTB sizes, but they sure haven't.

    Reynolds has not adapted the stock size offering of 853. They will custom draw it if you order enough tubes, as Niner has.

    What DFL is bringing up is the "how you use it" factor. A 4130 frame and a 853 frame with identical design spec (frame geometry and tubing sizes) will weigh the same and ride the same. The advantage of 853 is it offers the possibility of using thinner wall (lighter) tubes while maintaining strength. The trade off is higher cost and increased flex (or "better" ride quality). The latter largely depends on rider weight and riding style.

    This is without even bringing in basic fit and geometry/handling philosophy factors. If one design worked for every rider there would be no need for more than one bike company.
  • 04-14-2009
    wcobley
    4130 vs. 853
    You brought up the riders size. I am 6'2'' 200. So the fact that 853 is drawn thinner than 4130 should that be a concern for someone my size?
  • 04-14-2009
    peedrama
    Not necessarily. 853 is unsuspectingly strong. I believe I've read that it has a better strength to weight ratio than titanium. Thus the thinner tubes do not compromise the integrity of the frame.
  • 04-14-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by peedrama
    Not necessarily. 853 is unsuspectingly strong. I believe I've read that it has a better strength to weight ratio than titanium. Thus the thinner tubes do not compromise the integrity of the frame.

    peedrama, if you are replying to wcobley's question about his weight and 853, you have missed at least part of my point on "how it is used."

    Yes, as I have said, 853 is stronger than 4130, so thinner tube walls can be used and still be strong enough. BUT those thinner tubes may result in a frame that is too flexy under a heavy rider.

    wc, it is something to look into. Niner uses size-specific tubing spec, so the larger frame sizes also use larger/thicker tubes.
  • 04-15-2009
    Enoch
    If you are comparing the Vassago to the Niner. The Niner definately has a nicer ride. I know some 6;'4, 240's sized people riding Niners. The Vassagos are a bit stiffer. i have a 4130 and 853 bike. The 4130 feels a little less springy, but as stated earlier, It has larger tubes with thicker walls than the 853 bike I have. Niner specks different tubes per frame size. From what i gather the 853 is just plain expensive.
  • 04-15-2009
    jgsatl
    i have a bandersnatch and i love it. but...if they aren't available right now....get the 9er!
  • 04-15-2009
    azpoolguy
    Ride as many steel bikes as possible. As stated its how the material is used.
    I had a Bontrager Race lite frame back around '95. Everyone told me it was the best thing around at the time. It rode nice but nothing jaw dropping. I just switched from a Fisher Rig to a Ferrous(True Temper Ox Platinum). The ride is amazing. Smooth,compliant and still stiff enough to hammer the climbs!
  • 04-15-2009
    Phishin Paul
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by azpoolguy
    Ride as many steel bikes as possible. As stated its how the material is used.
    I had a Bontrager Race lite frame back around '95. Everyone told me it was the best thing around at the time. It rode nice but nothing jaw dropping. I just switched from a Fisher Rig to a Ferrous(True Temper Ox Platinum). The ride is amazing. Smooth,compliant and still stiff enough to hammer the climbs!

    Agree. I switched from chromoloy Monocog, a possible step down from the Vassago, and moved to the OX Platinum El Mariachi and there is a big difference in the smoothness of the ride. I was actually surprised at how much of a differerence there was in the ride in areas of being lighter and smoother.
  • 04-15-2009
    canyonrat
    Um...what Shiggy first posted is dead-on correct.

    I have an OX Platinum El Mariachi, and a Vassago Jabberwocky made of their "Rtech" (whatever that is, it is cheaper.) The El Mar is like an $800 frame, I paid a little over $500 frame and fork on sale for the Jabber.

    I prefer the ride and handling of the Jabber between the two. It is not because Rtech is better than OX Platinum. It is the way the material is used, the geometry and design of the frame. That is my personal preference, your opinion may differ. I am sure I would not prefer a Niner MCR or SIR to my Jabber either, no matter how "nice" their steel is...I don't care for the steep head angle of the Niners.

    Read Vassago's web site about their Rtech:
    http://vassagocycles.com/rtech.html
    Surly uses 4130 too, but a KM in my size would have been pushing 6 lbs just for the frame, my Jabber weighed a little over 5lbs.
  • 04-15-2009
    CupOfJava
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Phishin Paul
    Agree. I switched from chromoloy Monocog, a possible step down from the Vassago, and moved to the OX Platinum El Mariachi and there is a big difference in the smoothness of the ride. I was actually surprised at how much of a differerence there was in the ride in areas of being lighter and smoother.

    I'm not sure that's a good comparison. I have the monocog also, and I have the Monocog Flight which is Chromoly as well. I too noticed the same difference, that's because the frame on the regular monocog is much thicker and heavier. The Monocog Flight feels similar to my brother's El Mariachi and with the parts I have on it now, it's lighter too. The difference wasn't the material, it was that one was a budget bike frame vs. a high end bike frame.
  • 04-15-2009
    29Inches
    Material makes a difference
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Phishin Paul
    Agree. I switched from chromoloy Monocog, a possible step down from the Vassago, and moved to the OX Platinum El Mariachi and there is a big difference in the smoothness of the ride. I was actually surprised at how much of a differerence there was in the ride in areas of being lighter and smoother.


    In the past I had two steel HT's (Niner / Q-Ball). One was set-up geared the other SS. The ride quality of the Niner was far better than the Q-Ball.
  • 04-15-2009
    peedrama
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shiggy
    peedrama, if you are replying to wcobley's question about his weight and 853, you have missed at least part of my point on "how it is used."

    Yes, as I have said, 853 is stronger than 4130, so thinner tube walls can be used and still be strong enough. BUT those thinner tubes may result in a frame that is too flexy under a heavy rider.

    wc, it is something to look into. Niner uses size-specific tubing spec, so the larger frame sizes also use larger/thicker tubes.

    I think we're on the same page shiggy, I don't think I was very clear, the tensile strength of 853 is very high which means it can bear a lot of force with minimal material in comparison to 4130 cro-mo. As was mentioned, less material will lead to more 'flexiness' (or resilience, a more positive word in my books ;) ) which imho it is a typically a positive property for steel frames. I don't think a 200lb rider will come close to overwhelming a quality 853 frame.
  • 04-15-2009
    DeeEight
    Answering the "is it lighter" question... on paper 853 isn't drawn as thinly (in the standard tubeset specs) as say, reynolds 725 (heat-treated 4130) or True Temper OX II, or even older Tange Prestige. Most 853 frames end up being rather porky as far as high-end steel goes. And again as pointed out, they only use it for the top, down, head and seat tubes. They have to use regular 4130 tubing for the other bits (BB shell, the stays and the dropouts). Most high-end 4130 tubesets though include those bits as part of the tubeset package, and in some cases can be extremely well manipulated. I'd personally ALWAYS prefer something other than 853 (or 631) or OX Platinum (and gold).
  • 04-15-2009
    CB2
    I thought the diameter of the tube defined it's stiffness, and the thickness of the tube was inconsequential to it?
  • 04-15-2009
    apacherider
    Buy a KHS Tucson. Best bang for the buck steel hardtail. I own one and have put a large number of miles on it. Very solid and dependable.
  • 04-15-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by CB2
    I thought the diameter of the tube defined it's stiffness, and the thickness of the tube was inconsequential to it?

    Both are factors
  • 04-15-2009
    nspace
    Or consider the new hand-built steel Misfit DiSSent, a blend of True Temper Ox Platinum, and Verus. I suspect a similar-ish price point to the Niner, and for now I think it has Paragon sliders. Peter wrote about it on his blog yesterday.
  • 04-15-2009
    ETP2008
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by nspace
    Or consider the new hand-built steel Misfit DiSSent, a blend of True Temper Ox Platinum, and Verus. I suspect a similar-ish price point to the Niner, and for now I think it has Paragon sliders. Peter wrote about it on his blog yesterday.

    ohhhhh.... thanks for the heads up on that
  • 04-15-2009
    racerdave
    Maybe it's because I haven't had any "high end" steel MTBs, but ride quality is a distinguishing characteristic? Really?

    I don't mind if you all call me stupid, but I notice more of a difference in ride quality when I drop 2-5 psi in my tires than I ever think I'd notice in an 853 frame vs a 4130 frame.

    Weight and geometry, yes. Ride quality? Help me see the error in my ways. :)