• 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. :)
  • 04-15-2009
    Wish I Were Riding
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 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. :)

    That's a good point. I'd also like to know why I get so sucked into believing the stuff I read. The blog entry for the steel dissent frame for example... Makes me think custom builders aren't doing it right when it should be so easy.
  • 04-15-2009
    Phishin Paul
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 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. :)

    Damn Racerdave, don't you realize I am trying to justify the fact that I just let go of a Redline MC that I purchased complete and new for $315 and replaced it with a $800 Salsa frame. Of course it feels better to me and I am sticking to that.:D
  • 04-16-2009
    racerdave
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Phishin Paul
    Damn Racerdave, don't you realize I am trying to justify the fact that I just let go of a Redline MC that I purchased complete and new for $315 and replaced it with a $800 Salsa frame. Of course it feels better to me and I am sticking to that.:D

    LOL... the Salsa frames do look sweet. So you definitely have much better aesthetics than the MC. The geometry differences (if any) would make it worth it too.

    And I've thought the same things about some day replacing my MC29er. But now I'm content to just ride it until I kill it (which may never happen with those 4130 pipes) :)
  • 04-16-2009
    cycljunkie
    Sure, frame material matters... But you shouldn't compare a Vassago to a Niner purely on material. What about geometry and how that applies to your riding style and terrain? I bought a $250 On One Inbred and (for me) I prefer it over both the Vassago and Niner (and yes, I've owned both those too). Why do I like the Inbred better? Fit and how it feels on the trail. Just my $0.02 worth...
  • 04-16-2009
    racerdave
    Yep cycljunkie, that's what matters most of all, IMHO, rather than the steel itself.
  • 04-16-2009
    edouble
    As a guy who's never owned anything but...
    steel xc 26er and 29er hardtails (about 8 at last count) I find that the geometry makes a bigger difference than the type of steel as far as how the bike rides. As far as comfort, they are all pretty close (though the Tange Ultimate Prestige bikes are a little more compliant for some reason), so close that seat post diameter and type (straight or layback) makes more difference than the type of steel. So does tire volume, so I run high volume tires only.
    My custom Curtlo 26er is the hardest riding bike I own due to the 28.6mm seat post. I have the banana stays too. A post with layback helped, but its still noticeably harding riding than my other bikes. All my other bikes are 27.2mm posts.
    I prefer bikes with steep angles and medium to short wheel bases for point and shoot, tight, twisty east coast riding FWIW.
  • 04-16-2009
    nogearshere
    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.

    this is true.
    but.
    the first batch won't ship until end of may and will likely be sold out following Sea Otter.

    personally i would rather 6061 aluminum to 4130 chromo for xc use...my reasoning is a simple combination of price, weight and stiffness...4130 can't come close.

    IF you increase your budget THEN the 853's and True Temper's make sense.

    for a very simple overview i suggest reading BICYCLE DESIGN by Mike Burrows...his obsession with couch bikes borders on Smurf worship but his description of frame materials (diameter, thickness, material) is EXCELLENT.
  • 04-16-2009
    DeeEight
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by edouble
    As far as comfort, they are all pretty close (though the Tange Ultimate Prestige bikes are a little more compliant for some reason),

    That's because of the thinner tubing.... as mentioned before, its not JUST the diameter, its the thickness too that determines stiffness.

    <img src="http://yoda.densan.ca/kmr/bikes/tangeultimate1.jpg">

    As you can see from this old tange tubing chart for the ultimate prestige family, the stuff came in some really thinly butted options. Compare to the current Tange tubeset offerings at http://www.tange-design.com/tange_2007/tubes.htm and you see the difference in how thin (as low as 0.3mm center wall thickness) they used to be versus how thin they're made now. Soma for example makes usage out of the current Tange prestige tubing.
  • 04-17-2009
    edouble
    That explains it....
    My voodoo Bizango is Tange Prestige Ultimate. As long as I pedal in smooth circles
    I don't get too much BB flex and the ride is super compliant. Its a quick handling singletrack killer.
    I love the ride quality so much I designed my Ted Wojcik 29er around the voodoo.
    Ted nailed it, it rides like my voodoo but with all the benefits of 29 in wheels and far superior power transfer.
  • 04-18-2009
    jamis46
    how much does an 853 frame actually weigh..1.9kg??
  • 04-18-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jamis46
    how much does an 853 frame actually weigh..1.9kg??

    Yes, plus or minus 1.9kg.

    There is no answer to your question. As has been noted throughout this thread, the material alone does not define the frame.
  • 04-19-2009
    Quiz Man
    Its all in the Frame Spec..
    As others have Mentioned. I have ridden an 853 bike ( Jamis Dragon) that was way to flexy for me at my 200lb weight. I Have a Vassago Bandersnatch built up as a 1X 9 that is lighter than the Jamis Dragon, (because I built it that way) Because the frame was cheaper, I put better, lighter components on it and still payed the same as what I would have for the Jamis new. The Bandersnatch is much stiffer and climbs much better than my Trance X. The first time i climbed with this bike out of the saddle, I was thinking, wow, I cant believe I am standing up!. I would think I could ride another bike in 853 that was speced with different geometry and tube thickness and it would ride simialar to the Vassago, the only difference would be it would probably cost 400.00 more with the same part spec. I dont mean to sound like an add for Vassago, I am judy saying you need to ride both bikes and see which is best for YOU.
  • 06-05-2009
    jesmith09
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by freaknunu
    I love a good steel hardtail (I'm not a weight weenie), I defiantly suggest putting up the extra cash


    I think you might be confused. They are both types of steel. One is a special Reynolds designation (853). The other is chomium-molybdenum stock called by its standard designation, 4130. Chom-moly cannot be drawn as thin as 853, an therefore, structures made from it have more material in them, and are heavier. Both weigh nearly the same per volume. That being said, the thicker and more maleable 4130 is less prone to cracking, not that properly worked 853 has an problems with that. In the end, a frame made from 853 will weigh about a pound or a pound and a half less that 853 in most applications. Your body weight fluctuates at least that much from day to day due to water gain/loss. If you want to spend 300 extra to lose a pound or a pound and a half, do so by upgrading you wheelset, not buying a lighter frame. the difference will be most notable there.
  • 06-05-2009
    29erPilot
    I've ridden 853 and 4130.I flexed my two 853 frames(Niner,Gunnar) way to much.I felt better on my 4130 Karate Monkey.I'm 240 and feel safer on a 4130 bike.I've already folded a 853 Niner fork in half.I think the light weight stuff is good for light weight guys.My fat ass belongs on a monkey.
  • 06-05-2009
    jesmith09
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 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 ;)


    The phenomenal difference you felt likely had a lot more to do with geometry and build quality (welds/jigging), than it did material. Due to hardness differences, the 853 can be drawn with thinner walls, and can be lighter, but it isn't any better that 4130 in terms of ride quality due to material alone. An 853 frame with poor geometry and poor build quality will ride like crap.
  • 06-06-2009
    coconinocycles
    the definative word on steel.......
    OK everyone - take a few minutes and read this: http://www.ibiscycles.com/tech/materials_101/2/ M'kay? Steve.
  • 06-06-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jesmith09
    The phenomenal difference you felt likely had a lot more to do with geometry and build quality (welds/jigging), than it did material. Due to hardness differences, the 853 can be drawn with thinner walls, and can be lighter, but it isn't any better that 4130 in terms of ride quality due to material alone. An 853 frame with poor geometry and poor build quality will ride like crap.

    I think you may be confused, too. You bring up that 853 can be drawn thinner. True. But if it the tubing is thinner wall (no matter the alloy) it affects the ride quality. Yes, the geometry may make a difference, but take two frames from the same builder with identical geometry, one with thick wall tubes, one with thin wall. The latter will ride smoother--"better ride quality"--than the former. It is flexing more, which may be fine for some riders and bad for others.

    The bottom line is--as always--the same: It is how the material is used, not which material.
    This applies to the spec of the tubing (in this case) as well as the design/geometry of the frame.
  • 06-06-2009
    jesmith09
    The Ibis site, while very helpful for some, will be more information than others can sift through. Yes, different alloys will produce varying ductility, tensile strength, etc, and the hardness of material will vary depending on heat treatment and chemical treatment. I was attempting to address this simplistically. The case of OS Platinum given at the bottom of the Ibis page is what I was referring to in the 853 vs 4130 debate. The 853 can be drwan into thinner, and therefore lighter tubing than most 4130s, but that does not necessarily mean it will be as strong. The strength of steel and its welds also are hevily dependent on the process. a poor weld full of gas pockets will crack no matter the material. If the steel is "dirty" it can be susceptible to failure. That is why Japanese 4130 is touted. Theri processing is known to be very and and their quality is consistent. Anyhow, I will leave it at this. The ride a bike frame provides has more to due with the build than anything. Of course, poor materials such as 10xx steels, will never yield much quality. So, if you build a frame out of any kind of quality steel, and the geometry and welds are good, you'll end up with a good frame. As a this is something we learn in physics.....it isn't what you use, it is how your well your design utilizes the material's properties to distribute force and channel energy.
  • 06-06-2009
    jesmith09
    Read the post just before this one. I'm not confused at all. The thinness of the walls is more an issue of weight vs resistance to damage. A thin walled tube must also be butted to provide enough material for proper welds. You can build a frame out of either material that will ride identically to the other. If you actually built two frames that had identical geometry out of the two materials, yes, you would have two completely different bikes. You'd either have one that was significantly heavier than the other, or one that would be highly susceptible to damage. Therefor, you probably would not do that. Because of that, steels like 853 do not produce significantly lighter bikes than 4130 for builds that might be considered "all mountain". The ability to create thinner walls is not a positive thing when going for thoughness. On a cross country bike, which does not require a frame that is quite as impact resistant, you can use the properties of steels like OS Platinum and 853 to your advantage. Anyhow, this flexibility issue is a bit of a farce. If you do the math....look at how exactly the force is distributed on a bike, you'll realize that flex is an issue mostly at the BB. The design of the rear triangle has the largest effect on ride quality, and geometry has far more to do with that than does material useage. In high school, a tema of people and I built a balsa wood structure that held more than 971 pounds......the structure weighed 18 ounces. Design. If you need to make serious changes to flex and damping....you can always modify the shaped on the tubing. Geometry will always rule over material. That being said, some materials don't have properties which allow them to be formed into quality products.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shiggy
    I think you may be confused, too. You bring up that 853 can be drawn thinner. True. But if it the tubing is thinner wall (no matter the alloy) it affects the ride quality. Yes, the geometry may make a difference, but take two frames from the same builder with identical geometry, one with thick wall tubes, one with thin wall. The latter will ride smoother--"better ride quality"--than the former. It is flexing more, which may be fine for some riders and bad for others.

    The bottom line is--as always--the same: It is how the material is used, not which material.
    This applies to the spec of the tubing (in this case) as well as the design/geometry of the frame.

  • 06-06-2009
    Zion Rasta
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by cycljunkie
    Sure, frame material matters... But you shouldn't compare a Vassago to a Niner purely on material. What about geometry and how that applies to your riding style and terrain? I bought a $250 On One Inbred and (for me) I prefer it over both the Vassago and Niner (and yes, I've owned both those too). Why do I like the Inbred better? Fit and how it feels on the trail. Just my $0.02 worth...

    that's too bad because that SIR niner frame rides beautiful. Perfect Geo for me. And it is super light.
  • 06-06-2009
    scooter2468
    I've ridden oodles of steel frames over the years and can tell you from my experience that the biggest factor in comparing the ride quality/feel of different steel frames will come from the geometry of the frame, not the tubeset. The biggest differences you're likely to experience between 853 or Platinum OX and 4130 will be a slight difference on the scale and a big (and in my opinion) unjustifiable difference in your wallet.

    Limiting your comparison between the Bandersnatch or the Niner MCR, I'd say that the decision should be pretty simple and I'd base it solely on your intended use for the bike, as their geometries are different enough in two specific areas as to make them ride significantly differently. The Niner is steeper and has a higher BB, so it should be a bit quicker and less 'stable', whereas the Bandersnatch has a lower BB and slightly slacker HT angle and will be a bit more stable, as well as feeling like you're sitting in the bike as opposed to on top of the bike. If I were doing almost nothing but XC racing, I'd choose the Niner. For all day, or even everyday riding, I'd go with the Vassago.
  • 06-06-2009
    Zion Rasta
    Here you go
    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

    A great frame will ride slow with heavy wheels, and viceversa.

    Get yourself that Vassago ad some arch rims laced to King hubs and enjoy. If you nave the cash then go Niner MCR. it is a hell of a ride.
  • 06-06-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jesmith09
    The Ibis site, while very helpful for some, will be more information than others can sift through. Yes, different alloys will produce varying ductility, tensile strength, etc, and the hardness of material will vary depending on heat treatment and chemical treatment. I was attempting to address this simplistically. The case of OS Platinum given at the bottom of the Ibis page is what I was referring to in the 853 vs 4130 debate. The 853 can be drwan into thinner, and therefore lighter tubing than most 4130s, but that does not necessarily mean it will be as strong. The strength of steel and its welds also are hevily dependent on the process. a poor weld full of gas pockets will crack no matter the material. If the steel is "dirty" it can be susceptible to failure. That is why Japanese 4130 is touted. Theri processing is known to be very and and their quality is consistent. Anyhow, I will leave it at this. The ride a bike frame provides has more to due with the build than anything. Of course, poor materials such as 10xx steels, will never yield much quality. So, if you build a frame out of any kind of quality steel, and the geometry and welds are good, you'll end up with a good frame. As a this is something we learn in physics.....it isn't what you use, it is how your well your design utilizes the material's properties to distribute force and channel energy.

    Well, yes and no. Yes you seem to understand it is "How it is used..." (the design) but are underestimating the role of the spec of the material itself or that different frames may have different design goals.

    With 853 (and other such tubing) the point is usually to take advantage of the material's properties to create a light, smooth riding frame with reasonable durability that can not be achieved with other alloys. If you want that bomb-proof all-mountain frame 853 is probably the wrong choice.
  • 06-06-2009
    Schmitty
    Pestige=4130

    Most of the frames mentioned in this thread have logged more sea miles than Captain Stubbing.

    That said, I'd be more worried about build quality and the frame actually matching the advertised geos (most of the stock geos suck anyways). Grab a digital protractor sometime and head on down to your LBS. Think there's a chance in China/Taiwan that they may use tubes other than advertised now and then? How many tubes of say 853 need to be in a frame for it to be advertised as such?

    These are the real questions.

    -Schmitty-
  • 06-06-2009
    jesmith09
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shiggy
    Well, yes and no. Yes you seem to understand it is "How it is used..." (the design) but are underestimating the role of the spec of the material itself or that different frames may have different design goals.

    With 853 (and other such tubing) the point is usually to take advantage of the material's properties to create a light, smooth riding frame with reasonable durability that can not be achieved with other alloys. If you want that bomb-proof all-mountain frame 853 is probably the wrong choice.


    I addressed that in detail in one of my other posts.
  • 06-06-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jesmith09
    I addressed that in detail in one of my other posts.

    Sort of not really. While everything you have said is true, I believe you are missing the point of why people are looking at 853 frames, what they expect form them, or how the industry is using and marketing the tubing.
  • 06-06-2009
    Oliver
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Schmitty
    Pestige=4130

    Most of the frames mentioned in this thread have logged more sea miles than Captain Stubbing.

    That said, I'd be more worried about build quality and the frame actually matching the advertised geos (most of the stock geos suck anyways). Grab a digital protractor sometime and head on down to your LBS. Think there's a chance in China/Taiwan that they may use tubes other than advertised now and then? How many tubes of say 853 need to be in a frame for it to be advertised as such?

    These are the real questions.

    -Schmitty-

    Two!, top tube and down tube.
  • 06-06-2009
    GeoKrpan
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by wcobley
    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?

    Yes.
    My friend has broken two 853 frames. My 4130 frame did not break until I had over 15,000 miles on it. That's 5 times the miles that he had on those 853 frames.
    He weighs 160 and I weigh 50 lbs. more than him.

    His frames were a boutique brand who only make 29ers.
    Mine was a KHS Tucson.
    His frames were replaced on warranty. He opted for Scandium after the second 853 frame broke and hasn't had a bit of trouble with the Scandium frame.
    My frame was cheerfully replaced on warranty in less than a week.
    BTW, KHS warranties aluminum frames for 5 years but steel frames are warranted for 10 years!

    I reckon his frames weighed about a pound less. I CAN'T say if his frames rode better because I never rode them long enough to tell but I CAN say that I love the Tucson.
    He climbs better but I smoke him on the descents.
  • 06-07-2009
    GreenLightGo
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 29erPilot
    I've ridden 853 and 4130.I flexed my two 853 frames(Niner,Gunnar) way to much.I felt better on my 4130 Karate Monkey.I'm 240 and feel safer on a 4130 bike.I've already folded a 853 Niner fork in half.I think the light weight stuff is good for light weight guys.My fat ass belongs on a monkey.

    And that Karate Monkey will be around for a generation, an uber-durable 4130 classic.
  • 06-07-2009
    coconinocycles
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shiggy
    If you want that bomb-proof all-mountain frame 853 is probably the wrong choice.

    all engineering failures can ultimately be traced to a lack of redundancy, something which this thread is not lacking in :) run what you brung, but it's still fun to talk about steel! Steve.
  • 06-07-2009
    byknuts
    steel and misfit's smurf worship.... sweeeeeeeeeeet! :thumbsup:

    so, after posting that other factors are important and having jesmith call me out on everything BUT that sentence (because that sentence was what he wanted to say himself)... has the OP found what they wanted?

    after all, isn't that (at least partially) why we answered?
  • 06-07-2009
    John_Biker
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Schmitty
    Pestige=4130
    -Schmitty-

    Actually, Prestige is heat-treated 4130. More comparable (in composition and treatment, if not tubing wall thickness) to something like Reynolds 725, which is heat-treated 4130, than it is to Reynolds 525, which AFAIK is plain 4130. The heat-treating may not sound like much, but keep in mind that the highly-touted Reynolds 753 had the same composition as the workhorse Reynolds 531, it was just heat-treated and drawn into thinner tubes.

    I don't think Prestige would have had much durability at all for a mountain bike if it were just regular 4130, given how think they drew the tubes.
  • 06-07-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by John_Biker
    Actually, Prestige is heat-treated 4130. More comparable (in composition and treatment, if not tubing wall thickness) to something like Reynolds 725, which is heat-treated 4130, than it is to Reynolds 525, which AFAIK is plain 4130. The heat-treating may not sound like much, but keep in mind that the highly-touted Reynolds 753 had the same composition as the workhorse Reynolds 531, it was just heat-treated and drawn into thinner tubes.

    I don't think Prestige would have had much durability at all for a mountain bike if it were just regular 4130, given how think they drew the tubes.

    Prestige was/is made in so many different tubing dimensions you could build a frame suitable for most any purpose.
  • 06-08-2009
    Schmitty
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by John_Biker
    Actually, Prestige is heat-treated 4130. More comparable (in composition and treatment, if not tubing wall thickness) to something like Reynolds 725, which is heat-treated 4130, than it is to Reynolds 525, which AFAIK is plain 4130. The heat-treating may not sound like much, but keep in mind that the highly-touted Reynolds 753 had the same composition as the workhorse Reynolds 531, it was just heat-treated and drawn into thinner tubes.

    I don't think Prestige would have had much durability at all for a mountain bike if it were just regular 4130, given how think they drew the tubes.

    Of course 'regular 4130' has enough durablilty for a mountain bike.. assuming correct application/construction. Seems as though the tubing manufacturers marketing double speak has served to to completely blender the minds of consumers. 4130 is not black pipe.

    Now above and beyond making a durable product, bike tubing manufacturers also want to keep tubes as light as possible.. so but the tubes. Heat treating allows use of thinner walls,(all lost at the haz) as does increased diameter in conjunction with thinner walls... that is the core difference.

    Any anecdotes in the thread about 'my buddies bike' or 853 is just that.. anecdote. Build a **** bike with 853, and will be a **** bike, etc. Conversely, stories of 4130 being more durable than say 853, is probably do to the fact that the tubes would be thicker on the 4130 frame.

    -Schmitty-
  • 06-08-2009
    jesmith09
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shiggy
    Sort of not really. While everything you have said is true, I believe you are missing the point of why people are looking at 853 frames, what they expect form them, or how the industry is using and marketing the tubing.



    There, you said it, marketing. 853 can be drawn into thinner and therefore lighter tubing without too much of a compromise in strength. While similarly strong aluminum frames are a bit lighter, far more aluminum has to be used to make the tubes, that therefore, the the frame is going to feel very rigid. The not so custom tubing and geomety plas a big role in the ride as well. Aluminum presents some some challenges as far as custom manufacturing goes due to it high melting point. You can do some things working with steel that you can't do with aluminum unless you want to spend a lot of money on machinery. When you spend that money (with processes like hydroforming), you need to produce a lot of volume to make it profitable. Therefore, the amount of customization you can get away with for the price in comparison to steel is inferior. Steel is stronger, but heavier.....buuut If you can draw it thin and keep it relatively light, as with steels like 853, then you can compete with aluminum bikes very readily. Many customers, flatly, are fools about weight. They somehow believe that taking a pound or a half pound off of a frame is really going to help them out. Heck, people get excited about 100 grams....less that a quarter of pound. That is where the marketing comes in. If you can keep you weight within a pound of an aluminum frame, you can cost effectively customize geometry by specing rather than buying off the rack, and you use less material....two things that make the ride more compliant. the customer will be less likely to freak out about weight, and will appreciate the ride quality above it. I race a Reynolds 631 Jamis Excile XC. I rode it to two top ten finishes at collegiate MTB nationals. I ride cat 2 crits and cross on sub 700 dollar all aluminum or steel frames. I realized long ago that if I could find decent geometry and build quality, and get a good bike fit....maybe learn how to manage tire pressure, that my performance was about me, not 2 or three pounds of bike. 853 frames can ride very well, but 853 does not guarantee a good ride. What is more important in the mass market about 853 is what kind of stats you can produce with it and what people believe about it. The other thing I like about steel is the fact that it gives independent manufacturers and frame builders a shot at the market, and makes custom frames affordable. Oh.....I also like that when you bend it, you can bend it back. My Exile is 3 years old, and has its original derailleur hanger. This is a complex subject. It would be impossible for me do cover every base you are looking for me to cover in one quick paragraph. I understand the subject matter here perfectly well...my original comment...the one in which I told the feller he might be confused...I think that was obvious. It wasn't anything he failed to say, rather he did not seem to know that 4130 chromoly was a type of steel. That is confusion. I didn't address the marketing angle because I did not want to insult weight weenies. I've had success at 6 feet and 190-195 pounds...and therefor try to ignore people who are concerned about weight by the pound or two.
  • 06-08-2009
    John_Biker
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Schmitty
    Of course 'regular 4130' has enough durablilty for a mountain bike.. assuming correct application/construction. Seems as though the tubing manufacturers marketing double speak has served to to completely blender the minds of consumers. 4130 is not black pipe.

    Now above and beyond making a durable product, bike tubing manufacturers also want to keep tubes as light as possible.. so but the tubes. Heat treating allows use of thinner walls,(all lost at the haz) as does increased diameter in conjunction with thinner walls... that is the core difference.

    Any anecdotes in the thread about 'my buddies bike' or 853 is just that.. anecdote. Build a **** bike with 853, and will be a **** bike, etc. Conversely, stories of 4130 being more durable than say 853, is probably do to the fact that the tubes would be thicker on the 4130 frame.

    -Schmitty-

    I think we are in agreement here. My earlier point was responding to someone who posted that Tange Prestige was regular 4130. I noted that it was heat-treated. I also noted that at the thinner guages Prestige came in (and yes, they weren't ALL thinwall), say with .4mm bellies in the tubes, you wouldn't get good durability in a mountain bike IF that were just 4130 and not heat-treated. But Prestige WAS heat-treated. And I'm not sure you can get plain 4130 in tubing with .4mm belly anyway, so, yes, 4130 is plenty durable for a mountain bike because it is generally used with thicker-walled tubing. And yes, in certain applications, higher-strength tubing (air hardening and/or heat treated), you can use a thinner-wall tubing, thus giving you less weight and a more flexible/resilient frame.

    The thing about 4130 is that it is mostly used by mass-market builders, who have to design a frame to not break particularly easily for a wide range of customers. So, thicker tubes. And, it helps if it is easier to weld. So, thicker tubes. When you start talking higher-end bikes, the cost of the tubing factors in a lot less. A custom builder will generally use whatever tubing is most appropriate. Labor cost is a bigger factor to the end user than tubing cost. So, where a custom builder could use 4130 just fine in some applications, he might go for heat-treated or air-hardened tubes because it is stronger and better, even if the 4130 is "good enough." In other words, 4130 is not exactly used to make the best frames it can, because before that happens, the builder starts using some other higher-end tubes.
  • 06-08-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jesmith09
    There, you said it, marketing. 853 can be drawn into thinner and therefore lighter tubing without too much of a compromise in strength. While similarly strong aluminum frames are a bit lighter, far more aluminum has to be used to make the tubes, that therefore, the the frame is going to feel very rigid. The not so custom tubing and geomety plas a big role in the ride as well. Aluminum presents some some challenges as far as custom manufacturing goes due to it high melting point. You can do some things working with steel that you can't do with aluminum unless you want to spend a lot of money on machinery. When you spend that money (with processes like hydroforming), you need to produce a lot of volume to make it profitable. Therefore, the amount of customization you can get away with for the price in comparison to steel is inferior. Steel is stronger, but heavier.....buuut If you can draw it thin and keep it relatively light, as with steels like 853, then you can compete with aluminum bikes very readily. Many customers, flatly, are fools about weight. They somehow believe that taking a pound or a half pound off of a frame is really going to help them out. Heck, people get excited about 100 grams....less that a quarter of pound. That is where the marketing comes in. If you can keep you weight within a pound of an aluminum frame, you can cost effectively customize geometry by specing rather than buying off the rack, and you use less material....two things that make the ride more compliant. the customer will be less likely to freak out about weight, and will appreciate the ride quality above it. I race a Reynolds 631 Jamis Excile XC. I rode it to two top ten finishes at collegiate MTB nationals. I ride cat 2 crits and cross on sub 700 dollar all aluminum or steel frames. I realized long ago that if I could find decent geometry and build quality, and get a good bike fit....maybe learn how to manage tire pressure, that my performance was about me, not 2 or three pounds of bike. 853 frames can ride very well, but 853 does not guarantee a good ride. What is more important in the mass market about 853 is what kind of stats you can produce with it and what people believe about it. The other thing I like about steel is the fact that it gives independent manufacturers and frame builders a shot at the market, and makes custom frames affordable. Oh.....I also like that when you bend it, you can bend it back. My Exile is 3 years old, and has its original derailleur hanger. This is a complex subject. It would be impossible for me do cover every base you are looking for me to cover in one quick paragraph. I understand the subject matter here perfectly well...my original comment...the one in which I told the feller he might be confused...I think that was obvious. It wasn't anything he failed to say, rather he did not seem to know that 4130 chromoly was a type of steel. That is confusion. I didn't address the marketing angle because I did not want to insult weight weenies. I've had success at 6 feet and 190-195 pounds...and therefor try to ignore people who are concerned about weight by the pound or two.

    I would read this if there were some paragraphs.

    If you are writing this much to clarify a point it is getting lost in the massive block of text.
  • 06-08-2009
    shiggy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by John_Biker
    ...
    The thing about 4130 is that it is mostly used by mass-market builders, who have to design a frame to not break particularly easily for a wide range of customers. So, thicker tubes. And, it helps if it is easier to weld. So, thicker tubes. When you start talking higher-end bikes, the cost of the tubing factors in a lot less. A custom builder will generally use whatever tubing is most appropriate. Labor cost is a bigger factor to the end user than tubing cost. So, where a custom builder could use 4130 just fine in some applications, he might go for heat-treated or air-hardened tubes because it is stronger and better, even if the 4130 is "good enough." In other words, 4130 is not exactly used to make the best frames it can, because before that happens, the builder starts using some other higher-end tubes.

    I know of a couple of production bike companies that offered some frames with high-end "branded" steel tubing (853, OX Platinum,...) before switching to custom drawn 4130 as they could get a "better" frame (lighter, stronger and/or better riding) at lower cost.
  • 06-08-2009
    eastspur
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by shiggy
    I know of a couple of production bike companies that offered some frames with high-end "branded" steel tubing (853, OX Platinum,...) before switching to custom drawn 4130 as they could get a "better" frame (lighter, stronger and/or better riding) at lower cost.

    Cough Kona Unit Cough
  • 06-08-2009
    laffeaux
    Over the years I've owned a ton of steel bikes (no pun intended). My current frame is a custom build, and I don't know what steel was used in it. Before that I had a frame built from Reynolds 853. My single speed is build from True Temper OX tubing. My road bike is Ritchey Nitanium (whatever that is), and my commuter is Reynolds 531. I've owned frames built from different types of Tange, Ishiwata, True Temper, Reynolds, and "unknown" tubesets.

    By far, the best indicator of the ride characteristics and quality for a frame are generally written in big letters on the down tube - it's the builder's name. The smaller decals that tells you the material used is often the best indicator of price, and to a lesser degree frame weight.

    Don't get so worried finding the perfect tubeset. Find a builder who makes frames that you fit you and ride as you want them to. The tubeset is used by the builder to accomplish a goal. There will be differences in how tubesets preform, but the builder that puts them together is a much more important factor.
  • 06-09-2009
    SyT
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 29erPilot
    I've ridden 853 and 4130.I flexed my two 853 frames(Niner,Gunnar) way to much.I felt better on my 4130 Karate Monkey.I'm 240 and feel safer on a 4130 bike.I've already folded a 853 Niner fork in half.I think the light weight stuff is good for light weight guys.My fat ass belongs on a monkey.

    I'm not 100% sure, but I don't believe your Niner fork was 853.
  • 06-09-2009
    nogearshere
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SyT
    I'm not 100% sure, but I don't believe your Niner fork was 853.

    my experience is that 853 and TT OX actually produce a somewhat harsh ride when used in the wrong places...
    that's why you'll find frames built (primarily) with these materials probably use another variant for chainstays and fork blades.

    as far as i know that is true with Niner and Salsa.

    substitution of this sort is not typically a cost savings or marketing schtick as one might first assume.
  • 06-09-2009
    TrekFurthur
    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.

    That's 953 you're thinking of, not 853.
  • 06-09-2009
    Transwave
    I have owned a MCR for over 1.5 yrears now, and it was worth every penny! The difference in riding experience between a high quality steel frame and a budget one are MUCH greater than the price difference! Its not just about the material, but also geometry, attention to details, building technique etc. Save up some cash and by a more expensive steel bike - you wont regret it!
  • 06-09-2009
    ted wojcik
    Ride quality
    What you feel in the ride of a frame is the rigidity of the tubes. ALL STEEL TUBES HAVE THE SAME YOUNG'S MODULUS. Yield and tensile strength can vary, but the stiffness is the same. If the dimensions of the tubes are the same, diameter, taper, and butt configuration are the same, there is no difference in the stiffness of the tube. It doesn't matter if it is 853, OX platinum, Columbus Life, Spirit, aircraft grade 4130, or 1020 mild steel.
    A pair of high quality seatstays can be over $50. 5/8 X .028 chro-moly is less than $3.00 a foot. You might want to reconsider the statement about cost not being a deciding factor. In recent years, the 'Super Steels" have given builders access to larger diameter tubing with thinner walls, shorter butts and transitions that allow lighter frames that are stiffer and stronger. A general rule of thumb is, if you increase the wall thickness of a tube by a factor of X, then strength increases by a factor of X, and stiffness increases by a factor of X, but if you increase the diameter by a factor of X, the strength increases by a factor of 2X and rigidity increases by a factor of 4X. A few years ago, a lot of dialog was going around about how much more durable the heavier wall tube frames are, but in fact, that is determined by the yield strength of the tubing. The mass manufactures love this change in general opinion, because of the cost savings in the tube sets and time saving in welding and alignment. There are limitations that builders are hampered by. There is only so much room in the bottom bracket area for tire clearance, chainring clearance, and heel clearance. crimping of the chainstays can compromise lateral rigidity of the chainstays. As long as we are pondering the engineering here, what do you think of the asymmetrical effect of the right chainstay being different than the left? Now that I have giving you some food for thought, do you think any of this will make a difference in winning or losing a race, or whether you can ride for 3 hours or 6 hours. That has to do with fit and position.
  • 06-09-2009
    bolandjd
    Here's a great read on the subject of frame material. http://www.habcycles.com/m7.html The article is about road bikes, but I suspect it would be applicable to mountain bikes too.
  • 06-09-2009
    nogearshere
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by ted wojcik
    If the dimensions of the tubes are the same, diameter, taper, and butt configuration are the same, there is no difference in the stiffness of the tube. It doesn't matter if it is 853, OX platinum, Columbus Life, Spirit, aircraft grade 4130, or 1020 mild steel.
    A pair of high quality seatstays can be over $50. 5/8 X .028 chro-moly is less than $3.00 a foot. You might want to reconsider the statement about cost not being a deciding factor.

    if this was directed at my statement, fair game.
    i did make some generalizations based on the assumption that one would not purchase tubes of the same diameter, taper and butt in TT OX or 853 as one might in 4130...i assume (perhaps wrongly and based on personal experience) that one would maximize the benefits (previously and repeatedly touted) of those 'boutique steels' (meaning these factors would vary).

    my statement concerning cost was also perhaps naive...in the past builders have taken heat for labeling a frame 853 or TT when 100% of the tubes were not...i was simply suggesting that price isn't ALWAYS the determining factor (although it certainly has been for some).
    i would not call verus ht chain stays 'cheap' by any stretch...but no, they aren't OX...
  • 06-10-2009
    ted wojcik
    Tube labels
    Most tube manufacturers, in the past offered tube labels that indicated the three main tubes where 531 or 753 or OX etc. Then some frame makers stopped bothering to put true identifying labels on their frames. I guess what I was trying to say here is that ride quality is determined by the shape of the tube, inside and out not the manufacturer. The brand determines the strength, size and shape being equal, in both yield and tensile. For years, I have listened to arguments that a Reynolds tube set rode better than a Columbus tube set, etc, it had nothing to do with who made the tubing, just the mechanical configuration. How a builder determines his/her tubing selection is what gives the "personality" to the frame. Mass produced bikes are all about the cost of materials and labor, and are almost always built for worse case scenarios. Riders from 130 lbs. to 225 lbs. How about a definition for a "good riding frame"? let's not debate handling right now. Is it the same for a 14" frame as it is for a 23" frame. In either case, the rider the frame is built for would never ride the other frame. Riders adapt., some better than others.
  • 06-10-2009
    sv_freya
    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?

    If the material remains constant (e.g. tube thickness) then generally speaking the diameter controls the stiffness. I think it is related to the cube of the radius, though it may be the square of the radius.

    Since the weight of a tube with a fixed wall thickness increases LINEARLY with the radius and the stiffness of a tube increases EXPONENTIALLY with the radius, bigger tubes are theoretically stiffer for a given weight. Think "80s Cannondale."

    However, that does not take into account issues like impact resistance, buckling resistance, welding, and other material issues.
  • 11-28-2009
    motostyle
    Soooo....If its the builder and not so much the frame materials that make it so sweet....where does a long time rider--first time "connoiseur" turn to find out who the best builders are for him and his type of terrain and his preference for ride characteristics?

    Asking cause now my plans of buying a relatively cheap Nashbar 853 frame are now pretty much shot to hell after reading this.
  • 11-28-2009
    rojogonzo
    a few were on this very thread
  • 11-28-2009
    metrotuned
    And consider that the minimum buy-in for a legitimate boutique custom frame builder is $800, median $1200 for a custom steel frame not including a custom fork which is median of $300. That's $1500 for a frameset (frame + fork) not including options such as EBB, sliders, reinforced headtube, badges, braze-ons, customer chosen paint/chrome, etc. Compare this to the plethora of $99-299 retail bikes which are also handmade, just not by a personality but by many unnamed personalities. It's called a bike factory (like moots, seven, IF, etc) versus a garage with one-builder factory - costs go down as efficiency go up. Cue Marx and the one-builder is naturally going to put more care into the final produced frame than a factory with a larger number of builders, each with their own task. Ted Wojcik, who has replied throughout this thread, and with his experience and reputation, hit it on the head: it's not about tubes or brands, but about fit. A properly fitted bike is sometimes a custom bike. For the general mass, five stock sizes are good enough. Why does custom have such a draw? People want to be unique, naturally.

    @motostyle: Since you are looking at Nashbar, I'm assuming you're driven by lowball pricing. With what I wrote above entry into custom frames, don't worry, you'll be right back to Nashbar.
  • 11-28-2009
    scooter2468
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by motostyle
    Soooo....If its the builder and not so much the frame materials that make it so sweet....where does a long time rider--first time "connoiseur" turn to find out who the best builders are for him and his type of terrain and his preference for ride characteristics?

    Asking cause now my plans of buying a relatively cheap Nashbar 853 frame are now pretty much shot to hell after reading this.

    A good builder can make a big difference, but that's not to say that a generic frame won't ride nicely, too. I've had great results w/ Surly Steamrollers (generic 4130 chromoly) as well as Lemond Poprads (both the Reynolds 853 and True Temper OX versions), and have never paid more than $350 for any of 'em. You can bet I could get a nicer custom that may be a tad lighter or a tad nicer, but who knows if it would be worth the money.
  • 11-28-2009
    jesmith09
    If you want something cost effective (not as cost effective as Nashbar mind you), Jamis Dragons are nice frames that are mass produced, keeping the cost down. They are really the only mass produced high quality steel frames left. Rocky Mountain might still make the blizzard, but they are over priced as far as I am concerned. Steel frames I've liked have been Ahrens, and Curtlo. There are a lot out there, but those tow makers won't kill your bank account like some others. Jeff Curtlo is a cool guy who lives in the Methow Valley in Washington State. Hi overhead is pretty low because of his location. A lot of operations are out of California or Colorado...two places where the cost of operation forces high prices. Ahrens just makes cool frames and has a wide selection in terms of models and materials. The Nashbar frame is likely a rebranded model....maybe from the same factory that produces Jamis. If they are bothering to use 853, which is expensive to work with, the frame may not be too bad.
  • 11-28-2009
    motostyle
    Well....actually I was on the Nashbar site and apparently all they offer now is double butted aluminum frames. So...I guess I will keep researching the 29er field. Maybe I will be able to get some demo/test rides to figure out what kind of characteristics I prefer in a frame.
  • 03-23-2010
    reynoldseight5three
    i would agree that fit is very important, i had a heckler that never felt right for me even thought i loved the ride, when i got the 853 that fits me perfectly. i couldn't believe how great i felt on this bike. oh well my $0.02
  • 03-23-2010
    rapdaddyR
    I am 6'2 265 and been riding a Niner MCR9/RIP9 and have not had any problems! I love both the bikes and would not be afraid of the strength of the MCR at all!!
  • 03-23-2010
    thomasali
    my on-one 853 inbred 26er is really (too) stiff, and weighs around 2kg. I think only the main tubes are 853. I have 2.4 tyres on it to try and take out the sting....
  • 03-24-2010
    sslos
    4130 was used by the Germans for the armor plating on their tanks.
    No relevance to cycling, just thought that was an interesting factoid.

    Los
  • 03-24-2010
    nogearshere
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by sslos
    4130 was used by the Germans for the armor plating on their tanks.
    No relevance to cycling, just thought that was an interesting factoid.

    Los

    unless one wanted to infer that frames built with 4130 are tanks.