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  1. #1
    Robtre
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    Steel Frame Composition questions

    Recently I have been converted from Aluminum to Steel frames and I am more than surprised on how much better I like steel. Couple the fact that steel might last me longer, (not like I break frames or anything) makes me even more happier. Couple questions to those who know much more than me:

    What do the numbers represent in steel composition? Example 4130, 530,853 and I think I have seen one starting with 600 something.

    Is there any difference in ride quality/durability?

    I have owned 3 steel frames all 4130 Chromoly and in my opinion they are awesome! I do know the higher the number like 853 for example is more expensive, and I assume that is attributed to the quality of materials?

    I ride single speed, and most times I prefer rigid fork. I am not hardcore I like to ride XC and go as fast as my 35 y/o body will take me. No big hucks, drops or jumps. Am I missing anything from not getting more expensive steel frame? For reference my steel frames were as follows: 1st was Redline Monocog. I liked the heavyness of it I felt like I could throw all 220lbs of my frame at it no problem. 2nd was a KHS Solo Se SS frame I still own. same thing pretty durable. 3rdly is a Vassago Jabberwocky. This frame I can feel flexing in turns especially in the chainstays. Its a 22" frame which I have never had that option before, and it seems a little noodly compared to the other 2 frames. So tell me experts of mtbr.com, am I missing anything?

  2. #2
    mtbr member
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    Reynolds 853 531, 520, 631 are other steels from Reynolds.

    41xx_steel 4130 is just a member of this family of steels
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  3. #3
    Robtre
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    So in conclusion 853 is higher density steel more resistant to dents and bends and better around the welds? a safe assumption would be 853 lasts longer.

    Any expereince on ride difference?

    Is it worth my time to seek out a reynolds frame other than its American made ?

  4. #4
    mtbr member
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    Reynolds is a UK steel maker.

    True Temper is another tube maker. Different frame builders use different steels. If I was having a frame custom made I would choose the builder and use the steel they recommend.

    Columbus is another

    Frame design and tube wall thickness can both lead to frame flex. Custom builders choose depending on the rider and the final useage of the bike.

    Buying a "factory" frame you are probably limited by what is avaliable. ie price and frame design might limit steel choice.

    Cotic Soul is 853 but 29er and geared

    The quality of a weld depends on the welder. Some steels are harder to weld then others.

    I have just read of a 953 frame failing at the welds. It was a "cheaper" (still expensive) frame made in Asia. 953 needs a skilled welder for strong welds.

    A better steel doesn't always mean a better frame.
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  5. #5
    Robtre
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    I like the look of that Cotic, but the site only shows a 19" frame as large. I can't ride that I am 6'5" 220.

  6. #6
    mtbr member
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    Voodoo use Reynolds steel

    Soma use "Tange Prestige heat-treated CrMo steel" Juice
    Duct tape iz like teh Force. It has a Lite side and a Dark side and it holdz the Universe together.

  7. #7
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    Aircraft are made out of 4130 steel and have been for the past 70 years. Though Reynolds did make 531 aircraft tubing at one time. The reason why Reynolds switched to 4130 in their 520 line is chromium is now more available. As a general rule the higher strength metals corrode quicker this is true for aluminum and titanium.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by zerodish View Post
    Aircraft are made out of 4130 steel and have been for the past 70 years. Though Reynolds did make 531 aircraft tubing at one time. The reason why Reynolds switched to 4130 in their 520 line is chromium is now more available. As a general rule the higher strength metals corrode quicker this is true for aluminum and titanium.
    Higher strength has nothing to do with its corrosive resistance properties. Stainless steel is as "tough" as it gets and is "stainless" but cheap Chinese steel will rust. It all depends on the compositions

  9. #9
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    Like said in here before the ride quality depends greatly on the builder. When dealing with steel you have an array of alloys. As also mentioned before companies have proprietary alloys such as reynolds 853. the 853 is a air hardened material and is prob of the 41XX variety those steels are called chromoly
    .41xx steel - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    If you look at the chart you will see the difference in composition .
    this next link is reynolds tubing
    Reynolds Cycle Technology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    I just had a voodoo bizango (reynolds 853 ) nd it rode nice until i cracked it.

  10. #10
    Robtre
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    Well I am going to ride my Jabberwocky to hell and back. If I break it which I doubt, I will buy up to a Reynolds frame.

  11. #11
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    Used to be easy to find specs on steel frames, every one in the store had a label displaying the type of steel used and the number of times the tubes were butted. Now, it's a crapshoot, and even if you can find the type used, the construction is a bit of a mystery. Also, a lot of the steel frames out there today are aimed at the all-mountain crowd, they're built out of huge tubes and designed to run a big cushy fork, so the actual feel of the frame isn't any different than a similar aluminum frame.

    I think these days, if you want that high-end steel feel, you're better off going to a carbon frame.

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