Tube Choices - Custom Steel Frames - (Long)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Tube Choices - Custom Steel Frames - (Long)

    Ok, you all helped me out with my stupid "which custom steel frame builder" thread. It was extremely helpful, thanks much. I have looked into every recommendation + others. I know everyone is sick of that thread because it pops up every other day. My next question is about tube choices. I see different offerings from Columbus, Reynolds, True Temper, Ritchey etc. Can anyone help me with some kind of run down of weight vs. price vs. ride quality of the different tubes? Which tubes are the most lusted after or are worth spending a little extra on? I weigh 205 lbs and want to build a frame that is on the lighter end of the spectrum. I tend to suffer from UGI, so I want to do my first custom frame right.

    This frame will end up replacing a Rig

  2. #2
    Complete Bastard
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    If you weigh 205 maybe you should think about a slightly heavier tube spec that will be less likely to break. I don't know of many custom builders that will build you a light bike if you're a burly guy. Really, in the end, having a slightly lighter frame is going to be of little consequence to you. Lose 10 lbs and you've already lost 10x as much weight as the difference between the lightest and heaviest hardtail 29ers. Take a dump before you ride, and lose that difference too. You know what I mean? In the big scheme of things having that superlight frame is not really that important. Light wheels make a much bigger difference. Trust your framebuilder on his tubing choice, that's why you're paying him, because that's his area of expertise.

    Just my 2 cents. I've figured the more you try to talk someone out of something the more they're interested in doing exactly what you're trying to talk them out of. Right?

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by donkey
    Go with a competent builder and get their recommendations. Those guys know tubing way better than this bunch(except walt, he knows what he's talking about)

    B
    I agree. Be specific about how you want the frame to ride and what you want it to do, then let your builder decide.
    Enjoy the ride.

  4. #4
    giddy up!
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    Go with a competent builder and get their recommendations. Those guys know tubing way better than this bunch(except walt, he knows what he's talking about)

    B
    www.thepathbikeshop.com

  5. #5
    Recovering couch patato
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    Heavier frames, to me, seem faster. Weight differences are like 0,5% of the whole inlcuding you, but power transfer can differ quite a bit. My best frames I own, are seemingly overbuilt, but accelerate and climb SO fine!

  6. #6
    minister of chaos
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdrunk
    Ok, you all helped me out with my stupid "which custom steel frame builder" thread. It was extremely helpful, thanks much. I have looked into every recommendation + others. I know everyone is sick of that thread because it pops up every other day. My next question is about tube choices. I see different offerings from Columbus, Reynolds, True Temper, Ritchey etc. Can anyone help me with some kind of run down of weight vs. price vs. ride quality of the different tubes? Which tubes are the most lusted after or are worth spending a little extra on? I weigh 205 lbs and want to build a frame that is on the lighter end of the spectrum. I tend to suffer from UGI, so I want to do my first custom frame right.

    This frame will end up replacing a Rig
    This is really where the decision in frame builders matters. A stock steel frame is going to use and advertise the particular steel that they use. 853 or 631 or OX Platinum or any of a number of other high end steels. I can't tell you what Steve Stickel used on my frame. I know that it is a combination of different tubes from different manufactures. I didn't ask, because, the type of steel used doesn't matter as much as selecting the right tube for the right use.

    There are two very important aspects of a custom frame. The first is fit. If the bike doesn't fit, you won't be happy. Fit will also play a part in the second aspect which is ride. Ride comes down to a number of variables, primarily handling and frame qualities(stiffness, softness, suppleness, etc.). The geometry of the frame will greatly affect the handling, but it will also be the first part of the puzzle when looking at frame qualities. The angles of the tubing will greatly effect the ride quality. eg. A short seat tube with a small angle between the seat and chainstays will be inheritly more forgiving than a frame with a greater angle between the ss and cs. This will affect the tubing choices.

    I guess what I'm trying to say, is it isn't the type of steel that is used that matters, it is that the right steel is chosen. The most important thing that you can do is to be honest with whoever you choose to make your frame. Don't fudge on your weight, don't pretend to be a smoother rider that you are, be honest about your trails and how you plan to use the frame. The more accurate of information that your builder is given, the better job he can do to make the frame ride as the frame of your dreams.
    Frank Tuesday
    minister of chaos
    franktuesday.blogspot.com

  7. #7
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    One's weight and size can really limit the sort of tubing that can be used in constructing his frame as far as geometry goes. I learned all of this while having any of the multiple telephone conversations I had when deciding how my frame was built. Then comes riding style and ride characteristics like stiffness: I chose a verly large diameter downtube for stiffness at the bottom bracket which limited me to a single tube from a single manufacturer. Here is an example of the design taking precedence over tube spec. It is because of this precedence that various tubes and their specifications are fine to consider on an academic level but in the real world one might have steel tubing from many manufacturers welded together to form his frame and all of those little facts lose thier importance. I don't care if my top tube is a certain diameter or if my stays have a certain butting profile; I just want the bike to ride a certain way and like everyone else has said before, it is the job of a competent frame builder to provide that. All of this and I havn't even mentioned the complications of the whole 29er thing; this will limit the choice of tubing even more. I think you'll be looking at a mostly True Temper and Reynolds frame. But if the frame is made correctly it won't matter. Also, unless it is really important to you, don't make weight a large factor. Ride and Geometry are the most imortant qualities of a custom frame.

  8. #8
    Complete Bastard
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frank Tuesday
    I guess what I'm trying to say, is it isn't the type of steel that is used that matters, it is that the right steel is chosen. The most important thing that you can do is to be honest with whoever you choose to make your frame. Don't fudge on your weight, don't pretend to be a smoother rider that you are, be honest about your trails and how you plan to use the frame. The more accurate of information that your builder is given, the better job he can do to make the frame ride as the frame of your dreams.
    Frank is right. Be dead ugly nasty morning-breath honest with your frame builder. If you're someone who unconsciously deludes himself all the time about your abilities it won't be pretty, either in admitting how you really ride, or getting the bike afterward. Pretend this guy is your doctor, and then be even more honest. You'll get a bike that's perfect for you. Lie, and pay the consequences.

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