Steel tubeset mfg?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Steel tubeset mfg?

    I am about to drop the hammer on a custom frame in steel. While talking to the builder I mentioned I really liked my old Ritchey made with Tange Prestige and the builder mentioned some tubesets were still available in TP. Basically everything but the down tube and seat tube could be made with Tange Prestige, the rest would be either Reynolds or some other brands he mentioned and I can not recall now.

    I am curious what the general consensus is with modern steel with regards to dampening quality and durability compared to Tange Prestige? Are the newer steels available as good if not better in dampening qualities as well as maintaining a lively feel in the frameset?

    I am really curious what has been going on since my last custom build over a decade ago. Look forward to your replies.


    KB

  2. #2
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    Damn, can't believe I didn't see your post until now. Even though 4 days in Internet time is like 4 hours, I'll answer hoping it's not too late.

    A cheap and good tubeset is maybe 80 bucks. An expensive one is 220. Not a big difference huh. So what you are paying for is the design of the frame and the skill of the guy making the thing. That's where the money is, because that's where the years of expertise is. If you're paying 1200 bucks or whatever for a decent custom frame, you may as well use the best tubing you can.

    The only reason I can see to use Prestige is for bragging rights if you were getting a lugged fixie or something. That little blue and silver sticker makes the fixie crowd go "ooh, you're all retro cool! You can hang out with us and heck, maybe even date our sisters!"

    So, I say, get the best modern tubeset you can.
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    Damn, can't believe I didn't see your post until now. Even though 4 days in Internet time is like 4 hours, I'll answer hoping it's not too late.
    No worries I am still working out many of the build details and have not completely settled on certain aspects, dropouts or drivetrain..

    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    A cheap and good tubeset is maybe 80 bucks. An expensive one is 220. Not a big difference huh. So what you are paying for is the design of the frame and the skill of the guy making the thing. That's where the money is, because that's where the years of expertise is. If you're paying 1200 bucks or whatever for a decent custom frame, you may as well use the best tubing you can.
    I definitely understand where the majority of the money is going when you pay for a custom frame of any material type. Hopefully it goes into tight mitres, beautiful welds and a layout that more closely matches my body then what the big mfgs have to produce for the masses.


    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    The only reason I can see to use Prestige is for bragging rights if you were getting a lugged fixie or something. That little blue and silver sticker makes the fixie crowd go "ooh, you're all retro cool! You can hang out with us and heck, maybe even date our sisters!"

    So, I say, get the best modern tubeset you can

    So, with this last statement you seem to have a definitive liking for a single "best" steel tubeset. Mind sharing your thoughts on what it is and why you feel the way you do about it? Any feedback would be welcome after getting a crapload of views and only one responce.

    I guess I was trying to get more feedback on how the modern steels compare ride-wise with Tange Prestige, could care less about another persons view of my ride. He could make it in any steel available but I am uncertain outside of the TP how each of them feels on the trail.

    Thanks and look forward to your feedback.


    KB

  4. #4
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    No, I don't have a favourite tubeset. In fact, with our Arete SL we give customers the choice of using a straight Columbus Life tubeset or our Air Hardening mix. I actually prefer to mix tubesets because no one manufacturer makes the perfect complete set.

    Having said that, I do have a soft spot for Zona. It's such a workhorse tubeset and is appropriate for many different build types.

    In terms of ride quality, that has more to do with design rather than tube selection. Each tube in a bike frame experiences different loading, so you can use that as a basis for tube selection, but there's also a myriad of other reasons such as the type of bike, type of customer, where it's being ridden etc. etc.. However, that's not really your job as a customer. If your chosen builder is inflexible or doesn't have a rock solid reason for spec'ing every single bit that goes on your custom frame, then really all you've done is hire someone to tick some tubes together.

    From a fabrication persective, many builders have favourite tubesets based on many factors such as availability, cost, history of using the material, straightness/roundness out of the box etc. I think all of those things are great but have to be tempered by the design at the end of the day.

    I always say you don't ride a material, you ride a design. People are way too hung up on material selection and not hung up enough about the quality of the design of the bike they're riding.

    A crap bike made of the best materials is still a crap bike.

    So anyway, I'm rambling. Without knowing exactly what type of bike you're building, it's hard to recommend a tubeset. It's pretty much up to your designer/builder in some respects, so I guess the best thing to do is take his recommendations, see what everyone else is doing in the genre and go from there.

    Personally, I'd use Prestige or Kaisei for fixies just to be retro groovy, but for everything else, I'd look at Columbus or Dedacciai as a first preference, Reynolds and True Temper a close second.

    The actual tubes I'd use for any given project? That's part of the [sarcastic voice] 'Thylacine Magic' [/sarcastic voice]
    No longer member of the bike industry nor society, so don't hassle me.

  5. #5

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    Fair enough outline of your thoughts with regards to tubesets. To be fair to the builder I am using, his selection was of Colombus and Dedacciai for the down tube.But outside of the Tange I had used in years passed I could not really fill out the build sheet with comparative feedback on other tubesets so all he heard was me raving about my experiences with TP in the passed.

    I may just go with the tubeset he originally suggested for this build and let him decide based on what I wanted from the bike. No doubt this falls under one of those highly subjective categories that is difficult to find a mainstream answer for. I guess I was just hoping for enough general feedback to find some common middle-ground responses. In the end I doubt I am the type of rider that would have noticed a difference all things being equal, just quelling pre-purchase jitters.


    KB

  6. #6
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    I just finished the build process with Carl Strong, while initially I went in with some thoughts about what tubing I "thought" I would be getting. In my opinion, as mentioned above, you should outline your requirements with as much detail as possible to the builder and let them recommend the tubing. We had lots of discussions around butted vs straight gauge and my intended use for the frame, my bodyweight etc. I went in thinking it would be Reynolds something or other, I came out with Columbus Thermacrom 9/6/9 for the DT, and TT with straight gauge for the ST (tandem grade for HT and stays). After my initial discussions with Carl, I knew he was very knowledgable about tubesets and what to recommend. A friend told me, let Carl do his thing, he knows what he's doing. Based on that, I just let Carl select the tubing. My take is, if I am dropping that much cash, I want something that matches what I want to do, Carl has forgotten more about tubing than I even know. So, I would say, personal preferencs aside, see what the builder recommends and go from there. See if what you want matches what they recommend.

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