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  1. #1
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    Framesaver really necessary?

    I'm looking into purchasing a steel frame that's already built up so the shop wants $50 to treat it. Is Framesaver really needed? Does it make that much of a difference?
    Thanks for your input.

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    Where do you live and what kind of riding will you do?

    Many steel frames have lasted for 50+ years without it as long as not exposed to too much salt air and water. Even in climates as wet as England and other areas of Northern Europe the frame is probably the last thing to fail, at least from corrosion.

    I certainly do not worry about it where I live, northern Nevada.
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  3. #3
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    ^^^ +5

    I keep my bikes dry and sheltered - usually. My 1982 PUCH Reynold's 531 frame/fork has not been treated with a frame-saver compound. There is not a single patch of rust to be found. But if you live in high-humidity or ride through water - go for it.

    Aluminum frames are not susceptible to surface-rust past a single layer of aluminum oxide. And the single layer of aluminum oxide protects the frame (and components) from further oxidation.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  4. #4
    Senior Member Proofide's Avatar
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    Yet another integrity test for the LBS at which they seem to be doing badly. If you operated such a shop in an area where this were an issue, wouldn't it be good business to offer this service either free or at a nominal charge, before building the frame up, as a matter of course? As stated, steel bikes have been used here in the rainy north of England for decades without giving this a thought. The seat tube and its access into the bottom bracket is probably the Achilles heel, but I assume your BB bearings are either sealed or sleeved.
    Last edited by Proofide; 08-14-09 at 08:28 AM. Reason: Amend spelling of Achilles
    Заступи, спаси, помилуй и сохрани нас, Боже, Твоею благодатию

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proofide View Post
    Yet another integrity test for the LBS at which they seem to be doing badly. If you operated such a shop in an area where this were an issue, wouldn't it be good business to offer this service either free or at a nominal charge, before building the frame up, as a matter of course? As stated, steel bikes have been used here in the rainy north of England for decades without giving this a thought. The seat tube and its access into the bottom bracket is probably the Achiles heel, but I assume your BB bearings are either sealed or sleeved.
    Before condemning the bike shop it might be useful to know more about the situation. The OP is planning to by a built-up bike so I assume it's a factory build which came to the dealer already assembled. The dealer would have to strip the frame, Frame Saver treat it and reassemble it. A charge of $50 for that service is pretty reasonable.

    Frame Saver isn't essential for bikes ridden and stored in moderate conditions. Annual overhauls should be done to clean and dry out areas where water can gather and a bb shell drain hole should be present and kept clear. I have Frame Saver treated my '83 Trek steel framed "rain bike" but it is used routinely in wet conditions.

  6. #6
    Map maker cbchess's Avatar
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    I've treated a steel frame before with a spray can of *** oil I got from Wal mart for like 3 bucks. I did it myself BEFORE I built it up. If it has already been built you could probably get away with taking off the stem and seat tube and spraying it in that way. Find all the vent holes and spray it in them. Turn the frame every which way to coat the inside of the tubes you should be good for quite a long time. Be careful of getting a lot of oil down in you BB if it is old style with open bearings. If it is cartridge bearing you should be OK.
    Just be careful to wipe all the excess off for a few weeks that will weep out of the vent holes and could drip on braking surfaces like rims.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Proofide View Post
    As stated, steel bikes have been used here in the rainy north of England for decades without giving this a thought.
    Keep in mind that the thickness of tubing walls has been coming down for decades. That 40-year old bike in England might have a wall thickness that's 2-3X greater than a modern steel frame and thus be less likely to fail due to rust problems...

    Framesaver certainly isn't a bad idea for a steel frame. That said, a can of it costs $13 and will treat 3-5 frames. Being charged $50 to treat a frame sounds like a complete rip-off!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Proofide's Avatar
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    Very true. Some of the old bikes we used to have here would survive a hydrogen bomb.
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    That said, a can of it costs $13 and will treat 3-5 frames. Being charged $50 to treat a frame sounds like a complete rip-off!
    The OP isn't being charged $50 just for the Frame Saver, he is being charged $50 for the Frame Saver plus the work needed to strip the bike sufficiently to apply it plus reassembly afterward. For that, $50 strikes me as a bargain.

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    Thanks for all the replies.
    I live in Southern California but intend on using this as a utility bike including rain rides. It's a Surly LHT.

    Yes, the $50 dollars includes having to partially dismantle to treat the frame but I need to see if they could order another one and treat it before building it up.

  11. #11
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    Framesaver is not really necessary. You've got a heavy duty chromoly frame already. Chromoly is pretty corrosion resistant to begin with. I lived in Huntington Beach for years and never saw steel frame bikes with corrosion damage. Save $50.
    It's around here somewhere . . .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Panthers007 View Post
    ^^^ +5

    Aluminum frames are not susceptible to surface-rust past a single layer of aluminum oxide. And the single layer of aluminum oxide protects the frame (and components) from further oxidation.
    Aluminum subjected to salt and water continues to corrode so frame treatment inside is also worthwhile IMO on aluminum frames used near the ocean. Fix any paint chips promptly too. Also a good idea to keep a good layer of wax on any polished aluminum components on any bike used in such conditions, otherwise they can corrode relatively fast and soon look like they have skin cancer.
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    I've lived by the beach my whole life.My 30 year old bike is still fine.

    If your going to ride it in the ocean,you might want want to give it a whirl.Either way,can't hurt anything.
    Last edited by Booger1; 08-14-09 at 02:06 PM.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Keep in mind that the thickness of tubing walls has been coming down for decades. That 40-year old bike in England might have a wall thickness that's 2-3X greater than a modern steel frame and thus be less likely to fail due to rust problems...
    Really?

    Do you realize that Reynolds introduced butted 531 bicycle frame tubes in 1935?
    Last edited by Grand Bois; 08-14-09 at 06:20 PM.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrPhil View Post
    Framesaver is not really necessary. You've got a heavy duty chromoly frame already. Chromoly is pretty corrosion resistant to begin with. I lived in Huntington Beach for years and never saw steel frame bikes with corrosion damage. Save $50.
    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/41xx_steel

    41xx steel is a family of high-strength low-alloy steels (HSLA), as specified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Alloying elements include chromium and molybdenum, and as a result these materials are often referred to as chromoly steel, or cro-mo, or CRMO. They have an excellent strength to weight ratio, are easily welded and are considerably stronger and harder than standard 1020 steel.

    While these grades of steel do contain chromium, it is not in great enough quantities to provide the corrosion resistance found in stainless steel.

  16. #16
    I make stuff up
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    Your reference is correct. Stainless steels are more corrosion resistant than HSLA steel. HSLA steels are in turn more corrosion resistant than carbon steels. Corrosion resistance is a continuum. Chromoly is relatively corrosion resistant.

    Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HSLA_steel

    "HSLA steels are also more resistant to rust than most carbon steels, due to their lack of pearlite."
    It's around here somewhere . . .

  17. #17
    biked well well biked's Avatar
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    I treat all the steel frames I ride with Framesaver. Then, when I do ride in the rain, it makes me feel more at ease in regard to the possibility of rust damage. The fact that I am more at ease is well worth the few bucks it costs to buy Framesaver and the time and trouble it takes to apply it, even if, in fact, the frame might never actually be damaged by rust, with or without Framesaver.

    As for paying someone else to strip a frame and apply Framesaver, I can't relate to that; but if for some reason I couldn't do it myself, I'm sure I would pay $50 for it if it were a frame I care much about.
    Last edited by well biked; 08-14-09 at 08:54 PM.

  18. #18
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    Another rust inhibitor is LPS 3. It dries to a waxy coating on the surfaces it is applied to. I have not tried it on bike frames but as an interior frame coating I would expect it to work. I have never used framesaver either. What is it's surface like after drying?
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  19. #19
    A little North of Hell
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    insurance.

    plenty of rust inhibitors out there.

    Framesaver,Boesheild,LPS,etc...
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by tatfiend View Post
    I have never used framesaver either. What is it's surface like after drying?
    Frame Saver dries to a somewhat tacky waxy coating just like LPS3.

    Another alternative is Amsoil HDMP, which I believe is identical to Frame Saver. I expect Peter Weigel is having the exact same product packaged under his brand name. HDMP is available at many independent auto supply shops and comes in a larger can for less money than Frame Saver.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    Really?

    Do you realize that Reynolds introduced butted 531 bicycle frame tubes in 1935?
    Tell us: what was the wall thickness of Reynolds 531 bicycle tubes back in 1935? And what percentage of all bicycles produced world-wide used 531 as compared to 1020 steel?

  22. #22
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    My 28 yo Columbus SL Davidson only has one spot of rust on it, where the tube was dinged when it was still fairly new. I wouldn't spend money on it, but it wouldn't hurt either.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Grand Bois's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sstorkel View Post
    Tell us: what was the wall thickness of Reynolds 531 bicycle tubes back in 1935? And what percentage of all bicycles produced world-wide used 531 as compared to 1020 steel?
    I don't know the answer to that question and I'll bet you don't either. I don't know why they couldn't roll the tubes just as thin back then. The process had been developed about 40 years earlier.

    How does the fact that more cheap bikes with thick 1020 tubing have been sold over the years than quality bikes with thin-walled tubing prove that tubing walls have gotten thinner in the last few decades?

    My 1959 Carlton takes a 27.2 mm seatpost. That means that the walls are .7 mm thick. Not a lot of modern steel bikes have thinner walls than that. That's five decades.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dirtdrop View Post
    I don't know the answer to that question and I'll bet you don't either. I don't know why they couldn't roll the tubes just as thin back then. The process had been developed about 40 years earlier.

    My 1959 Carlton takes a 27.2 mm seatpost. That means that the walls are .7 mm thick. Not a lot of modern steel bikes have thinner walls than that. That's five decades.
    Your Carlton was built with 0.7/0.5/0.7 or possibly 0.7/0.4/0.7 tubing walls if it's made of 531 db tubing or 0.7 mm straight wall tubing depending on the model and frame size.

    The really thin wall Cr-Mo tubes came out when "oversized" tubing began to replace "standard diameter" steel tubes. This happened as both ultra-high strength heat treated alloys became available and steel tried to compete with Ti and Al for building light frames. Some of these had butted sections with 0.3 or even 0.2 mm wall thicknesses.

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