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  1. #26
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    I'm talking to Reynolds about doing a project bike with it sometime next year. It's all up in the air at them moment. The head of Industrial Design at Monash is keen to get me do to a PhD on what I'm proposing, but I'm not sold on the idea yet.

    Whatever road I take for that though, I'll still be happy to make frames from 953 if someone orders one. The external shapes are basically the same at 853, except with thinner wall profiles. The raw materials cost is going to be roughly the same as Titanium, so I suspect the retail price on them will be the same as Ti plus whatever the heat treatment costs are. Think in the vicinity of USD2500+ per frame.

    There's a couple of things that puzzle me though I have to say. Firstly, I think the biggest advantage of the material is in the MTB arena, yet Reynolds is targeting the more cashed up boutique road market. That's a bit disappointing, but understandable, and they have said they will bend some stays for me with a reasonable MOQ, so I can't sh¡tcan them too much there. The second thing is I do think they should've approached their loyal longterm customers to do hush-hush R&D with them similar to what Easton did with Yeti and Manitou when it was developing it's Aluminium. I think creating two vapourware frames for show without some decent saddletime wasn't the best idea. You're not creating a lot of consumer confidence that way.
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  2. #27
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    They have to look after their investors. Roadies always pay more for less.

  3. #28
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    Well, you can't sit outside Cafe Racer sipping a Latte with just any old POS now, can you?
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  4. #29
    Senior Member Brian's Avatar
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    I park my Cannondale against the wall...

  5. #30
    Senior Member classic1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    No dumb guessing and professing like a know-it-all.
    Huh?!!

  6. #31
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    What concerns me is its dent resistance, didn't its predeccessor have problems with mitring and the like?

    Are there full specs available now, elongation, yield etc?

  7. #32
    Decrepit Member Scooper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dooley
    What concerns me is its dent resistance, didn't its predeccessor have problems with mitring and the like?

    Are there full specs available now, elongation, yield etc?
    I don't know if you'd call them "full specs", but there's lots of info in the FAQ at http://www.bikeforums.net/attachment...achmentid=1110.
    - Stan

  8. #33
    THE Materials Oracle Falanx's Avatar
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    I can't understand why Reynolds recommend such a bizarre choice in weld filler material. It almost makes me think they don't know what they've bought into.

    953 is in fact a derivative of an existing Carpenter alloy family, the 450/455/465 series, which are only just stainless. The usual minimum standard chromium content for a stainless steel is 12%, and these are borderline at that composition.

    For those who don't understand the metallurgy fully, the basic premise is that maraging steels behave the way they do because the martensite that is formed up the solution treatment and quench procedure is very soft and tough by comparison to the martensite formed in, for example, 4130, or the knife-grade stainless steels that have been mentioned in this and many other threads. The reason that steels with sufficient carbon content harden when heated to a suitable temperature and then quenched into water (or oil/polymer/air depending upon whether or not their alloy content is sufficient to allow it), is that carbon dissolves to different extents in the two different crystal structures that iron possesses with temperature. Quenching 'freezes' the carbon content in place in the crystal that under slow cooling would otherwise combine to form iron carbide instead. I apologise for massive oversimplification and glossing for those who know what I'm talking about here.

    Maraging steels rely on the massive slowing of their reaction rates by large percentage of nickel, or nickel and chromium, as in this case, to produce this martensitic microstructure. They are usually added to iron alloys for their beneficial *********** of the austenite to ferrite/pearlite transformation, hence their use in most alloy steels. When you add as much as 20% nickel, or 12% nickel and 12% chromium, the *********** is accompanied by a distortion of the iron crystal again, so instead of the hard, strained, brittle martensite you find in an untempered low alloy steel, you get a soft, tough martensite that is instead solely strengthened by dislocation density.

    And then that's where the precipitation hardening mechanism comes in.

    The name 'Maraging' is a truncation of martensitic-age hardening. The solution treatment and production of this soft, tough martensite produces approximately half the material's strength. The other half is produced by a profuse and nanometre scale preciptitation, much like in heat-treated Al alloys. In this case the lattice matching of the maternsite crystal structure and the precipitate crystal structures are much closer to perfect than in aluminium alloys, meaning greater strength, greater toughness, finer precipitates and greater resistance to over-aging.

    Now I return to my comment about the weld filler material. Reynolds have for some reason suggested, and obviously not at the behest of Carpenter Speciality Alloys, a filler metal that it not even close to the chemical, mechanical or microstructural properties of the parent metal. In fact, they recommend you weld the bike frame up with weaker joins than the tubing itself, contrary to almost every other steel frame ever TIGed. Frame builders take note: You'll get hideous weld-pool dilution, precipitation clustering and an ugly heat and chemsitry affected zone to your welds if you use Reynold's recommeded filler. And the statement that you will get 'aged properties in the weld' is an outright lie.

    One of the biggest advantages of maraging steels is that their negligible carbon content, indeed, the less carbon they contain, the better, is that you can simply turn down a ribbon of swarf from the parent ingot and fill the weld void with that. They are perfect materials for autogenous and homogenous-filler welding.

    Carpenter themselves recommend that you weld 450/455/465 with the same material, or PyroMet X-23.

    I worry that Reynolds don't quite understand the product....

  9. #34
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    Hey, thanks for the great post. Good to hear from someone from the metalurgical side of the fence.

    Bottom line for me is that it doesn't really worry me if Reynolds don't have all the details sorted out. The fact that we have resources like yourself and Carpenter themselves means that all these details can be sorted through. If you've only been welding for a couple of years, then most high end applications might be a bit of a stretch anyway, but for those with a broad range of experience and an open mind I don't see any of this to be a huge problem. Gotta remember that there's only been 3 frames made from the stuff as of yet, so it's early days.

    Do you think Reynolds choice of filler has something to do with the fact that they're selling the raw tubes in a normalised state as well as artificially aged? (excuse me if I've used the wrong terms, I'm not a metalurgist). Any frames I do I'm planing on artificially aging the entire frame post weld for a more homogenous outcome.

    What do you think?
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  10. #35
    THE Materials Oracle Falanx's Avatar
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    No, not really. See, the tubes will initially, as we've already discussed, be supplied as 'wrapped'. A long time ago a steel engineer once said; "There are two ways of making tube - pushing a very strong hole through a sheet, or wrapping a very accurate hole in sheet". These, for the time being at least, will be wrapped, and so will already have an autogenous weld down their length.

    The treatment stage the tubes will be supplied at at is solution treated, so the tubes will be about half as strong as they will at final frame. This treatment will also homogenize the weld area and heat affected zone on all tubes anyway, so the contruction weld on the tube will be to all intents and purposes identical to the parent metal.

    I don't think that their choice of filler metal is in any way linked to the stage of process the tubesets will be supplied at. I think, if anything, its simply because, although the recommended filler wire is weaker and chemically grossly different from the parent tube, it is eay to get hold of. It's a standard AWS/ESAB etc composition. There isn't a standard for this alloy as it is a proprietary alloy from a single maufacturer. Reynolds will have to assume that all framebuilders working in 953 are going to age anyway.

    However, there shouldn't be any reason why Carpenter couldn't supply very narrow ribbons of this alloy from billet edges for weld filler. I'll try to get an answer from Reynolds UK. They're only down the road from me.

  11. #36
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    How does one promote another user from "newbie" ? Thanks again for the great info Falanx.

    What is the butted tube thickness on the 953 tubes? The dentability may be what keeps it from the mtb market.

    - Joel

  12. #37
    THE Materials Oracle Falanx's Avatar
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    It's a big one;

    Most of the promotional paperwork suggests that the tubing section is 0.6/0.3/0.6mm, and that, even for such a strong material, is still very thin.

    However, that doesn't necessarily mean that it will dent. I'll return to that bit in a minute.

    If we address - and for those of you who are frame builders, and wish to experiment (!) with 953, I recommend you speak to the nearest stockist about how to get hold of thin rods of, ideally, Ca rpenter Custom 465 alloy (the nearest, as far as I can tell, propreitary alloy composition) for filler - what I consider to be a substantial concern from the assembly standpoint, our next point is corrosion resistance.

    Now, when I posted previously about how 953 will be 'just' stainless, that's exactly what I meant. It will suffer from pitting corrosion from salty road spray, and equally, from salts in loams and clays from off-roading. Road bikes are always clean, realy, aren't they , but how many of us make sure all those little re-entrant angles and drill holes in our MTbs are spanking clean after every ride?

    It's going be only 0.6mm thick at the thickest tube point. Everyone will assume it's going to be stainless. This does not bode well.

    You get a pit in the centre of a tube and you will half your section thickness. Now you have 0.15mm of good metal. That is thinner than a fingernail, and a major concern. The corrosion behaviour of this material will be similar to 304 type austenitic stainless steel, which is not phenomenal, and is particularly subject to Cl anion corrosion, the primary vector of road spray.

    While mild steel and low alloy steels tend to rust uniformly, stainless steels tend to pit and suffer substantial subsurface penetraion without bulk damage, and in a thinwalled tube that could be catastrophic. All riders will have to keep their unpainted bikes nice and clean. Very clean, lest they reduce their frames to colanders.

    A second point is that while Reynolds recommends post-weld aging for their steel, and Carpenter recommends the same for the base alloy family, that is not the perfect solution. In fact, it's still not going to restore all the strength to welded and heat-affected areas. I will expand;

    Tubes are made from sheet which is welded and homogenized by a solution treatment post weld. Most of the tube will still retain some of the work-hardening made by the cold-forming process of the sheet, but it will be removed along the weld and heat affected zone. This is similar to the destruction of any cold work in completely re-heat-treated aluminium alloy frames, eg GTs.
    -The tubes will be welded. A certain distance from the weld, the temperature will be sufficient to age the tube before the final aging stage. If the weld is filled with equivalent composition wire, then there will be no net movement of solutes and alloying ingredients, and we will assume that filler is used. Even so, part of the frame will be aging before the rest.
    -The frame is fully assembled, then aged. The pre-aged parts, some distance down the tubes, will over-age. Their strengthening precipitates will alter their composition, as more stable, less 'overageable' form (this behaviour happens in a variety of steels, cf. Tool steels) coarsen and the material will be weaker, and softer here than elsewhere. They will also have a different electrode potential which in turn will alter their corrosion behaviour in this region. The original HAZ will corrode differently from, and probably, preferentially to the base tubing.

    A major part of why road frames have been targeted with 953 first is probably because we are going to have to admit that 0.6/0.3/0.6 needs either a rethink, or some clever design to be viable for MTBs.

    I think a steep learning curve will be involved with this material. It doesn't behave like anything else we've seen, nor worked with before. But I salute anyone who wants to play with it.

  13. #38
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    I think that's why we haven't seen a rush on it yet.

    I get what you're saying re: the aging options. From a practical POV, machining/coping the tube in an aged state would be impractical becasue the stuff would be too difficult, so that leaves the fabricator to age post weld to bring the stuff up to strength. Unless you're using the stuff in lugged construction, ageing post weld is the only real world viable option as far as I can tell.

    What you're saying regarding the aging process during welding is correct, but seriously, how do you avoid this? You can't as far as I can tell. Aging the frame post weld would give the fabricator the best chance of having a strong, relatively homogenous finished product.

    As with everything, there's no free lunch, Falanx. I remember when I did some prototype work where I had no choice but to weld 6061 to 7005 Aluminium. Working with my heat treater, we found a good compromise for heat treating that gave us an acceptable outcome. Not optimal, not 'scientifically correct in theory', but it works - proof is in the pudding as that bike is 5 years old and thosands of kms later it's still going strong.
    I suspect that working with a good heat treater and advise from Reynolds and Carpenter, any skilled individual could arrive at an optimal post weld heat treat profile for their bike frames. I'm pretty confident of that.

    As for the MTB arguement, each 953 tubing size has different butting profiles. Sure, there are smaller diamter tubes that are 0.5/0.3/0.5, but the larger more MTB friendly tubes are typically 0.6/0.4/0.6 or 0.65/0.45/0.65 - Not dissimilar to other high end steels that are currently sucessfully used off-road. At the very most, we're talking about a tube that's 40% stronger than current offerings, so in theory a small reduction in wall thickness could be viable. Am I correct in that assumption?

    It's interesting what you're saying about corrosion resistance, and that's something I'd be interested in hearing what Reynolds have to say about that, along with the recommended welding wire issue.
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  14. #39
    THE Materials Oracle Falanx's Avatar
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    *Nods*

    I don't really think you can work around the during-weld-aging of parts of the tubing. The only way to do it at all would be to totally re-solution and re-age the whole frame as one, and while that might not be so difficult or energy consuming for aluminium, you'll need a clean oven with a non-carburising heat source that goes all the way up to about 1250K for 953, and that would be an entirely different proposition. A good TIG seam would keep all that heat in the ageing region in the butt anyway, unless they are very short butts. As long as it stays in the thick bits, it won't be a real problem.

    I said I was going to come back to the dent resistance bit, and I will

    The mechanics of deformation are fun and involve lots of ugly maths. While it is correct to note that this new steel may be as much as 40% stronger than others, its Young Modulus is still the same, so for a given stress, the same degree of elastic deformation takes place.

    When you look at how a dent forms, the initial deflection must obviously exceed the yield point of the material. This much is fairly straightforward. But the section of the tube itself has much to do with the end result, too.

    The very centreline of an object perdendicular to an applied load is termed the free surface and undergoes a net zero strain and stress. The further your actual surface is from the free surface, geometrically, the greater the radius at the point of application and at the other side, In short, if a pressure is applied to a thick tube, the point of loading is under greater compressive strain and the opposite side under greater tensile strain than a thin tube. A 40% stronger tube that is less than 40% thinner will survive impact better, assuming sectional eccentricity being equal.

    Up to a certain reduction above 40% sectional thickness, it will also be more dent resistant as the lowering of strain when a load is applied through being thinner counters the reductionin thickness. But off the top of my head, and without my Uni notes I cannot remember or work out how much....

    Either way... 953 should be interesting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Falanx

    Either way... 953 should be interesting.

    iyo, if you disregard the stainless-needs-no-paint aspect,
    what are the salient features of this tubeset? in other words,
    what does it have that other sets don't?

  16. #41
    THE Materials Oracle Falanx's Avatar
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    Salient points;

    * Higher fatigue life.
    * Higher stress-corrosion resistance - this is not the same as being rust-proof, which 953 isn't. It's just very good at not rusting...
    * Greater toughness, so less chance of a crack appearing when you stack. This material has the highest KIC fracture toughness of any material applied to bikes at the highest yield strength.

  17. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Falanx
    Salient points;

    * Higher fatigue life.
    * Higher stress-corrosion resistance - this is not the same as being rust-proof, which 953 isn't. It's just very good at not rusting...
    * Greater toughness, so less chance of a crack appearing when you stack. This material has the highest KIC fracture toughness of any material applied to bikes at the highest yield strength.

    i still don't see the benefit to the consumer
    exceptin' for the corrosion resistance. in general
    terms, frames don't suffer from a "lower" fatigue
    life as it is and most can handle a fair amount of
    abuse. could this stuff be new - for the sake of "new"?
    nothing wrong with that. i just see some attempts from
    suppliers as a latch ditch effort to salvage steel and
    get one more generation out of it before it completely
    vaporizes at the commercial level.

  18. #43
    THE Materials Oracle Falanx's Avatar
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    Steel is never going to vapourise at the commercial level. The day you see a small, sun-baked welder in Patagonia hauling TIG equipment from behind his ageing oven to repair your 8000 series frame is the day that happens.

    90% of all engineering failures are fatigue based. I doubt you will ever have seen a pure tensile failure.

    I've fatigued a bike till it broke. I'm six-six and 204lbs and ride like a maniac. Admittedly it went at the drive-side chainstay, so there will have been a SCC component to the failure, but fatigue is what killed the tube.

    And as for the real, economic reasons for the material? Maybe to reclaim market share for Reynolds. Columbus tubing outdid everything they tried with 4130, En18, Nb+V-doped 4130, etc. Columbus don't have a DOD supplier based fifteen miles from their UK headquarters. Reynolds do...

  19. #44
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    You could argue the same arguement with the intoduction of anything new. The step from mild steel to carbon steels to chromium/molybdenum alloys to micro alloyed steels to air hardening steels....couldn't ALL be a last ditch efforts, could they?

    953 could possibly be the last steel we'll ever see for bicycle use, sure. It's also the lightest, strongest, most corrosion resistant steel ever made, and unlike Aermet, it's actually workable.

    What's the advantages from the consumers' perspective? Having the lightest, strongest most corrosion resistant steel frame ever? There's a certain customer that purchases the bleeding edge Richo, you'll be suprised to hear!

    The big question really is, are people who buy into the bleeding edge really interested in steel, even if it's the best steel ever made into a bike frame? Despite the current vaporware show bikes, 953 will only be about 10% lighter than current steel bikes if that. I think we'll see sloping top tube - say, 56cm - frames hovering in at the 1300g mark, but for the same price we'll see carbon and Ti at half a pound lighter.

    When you factor in that we're not seeing these carbon and Ti bikes as disposable race bikes (disposable fashion bikes? Maybe), that's the real 'great unknown' here IMHO.

    Will 953 bikes just be niche bikes of an already niche market?
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    Thanks to all for the good posts above. All I can add is that from my background in the recreational marine industry, "stainless" and its' welds, particularly if the materials are not compatable, can do some pretty interesting and unintended things. Bob

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    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine

    The big question really is, are people who buy into the bleeding edge really interested in steel, even if it's the best steel ever made into a bike frame?
    it depends. are folks buying the tube set, or are they buying the guy that makes the frame?
    i say with 853 and this 953, folks gravitate towards the buzz edge and don't even think about
    construction and design as long as it has --- the sticker.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    Despite the current vaporware show bikes, 953 will only be about 10% lighter than current steel bikes if that. I think we'll see sloping top tube - say, 56cm - frames hovering in at the 1300g mark, but for the same price we'll see carbon and Ti at half a pound lighter.
    that's a fuss of, what - 25 to 50 grams?
    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    Will 953 bikes just be niche bikes of an already niche market?
    i doubt it will last.

  22. #47
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    I agree. I don't feel like I'm an extension of reynolds marketing department, so I doubt I'll introduce a model and call it the 953.

    I think we're talking a savings of 150g here Richo. Real weenies won't care because they'll all be riding 900g carbon bikes....until they call me up and ask me if I do carbon repairs.

    The big advantage for you, of course, is that you can now reintroduce 'chrome' chainstays, just like your older frames, except they'll be better, because they'll be stainless and have a Yield Point that's off the charts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    I agree. I don't feel like I'm an extension of reynolds marketing department, so I doubt I'll introduce a model and call it the 953.

    I think we're talking a savings of 150g here Richo. Real weenies won't care because they'll all be riding 900g carbon bikes....until they call me up and ask me if I do carbon repairs.

    The big advantage for you, of course, is that you can now reintroduce 'chrome' chainstays, just like your older frames, except they'll be better, because they'll be stainless and have a Yield Point that's off the charts.
    'chrome' chainstays are gay vague.

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    I guess that I am not very hip, but what the hell is
    "gay vague"

    Whateveritmeans, I grew up riding and lusting for chromed stays and forks, and its an aesthetic sense that is now inescapable.


    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE
    'chrome' chainstays are gay vague.

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    Quote Originally Posted by e-RICHIE
    'chrome' chainstays are gay vague.
    what about nickel?


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