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  1. #1
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Reynolds 631 vs. Tange prestige

    i am buying a few different Soma frames (juice, groove, smoothie). Soma is in the process of switching to Tange prestige for their main tubes. they previously used Reynolds 631 for their main tubes. i think they use chromo 4130 ?? on the rear triangle for both the older Reynolds and the newer Tange frames.

    two of the frames are mtb and one is a road.

    would you even care which frameset you received?

    i think the Tange is not quite available as widespread yet and the Reynolds is cheaper because they want to clear stock and stuff. as far as i know, the geometries are all still the same.

    i do want these frames to last a long time and i plan on taking care of them and not abusing their intended use (XC only on the mtb, no jumping, dropping, dh'ing, etc...)

    i weigh around 135lbs.

    another question, i already have the 631 juice frame. i was being all anal and inspecting the frame and stuff. i was trying evaluate the welds, but i don't know what i am looking for. anyhow, i was looking into the head tube and i could notice just a slight dimpling (kind of like bleed through of the weld) where the top tube joined. it was just in a small area, not fully around the whole top tube junction.

    is that a sign of a poor quality weld or a sign of good quality...like almost full penetrance of the weld or something. i don't know what i am talking about, but i think you know what i mean. as far as i know, the frames are made over seas.

    if you don't have time to answer all my questions, i understand. maybe you know of other thread links or websites you could point me to.

    summary:
    1) would you care which main tubes you received? Tange prestige vs Reynolds 631, is the tange even considered an upgrade?

    2) is weld "bleed through" on the inside of Head Tube a good sign or bad sign? or am i inspecting my frame way too close???

    thanks!!

  2. #2
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    Unless you're a professional welding inspector and cut the frames open and put them under an electron microscope, you're not in a position to evaluate the welds. I know this because I once said some years ago to one of my welders "nice welds" and he said "How do you know?". Thankfully, I wasn't stupid enough to reply "Because they look pretty!"

    From a practical perspective, honestly, (I'm assuming you own a shop or something - can't think of any other reason why you'd want three Somas) what you're really interested in is "Which is more sellable", right? Whoever it is that makes Somas from where I'm sitting would only make the switch if a) There was some supply or price or manufacturability issues or b) The use of Prestige would carry more credibility/saleablity in the eyes of the consumer.

    However, I'm guessing that telling a customer "Well, it was cheaper and easier to weld than 631, and everyone seems to think it's retro cool, so what the heck" probably won't work.
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  3. #3
    Lost in the Black Hills mx_599's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thylacine
    Unless you're a professional welding inspector and cut the frames open and put them under an electron microscope, you're not in a position to evaluate the welds. I know this because I once said some years ago to one of my welders "nice welds" and he said "How do you know?". Thankfully, I wasn't stupid enough to reply "Because they look pretty!"

    From a practical perspective, honestly, (I'm assuming you own a shop or something - can't think of any other reason why you'd want three Somas) what you're really interested in is "Which is more sellable", right? Whoever it is that makes Somas from where I'm sitting would only make the switch if a) There was some supply or price or manufacturability issues or b) The use of Prestige would carry more credibility/saleablity in the eyes of the consumer.

    However, I'm guessing that telling a customer "Well, it was cheaper and easier to weld than 631, and everyone seems to think it's retro cool, so what the heck" probably won't work.
    thanks for taking the time to read my post. i want to be a weld inspector you know what i meant. the "pretty" aspect. so what do you think about my original head tube analysis? insignificant? stop being anal??


    no i don't own a bike shop!!! what is wrong with 3 soma's? hahahahah

    now i need to explain. okay, i love their Juice 29er. i wanted to get into road biking....hence the Smoothie. followed by quite a few extra parts at home so i thought i would get the Groove too.

    so...now, it has nothing to do with saleability. could you clarify your answer with that in mind? you confused me.

    this is their reason for switching:
    Tangoing with Tange Prestige:
    For 2006, we will begin switching to Tange Prestige CrMo. Tange Prestige does not have the thermophilic properties of Reynolds 631, but overall its tubes are stronger – thanks to Tange's heat-treatment process. Old farts need no explaination of how nice Tange Prestige is; for the youngins' let say it is in the same league as Reynolds 725. In all respects, this is an upgrade, but we will be keeping the price almost the same as 2004 and 2005, because we all know how you feel about a good deal. Pronounced "taang-gay". It's Japanese.

    should i not worry at all about the Reynolds 631? is it basically just as good? better? will it have just as much life?

    thanks again, i really appreciate it!

  4. #4
    Industry Maven Thylacine's Avatar
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    I think it's all academic, but I believe that air hardening tubes are stronger in the HAZ, so although Prestige in it's raw state might be stronger than 631, when welded into a frame, the 631 would be stronger in the weld zone making it a better material.

    That's my take on it anyway. They're both have 0.9/0.6/0.9 butting profiles anyway (I'm assuming), so your chances of doing anything silly to a tube that thick are pretty marginal. A bike from either would be pretty tough and heavy as a brick, so I wouldn't worry about it.
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  5. #5
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    Maybe they are changing for business reasons. I have no idea what those would be, but the price of steel is so volatile right now that there are big numbers tied up in it that would really make one's life miserable if one was in a steel related business. I buy a fair amount of metal and it is driving people nuts what the stuff costs. And the fluctuations.

    "2) is weld "bleed through" on the inside of Head Tube a good sign or bad sign? or am i inspecting my frame way too close???"

    It really isn't one or the other. The bad part is that there is an inconsistancy. Something went wrong in the sense that the welder either dwelled there a little long, or the tube fit was poor, etc... One comon inconsistancy is burning through tack welds. You could look on the outside and see whether it looks like a place where they would have double welded the tube and therefore there is probably a tack or a start end point that needs to be well knitted together.

    The good news is that there isn't any reason to worry about the impact on the the weld's strength. Maybe you can't say "nice weld", but you can't really say "bad weld" either on the basis of what you have to look at.

    So far I'm not buying the air hardening propaganda. I keep asking the question on this forum and others of how we know the hardness after welding is optimal? How do we know it's optimal where it got anealed right next to hardened zone, and how do we know it's optimal where the anealed and unaffected zones are. Hardening is not the same as the right hardness. Normally a metal needs both hardening and tempering to hit the correct hardness range for a particular use. Presumably they have the right composition in the metal to ensure it doesn't just get brittle hard, as most metals do that go through trans temp and are hardened, but so far nobody is answering whether that is the case or not (it's not a conspiracy just an information vaccum). It would be interesting to know what the hardness change is.

    One of the questions that is worth asking is why are people worried about air hardening or not? The answer is because the purveyors of other systems have pushed the idea that there is something wrong with a TIG joint in Chromo, which is prepostrous. So now we have a new pardigm, the air hardening TIG joint. It may well be superior, I'm sure if someone wanted to devise something that welded better than standard chromo it could be done, but so far the explanations are a little thin on detail.
    Last edited by NoReg; 06-13-06 at 01:13 AM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cactus's Avatar
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    Either tube set will build a nice frame. I have a nice 15 year-old tigged Prestige MTB frame - its a charmer. I'll be building up a 631 (silver brazed) two frames ahead in my building schedule.

  7. #7
    . bbattle's Avatar
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    There's a study done comparing the ride properties of several types of tubing; I believe in the end the writer preferred Columbus Aelle as much as anything else. He was also surprised how difficult it was to tell the difference between one bike and the next.(several identical frames built with different tubing)

  8. #8
    Senior Member zonatandem's Avatar
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    Designed a tandem with Tange Prestige tubing. Put 57,000 miles on it before we sold it. Have also owned 2 Reynolds 531 framed tandems, one we rode 64,000 miles (frame broke at 50,000 and 56,000 miles) and the other one we rode for 56,000 miles, no failures.

  9. #9
    Senior Gumby fbagatelleblack's Avatar
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    The strength of the Prestige frame is going to depend somewhat on what they do after the welding. If they just leave the frame as is, the heat-effected zones around the weld will not be as strong as the rest of the tubing. If they do a proper post-process heat-treat, they can get the heat-effected zones back up to pre-weld strength.

    Many, many framebuilders don't bother to do a post-process heat-treat, and frame failures in the heat-effected zones around the weld are not common. The areas around the welds are not the most highly stressed parts of the frame, so it generally doesn't matter so much if you lose a bit of strength there.

    The 631, on the other hand, does not need to be heat treated after welding, which helps to ensure a nice, strong weld zone.

    Both tubing types are very, very nice. I have a soft spot in my heart for Prestige, but you would not go wrong with the 631 either.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbagatelleblack View Post
    The strength of the Prestige frame is going to depend somewhat on what they do after the welding. If they just leave the frame as is, the heat-effected zones around the weld will not be as strong as the rest of the tubing. If they do a proper post-process heat-treat, they can get the heat-effected zones back up to pre-weld strength.

    Many, many framebuilders don't bother to do a post-process heat-treat, and frame failures in the heat-effected zones around the weld are not common. The areas around the welds are not the most highly stressed parts of the frame, so it generally doesn't matter so much if you lose a bit of strength there.

    The 631, on the other hand, does not need to be heat treated after welding, which helps to ensure a nice, strong weld zone.

    Both tubing types are very, very nice. I have a soft spot in my heart for Prestige, but you would not go wrong with the 631 either.

    I have a Tange tubing catalogue and inside they detailing joining instructions. No mention of post joining heat treatment process other than a suggested method in the event the tubing is overheated. Based on this I don't think Prestigue is supposed to be heat treated after joining under normal conditions.
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  11. #11
    Senior Gumby fbagatelleblack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
    I have a Tange tubing catalogue and inside they detailing joining instructions. No mention of post joining heat treatment process other than a suggested method in the event the tubing is overheated. Based on this I don't think Prestigue is supposed to be heat treated after joining under normal conditions.
    Prestige is heat-treated 4130. 4130 will always lose its temper in the heat-effected zone. The only way to re-establish the temper is by post-process heat treating.

    It is entirely possible that Tange does not suggest/encourage/require heat treatment of Prestige tubing after welding, but if that is the case then they are simply accepting the fact that the tubing will be weaker in these areas. Since the welds are not generally in the most highly stressed parts of the frame, weaker tubing could be acceptable in these spots.

    Yours,

    FBB

  12. #12
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Tange tubes have always been in spec way more than Columbus, and especially Reynolds. Reynolds has really been inconsistent with their butts. The old 631 stuff is actually very good tubing though.
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  13. #13
    hipster traffic dodger ChiapasFixed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman View Post
    Tange tubes have always been in spec way more than Columbus, and especially Reynolds. Reynolds has really been inconsistent with their butts. The old 631 stuff is actually very good tubing though.
    do you mean the old 531 stuff?
    it was my impression that 631 is a much newer line of air hardening steel designed to replace 531...
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbagatelleblack View Post
    Prestige is heat-treated 4130. 4130 will always lose its temper in the heat-effected zone. The only way to re-establish the temper is by post-process heat treating.

    It is entirely possible that Tange does not suggest/encourage/require heat treatment of Prestige tubing after welding, but if that is the case then they are simply accepting the fact that the tubing will be weaker in these areas. Since the welds are not generally in the most highly stressed parts of the frame, weaker tubing could be acceptable in these spots.

    Yours,

    FBB

    The tubing is more than strong enough even after some heat related losses. No heat treatment necessary.
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Torchy McFlux's Avatar
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    I used to love opening a fresh box of Tange Prestige tubes. Thick cardboard, nicely folded plastic liner, and clean shiny tubes with the little "Tange Prestige" logo lasered into every one. The smell of that light oil they coat them in before shipping is probably going to stick with me forever.
    Wasn't so crazy about opening a box of Reynolds seatstays though. The tubes were black and rough, coated in thick stinky oil, and wrapped in paperboard.
    On that basis alone, I'd prefer the Prestige.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by fbagatelleblack View Post
    Prestige is heat-treated 4130. 4130 will always lose its temper in the heat-effected zone. The only way to re-establish the temper is by post-process heat treating.

    It is entirely possible that Tange does not suggest/encourage/require heat treatment of Prestige tubing after welding, but if that is the case then they are simply accepting the fact that the tubing will be weaker in these areas. Since the welds are not generally in the most highly stressed parts of the frame, weaker tubing could be acceptable in these spots.

    Yours,

    FBB
    Hi fbagatelleblack,

    In (layman's terms) can you explain what should be done to Tange tubes post-welding to return the strength? A couple of framebuilders or companies that actually take this extra step(s).

    Love the detailed, factual background here by you and others on framebuilding. Looking for a steel tig-welded custom myself now. So not an issue , right? Only with fillet and lug brazing?

    What tubesets do you like for tig-welded steel - Colombus, Dedacai (sp?) Reynolds or Tange? Which models/lines?

    Thanks

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