I am thinking about purchasing a Soma Smoothie frame (I know, seems off-topic in "Framebuilders," but stick with me) after finally conceding that I just can't justify the price of a Gunnar on my grad. student salary. Being obsessive as I am, I have researched the Soma tubeset thoroughly. In doing so, I have seen a few off-hand remarks that the "new" Tange Prestige is not the same as the "old" Tange Prestige, that the current Tange Presitige is Tange Prestige "in name only," etc. However, no one has really explained what this means. I have searched the web to death, but have been unable to come up with any concrete info on this beyond these assertions. So, the question is: Is there a difference? What might that difference be? How does this difference effect weight (least of my concerns), durability, ride?
I have not seen any of the new Tange tubing as there is no US distribution. It looks like a Taiwan OEM operation. The tubing specs are listed on their web site. http://www.tange-design.com/products_detail.php?sn=161 The tubing is listed as Cro-Mo as in 4130. I am sure it could make as good a frame as the "old " tubing.
I've built a couple frames with the old Prestige and I've checked out some of the new stuff. There are obvious differences in finish (and maybe butting profiles and alloy mix) but that would really only matter- or even be noticeable- to the builder. In the end, the rider can't tell the difference between True Temper, Tange, Columbus, whatever....as long a the design/construction is sound.
So don't sweat the details you can't change, it's not like you can get the old Prestige anyway- I'm hoarding all mine for my own bikes!