Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Rocket City, No'ala
Bikes: 2014 Trek Domane 5.2, 1985 Pinarello Trevisio, 1991 Colnago Master, '06 Bianchi San Jose, 1987 Moulton Fuso, 1990 Gardin Shred, '82 John Howard(Dave Tesch)
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Check out their websites and compare the data. That may satisfy the engineers but it tells you nothing of how a bike made from these tubes will feel. For that, you need to ride the bike.
Reynolds makes a 953 steel as their top of the line. It's a stainless steel. They also make the 631 steel tubing. Columbus makes Life and Spirit tubing of niobium steel and Zona of nivachrom steel. True Temper has the popular Ox platinum and S3 tubing. All of these are light, thin, stiff. I believe these are all "air-hardened" steels, meaning there is no need for a heat treatment after welding or brazing to restore the strength of the steel.
Some of these steels are only available to top frame makers as they require a lot of skill when brazing the joints.
Reynolds also makes the 525 and 725 cro-moly steel tubing
I'm not familiar with Tange's tubing lineup but it's most likely very similar.
What Desperado Cycles says about tubing
Waterford chimes in
You'll see plenty of bikes made from cro-moly 4130. My Bianchi San Jose says double butted, heat-treated Chromo Lite. Their version of 4130 they had some no-name company make to their specs.
If you buy a custom frame, the builder will use whatever tubes he feels is best for you and your riding style. Most frames use a combination of tubes anyway, the chainstays are usually a heavier, thicker steel.
What sort of bike is he thinking of getting? I'd test ride the bikes and get the one I liked the best and not worry about what it's made of. What bike do you ride?