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Steel Toe Clip Material

Old 03-08-19, 07:58 AM
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Andiroo99
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Steel Toe Clip Material

Hi All

I am interested to try and determine what kind of steel folks like Cinelli and Christoph or MKS use in toe-clips such as this: https://www.cinelli-usa.com/steel-toe-clips/

I know that it is Chromed Steel but does anyone have any idea of what material they might be specifying for these?

Thanks

Andy
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Old 03-08-19, 08:17 AM
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For what its worth, i can't see why anything but low carbon steel would be used, Possibly they used a tick higher as these seem to have some "spring" to them, but on the other hand, requirements seem so low, why would they pay more. Get sheet stock cut out shape, bend, roll, fold as needed, chrome plate, I doubt they would even stress relieve. Just my couple of cents worth of thought. What is your interest here?
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Old 03-08-19, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Steelman54 View Post
For what its worth, i can't see why anything but low carbon steel would be used, Possibly they used a tick higher as these seem to have some "spring" to them, but on the other hand, requirements seem so low, why would they pay more. Get sheet stock cut out shape, bend, roll, fold as needed, chrome plate, I doubt they would even stress relieve. Just my couple of cents worth of thought. What is your interest here?
Just interested in the springeyness factor they achieve and how even if you stand on them they dont lose their shape. I was just intrigued in terms of the very specific material being used.
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Old 03-08-19, 08:53 AM
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No idea what material is used, but the general question of "what makes for a good spring?" has crossed my mind before. It turns out that there is a brief wikipedia page on this...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spring_steel
The key phrase on the page appears to be this: "These steels are generally low-alloy manganese, medium-carbon steel or high-carbon steel with a very high yield strength."

The page also includes a table of common spring steel variants. That might make it easier for someone to buy some steel sheet, if they wanted to try forming toe clips themselves.

Steve in Peoria
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Old 03-08-19, 09:01 AM
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I was going to say they were probably low-test steel, but they do survive stepping on them without bending very much, so it's probably something a little better than that. But they don't seem to be something someone would make a spring out of either.
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Old 03-08-19, 09:41 AM
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Thanks this is interesting and relevant. What I find surprising is that not of the current manufacturers include a spec sheet with materials etc (well none I can find) hence my outreach through the forum. I would imagine most are using the same material based on finish etc.
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Old 03-08-19, 10:08 AM
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Ditto, spring steel. The trick is in the heat treating and tempering. Flat springs in particular are fairly easy to make or restore with only a few shop tools.

Years ago when one of my hobbies was shooting black powder and airguns occasionally it was necessary to revive old springs, or poorly made new springs to get reliable function. Back then I had to dig through library books to learn the basics. Now there are plenty of YouTube tutorials that cover the steps pretty well.

The basics are pretty much the same for any spring application. But while it's fairly easy to substitute a coil spring with readymade replacements, flat springs are harder to find. So it's useful to know how to revive an old flat spring material rather than replace it.


And many others.
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Old 03-09-19, 10:12 AM
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They could use a cheap 4130 type steel and do a standard quench and temper to a desired hardness, don't necessarily have to a specific spring steel. All of these materials are cheap. I've cut up lots of parts in my work life, but never a toe clip (cause they never fail???). Laughing.
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Old 03-09-19, 09:55 PM
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I am at a total loss as to why.

This is so "C&V."

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Old 03-10-19, 12:08 AM
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"Spring steel" doesn't describe a particular type of steel, just a general category of steel suitable for making springs. Usually these are carbon steel, low alloy, resilient but not rustproof. Cold bluing would reduce the risk of rusting with toe clips but they'd still need attention to keep 'em presentable looking.

Alloy and stainless steels don't always make for good spring material for repetitive cycle usage (machines, semi-auto pistols or any firearm trigger/hammer mechanism), but would be fine for toe clips. Toe clips only need to retain their shape against an occasional misstep such as accidentally stomping on the toe clip while trying to get a foot in; or laying the bike on its side.

4130 would be a good compromise, more rust resistant than carbon steel but not as resistant to rust and corrosion as stainless steel.

Anyone who dabbles in the DIY culture and hobbies should take a whack at making flat springs. The process really demonstrates how metal changes throughout the heat treatment process. When I lived in a rural area I'd use our garden burn pit to dabble in heat treating metal, following guidelines in my granddad's old books on frontier craftsmanship.
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Old 03-10-19, 12:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Steelman54 View Post
For what its worth, i can't see why anything but low carbon steel would be used, Possibly they used a tick higher as these seem to have some "spring" to them, but on the other hand, requirements seem so low, why would they pay more. Get sheet stock cut out shape, bend, roll, fold as needed, chrome plate, I doubt they would even stress relieve. Just my couple of cents worth of thought. What is your interest here?
If you made clips like that in the '70s. you'd stay in business what,one year? Customers would be coming back to their bike shops with clips permanently flattened by accidental steps on the tops. Shop mechanics would be telling their managers "don't get any more to those clips!"

I'm guessing it is no accident that the same few manufacturers made the vast majority of toeclips. Real tooling and manufacturing costs to make a part that cannot be sold for a high price. Those who stepped up to this game a long time ago have a huge edge. Now, Paul could do it. $50 toeclips. What's not to like.

Ben
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Old 03-10-19, 02:09 PM
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Velo Orange lists their toeclips as using stainless (no mention of alloy).

https://velo-orange.com/products/vo-steel-toe-clips

MKS wire cage half-clips are also listed as stainless (it doesn't say for the normal strap type ones).
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Old 03-10-19, 05:41 PM
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I don't know but it's a good question. I'd guess that it was just some sort of spring steel also, but it would not surprise me at all if some manufacturers used 4130.

The hot set up was Christophe steel clips with Binda straps, at least it was for the racing crowd. Alloy clips were sort of for suckers, because they would break. Steel clips broke only very very rarely, but even they could break.

There were no stainless clips BITD. Good idea though. Probably easier to produce nowadays than properly chromed steel. Christophe had pretty good chrome, so they didn't tend to rust if you were reasonably careful.
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Old 03-10-19, 07:53 PM
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Well, like others hear, I don't know what they used, just some out loud thinking on my part. I think there are a number of ways to get there metallurgically. Someone mentioned stainless steel, the 400 series is heat treatable, but it rusts also, though not as fast as 4130, but it costs more hard to see them using 410, but what do I know.

I used Christophe clips for years on 1 bike and Campy alloy on another. The Campy alloy ones had lots of riding from when I was young and could pound pedals, laughing. Never had an issue with either version. I'm using Look delta's now, but am thinking of putting my old Campy pedals on the vintage ride and just not pulling the strap tight on my release foot. Thought I was smart some years back and only converted one bike to Look, I had turn onto someone's front lawn to avoid a traffic issues as, guess what, I forgot I had the straps on.....
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Old 03-10-19, 08:25 PM
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I am an engineer and used to make flat steel springs ( the ones used in flick-up coathangers like you see in a store) and I'd guess that toe clips are made the same way (unless they are stainless). Simple spring steel (I think our clips were 1055) is different in that it has more carbon and that's basically all there is to it. Higher carbon enables steel to be heat treated and then it is usually annealed to make it less brittle and to give the desired trade off between toughness and strength. It would then be chrome plated. Stainless starts out harder (it is alloyed with nickel and chromium eg 18/8 is 18% Ni, 8% Cr) and so is difficult to work with as it wears out the stamping and forming machines at a rapid rate but if it has high carbon as well it can also be heat treated to give even more strength.
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Old 03-12-19, 03:12 PM
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I'll never look at toe clips the same way again.
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Old 03-12-19, 03:41 PM
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I like being reminded how much R&D and then development go into the most seemingly humble of objects.
I remember reading about the redesign of some model of Aprilia motorcycle and the designer had submitted a shift lever design. It was a smidge heavier than the one used on the existing model, and he was sent back to the drawing board with the coordinator's question, "what if every piece of this motorcycle were a little heavier than the previous one?"

Good stuff!
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Old 03-12-19, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes View Post
I'll never look at toe clips the same way again.
haha, same here!
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