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Road Bike Tube Recommendations?

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Road Bike Tube Recommendations?

Old 02-13-19, 11:00 AM
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sultanofsuede
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Road Bike Tube Recommendations?

i usually post over in the road bike forum, but thought i might get some good input from all of you. i'm working on a new bike build and had a question on the value of a couple tube options i'm running into. looks like the price point might be pretty equal on these, so just curious if there is a 'without a doubt' answer to which avenue i should go down:

Bike #1:
True Temperís S3 tubes
TIG-welded
Stainless steel dropouts

Bike #2:
Double oversize Columbus Spirit tubeset
TIG welded
stainless steel dropouts

This is a road bike that will be my main mileage bike (2000-2500 mile/year), and I plan to do some point to point road racing, some time trials (of the recreational variety), and a few fondos. Mostly want to beat my friends on some hard rides (or at least as hard as a 40 year old can go). wondering if one material is better than the other, or better for ME (in this case). i'm about 6'1" and about 190-195lbs.

any input?
thanks!
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Old 02-13-19, 12:39 PM
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Assuming that you'll likely be building another frame in a few years I think either tube set can work well. If this frame is truly meant to be a life long one then I would bump up the wall thicknesses. Andy
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Old 02-13-19, 08:19 PM
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I assume someone else is building the frame? S3 isn't made any more. I like the 1OS Spirit a lot. 2OS is too heavy for absolutely no gain
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Old 02-14-19, 07:02 AM
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Both Life and S3 is offered in various diameter and thickness/butting configuration variations. In order to predict how the two frames would differ it's critical to understand what exact tubes would be used for each frame.
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Old 02-14-19, 11:02 AM
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sultanofsuede
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Originally Posted by Nessism View Post
Both Life and S3 is offered in various diameter and thickness/butting configuration variations. In order to predict how the two frames would differ it's critical to understand what exact tubes would be used for each frame.
best info i can provide on both:

S3: i was trying to keep brands out of the tread to try to get some level of objectivity, but its the waterford tube, and from what i can see on their website, it looks proprietary to them. the say "the S3 tubeset takes the OS concept to new levels - 1 1/2 in. (38mm) instead of the OS 1 1/4 in., resulting in a dramatic lightening of the tubeset while enhancing bottom bracket stiffness and maintaining a durable structure."

Life: i can't really find much spec info on the builder's site, but just from looking around on the web, it appears that tube size would be selected once we come up with a fit and function for the bike (assuming we go through those steps after i pay a deposit). but, it also appears that Life & Spirit are the same thing (is that correct?).
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Old 02-14-19, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
Assuming that you'll likely be building another frame in a few years I think either tube set can work well. If this frame is truly meant to be a life long one then I would bump up the wall thicknesses. Andy
yeah - this is a pretty important build for me. i've always wanted a custom steel frame, and this might be the last one i buy. (already planning out my next bike needs: mountain bike, gravel bike, commuter bike............)
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Old 02-14-19, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by sultanofsuede View Post
yeah - this is a pretty important build for me. i've always wanted a custom steel frame, and this might be the last one i buy. (already planning out my next bike needs: mountain bike, gravel bike, commuter bike............)
Sorry, I thought you were building it. Still my thoughts otherwise stand. As you get older and have more miles under your butt things like equipment tend to become less the focus. That and that you're not a small spinner makes me be a bit more conservative on tubing selection. Andy
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Old 02-14-19, 02:06 PM
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Waterford might have had a stockpile of S3 left over from TrueTemper going under. TT gave a lot of notice so people that wanted to stock up could do so. Mostly that was mountain bike builders, but I can see stocking up on S3, it was good tubing. OTOH, it's not irreplaceable.
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Old 02-14-19, 02:49 PM
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this is great, guys. thanks - i'm probably asking a more complicated question than i'm prepared to understand. just trying to have some good basic knowledge to help me make the spend and feel great about my decision.
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Old 02-14-19, 04:02 PM
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The real answer is that you probably will not be able to tell the difference. I would say the big difference might be weight, as noted above.
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Old 02-15-19, 11:10 AM
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I've built frames with tubes from a number of different tubing manufacturers. Some of it was non heat treated chromoly and some was heat treated "super steels". I couldn't tell any difference in ride quality between them and I honestly would have to go back to the build sheets to find out which tubing each frame was made from. Tire choice and air pressure has way more effect on ride quality, in my opinion.

The main advantage of "super steels" is dent resistance and the ability to make the tube thinner to reduce weight.
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Old 02-15-19, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
I couldn't tell any difference in ride quality between them and I honestly would have to go back to the build sheets to find out which tubing each frame was made from.
this is my opinion exactly. I think that as framebuilders we aren't supposed to admit it though. Practice saying "I use a custom tube mix to perfectly suit the rider" Well, they are never going to admit me into the secret society anyway.

I don't know who the other framebuilder the OP is considering, but I always wanted to build an S3 bike and the chance is slipping away. TT made nice tubes, sad that they're gone. OTOH, I have always really liked Columbus tubing and they have never given me any reason to doubt them since the '70s. I recently checked a set of SL reissue that was perfectly straight so I just had to randomly pick a centerline. Usually there is at least some bow along the length of a tube. I was impressed.
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Old 02-20-19, 10:03 PM
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pulled the trigger on the spirit set up. never gone through this process before and i'm excited to see how it goes. thanks for all the input!
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Old 02-20-19, 10:32 PM
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thanks for checking back. Don't forget to post pics when it is done
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Old 04-11-19, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by sultanofsuede View Post
pulled the trigger on the spirit set up. never gone through this process before and i'm excited to see how it goes. thanks for all the input!
Any update?
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Old 08-05-19, 07:41 AM
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got my hands on the bike about 2 weeks ago. will post some pics soon - but thanks for all the help in this thread!
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Old 03-28-20, 08:06 PM
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i wanted to post some pic to thank everyone for the input during my buying process. it was a lot of fun to chat about options and learn a lot along the way. and the bike - well, i'm in love with the bike. i must admit, when i first jumped on the thing, i wondered if i had made a huge mistake - did i spend, like, double the amount i needed to? buyer's remorse thoughts, etc... well, after a whip around the block, i knew i did a good thing. the research and conversation on options was part of the fun.

this is the columbus spirit tubing.
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Old 03-28-20, 08:16 PM
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Old 04-04-20, 09:49 AM
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Breadwinner, huh? Very neat. I follow what those guys do from time to time as one grew up near where I now live and I first saw his name on a prior gravel race results board. Google led to the company and their models are neat.
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