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Premium Steels How Much Have They Changed Since the 1990s?

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Premium Steels How Much Have They Changed Since the 1990s?

Old 03-04-19, 02:33 PM
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Bikesplendor
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Premium Steels How Much Have They Changed Since the 1990s?

Hoping there might be some people here who are familiar enough with the steels used in bike frames to answer this. If you were building frames (road, gravel, mountain, touring frames) with the choicest steels available today, how would the steels, the bikes, the weights, and the ride characteristics be different from those available in the 1990s? Would there be very noticeable improvements? Or only minor differences?

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Old 03-04-19, 07:29 PM
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Nessism
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There are more options than ever before: stainless steel, high strength steel alloys that can be drawn super thin, shaped profiles, curved stays, etc. So at the end of the day a builder could offer frames with a wider array of characteristics than in days gone by. Not all of these possible features would be applied to every frame of course, that's where personal preference comes into play. At the end of the day though I think the new options could be exploited to build frames with features not possible in the 1990's.
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Old 03-05-19, 07:03 AM
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Weight and dent resistance aside, they are all variants of 4130 chromoly and don't impart any magical ride qualities to a frame built from them. Frame design, fit and tire choice have a far greater effect on ride quality.
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Old 03-05-19, 01:51 PM
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I was not building in the '90s, so I have no recollection of what was available then. Lots of what people are building with now is similar to 753, which showed up in the '70s. It almost amazes me that high-end steel framebuilding survived the '90s. I have never ridden a stainless bike, I think that is new since then. I suspect it's not all that much different than any other steel bike, except a little lighter.
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Old 03-09-19, 01:02 PM
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1990 is not that long ago , the heat treatment and cold working processes and alloys were already available, but..

the way they added to cost and complicated the manufacturing efficiency to limit the numbers of frames produced ,

for most brands , it was not worth it, as they cut the sales numbers to a limited number of higher end buyers ..

Hand made .. one at a time for a single customer is a whole different Market...





...

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Old 03-09-19, 01:34 PM
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853 seems to be pretty popular in Taiwan right now. I think I see it more than any other steel from the big importers. So they seem to have worked out the manufacturing processes. Of course, it isn't cheap
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Old 03-20-19, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by dsaul View Post
Weight and dent resistance aside, they are all variants of 4130 chromoly and don't impart any magical ride qualities to a frame built from them. Frame design, fit and tire choice have a far greater effect on ride quality.
I thought 953 was an alloy of a different sort, not a 4130. I think I saw the term "maraging steel" used.

That being said, thinner walls do allow new qualities since they increase the ability to build a frame that flexes mo' better, And higher strength does allow thinner walls, and to heat treat 4130 can increase its strength. I wouldn't know if we've taken 4130 as far as it can go or not.

I wonder if ASME has a paper in its journals, "The Limits of 4130."
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Old 03-20-19, 12:55 PM
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953 is stainless, so not a variant on 4130. The high end non-stainless steels can't really be called a variant of 4130 either, materials scientists don't really think that way. They are a little more binary than that. Here is an explanation of the AMS sytem of steel designations: https://www.totalmateria.com/page.as...ite=kts&NM=335

I'm sure there is quite a bit of literature concerning the limitations of 4130. Probably not in an ASME journal though.

The wiki article about Reynolds has some interesting information about materials properties https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reynolds_Technology
Also, the Columbus materials page on their steels, although there is less historical data:
Columbus Tubi
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Old 03-31-19, 09:21 AM
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Since the 80's
diameters increased- top tube was ​​first
wall thicknesses reduced
the return of tapered tubes- Serotta, Tesch
down tube diameters increased
lugs declined in use
air hardened steels
steerer diameters went up thanks to Mtbs
​​​​​​​stainless tube sets from the suppliers- big money, but not as big a difference as when launched.
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