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Starting out- Most affordable frame build?

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Starting out- Most affordable frame build?

Old 07-06-19, 11:05 PM
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Jtrcing
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Starting out- Most affordable frame build?

I'm looking to start building frames for myself. Wicksaircraft for straight gauge 4130 or kits from Nova seem to be the cheapest options. Anyone have any other ideas/opinions? Any suggestions on a cheap headset?

Thanks!
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Old 07-07-19, 06:01 AM
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Nova is the cheapest you will find for main tubes. They are good tubes and I've built several frames with them. I've found that straight gauge 4130 tubes cost the same or more than the butted Nova tubes.

I use straight gauge .035" tubes for seat and chain stays, because I don't like the look of tapered stays. I can bend and shape them to suit the build and don't have to worry about cracking or buckling a heat treated stay, from trying to bend it.
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Old 07-07-19, 06:42 AM
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Probably more affordable to use carbon or bamboo instead of steel.
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Old 07-07-19, 08:57 AM
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I recommend using 9/6/9 double butted tubing for the top and down tubes even on your 1st build unless you are a really big guy. The cost between them and straight gauge is insignificant (and maybe cheaper) but the ride quality will be different. Part of your frame building journey will probably be finding out what diameter and wall thickness works for both your weight and riding style. You might probably tweak your frame design too for the 2nd one. You will discover there is a significant time and cost making your own frame getting tooling set up and all so there is no reason to downgrade the materials that only saves pennies (and in fact may not save you at all anyway).
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Old 07-07-19, 09:05 AM
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You didn't say what kind of frame you want to build, and that seems pretty important.

I always found that straight gauge 4130 costs more than a bike tube. Pay attention to butt lengths when you order, it will pay to design the geometry first.

As Doug says, the parts cost of the first frame are dwarfed by the things you have to buy that don't go into the frame, even if that is only hardware. Most people want to have some tooling, and the costs add up quickly for that. Having said that, I would buy low-end bicycle specific tubing because when you mess it up, replacing it isn't going to cost that much. And the expensive stuff is harder to work with, in general. Check out Nova's specials.
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Old 07-07-19, 09:34 AM
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I was leaning towards Nova. Do their monthly deals change much? I plan to start with a road bike but ultimately want to do a cargo style bike. I want to go cheap on frame materials to experiment with geo and learn.
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Old 07-07-19, 09:46 AM
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you can learn a lot of important things about geometry just by designing bikes on a computer. Use Rattlecad or the web version of bikecad

Nova specials have not been changing much, but they recently updated them. Not sure what happened, they used to change once a month. They usually rotate through a fairly limited number of selections.
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Old 07-09-19, 07:07 PM
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When you consider how much time and energy is expended building a frame it doesn't pay to cheap out on materials, particularly when the cost difference is so nominal.

I recommend something from OS tubes using either Zona or ZeroUno tubing. Both will ride great while being both lighter and stiffer than a standard size tubed frame.

BRINGHELI
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Old 07-10-19, 08:35 PM
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I have Columbus cyclex 8 piece tube sets made of C & C tubes and SP mix. I sell them for 65.00 per set they are classic tube dimensions 1" top 1 1/8" seat and down 1 1/4" head tube. The seat stays are 16 mm and the chain stays are 22.2/24 tapering to 12.7. Compared to the Nova these are real 4130 treated steel tubes that will out preform and build a vastly better frame. since they are 4130 they will take silver lugged, bronze lugged or fillet and Tig very well.
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Old 07-11-19, 03:41 PM
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Nova kit I was eyeing was Columbus Cromor. How does your kit compare?
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Old 07-12-19, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by pwyg View Post
Compared to the Nova these are real 4130 treated steel tubes that will out preform and build a vastly better frame. since they are 4130 they will take silver lugged, bronze lugged or fillet and Tig very well.
What are the Nova tubes made of?

I have used the Nova tubes for silver lugged, brass lugged and fillet and have had no problems.
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Old 07-12-19, 07:15 PM
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Nova doesn't provide any info on their tubes other than to identify them as CroMo. I know they are asian sourced tubes and at the very least they are 4130. They may or may not have some other alloying elements.

Some internet research indicates that Cyclex may be 4130 alloyed with vanadium and is certainly not heat treated.
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Old 07-13-19, 06:17 AM
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it is not an issue of how it will build, it is an issue of quality and strength of the steel. Hopefully you are brazing at the low temperatures that silver is know for since that will preserve the original state of the steel and not cause it to lose any more strength. I have Nova tubes in my inventory and they like any Asian made steel, excluding Japanese alloy are inferior to any U.S. and European steels. They are untreated soft and simply my last and what I mean by last choice is that there is no other option available. Once you build more and understand the differences between the different tubes available you will begin to understand what I am talking about. Most builders do not even understand why some tubes are heat treated. My understanding of the craft and frame building originated from Cecil Behringer a Ph.d metallurgist who did back in the day consulted both Reynolds and Columbus. He was the go to guy who specialized in joining the impossible.
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Old 07-13-19, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Jtrcing View Post
Nova kit I was eyeing was Columbus Cromor. How does your kit compare?
Cro-mor is a step below Cyclex where your Nivacrom and Foco, Life, etc.. are above the Cyclex. The tube set is ideal for work horse/ duty bikes and frames The down tube is 1.1 1.0/1.1 butted the seat is a tradional SP 1.0/.7 the CS are 1.0, top is 1.0/.7/1.0 and the SS are .8 or a mid weight tube in between SP and SL but 16 mm in diameter. These are ideal tube sets for first frames since you will get tapered and butted tubes for a proper look. I simple have a lot of these sets I make that is why they I can sell them for less. They come from a large stock of tubing I bought. I have sold over 50 sets both with in the states and overseas over the past years. but once these are gone they are gone.
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Old 07-13-19, 07:47 AM
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Due to my confusion about the different tubing names I started googling

Not sure how accurate this website is but according to them. . . "Columbus Cromor was designed in the 1990s and used butted tubing for high-performance, compact, light frames. It was manufactured using Cyclex Cromo Steel."

https://www.steel-vintage.com/blog/2...s-steel-tubes/

It appears cyclex is a type of steel and chromor is a tubing design. The website indicates that several of the Columbus tubing sets use cyclex steel.

Another interesting website about the types and thickness of Columbus tubing.

The Bicycle Info Project :: Columbus tubing chart
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Old 07-13-19, 12:19 PM
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Cromor is not Cyclex, it's Cr-Mo. Not sure if it's seamed or seamless. Cyclex is used on SL/SLX and the ilk. Cromor falls at the bottom of Columbus's range of butted tubesets. It's thick and heavy, using standard tube diameters. There is nothing wrong with thick and heavy as long as you know that going in. Personally though, I'd go OS unless you have a reason not too.

Last edited by Nessism; 07-13-19 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 07-13-19, 05:10 PM
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With credit to Henry James's site here's some descriptions. http://www.henryjames.com/columbus-p...el-alloys.html . Andy
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Old 07-14-19, 05:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart View Post
With credit to Henry James's site here's some descriptions. http://www.henryjames.com/columbus-p...el-alloys.html . Andy
Apparently, Columbus has changed around their steel lineup. Previously they used trade name steels they denoted "Cyclex" and "Nivacrom" for their higher end sets. SL was Cyclex and the higher end tubesets with thinner walls used Nivacrom because it was stronger. Now it seems Columbus uses what they denote "Niobium" instead of "Nivacrom" (which seems similar or same,) and they bumped up SL to this higher grade of material (they also thinned out the walls so it's not the same as SL of old.) For all the lower end tubesets they use Cr-Mo or they denote it 25CrMo4. Cromor is seamed, which I believe is how it always has been. Same material as Zona, only Zona is seamless and the strength is greater, maybe because of cold working during the drawing process.
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Old 07-14-19, 06:21 AM
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The reissue SL has been Niobium the whole time, I think. It was when I bought some back in 2010. Didn't they discontinue SL for a long time? I don't find Niobium that hard to file, but a beginner would be wise to start out with thicker tubes, 9/6/9, at least. I rough cut my miters with a cutoff wheel in a dremel and then file.
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Old 07-14-19, 09:59 AM
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For many years I used my bench grinder to rough out miters. Andy
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Old 07-14-19, 10:43 AM
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I like to leave the sharp cutoff scraps on the floor. When I step on them, the pain reminds me I'm alive.
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Old 07-14-19, 12:20 PM
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The tubes I found a biotch to file/miter were the TT Platinum tubes. Great tubes but not fun to work with.
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