General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Test for butted tubes?

Old 03-10-17, 08:54 PM
  #1  
curbowman
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
curbowman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Caracas, Venezuela
Posts: 143

Bikes: Imremo (cheap taiwanese mtb) and vintage Jupiter King (Japanese '70s road bike)

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Test for butted tubes?

I always read about double butted tubes on bicycle frames. Is there a way to know if a frame has butted tubes if the original sticker is missing? An X-ray scan seems a little expensive.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Raleigh05.jpg (50.2 KB, 218 views)
curbowman is offline  
Old 03-10-17, 09:02 PM
  #2  
wvridgerider 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Wild Wonderful West Virginia
Posts: 475

Bikes: Gunnar Crosshairs, Surly Karate Monkey, Specialized Fuze, Bianchi Volpe, too many others and a lot of broken frame

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Flick with your fingernail from end to the middle and you should hear the change of sound.
wvridgerider is offline  
Old 03-10-17, 09:30 PM
  #3  
joejack951
Senior Member
 
joejack951's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Wilmington, DE
Posts: 11,844

Bikes: 2016 Hong Fu FM-079-F, 1984 Trek 660, 2003 Specialized Hardrock, 2004 LOOK KG386i (RIP), 2005 Iron Horse Warrior Expert, 2009 Pedal Force CX1, 2016 Islabikes Beinn 20 (son's)

Mentioned: 25 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1120 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
You could also weigh it. A butted tubing frame should be considerably lighter than a straight gauge tubing frame. I am sure someone on this forum or the interwebz knows what either butted or straight should weigh give or take a few ounces for a given size.
joejack951 is offline  
Old 03-10-17, 11:57 PM
  #4  
Darth Lefty 
Disco Infiltrator
 
Darth Lefty's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2013
Location: Folsom CA
Posts: 9,507

Bikes: '76 Paramount, Salsa Timberjack, Burley Samba, Terra Trike

Mentioned: 58 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1483 Post(s)
Liked 95 Times in 64 Posts
If the frame weighs four or five pounds then you're good. Just for example my Paragon (56cm, Ishiwata 024, fairly stout) weighs 5.5 lb with headset cups and a BB installed.

Some mid-grade frames are made only partly of butted tubes, or they are made of straight chromoly that's still thinner than hi-ten. There's a spectrum!
__________________
Genesis 49:16-17
Darth Lefty is online now  
Old 03-11-17, 12:22 AM
  #5  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,968

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 122 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4342 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Actually, there's no reliable way to be sure. Weight may work to separate a good quality frame from one of much lower quality, but things get close near the upper end, and variables like lugs, BB shell or whatever make it hard to distinguish between butted and high quality plain gauge tubing. Also, know that both butted and plain gauge tubes come in various wall thicknesses, further muddying that water.

There are other indicators, that may help, possibly the most significant of which is the seat post size which will tell you the wall thickness of the seat tube.

Otherwise, the best indicator is to know the maker, and what the specs call for.

So, for example, show me what appears to be a high end British or US made steel frame, which takes a 27.2mm seatpost, and I'll very willingly bet a few beers that it's Reynolds 531 or better tubing. Likewise you might see a mark on the steerer if you remove the fork.

BTW - many (most) makers of top end steel tube sets, mark the tubes themselves. One place to find such a mark is at the bottom of the seat tube, a few inches above the bottom bracket. Besides identifying the tubing, the marks also tell builders which end to cut (or not) when cutting tube to size.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

Last edited by FBinNY; 03-11-17 at 12:28 AM.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 03-11-17, 12:32 AM
  #6  
Sullalto
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2014
Location: Cascadia
Posts: 1,206

Bikes: Jamis Quest Comp

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 168 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Actually, there's no reliable way to be sure.
Sound, if your ear is trained. I'd try it without anything in the frame. No wheels, seatpost, BB, etc if I was really concerned.
Sullalto is offline  
Old 03-11-17, 07:30 AM
  #7  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 6,467

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '68 Schwinn Orange Krate, and More!!

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1059 Post(s)
Liked 108 Times in 65 Posts
If you want to know for certain then cut a tube in a few spots and measure.

Seriously, if it were me and the frame fit I'd just ride it and not worry either way.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Old 03-11-17, 08:58 AM
  #8  
Retro Grouch 
Senior Member
 
Retro Grouch's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: St Peters, Missouri
Posts: 29,267

Bikes: Catrike 559 I own some others but they don't get ridden very much.

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1164 Post(s)
Liked 33 Times in 25 Posts
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
If you want to know for certain then cut a tube in a few spots and measure.

Seriously, if it were me and the frame fit I'd just ride it and not worry either way.
That's what I think too.

I think that we have a tendency to think that if we can identify all of the individual strokes we could create the Mona Lisa.
__________________
My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.
Retro Grouch is offline  
Old 03-11-17, 03:23 PM
  #9  
Wileyrat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Tucson Az
Posts: 1,314

Bikes: 2015 Ridley Fenix, 1983 Team Fuji, 1985 Novara Strada, 2013 BD Motobecane 650ht, 90 Trek 850

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 239 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
Originally Posted by wvridgerider View Post
Flick with your fingernail from end to the middle and you should hear the change of sound.
This. You will definitely hear a difference.
Wileyrat is offline  
Old 03-11-17, 06:43 PM
  #10  
SkyDog75
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Upstate NY
Posts: 3,797

Bikes: Bianchi San Mateo and a few others

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 632 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I'll have to try flicking some tubes to test that method/theory. I'm a percussionist, and just knowing the nature of how things sound when you hit them, I wouldn't have expected butting to make much of a difference if the butt is near the end of the tube where it's welded or fitted into a lug.
SkyDog75 is offline  
Old 03-11-17, 08:22 PM
  #11  
curbowman
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
curbowman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Caracas, Venezuela
Posts: 143

Bikes: Imremo (cheap taiwanese mtb) and vintage Jupiter King (Japanese '70s road bike)

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 61 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
I'm a percussionist, and just knowing the nature of how things sound when you hit them, I wouldn't have expected butting to make much of a difference if the butt is near the end of the tube where it's welded or fitted into a lug.
I'm a musician and luthier too. I did the tap test on the bare frame and the pitch didn't change when I hit the tubes near the lugs or the center. What changed was, obviously, the sustain.

It's a cheap '70s bike so I don't think it's made with butted tubes, but I just thought it might be nice to try the test anyway.
curbowman is offline  
Old 03-12-17, 12:21 AM
  #12  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 6,467

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '68 Schwinn Orange Krate, and More!!

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1059 Post(s)
Liked 108 Times in 65 Posts
I own single, double, and even triple butted steel bikes. One thing I've noticed when doing the finger nail tap test is that when you get close to the joint the sound changes no matter how many "butts" you have. I'm not sure how anyone can figure it out based on the sound, but then again I'm not a musician.
AlmostTrick is offline  
Old 03-12-17, 12:31 AM
  #13  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,968

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 122 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4342 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I own single, double, and even triple butted ......
Isn't marketing wonderful?

Where do you think they put that 3rd butt? Or does that mean that you're the butt of a marketing inside joke?

However, I agree that the so-called ring test is meaningless, especially without a reference sample to compare to, unless one has perfect pitch. But I don't make a point of trying to prove that.




BTW- I already know what marketers mean when they say triple butted, so no explanation is needed here.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 03-12-17, 12:45 AM
  #14  
AlmostTrick
Tortoise Wins by a Hare!
 
AlmostTrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Looney Tunes, IL
Posts: 6,467

Bikes: Wabi Special FG, Raleigh Roper, Nashbar AL-1, Miyata One Hundred, '68 Schwinn Orange Krate, and More!!

Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1059 Post(s)
Liked 108 Times in 65 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Isn't marketing wonderful?

Where do you think they put that 3rd butt? Or does that mean that you're the butt of a marketing inside joke?

BTW- I already know what marketers mean when they say triple butted, so no explanation is needed here.
I assumed the "3rd butt" is near the center of the length of the tube... as in the tube actually has three different wall thicknesses, but maybe you know something I don't?
AlmostTrick is offline  
Old 03-12-17, 12:52 AM
  #15  
FBinNY 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: New Rochelle, NY
Posts: 35,968

Bikes: too many bikes from 1967 10s (5x2)Frejus to a Sumitomo Ti/Chorus aluminum 10s (10x2), plus one non-susp mtn bike I use as my commuter

Mentioned: 122 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4342 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by AlmostTrick View Post
I assumed the "3rd butt" is near the center of the length of the tube... as in the tube actually has three different wall thicknesses, but maybe you know something I don't?
Maybe I do, but let's not go there.

A single butted tube, such as is used for the seat tube has one reinforced (buttressed) end.
a double butted tube, used for the top and down tubes, is thicker at both ends (and thinner in the middle).

I believe* that a triple butted tube is analogous to a triple butted spoke, where the two ends are of different thickness. So you have 3 gauges, the thicker end, the not as thick end, and the middle which is thinnest.

But no matter what marketing calls it, you can only buttress 2 ends of a tube. (except in 4 dimensional space, where tubes might have 3 ends)


* I said believe, because while I've described one use of the term I'm familiar with, I have no way of knowing what marketing is up to these days.
__________________
FB
Chain-L site

An ounce of diagnosis is worth a pound of cure.

“Never argue with an idiot. He will only bring you down to his level and beat you with experience.”, George Carlin

“One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions” - Adm Grace Murray Hopper - USN

WARNING, I'm from New York. Thin skinned people should maintain safe distance.

Last edited by FBinNY; 03-12-17 at 01:03 AM.
FBinNY is offline  
Old 03-12-17, 03:59 AM
  #16  
wschruba 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 1,535
Mentioned: 27 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 465 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
[snip]
However, I agree that the so-called ring test is meaningless, especially without a reference sample to compare to, unless one has perfect pitch. But I don't make a point of trying to prove that.[snip]
I'll take a crack at that, though. A tube, by itself, will not change in pitch (it's fundamental), regardless of where you hit it... Think a chime. What the butting *does* add is overtones--which are, more or less, completely indistinguishable, since an assembled frame has more in common with an un-tuned bell (several tubes of varying thicknesses/lengths/butting, resulting in a mishmash of tones), than a musical instrument.

All of that assumes a frame that is tapped/rapped while hanging from a cord, with nothing built on it. All the "tap test" proves is that the ends of the individual tubes are, indeed, fixed into another part of the bike, and less prone to vibrate as a result.

As mentioned before in the thread, a maker's mark and other key clues (seat tube ID, weight, model) are better indicators of what the bike may be made of without destructive testing.

Not pointed at you, just general information for the (hopeful) edification of the masses.
wschruba is offline  
Old 03-12-17, 08:03 AM
  #17  
Wileyrat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Tucson Az
Posts: 1,314

Bikes: 2015 Ridley Fenix, 1983 Team Fuji, 1985 Novara Strada, 2013 BD Motobecane 650ht, 90 Trek 850

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 239 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 8 Times in 7 Posts
The thinner material in a butted tube does sound different when given the finger nail tap. If you don't hear a difference, your tube isn't butted.

A tried and true test shown to me by a bike mechanic back in the early 70s.

A tube can have multiple wall thicknesses in it, making it multiple butted. Were they better than double butted? I have a quad butted Fuji, I'm sure it's a bit lighter than an identical size frame made with identical tubing that was double butted instead, but I doubt it's better.

Pose this question in CnV and see what answers you get.

Last edited by Wileyrat; 03-12-17 at 08:15 AM.
Wileyrat is offline  
Old 03-12-17, 08:49 AM
  #18  
pauoos
pauoos
 
pauoos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Loudoun County, Virginia
Posts: 13

Bikes: 2001 LeMond Tourmalet, 2000 Gary Fisher Aquila

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Actually, there's no reliable way to be sure. Weight may work to separate a good quality frame from one of much lower quality, but things get close near the upper end, and variables like lugs, BB shell or whatever make it hard to distinguish between butted and high quality plain gauge tubing. Also, know that both butted and plain gauge tubes come in various wall thicknesses, further muddying that water...
An industrial xray machine would let you know for sure. There are many companies that offer xray inspection services. They could tell you if your frame was made from double butted tubes. Unfortunately that would be an expensive way to satisfy your curiosity.
pauoos is offline  
Old 03-12-17, 01:05 PM
  #19  
chaadster
Thread Killer
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Posts: 9,311

Bikes: '15 Kinesis Racelight 4S, '76 Motebecane Gran Jubilée, '17 Dedacciai Gladiatore2, '12 Breezer Venturi, '09 Dahon Mariner, '05 Novara Big Buzz, '12 Mercier Nano, '95 DeKerf Team

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1026 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
Maybe I do, but let's not go there.

A single butted tube, such as is used for the seat tube has one reinforced (buttressed) end.
a double butted tube, used for the top and down tubes, is thicker at both ends (and thinner in the middle).

I believe* that a triple butted tube is analogous to a triple butted spoke, where the two ends are of different thickness. So you have 3 gauges, the thicker end, the not as thick end, and the middle which is thinnest.

But no matter what marketing calls it, you can only buttress 2 ends of a tube. (except in 4 dimensional space, where tubes might have 3 ends)


* I said believe, because while I've described one use of the term I'm familiar with, I have no way of knowing what marketing is up to these days.
What "marketing is up to these days" is not thinking about butted tubes, just as they haven't been for the past 15 or so years. In the rare instance where they do have copy to create for a triple butted tubeset, I can't see how they would reinvent the meaning, or to what end; it's not rocket science:

chaadster is offline  
Old 03-12-17, 01:13 PM
  #20  
JohnDThompson 
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 20,384

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Mentioned: 110 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1701 Post(s)
Liked 66 Times in 45 Posts
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I believe* that a triple butted tube is analogous to a triple butted spoke, where the two ends are of different thickness. So you have 3 gauges, the thicker end, the not as thick end, and the middle which is thinnest.
IIRC, "triple-butting" only involved the down tube, and made a slightly thicker wall in the region where shift lever bosses would be attached.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
kennj123
General Cycling Discussion
7
05-13-16 04:49 AM
GetUpnGo
Forum Suggestions & User Assistance
1
07-07-12 10:34 PM
tmh657
Classic & Vintage
6
05-10-09 05:21 AM
brokenrobot
Classic & Vintage
8
10-19-05 05:21 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.