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Ti or Steel or Stainless

Old 03-28-22, 12:31 PM
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Ti or Steel or Stainless

I am looking to buy new bike gonna spend some cash this time.
I have a Ti bike now bianchi owned an Eddy merkx Ti as well.
​​Had steel Lemond 853 loved it.
Never seen touched stainless but saw a mirrored finished cinelli.
Any pro's of stainless over the others...pricey but if it is better id like to know.

pretty

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Old 03-28-22, 01:32 PM
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All three are viable frame materials.

I believe Stainless Steel is somewhat finicky to work with, so if you go that route be sure you use a builder who is very experienced with it.
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Old 03-28-22, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
All three are viable frame materials.

I believe Stainless Steel is somewhat finicky to work with, so if you go that route be sure you use a builder who is very experienced with it.
I would like to know what if any advantages there maybe with stainless...Im all in already for a sweet steel bike but the super flashy mirror finish of stainless is intriguing.
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Old 03-28-22, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post
I would like to know what if any advantages there maybe with stainless...Im all in already for a sweet steel bike but the super flashy mirror finish of stainless is intriguing.
Good question. Obviously the appearance is good (if you like that) and lifespan should be longer than steel since no rust. I suspect those are the main advantages.

See if the others have actual experience.
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Old 03-28-22, 02:21 PM
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Pretty!!! Those dropouts, with the little wings that make them into the Cinelli logo are cool. OTOH, the head tube looks like a beer can!

Columbus made a stainless steel tubeset back in the late 90s - Metax - but it didn't take off. Some builders used it but it never got wide acceptance. I don't know why, but if I were considering a bike in stainless, I'd look into that.
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Old 03-28-22, 02:34 PM
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I've ridden steel frames for decades with little special care and had no corrosion problems, and I prefer a nice paint job to a naked finish; hence I would take regular steel over stainless steel every day of the week and use the cost difference for better components. Stainless steel for bike frames, unless you plan to ride lots near the beach or on salted winter roads, seems like a solution in search of a problem.

Ti at least will be a bit (but not much) lighter than a steel frame, but be sure to use a good builder as it requires skill and experience.
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Old 03-28-22, 02:50 PM
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Not a fan of the "stock" stainless stuff I've seen, though I'd have zero qualms with a custom stainless all-road creation by Rob English..
https://www.englishcycles.com/custom...road-frameset/
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Old 03-28-22, 02:52 PM
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I am with Koyote on this one. I would take a regular steel frameset, like 853, over stainless every time. I have a titanium road bike, Airborne Zeppelin, and I like the bare frame with titanium much more than a bare stainless. I love classic style, steel road frames with modern components.
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Old 03-28-22, 03:11 PM
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I had custom Ti, custom CF, custom steel, and custom AL but never SS so if I were in your shoes Id Ss.
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Old 03-28-22, 04:00 PM
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If it's a small builder, a stainless tube frame can, in theory, be drawn thinner than typical 853 or 631 tubing.
A stainless 953/XCR frsme may also end up being slightly lighter due to a lack of paint.

But really, 853 ProTeam is has butting and tube profiles that are really light. Columbus Spirit and Life are other examples.

It is a matter of knowing the details of what your are getting. 853 comes in multiple butting profiles, for example. One will met you a frame that is no lighter than something with 631 or Zona tubing while another profile will net you a lighter frame.

And to be clear, one isn't better than the other. They are different because they are created for different purposes.

I wouldnt do 935 or XCR for any performance based wishes. Go that route for the appearance.
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Old 03-28-22, 04:25 PM
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This is my recent purchase - Columbus XCR Tommasini X-Fire Gravel bike. The stainless steel is actually a bit heavier than what you could potentially build with a Spirit tube set but can weighs less because of paint choices. Personally, I find the SS to ride very similar to other high end steel bikes. I am not sure if you blinded me, I could tell the difference given the same builder.

My other "road" bikes are either carbon, aluminum, or Neuron steel (also Tommasini). The XCR tubing is definitely stiffer - which makes sense as the tubing diameter is larger. But the tubing still has the compliance that steel is known for. The one thing I will point out is the my other Tommasini, is close to 20 years old but with a great paint job, has ZERO issues with rust. Rust is a highly over-rated worry with any steel bike. I found titanium to be substantially more expensive but not much lighter and a different feel. Neither good nor bad, just different.

This bike as it stands with two bottle cages is 8.5kg, which I am happy with.



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Old 03-28-22, 04:36 PM
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I'd go with Ti then Steel, then SS. Generally, Ti saves some weight, you don't have to take care of the inside of the seat tube (the anti corrosion), and rides great. I have heard the SS is harder to work with and don't know a ton about those details, so SS would be my last choice. Plus, I love the look of naked Ti.
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Old 03-28-22, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Chandne View Post
I'd go with Ti then Steel, then SS. Generally, Ti saves some weight, you don't have to take care of the inside of the seat tube (the anti corrosion), and rides great. I have heard the SS is harder to work with and don't know a ton about those details, so SS would be my last choice. Plus, I love the look of naked Ti.
I painted both my Ti bikes front triangle..left rear naked.
​​​A nice well made steel bike calls my name but that super mirror SS frame looks insane...but as many said alot of cash for similar ride.
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Old 03-28-22, 05:10 PM
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Yeah, I can't say I'm an expert on Ti and Steel mainly. Unlike steel, I just find Ti bikes desirable and SOME have this treasured quality in my eyes. Not all lT bikes, but a select few like Moots, No. 22, and Firefly maybe. I'll likely end up with a Moots at some point and go to Steamboat Springs to pick it up. I am sure there are steel bikes that are amazing but they just don't do it for me.
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Old 03-28-22, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
If it's a small builder, a stainless tube frame can, in theory, be drawn thinner than typical 853 or 631 tubing.
A stainless 953/XCR frsme may also end up being slightly lighter due to a lack of paint.

But really, 853 ProTeam is has butting and tube profiles that are really light. Columbus Spirit and Life are other examples.

It is a matter of knowing the details of what your are getting. 853 comes in multiple butting profiles, for example. One will met you a frame that is no lighter than something with 631 or Zona tubing while another profile will net you a lighter frame.

And to be clear, one isn't better than the other. They are different because they are created for different purposes.

I wouldnt do 935 or XCR for any performance based wishes. Go that route for the appearance.
The one issue with Spirit is that it can be had REALLY thin (0.6-0.45-0.6) and dents really easily. With SS, you get the same weight, or less, but a stronger frame (just thicker). 953 is much harder than XCR and that requires some more special effort. XCR is pretty much just steel. The other thing is that most all Spirit frames use a 27.2 seat tube, while XCR frame sets use a 31.6 seat tube. Because the tube diameters are different, this adds to the stiffness of an XCR frame.

Also, a company like Tommasini chrome plates all their steel frames and then adds paint. And lots of paint.

SS is that it is not easy to paint and that adds cost for many places and causes issues down the line.

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Old 03-28-22, 05:23 PM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus View Post
The one issue with Spirit is that it can be had REALLY thin (0.6-0.45-0.6) and dents really easily. With SS, you get the same weight, or less, but a stronger frame (just thicker). 953 is much harder than XCR and that requires some more special effort. XCR is pretty much just steel. The other thing is that most all Spirit frames use a 27.2 seat tube, while XCR frame sets use a 31.6 seat tube. Because tube diameters are different and adds to the stiffness of the frame.

Also, a company like Tommasini chrome plates all their steel frames and then adds paint. And lots of paint.

SS is that it is not easy to paint and that adds cost for many places and causes issues down the line.
Yes, good points about dent resistance and stiffness.
That adds well to the overall point that there is no singular 'better' option.
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Old 03-28-22, 05:38 PM
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Stainless helps with corrosion resistance where it is needed - as on a boat. Has anyone seen lots of rust on a steel frame bike - I have not. Lots of rust on poorly chromed parts on bikes but no on a painted frame. For steel to oxidize it needs contact with the oxygen in air and paint pretty much keeps that from happening. Stainless is also more difficult to machine as any heat and it self tempers and gets even harder.

At this point in time there is no reason not to go with a carbon frame which is also not going to rust but will be a great deal lighter.
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Old 03-28-22, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Yes, good points about dent resistance and stiffness.
That adds well to the overall point that there is no singular 'better' option.
Agree 100%. Everything is a choice.

The one thing for the OP, I love Cinelli but they don't make their frames. The contract it out. So, you are paying for a custom frame and using them as a middle man. My feeling is that if you are going to spend the money for a high end SS or steel frame, go full custom - so that you can work with the person/company to get what you want.
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Old 03-28-22, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by datlas View Post
lifespan should be longer than steel since no rust.
Just a reminder that it's called "stainless steel" and not "stainproof steel" ...sadly it is not completely impervious to rust, just moreso than non-stainless steel.


Originally Posted by Calsun View Post
Has anyone seen lots of rust on a steel frame bike - I have not.
Define "lots"? My wife and I own a pair of 12-year-old custom TIG-welded powder-coated S&S-coupled bike frames, and they both started exhibiting conspicuous rust spots on the downtube just below the coupler when they were 6 or 7 years old. Nothing so severe as to warrant a tube replacement, but the paint in that area looks like crap and we've had to actively and aggressively keep the rust at bay with annual applications of a honing cylinder or wire brush, followed by FrameSaver. We never intentionally ride in the rain, we store the bikes indoors, there's no good explanation for why they're rusting...but they damn sure am, and so I definitely understand why someone would make avoiding that possibility By Any Means Necessary a priority when selecting a frame material.
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Old 03-28-22, 07:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Bob Ross View Post
Just a reminder that it's called "stainless steel" and not "stainproof steel" ...sadly it is not completely impervious to rust, just moreso than non-stainless steel.




Define "lots"? My wife and I own a pair of 12-year-old custom TIG-welded powder-coated S&S-coupled bike frames, and they both started exhibiting conspicuous rust spots on the downtube just below the coupler when they were 6 or 7 years old. Nothing so severe as to warrant a tube replacement, but the paint in that area looks like crap and we've had to actively and aggressively keep the rust at bay with annual applications of a honing cylinder or wire brush, followed by FrameSaver. We never intentionally ride in the rain, we store the bikes indoors, there's no good explanation for why they're rusting...but they damn sure am, and so I definitely understand why someone would make avoiding that possibility By Any Means Necessary a priority when selecting a frame material.
The thing I have seen ruin steel and alloy bikes and parts is not just rain or plain water but sweat.
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Old 03-28-22, 07:17 PM
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SS is heavy, brittle, & will oxidize if the grade of material isn't to spec/reacts to other metals. I'd go Ti or Al with a high polish or fancy clear gloss coating.
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Old 03-28-22, 07:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Calsun View Post
Stainless helps with corrosion resistance where it is needed - as on a boat. Has anyone seen lots of rust on a steel frame bike - I have not. Lots of rust on poorly chromed parts on bikes but no on a painted frame. For steel to oxidize it needs contact with the oxygen in air and paint pretty much keeps that from happening. Stainless is also more difficult to machine as any heat and it self tempers and gets even harder.

At this point in time there is no reason not to go with a carbon frame which is also not going to rust but will be a great deal lighter.
i have carbon bianchi 928. love it but as an older guy steel good steel well made high end steel just calls my name.
like a mustang gt..just like it. i dont need custom but a nice stiff im not skinny , bike frame.
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Old 03-28-22, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by vespasianus View Post
The thing I have seen ruin steel and alloy bikes and parts is not just rain or plain water but sweat.
Yeah, if it were our top tubes I'd totally assume that was the cause (not that either of us sweat copiously, but it probably doesn't take a lot...). But the end of the downtube by the bottom bracket doesn't get an awful lot of sweat on even the hottest, most humid days. The most plausible explanation I've come up with is leaky water bottles...but still seems weird. Especially because it's on two different bikes with two different users and different water bottles. :::shrugs:::
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Old 04-02-22, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by thehammerdog View Post

I am looking to buy new bike gonna spend some cash this time.

Any pro's of stainless over the others...pricey but if it is better id like to know.

pretty
I’ve seen one of those in person, with Super Record 11 and Miche Supertype, about 15.4 lbs.

I have a very similar model with Columbus Life tubing, not stainless, Force AXS with Roval CLX, 16.3 lbs.

I also have Ti (1996) at 15.8, and 2011 carbon Di2 at 15.6 with Zipps.

I’ve not had an aluminum I cared for.
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Old 04-03-22, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Troul View Post
SS is heavy, brittle, & will oxidize if the grade of material isn't to spec/reacts to other metals. I'd go Ti or Al with a high polish or fancy clear gloss coating.
Do either of the two most common stainless steel tubing options apply to your comment?
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