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Steel tubing choice and welding vs lugs(11 posts)

Steel tubing choice and welding vs lugsWoof the dog
Oct 11, 2001 12:13 AM
Hi all. We narrowed it down to what he wants: spending 800-1000 $ on a steel frame. Something that will be light (preferrably around 3.2 pounds or less), Italian and/or traditional, and something that will last!

The question is, if the guy is around 170-80 pounds whats the lightest as well as durable steel tubing we want? Nowadays, steel tubes are TIG welded instead of doing the traditional lug way, right? Are there any significant drawbacks to the welded steel frames? i.e. would they be more likely prone to cracking around the welds or not really? See, he wants to keep the frame for a while, and I totally agree with him!

In short what we know about steel frames is this: they are usually a pound or more heavier than Al frames, but much more durable and stand to a crash better. Lugs are supposedly stronger than just plain welding. Possible steel frames we are looking at: moser, colnago, derosa, cinelli, maybe a bianchi, the one up in Quebec...oh! too many of them names. Can't discount Waterford. I bashed the name, but I'd be glad to own one of these beauties. Any other big names?

I appreciate your advice on putting this rider back on the road again after his Moser was sadly stolen some weeks ago.
Pipe dreamsCliff Oates
Oct 11, 2001 1:21 AM
Inexpensive (<$1,000), extremely light (<3.2 pounds - 1425 grams), and durable. Pick one or two of those.

I would suggest you closely examine some of the following links to learn about materials and construction and to get a sense of what the realities of pricing and frame weights are. The SOMEC site is useful as they build frames in both steel and aluminum and they publish frame weights along with rider weight and frame size limits. Their frames are way out of your price range though.

Strong Racing
Tom Teesdale

Lugs are supposedly stronger than just plain welding.

Nope, about the same. Lugged frames are repairable, but lugs constrain tubing choices and require more fabrication time so the frames cost more. Filet brazed joints are stronger than lugs or welds, they are also repairable I believe, do not constrain tubing choices, at least not to the same degree as lugs do, and require more fabrication time than welded frames.

FWIW, a high quality steel frame (Steelman, IF, Waterford) in a 56-57cm size is going to come in around 3.5-3.6 pounds.
Pipe dreamskoala
Oct 11, 2001 10:50 AM
I have reservations about 3.2 lb frames in steel for guys that heavy. After much research I purchased a foco in 55cm that weighs 3lbs 5oz(3.313). I weigh 178 and the frame is plenty stiff. Ultra foco is too light for my weight. I spoke with John at landshark and he would not build me anything lighter than 3.4 lbs. I wonder about lugged frames being stronger. After all, the tigged frames allow for larger tube diameter which makes for a stiffer tubeset, given the weld has integrity.
re: Steel tubing choice and welding vs lugsmackgoo
Oct 11, 2001 2:08 AM
Right now there is an EL-OS Bianchi 59c on E bay. I think it"s around 800$ and almost over. This is a complete bike actually here's the link EL-OS was a premire frame set a few years ago. I don't think you could go wrong with this. It does have Dura Ace wich I would consider a negative, but that's just me. This Reparto Corse frame would be fully lugged something Bianchi sadly doesn't do anymore.
Again if this is the right size you should check it out.
59 c-c ??? I thought B's were listed c-t. (nm)12x23
Oct 11, 2001 5:45 PM
Check out the Viner Pro Team from ...DCW
Oct 11, 2001 2:18 AM
Gary Hobbs (

Cliff Oates sounds right. I am a great fan of lugged steel and ride a lugged Columbus Neuron frame. I doubt you will find a lugged frame that light off the rack. I doubt that you can have one custom made that cheap. Tom Teesdale or Don Ferris (Anvil) may be able to do it.
talk to a builderDA
Oct 11, 2001 4:49 AM
your riding style will also play a role in the "ideal" tubing... are you smooth or a masher? have you broken parts or frames in the past? need extra stiffness? what kind of ride feel are you wanting? racing? etc.
Oct 11, 2001 7:31 AM
Check 'em out at
Antonio Mondonico makes beautiful frames and the ride is incredible.
Difficult decisionNessism
Oct 11, 2001 9:42 AM
I think some of your requirements are conflicting:

- 3.2 lbs or less
- long term durability
- $800-$1000
- suitable for a 170-180 lb. pound rider

Only the very thinnest tubing will yield a frame this light using steel - Foco or Ultra Foco maybe. Super light tubing is super thin tubing. Super thin tubing is not the best for durability and stiffness. Also, most all builders will want to get more than $1000 for a custom Foco frame.

As far as luged vs. TIG is concern, don't worry about it. Both are strong ways to join tubes. TIG'ed frames are usually a little cheaper and lighter however so this may be the way to go.

You might want to look at your list of requirements again and modify them. Bumping your minimum weight up to 3.6 lbs will help as well as adding a couple hundred dollars.
Big/strong riders should consider these tubes...Tig
Oct 11, 2001 9:45 AM
Reynolds Extra 853 and Dedacciai Zero Uno Extra are designed for larger, stronger gear mashing riders. Columbus used to have "Max" tubing, but it has been discontinued. Landshark uses all 3 tube sets with tig welds. Go through to order Landshark bikes and save a bunch from the prices listed on Landshark's site. GVH might already have something good in stock.

What sized frame will he be needing?
Big/strong riders should consider these tubes...Woof the dog
Oct 11, 2001 10:44 PM
First of all, thank you all for your replies. They have been quite helpful.

That bianchi looks damn nice but 59 is too big of a frame. He will need a 53cm. We have a whole winter to think about this. Plenty of time to get a good frame. Funny how much money he has to spend: like a trade off - either get a better frame with ultegra or a worse frame with durace.