's Forum Archives - General

Archive Home >> General(1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 )

any steel equivalent of TST or Anodizing Inc?(17 posts)

any steel equivalent of TST or Anodizing Inc?gtx
Mar 13, 2002 7:51 PM
I know TST builds ti frames for a lot of different companies (Douglas, Mongoose, etc.) and Anodizing Inc. does AL frames for lots of people (Santa Cruz, Ibis, etc.) but is there a U.S. equivalent for steel frames? In other words, if Joe Blow capitalist bike guy wanted to slap his name/brand on a quality US-built steel frame (one that would be decent quality but not crazy expensive), who would he call?
I doubtcyclopathic
Mar 14, 2002 6:33 AM
steel is too easy to work on and too cheap so you either have small shop production or buy overseas. Alot homebrand steel frames made in Taiwan.
I doubtgtx
Mar 14, 2002 8:30 AM
well ti is more expensive and harder to work with, but... yeah, all the US builders I can think of who farm stuff out farm it out to Taiwan or Japan. I was just wondering if there were any exceptions.
profit marginscyclopathic
Mar 14, 2002 9:49 AM
are much higher on Ti. Even with price drop in last couple years hard to find Ti frame in 500$ range. 500$ would buy you very decent steel frame. Yes Ti is harder to work on but if you have set up assembly line difference in labor cost Ti vs steel would be just a few % of total. It's not like Ti welders paid twice over steel.

Exceptions? I think Rivendell used Waterford they do Japan now.. Either way it doesn't qualify as "cheap". If you need a batch of frames talk to good builder he'd be glad to forge a couple hundred for you. I've ridden with one in New England if interested e-mail me
Rivs are built in the states...Anvil
Mar 14, 2002 10:03 AM
...not Japan. Curt Goodrich and Joe Starck are the guys who do the building for them.

New steels require the same weld and cleanliness processes as Ti and looking at the big picture, steel is harder to work with (harder to miter). The raw material is much cheaper than Ti; you can have more than $500 in a quality Ti tubeset.
Rivs are built in the states...gtx
Mar 14, 2002 10:06 AM
I think he was referring more to the Herons and Atlantis bikes.

What kind of ti does TST use?
re: yescyclopathic
Mar 14, 2002 10:33 AM
This is from RD FAQ on Atlantis:
Who builds the frames, and where?

Toyo, in Osaka, Japan. It’s a small (10-person) custom frame shop that’s been in the bike frame business for 30 years. The average employee has been with Toyo for half that. The frames are built by hand, and the quality is consistent and superb. It isn’t as finessed and detailed as a custom Rivendell (which sells for 2.4 times as much), but Japanese quality and quality control are legendary, and Toyo is at the top of its craft.
re: Ticyclopathic
Mar 14, 2002 10:47 AM
sorry I've missed it. They use own Ti since TST is a subsidiary of Sandvik.
Most of Ti tubing in US come from Sandvik, Ancotech or Haynes
great pointgtx
Mar 14, 2002 10:04 AM
I think these guys like Surley, SOMA, etc., are getting their frames from Taiwan for very very cheap and selling them for $350-400 retail. Then you have Gunnar which is a low priced Waterford--$650 or so. Not much room to operate in between--so it would hard to have US built frame and a middle man unless you were up over the $1000 mark. Ritchey's Japanese-made frames are $1000.
I doubtharry hall
Mar 14, 2002 2:56 PM
Kinesis builds some steel frames in Portland and also
Waterford has done contract building--from Rivendells to BMX frames! There IS a difference in steel frame building shops; there are good shops (Hodaka, for one) in Taiwan, and sloppy ones (Trek, for instance) in the US. The reasons that American shops can survive are that Taiwanese labor is no longer cheap labor in fact can be more expensive than Italian labor, bikes and even frames are bulky and thus not cheap to ship, and contractors that have product made in Taiwan take the risk of dealing with the notorious Taiwanese absence of respect for intellectual property; they'll steal any design they like without hesitation.
I saw it,TJeanloz
Mar 14, 2002 9:06 AM
But I don't have an answer. As far as I know, nobody specializes in building steel bikes.

Mostly because the market for mid price point steel bikes isn't there, and partly because an American (production) steel bike doesn't have the cache of an Italian one. There are a number of Italian builders who specialize in building steel frames for others, and most manufacturers would rather sell an Italian steel bike than an American one (and the Italian one is probably cheaper, or at least competitive.)

That said, a few very small builder, like Zinn, subcontract their work to custom builders- but these are very small.
Mar 14, 2002 9:30 AM
About what I thought. That's interesting about Zinn. I think Teesdale used to do this kind of work for people like Fisher but I'm not sure that he does anymore.
Mark Nobilette...Pedal Jockey
Mar 14, 2002 9:54 AM
Not that this really matters to your question, but Mark builds the steel frames for Morgul Bismark cycles, as well as his own custom frames. They are sweet!!

Mark Nobilette...TJeanloz
Mar 14, 2002 10:54 AM
Mark also builds about 50% of Zinn's bikes, and has built quite a few bikes for GT and others.
Match was probably the best known.Anvil
Mar 14, 2002 9:52 AM
Match used to build the Paramounts, Beckmans, Rivendells, and I think Hampstens, and other high end steel frames but they went kaput a couple years ago. One of those directly involved can explain why they closed their doors.

Just like the other materials, lots of steel bikes are labled with one name and built by others. Most is small scale but it's common for builders to supplement their sales/income by building for others. I know one builder who builds frames for no less than 5 other companies.
re: is it you? ;o)cyclopathic
Mar 14, 2002 10:52 AM
I have a friend who rides your singlespeed he couldn't be happier
re: is it you? ;o)Anvil
Mar 14, 2002 3:17 PM
Nope, not me, no time or desire for that. Who's your buddy?