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What makes a Serotta so special?(18 posts)

What makes a Serotta so special?LC
Aug 1, 2002 8:43 AM
Every raves about Serotta frames, but why are those tubes of metal welded together any better than Diamondback metal tubes welded together? Many makers even copy the same exact angles. I can understand about weld quality, but as long as it does not break is there really a difference?
quality of workmanship and quality and manipulation of tubesColnagoFE
Aug 1, 2002 9:04 AM
I could make a bike made out of lead pipe that has the same geometry as my colnago and i'm sure there would be a big ride difference.
In the extreme......Len J
Aug 1, 2002 9:33 AM
I would ask you what is the difference between a wal-mart $200 road bike and any quality bike?

As someone else said, it is a combination of quality of workmanship and the unique mainipulation (Shaping/Butting) of any High quality manufacturers tubes that make a difference in the ride quality.

The ultimate question for every individual purchaser is: Are the unique qualities of this particular bike (wether real or emotional) worth the premium that this manufacturer is charging as compared to some other bike?

Why is a Colnoga frame worth $2,500 (or $3,800 List)?
Why is a Serotta CSI frame worth $1,950 list?
Why is a Calfee frame worth $2,400?
Why does an Airborne zepplin Frame only cost $800?
Why would someone pay $2,500 for a steel Richard Sach's frame?

Because the purchaser makes a decision (objectivly & subjectivly) that it is worth it to them.

Pretty Paint Jobs... Nothing exotic like vacuum welding...jose_Tex_mex
Aug 1, 2002 9:38 AM
Okay, I am being a bit facetious here but I really have to question the fine line between "it looks good" and "it is good."

How much technology differences are there in steel welded framesets in reality. Yeah sure, I have read their pamphlets and the marketing machines can be very persuasive. If it sounds scientific it must be true. Where do you draw the line?

It is still welded steel. Nothing exotic like vacuum welding. Absolutely, all welds are not created equal and there's more to it than just not breaking. However, that's not to say any one particular manufacturer's welds are a quantum leap over another.

It sort of reminds me of a few people I know who own Kleins and look down on Cannondales because Klein's Aluminum is "aircraft grade." If that means something to you - great. But does it really matter?

True to a point - you get what you pay for. However, after a point you are paying for the name.

That's my $0.02...
Hey sub-genius! Serotta is brazed, not welded! -nmSnowBlind
Aug 1, 2002 9:54 AM
brazing is welding, just a different type.rufus
Aug 1, 2002 11:20 AM
brazing is welding, just a different type- No, no its not.SnowBlind
Aug 1, 2002 11:43 AM
Welding melts the metals being joined. Usually extra material is added to make the weld.
Brazing uses a filler metal at a lower temp to join the metals together, but the tubes are still separate pieces, and the filler is not alloyed to the tubes.
You can dismantle a brazed bike and the tubes are identical to when it was assembed. Hence a bent tube can be replaced without major damage. Just melt the solder at either end and rejoing with a new tube. QED.
Welded frames must be cut apart, so repairs (if possible) are difficult.
brazing is welding, just a different type....not true!brian
Aug 1, 2002 11:50 AM
brazing is a technique where you melt a lower melting temperature material to join the tubes together. in brazing, the tubes are never actually melted (as in welding). The end effect is that brazing is a lower temperature process, and thus effects the microstructure of the steel less than welding ( I say steel since I haven't seen any brazed ti or al bikes!). So who cares? Well, by changing the microstructure of the steel at the joint you are affecting the strength and physical properties in the area of the joint. Most of these steel tubings are designed with very specific heat treatments, so the less heat you put into the tube, the less you change these properties.

That is why the most desireable brazing of all is silver brazing (a la waterford, spectrum, etc...) because silver braze melts at a lower temperature than a brass braze, and thus less heat goes into the tubes, etc.......
The problem is that silver brazing requires a much tighter tolerance between the lug and tube, thus it requires a higher mastery of brazing, and your frame price increases. It is these little details which add to the cost, and the quality, of a high end steel frame.

btw, i am a metallurgist and love to talk about this stuff, so if you have any questions, ask away!

ok, i mis-stated, but there are tig welded serottasrufus
Aug 1, 2002 5:03 PM
Ben himself, or his bikes (most of which are TIG welded)?djg
Aug 1, 2002 11:52 AM
C-III, Legend, etc., etc.
Nothing... Colnago is betteralansutton
Aug 1, 2002 9:55 AM
Get a Colnago, they are made by REAL Italian craftsman, not lazy beer drinking American wannabes. Colnago's are even better value when you consider Ernesto's commitment to excellence and innovation. Ben is just plain lazy- just look as his boring paint jobs. If there's one way to judge the quality of a bike, it's the paint scheme. Also, some Colnagos can be ridden so fast, Ferrari endorses them. What car company endorses Serottas? None. Sure Serotta has some nice looking welds- but who cares?! Quality doesn't depend on the welds- it's the heritage! Did you know Serotta used to build bikes with the Huffy logo? It's true! What sort of self-respecting frame builder would badge their frames with Huffy? None I would ride.
Nothing... Colnago is betterClydeTri
Aug 1, 2002 9:59 AM
paint scheme has zero to do with bike quality..pure personal preference.....
heritage is one thing...Carbon fiber fanatik
Aug 1, 2002 3:45 PM
but for my own tastes, i wouldnt be caught dead on a colnago because of the completely tasteless and exquistly asinine paint schemes. If I find one in a yard sale in beverly hills? It goes to the paintshop before i even see if it fits...
Aug 1, 2002 10:43 AM
Get a Serotta, they are made by REAL American craftsmen, not lazy chianti-swilling Italian goof-offs. Serotta's are even a better value when you consider Ben's singular attention to detail and commitment to staying on the cutting edge. Ernesto doesn't even care about quality control. I had a Colnago and the paint chipped by just looking at it. I won't even get into the story about the MXL frame that a friend bought that came from the factory out of alignment. Heritage is important, and I'm glad that the spirit of the American work ethic is alive and strong! Do we take the entire month of August off? Hell no! Besides, is Serotta so desperate for endorsements that he has to pay off prestigious automakers so that they can sell an overpriced frame with garish logos on it? ;-)
What makes a Serotta so special.........................gogene
Aug 1, 2002 3:10 PM
..You should pose your (excellent) question over at the Serotta Owners forum. You will get biased (of course) answers, but they will be reasoned and well thought out.
my serotta experiencezooog
Aug 1, 2002 3:37 PM
I was in the market for a new bike some time ago. went to the ONLY local serotta dealer. This guy freaked me out. I think he had just got done blowing the Ben Serotta guy b/c he was oozing all over the place. By the time he was done, he had me fixed on a bike with a MIX of shimano and campy parts...yes to this I swear. Wheels from one of my old bikes. And the whole deal was less that $4,200. Got the frig out of there. Would never even think of owning a serotta unless I moved to someplace else. Now that I look back on it, it was funny.
Depends on you, and the SerottaElefantino
Aug 1, 2002 3:51 PM
I have a new 62cm Atlanta frame that I built up with D/A components. The ride of this large frame is exquisite (including the USE Alien carbon post, placebo effect or not) and is actually (for me) more comfortable than my Trek OCLV.

With the Trek, I don't feel the road vibration but I bounce a lot because the frame is so stiff. With the Serotta, I feel the road but it doesn't matter because it the frame seems tuned to absorb it. That's what Ben and his minions say they do in New York, and in my case it seems to work.

I'm no expert. I just know what feels good. I have not ridden an Hors, or a Concours, or an Ottrott, and I might feel differently about those bikes than I do my Atlanta.

Plus, having a bike with that signature paint job, beautiful brand-name and "Colorado Concept Tubing" on my chain stay makes me feel better. That's a placebo effect, for sure. Sort of like leg-shaving.

FYI, my complete package, including components, came to less than $1,100. Not bad for a three grand bike.

Look Closergrzy
Aug 1, 2002 5:40 PM
Yeah every body likes to critique welds like they're some kind of expert and can actually tell something by the style of the pattern. Might as well pick on Picasso for his brush technique. What it really comes down to is the tube set. The Serotta tube set is drawn, tapered, butted and manipulated to their proprietary standards and specifications and it's what makes them different from the rest and gives their ride a different category. Next time you're out comparing various ti frames at the local botique LBS take a minute to notice the seat tube of say a Serotta Legend ti vs. any other ti bike. You'll notice that the Legend is unique in that it's tapered and becomes much larger at the BB while all the other bikes are the same diameter. This is no accident - the stiffness and bend characteristics are altered at great effort and cost by Serotta while the others couldn't be bothered. Now look at the rear chainstays. You'll notice that the upper chainstays are tapered down at each end and larger in the middle near the rear brake arch. The lower chainstays in addition to being tapered have a pronounced "S" bend - something that Serotta pioneered and others have copied. You can't see inside the tubes, but many ti bikes are simply straight gague while some are double butted. Check out the custom machined dropouts - which some people don't care for. Now look at the forks that Serotta offers - there isn't really another ti frame builder that also desings and specifies their very own fork - most just buy some thing that is already available and slap a label on it. When it's time to buy a Serotta you really want to be fit by one of their Certified Fit Specialists. On their top end bikes there's no difference in price between stock and custom geometry.

Why does any of this matter? It clearly demonstrates the level of commitment and the lengths to which they're willing to go tobuild a quality ride for you. If any of this matters to you and you can feel the difference then maybe it's worth it to you. If not then buy the Diamondback or the bike du jour and keep the rest of your money for a rainy day.