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Steel Questions(8 posts)

Steel QuestionsRide-Fly
Nov 16, 2002 11:36 AM
I read various company's (Deda, Columbus, Reynolds) claims about how they each have the best and lightest steel around. For Instance, Deda says their EOM 16.5 is the best in their lineup and the best overall steel tubest made. Columbus claims the same with Ultra Foco. Reynolds claims their 853 is the tops. And what about Ritchey's Nitanium, how does it compare to these other top end tubesets? Lastly, anyone know the difference between Deda's EOM 16.5 and SAT 14.5??? All these tubesets are confusing! I am looking at the DeRosa Corum which has the 16.5 tubeset but am also considering a Landshark from GVHbikes (the reason why I posted a seperate post below about their website.) I want a steel bike that is a good compromise between light and stiff as possible while reasonably priced. Any other suggestions would be much appreciated. Thanks and Ride ON!!!
A change of focusDMoore
Nov 16, 2002 12:53 PM
Light weight steel is light weight steel - who makes it, and what they call it, doesn't make much difference. FAR more important is bike fit, which includes not only having the right dimensions but also the right degree of stiffness for your purposes. Builder A may use tubes from company X while Builder B uses tubes from company Y, but that doesn't mean the brand of tubes make much difference in the final bike.

If you want lightweight steel, any of the tubesets you mention will do the job. Find a bike made from any of those tubes that has the right dimensions, flex and "feel" for you. Don't worry about what's on the tubing decal. Richard Sachs, for example, hasn't even put a tubing decal on his frames for many years now. He says it doesn't matter, and he's right. I don't know what kind of tubes are in my Sachs bike - all I know is that it's the best fitting, best riding bike I've ever owned. I attribute that to Richard's skill in fit, design and construction, and not to the brand of whatever tubes he felt were most appropriate for my bike.

Pick a bike that works for you, and let the constructor choose the most appropriate tubing. It's a strained analogy, but when you buy a car do you bother to ask which steel mill rolled the steel that's used in your body and chassis? Of course not. It's the final result that matters, not the individual parts.
Nov 16, 2002 4:54 PM
Find the best builder and a bike that will fit right. I like the way the guys at Soulcraft put it.
Nov 16, 2002 7:25 PM
The difference between EOM 16.5 and SAT 14.5 is that EOM 16.5 gets bead blasted, Dedacciai calls it KET, Kinetic Energy Treatment. It sometimes builds to a lighter frame, but not always, for example the EOM 16.5 tubesets used by Pegoretti in the Great Googoolee Moogoolee and the Marcelo are fairly heavy and barely lighter than Pegorettis Palosanto frame built from SAT 14.5. Landshark bikes are made from Dedaciai Zero Uno which is another moniker for SAT 14.5, same thing. Some guys love the way EOM 16.5 rides, others think in certain tubesets and configurations it is kind of rough, aluminum like riding. AS others above have said, it all comes down to the builder and the individual tubeset. The real hard thing about trying to focus in on a brand name tubeset such as EOM 16.5 is that withing this brand tubeset there are literally hundreds of variations possible based upon individual frame builder proprietary geometries. Pegorettis EOM 16.5 tubesets are heavier and have substantially larger diameters than the EOM 16.6 tubes Pinarello uses in it's Opera bike for example. I personally love the way my Foco tubed bikes ride, but there are many different ride qualities which can be built with various Foco proprietary tubesets. Much better to look at the builder and his reputation than try to become a tubeset expert.
Some infoNessism
Nov 16, 2002 8:47 PM
COM 12.5 = ZeroUno - high strength non-heat treated steel

SAT 14.5 = Zero - same metal as ZeroUno but heat treated

EOM 16.5 - same heat treated steel as Zero but with KET

Also, it is common for a manufactuer to have the tubes drawn to specific dimensions regardless of the tube sticker used.

Nov 17, 2002 4:28 AM
I went through this 'new' steel bit last year, researching all the manufacturer's websites and comparing. I've had a number of steel frames made from Reynolds 531, Columbus SL,TSX and EL-OS, and Ishiwata including a couple of custom builds.

I ended up visiting and talking to the builder about what I wanted in the frame. He had 853, SAT 14.5 and Columbus Foco and UltraFoco in his shop and was able to show me the various tube sets, tube shapes, etc. A bit of fun just picking the stuff up and noting the differences in weight.

It came down to SAT 14.5 and Foco, and I ended up going with the Deda set. It rides nicely, is reasonably light for steel but more importantly, it fits right. It's really down to the builder.

I'm also told the difference between 16.5 and 14.5 is that the butts on the former are a bit shorter and in some of the profiles, the non-butted portion is a bit thinner.
Soul searchingNessism
Nov 16, 2002 7:35 PM
I disagree with those that say that the tubeset doesn't matter. The tubing manufactuers make a range of different tubesets models for distinctly different purposes; some are thin and light and others are thick and robust. For example, Ultra Foco and EOM 16.5 are both very similar in that they use super large diameter, super thin tubes. These tubesets are designed to build into a frame that will weigh somewhere near 3 lbs. even and will perform like a full fledged race machine. But because the tubes are so thin, the frameset will be prone to denting and lack the general ruggedness that a thicker tubed frame will posess.

Potentional buyers need to decide what they want from their frame. If one wants rugged, go for a thicker tubeset. If low weight is the top priority, go for thin wall. and please don't confuse a thicker tube with being lower quality, it is not.

In my opinion, it's hard to beat a medium thick tubeset, like 853 or ZeroUno (same as COM12.5). Most of these frames will offer a nice balance between ride quality, bottom bracket stiffness, and overall weight. But be careful, 853 for example comes in many different thicknesses so a builder can build a super stiff or a fairly soft frame all with the same tube sticker. For reasons like this, it is not wise to judge by sticker alone.

Good luck.

re: Steel QuestionsHeron Todd
Nov 17, 2002 10:04 AM
Depends on what you want. Higher-end tubing is generally stronger, but it's not stiffer. So, a thin-walled 853 frame will be lighter than a thicker-walled 525 frame, but it will be more flexible. This is fine for a racing bike since racers are usually fairly light and don't carry any gear.

If you want stiffness, you need a thicker wall. You can use a thick-walled 853, and it will be stiff and very strong. However, the 525 will be just as stiff and plenty strong with the thicker wall. So, 853 is really overkill in this type of application. 525 will work just as well and will cost a bit less.

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776