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Steel is real, but....(15 posts)

Steel is real, but....Iwannapodiumgirl
Mar 18, 2003 8:30 PM
A somewhat broad question: what is the advatnages/disadvantages of a lugged and TIG welded steel frame?
one would wonder if there is an answer...hackmechanic
Mar 18, 2003 8:58 PM
Lugged bikes, hmmm.... tradition. A considerable overlap of material and the lower temperature of brazing vs. tig welding might have made an argument for lugged being stronger. The higher temps of tig welding could potentially damage the tubes causing premature failure. A lugged bike is also easier to repair should it ever eventually fail.

Tigged bikes, hmmm... The use of lugs may limit the geometries available to the builder but only if looking for something radical as contemporary lugs come in a number of configurations for seat/head/downtube/chainstay angles and they can be bent to a point for custom configurations. New light weight steel bikes are butted so close to mitre that lugs will often disperse stresses to the thinner part of the tube if not carefully considered. Also, most contemporary tubesets like 853 or TrueTemper Platinum are air hardening which means they don't realize their true strength potential unless connected by a high temp joining method like tig welding. Brazing just isn't hot enough. And, finally, tig welding allows the builder to use multishaped tubes and unique combinations of tubing diameters to custom tune the ride of the bike. Lugs often limit the diameters of the tubes available to the builder as you can only use what fits in the holes and forget about shaped tubes.

These are the facts but don't in anyway suggest one is better than the other. Just different.
I have a hard time believeing that Henry James....Stinky Hippie
Mar 19, 2003 10:08 AM
.... would sell True temper platinum to be used with their lugs if there was really a problem with strength using that particular joining method

Feel the gin
Well, from what I hear, these days about the only real advantageKen of Fresno
Mar 18, 2003 9:05 PM
of lugs is that a lugged frame can be relatively easily repaired, as the tubes can be heated and removed from the lugs for replacement. I imagine though that most people would just opt for a new frame if a bike was wrecked that badly. I think the biggest real difference is probably asthetic. I've seen lugged frames and filet brazed frames that both look pretty nice. Never really lusted after a TIG welded bike. My Lemond is TIG welded. It's nice handling and comfy but not all that good looking.

re: Steel is real, but....purplepaul
Mar 18, 2003 9:33 PM
Here's an explanation from a master frame builder.
There may NOT be a weight differential...Spunout
Mar 19, 2003 4:23 AM
Because, lugged tubesets do not need as extensive butting as the lug takes the force.

A tubeset designed for TIG welding has thicker, longer butts to stand up to the welding, and lack of lugs.

So, the weight change is moot. Bad TIG welding is very ugly.

OTOH, Fillet-brazed non-lugged bikes can be very nice too.
Mar 19, 2003 7:41 AM
Most of the modern TIG specific tubesets usually have shorter butts than those used for lug building. I know this because I'm a garage lugged frame builder and have found this to be a problem when using tubesets like Foco and Dedacciai Zero - can't fit the lug on the butt.

Also, most of the new highend tubesets, like UltraFoco, True Temper S3, and Deda EOM16.5, are TIG specific and use super thin butts - in the .5-.6 mm range.

I agree with your comments about bad TIG looking very ugly.

Actually, you can fillet the S3.....Stinky Hippie
Mar 19, 2003 10:11 AM
...The guy who built my frame just made one for himself...pretty flimsy tubing, I must say. Definitely a disposable bike

feel the gin
mostly aestheticstarwheel
Mar 19, 2003 5:16 AM
A lugged bike might be slightly heavier than tig or filet brazed, but I think the main issue is aesthetics. To me, lugs are one of the things that make a frame visually appealing. It also demonstrates a certain level of craftsmanship, like dovetail corners and other jointery on fine furniture. Lugged frames are easier to repair, but generally it costs almost as much to repair and repaint a frame as it does to buy a new one.
Mar 19, 2003 6:08 AM
A good set of lugs turn a bike into a work of art. With the entry of the new hi-tech steels, tig welding makes a slightly lighter frame. The old, low-tech steels (531, SL, 753) were weakened by heat. 853, True Temper OX Platinum, and others, get stronger when tig welded.
The hi strength steels allow builders to use oversize tubes, which help to make the bike stiffer for larger riders.
Lugs V. TigHeron Todd
Mar 19, 2003 8:48 AM
>The old, low-tech steels (531, SL, 753) were weakened by heat. 853, True Temper OX Platinum, and others, get stronger when tig welded.

Yes and no. Even without the high-heat, 853 and OX Plat are plenty strong. Reynolds recommends silver-brazing for braze-ons that are located mid-tube, i.e. in the thinner sections of the tube. If the high heat of TIG welding made the metal stronger, why not use it here?

>The hi strength steels allow builders to use oversize tubes

This isn't a function of the alloy used. 531 and regular cromoly are available in OS sizing. Since they are thicker-walled than most 853 or OX Plat tubes, they are stiffer.

Todd Kuzma
Heron Bicycles
LaSalle, IL 815-223-1776
more confused than everIwannapodiumgirl
Mar 19, 2003 5:03 PM
Thanks for the responses.

I'm tossing up between a De Rosa Corum (OEM16.5 welded) and a Gios Compact Pro (lugged) frameset. I have ridden both, yet not able to identify any difference (a short 20kms ride did not show any)

Tending towards the Gios due to price, yet if the Corum is the better frameset, I am willing to extend myself - after all, it is only money.

So, which is the better frame?
there is more to quality than ridelaffeaux
Mar 19, 2003 7:47 PM
Lugged frames are considered to look nicer to some people. They show care and craftsmanship in manufacturing. It's about doing things the old way.

If the bikes ride the same, base your decision on price and the bike that you "like" better. A lot of people choose lugs for the same reason that some people prefer a certain color bike.

Lugs are like a cool paint job. It does not make the bike ride better, but it sure says a lot about the frame.
Apples and OrangesNessism
Mar 19, 2003 9:22 PM
The two frames you note are very different. One uses oversize thin walled tubing and the other uses small diameter thick walled tubing.

The Gios will be more durable, due to the thicker tubing, and quite a bit heavier for the same reason.

My vote goes out for the De Rosa. While I love lugs, I prefer oversize tubing even more.

re:more confused than everukiahb
Mar 19, 2003 10:15 PM
Don't know which of those two is better, but recently changed from a TIG welded Bianchi to a lugged Tommasini Sintesi and like the Tommasini waaay better and am riding more as a result...must admit that aesthetics does have a lot to do with it for me at least...I want to get out and ride every time I look at the new bike (even after 4 months), and the Bianchi didn't affect me that way. FWIW it might be worth looking at a Tommasini Tecno also, it has OS tubing AND lugs. Of course these are all great bikes, so you can't really go boils down to personal preference in the end