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the lowdown on Lemond Zurich & Buenos Aires frame materials(16 posts)

the lowdown on Lemond Zurich & Buenos Aires frame materialsET
Jul 24, 2003 8:23 AM
In a thread yesterday (that has now dropped off the front page) on the best bike for $2000, I stated that I believe that Reynolds 853 stays are no longer being made (although admittedly I can't recall where I saw or heard that), and that now, at least beginning in '03 (not sure about '02), only the main triangle of the Zurich is 853, the stays being made of older-designed, heavier metal. Assuming it's true, one can agree or disagree as to whether that means it's "dumbed down" (as I called it) over previous models and how good a buy it is, but at the least, one has a right to know of the changes. A few posters came on to say that in fact it is the Buenos Aires that has the pure 853 main triangle with heavier metals for the stays.

Actually, this is not correct. Not to be outdone, the Buenos Aires has also been "dumbed down". Its main frame is no longer made out of pure 853, but rather Reynolds 853 Select (as Lemond is now defining it), i.e., a combo of 853 and 525. Lemond's site explicitly says this about the Buenos Aires, while the Zurich's description (853 for the "mainframe") is not completely definitive about the stays but certainly leaves open the possibility:
Zurich is 853 Pro, as is my 2001 Z. Whatever that means! nmSpunout
Jul 24, 2003 9:00 AM
right, whatever that means!ET
Jul 24, 2003 10:18 AM
I believe "853 Select" used to mean 853 main triangle, 525 (or whatever) stays; now it means that even the main triangle is blended. "853 Pro" used to mean the entire frame was 853; now I believe it refers only to the main triangle. Same names, different frames.
I think I disagreejtolleson
Jul 24, 2003 10:40 AM
The BA remains an 853 main triangle with a 525 rear... not "blended" pipes throughout. The Zurich remains 853 throughout. I don't think that the Lemond cite is ambiguous but you can also check with Reynolds.
how else can you interpret this?ET
Jul 24, 2003 11:33 AM
"A Select bike's main triangle is a mix of round tubed 853, the famous air-hardened tube that actually grows stronger when welded, and Reynolds 525."
The Zurich is not select.jtolleson
Jul 24, 2003 11:46 AM
It was you yesterday who said the Zurich was no longer a good deal, had been dumbed down, etc. I find nothing that supports that.

There is no dispute that the BA is a combination of pipes (though the pipes themselves are not "blended").
I never said the Zurich is Select.ET
Jul 24, 2003 12:25 PM
Nor did I say it's no longer a good deal. I said I believe the stays are no longer 853 and therefore that it is not as good a buy as it once was. I also suggested that Lemond altered its definitions of 853 Pro (now limited to main triangle) and 853 Select (now includes main triangle).

It was you today and yesterday who said the BA remains an 853 main triangle with a 525 rear. I'll ask again, how do you interpret the quoted passage referring to the main triangle as having a mix of the two metals?
I'm starting to get the feeling that this is a personal missionjtolleson
Jul 24, 2003 1:04 PM
for you!? We'll just have to agree to disagree.

It seems clear enough.djg
Jul 25, 2003 11:01 AM
I gather that the "select" frames no longer have 853 tubes throughout even the main triangle, but rather some combination of 853 and 525, including at least one 853 tube and at least one 525 tube. I don't see any other way to read what LeMond itself has posted on its web site, other than the ludicrous possibility of each individual tube being a mixture.

The description of the "pro" tubeset is unclear. I believe that the web site used to specify 853 throughout, whereas now they just don't seem to say what the stays are.

I don't know if the bikes are better, worse, or equally good as before, but you do seem to be right about the change in the pipes and my off-the-cuff guess would be that this has at least something to do with saving money.
I think I disagreeCrankist
Jul 24, 2003 12:52 PM
I have a Z., but never handled the BA, so I'm just guessing here: The Pro is shaped 853 and the Select is round-tubed 853. Both have 525 rear triangle.
Slightly different perspectiveNessism
Jul 24, 2003 12:37 PM
I have two different frames that are very similar in all respects except for the rear stays. One is full Dedacciai ZeroUno but the other has a ZeroUno main trangle with True Temper OXRCX stays. The True Temper stays are quite a bit heavier and the overall frame rigidty is quite a bit stiffer. Overall, I like the frame with the heavier stays better since it's stiffer.

The point of this is to ride the bike and see if you like it. It very well could be that some people may like the 525 rear stays better.

Just my $0.02, and overpriced at that.

How can you make such an assumption?Fez
Jul 24, 2003 2:04 PM
Regardless of what they did to the BA, how can you make any assumption about the Zurich?

It clearly states the Mailliot Jaune and Zurich are made of 853 Pro.

It also clearly states the 853 Select tubing applies to BA and lower models. You're making a lot of assumptions here. If it concerns you that much, call or write Lemond (the company, not the person) to get a better answer.
I think I can put this to bed...Farmer John
Jul 24, 2003 7:08 PM
the reason you see a lot of mixture of tubes is cost. Plus that 853 sticker on the seatube is like hanging a Dura Ace rear dérailleur on a 105 bike. Instant eye candy.

When 853 was introduced, chain and seat stays were not available. True Temper OX Gold, Reynolds 725 and 525 were used commonly as rear triangles (still are obviously). Frame builders had no choice in the matter, it wasn't a way to dumb down a frame.

I don't think it is now either.

Now comes 631. 631 is a descendant of 531 and has the air hardening properties of 853. Reynolds claims a strength to weight ratio rivaling 7005 aluminum alloy with a much longer fatigue life.

525 is also a descendant of 531, maybe closer to it than 631. It is not air hardened (in other words, heat treating takes place after welding, not prior to, but post tube production ala 853) and has had it's alloy tweaked to better suit modern welding practices (531 was primarily joined by either silver or brass soldering into lugwork).

the only possible advantage that 853 stays would have over 631 or 525 is that the 853 stays could be drawn with much shorter butts. This would allow a stiff BB area with a lot of compliance designed into the rest of the tubes. The same is true for main tube frames. 853 is a "short butt" tube. Lighter weight, livelier feel.

853 pro. Even shorter butts and thinner center sections. I believe that only the top and downtube get this treatment.

BTW, I own a LeMond built with 525. Other than being a bit quicker handling, it's feel is quite similar to that of a decent 531 frame of times gone by. 531 is STILL the best feeling tubeset you could ever own a bike made out of.
Jul 25, 2003 4:55 AM
If it is true that '531 is STILL the best feeling tubeset you could ever own a bike made out of', why has bike industry - when building high quality steel frames - gone away from this standard of yore?
Weight weenies demanded it, Plus people likeOldEdScott
Jul 25, 2003 5:12 AM
new and 'better' stuff.

But he's right (and pay attention to what he's actually saying): The 'feel' of 531 has never been equaled. 853 has some advantages over 531 (weight, strength) but 'feel' isn't one of them.
Weight weenies demanded it, Plus people likeHeron Todd
Jul 25, 2003 8:35 AM
I have some Herons here built with 531OS and some built with a double-butted cromoly. You can't tell the difference. The tubes are the same diameter, same wall thicknesses, and same butt lengths. The strength and flexibility of the two alloys are nearly identical.

Personally, I think people liked the ride of the old 531 frames because they typically came with a very nice crowned fork rather than the overly stiff unicrown steel, aluminum, and carbon forks used today.

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