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The Bottom Line on the Zurich and BA Tubesets(12 posts)

The Bottom Line on the Zurich and BA Tubesetsjtolleson
Jul 29, 2003 10:36 AM
There was a discussion last week about what changes had been made to these framesets in recent years and the Reynolds and Lemond websites were less than clear.

Here's the scoop for those who care. Both the Zurich and Buenos Aires are still all 853 main triangle. Neither has 853 stays. The Zurich's are 752 and the BA's are 525.

Here's the email response I received from Lemond:

Is the rear triangle on the Zurich still Reynolds 853?

[Swenson, Steve] No They are 752, 853 is too hard to achieve the shape we use on the chainstays. I'm not sure if anyone uses 853 for stays.

Also, which tubes on the BA are now Reynolds 525?

[Swenson, Steve] The chainstays and seatstays only. [Swenson, Steve] The rest is 853
re: The Bottom Line on the Zurich and BA TubesetsET
Jul 29, 2003 12:07 PM
Thanks for posting that info. A few followup questions:

1. Is the LeMond rep saying they never used 853 stays, or rather that they changed to 752?

2. If the latter, why can they no longer use 853 stays when they once did?

3. Why can't they just be upfront and say on their web site and in their catalog what materials are being used in the stays?

4. What is 752?
Everything you wanted to know about Reynolds tubes, and more...davet
Jul 29, 2003 3:49 PM
Amazing how vague their catalogue/website are.OldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 4:46 PM
I love their bikes -- have a 2002 Zurich, although I thought the BA was nearly equal and a much better deal -- but it's always annoyed me to read their stuff and realize I have no earthly idea what the hell it really says about what material's really used where.

Worse than frickin poltical spin, as far as sounding great but being vague to the point of incomprehensibility.

And what IS 752??
No such thing as 752Nessism
Jul 29, 2003 5:23 PM
The dorky Lemond rep transposed the numbers when typing. He ment to type, 725 which is heat treated chrome-moly. These stays are first rate. No worry regarding strength and quality. Don't fret the lack of 853 in the stays.

OK, totally nuts ...OldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 5:39 PM
I dragged out the 2002 LeMond catalogue, and will quote verbatim what it says about 853 Select, which is what the BA is. We've assumed, and the rep tells Julie, that the main triangle is 853 and the stays are 525. But get this from the section titled "Frame materials -- the choice is yours" (caps added for emphasis):

"A Select bike's MAIN TRIANGLE is a MIX of round tubed 853 ... AND Reynolds 525."

Since you can't mix 853 and 525 within a tube (can you?), I have to assume at least one and maybe two tubes in the MAIN triangle is 525, if you can believe that sentence. There's no other way to read it.

The 'artful mix' they refer to may not be what everyone assumes.
Yep, that's the languagejtolleson
Jul 29, 2003 5:46 PM
that had me so baffled (it is on their website also). So that is why I asked "which tubes" of the main triangle were 525 and, well, you see the answer I got. Which is also the answer I got from our large local Lemond dealer (Wheat Ridge Cyclery). Why their published materials are inconsistent I do not know...
I think their language isOldEdScott
Jul 29, 2003 5:56 PM

Still love the bikes. And 525 is good stuff (another Lemond phrase) so what the hell?
head tube is 525.... they include it as "main triangle"russw19
Jul 29, 2003 9:09 PM
I asked my Lemond/Fisher rep about this last week after the first go round of these questions.

If you look at the chainstays on the Zurich, they have a slight trianglar shape to them.... they can't get this shape with the 853 tubes.

The BA is 853 Top, Down, and Seat tubes... the rest is 525.
The reason for this is just as I said in my first post about this subject... Trek considers the BA to be a Sport Bike... not a Racing or Pro bike... the type of rider who would buy a sport bike wants the legendary comfort of steel bikes if he/she is buying a steel bike. For this reason, they use 525 stays to soften up the rear end. Full 853 bikes will feel slightly harsh for most recreational riders... people buying the BA want the "steel is real feel" about there bikes.

When you go up to the Zurich or Maillot Jaune then you are getting the pro level bike, which most riders would want to be stiffer than a recreational bike. So they use 853 for the front triangle (head tube included) and 725 for the stays which can be cold drawn and manipulated to shape much better than 853. 725 tubes can also be made lighter (thru careful shape and butting manipulation) than 853 so it is used on the stays as an upgrade. It allows Lemond to have a stiffer rear end without having extra weight that would be the result of using thicker plain round stays, as opposed to the slightly trianglar shaped 725 stays.

Mind you, this is all regurgitated information from my rep... he may be spot on, and he may not be... but as I am not a frame builder and have never tried to work with 853 tubes, I don't really know if this is 100% accurate, or not. But I have known this rep for several years and long before he went to work at Trek, I worked with him at a local shop, so he has no reason to not be straight up with me on this one.

I really hope this info helps clear some of this up for someone. I don't really want to make it more jumbled. But the website is less than specific on this issue... but the guys who do the website are webguys... not bike guys. That's a quote from my rep as well... he said that the info on the web could very well be confusing if none of the bike tech guys noticed otherwise.. the webguys may not know bikes.


Oh, and one last thing... Reynolds 525 is on par with great tubesets like Columbus El or Tange Super Prestige or True Temper OX. So even the 525 frame is really good. The only things comparable to 853 are Columbus Foco and Dedacciai Zero.
head tube is 525.... they include it as "main triangle"xcandrew
Jul 30, 2003 1:16 AM
The sales person was also giving you some inaccurate "feel" information, but it pretty much on par with what you see everywhere (especially on these kinds of message boards), and he probably believed what he was saying. Some brief comments:

I don't have the tube dimensions, but 525 stays are presumably a little heavier than the 725 stays. I haven't seen either tube on the Lemonds, but I'm pretty certain that the 525 stays are a little stiffer than the 725's because ALL steels (even department store bike steel)have essentially the same Young's (elastic) modulus (=stiffness of the material itself). Assuming the same chainstay length, the extra weight should mean extra stiffness in the 525 stays. From your description of the tube shapes, I don't think that would give any edge to the 725's. Round stays are stiffer than most other shapes for stays because stays are stressed primarily in torsion and lateral bending. If they are taller than they are wide, that is just the opposite of what you would want for maximal stiffness, though crank and tire clearance are definitely more important factors most of the time (link to finite element analysis of some frames: ) I just looked up Steelmancycles because I know he builds a lot of 525 frames as well as 853. He says that his 525 frames are 3-6 ounces heavier and a bit stiffer than his 853 frames... so confirmation.

Similarly, I not sure that there is anything real to the "853 rides slightly harsh" talk because there should be no stiffness difference assuming the tubes are the same size (not a certainty... Reynolds doesn't have the dimensions -diameter, thickness, tapers, etc. - that they offer listed on their website.) The material is definitely hard though. After welding, it gets so hard that it it hard to ream (wears out good expensive reamers very quickly), and that is why many (maybe or maybe not most) frames with 853 use non-air hardened seat and head tubes (source: the framebuilder's list).
Excellent info! Thanks xcandrew! -nmrussw19
Jul 30, 2003 5:11 AM
Good info...with one small commentNessism
Jul 30, 2003 9:04 AM
Reynolds 525 is standard chrome-moly steel. It is a lower level tubeset compaired to Tange Prestige, and Columbus EL (Columbus Nivacrom alloy). 725 is directly compairable to these tubesets however.

The mechanical properties of 525 are almost identical to Columbus Cyclex and Reynolds 531 (which is manganeese-moly). 725 is a heat treated version of 525 and thus tubes can be made thinner because the metal is stronger.