I haven't followed this thread closely but I thought I would re-post an email from Andy Hampsten that I received in 2004 in response to a question I had about a particular bike he was riding in a stage. His reply:
"Hi Angel, Good eyes there. Eddy Merckx was and still is the master of matching riders to frames. He would start all of us on Columbus's Max tubing for the earlier season races. They weighed more than other tube sets but it was a joy to get such responsiveness out of a frame. For my bikes Eddy would get me on lighter but very strong frames for the April Ardennes races and early stage races. By June and the important stage races I would be flying on his lighter bikes with the Tour ride being a very sweet Reynolds 753 based super light frame ready to rocket.
Of course a lot of riders, me included would moan about "yeah but that team gets to ride super light carbon or aluminum" or what ever else looked like greener grass to us. Eddy was good at pointing out to us that there was no sense shaving ounces off of a frame and fork that would save us seconds on the climbs but wouldn't handle well. "Why gain 40 seconds on a climb and loose 2 minutes on a descent?" he would reason. Looking back to where those materials where in the early 90s I have to agree.
The riders where able to decide what they wanted to ride on. Of course it was limited and I hate to say it but it depended on how the rider's political status was with the team. Eddy took care of all the riders but few were spoiled with a new frame every week or two like I was.
I really liked the 753 tube set, but Eddy knew it was not a long lasting material. He let me use them for the mountainous tours and a few big one day races, and then put them to rest.
In '88 I had a fantastic frame made by John Slawta of Landshark that got me up and over the snowy Gavia pass. He used Tange Prestige tubing back then.
Enjoy your ride, whatever it is. Andy Hampsten"
Angel Garcia Long Valley NJ
---------- Forwarded message ---------- From: Jim Merz <email@example.com> Date: Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 10:28 AM Subject: Re: [CR] Frame stiffness; Was: Phil disk brake, Vitus 172 To: Jan Heine <firstname.lastname@example.org> Cc: JB Froke <email@example.com>, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
My wording was not correct, you made it clear. However, a heavy, strong rider using a frame made with 531SL can stress the tubes to cause early failure. In this case the much higher tensile strength of 753 makes for a much longer lasting frame. I agree that the ride is very nice also.
Jim Merz Big Sur CA
On Mon, Jul 5, 2010 at 9:43 PM, Jan Heine <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> At 8:06 PM -0700 7/5/10, Jim Merz wrote:
> frame getting "soft" from use [...] old wife's tale. The benefit from
>> using a very high
>> tensile steel such as 753 is that a strong rider can flex it quite far
>> without yielding it.
> I have yet to see a rider strong enough to flex a frame made from 531 to
> the yield point...
> I believe that the myth of high-end steels being stiffer came from two
> observations, none of which actually relate to stiffness:
> 1. The super high-tensile strength steels are much harder to cold-set. So
> builders often thought they were stiffer, when in fact, they just required
> more bending until they took a set.
> 2. Many riders prefer flexible frames without knowing it. When asking these
> riders, they'll often tell you that their new frame is "so stiff, it
> accelerates wonderfully," even though when measured, the frame is much less
> stiff than their old one that felt "dead." So when the super-high tensile
> steel frame with ultra-thin walls "felt stiff," it contradicted the fact
> that thinner walls make a tube more flexible. The only way around this
> conundrum was to reason that the new super-high tensile steel must be
> inherently stiffer, which more than makes up for the thinner walls.
> We have documented in double-blind tests that more flexible frames can
> accelerate better for some riders. It's too involved a subject for this
> As for frames going soft, the French never heard of that one, otherwise,
> they wouldn't have reconditioned decades-old favorite frames... I don't know
> whether Italians believed this, so the only place where I have seen this
> concern documented is Britain, and from there, it seems to have migrated
> across the English-speaking world.
> Jan Heine
> Bicycle Quarterly
> 2116 Western Ave.
> Seattle WA 98121