Re: [CR] Frame stiffness NOW Frames Getting Soft and 753

(Example: Bike Shops)

In-Reply-To: <>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2010 13:50:16 -0500
From: "Harry Travis" <>
To: Angel Garcia <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Frame stiffness NOW Frames Getting Soft and 753

That's a very interesting letter, providing context for that line from Merckx (or Hampsden) about the importance of handling.

But, what does it mean that Reynolds 753 was not a long-lasting material [in bikes built with those tubes?

Also noted, Tange Prestige, which "don't get no respect" from too many of us.

[ I know the modern TdF is off-topic, but allowing one third or more of all riders to crash themselves and their bikes Sunday on a portion of the course spoiled by an motorcyclists' oil spill would seem riskier than putting them on frames that might have a higher failure rate, if that is what "not a long-lasting material" meant. ]

Harry Travis Pine Barrens of NJ USA

On Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 11:13 AM, Angel Garcia <> wrote:
> 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 <>
> Date: Tue, Jul 6, 2010 at 10:28 AM
> Subject: Re: [CR] Frame stiffness; Was: Phil disk brake, Vitus 172
> To: Jan Heine <>
> Cc: JB Froke <>,,
> 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 <> 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
> > thread...
> >
> > 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
> > Editor
> > Bicycle Quarterly
> > 2116 Western Ave.
> > Seattle WA 98121
> >
> > --
> >
> _______________________________________________
> _______________________________________________

Harry Travis