A new frame arrived the other day, this one for good pal Douglas Brooks. The whole bike will be a Tournesol Leger, similar to our new Classic: a quick, light road bike designed around the Alpha Q GS25 fork and 57mm -reach calipers. Shiny Honjo 35mm fenders fit perfectly wih 25mm tires; yank the fenders and 28 or 30mm tires fit just fine. We’ll use standard SRAM parts and handbuilt wheels, maybe a few leather touches amongst the shiny alloy.

What makes the frame so interesting, however, is that this is our first frame from Independent Fabrication built with Reynolds 953 mar-aging stainless steel. Don’t look to me for an explanation of this fancy expensive tubeset, but understand that it builds up into a very light, shiny frame with immaculate little welds – they truly need to be seen to be appreciated. I must admit that I was a tad ambivalent towards a steel frame with the same weight and price of titanium but without the same crash-worthiness of that material. Then I saw the frame, admired the welds, felt the light weight, fondled the oversized tubing. The material doesn’t rust, it’s incredibly strong, and the ride is supposedly slightly terrific.

And finally, a long-overdue show of appreciation to the great folks at Independent Fabrication, purveyors of fine steel, 953, and titanium frames. I’m thrilled with the ferrous frames we’re getting from them and were I not owned by the Steamboat Springs Mafia I would be perfectly happy to ask IndyFab for titanium frames. Thanks, gang.

Pix here.

5 replies
  1. Little_Jewford
    Little_Jewford says:

    The question is how does it ride and how will it hold up to abuse? From the little I’ve gathered 953 has a classic steel ride (great!) with the weight of Ti (even better!) but may be susceptible to denting or even buckling because of the thin wall thickness. I’m not worried about folding the bike, that would be a silly thought, rather I wary of beating up a 953 or any super thin walled metal bike during the typical “day to day” abuse situations.

    I guess many of these questions won’t be answered till there is a decent number of 953 bikes on the road for a while, not sure if that will ever really happen.

    It’s funny to think I grew up down the road from where these tubes were developed…almost feels like I should buy one.

  2. Stevie
    Stevie says:

    According to my guys at Indy Fab it rides great: steel-like but with an added plushness. I’ll add my impressions after I take it for a spin this weekend.

    953 will resist buckling from crashing and driving into garage overhangs slightly better than steel, but not as well as titanium. Like steel, it will not fatigue; unlike steel, it will not rust. If you don’t wrap it around a telephone pole, get hit by a truck, or drive it into your house it should last indefinitely.

    I think that if you like the feel of steel but want the light weight of titanium – and like shiny finishes – this could be a great choice; if you don’t like shiny we can paint it.

    I imagine I’ll get one soon for myself, not sure which flavor.

  3. dbrk
    dbrk says:

    Bike’s in Bristol now with me and will be finished next week. Ride review to follow but as for workmanship, this one is clean, simple, easy on the eyes and promises to keep it’s appeal. Plus, Tournesol graphics are just plane cool. More soon. —dbrk


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