We predominantly use Reynolds 853 in our Stoater and Skinnymalinky builds as we like the characteristics this material gives our frames and can take advantage of the huge variety of tube sizes and butting to help fine-tune these characteristics further.
To improve on this flexibility, Reynolds has developed the ‘8-2-9 Project’ allowing high-strength carbon steels to be TIG welded to high-strength stainless steel. The main aim being to provide cost-effective options for incorporating stainless steel on all-road type bikes where downtubes and stays may be more susceptible to damage from stone chips etc.
Although there is nothing new in welding stainless to non-stainless steels, very little work had been done on joining high strength alloys – and certainly very little information has been available to the cycle industry.
Working with the metallurgy department at the University of Birmingham and the technical staff at VBC group, Reynolds identified a welding wire that offered the best combination of strength and ductility (to maximise fatigue life) whilst at the same time being compatible with 853 and 921 tubing.
Reynolds then approached ourselves to conduct real-world TIG samples of the welding wire on test joints, then ultimately on a couple of finished frames that were submitted to Bureau Veritas for testing to EN standards. We’re pleased to report that the frames passed the safety test for bicycles with flying colours and were delighted that Reynolds wanted to collaborate with ourselves on the project.