(here are some pulled posts from a forum discussion i
was involved in. the subject matter was linked to columbus'
new neobium material. my replies are in boldface.)

Originally Posted by S*ndy
> I still have the same question as I asked earlier in
> the thread. Other than weight, what are the advantages
> (if any) of Niobium? Or any other steel.
if the quality of the material is up-ed,
you can use less of it with no penalty.

Originally Posted by c*tulle
> Isn´t that a tautology?
no. it's gnosticism yo.
Originally Posted by c*tulle
> Ooops, sorry, I'll be right back, I just got a demiurge.
i had one yesterday. it took 3 weeks to get
an appointment with a licensed demiurgist.
but my skin is softer and tingly yo.

Originally Posted by c*tulle
> Phew, I hadn't had a demiurge in an Aeon.
they recommend an annual demiurge after you hit 50 yo yo.
Originally Posted by S*ndy
> Two questions please:
> 1. If the diameter is the same and the tube wall is
> reduced, then the stiffness is less. Why is that?
> 2. What makes the tubing of one bike stronger than
> another, tube diameter?
1) because there is less material.
2) all things being equal, yes, increasing o.d. will make
the tube a stronger "unit".
remember - you don't "feel" the tube wall or the butt transition
or the lug or the tig bead. you "feel" the sum total of the care
with which it's all assembled into a rationally (one would hope...)
designed bicycle. to wit, i don't even think you "feel" the frame
seperately; you feel the sum total of all of the components chosen
for a particular frame's assembly, and you also "feel" the condition
in which that particular sum total has been maintained with regard
to mechanical wear. i.e., the cable and chain stretch, tire tread
wear, loss of spoke tension, loose springs on pedal/cleat interfaces,
etcetera. trying to discern what's what based on what a particular
tube is made of, its guage, o.d., if it's heat treated or not;
these are impossibly arcane nuances that may be seperated out in
lab-like situations but mean far less in the real world.

Originally Posted by S*ndy
> Thanks for the answers and explanation of them.
i'm catching up on the tech talk via a correspondance course.
today's u.s. mail contained an intro to stiffness primer that
i read over a nice hummus and sauerkraut based lunch.

Originally Posted by Cl*mb
> when someone like columbus works on a new tubing, what are
> they hoping to accomplish? is it something about the actual
> nature of the steel itself, or is it about the way the steel
> can be shaped? i'm not sure i know the right words to ask the
> question intelligently. tubes have two "properties": there is
> the molecular structure of the steel itself; and then there is
> how the steel is shaped, i.e. diameter, butting, ovalization,
> etc. true? if so, when someone like columbus works on a new
> tubing, what are they tweaking? thanks!
i think the honest is is that it's all market based. the sun set on
nearly all of the ferrous-based sales a decade ago. there is little
reason for a company to throw a ton of resources at steel today
because so few people use it - in the scheme of things, that is.
so - to answer your question: columbus is interested in its own
history too, and realizes that the framebuilders made the firm
what it is, and it cannot completely foresake that connection, even
though it's not a rainmaker. regardless, sometimes a market leader
has to go against a trend simply to jumpstart a new one, or revive
one that used to be a cash cow. i think columbus realizes that
there's a zeitgeist-issimo going down in north america since its
ground zero for the best steel frames still being made (pockets
of northern italy and osaka notwithstanding), and they want to
serve that niche. why would they tweak or innovate something that
they've proven works so well -though unchanged - for the past ???
decades? there is only one reason: weight. the quality of the
ferrous material is now high enough that the total weight of a
frame made from steel can be low enough to matter to a 21st
century consumer. this is not a slam against other brands, but
imo, nearly all attempts at lowering the overall weight of a
steel frame made in recent years has been at the expense of some
reliability and some longevity. from my discussions with the
columbus folks, they are ready to supply steel that will do all
that steel is known to do - and not have any of the liabilities
that are associated with the mad rush others brands have faced
in trying to stay au courant* in the face of declining steel sales.
* a french term i got in my home-schooling course.

Originally Posted by Cl*mb
> that home-schooling is really paying off! to deal with weight,
> i'm guessing they_somehow_make the steel "stronger" so that it
> can be drawn thinner, yes? what is that_somehow_? do they change
> the "mix" of elements in the steel? change how it is phsyically
> drawn? do some kind of heat- or other-treating? i get how thinner
> walls lightens steels, but how do they "tweak" the steel to allow
> it to be thinner yet still strong? as always, merci.
they most likely tweak that last .00004% of the
last .772% of the metalurgical makeup. to be honest,
how they do it is of no interest to me. it's not a bicycle
or even a framebuilder related pursuit imo, it's geek
engineer pursuit. nothing wrong with that. i think the
bicycle framebuilder is concerned that he can trust a
vendor. period. i know i have lost faith in vendors over
the years due to situations that would make your hair
curl, and i've seen you without a hat, so it's no mean feat
yo. the small bits that materials folks do to get the stuff
i use to market is normally so science-based that i have
no way to interpret it. i simply trust, or i don't. the rest
of it is intuition. i know some want to know about trace
elements and guys in labs pouring stuff into beekers that
somehow end up at the steel mill. that's a universe away
from my own private hoboken imho.

Originally Posted by w*nderingwh**l
> (snipped): Depending on the expected load, you can reduce
> either the tube cross sectional area or the section modulus
> (Pi*D^2*t/4) so that the new bike with the stronger material
> ends up being just as strong but lighter than the original bike.
ya' see...
that's the conundrum. everyone thinks it's cooler to have a
lighter bicycle, even though the frame - which is stationary
weight - is the key part of the gestalt-a-thon. stationary
weight simply is not that important if the difference between
the extremes is only a pound or so. however...
if everybody's bicycles are lighter than they were a year or
a generation ago, the playing field remains level. so - where
is the consumer left? he can brag about his 16 pound bicycle,
but will its low weight come at the expense of shelf life?
imo, yes. does that lower shelf life matter? apparently not.
i'm often amazed that folks would buy lighter and lighter
parts/bicycles so as to reduce the effort it takes to propel
them, yet these same folks do not ride more as a result,
they simply complete the ride faster. that being the case,
doesn't it negate the very reason most of us ride in the
first place - exercise? perhaps aalow a humerous jab at the
race to make lighter and lighter bicycles: soon, they'll be so
light, pedaling really will be effortless, and bicycle riding
will have fewer and fewer of the beneficial side effects
that it once had. shut me up atmo.

Originally Posted by gpd*vis
> When I say 'stiff', I am saying 'too stiff for me'. Most of
> my rides tend to be in the 35+ mile range and I would feel
> beat-up when I would get off the bike. That is too stiff.
> Don't have the problem with my current rides. Stiff? Good if
> I was riding crits. But, I'm not, so was a problem for me.
> That is why I stated that YMMV. All depends on the individual
> and what he/she/other wants.
wouldn't that issue be more tethered to frame
design? if you're getting beat up and aren't
comfortable, i don't think it's a materials-based
problem - and i don't think "stiff" is the word
i'd pick to describe your situation. the ride is
harsh and the frame design is such that it doesn't
allow you to finish the ride or go further.
i'd go so far to say that "stiff" is not a word i'd want
to use to describe a crit bike (whatever they are) either.
if the bike is uncomfortable for either 10 or 110 miles,
it doesn't matter whether it's an ms ride or somerville,
something is wrong with the bike, and it's not the
material. i only mention this to stay on topic.

Originally Posted by gpd*vis
> Whatever it is. Harsh, stiff, pick your term (unless I'm
> violating the bicycling definition of 'stiff'). And, also
> stated in my original post in this thread that it is much
> more than 'niobium' alloyed steel. As you state, is geometry
> of the frame, tube diameter, wheels, tires, saddle, seatpost,
> etc., etc. And, very heavily depends on the rider. Harsh/stiff
> for me is double-century comfortable for others. I'm not knocking
> the CdA (or any other bike). CdA has beautiful craftsmanship and
> terrific looking bike. Just didn't work for me. Too harsh.
my point was that i don't associate any of these issues with "material".
Originally Posted by gpd*vis
> e-RICHIE - Are you saying that one of your frames built from the
> tubeset that you currently use and one built using a niobium-steel
> tubeset that are otherwise identical would not have a noticeable
> ride difference?
yes - except that i'd expect a net weight difference*.
keep in mind and don't lose track of this datapoint:
niobium is the material, not the pipe. the columbus
sets can be produced in varying guages and diameters
in order to appease market demands. saying a frame
is made of it means as little as saying that a frame
is made out of 531 or tange prestige. these are materials
too, not tube sets.
*assuming i used less of it to make a frame.

Originally Posted by gpd*vis
> I would guess that you are substantially correct. Perhaps a
> finely tuned pro would notice something different. But the
> rest of us would likely not.
i doubt it. pros are paid athletes, not equipment
geeks. they know what you know - if the design
is irrational, they can't efficiently push the bicycle
down the road. that is all that matters. your 35
miles rides are no different than theirs, except
yours are shorter and they get paid!

Originally Posted by sp*nc*cle
> I don't know what the differences between Niobium and the
> new Reynolds 951 are but steel is steel and material is
> immaterial. I stole the material is immaterial from e-richie.
> The main point of my Niobium versus Reynolds 531 post was that
> the new steels have higher yield strengths than the old steels.
> You could substitute any modern steel for Niobium and come to
> the same conclusion. They all have the same modulus of elasticity
> so no steel is less or more compliant than the next. Section
> modulus is what counts and that's determined by outside diameter,
> inside diameter and how they are butted. All of that is independent
> of the material properties (assuming you're talking steel to steel
> comparison). The new steels let you get the same performance with
> less material to a point. Hope this helps.
the latest iterations of well-made steels are finally a
version that combines high strength and lower weight
without have a penalty wrt elongation. imo, most of the
late 80s and the subsequent 15 years saw a rush to
offer lower weight sets needing major league finnessing
(did i spell that right?) like heat treatments, etcetera, and
the net result was pipe after pipe that was overly brittle.
getting the elongation factor correct and still keep the
weight low/strength high is the only way to go.