First off, here’s a picture of Wolfgang’s 36er townie in all it’s glory. It’s kind of funny how *short* it looks with those big wheels. It’s got a dynamo/light setup, Schlumpf drive (2 speeds) and according to Wolfgang, rides great. Sweet!
Anyway, I digress. Got in some inspecting of the KVA stainless tubes (no pictures, they just look like shiny metal tubes, so I didn’t see any point) and here are my initial impressions:
-Weight and butting seem to be right to spec. Fantastic. I’ve already gotten a lot of questions about weight, and I’ll say this: a frame built from these tubes won’t be much/any lighter than regular old OX platinum. It’s 7/4/7 butting, mostly, with 1mm head tube. So the big advantage is the stainlessness, not the weight.
-The finish seems quite nice. It remains to be seen whether it will look good post-welding, or post heat-treating, but as of now, I can imagine riding a bike made from this without doing much of anything in terms of brushing/sanding/blasting. We’ll see for sure after I actually build something with it. This is rolled/welded tubing (ie, it’s made from a piece of sheet metal rolled into a tube), but the welds are not visible, at least to me.
-The tubes have some weird flat spots/markings on them (at the ends) that are a bit disconcerting. These seem to match up pretty closely with the butts, so I’m assuming they’re connected with that process in some way. I will ask about this – the flat spots at the ends are fairly obvious from up close, and I’m not sure about whether they affect the strength of the tube or not. My calipers aren’t accurate enough to measure the difference in wall thickness, but it’s got to be at least somewhat significant.