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Why is Niner building Reynolds 853 steel bikes? Sometimes we ask ourselves the same question. But all we have to do, is take one for a short spin and we’re quickly reminded that there’s truth to the saying, “Steel is Real!”

Steel is like the O.G. material of bicycles. From early days, this magic amalgam of carbon, manganese, chrome, molybdenum, silicon, copper has yielded frame tubing with a supple, responsive ride quality that everyone loves. Plus, it’s super durable, ultra reliable, and inspires nothing but confidence for the long haul.

What makes Reynolds 853 special?

For starters, it’s air-hardened. Unlike in conventional steel alloys, strength can actually increase after cooling in air immediately after welding, so it actually becomes stronger in the weld area after construction. 

According to Reynolds, the interaction between the component metals results in a fine grain structure that forms with air-cooling without the traditional “quenching” (fast cooling in water or oil) process. And heat-treatment to the 853 specification raises the yield strength for the entire tube, increasing dent and impact resistance. The heat treatment gives high strength and damage resistance, and the steel properties allow thin walls to be used, so that lower weight but fatigue-resistant structures can be made.

We use Reynolds DZB, Double Zone butted tubes, which are particularly suitable for ATB and 29er frames. The thicker end sections with thinner mid-sections helps reduce or eliminate the gussets normally required to pass the stringent EN fatigue testing standards.

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