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View Full Version : Reynolds 753 So Was It Really That Hard To Use


alancw3
07-23-2010, 12:19 PM
just curious with some of the frame buiders out there. was 753 that special/hard to build with? reynolds had to certify the builder or was that just hype and a mystique that reynolds was trying to create.. thanks for any insight.

David Kirk
07-23-2010, 01:05 PM
just curious with some of the frame buiders out there. was 753 that special/hard to build with? reynolds had to certify the builder or was that just hype and a mystique that reynolds was trying to create.. thanks for any insight.

I went through the process and was certified way back when. IMO it was no harder to use/build with than other tubes but it wouldn't suffer fools. If you overheated it due to lack of skill/heat control then it was toast. So it was not the tubeset to use for the newby builder.

I think it was a good idea for this tube. For some unknown reason many people seem to buy the most expensive and lightest tube money can buy for their first build - and if 753 got into the hands of those builders there would have been lots of broken frames.

Now-a-days tubes have even better strength to weight ratios and are much less fussy to work with and serious torch skill is often not needed. This is both good and bad IMO.

I hope that helps.

dave

RADaines
07-23-2010, 01:22 PM
Forgive my ignorance but is 753 the stainless steel tubing?

David Kirk
07-23-2010, 01:28 PM
Forgive my ignorance but is 753 the stainless steel tubing?

Forgiven. The reason you don't know is that 753 is yesterday's news. Nice tubing but not a standout compared to what is available now.

953 is the new stainless stuff. 753 was not stainless.


dave

flydhest
07-23-2010, 01:55 PM
Forgiven. The reason you don't know is that 753 is yesterday's news. Nice tubing but not a standout compared to what is available now.

953 is the new stainless stuff. 753 was not stainless.


dave

I heart Kirk.

Thanks for sharing the knowledge, Dave.

David Kirk
07-23-2010, 02:14 PM
I heart Kirk.

Thanks for sharing the knowledge, Dave.

Remember - I am a married man.

dave

Chris
07-23-2010, 03:00 PM
Everybody wanted to be fast enough to warrant the Merckx 753 frame when I was a junior. Too bad all I got was a cromor Viner...

SoCalSteve
07-23-2010, 05:20 PM
Forgiven. The reason you don't know is that 753 is yesterday's news. Nice tubing but not a standout compared to what is available now.

953 is the new stainless stuff. 753 was not stainless.


dave

Does this make it "2" better?

David Kirk
07-23-2010, 06:15 PM
Does this make it "2" better?

Technically I think it's 200 better.

But who's counting.

dave

SoCalSteve
07-23-2010, 06:42 PM
Technically I think it's 200 better.

But who's counting.

dave

I knew that...

Doug Fattic
07-23-2010, 07:18 PM
just curious with some of the frame buiders out there. was 753 that special/hard to build with? reynolds had to certify the builder or was that just hype and a mystique that reynolds was trying to create..

Reynolds 753 tubing did require a greater degree of care to build a frame with than 531. When it came out around 1976 (I donít remember exactly), most top frames were made in an entirely different economic and technological climate in Europe than what we do now in the States. Those masters used hand-me-down-for-generations methods that relied heavily on simple tools and personal skill. At the time a frame sold for a bit more than $100. There wasnít money or incentive to buy mills, surface plates, lathes or fixtures to do more precision work.

753 is different than 531 in that it has thinner walls (usually .7/.4/.7mm instead of .9/.6/.9) and is heat treated. This process meant it would not dent as easily but neither could it be cold set back into alignment. And according to Reynolds it had to be brazed with silver rather than brass (which the Europeans didnít do). The thinner tubes, the greater fitting tolerances required in the joints and the inability to bend them back into alignment meant that the old traditional building methods would not work with this new tubing. To make sure frames made with 753 didnít end up in scrape heaps and ruin Reynolds reputation, they required a special certification test.

In the beginning, this test was stringent. An entire frame had to be made to be checked for alignment and cut open to see if braze had penetrated the entire joint. When I talked to Bill Terry at Reynolds in 1977 (he is still there and I talked to him again at NAHBS in 2010) he said most Americans and Europeans had failed the test. A few years later, Tange came out with a similar tubing called ďPrestigeĒ. This was nice stuff and didnít require one to pass an expensive test in order to buy. Probably because they wanted to sell more tubing, Reynolds greatly reduced the difficulty of the test requiring only some short tubing stubs be brazed into a bottom bracket shell. Somewhere in my desk is my certification. I never framed it because it was in metric dimensions.

In America today we build to a much higher standard no matter what tubing we use. Before, during and after I apprenticed in England I watched many Europeans build on average about a frame a day (sometimes 2). It often wasnít a pretty sight. In the late 70ís there was a jump in European standards as some companies bought equipment (from Bike Machinery or M&L) to increase quality and production.

Doug

xjoex
07-23-2010, 10:31 PM
I had a 753 Waterford road frame. One minor crash with a handlebar into the top tube and it was dented.

My fault but still I didn't buy 753 again.

Joe

alancw3
07-24-2010, 01:45 AM
thanks guys for all of your insight. i remember way back that bob jackson was supposeldly the first "certified" brazer for 753 and actually constructed reynolds show bike from what i am told. i have always just wondered about the skill level required and for no other reason than personal knowledge want to know. thanks again dave and doug.

Rueda Tropical
07-24-2010, 08:41 AM
Here's my wife's Waterford 753 with Henry James lugs. It got a new Terraferms fork when it was converted to 650B but the frame still looks like the day it left Waterford.

wasfast
07-25-2010, 08:32 AM
Tangential story. I was flying to Chicago on business in the mid 90's and sat next to a guy who turned out to be the (only) Reynolds rep for the US. I don't remember his name though I'm sure some of the builders here do. He was lamenting the severe decline of Reynolds marketshare in the US as well as worldwide. He was preparing for a launch of a newer material (I thought was 753 from memory but that can't be right). I wasn't riding then but discussed stories of the 70's which he was too young to know.

Even though I wasn't in cycling at the time, I felt bad to hear how bad things had gotten for what was an Icon of frame materials "back in the day".