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  1. #1
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    fillet brazed vs. tig welded

    Looking for an experienced opinion. With the tubesets being similar, will a fillet brazed frame ride differently than a tig welded one? I heard rumors that a fillet brazed frame has a minute amount of flex around the joint. Any truth to this? I'm 210lbs. and wanting a new frame, and I think my weight will be a factor.

  2. #2
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    No difference.
    A fillet brazed frame looks a little better, but costs a lot more. (takes more time to build)
    If you want a hammer go tig weld. If you want a work of art, go fillet or lugs.
    If your opinion differs from mine, ..........Too bad.
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  3. #3
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    No, you won't be able to tell a difference at all. The rumors you've heard are wrong and your weight may be a factor with the tube set, but not the joinery.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolnar
    Looking for an experienced opinion. With the tubesets being similar, will a fillet brazed frame ride differently than a tig welded one? I heard rumors that a fillet brazed frame has a minute amount of flex around the joint. Any truth to this? I'm 210lbs. and wanting a new frame, and I think my weight will be a factor.
    I haven't heard that. Some are of the opinion that lugged frames ride a little 'better' (as in springy/ lively) than TIG welds, but IMO that's arguable. TIG and fillet brazing are similar, with the most notable difference being aesthetics, but I've read that brazing can add up to 4 oz. (versus TIG) because of the extra material used in joints.

    Your weight may be a factor in the choice of tubing (some thin walled steel like TT S3 have weight restrictions), but not method of construction.

  5. #5
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    Brazing and Lugs screams handcrafted

    Tig welds scream industrial (when done right)

    Brazing sometimes costs more, but when it comes to handcrafted bikes tig welding can be just as expensive.

    Brazing does weigh a tiny bit more

    Like others have said, tubesets make the ride difference, not how the tubes are joined. For your weight, stay away from the really light stuff and stick with more robust tubesets like True Temper OX Platinum, Reynolds 853, or Columbus Zona
    Free Cascadia!

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  6. #6
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    ride wise no difference. brazing uses lower heats than welding so steel may be less affected by heat. brazing allows the use of thinner lighter tubing and what Grumpy said it looks better if you like that classic bike look.
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  7. #7
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    Thanks for the help. I'm wanting a fillet brazed frame made from Columbus tubing. I'm going to talk to the builder, and see if a Life tubeset would be strong enough.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolnar
    Thanks for the help. I'm wanting a fillet brazed frame made from Columbus tubing. I'm going to talk to the builder, and see if a Life tubeset would be strong enough.
    David Kirk, kirk frameworks and John Slawa, Landshark are some of the best fillet guys out there.
    Retired sailor

  9. #9
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    It's funny you mentioned Landshark because that is who I am most interested in. I know he prefers to build with deda tubing, and really once the paint is applied what's underneath doesn't matter.

  10. #10
    duh...
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    Quote Originally Posted by jolnar
    once the paint is applied what's underneath doesn't matter.


    some would argue that is the most important thing

  11. #11
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    I'd trust the builder to know what he is doing.

  12. #12
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    John does excellent work with a reasonable price and wait time.

    I have an older Landshark using Reynolds 731OS (discontinued). His braze work is outstanding.

    Landsharks get bashed on these forums for their eccentric paint jobs but John will paint it any color and design you want. If your not a weight weenie (since your considering a brazed steel frame, I'll assume your not) his forks ride really nice too.
    Free Cascadia!

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  13. #13
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    Thanks hayduke, and you're right I'm not a weight weenie. It's funny to me when people complain that one type of frame weighs a pound more than another frame. I'm at least 25 pounds over weight, so I'm not going to gripe about an extra pound on a frame. If anything, the frame should compain about having my fat a$$ on it. I'm with you, I also like the ride of steel forks.

  14. #14
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    FYI from the intenet

    Brazing, a lower temperature process than welding, uses a bronze rod to create a fillet--a French word for ribbon--pronounced FILL-it (not fill-LAY). It was previously thought higher welding temperatures would ruin good tubing. We now know because welding is faster, the damaging effect of higher temperature is mitigated by shorter heat duration. While disagreements about the relative merits of lower temperature vs. shorter duration continue, a properly fillet-brazed joint will certainly have greater accident "survivability." I.E., if you run into a tree or parked car, a fillet-brazed joint is less likely to fail. Either joint will withstand decades of normal use.
    Because the bronze fillet is softer than the steel tubing it joins, a skilled craftsman can sculpt a brazed joint without cutting into the tube. Please note that the quality of this sculpting (or craftsmanship) is highly variable--look for large smooth fillets with compound radii and long feathered edges. Beware of "overbite." Overbite, a result of hurried or sloppy work, is where part of the steel tube has been carelessly filed away at the edge of the fillet. This creates a stress riser that can lead to frame failure. Unfortunately, overbite is a common flaw found on many fillet-brazed frames.
    Unavoidable downside of fillet brazing #1: Price. Because fillet brazed construction requires much more time and skill, the price of a properly fillet-brazed tandem frame will be $300-$500 higher. If the price differential is lower, inspect the joints carefully before taking delivery. Because of the price, most bicycle customers choose a TIG welded frame. Of the seven models of steel tandems we build here at Santana, only the Noventa is still fillet brazed.
    Unavoidable downside of fillet brazing #2: Weight. A filleted joint, like a lugged joint, is slightly heavier than a TIG-welded joint (4oz penalty on a single bike, 12oz penalty on a tandem). However, because our fillet-brazed Noventa uses stronger and thinner Columbus NivaCrom tubing, it remains lighter than a TIG-welded cromoly frame. For an even lighter steel frame we could TIG-weld a Noventa, but since weight freaks (as opposed to workmanship freaks) prefer our lighter and less expensive aluminum Sovereign, we don't produce a TIG-welded Noventa.
    Because a properly fillet-brazed frame is the ultimate hallmark of a skilled framebuilder, the best reason to buy a fillet-brazed frame is because you value the artistry and can appreciate the builder's skill.

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=hayduke1972]Landsharks get bashed on these forums for their eccentric paint jobs but John will paint it any color and design you want. [QUOTE]


    Get something nice like a two color panel paint job. If you go custom fillet brazed, get the matching steel fork. It will be a bike you enjoy riding and admiring.
    Retired sailor

  16. #16
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    That is strait from Santana Tandem's website

    But here is a myth buster...Price
    **CORRECTION**
    -Tig welded Independent Fabrications Crow Jewel with Fork (Reynolds 853 and True Temper OX) $1900

    -Full fillet brazed Landshark with Dedacchiai Zero "Extra" tubing with fork $1874

    And John is considered one of the best brazers out there
    Last edited by hayduke1972; 08-08-2008 at 07:27 AM.
    Free Cascadia!

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by hayduke1972
    That is strait from Santana Tandem's website

    But here is a myth buster...Price
    -Tig welded Independent Fabrications Crow Jewel w/o Fork (Reynolds 853 and True Temper OX) $1900
    -Full fillet brazed Landshark with Dedacchiai Less Than Zero tubing w/o fork $1695

    And John is considered one of the better brazers out there
    Curtlo fillet brazes TT S3 road frames for under $1K. You can't be in a hurry, though. I'm not knocking Landsharks, merely offering another example of pricing.

  18. #18
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    That is certainly a very nice price on the Curtlo's

    I've never run across one (despite them being a NW company) and the paint (powder coat?) is pretty plain jane (at least compared to John's paintjobs)

    But the pictures look like they are well made and the joints look nice.
    Free Cascadia!

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  19. #19
    eminence grease
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    Ah, fillets.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails fillet brazed vs. tig welded-seat-cluster-2-195.jpg   fillet brazed vs. tig welded-seat-cluster-190.jpg  
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  20. #20
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    I used to own a nice Landshark. Rode beautifully and the craftsmanship was outstanding. Paint job was a little too busy for my tastes, but at least it was mostly white.


  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry b
    Ah, fillets.
    okay, Terry, which one of you 8 billion bikes is that one?

  22. #22
    eminence grease
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    Quote Originally Posted by lousylegs
    okay, Terry, which one of you 8 billion bikes is that one?
    The green one.
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  23. #23
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    Smile If

    In the interest of accuracy...the Independent Fabrication Crown Jewel is $1900 WITH a straight-blade steel fork.

    I have seen many Landsharks and all have been nicely fillet brazed. I ride a steel Crown Jewel and the welds are top-notch.

    If you are looking at steel it would be hard to go wrong with either.

  24. #24
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    Correction Made

    Quote Originally Posted by Ride1
    In the interest of accuracy...the Independent Fabrication Crown Jewel is $1900 WITH a straight-blade steel fork.

    I have seen many Landsharks and all have been nicely fillet brazed. I ride a steel Crown Jewel and the welds are top-notch.

    If you are looking at steel it would be hard to go wrong with either.
    Thank you for pointing that out. The IF has some of the nicest tig welds I've seen, just trying to point out that a brazed frame is not always more expensive than a tig'd frame as the Santana site would suggest.
    Free Cascadia!

    When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. -H.G. Wells

  25. #25
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    John at Land Shark built Andy Hampsten's 1988 Giro d'Italia winning steel bike (Branded Huffy). He does great work. I know a larger rider who is big enough to break stuff (taller / heavier) than you. He rides only Land Sharks in custom sizing.

    If budget is not an issue, I am roughly 210 lbs and LOVE my Pegoretti Marcelo. It is Tig Welded. They hold up great, ride like a dream!

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