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Monday 4th December 2023

2005-2013: The Superior Mechanical Properties of 953 and 931


The Superior Mechanical Properties of 953 and 931

Reynolds had been in contact with US-based Carpenter Speciality Alloys in the early 2000s, as we were originally interested in their AerMet100 maraging ferrous steel. Although that product did not become a commercial success in the bike sector, our liaison with Carpenter resulted in Reynolds exploring the use of their C455 and C465 grade stainless maraging steels for our next benchmark material, to compete with the titanium and carbon fibre frames.


2005/06: Reynolds Launches 953

Our development project in 2005/06 resulted in the first Reynolds 953 stainless maraging tubesets, with superior mechanical properties. The raw material could be butted (down to 0.3mm wall thickness) and then aged to different strength levels. In the early testing phase, we did achieve tensile strength values over 2000 MPa – over 50% stronger than 853 and probably the strongest commercially available metal in the bike industry.

Madison Genesis 953 Race Bike

The drawback of this high strength was the ability for our frame builder customers to cut and ream the tubes cost-effectively for e.g. headset races, so we had to reduce strength to a more usable 1750-1850 MPa – which is still higher than any competing metallic tubesets. We have used both seamless and cold-drawn welded 953 raw material supply since then, with no discernable difference in the test results and applications.

After the Covid pandemic, with a reduction in the specialist production facilities needed to manufacture the raw material for us, plus the possibility of 25% customs tariff surcharge for US-made steel product into the UK, the 953 product line is on hold for now. Reynolds production have nearly exhausted our supply of the 953 raw material, and sell this tubing in limited numbers to existing customers only.

As 953 is probably our favourite recent technical tube development and many previous customers still rave about the ride quality and corrosion resistance for their frames, we still plan on the tubing making a comeback sometime in the future.

2013: Reynolds Launches 931

Reynolds developed the 931 stainless range in 2013, a 17/4 PH grade precipitation-hardening alloy as a lower strength, lower cost tubeset. Equivalent to current competitor products in the market that followed our 953 launch, it does have the advantage of providing the larger diameter/thicker wall tubes needed for current road/gravel frame designs. The 17/4 PH material is also used on 3D printed parts that Reynolds produces in-house for specialist applications and we will continue to develop this range into 2024.

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