After years of engineering and development, KVA Stainless has told BikeBiz that it is to bring its new, patented, custom-made stainless steel bicycle tubing, called MS², to market this year.
Already proven by the firm in other industries, the martensitic stainless structural tubing can now be integrated into high performance bicycle frames to reduce weight, increase strength and stiffness, notably at a significant cost savings over competitive materials.
Working with a team of engineers and metallurgists, founder Ed McCrink developed a way to take flat sheets of martensitic stainless steel and transform them into tubes.
“Rolling the sheet to create the tube was never the hard part, welding a seam in martensitic steel so the tube became one, homogenous structure was always the issue” said McCrink.
After years of engineering and testing, McCrink’s firm has now found a method to prevent the inherent cracking and weakness when a martensitic stainless steel tube is high-speed seam welded.
MS² is an air-hardenable, martensitic stainless steel with a high tensile strength ( 200 ksi, 1400 Mpa) which means it’s twice as strong as titanium with a frame weight comparable to high-end aluminum.
The US made tubing has excellent corrosion-resistance, with elongation > 14 per cent and a hardness of 38-42 HRC.
“Riders should expect excellent ride characteristics with outstanding durability and toughness from our new MS² bicycle tubing,” says Douglas Gore, vice-president of sales.
"Excellent mechanical properties, including specific strength and stiffness, toughness and fatigue performance, can be achieved using MS² tubing in place of other materials. Ideal applications include silver brazed lugged construction and TIG welded bicycle frames."