True Temper S-3 High Performance Tubeset

I was placing an order with Henry James (USA True Temper Bicycle Frame Tubing Supplier) in the mid-90's when Hank asked what it was going to take to get more of my business. He knew that I was building most of my bicycle frames with the Columbus Metax stainless steel. I indicated to him that the tubing was in a limited supply of 1000 tubeset's and it would not be long before I would have to switch over to the True Temper Platinum series anyway.

I also indicated that it would be nice to see a tubeset with the same or close mechanical properties as the nitronic stainless steel. Currently my books listed the tubing with yield strengths of 265,000lbs/sq inch. Hank went to True Temper and started the fire under their engineers and they came up with the S-3.

Not only is it True Temper's first seamless tubing (This information is explained in my Lowdown On Tubing editorial) but with thin walls and special drawing of the tubes to provide performance enhances setting the standards of what state of the art steel bicycle frame tubing can achieve.

All of this comes with limitations, however. Rider weight limits are at #200lbs. There are now 3 "Kits" provided to the builder for small; medium and large. Top tubes are available in teardrop or round; downtube is oval at the headtube and bottom bracket 90deg from each other.

In the year 2000, Henry James called me and with excitement he exclaimed the promise of a new future for high end steel bicycle frames with the new S-3 True Temper Tubing. He said that in order to help promote the tubeset, True Temper was willing to offer a few of the first to any bicycle frame builder that Hank thought would help the cause. I was one of the first to build with it.

And that I did just that. Being only on an average of 150lbs of weight, I felt that I could not do the tubing justice without being able to add 50lbs. upon demand. So I put cantilever mounts on the frameset and rack-mount dropouts. Since the year 2000 I have ridden over 24,000 miles. In the the last 3 years, my major rides have been into Antigo Wisconsin and back to my home (round trip 60+ miles) with over 45lbs of extra weight. Sometimes I was pushing the overall "rider" weight somtimes to 220lbs. I have to say that the tubeset is most certainly the finest I have ever experienced. But more on that on the following pages. Additional photos can be found in my Gallery with a link at the footer.



As you can see in the information provided on the following page, the True Temper S-3 tubeset has very thin walls. My method of joining tubing is with either 45% or 55% Harris silver. The 45% allows for filet brazing and the 55% is great for brazons or lug work. The S-3 is out of the question for lugs. Its abnormal sizes and the oval ends of the downtube make it a TIG or filet only construction.
The biggest reason I silver braze is because I can. The second reason is that the temperatures are below the "glowing orange" range. By not stressing the tubing during the build, you end up with the mechanical properties of the metal the same after the build as before. This in turn provides the resilience or "spring" of what steel is noted for. Nothing is lost during the build.

Another advantage of building with silver solder is there is no distortion -nata-none- after the build. I do not need to put the frame on a flat table and yank the bajesus out of it to get it straight. Metal has a natural tendency to drift back to its original shape. So my frames are born straight, and remain always straight.

The "Staytight" seat cluster was created because True Temper does not want the seat tube to be reamed after the build due to its thin walls. By creating the miters that wrap the seat stays around the seat tube, I end up with over 5 times the surface area of a traditional "Fastback" configuration. This in turn provides less heat and greater strength to the rear triangle.

Tracking is incredible. The frame is very forgiving in the axle plane but stiff in the bottom bracket. This means that the road shock will have less effect on your body while you will find that the overall performace of the ride will be better- to the tune of dropping a gear from what you are use to riding in.

True Temper has done their homework. If imatation is the greatest form of flattery, then take a look at all the other high end steel manufactures that have tried to copy the design.

In my book, US Steel is by far the greatest manufacture of steel in the world. We have all the resources to do the job right, and so it is done that way.

Cluster 1

Mechanical Properties
  Ultimate Tensile Strength: 150-217 ksi   Yield Strength: 135-185 ksi.
  Hardness: RC 30 min.
  Elongation: 10% min.
  The ultra light weight S3 - Super Strength Steel - seamless tube sets from True Temper Sports are the result of our on-going commitment to provide the cycling world with the most technologically advanced designs and materials. Hand-crafted in the USA from an advanced True Temper Air Hardening steel, S3 tubing has been optimized in every way to deliver ultimate light weight steel designs while maintaining the legendary FEEL OF STEEL.
  Precision triple butted 5-4-5 wall profiles are ultrasonically inspected for pinpoint control of butt transitions and extreme weight savings
  Salt Furnace quenched for consistent, distortion-free tubes and all of the benefits of our legendary True Temper Heat Treatment process  
  Oversized geometrically enhanced bi-oval down tube for optimized stiffness at the highly stressed head tube and bottom bracket interface  
Small Tube Dimensions: (Frame Size 46 to 54 cm)
Part # Desc. OD Length Wall Thick. Butt 1 Taper 1 Center Taper 2 Butt 2 Notes
HS3DTS Down Tube 45.5/31.2 620 .51/.41/.61 31.8 38.1 440 381 72 Bi-Oval
HS3TTS Top Tube 36/28.2 530 .51/.41/.51 31.8 38.1 335 38.1 87 Tear Drop
  Finite element analysis inspired teardrop top tube for an unprecedented level of torsional stiffness control HS3STS Seat Tube 28.5 530 .51/.41/.61 31.8 38.1 286 38.1 136  
HS3HT1 Head Tube 35.6 170 0.8            
HS3SS1 Seat Stay 16 600 0.51           11.3 mm tip
HS3CS1 Chain Stay 27.6 430 0.51           12.7 mm tip
Medium Tube Dimensions: (Frame Size 53 to 59 cm)
Part # Desc. OD Length Wall Thick. Butt 1 Taper 1 Center Taper 2 Butt 2 Notes
HS3DTM Down Tube 45.5/31.2 640 .51/.41/.61 31.8 38.1 469 38.1 63 Bi-Oval
  All S3 tubes are hand polished and individually packed to ensure 100% satisfaction
HS3TTM Top Tube 36/28.2 570 .51/.41/.51 31.8 38.1 383 38.1 79 Tear Drop
HS3STM Seat Tube 28.5 580 .51/.41/.61 31.8 38.1 336 38.1 136  
  HS3HT1 Head Tube 35.6 170 0.8            
  True Temper's proprietary TrucoteTM anti-corrosion provides the ultimate protection for your investment
HS3SS1 Seat Stay 16 600 0.51           11.3 mm tip
HS3CS1 Chain Stay 27.6 430 0.51           12.7 mm tip
Large Tube Dimensions: (Frame Size 5e to 64 cm)
Part # Desc. OD Length Wall Thick. Butt 1 Taper 1 Center Taper 2 Butt 2 Notes
  3 discreet tube sets allow builders to produce a full range of frame sizes - from 46cm to 64 cm HS3DTL Down Tube 45.5/31.2 650 .51/.41/.61 31.8 38.1 470 38.1 72 Bi-Oval
HS3TTL Top Tube 36/28.2 590 .51/.41/.51 31.8 38.1 403 38.1 79 Tear Drop
HS3STL Seat Tube 28.5 626 .51/.41/.61 31.8 38.1 382 38.1 136  
HS3HT1 Head Tube 35.6 170 0.8            
HS3SS1 Seat Stay 16 600 0.51           11.3 mm tip
  HS3CS1 Chain Stay 27.6 430 0.51           12.7 mm tip
  Optional round down and top tubes Misc. Tube Dimensions: (frame Size 53 To 64cm)
  Ridden by the world's #1 ranked triathlete, Barb Lindquist. Part # Desc. OD Length Wall Thick. Butt 1 Taper 1 Center Taper 2 Butt 2 Notes
HS3DT-R Down Tube   660 .51/.41/.61 38.1 38.1 457 38.1 89 Round
HS3TT-R Top Tube   610 .51/.411.51 38.1 38.1 368 38.1 127 Round