Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for Frame Builders (Top of Page)▼ and Riders (Bottom of Page)▼
- Tubes are hardened and tempered to 38-42HRC, so it is important to use a quality tools with cutting fluid/coolant for best tool life.
- If using abrasive belts/grinding drums for notching, take care not to overheat the tubes; use dedicated Stainless Steel abrasives and use coolant or dip in water periodically.
- Clean and prep all tube ends before welding with dedicated Stainless steel wire brushes, abrasive pads, or sand paper.
- Use Acetone for removing grease or oils.
- Stainless steel filler wire ER631, ER309L, 308L, 312L, Weldmold 880/888, or ER630 (17-4PH) are recommended for all joints - to steel, other stainless and KVA STAINLESS™ MS3 tubes.
- Back purge with Argon gas at 15cfm. Back purge during tacking Purge for 2-5 minutes before welding to ensure a 100% purge.
- Post-weld tempering optional for improved fatigue performance (350-400° F for 20-30 min).
- Stainless steel lugs & braze-ons (type 304, 316 or 17-4PH) are recommended with 0.002-0.004” radial clearance.
- Low temp silver brazing alloys: Aufhauser Silver Alloy A-56T®, Harris Safety-Silv 56®, Harris Safety-Silv 45®, Fillet Pro® or equivalent recommended for minimal effect on tube strength. Liquidus temperature of braze alloys should not exceed 1400° F (760° C).
- The joint surface areas should be clean and free from oil, grease, or oxide contamination.
- Brass and/ or nickel brazing not recommended!!!
- Steel lugs, braze-ons, mix-n-match tubes can be used but they must be painted to prevent corrosion.
- Take care not to contaminate KVA STAINLESS™ MS3 tubes with rust-causing iron particles.
- Use dedicated stainless sanding belts and pads for MS3 tubing.
- Do not use steel wool on MS3 tubing.
Additional Questions and Answers:
- Question: I’m building a lugged or fillet brazed frame, does the frame have to be heated treated to 350° F after construction of the frame?
- Answer: No, MS3 TIG welded bike frames only need to be heat treated at 350°F for 20-30 minutes. This low temperature post-weld stress relief is recommended for optimum toughness and durability.
- Question: Is backpurging necessary? Even if I’ll be joining MS3 to non-stainless (CrMo) tubes?
- Answer: Yes, backpurging with an inert gas such as Argon is required when working with any stainless alloys, even if you are welding to non-stainless tubes. Most quality framebuilding fixtures have ports and provisions added for internal purging. In fact, better framebuilders will backpurge with ANY tube material, knowing it creates strong, uncontaminated welds.
- Question: Is backpurging necessary during tack welding?
- Answer: Answer: Yes, not backpurging during tack welding can create unwanted stress risers on the back side of the welds.
- Question: As far as finish work, can the frame be polished and delivered or do you recommend polish and a urethane clear coat if left unpainted?
- Answer: A complete frame made with MS3 tubing can be media blasted, brushed or mirror finished, and/or left raw, without clear coat. We suggest a liquid or paste car wax or you can use WD-40 to clean and follow with a specialty metal protectant coating such as Boeshield T-9® to help protect the finish. Use stainless steel dedicated finishing tools and (i.e. sand paper, Scotchbrite®, buffing wheels, etc.). Cross contamination from buffing or polishing steel or other ferrous-based alloys can increase the risk of corrosion on unpainted tubes.
- Question: Can MS3 tubing be dimpled and bent?
- Answer: Yes, MS3 is heat treated and tempered to provide the optimum combination of strength, ductility and toughness. Moderate forming, such as dimples, raking and bending can be done without any additional thermal processing. Severe forming, such as hydroforming, flaring or flattening can be done with the tubes in the annealed condition – prior to hardening (but it's done at your own expense) – please contact us with specific inquiries.
- Question: What brazing alloys can I use?
- Answer: MS3 tubing should only be brazed with materials that have liquidus temperature of less than 1400° F. (e.g., Harris 56, 45, Fillet Pro)... Please call if you have any other braze alloys that you are considering using and are unsure of its compatibility.
- Question: What is it like to machine and miter MS3 in comparison to True Temper OX Platinum*?
- Answer: MS3 has a hardness of 38-42 HRC, which is slightly harder as compared to True Temper OX platinum*; yet slightly softer than Reynolds 953** maraging stainless steel, which may exceed 46 HRC. The use of sharp, quality tooling and rigid clamping and machining setups will ensure precision cuts. Spray, mist or flood lubrication will extend tool life; limit feedrates when using abrasive setups to avoid localized overheating and softening of the tube. For cutting, drilling, filing, etc, we recommend that you use only tools intended for stainless steel and reserve these tools for stainless steel; you don’t want cross contamination from other alloys.     *True Temper OX platinum is the registered trademark of True Temper Sports, Inc.     **Reynolds 953 is the registered trademark of Reynolds Technology Limited.
General Care Instructions:
- Wipe down dirt, mud, saltwater & grime after long rides with clean cloth.
- A mild soap solution can be used for stubborn road grime; rinse and dry thoroughly.
- After cleaning, to protect luster & finish, apply hi-quality automotive wax or stainless polish with soft, dry cloth and buff out.
- Alternatively, an anti-corrosion surface treatment spray or liquid can be used, Boeshield ® T-9 or equivalent.
Should Any Staining/Spotting Occur:
- Lightly buff with a synthetic textured (Scotchbrite ®) pad or sponge while following the grain direction.
- Use Boeshield® T-9 or similar lubricant while removing stain.
- Use caution if tubes are mirror polished. Use Boeshield® T-9 or another lubricant soaked in a soft cloth and work in small circles.
- Reapply wax, polish or protective coating like Boeshield® T-9 when finished.
- Do not use steel wool on MS3.
Your KVA STAINLESS™ bicycle tubes have been made in the U.S.A. from first quality domestic stainless alloys using the most modern forming, welding and precision thermal processing technology available.
Tubing Protected by one or more of the following U.S. Patents 7232053, 7475478, 7540402, 7618503.