Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cinelli XCr Stainless Steel

Cinelli continues to offer a modern version of the classic Super Corsa but they also offer a state of the art "XCr" using stainless steel tubes. Below is an article from Velonews about the XCr and comments from CinelliOnly reader David B. who owns both a circa 1956-1960 Cinelli Model B and an XCr.

From Velonews (May, 2009):

"Cinelli’s XCr frame is an interesting experiment that mashes together classic steel bicycle frame craftsmanship with new world technology.

From the classy side, the XCr features its choice of steel for a material, exquisite Italian welding and craftsmanship, not to mention, a classy design — including the seatstay-integrated seat post clamp.

These features are juxtaposed by the incorporation of, arguably, the industry’s most advanced steel alloy, a progressive BB30 bottom bracket design and an integrated headset.

The result, though not cheap, has an interesting, contradictory, alluring draw. One thing is certain: we’re not sure what type of customer is going to be attracted to this frame; like the frame itself, it’s ideal customer could be a mix of old school connoisseurs and cutting-edge techies.

The Cinelli XCr is built from Columbus’ XCr stainless steel tubeset. It’s the most expensive steel tubeset in the world, but it’s also the only seamless stainless steel tubeset available; Reynolds’ 953 is a welded tube.

The biphasic martensitic seamless tubes are manufactured with high quantities of chromium, molybdenum and nickel to enhance its strength and resistance to cracking, especially during welding.

The properties of the metal give it a high strength to weight ratio and allow tubing sections as thin as 0.4mm. Besides its strength advantage over other metals, XCr stainless steel is corrosion resistant. Columbus offers butted and double-butted tubes for the entire tubeset. It also offers a broad range of complementary stainless components, including the integrated cups and BB30 bottom bracket shell found on Cinelli’s XCr. Last year the Cinelli XCr won an award from Germany’s International Forum of Design.

As you’d expect, using the world’s most expensive steel tubeset — and welding it in Italy, no less — doesn’t produce an economically priced frame. Cinelli’s XCr costs $4,600 in its stock configuration. Cinelli does include headset bearings and a new Columbus carbon fork designed specifically for the XCr. The carbon fork has traditional curved blades that Cinelli believes better fits with the XCr’s aesthetic. The fork weighs just 350 grams and is claimed to be the lightest fork Columbus has ever produced. Other details including the frame’s high polish finish, laser etched graphics and titanium head tube badge highlight the ‘spare no expense’ attitude of the XCr.

The XCr is the first steel bike we’ve seen that incorporates the BB30 bottom bracket design.

A mid-sized, 53cm, XCr frame weighs a claimed 1420 grams. Cinelli offers five stock sizes and, for a $500 up-charge, full custom geometry. At $5,100, Cinelli includes customization not only of the geometry and sizing, but all of the frame’s traits, so a traditional threaded bottom bracket, traditional head tube or even an integrated seat mast are within the scope of a custom project. Oh, and they’ll air ship it from Italy when it’s done, at no extra charge.

One thing is for sure, Cinelli’s XCr offers an interesting alternative to the current carbon trend that’s just as expensive, but guaranteed to be a unique addition to your local group ride."

From reader David B.:

"As for the XCr, I may be a bit biased, I think it is a great bike. I got it last spring, Tom at GVH Bikes made a special order for me. I have put about 3,000 miles on it since. It is very comfortable, I can ride for 6 hours without any discomfort, even with the ridiculously stiff carbon wheels I put on it. But it is very responsive when you get out of the saddle for a town-line sprint or a steep climb. My last modern bike was aluminum with a carbon rear triangle and this one is no where near as harsh. It is not as smooth as my Model B, but that has a 6-inch longer wheelbase and the B flexes a lot compared to the XCr.

For the XCr build quality, I am very satisfied with the welds but I have never compared them to a Moots, Litespeed or Lynskey. This is a picture of the BB:

But the serial number on my XCr is 002. I hope the welds would get better as the serial numbers get higher.

I must say I was a little disappointed with the polish. I was expecting a mirror finish but in reality it is 8 out of 10. I may be expecting too much as I used to restore vintage race cars. I would spend hours getting a mirror on aluminum parts and I know it would take a great deal of time to get that level of finish with stainless."

I invite you to contribute by sending in photographs of your Cinelli bike, illustrations, personal stories, and articles about Cinelli bikes and components.

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  1. thanks for sharing your impressions!

    As far as I know, there's only one place in Italy that is able to weld the XCR stainless steel.
    As I've done little jobs of welding myself, I can only imagine HOW difficult must be to weld stainless steel in such thin sections...! TBH, those welds don't look any bad to me, but hey! Price is not very cheap, but on the other hand I can guess the tubing itself is very expensive.
    Wish I could have one, you're lucky to have it!

    (p.s.: I prefer to ride my SC than the other alloy Cinelli, despite the latter being a mere 7kg)

  2. Andrea: you can see my SC (yellow/red) here: