KVA Stainless were on hand at Interbike last month showing off some of the possibilities presented by their stainless steel frame tubing.  One of the cooler applications was a carbon/stainless Isogrid frame welded by Dean. Beyond looking sexy, the “multi-material tube structure allow for a tube lighter than the original stainless steel tube with stiffer bending/torsion performance.”  KVA feel that this combination should be able to yield sub-1,100g, easily customized frames.  Click through to find out how it’s done and to see a surprising potential application…

KVA start with their MS2 stainless steel tubing and then “design and engineer a precise pattern to be laser machined to remove the optimal amount of material from the tube. The resulting lightweight metal skeleton tube is then fused with a patented carbon technology that has an advanced composite inner structure.”  In the case of the BMX down tube above, adding the carbon fiber improves that member’s impact resistance- something that could be beneficial in mountain applications as well.



  1. So you have to put in a “wet rag” heat sink while welding to prevent the carbon from burning? Awfully pretty but somewhat gimmicky.

  2. it isn’t new… the new is the use the stainless steel… new for me in bike uses is the use mix stainless steel, titanium filaments inner carbon tissue… these add more resistense with a little add weight….fishing rods has this technology a 10 years ago…

  3. It looks neat I guess (next time don’t hire an out-of-work insect photographer)… but I’m unclear as to the benefits over a full carbon frame.

  4. Bill Holland is still making Ti/CF bikes using this method, and his bike are, IMHO, much better looking. His “windows” in the metal tubing take up a much a greater overall tube length.

  5. 2 directions the bike industry is headed…ultra light weight bikes that are non aero and
    Super aero bikes that has a small weight penalty but non uci legal….

    Looks like they are screwing a lot of people here…making them buy more bikes than needed….good marketing…but bad for the families!

  6. @Topmounter: I am with you on this one. . . I don’t see the point. There are plenty reasons for a all metal bike and there are plenty reasons for a carbon bike. . . aside from being “cute” (questionable as to the cuteness) what are the advantages from an engineering standpoint (which should still remain the number 1 concern).

  7. @Will and Topmounter:

    The benefits, as I understand them, are as follows:
    -lighterweight than the tube steel tube alone
    -greater impact resistance than carbon alone
    -looks (subjective)

    What you said makes no sense. What I see are ultra light weight bikes that are aero or slightly less aero. And aero bikes that are slightly less ultra light.

    And how does that screw people (families?!)? Choose your bike and ride it. Wanna go faster? push the pedals harder…because all that ultra light aero stuff only makes a bit of difference if you have a UCI pro license.

  8. Jesus indeed. What a bunch of trolls.

    If I understand right, the post is about the tubing- not Dean’s bike- which (thanks Andreas) looks like a steel road frame. In any case, those of us who actually make things like to see the details- the 10′ view wouldn’t tell me how smooth the transition between steel and carbon is. I imagine that anyone buying a custom frame like that would be looking at the details too.

    Schooner seems to be the only one whose parents taught them how to ask nicely for something they would like.

  9. @TopMounter and @Will: I am an independent contractor who wrote a press release for KVA Stainless about this tubing, so I was briefed on it.(http://mim.io/317071 if you’re interested). I’ve not ridden the tubing yet, but reports from those that have ridden it are very favorable in the area of ride quality. The idea is the rider gets the best of both materials. Looking at safety, in a bad crash this tubing is less likely to snap. The steel skeleton will tend to crumple. Catastrophic failure is the main reason GOD was reluctant to use carbon fiber in Raleigh bicycles. In case you’re wondering who GOD is, it’s Gerard O”Donovan, who developed most of the popular Reynolds tube sets and was head designer at Raleigh for several decades.

  10. All,

    Thanks for the comments. Tim nailed it- complete bike photos (professional or otherwise) come out pretty poorly against busy trade show backgrounds and most steel frames look fairly similar from a distance. Besides, the OD of the combined tubing had a really consistent/smooth finish, which was pretty darn impressive. Though it may not have been clear in the body of the text, this is indeed Exogrid technology as popularized by Titus (and at least one tandem manufacturer)…


  11. I ride a Ti road frame myself (primarily for the ride quality and durability), but I guess I didn’t realize that the crash safety of carbon fiber frames was such a major issue.

  12. Well, sorry I’m German and have to critisize straight forward.

    Combination of 2 Materials in a Tube has benefits that is right. But in Case the outer shell is discontinuous it’s realy sensless. A closed round profile is the best you can get. With such big holes in it (wher you can see the Carbon) it’s just a waste of material.
    In fact it’s no witchcraft to design Carbon with high impact resistence nor to build a very stiff and light steelframe. The only trick is to sell such things like this tubes to the clueless crowd

    PS: I’m realy German, for me this text is what I had to say

    PS: Ok this Steel – Carbon Stuff looks cool 😉

What do you think?