The last time I mentioned this subject it caused a minor shit storm. So much so the head of hard goods from BD joined the thread on an Internet web site where I made the original post.
Bill Belcourt's comment:
"I am not going to get into what type of stainless BD uses because it took a long time to figure out. There are differences that add up to more than just corrosion resistance but it was not obvious from just looking at the numbers (as they are very close). You never truly understand a material until you make the product you want to make out of it, and start testing it. Sometimes you get lucky and get performance beyond expectations, and then spend the rest of your time trying to figure out why it happened. Turns out there are many factors that contribute to wear. Here is a small clue but I'm saying no more.....http://www.alloysteel.net/english/techlib_factors.asp
Someone please fix that link for me.....thanks
For the record I like and climb in BD stainless crampons. I actually think the new Sabertooth is the best all around crampon currently available. That is not something I say lightly and it has *almost* nothing to do with being made of stainless.
But the most recent BD ad just drives me crazy. Part of it is highlighted below.
"UPGRADE TO STAINLESS
huge weight savings: up to 226g (8oz) per pair"
Excuse me? Steels (stainless or chromoly) in general weigh the same. The BD designs have changed for the better and by using LESS material, BD has been able to cut weight on their crampons.
I have seen so many misquotes and misinformation on stainless steel used in crampons...including the newest published BD crampon reviews I thought it time to get the real info down in print.
Stainless is not lighter than chromoly. If you use the right steel and heat treat, the only advantage of stainless is corrosion resistance, and lack of final coatings required for field use.
Stainless steel is more expensive as a raw material. Substantially so.
Back to crampons. Bill Belcourt says in his BD crampon video..."the new stainless crampons are lighter by DESIGN". That means that the design of the BD crampons has changed. Lighter heel levers, no paint, slightly shorter stainless spikes or the loss of a set of screws on the bots. It all adds up to a better "design" but it has nothing to do with stainless being lighter than chromoly or being able to use less of, or a thinner material (they didn't) because of the change to stainless.
As an easy example the old (2008) Cyborgs weigh 42.2 oz. The new stainless (2010) Cyborg weights 39.4 oz. That is a 2.8 oz difference. .6 oz of that weight loss is in the new rear levers.
All the stainless points are shorter (3 to 5mm shorter) which is the majority of the 2oz left per pair on the Cyborg's weight loss but paint is some of that as well.
I really like the new stainless BD 'pons. Some good improvements in design and a big improvement by going stainless I hope. But for the end user the majority of that is simply cosmetics.
But lets give the credit where it is do...it wasn't stainless that made a lighter crampon, it was the design team at BD. Just more flash and more at stake in the stainless commitment.
"I'm not trying to say that SS is better or worse. I'm just looking for a fair comparison of material properties"
My first post was simply an attempt to clarify that stainless wasn't any better or worse than chromoly as a base steel. It shouldn't be a point of discussion let alone argument between us or Grivel and BD. Obviously some rivalry and market share wars going on there to get the spew of propaganda and media misinformation. The alloys and heat treats you choose are what is important within the definitions of stainless and chromoly. I posted the 2 generations of detailed Cyborg weights to make that point.
If you want the discussion to go farther than that it is easy to fine any manner of alloys, stainless or chromoly, that can be made into an incredible (however you want to define that) crampon. Just pick a super alloy, stainless or non.
The problem with the "super alloys" is the price of the steel, the difficulty working/machining it and getting it to market at a price point the consumer base can bear. But with the right choice in alloy there really can be some magic happening.
No one is making a "super alloy" crampon with the possible exception, if you believe their hype, of Camp's Nanotech @ $255. retail. Using the term "super alloy" for Camp's 'pon as we would in my industry would be faulty labeling. It is simply another stainless. Might be a good choice in alloys but no magic to be had there. When you make weight comparisons between models make sure you understand comparing cookie cutter frames (very strong for their weight) to solid frame crampons. Each manufacturing style has distinct end user advantages and disadvantages.
Good reading here:
Source of much of the steel I use
For the price point and the advantages of stainless, plus the advantages of durability in the SPECIFIC stainless ALLOY BD chose I think they have an exceptional product at a great price point.
"I'm just looking for a fair comparison of material properties"
Good luck with any company (manufacturing from steel) telling you the actual alloy and heat treat they are using so we could all look it up and make a side by side comparison from the steel charts.
"correct me if I am wrong but if you are going through crampons fast due to wearing the teeth short...you're either doing something wrong or are one badass mofo who has earned the right to bitch about the difference between metals"
2 Vallée Blanches - Classique & Petit Envers
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