Bicycle Tubing, What's in a Name: Introducing Wilde TLC

November 04 2022 – Jeff Frane

Bicycle Tubing, What's in a Name: Introducing Wilde TLC

Bicycle Tubing, What's in a Name: Introducing Wilde TLC

Introducing TLC tubing, the proprietary blend of double butted chromoly tubing that we're utilizing on the forthcoming Supertramp and Rambler framesets. 

With the Supertramp launch happening next week we felt that it was a good idea to tell you about the tubeset those bikes are being built with and to let you in on some industry insider info. 

Crazy Sexy Tubes:
TLC stands for Tough, Light, and Compliant which are the characteristics we select for. TLC is seamless double butted chromoly steel and is an absolutely wonderful high end tubeset. However the magic isn't in the steel, it's in our choices as you shall see. 

Walk with me..

There are only a few companies in the world actually manufacturing tubing that is high end enough for fine bicycles. One of those quality manufacturers is a company called Founderland, who is the manufacturer of what we're calling TLC. 

Now, you may not be immediately familiar with the name Founderland but chances are you are very familiar with their products as they go by all sorts of trade names across different brands. 

To quote Brant from On One regarding the similarities between Surly 4130 Natch and On One's DN6 "Our tubing comes from a company called Founderland in Taichung, Taiwan. Off the same lines, the same material, the same dies, everything, Reynolds have Founderland put the same tubing into boxes with "Reynolds 520" on it." - MTBR 2006

I believe only the now defunct Traitor bikes actually branded the tubing Founderland 4130 in the North American market. Companies, of course want to appear special and unique and having a different name on their tube sets helps them appear different than their competitors. We weren't going to brand the tubing for Wilde, but we kept getting questions about what kind of steel we were going to use on the production bikes, so it just seemed easier to coin a trade name, and we fell in love with the concept of having "Handmade with TLC" on our bikes. 

Founderland 4130 is also what we used at All-City under the name "612 Select." I chose 612 Select as I thought this was the most honest approach and I didn't want to pretend that the tubing was proprietary in design and manufacture, rather the proprietary piece were the choices the engineer was making or "selecting."

So does that mean that all bikes made with Founderland 4130 are the "same?"

Let me assure you it does not, as each brand has their own priorities, testing standards, and concepts as to what feels the best under rider. 

Some brands choose tubing for monster loads, or prioritize dent resistance over being feather light, or choose stiffness over suppleness for instance.  A bike with a downtube that is 38mm in diameter with a wall thickness of  .9/.6/.9 (.9mm at the ends, .6mm in the middle) will feel drastically different than a bike with a 31.8mm diameter downtube and a wall thickness of .8/.5/.8. One will be very stiff and heavier, the other a bit more forgiving and supple.

Here are the factors that affect the tubing choices we make at Wilde, both in our production bikes as well as our custom steel and titanium: use case ie: touring, cross country, trail, race, bike packing, etc, frame size, rider preference, gear weight, where/how gear will be carried.

Our priorities are always Tough, Light, and Compliant

Light: As light as sensible, which is a very different thing than as light as possible. I'm a bit of a weight weenie, so in every bike we build I want it to be as light as can be without sacrificing durability. Light, but not bleeding edge light, we never compromise longevity. 

Compliant: I favor a supple ride over stiffness, my mantra is that "comfortable is fast." We want you to spend and enjoy long periods in the saddle aboard our bicycles. 

Tough: I'm hoping that we're building modern classics, in order to reach classic status they have to be tough enough to survive the years. I believe they are. 

Each piece of tubing on every model and every frame size has been chosen intentionally to deliver the best possible feel for the rider and to balance light weight and longevity. We believe that both the Rambler and Supertramp do a superb job of achieving the optimal blend for their intended uses and can't wait to make them available to you. 

Tagged: 4130, bicycle tubing, chromoly, cro-mo, cromo, steel, tlc tubing, wilde bikes