An investigation into influence of the austenitising temperature and the austenite deformation temperature on Nb precipitation and recrystallisation kinetics was carried out for a steel containing 0.081C-0.021Ti-0.064Nb (wt. %). The austenite grain structure was correlated to the dispersive properties of Nb atom clustering and precipitation. Irrespective of the austenitising temperature, deformation to 0.75 strain at 1075 °C produced a fully recrystallised microstructure. After deformation at 975 °C, only partial recrystallisation was observed in the samples austenitised at higher temperature, whereas samples austenitised at lower temperature were fully recrystallised. The influence of solute drag and particle pinning effects on the recrystallisation rate is discussed. © (2013) Trans Tech Publications, Switzerland.