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Old 03-14-14, 12:26 PM   #1
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A nice Columbia?

I never posted this here, but while searching for a local framebuilder, I came across a guy named Peter Ouellette who made some gorgeous frames: Peter Oullette custom bicycles. You may be asking yourself "what does this have to do with Columbia?". According to the webpage I linked, Peter Ouellette worked with Columbia on their "Columbia Classics" bikes in the 1980's. Columbia Classics was a last gasp attempt to compete with the higher quality Japanese imports, unfortunately it was too little too late.

I found this bike a few years ago in terrible shape, but I bought it because it was interesting. I had never seen a Columbia with such a nice frame before. It had Ishiwata tubes, forged dropouts, pantographed seatstays, H2O boss reinforcements, and a shifter clamp braze on. I cleaned it up as best I could, repacked the bearings, and installed some new consumables. It ended up being sold to a student at Springfield College. Anyway, I thought I would share some pictures of a pretty rare bike.

DSC02767 by miniandmo, on Flickr

DSC02771 by miniandmo, on Flickr

DSC02772 by miniandmo, on Flickr

DSC02773 by miniandmo, on Flickr

DSC02774 by miniandmo, on Flickr

DSC02775 by miniandmo, on Flickr

DSC02768 by miniandmo, on Flickr
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Old 03-14-14, 12:30 PM   #2
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Quite the nice bicycle. I have to admit, I've never seen one of those. How does it ride? Pretty lively?
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Old 03-14-14, 12:40 PM   #3
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Honestly, I only test rode it after working on it. It was a 57cm and I ride a 52-53cm. If it were my size, I probably would have hung onto it for a while.
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Old 03-14-14, 12:57 PM   #4
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I love that bike. Some nice touches on that frame. And a pretty nice group too. I do like Shimano's Golden Arrow group.

I was thinking it looked my size, and from what you say, it is.

It is interesting to get a decent frame from a manufacturer known for entry level stuff... That is why I sought out my Sears bike with a Reynolds 531 frame, even though I don't think it has any original components... Mine has the most laid back geometry I have ever seen on a 531 frame.
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Old 03-14-14, 12:59 PM   #5
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Ah, I thought I was crazy! My grandfather's business was toy, hobby and sporting goods wholesaling. I always vaguely remembered some nicer Columbias being in the warehouse at some point in the 80's, but I figured I must have been confused. Guess I wasn't. Cool stuff, thanks for sharing.
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Old 03-14-14, 01:01 PM   #6
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This one's made with 753!

Oullette built Columbia Classic bicycle
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Old 03-14-14, 01:11 PM   #7
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Wow- I never would have known.
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Old 03-14-14, 01:30 PM   #8
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When I picked it up, I knew nothing about it. My research led me to a Columbia enthusiasts website where I was able to download a catalog. The frames were made in the USA, either at Oullette Custom cycle's shop or in Westfield, MA at the Columbia factory. This bike was the top of the line, I don't think you could buy a Reynolds 753 bike. Anyway, being from Westfield, MA I thought it was kind of cool. I really wish it were in my size because I don't think I'll ever see one again. It's probably not particularly valuable, but it has a local connection for me and would have been a nice addition to my stable.
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Old 03-14-14, 04:10 PM   #9
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That's a very cool bike, if I could find one in my size I'd love to own one. I really like obscure stuff like this.
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Old 03-14-14, 04:38 PM   #10
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News to me too! Thats wonderful!
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Old 03-14-14, 05:01 PM   #11
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It is really too bad that at least one of the old guard bicycle manufactures wasn't able to compete during the late stages of the bike boom. I would never have have guessed that Columbia would have attempted though.

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Old 03-15-14, 09:01 AM   #12
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I revisited the 1985 catalog for Columbia last night. The bike is a World Cup model. There was no mention in the catalog of any other size options, and only 1 model number, which leads me to believe it was only available in 57cm. Also there was a picture of the tubing sticker which said "Designed in the USA". Maybe the frames were made somewhere else, and it was assembled in the US? I'm not sure what was required to state a bike was "made in the US" at that time.
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Old 03-15-14, 07:02 PM   #13
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I have a 1977 Columbia moped. Still almost all original, 1200 miles on the meter. They used a German-made Sachs engine; Columbia built the frame.
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Old 03-16-14, 03:02 AM   #14
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I have a 1977 Columbia moped. Still almost all original, 1200 miles on the meter. They used a German-made Sachs engine; Columbia built the frame.
I may be out of line here, but could we have a sneak peek at that?
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Old 03-16-14, 08:08 AM   #15
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I may be out of line here, but could we have a sneak peek at that?

Here's the Columbia. Plus my pit bike, another way to break an arm.
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Old 03-16-14, 08:58 AM   #16
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Here's the Columbia. Plus my pit bike, another way to break an arm.
Ah, yes! Very much like the Puch Maxi and the Batavus Batavette that were popular over here in those days. Although they were considered girls' mopeds BITD, it didn't take long for the boys of the next generations to pick them up and make them into school and pub racers. Highly tuned 70cc engines were not uncommon. The combination of a strong engine with a pressed steel frame, however, was debatable. It gave 'warp speed' a new meaning. Many Maxis ended their careers in the back of a police van to be scrapped.
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Old 03-16-14, 03:41 PM   #17
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Here's the Columbia. Plus my pit bike, another way to break an arm.
Interesting... looks a lot like the Vespa Ciao that I had that was about the same vintage.

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Old 03-26-14, 09:23 PM   #18
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Here's another decent looking Columbia that is for sale near me. Lugged frame, forged dropouts, and Golden Arrow shifters and derailleurs. Though, it is a shame about those brake levers and calipers.

Kzoo Swift*1988 Columbia Premier NOS 0 Miles on it!







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