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How does Columbus tubing compair to Reynolds?

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How does Columbus tubing compair to Reynolds?

Old 05-06-05, 06:06 PM
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Glacier John
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As far as good bikes go, I have only ridden Reynolds 531 DB bikes, and the improvement in weight and ride over what I had ridden previously was great. I was wondering if Columbus tubed bikes as well as the other Reynolds steel framed bikes compared to the 531.

I have heard that the titanium and aluminum frames may be lighter but don't ride as well, is that true? Also while I'm at it is there any difference between a Nuovo Record and a Super Record derailer other than weight and the black paint. I've got a Super record now but I don't notice any difference in shifting and I like the looks of the old NR better.

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Old 05-06-05, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Glacier John
As far as good bikes go, I have only ridden Reynolds 531 DB bikes, and the improvement in weight and ride over what I had ridden previously was great. I was wondering if Columbus tubed bikes as well as the other Reynolds steel framed bikes compaired to the 531.

I have heard that the titanium and aluminum frames may be lighter but don't ride as well, is that true?
I can buy that if you were riding gas pipe......This is the kind of question that will get you more barnyard waste than fact. Enjoy..... I'm going for the hip boots and shovel.
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Old 05-06-05, 06:21 PM
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I dunno. I can tell the dif twixt 531 and 753, but I really can't feel the difference between 531 and SL - maybe Sl is a little stiffer? I think construction makes more difference than these materials, and I think spoke count and rim choice makes more difference than materials, and I think tires make more difference than wheel construction, usually.
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Old 05-06-05, 07:21 PM
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I can't answer for the Columbus, but the higher end Japanese tubing (Ishiwata 022 and EX are what I have ridden on) is certainly in the same league as Reynolds 531db. I would think Columbus is in the same league (depending on quality). The Reynolds 501 bike I have is not as nice a ride as the 531, though it's pretty good. I did not like the only aluminum bike I have ever ridden much on, if that was the bike or the material I cannot honestly say. Can't afford titanium. I ride old steel because it is cheap, durable, and gives a very nice ride.
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Old 05-06-05, 08:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Glacier John
I have heard that the titanium and aluminum frames may be lighter but don't ride as well, is that true?
I can only answer anecdotally. The only aluminum bike I've ever ridden is a TREK 1500, and I never got used to it. It rides much different than my steel bikes, and I didn't like the twitchyness ( I gave it to my wife - she loves it). It is light and fast, though, and has a very smooth drivetrain. I couldn't tell you if it is the frame geometry, wheel/tire combo, or the aluminum, but for mr the steel rides much better.

My two main rides are a Miyata 215ST (CroMo), and a Mondia Super (531). Between the two, the Miyata feels a bit more sedate compared to the Mondia, but it is a touring geometry and the Mondia is not. Also, the Miyata wears 27x1-1/8 tires, while the Mondia wears 700x20 - really apples and oranges.

The Mondia is much lighter and quicker, unless you have to climb significantly (but only because the gearing is so closely spaced).

Regards,

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Old 05-06-05, 11:10 PM
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Some "barnyard waste"... Back in the late '70s, it was commonly believed that the Columbus SL was just a little stiffer than 531. Since I haven't ridden two otherwise identical bikes built of each type, I can't say if they feel any different.
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Old 05-07-05, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy
Some "barnyard waste"... Back in the late '70s, it was commonly believed that the Columbus SL was just a little stiffer than 531. Since I haven't ridden two otherwise identical bikes built of each type, I can't say if they feel any different.
Since all steel alloys are equally stiff. Frame stiffness is a function of tubing diameter and the thickness of the tubing, everything esle being equal.
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Old 05-07-05, 07:19 AM
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everything else being equal
I believe super record had some Ti hardware for
weight savings over Nuovo Record.
Other than that and appearance I'm not sure
what other differences might have been.
I can tell a difference in ride feel between
a Reynolds 501 steel trek and a renolds 531c
trek, but as sydney says thats a difference
in tube wall thickness.

Marty
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Old 05-07-05, 08:57 AM
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An addendum: I rode a '78 Raleigh Pro (531) with a Brooks Professional saddle for 42 windy miles yesterday. 32 spoke mavic wheels with 19c vittoria florida tires. I was amazed at the lack of aches and pains at the end of the ride. I rode this same ride last weekend on an aluminum tandem and got off all stove up. The Pro has to be one of the best riding (not fastest, tho!) bikes that I've ever been on. I looked it over last night and really the only standout difference between this bike and the Somec is that the bottom bracket is 1/4 inch lower and the chainstays are about 3/8 inch longer. And the 531, of course. So....I still dunno.
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Old 05-07-05, 09:33 AM
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Compared to you guys who have ridden many different bikes, my experience on "good " bikes is limited to three, my first a 1972 Nishiki Semi Pro, a 1973 Raleigh International and the 1976 dave moulton which I still own. The Nishiki was a quantum leap in lightness from the old Schwinns and other bikes I grew up with but I didn't know what a really good bike frame could ride like until I got the International.

At the time I did no racing but a lot of double centuries, and long tours. The Raleigh Internation was born for those kind of long rides. It was a very comfortable easy ride, it was light to, though not like a racing bike. The moulton which has the same 531db tubing has much different frame geometry and is a much lively ride, more responsive but less relaxing. I like them both the moulton excells at group rides up and down hills and around the valley, but for a long tour the International rules.

Regarding the relative stiffness of steel alloys, I believe there is a difference, not in weight but in stiffness. Thats why steel mills put so much R&D into developing different alloys, of course there are a lot of other physical properties they are looking to optimise. I used to be a design engineer in my earlier life and there are charts which describe the physical properties of each alloy, they varied dramatically and stiffness was one of them.

Thanks for the replys everyone, when I bought my bikes 531db was the general accepted signature of a fine bike, but the over the years it seemed like Columbus tubing took over and I was wondering why.
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Old 05-07-05, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by sydney
Since all steel alloys are equally stiff. Frame stiffness is a function of tubing diameter and the thickness of the tubing, everything esle being equal.
Exactly!

It is most likely that someone would notice tires and tire inflation during "the mystical ride".
 
Old 05-07-05, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by sydney
Since all steel alloys are equally stiff. Frame stiffness is a function of tubing diameter and the thickness of the tubing, everything esle being equal.
I won't go into the (semi) scientific approach of this. I like the 'feel by the seat of your pants' approach.
I have ridden and still ride many different steel bikes, with different tubing. At the moment I have two identical steel, handbuilt frames, one in 753 OS tubing, the other in Deda Zero Uno OS tubing, both filllet brazed. The ride is very different. Due only to wall thickness? I doubt it.

Between 531 and Columbus SL or SP, i would say it's hard to feel the difference. Columbus SL would be slightly lighter than 531 but also weaker (less stiff?), maybe you could feel that in a bike.
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Old 05-07-05, 07:33 PM
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Interesting. I weighed both my frames on a very accurate UPS scale at work. My 58cm (center to center) Colnago w/Columbus SL tubing weighs 4.75 lbs. My 54cm Gitane w/ 531db tubing weighs exactly the same as the Colnago. I can't tell the difference in the ride since they're set up so different.
Columbus SL would be slightly lighter than 531 but also weaker (less stiff?), maybe you could feel that in a bike.
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Old 05-07-05, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by s70rguy
I won't go into the (semi) scientific approach of this. I like the 'feel by the seat of your pants' approach.
I have ridden and still ride many different steel bikes, with different tubing. At the moment I have two identical steel, handbuilt frames, one in 753 OS tubing, the other in Deda Zero Uno OS tubing, both filllet brazed. The ride is very different. Due only to wall thickness? I doubt it.

Between 531 and Columbus SL or SP, i would say it's hard to feel the difference. Columbus SL would be slightly lighter than 531 but also weaker (less stiff?), maybe you could feel that in a bike.
Is every part on the 2 handbult frames identical? The difference certainly could be due to butting and tubing thickness,assuming the tubes are even outwardly dimensinally identical from fork blades through the seat and chainstays.... I have a listing of at least 9 different versions of 531 ranging from straight gage .91 thru the superlight DB stuff. There may be even more. 531 is nothing but the alloy desigantion.It's impossible to generalize about '531'. It's simply manganese moly. Columbus Nivacrom tubesets have also been available in about as many varieties and it's also impossible to generalize about that alloy, beyond it being 'good stuff'.
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Old 05-07-05, 09:46 PM
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Originally Posted by s70rguy

Between 531 and Columbus SL or SP, i would say it's hard to feel the difference. Columbus SL would be slightly lighter than 531 but also weaker (less stiff?), maybe you could feel that in a bike.
Where is that bunny with a pancake on it's head when you need it?
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Old 05-07-05, 11:10 PM
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Never had Columbus. My last two steel bikes were Reynolds 853 and Reynolds 631. They seemed to be lighter bikes than my older 531, but I don't know how much of that was the frame. All of the steel bikes seemed to have about the same amount of flex around the bottom bracket--even the 853-frame which had the smallest main triangle, and the 631-frame which had some trick ovalizing on the downtube.
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Old 05-08-05, 01:25 AM
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Originally Posted by bigbossman
I can only answer anecdotally. The only aluminum bike I've ever ridden is a TREK 1500, and I never got used to it. It rides much different than my steel bikes, and I didn't like the twitchyness

John D.
I took John's Trek for a spin and it's twitchy alright, but so is my old Motobecane -- and for the same reason: a steep fork angle. I talk to him with tears in my eyes, but he insists on blaming the aluminum.

Oh, well; he thinks disease is caused by foul humours, too.
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Old 05-08-05, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by mswantak
Oh, well; he thinks disease is caused by foul humours, too.
Bleeding is an effective treatment as well

I rode one of the early model Cannondales for quite a number of years and never felt it overly harsh and if any bike would be......

My take on the Columbus/Reynolds mix is that partisans of one over the other usually were partisans of either English or Continental (mostly Italian) bikes. Generally, the Italian stuff was Columbus framed and the top bikes from the Isles were 531. (I know there are exceptions and it leaves out the French who used alot of Reynolds and their own Vitus but as a general statement it holds up.)

So if a Raleigh International was as good as it got or your nose was at a constant 45 degree angle b/c you rode a Hetchins it ws obvious that 531 frames were superior.

If, OTOH you have no doubt that God himself brazed your Cinelli and angels sing in harmony when you pedal your DeRosa then Columbus frames are the be all, end all.

As for me? Well the Pope did ride a Colnago there for awhile in his earlier days.

As an aside I must say that I do notice a real difference with the ultra thin wall Reynolds 853 on my LeMond.

FWIW

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Old 05-08-05, 07:23 AM
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I agree with you about the NR/SR derailers. I have a mint '84 SR derailer with titanium bolts that I've never put on a bike because I don't like the way it looks. I'll sell it one of these days.
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Old 05-08-05, 10:43 AM
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Good discussion, thanks for all the replys. What I'm hearing is that there are probably small differences between Reynolds and Columbus depending on which alloy you choose, some sronger alloys allow you to use thinner walled tubing, hence a lighter bike. But as far as ride goes frame geometry and wheel set up has a far greater influence.

I guess this is a good question for a custom frame builder. For example my early dave moulton has 531db but I noticed that he used Columbus tubing later in his career, why? Maybe economics, maybe it was easier for him to get the Columbus tubing in the US, but knowing him, he probably felt the Columbus was better somehow.
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Old 05-20-05, 09:17 PM
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Well I emailed Dave Moulton the question about Columbus vs Reynolds 531 tubing along with a question about touching up my paint chips. Here's his answer.Hi John,



In answer to your questions, there is some stuff on the market called “Naval Jelly” that is good for treating rust. You can get it at Ace Hardware or most other hardware stores.



After you have treated the rust you need some thick gray primer that will fill in the deep scratches. Apply it with a small brush. When it is dry sand it level with some 250 grit wet or dry paper that you can get from an auto store. While you’re at the auto store get a spray can of black auto paint.



Cut a hole in a piece of cardboard a little bigger than the scratch and hold it over the area as a mask while you spray.



Spray very lightly. Many light coats are better than one heavy one. Allow to dry for about a week, and then polish out the edges of the new paint with medium rubbing compound (Paste) also from the auto store.



Finally a wax polish will restore a uniform shine. Just make sure you’re done painting before applying wax.



On the subject of Reynolds v Columbus; I would not want to stake my life or my reputation on the difference between the two. Both are equal in my book.



When I lived in England I lived only 25 miles away from the Reynolds factory, so it made sense for me to use their product. I had also worked with Reynolds on the development of 753.



When I started building my own frames in the US, my main competition was the Italian imports built in Columbus; so in order to compete on level terms I used Columbus.



Reynolds were always trying to get me to use their product and asked me how they could compete with Columbus in the USA. I told them to get English framebuilders to build the quantity and quality of the Italian frames and export to the US. Of course it didn’t happen.



Best regards,

Dave.



----- Original Message -----
From: John Robinson
To: Dave Moulton
Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 10:04 PM
Subject: Re: paint chips


Hi Dave,

I've got a couple of questions for you if you've got time to answer. First, I want to touch up all of the paint chips my bike has accumulated over the years. The paint overall is in very good shape with good gloss and all of the decals except the Reynold 531 decal are intact, so I don't want to do a restoration, that plus I can't afford one. I presumme all I have to do is lightly sand the edge of the chipped area and the steel until all the surface rust is gone. Then do I prime the metal? With what? Also what kind of paint do I need to match what you did thirty years ago?

The next question was discussed on the Bike Forum and relates to the differences between Columbus and Reynolds tubing. When I first got into good bikes, early seventies, Reynolds 531 seemed to be the tubing of choice on the better bikes. I really didn't know anybody with an Italian bike so I don't know how popular Columbus tubing was with them, or even how long Columbus has been around. Then in the late seventies through to today Columbus seems to be more popular. My question to you as a frame builder is, what is the difference between the two, and how do you choose one over the other?

I hope you are doing well, spring is here finally and I'm starting to ride.

Best regards,

John Robinson
Kalispell, Montana
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Old 05-20-05, 09:35 PM
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Is there anyone still making bikes with Columbus tubes?

I can tell right away the difference between a Reynolds 525, 631 and 853 because I have all three bikes including a low level chromoly bike. The chromoly street bike has the most plush ride of all my bikes and comes in at about 27 pounds! A touring bike in a former life, I can't think of a better ride. The Reynolds 525 frame feels faster and lighter (Bianchi Volpe) but you lose some of the plushness over the low level chromoly. My Reynolds 631 frame (Bianchi Eros) feels much stiffer and lighter than the prior two but it comes close to an Alu feel if you know what I mean. The same goes with my 853 bike but the difference between the two are hardly noticable. In fact, the differences may be more based on frame geometry and tires than anything else.
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Old 05-21-05, 03:57 PM
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Sheldon Brown claims there is no significant difference among the moly steel alloys (Reynolds 531 MnMo, Columbus or Tange CrMo, etc.). The alloyed steels are stronger than plain carbon steels, permitting the construction of resilient, lightweight, responsive frames. Some alloys, such as Reynolds 853, are more resistant to weld- or braze-induced weakening than others, allowing further weight reductions.

My Bianchi is MUCH stiffer than my Capo, but this should not be construed as any evidence whatsoever for the flawed, tired "Columbus is inherently stiffer than 531" argument.
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Old 05-21-05, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve
Is there anyone still making bikes with Columbus tubes?

I can tell right away the difference between a Reynolds 525, 631 and 853 because I have all three bikes including a low level chromoly bike. The chromoly street bike has the most plush ride of all my bikes and comes in at about 27 pounds! A touring bike in a former life, I can't think of a better ride. The Reynolds 525 frame feels faster and lighter (Bianchi Volpe) but you lose some of the plushness over the low level chromoly. My Reynolds 631 frame (Bianchi Eros) feels much stiffer and lighter than the prior two but it comes close to an Alu feel if you know what I mean. The same goes with my 853 bike but the difference between the two are hardly noticable. In fact, the differences may be more based on frame geometry and tires than anything else.
Yes....And in this seat of the pants comparison,did you factor in tubing diameter and butting among all the other variables.
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Old 05-21-05, 08:11 PM
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To me, the skill of the framebuilder, fit of the frame and geometry has always been more important than whether it was Columbus or Reynolds. If the frame is well built, has suitable geometry for my application and fits me well, then I don't really care whether it's Reynolds, Columbus, Ishiwata, Tange or some other brand, provided they are of comparable levels.

The only place where I noticed a real difference in the tubesets, is in their resistance to corrosion. The Columbus tubesets are less prone to rust. I suspect this is due to the chromium content in Columbus versus the manganese in Reynolds 531. It could also be due to the framebuilders' tube treatment, but I've had several Reynolds 531 frames from various framebuilders and any nicks in them rust more quickly than my Columbus frames.
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