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Can Anyone Identify This Columbus Frame?

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Can Anyone Identify This Columbus Frame?

Old 12-05-21, 06:35 AM
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Can Anyone Identify This Columbus Frame?

I have been given this frame to restore. Being a Columbus frame it is very light. Apart from th number 53 on the BB, I have not found a serial number.

It has G A Argos decals, and although this is probably the UK best frame repainter, and have resprayed this frame, its not a frame they built originally, as I checked them first.

I can respray and use G A Argos decals, but if possible I would like to get it back to original. It came with Campag equipment, Cinelli handlebars, and although the current front wheel steerer is now Shimano, I suspect it was Campag to start. The rear wheel is Campag,hub, but I am still checking the front hub.

The lugs are quite distinctive,so Iam hoping someone recognises them.










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Old 12-05-21, 09:01 AM
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@MauriceMoss
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Old 12-05-21, 02:09 PM
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Argos was as you write a British shop (Bristol ?) and their eponymous frames were built-to-order from several sources, but they are best know in later times for being a go-to for re-sprays.
Can we have a clear shot of the bottom of that BB shell? if it has a ginormous cut-out (as I imagine I see a hint of) that would be a ginormous clue.
Tho @MauriceMoss probably would solve this mystery without such clues.
It has portacatena shorty dropouts so we are in the approx 1979-1983 ish time period.
That style forkcrown was one available from several brands (Haden as well as Tange and Ishiwata) but not one you typically see on an Italian fork. so: do the forkends match the Campy DOs?
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Old 12-06-21, 03:48 AM
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A
The cutout clearly predates the respray. Further disassembly shows the 53 is on the steerer tube, along with a hand written note to spray Dark Blue Pearl. This must be the original colour as this bike is now Light Blue.

I am thinking of sealing the hole. As I will be powder coating, it will have to be silver soldered, but should not be a problem. I had thought the hole would have removed a serial no, but it looks a little short.
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Old 12-06-21, 06:11 AM
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Those gear cables are...interesting.
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Old 12-06-21, 12:09 PM
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The gear cable outers are quite common. Downtube gears are a good example. Otherwise the cables would be bare and easily rust and jam.

Although I have now fully stripped the frame, the cables are all in excellent condition, and I am tempted to reuse them. The very thin outer cable is available from ebay.

A lot of MTB with much bare cabling use it.
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Old 12-06-21, 12:16 PM
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This could be helpful:

https://argoscycles.com/about-us/argos-history/
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Old 12-06-21, 04:46 PM
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Originally Posted by seypat View Post
Before I posted this search, I checked with G A Argos and they confirmed that they had only done the respray, and having seen images could not identify the origin of the frame. Thats why I posted.

I am still waiting to get a reply identifying the frame, following a request for a better bottom bracket image.
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Old 12-06-21, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by johnggold View Post
A
The cutout clearly predates the respray. Further disassembly shows the 53 is on the steerer tube, along with a hand written note to spray Dark Blue Pearl. This must be the original colour as this bike is now Light Blue.

I am thinking of sealing the hole. As I will be powder coating, it will have to be silver soldered, but should not be a problem. I had thought the hole would have removed a serial no, but it looks a little short.
Not quite so "YUGE" as I had imagined but it sure does not jibe with any well-known BB shell cutouts I am familiar with, except...if one had the "CC" cutout of some later Carlton Cycles shells, and then just "honked it all out" leaving only the outline.

EXCEPT that makes 100% no sense, how could this be a Carlton frame?

Let's go back to the fork and see if there's the typical clue that might confirm at least the fork being built of Columbus: is there "rifling" (5 shallow spiral ridges) in the interior butt of the steerer? And the forkends are Campy?

Personally I wouldn't worry too much about 'sealing the shell hole'.

Last edited by unworthy1; 12-06-21 at 08:21 PM.
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Old 12-06-21, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by johnggold View Post
Before I posted this search, I checked with G A Argos and they confirmed that they had only done the respray, and having seen images could not identify the origin of the frame.
Strikes me as odd that Argos put their own decals on a frame just in for a re-spray, since they confirm it's "not one of ours".
Can we trust that they would only apply Columbus decals (SL or SP) to a frame/fork they are certain is built with that?
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Old 12-06-21, 10:42 PM
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Old 12-07-21, 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Strikes me as odd that Argos put their own decals on a frame just in for a re-spray, since they confirm it's "not one of ours".
Can we trust that they would only apply Columbus decals (SL or SP) to a frame/fork they are certain is built with that?
Hi All

This post is about finding the original manufacturer if possible. The frame has gone off today to be resprayed in its original colour Dark Blue Pearl. This was written on the Steerer tube. I wont get it back until after XMas which leaves time to source new logos.

As to it being Columbus tubing, I have had this confirmed independently nu experts, but the choice of lugs seems not to ring a bell. I am able to use the Columbus decals, and I will custom design something attractive for the main decals.

As to the comments re G A Argos, I can't see the concern. I get a lot of frames with unfortunate logos, or where replacement logos cannot be sourced.

I am still waiting for a full set of logos for a Trek 2000 frame I have had hanging up for 6 years, rather than a part fix..

When I have time I prep frames by hand. Saves the shotblasting cost..

Just today I was looking at a frame that was decorated thoughout with 7up drinks logos. This weas obviously done for a Sales promotion, but the frame is useless until I find some other logos.



G A Argos will use their own decals when no others are supplied by the Customer.
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Old 12-07-21, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by johnggold View Post
Hi All

This post is about finding the original manufacturer if possible. \

As to the comments re G A Argos, I can't see the concern

G A Argos will use their own decals when no others are supplied by the Customer.
I have no concerns, myself.

But only GA Argos can answer whether a frame with their decals is one they sold as "own brand' or is one they just went to 'default' (we used our namebrand decals) since the re-spray customer had no name or decals to supply.

So if they cannot help you with finding "the original manufacturer" with records they didn't keep, the decals are nothing but a red herring.
You must rely on other clues.
Obviously since experts have confirmed to your satisfaction this has Columbus tubing, you have that one big clue

Threading can be another help:
This has a Stronglight BB unit (Made in France) visible in the BB shell cutout.
There should be info stamped on the cups as to what that unit's threading is.
Can you read what's stamped and post that?

Somebody thought enough to install Simplex Retrofriction shifters on this frame...that's a nice upgrade.

Last edited by unworthy1; 12-07-21 at 05:08 PM.
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Old 12-07-21, 05:36 PM
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Everything on this bike is Campag with the single exception of a Shimano headset. Likely the original lost its chrome, as was replaced. I'm sourcing a Campag replacement.
The cups are both Campag, and the markings show that both are clockwise thread. I don't need to remove the right side for the respray, as it can be protected. One of the benefits of having a neighbour own the local shotblast company. This frame has needed more protection than usual. The brake spindles refuse to come out intact. They have an Allen key threaded tube, instead of a nut, and this tube has welded to the spindle, probably as the threads were never lubricated. Because of the design there is no way WD40 can get to the threads, and heating/cooling had no effect. However, I am able to leave the spindles during shotblasting and respray as they can be protected. Its a bit fiddly.

If I was building this bike for someone I know, the brand name would not matter, but as the completed bike will be sold for a local charity, no brand name will probably lower its potential sale value.
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Old 12-07-21, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Strikes me as odd that Argos put their own decals on a frame just in for a re-spray, since they confirm it's "not one of ours".
Can we trust that they would only apply Columbus decals (SL or SP) to a frame/fork they are certain is built with that?
Let me explain that the British culture of selling custom frames is different than American culture so it is not odd or suspicious they painted a frame with their own decals even though they did not make it. At Ellis Briggs in Yorkshire (where I apprenticed) they painted frames for a variety of brands. For example Woodrup made frames for R.E.W Reynolds that were painted at Briggs. Lots of bikes stores sold frames under the name of the store that were made by a variety of builders. For example Pat Hanlon sold frames under her own name made by several London builders. Some of these builders did not market their own frames, they just made them for others. On the social scale, the bike shop owner was on a higher rung than the builder.

Back then frames would get used and repainted every few years or so. To save money, the original owner might not have wanted to pay to have decals replaced when he had it repainted since that was an extra more expensive charge. This is probably why the origin was lost. Argos probably received the frame without any decals. Then the next owner may have preferred the looks of having decals rather than just plain so he ordered the repaint with Argos decals. Keep in mind that everyone in the UK expects the name on the frame to be that of the seller and not the builder (who is much less significant).

What is interesting to me about this frame is that it doesn't look like a typical British frame. They often used domed ends coming into the dropouts because that is the way they were supplied by Reynolds. This one looks Italian. I can't remember builders in England that did scalloped seat stay tops like a Masi. However Jack Briggs did send me over to Woodrup who showed me how to do those scalloped ends like a Masi. So there is some chance it is a Woodrup. Of course at some point in time that shape of top eyes were available in the UK from British suppliers.
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Old 12-07-21, 06:11 PM
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Originally Posted by johnggold View Post
The cups are both Campag, and the markings show that both are clockwise thread.
So the frame is Italian and not British. This is another reason the decals were not replaced. Getting decals from Italy is problematic and not convenient and expensive. I can remember when I painted frames in the 70's, customers would often have me leave off the decals because it was a considerably greater expense. Somebody (and it wouldn't be me) had to write the company and request decals that they might not want to send because they couldn't be sure in Italy some American wasn't putting them on a frame that might not be there own. And some companies had policies that they didn't send their decals no matter what. Paying for them involved going to the bank to get money exchanged to Lira. They wouldn't send them for free. All this took time too because the bike company wouldn't necessarily be in a hurry to ship them.
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Old 12-07-21, 06:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
So the frame is Italian and not British. This is another reason the decals were not replaced. Getting decals from Italy is problematic and not convenient and expensive. I can remember when I painted frames in the 70's, customers would often have me leave off the decals because it was a considerably greater expense. Somebody (and it wouldn't be me) had to write the company and request decals that they might not want to send because they couldn't be sure in Italy some American wasn't putting them on a frame that might not be there own. And some companies had policies that they didn't send their decals no matter what. Paying for them involved going to the bank to get money exchanged to Lira. They wouldn't send them for free. All this took time too because the bike company wouldn't necessarily be in a hurry to ship them.
That makes a lot of sense. Getting decals from the USA for the Trek frames is hard enough. velocal just won't issue the final couple I need because the Trek 2000 had a couple of specials.

In my business dealings with the Italians, if you get on a plane and visit they are extremely helpful. But try ordering parts remotely and there are so many barriers.

I made a lot of trips!

Thank you for the help given. What I will do now is keep the frame plain apart from the Columbus decals.
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Old 12-09-21, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
So the frame is Italian and not British. This is another reason the decals were not replaced. Getting decals from Italy is problematic and not convenient and expensive. I can remember when I painted frames in the 70's, customers would often have me leave off the decals because it was a considerably greater expense. Somebody (and it wouldn't be me) had to write the company and request decals that they might not want to send because they couldn't be sure in Italy some American wasn't putting them on a frame that might not be there own. And some companies had policies that they didn't send their decals no matter what. Paying for them involved going to the bank to get money exchanged to Lira. They wouldn't send them for free. All this took time too because the bike company wouldn't necessarily be in a hurry to ship them.
if you are a "legit" restorer (and I don't know exactly how one qualifies) this outfit has a very extensive library (many Italian marques, but looks like not for Argos) in many colors but does not sell to the "general public". I'm sure they'd sell to Doug Fattic if he enquired :
https://sssink.com/bicycle-restoration
But if one does a bit more searching there are other decal suppliers that DO sell to the public (besides Velocals) including Greg Softley in Australia, Gus Salmon in Florida, and a few more I can't recall just now. if you use the search tool you can probably find several threads that list contact info (and "user's ratings"). That's assuming you find who in Italy built this frame and want to apply "correct" decals
EDIT: SSSink do carry a set for "ARGONAUT". If you asked nicely maybe they'd alter that to "ARGOS-NOT"...
sorry, I had to do it.

Last edited by unworthy1; 12-09-21 at 01:10 PM.
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Old 12-09-21, 05:36 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
if you are a "legit" restorer (and I don't know exactly how one qualifies) this outfit has a very extensive library (many Italian marques, but looks like not for Argos) in many colors but does not sell to the "general public". I'm sure they'd sell to Doug Fattic if he enquired :
https://sssink.com/bicycle-restoration
But if one does a bit more searching there are other decal suppliers that DO sell to the public (besides Velocals) including Greg Softley in Australia, Gus Salmon in Florida, and a few more I can't recall just now. if you use the search tool you can probably find several threads that list contact info (and "user's ratings"). That's assuming you find who in Italy built this frame and want to apply "correct" decals
EDIT: SSSink do carry a set for "ARGONAUT". If you asked nicely maybe they'd alter that to "ARGOS-NOT"...
sorry, I had to do it.
I don't usually have decal problems when I know what I am after. Velocals should be the "go to" for Trek, but I have struggled. In the UK H Lloyd Cycles I find the best, but ebay is a very rich source. I recall getting the Reynolds tubing decals I needed all the way from Australia..
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Old 12-09-21, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
So the frame is Italian and not British. This is another reason the decals were not replaced. Getting decals from Italy is problematic and not convenient and expensive. I can remember when I painted frames in the 70's, customers would often have me leave off the decals because it was a considerably greater expense. Somebody (and it wouldn't be me) had to write the company and request decals that they might not want to send because they couldn't be sure in Italy some American wasn't putting them on a frame that might not be there own. And some companies had policies that they didn't send their decals no matter what. Paying for them involved going to the bank to get money exchanged to Lira. They wouldn't send them for free. All this took time too because the bike company wouldn't necessarily be in a hurry to ship them.

Direction of the cups does not make it Italian. French BBs threaded right handed. The threading is marked on the BB cup and IME it is usually visible enough that one can determine the threading. Unless I missed something, I have not seen anything that eliminates a French builder. I am not saying this is a Carré, but Berrnard Carré used a similar seat stay cap in his later years. The lugs and crown would not be out of place for some French builders. This frame reminds me of some of the late 70s Lejeunes, but I do not think it is Lejeune.
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Old 12-09-21, 11:08 PM
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The cutout in the shell is pretty crude and could feasibly have been done after the fact. I myself have drilled an additional hole in a shell which was originally ventilated with just two oblong slots:



I agree that while some aspects of the frame give off an Italian vibe, it could well be a small builder custom from any country - or even a one-off from a home builder. Other than the shell cutout, nothing serves as a signature.

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Old 12-09-21, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by CV-6 View Post
Direction of the cups does not make it Italian. French BBs threaded right handed. The threading is marked on the BB cup and IME it is usually visible enough that one can determine the threading. Unless I missed something, I have not seen anything that eliminates a French builder. I am not saying this is a Carré, but Berrnard Carré used a similar seat stay cap in his later years. The lugs and crown would not be out of place for some French builders. This frame reminds me of some of the late 70s Lejeunes, but I do not think it is Lejeune.
Yes you are correct that from just from the way the BB cup turns, it is possible that it could have been made in France. It is just unlikely. It has Italian Columbus tubing and Campy equipment. It looks Italian. A French maker would most likely use French tubing and components. When I was at Ellis Briggs in Yorkshire (it was a fairly big store with 10 employees) we never saw any French bikes. Did Ron Kitching (the distributor in Harrogate) bring in some French bikes? The OP is in the UK where an Italian frame is much more likely that a French one. As you noted, it wouldn't be hard for the OP to look at the side of the cup and see if it says 35 X 1 or 36 X 24. He can measure the width of the shell too to see if it is 70 mm. However shells of that type on his frame that are not investment cast are usually narrower than 68 if it is British or 70 if it is Italian.

Look at the liner you can see through the giant cut out in the BB. Does it say France? That would support your option. And the lettering above looks like it says English? I can't quite make out what it reads. What do you and others think it reads.
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Old 12-10-21, 01:15 AM
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Was Wondering When Someone Would Notice

Originally Posted by Doug Fattic View Post
...Look at the liner you can see through the giant cut out in the BB. Does it say France? That would support your option. And the lettering above looks like it says English? I can't quite make out what it reads. What do you and others think it reads.
Enlarged, there is "ENGLISH" in a box,
But
Underneath that is
"FRANCE" with perhaps "IN" preceding it.
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Old 12-10-21, 02:35 AM
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Originally Posted by machinist42 View Post
enlarged, there is "english" in a box,
but
underneath that is
"france" with perhaps "in" preceding it.
stronglight

made in france
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Old 12-10-21, 09:42 AM
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Cognitive Dissonance

Originally Posted by P!N20 View Post
stronglight

made in france
My Bad.
You are right,
I was wrong.


I sit here corrected.
"STRONGLIGHT" it is.
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