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Restoring Custom Vintage (Columbine) Bike - Finishing the Build

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Restoring Custom Vintage (Columbine) Bike - Finishing the Build

Old 05-27-24, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic
PromtCritical, I'm a custom framebuilder and let me put your Columbine frame in perspective for you. Typically my colleagues take on average somewhere around 16/20 hours to make a custom frame not including painting (occasionally even less). Some of us put a lot more effort into making one frame and that time can stretch into 100 hours or more - often this time is spent on carving and refining the lugs. Brothers John and Richard Murphy the builders were experts at this and often used stainless steel lugs which are much harder to braze properly. They require greater cleaning and there is a tighter temperature window the brazer has to maintain or the surface becomes corrupted and the sliver brazing material won't flow. And then the lugs were polished to a shinny finish. in addition these shinny bits need to be masked when painting and that in itself requires a lot more time. What I remember is that they charged several thousand dollars more for this work which could double and triple the price of a frame compared to other builders.

Because Columbine frames were custom frames, how much work the brothers put into a set of lugs could vary. Some were simple and others more elaborate. I would very much like to see the lug work on your frame. In your pictures you didn't show the details on the lugs. Perhaps you are willing to post some pictures?
Here they are. If you'd like any different pictures, please LMK.







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Old 05-28-24, 01:33 AM
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Have a Dr. friend, orthopedic oncology surgeon that had a Columbine built, long gone, sold in a moment of weakness.
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Old 05-28-24, 04:35 AM
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Originally Posted by merziac
Have a Dr. friend, orthopedic oncology surgeon that had a Columbine built, long gone, sold in a moment of weakness.
They are exquisite for sure!
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Old 05-29-24, 05:58 AM
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Just to add to the info on Columbine, I've got two articles that I saved a while back...

The first is a single page. It was part of a series of articles under the title of "Hot Tubes" that examined a number of distinguished frame builders.




The second is from the Bicycle Guide magazine and titled "Art Bikes". It looks at two frame builders, Glenn Erickson and Richard Murphy (of Columbine).











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Old 05-30-24, 07:20 AM
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Thanks for posting additional pictures of your Columbine! It is now possible for C&V members to see how much extra work went into making one of their frames. As I've mentioned before, brazing a stainless lug is more difficult and after it is brazed, they have to be polished shinny. And masking them for painting requires a lot of patience too. I notice the lugs are 3D and groves were cut into the lugs to make their appearance more dynamic when yellow paint is applied the the groove. The lugs are Henry James. Hank Folson was the designer and - even though he lived in SoCal - they were made at an investment casing outfit near Michigan City, Indiana. Michigan City despite its name is in the state of Indiana right on Lake Michigan between South Bend and Chicago only a few miles from the Michigan border.

One of the unusual features of your frame is the blind seat stay binder bolt arrangement. That is a huge amount of precision work. A steel plug has to be brazed into the inside of each seat stay. Then they have to be bored and threaded to accept the binder bolt. This takes quite a bit of set up on a vertical milling machine. Then they are mitered to fit the back of the seat tub. Again this has to be precisely done because stainless can only be silver brazed and silver requires tight tolerances. So PromptCritical you kinda won the lottery on this frame. You got a Rolex instead of a Casio.
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Old 05-30-24, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Doug Fattic
Thanks for posting additional pictures of your Columbine! It is now possible for C&V members to see how much extra work went into making one of their frames. As I've mentioned before, brazing a stainless lug is more difficult and after it is brazed, they have to be polished shinny. And masking them for painting requires a lot of patience too. I notice the lugs are 3D and groves were cut into the lugs to make their appearance more dynamic when yellow paint is applied the the groove. The lugs are Henry James. Hank Folson was the designer and - even though he lived in SoCal - they were made at an investment casing outfit near Michigan City, Indiana. Michigan City despite its name is in the state of Indiana right on Lake Michigan between South Bend and Chicago only a few miles from the Michigan border.

One of the unusual features of your frame is the blind seat stay binder bolt arrangement. That is a huge amount of precision work. A steel plug has to be brazed into the inside of each seat stay. Then they have to be bored and threaded to accept the binder bolt. This takes quite a bit of set up on a vertical milling machine. Then they are mitered to fit the back of the seat tub. Again this has to be precisely done because stainless can only be silver brazed and silver requires tight tolerances. So PromptCritical you kinda won the lottery on this frame. You got a Rolex instead of a Casio.
Yes, I really did (totally pure luck as I was just looking for a frame that fits my legs/torso ratio) and thanks for the additional information on the frame.
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Old 06-01-24, 01:44 PM
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Spokes from Prowheelbuilder.com arrived today, so it's time to start lacing a wheel. I decided to use a Campy 32H low flange hub (freewheel) that I bought in Italy in 1981!



All ready for truing

Using Sheldon Brown's guide to spoke installation (https://www.sheldonbrown.com/wheelbuild.html#side) made it super easy. Much easier than the last time I built a wheel (~1980).
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Old 06-02-24, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Well, yes it is. I don’t know anything about them. Is it special in some way?
That's ******g hilarious!

Because the "vintage" bike hobby is very much a hobby of opportunity and people get rid of the most amazing things in the most inglorious circumstances- people are able to walk into treasures for nothing. Often times people pop up with 'I got this vintage bike at a co-op and I want to spray paint it safety orange and turn it into a single speed' before finding out it's something special.

You seem like you appreciate your find and fine things.

Congratulations and good luck with it!!!
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Old 06-02-24, 09:53 PM
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Build is almost complete. Gave it a ride today and it rides nice. Still a few tuneup items left (and the handlebar tape) and somehow I don't like the water bottle cages (unknown history from my parts stash), but everything works, including the wing shifters.

So, which wheels should I use?

All silver with the low flange hubs from a 1981 trip to Europe (rear wheel in 1st picture) or a set of Campy Khamsin wheels?



All silver rear wheel

Gold and silver Campy Khamsin wheels
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Old 06-02-24, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Build is almost complete. Gave it a ride today and it rides nice. Still a few tuneup items left (and the handlebar tape) and somehow I don't like the water bottle cages (unknown history from my parts stash), but everything works, including the wing shifters.

So, which wheels should I use?

All silver with the low flange hubs from a 1981 trip to Europe (rear wheel in 1st picture) or a set of Campy Khamsin wheels?

All silver rear wheel

Gold and silver Campy Khamsin wheels
I hope you are just trolling us, but...
the only choice are the silver wheels!
A bike as classy as the Columbine deserves some dignity, and those Khamsin wheels just don't offer that.

Steve in Peoria, (imho, etc)
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Old 06-02-24, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by steelbikeguy
I hope you are just trolling us, but...
the only choice are the silver wheels!
A bike as classy as the Columbine deserves some dignity, and those Khamsin wheels just don't offer that.

Steve in Peoria, (imho, etc)
They are a bit over the top....
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Old 06-03-24, 07:15 AM
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Is that a Salvador Dali saddle?
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Old 06-03-24, 08:40 AM
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Originally Posted by smd4
Is that a Salvador Dali saddle?
No, it's a Selle SMP.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
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Old 06-03-24, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Ah. The saddle shape just reminded me of Dali.

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Old 06-03-24, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by PromptCritical
Build is almost complete. Gave it a ride today and it rides nice. Still a few tuneup items left (and the handlebar tape) and somehow I don't like the water bottle cages (unknown history from my parts stash), but everything works, including the wing shifters.

So, which wheels should I use?

All silver with the low flange hubs from a 1981 trip to Europe (rear wheel in 1st picture)



All silver rear wheel
That is a beauty. Great find. I think I'm going to go with Wing Shifters on my next build (touring/commuting bike).
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Old 06-03-24, 11:29 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau
That is a beauty. Great find. I think I'm going to go with Wing Shifters on my next build (touring/commuting bike).
The wing shifters work well, but they don't fit on the drop bars particularly well, depending on where the brake levers are on the down curve. I had to mill off part of the mount to make them sit square. This could be done with a hand tool like a dremel, but I have a mill, which is easier and more precise to use.
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Old 06-03-24, 11:52 AM
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Is that a top tube protector or green electrical tape on the TT?

Beautiful build and you must go with the hand-built (by you -bonus points!!) silver wheels, but did you mean to cross spokes over the valve hole?

edit: I really do love this bike. Looks like my size too!
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Old 06-03-24, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Rocket-Sauce
Is that a top tube protector or green electrical tape on the TT?

Beautiful build and you must go with the hand-built (by you -bonus points!!) silver wheels, but did you mean to cross spokes over the valve hole?

edit: I really do love this bike. Looks like my size too!
Thanks!

It is just some soft material held on by green electrical tape until I wrap the bars to keep them from scratching the paint (waiting on matching yellow tape for the bars).

No, I didn't mean to cross the spokes over the valve hole, but it was the first wheel I built in 45 years and it is true, so I'll take it! I'll get the front one right (really annoyed that I only ordered spokes for one wheel and now have to wait for the front spokes to arrive).
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Old 06-03-24, 01:39 PM
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I have an SMP, one of us has it mounted incorrectly; probably me - as (now I see) my saddle rails tilt upwards. Congrats on the Columbine.
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Old 06-03-24, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
I have an SMP, one of us has it mounted incorrectly; probably me - as (now I see) my saddle rails tilt upwards. Congrats on the Columbine.
Naw, the human body is infinitely variable. If it doesn't hurt, it is correct!
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Old 06-03-24, 02:38 PM
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infinitely variable? - not my body @ 73.
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Old 06-03-24, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
infinitely variable? - not my body @ 73.
LOL! Mine either @ 65.

I meant variable between individuals.
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Old 06-03-24, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Wildwood
I have an SMP, one of us has it mounted incorrectly; probably me - as (now I see) my saddle rails tilt upwards. Congrats on the Columbine.
IF both of you can ride it without discomfort, I would propose that neither of you is incorrect. Especially at whatever age you are. If you were 20 and could count on getting up in the morning without pain regardless of what you did the night before, maybe I'd say something different, but those days are long past for me (and, maybe I'm assuming to much, but I'd guess for you too).
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Old 06-04-24, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau
f you were 20 and could count on getting up in the morning without pain regardless of what you did the night before,
Or what you did in the last week...
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Old 06-04-24, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by The Golden Boy
Or what you did in the last week...
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