Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

Columbus AIR tubing

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

Columbus AIR tubing

Old 07-10-24, 05:26 PM
  #1  
HPL
Barred @ Velocipedesalon
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 445

Bikes: Why list them

Liked 71 Times in 55 Posts
Columbus AIR tubing

A couple questions regarding Columbus' AIR tubing:
1) was it the same Cyclex alloy used in their other top of the line tubes?
2) was the steerer tube essentially an SL tube, and did it have the same reinforcement helical ridges that SL had?

I have not been able to find a chart detailing the tubing features, wall thicknesses, etc.

Thank you!
HPL is offline  
Old 07-10-24, 06:13 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
P!N20's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Wurundjeri Country
Posts: 2,518
Liked 1,959 Times in 959 Posts
Originally Posted by HPL
A couple questions regarding Columbus' AIR tubing:
1) was it the same Cyclex alloy used in their other top of the line tubes?
2) was the steerer tube essentially an SL tube, and did it have the same reinforcement helical ridges that SL had?

I have not been able to find a chart detailing the tubing features, wall thicknesses, etc.

Thank you!
1) I thought it was just chro-mo like it says on the decal.



2) My Air fork has helical ridges, so yeah.
P!N20 is offline  
Old 07-10-24, 08:03 PM
  #3  
blahblahblah chrome moly
 
bulgie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 2,186
Liked 2,881 Times in 1,198 Posts
Originally Posted by P!N20
1) I thought it was just chro-mo like it says on the decal.
I don't think they used the word Cyclex back when Air was made. I remember when they started calling SL/SLX Cyclex, in the sense that I remember it happening, but not what year that happened. ('87-'88 maybe?) Well after Air came out anyway. Cyclex is just Cr-Mo though, I believe with some claims of extra refinement compared to generic Cr-Mo. Finer dispersion of carbides, added strength from work-hardening or some such? It's probably only slightly better (if at all) than generic "aircraft" Cr-Mo. Nivacrom, and later Thermacrom, were substantially different and stronger, but Cyclex = Cr-Mo.
bulgie is offline  
Likes For bulgie:
Old 07-11-24, 04:35 AM
  #4  
HPL
Barred @ Velocipedesalon
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 445

Bikes: Why list them

Liked 71 Times in 55 Posts
Originally Posted by bulgie
I don't think they used the word Cyclex back when Air was made. I remember when they started calling SL/SLX Cyclex, in the sense that I remember it happening, but not what year that happened. ('87-'88 maybe?) Well after Air came out anyway. Cyclex is just Cr-Mo though, I believe with some claims of extra refinement compared to generic Cr-Mo. Finer dispersion of carbides, added strength from work-hardening or some such? It's probably only slightly better (if at all) than generic "aircraft" Cr-Mo. Nivacrom, and later Thermacrom, were substantially different and stronger, but Cyclex = Cr-Mo.
Originally Posted by P!N20
1) I thought it was just chro-mo like it says on the decal.



2) My Air fork has helical ridges, so yeah.
Okay, thanks! I have someone claiming an Air fork without ridges in the steerer.

I thought the Cyclex name was just something fancy that Columbus decided to as a patented name to call their old CrMo alloy that was being used on all their earlier top end tubes (SL, SP, PS, etc.). I do know that Nivacrom, Thermacrom, and Omnicron are newer alloys ("new" SL, and others are now Omnicrom versus Cyclex).

Last edited by HPL; 07-11-24 at 09:29 AM.
HPL is offline  
Old 07-11-24, 07:23 AM
  #5  
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 24,931

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Liked 3,544 Times in 2,005 Posts
We (Trek) built a few team frames using Air tubing, back in the early 80s. IIRC, the steer tube was the same as SL. The down tube was interesting, as it had a second tube inserted inside to make it stiffer. It came with a set of proprietary lugs (which required a fair amount of reworking) and bottom bracket shell, and a proprietary seatpost made by Sakae Ringyo.
JohnDThompson is online now  
Old 07-11-24, 09:33 AM
  #6  
HPL
Barred @ Velocipedesalon
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 445

Bikes: Why list them

Liked 71 Times in 55 Posts
@JohnDThompson Thank you for that insight John. I was unaware of the extra internal tube.
HPL is offline  
Old 07-11-24, 11:44 AM
  #7  
Groupetto Dragon-Ass
 
Chuckk's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Lostin Austin, TX
Posts: 635
Liked 817 Times in 385 Posts
Here's my random Air factoid contribution:
I have two bikes with "Air" seat stays on SL/SLX bikes (Sannino and Limongi). I've been told that the aero shape was considered stiffer by some.
Also heard that when William Lewis was importing Tommasini bikes, there was a fork problem where he pulled every Air fork and swapped it out with a standard.
Chuckk is offline  
Likes For Chuckk:
Old 07-11-24, 09:42 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Chombi1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 4,584
Likes: 0
Liked 876 Times in 574 Posts
Originally Posted by Chuckk
Here's my random Air factoid contribution:
I have two bikes with "Air" seat stays on SL/SLX bikes (Sannino and Limongi). I've been told that the aero shape was considered stiffer by some.
Also heard that when William Lewis was importing Tommasini bikes, there was a fork problem where he pulled every Air fork and swapped it out with a standard.
i would think aero profile tubing would be stiffer in the vertical axis for down tubes snd seat tubes. Not so sure about lateral.
I still remember riding my brother's Motobecan Profil bike in the 80's with aero profile tubing and it was like riding an ass hatchet. Just really psinful!! He got rid of it pretty quickly as even his iron butt could not stand it....
__________________
72 Line Seeker
83 Davidson Signature
84 Peugeot PSV
84 Peugeot PY10FC
84 Gitane Tour de France.
85 Vitus Plus Carbone 7
86 ALAN Record Carbonio
86 Medici Aerodynamic (Project)
88 Pinarello Montello
89 Bottecchia Professional Chorus SL
95 Trek 5500 OCLV (Project)
Chombi1 is offline  
Likes For Chombi1:
Old 07-12-24, 10:40 AM
  #9  
HPL
Barred @ Velocipedesalon
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 445

Bikes: Why list them

Liked 71 Times in 55 Posts
I have received a statement that was taken from a post on this site. I do not know what thread it was located in; I was provided no link info.

"T-Mar on Bike forums previously confirmed that some Air forks did not have the ridges."

@T-Mar was this because the Air set provided 2 options? Was there an actual steerer tube specified for Air sets or was it a builder's choice? I am well aware that builders would use whatever they wanted to. It would seem that the Air was either specified with its own steerer, or just used a standard SL/SP ribbed steerer tube or any other steerer from the Columbus line up. Is there a spec sheet for Air shown somewhere? My friend is unable to find anything and is planning on contacting Columbus to see if they can supply him with the info.
HPL is offline  
Old 07-12-24, 11:02 AM
  #10  
HPL
Barred @ Velocipedesalon
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 445

Bikes: Why list them

Liked 71 Times in 55 Posts
Originally Posted by Chuckk
Here's my random Air factoid contribution:
I have two bikes with "Air" seat stays on SL/SLX bikes (Sannino and Limongi). I've been told that the aero shape was considered stiffer by some.
Also heard that when William Lewis was importing Tommasini bikes, there was a fork problem where he pulled every Air fork and swapped it out with a standard.
I am relaying these answers to another (not a member here). Do you know what the issue was with the forks? Could other blades fit into the Air crown? Was there an Air specific crown made by Columbus?

I was told that another person has a bike with round main tubes but "aero" (Air?) seatstays. Repainted frame with riverniciato seat tube decal. Cromor decals (was told they appear OE) on chromed fork blades. Could Cromor blades be shaped to fit the Air crown?

Last edited by HPL; 07-12-24 at 11:24 AM.
HPL is offline  
Old 07-12-24, 03:53 PM
  #11  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2024
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I believe my Olmo is Columbus Air tubed. From my research The tubes are cromo. the steerer tube could have .... and not have reinforcement helical ridges. The fork blades pertain to the specified Tubing. The steerer tube coulf be anything.
Olmoboy is offline  
Likes For Olmoboy:
Old 07-12-24, 03:55 PM
  #12  
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2024
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Be aware that Columbus Air forks and rear triangle could be combined ith different main triangle.
Olmoboy is offline  
Likes For Olmoboy:
Old 07-12-24, 04:08 PM
  #13  
blahblahblah chrome moly
 
bulgie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 2,186
Liked 2,881 Times in 1,198 Posts
Originally Posted by HPL
@JohnDThompson Thank you for that insight John. I was unaware of the extra internal tube.
Not all Air DTs had the weird internal reinforcement, some were just a cylindrical tube that got squished into a pseudo-airfoil (teardrop) shape.

I have a complete Air tubeset in the original box, with also a set of the matching lugs, BB shell and fork crown. The DT is the plain kind.

Originally Posted by HPL
Was there an Air specific crown made by Columbus?
I doubt Columbus made any crowns. The one most often sold with Air sets was probably cast in Italy, maybe by Microfusione.

Could Cromor blades be shaped to fit the Air crown?
Dunno but I'd guess Yes. I reshaped some Prestige blades to fit a different, Japanese-made aero crown, which was actually closer to a real airfoil in that it had a sharper crease down the back. The Col. Air blades should be easier to make, since the radius of curvature at the back of the blade was larger. I mean larger compared to that same spot on the Tange. Air blades still have a smaller radius in back than at the front, as with all teardrops, they're wider in front and narrower in back. But a true teardrop would have essentially a zero radius in back, i.e.a super sharp crease, which is next to impossible to make out of tubing. Tange just made theirs a bit closer to the ideal teardrop. Getting that sharper crease down the back was challenging, I had to make a die for it, but the corresponding die for squishing to the Columbus shape would be easier to make. Col. Air blades aren't really all that aero; it was more the "aero look" that they were going for.

Anyway getting too wordy there, sorry I didn't have enough time to make it shorter! Bottom line, since Col. obviously had the die to make Air blades, they could use that die on any other blades that had the same dimensions before squishing. I think all Col. blades back then (before Max came out) were made from 24 mm round tube stock. Oh except for the slightly oversized C&C Tandem blades, made from 1" round I believe.
bulgie is offline  
Likes For bulgie:
Old 07-12-24, 04:12 PM
  #14  
blahblahblah chrome moly
 
bulgie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 2,186
Liked 2,881 Times in 1,198 Posts
Originally Posted by Olmoboy
I believe my Olmo is Columbus Air tubed. From my research The tubes are cromo. the steerer tube could have .... and not have reinforcement helical ridges. The fork blades pertain to the specified Tubing. The steerer tube coulf be anything.
I wanted to say the Air steerer and head tube were teardrop-shaped, but I was afraid someone would think I was being serious.
How cool would that be though?
bulgie is offline  
Old 07-12-24, 04:42 PM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Utah
Posts: 8,881

Bikes: Paletti,Pinarello Monviso,Duell Vienna,Giordana XL Super,Lemond Maillot Juane.& custom,PDG Paramount,Fuji Opus III,Davidson Impulse,Pashley Guv'nor,Evans,Fishlips,Y-Foil,Softride, Tetra Pro, CAAD8 Optimo,

Liked 5,676 Times in 1,915 Posts
Originally Posted by bulgie
I wanted to say the Air steerer and head tube were teardrop-shaped, but I was afraid someone would think I was being serious.
How cool would that be though?
It's cool on my Coppi! Although I do get comments about something being wrong with the headset.


__________________
Steel is real...and comfy.
jamesdak is offline  
Likes For jamesdak:
Old 07-12-24, 04:54 PM
  #16  
HPL
Barred @ Velocipedesalon
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 445

Bikes: Why list them

Liked 71 Times in 55 Posts
Thanks for those comments!

@Olmoboy are the main triangle tubes round or "aero" shaped on your bike. I was told the frame in question is an Olmo and my friend was trying to help the owner determine the tube make-up of the frame (he said owner thinks by seeing other examples and features that it is Air/SL mix). He said other than the smooth interior of the steerer, he was wondering about the Cromor decals on the blades which he thought looked original due to wear and also not needing to be replaced for the frame's repaint being that they are located on the chromed part of the fork. I have asked for photos of the frame in question so that might hellp clarify things. I have had an Air frame pass through my hands that had the shaped main tubes and stays, but I do not recall the fork design (might not have been Air). I have a Tommasini Prestige with an "air" fork (SL frame), but I think that it pertains to something different. I need to take a closer look and see what it its design is like.

@Bulgie it makes sense what you say about shaping the blades to fit a crown as needed. It seems I have seen more than one style of crowns purporting to have Air blades. So by all accounts there really was not a particular steerer tube spec'd to the Air set (does your boxed set contain a steerer, and if so ridges or not?). The "plain" DT you mention, was it still teardropped, but not having the internal sleeve?
HPL is offline  
Old 07-12-24, 05:29 PM
  #17  
HPL
Barred @ Velocipedesalon
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 445

Bikes: Why list them

Liked 71 Times in 55 Posts
Originally Posted by bulgie
I wanted to say the Air steerer and head tube were teardrop-shaped, but I was afraid someone would think I was being serious.
How cool would that be though?
One version of the Air seat tube used a round seat post (internally sleeved seat tube?), so it could have been done with the head tube and still used a proper steerer as in the previously posted Coppi design. Which, yes, is cool.
HPL is offline  
Old 07-12-24, 06:48 PM
  #18  
blahblahblah chrome moly
 
bulgie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Seattle
Posts: 2,186
Liked 2,881 Times in 1,198 Posts
Originally Posted by HPL
One version of the Air seat tube used a round seat post (internally sleeved seat tube?), so it could have been done with the head tube and still used a proper steerer as in the previously posted Coppi design. Which, yes, is cool.
Yeah my Air set has the teardrop seat tube that takes a matching teardrop post, which luckily I do have. The post is branded Columbus, cast-in, not pantagraphed or otherwise added later. Likewise the BB shell has Columbus cast-in, but the crown has no logos.





As you can see the lugs are minimally useful (nearly worthless), cheap stamped sheetmetal.. There wasn't even a seat tube lug, not as I received mine anyway, just a pinchbolt braze-on for putting on the bare seat tube. I think some builders had their own better Air lugs made, but I think most were done lugless.
bulgie is offline  
Likes For bulgie:
Old 07-12-24, 10:01 PM
  #19  
HPL
Barred @ Velocipedesalon
Thread Starter
 
HPL's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: Earth
Posts: 445

Bikes: Why list them

Liked 71 Times in 55 Posts
@bulgie great photos! That really gives and idea as to how much the tubes shapes were altered. Plus, showing those reinforcements on the seat post.

I just got some photos forwarded to me, but they do not upload from my phone so I will post them tomorrow when I can do sitting at my desk. Not the best views to properly distinguish fork blade as Air, but maybe someone can confirm the design. Fork blades look much more flat sufaced on the exterior side than what your crown shape would require. It may just be the view, but the crown does not seem to be as convex to rear of the blade as your crown; hard to tell from rear fork photo.

Last edited by HPL; 07-13-24 at 01:21 PM.
HPL is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.