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School me on Columbus tubing, specifically Columbus SL

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School me on Columbus tubing, specifically Columbus SL

Old 10-25-05, 06:48 PM
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School me on Columbus tubing, specifically Columbus SL

I don't know much about any tubing except Reynolds 531 as that is all I have ever owned. I have a line on a custom made bike from the late '80s that is made of Columbus SL tubing; what are people's impressions of this tubing? Thanks for any input.

Edit: Rats, I mis-spelled "specifically", now that is going to bug me every time I view this thread. Rats.

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Old 10-25-05, 07:37 PM
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Columbus SL was the Italian Reynolds 531.
Excellent tubing and as desirable as the Reynolds in my book.
Others can school you more better than me so I'll just leave
my impressions here
By the way Specifically looks ok to me

marty
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Old 10-25-05, 07:39 PM
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Do you know anything about Columbus Matrix tubing?
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Old 10-25-05, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by WF Holdsworth
Do you know anything about Columbus Matrix tubing?

I believe it was a seamed version of ... another Columbus tubing. It falls on the lower end of the Columbus scale, but it's still pretty good. A lot of Bertonis made of Matrix were sold in the United States -- I've got one, it's a decent rider.
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Old 10-25-05, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by spider-man
I believe it was a seamed version of ... another Columbus tubing. It falls on the lower end of the Columbus scale, but it's still pretty good. A lot of Bertonis made of Matrix were sold in the United States -- I've got one, it's a decent rider.
Where does SL tubing fall on the scale? Lower or higher end? Thanks.
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Old 10-25-05, 09:13 PM
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Originally Posted by jet sanchEz
Where does SL tubing fall on the scale? Lower or higher end? Thanks.
The tops if you ask me... At least it was at the time Reynolds 531 was considered their best. As far as older Columbus tubesets go, SL, SP, KL and Record were all "their best", but had different wall thickness, depending on intended application.
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Old 10-25-05, 10:08 PM
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Aside from the technical aspects of the tubing, as a 'user' the biggest difference between SL/SP and 531DB, for me, are the forks and the chainstays. Columbus fork blades are much rounder ovals than Reynolds. You can hold one next to the other and clearly see the difference. Even when looking at unidentified frames, you can tell the difference between Reynolds and Columbus from the 70's and 80's eras. Columbus chainstays also seem to carry a heavier cross-section further back to the dropouts than Reynolds. They provide different ride characteristics, but ultimately the builder's specs will have a greater effect. Reynolds frames seem to provide more of the 'lively' feel that one associates with 'steel', whereas Columbus SL/SP/SLX tend to have a very 'predictable', solid feel. Interestingly my most 'sprint' oriented bike is a REynolds tube and the Columbus bikes are the ones I go-to when its a long road ride. Which again leads to the builder and what he has 'spec'd and built, as the determining factor.
'Back when' (70's to mid 80's) there was a slight edge given to Columbus over Reynolds, by us racer types. Part of which was prolly also the Italiophile-ness that predominated (at least on the east coast) back then. Even with 753, which didnt have enough frames out there to make a real difference, the edge was still slightly Columbus
Looking back at it all, and comparing the Reynolds bikes I had back then (and still ride now) vs the Columbius frames of then and now, I think we were also young guys with unfounded opinions and we were mostly full of ****.
Reynolds, Columbus, Ishiwata, Super Vitus (and that mysterious butted 'Gas Pipe' that Fuji used on their Finest/Newest/Ace/Pro) - itz all good (Don't believe I;ve ever owned anything made of Tange nor ever ridden anything made of Falk - at least knowingly).
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Old 10-25-05, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
...Columbus fork blades are much rounder ovals than Reynolds. You can hold one next to the other and clearly see the difference....
Unless you're looking at Reynolds NCO (New Continental Oval) fork blades, the ones made to look more like the Columbus, 'cause Columbus was getting a little too popular with racers in the late '70s...
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Old 10-25-05, 10:42 PM
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Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy
Unless you're looking at Reynolds NCO (New Continental Oval) fork blades, the ones made to look more like the Columbus, 'cause Columbus was getting a little too popular with racers in the late '70s...
yeah, when did Reynolds start making those - Mid- late 80's ? Not sure If I;ve ever seen those, but then I might have thought I was lookin at a Columbus fork - like with the later examples of Raleigh team bikes...
or maybe Lotek's Reus - that looks like a Columbus blade, but he says the tube set is Reynolds. he said it might be 'mixed'. But that didn't grok for Dutch builder frames. Seems like they stayed away from Columbus whenever they could and preferred Reynolds when they could, or anything other than Columbus.

You - or anyone out here - have an example of an NCO? I'd love to see one (and know it was one).
One of the things I love best about 'vintage' bikes are the forks. The curve, the taper, the sheer beauty of proportion that fits with the rest of the bike. I hated when they went to those straightblade forks and most of the current crop of carbon and Alu forks are a visual abomination and a blight on the landscape - or sometin like that...
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Old 10-25-05, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by cyclezen
yeah, when did Reynolds start making those - Mid- late 80's ? Not sure If I;ve ever seen those, but then I might have thought I was lookin at a Columbus fork - like with the later examples of Raleigh team bikes......
I think they were available late '70s... The Raleigh Team Pros used 'em then. I'll take a pic of a Team Pro fork blade that's the NCO cross section tomorrow. From memory, they're even rounder in section than the Columbus blades.
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Old 10-25-05, 11:57 PM
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Originally Posted by WF Holdsworth
Do you know anything about Columbus Matrix tubing?
Cro-Moly tubing. Columbus were banned to use the name "Matrix" since Trek had registered it for their line of products in the 80's and so the tubing later became Cromor.

Roberto
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Old 10-26-05, 12:28 AM
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You could also ask here: https://frameforum.net/
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Old 10-26-05, 06:25 AM
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Cyclezen,
The Reus is Reynolds (marked on steerer) but remember this is an early 90's frame
so it may have the NCO fork blades.
I know for a fact that Ko Zieleman built with mixed tubesets. From what I
can tell frame tubes were Reynolds but used Columbus forks. I believe that
a few other small Dutch builders did the same thing.
My RIH is 531 throughout.
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Old 10-26-05, 01:45 PM
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I now understand that the NCO fork blades were around as early as '74; possibly a little earlier. Here are NCO fork blades from '78 Raleigh Team Pro (Reynolds 531):
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Old 10-26-05, 01:52 PM
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I know squat about tubing, but when I was buying my now vintage Pinny, I was told that Columbus SLX was "fat guy" tubing.

As it has turned out this bike/tubing has given me the best, most comfortable and reliable and responsive ride I've ever had...Sadly, I'm not a fat guy anymore.
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Old 10-26-05, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy
I now understand that the NCO fork blades were around as early as '74; possibly a little earlier. Here are NCO fork blades from '78 Raleigh Team Pro (Reynolds 531):
I had read similar reports, stating that they were introduced with the 753 and 531SL tubesets in 1975 (1974 if you want to include the trade show introduction and use on team frames). However, the Reynolds tubing catalog states 1977 as the year of introduction.
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Old 10-26-05, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Wind 'N Snow
...Sadly, I'm not a fat guy anymore.
That's too bad...You'll have to work on that
When SLX came out, SPX was the real "fat guy" tubeset. Prior to the ribbed for your pleasure tubes, SP was the heavier tubeset. In the Columbus range, I still liked the springier ride of the SL (but I'm no sprinter).
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Old 10-26-05, 03:06 PM
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Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy
That's too bad...You'll have to work on that
When SLX came out, SPX was the real "fat guy" tubeset. Prior to the ribbed for your pleasure tubes, SP was the heavier tubeset. In the Columbus range, I still liked the springier ride of the SL (but I'm no sprinter).
Thanks.

I prefer the glow in the dark, to the ribbed variety....More useful in dark caves...

Thanks for the info. I think I'll go have a lard sandwich.
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Old 10-26-05, 04:11 PM
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Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy
That's too bad...You'll have to work on that
When SLX came out, SPX was the real "fat guy" tubeset. Prior to the ribbed for your pleasure tubes, SP was the heavier tubeset. In the Columbus range, I still liked the springier ride of the SL (but I'm no sprinter).
How do you tell what kind of Columbus (SL , SP, ...) that a bike has? My "Reynolds" bike has a decal with 531ST so I guess it is ST. The Columbus decal doesn't indicate type.
By the way your pictures are always superb. My Olympus D-560 doesn't know where to focus for close-up shots -sometimes in-focus and sometimes out. What camera do you use?
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Old 10-26-05, 05:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Skip Magnuson
How do you tell what kind of Columbus (SL , SP, ...) that a bike has? My "Reynolds" bike has a decal with 531ST so I guess it is ST. The Columbus decal doesn't indicate type.
By the way your pictures are always superb. My Olympus D-560 doesn't know where to focus for close-up shots -sometimes in-focus and sometimes out. What camera do you use?
Without a tubing label, you have to give it an educated guess.... Seatpost size gives a clue, seamed or not is another clue (SL, SP, KL, Record, SLX, and SPX have no seam). Sometimes you'll see the Columbus dove stamped in the head tube, and/or rifling in the steerer, and maybe in the bottom of the seat tube, and down tube. Reynolds steerers are sometimes marked as such. Fork and chainstay cross sections and tapers give another clue.

I'm actually wanting a newer camera. I've been using a 2.1 megapixel Nikon Coolpix 950 since it was a current model... It's still OK on close-ups, but not great under all conditions. I wish I could afford the Nikon digital SLR I really want, but I think it'll have to wait...
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Old 10-26-05, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TheOtherGuy
I now understand that the NCO fork blades were around as early as '74; possibly a little earlier. Here are NCO fork blades from '78 Raleigh Team Pro (Reynolds 531):
Yowzers, I've seen these. We all compared them to the Track forks of the day (both Reynolds and Columbus) and deemed that they were using 'track' blades to build the forks. These are even rounder than SL/SP road blades - I should take a pic of my Colnago track which has the track blades (of course) and resembles this much more. So if these are NCO, they must be some sortta 'offspring' of the Reynolds track stuff.

Back to Lotek's Reus - per his post just before yours - now looking at these 'Team' blades, the Reus blades do look more like Columbus road blades. And mxing sets wasn't that unusual for that time anyway. Based on what was available, it was a time of experimentation for a lot of stuff. But it sure seemed like the French and Dutch were very Reynolds focused (with notable exceptions) and not prone to Columbus. It great fun to see all this variety.
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Old 11-08-11, 12:43 AM
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Codger Memories!

Old post- got here gooling 'columbus tubing"- I just found an early '80s daccordi on Craigslist and wanted to find out- someplace else lists it as Columbus SL I think- there is no sticker- but probably correct-
I raced USCF from 1971 to '84, and worked at several bike shops- and what I recall from that- when I began there were just Reynolds 531 and Columbus tubing-
most English and French bikes were Reynolds and most Italian were Columbus-
It was Reynolds that first came out with the lighter 753 tubing about the middle to first later part of the '70's, and Columbus also then came out with the Coumbus SL tubing just about the same time.
The biggest difference then was however that many Italian and American builders who used Columbus started mixing the tubing a little more- i got a Masi Gran Criterium frame in 1979 from the builder near San Diego- even toured the facility- and was told it was mostly Columbus SL, but also had some other mix in the stays or something, so even brand new, it didn't have any frame tubing sticker- unlike the Colnago I had earlier with a Columbus sticker, or the Gitane even before that with a Reynolds 531 decal. So while SL was out there, and at the time probably the most preffered by racers at least, you didn't see stickers much anymore, tho Reynolds 753 were more common on bikes made with that. Builders were mixing the tubes more-
I'm surprised to see the many grades they have of columbus- didn't follow it much after I retired back then. The consensus usually seemed that a Columbus frame was a bit stiffer than 531 before the SL and 753 era at least.

On my '74 Paramount Track Bike- definitely a Reynolds 531 sticker!
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Old 11-08-11, 06:09 AM
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Great photo. Thanks for sharing the photo and the perspective. Good stuff.
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Old 11-08-11, 06:21 AM
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Here is a link showing every Columbus tubing decal ever made: https://italiancyclingjournal.blogspo...for-frame.html

Columbus makes a SL Niobium tubeset that is 25.4mm in diameter, just like in the good ol' days. https://columbustubi.com/eng/4_4_4.htm

the ubiquitous tubing chart: https://www.equusbicycle.com/bike/col...umbuschart.htm



Holy Resurrections! Six year old thread.

more info. on various tube materials, including cyclex. https://www.ceeway.com/Tubing%20Materials.htm#cy
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Old 11-08-11, 09:03 AM
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Yeah, back in the day Reynolds was considered springier and lighter, Columbus slightly heavier but stiffer. Both made great bikes and were pretty comparable. I'm not sure anyone could really tell the difference.
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