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Reynolds 501 v. 531?

Old 11-01-05, 12:57 PM
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russian fighter
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Reynolds 501 v. 531?

Can someone explain the difference? Is the 531 simply the current steel? Any substantative differences (weight, strength)?
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Old 11-01-05, 01:43 PM
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Reynolds 531 is a manganese-molybdenum (MnMo) steel, seamless tubeset that has been available since the 1930s in both plain and butted tubesets. The butted tubesets were avaible in several different wall thicknesses. Reynolds 501 was a chromium-molybdendum (CrMo) steel, seamed, butted tubest that made it's debut about 1983 and was available in two different thicknesses. Both tubesets have long been superceded by more advanced steel tubesets, but Reynolds still makes 531 to special order.

Reynolds used to tout manganese-molybdenum as superior to the chromium-molybdenum used by their major competitors, but eventually produced the 501 tubes using chromium-molybdenum. Both are very good steels.

The 531 sets were seamless, which is theoretically stronger, but is expensive to manufacturer, particularly for butted tubing with varying wall thickness. The 501 set was less expensive to produce because the the material was rolled to the varying wall thickness as a flat sheet, which was then fomed into a tube and welded along its length. While purists prefer the seamless tubes, I have yet to see a seamed, 501 tube fail and have no qualms about riding it.

Reynolds 531 was available in several wall thickness, but the baseline 531(c) tubeset had slightly thinner walls than the baseline 501 tubeset. As a result, the 531 tubeset was about 225g lighter.

In general, 501 was aimed at the mid-range market. Hence the slightly thicker and heavier tubes, seamed construction and in Reynolds' opinion, inferior CrMo steel. 531 was aimed at higher models, though it could be found on mid-range models by using plain gauge tubes or combining a 531 butted main triangle with lesser grade stays and/or forks,
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Old 11-01-05, 01:54 PM
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Wow. Thanks for the info. I learned something today.
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Old 11-01-05, 02:09 PM
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T-Mar, you sound like the fellow who could probably answer this question:

Is Raleigh's 555 tubing, as used on the post-'84 U.S.A. Competition model and a few others, equivilant to Reynolds 501, or 531? I've heard both as answers.

As it's marked "Double-Butted Tubes & Stays, All Tubes Cromoly" on the decal, I assume it's equal to 501, however, I thought I'd clarify with the expert.

P.S.: Is there any particular reason why a Columbus-tubing equipped Basso with Campy Victory components and Mafac G40s should weigh 2.5 pounds more (22.5 lbs) then a Raleigh U.S.A. Competition, with supposed Reynolds 501 frame, Suntour Cyclone & Sugino components, and Araya 700C 1W rims (20 lbs)? I also have what's sometimes considered a hefty saddle (in terms of weight), on the Competition - a Brooks Professional.

I have yet to figure this one out. Beats the heck out of me why Campy is such a big-to-do name, yet, a near-completely Japanese equipped Raleigh beats it in weight.

Take care,

-Kurt
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Old 11-01-05, 03:44 PM
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i think thats just a mystery. i have a 88 trek 1000 with 6061 aluminum that is heavier than a 1970 Raleigh International with 531.

and i like all these people going to target and buying a 200 dollar "aluminum" schwinn that ways more than a steel schwinn from the 70's and 60's that they can pick up for like 20-30 bucks!
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Old 11-01-05, 03:55 PM
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Kurt,

I've always suspected Raleigh 555 to be the equivalent of Reynolds 501 for the reasons you've stated and more (see my post https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ht=Raleigh+555 ), however I do not have any objective evidence to make a defintive statement that they are the same. Given that 531 is MnMo and 501 is CrMo, they can't be the same.

Regarding the weight disparity between the Basso and Competition, I need some more info. For instance, what is the tubeset on the Basso? Is there a frame size difference? And I'd need a complete list of the components. Even if the tubests are basically equivalent, there can be quite a difference due to the lugs, bottom bracket shell and other fittings selected by the framebuilder. The Canpagnolo Victory parts were not exactly lightweights. I would not be surprised if the major components on the Competition are substantially lighter. The derailleurs are definitely lighter! Also, people also forget to consider the difference in tires and tubes, which can add up to quite a bit.

Perhaps this is a good excuse to dis-assemble the bicycles for their overhaul? Keep the digital scale handy and log the weights of the individual components. That is the only way that you will know for sure. It can even be enjoyable.
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Old 11-01-05, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar
Kurt,

I've always suspected Raleigh 555 to be the equivalent of Reynolds 501 for the reasons you've stated and more (see my post https://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...ht=Raleigh+555 ), however I do not have any objective evidence to make a defintive statement that they are the same. Given that 531 is MnMo and 501 is CrMo, they can't be the same.

Regarding the weight disparity between the Basso and Competition, I need some more info. For instance, what is the tubeset on the Basso? Is there a frame size difference? And I'd need a complete list of the components. Even if the tubests are basically equivalent, there can be quite a difference due to the lugs, bottom bracket shell and other fittings selected by the framebuilder. The Canpagnolo Victory parts were not exactly lightweights. I would not be surprised if the major components on the Competition are substantially lighter. The derailleurs are definitely lighter! Also, people also forget to consider the difference in tires and tubes, which can add up to quite a bit.

Perhaps this is a good excuse to dis-assemble the bicycles for their overhaul? Keep the digital scale handy and log the weights of the individual components. That is the only way that you will know for sure. It can even be enjoyable.
Howdy T-Mar,

Well, considering what we know about 555 and 501, I'd say that whatever the differences in the two tubesets are...it can't be too much. My Competition has 555SL, and is hellishly light, so I'm not complaining!

I won't bore you with all the fittings and such of each bike - although I do know the BB and dropouts on the Basso are from Basso - as for the variant of Columbus tubing on it, I couldn't tell you. I'll write it down sometime and do some internet searches on that particular tubeset.

Both the Basso and the Competition are 23" frames - my favorite size for riding.

Incedentally, I did take off the original Suntour Cyclone derailer in favor of a short-cage Shimano Light Action, which I mated to a pair of SIS 7-speed downtube shifters.

Tyres are another spot where the Competition probably comes in lighter - it's running cheap Kenda Kampaign 700X20Cs (which are so darn thin, they weigh nothing), while the Basso is running 700X25C Continental Sport 1000s.

Guess I answered my own question here.

Incedentally, I'm fixing up an old 24"-frame Nishiki Prestiege for rental. So happens that this frame is Tange 2, and the old Suntour Cyclone parts from the Competition seem to be finding themselves onto this bike, along with whatever very lightweight parts I can dig out of my parts bin to get it running. Even though it's running a pair of cheap 27" rims, I have a suspicion that it'll ultimately weigh around the same as the Competition...so long as I put a light chainwheel and BB on it.

Take care,

-Kurt
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Old 11-01-05, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by broomhandlde
i think thats just a mystery. i have a 88 trek 1000 with 6061 aluminum that is heavier than a 1970 Raleigh International with 531.
That's no mystery - Reynolds 531 is superior to many aluminum frames for ride quality - and, as you've noticed, weight.

-Kurt
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Old 11-01-05, 08:38 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
My Competition has 555SL, and is hellishly light, so I'm not complaining!
I knew the Competition used 555SL, but for some reason, it didn't pop into my head at the time of my original response. Reynolds 501SL was advertised as being 150g lighter than standard 501. Wall thicknesses for 501SL are almost identical to Columbus SL and therefore the two should be comparable in weight. So, if we assume that Reynolds 501SL and Raleigh 555SL are the same, then the equivalent Columbus tubeset is SL. This was the lightest of the general purpose, Columbus tubesets for the road. To get lighter, you had to go to KL or Record, which were special purpose tubesets and not common. So, if the Basso is built anything other than 100% SL, there is a almost certainly a weight penalty in the frame.
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Old 11-02-05, 07:38 AM
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I'm pretty sure the Basso's decal isn't marked SL.

Let me go down to the shed and check...

...Ok, I'm back.

Decal is gold with a blue outline, has the dove logo centered above the writing:

Left side of the decal reads:
"Tubi Speciali
Rinforzati"
(at least, that's what I can make out when comparing other Colubus decals, and what's LEFT of the one on my Basso)

...and on the right side in large letters:
"Tretubi"
(Which is probably Italian for Gaspipe Tubing)

And on the bottom, in the blue border, is, of course, "Columbus."

Take care,

-Kurt
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Old 11-02-05, 08:45 AM
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Originally Posted by cudak888
I'm pretty sure the Basso's decal isn't marked SL.

Let me go down to the shed and check...

...Ok, I'm back.

Decal is gold with a blue outline, has the dove logo centered above the writing:

Left side of the decal reads:
"Tubi Speciali
Rinforzati"
(at least, that's what I can make out when comparing other Colubus decals, and what's LEFT of the one on my Basso)

...and on the right side in large letters:
"Tretubi"
(Which is probably Italian for Gaspipe Tubing)

And on the bottom, in the blue border, is, of course, "Columbus."

Take care,

-Kurt
Mystery solved - at least partially. Tretubi means "three tubes". Only the main triangle consists of Columbus SL or SP tubing. The stays and forks are some lesser material. They could be a lesser Columbus grade, like Aelle or Cromor, or they could be high tensile steel. Regardless, they are heavier than the forks and 555SL stays in your Competition.

The other factor is that your frame size. At about 58-60cm most Italian builders started switching from Columbus SL to the heavier Columbus SP tubing. Your frame is at the transisition point and since the decal does not indicate SL or SP, the main triangle may be either, depending on the builder's preference. It may even be a combination, such as SL with an SP downtube, which was a popular solution for some extra rigidity without adding too much weight.

Last edited by T-Mar; 11-02-05 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 11-02-05, 08:50 AM
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fwiw - I have a reference that shows (based on average weight - whatever that means), Reynolds 501 is 225 grams heavier than 531C, 325 grams heavier than 531P, 375 grams heavier than 753, and 95 grams heavier than SL. Unfortunately, my reference makes no mention of Raleigh 555.

Tretubi actually means that only the three main tubes are made of the Columbus tubing indicated by the sticker. Your Basso's sounds like it is comparable to my 1978 SuperCourse - which was made with Reynolds 531 (as opposed to Columbus) in the three main tubes.
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Old 11-02-05, 11:04 AM
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Originally Posted by USAZorro
Tretubi actually means that only the three main tubes are made of the Columbus tubing indicated by the sticker. Your Basso's sounds like it is comparable to my 1978 SuperCourse - which was made with Reynolds 531 (as opposed to Columbus) in the three main tubes.
Doesn't the "Tubi Speciali Rinforzati" indicate that the tubes are butted? If I'm not mistaken I think the main tubes on the Super Course were straight guage 531.
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Old 11-02-05, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Sierra
Doesn't the "Tubi Speciali Rinforzati" indicate that the tubes are butted? If I'm not mistaken I think the main tubes on the Super Course were straight guage 531.
I think you're correct on the Italian, and I know you're correct about the Super Course being straight gauge.
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Old 04-06-12, 03:38 PM
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Hey Y'all. This is the first thread that comes up in Google for "Reynolds 501" and also comes up for 555. I found some new info that doesn't seem to be on BF.

I have a Raleigh Alyeska on the way from ebay and I've been doing some research on "Raleigh 555" steel. AA,SHTA:



On the road sport spread from the '85 catalog:
"All our frames are built of Reynolds 753 double-butted Chromoly or Raleigh 555T Mangenese Molybdenum steel tubing."

https://sheldonbrown.com/retroraleigh...5/pages/1.html

So Raleigh 555 is Double Butted Mn Molybdenum, which certainly makes it different from 501's CrMo. Could it be re-branded 531? I've read it was only produced for sale in the US. Or could it be some kind of seamed MnMo? I'd guess the former. So my new Alyeska's tubing is a bit more like my Trek 620 than my Trek 520.

Now I'm going to go be annoying and cross post this info into the 555 threads.
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Old 04-06-12, 03:54 PM
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The mystery deepens: another page on the same catalog contradicts, and says CrMo:



https://sheldonbrown.com/retroraleigh...gh-kodiak.html

Says Cr-mo. Dang, and here I thought I was on to something... but which is right??
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Old 04-06-12, 04:40 PM
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Renyolds 753 is definitly Mangenese Molybdenum, I would guess that in the $40K bike add they just just messed up and switched the tubeset metalugy descriptions. Remember that during the 80's, Raleigh USA was actually owned by Huffy when they licesned the rights to sell bikes in USA under that name from the original Birmingham company. The 555 tubing was probably just Huffys attempt to keep cost down in comparison to using a name-brand tubing supplier (like renyolds). For a touring bike, a bit heavier & stiffer frame is a good thing! A noodly 753 touring bike would be a disaster for carrying any sort of load.

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Old 04-06-12, 09:26 PM
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So where does Tange Mangaloy 2001 fit into the mix?



I've heard it referred to as 'reclaimed trash metal' on one hand and "pretty good stuff" on the other.

I had a Trek 420 with the Mangaloy frame- it was a great riding bike.
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Old 04-06-12, 10:07 PM
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My 86 Blue Ridge frame has the regular Columbus decal on the seatpost tube, but also has the dove on the top of the chrome seat stays on each side and the word Columbus on the chrome fork crown, each side... and the same decal on the fork sides, I'm assuming it's a butted all Columbus SL tube frame.
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Old 04-06-12, 10:10 PM
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Only 555RSL was magmoly, for it was rebadged 531.

555SL and 555T are cromoly, and I'm pretty sure we've established it's seamed too. Even though the catalog made a mistake, the tubing decals were executed correctly:







Also note the slight variance in the decal on the Taiwanese-built frame.

-Kurt
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Old 04-06-12, 10:57 PM
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Is Raleigh's 555 tubing, as used on the post-'84 U.S.A. Competition model and a few others, equivilant to Reynolds 501, or 531? I've heard both as answers.
For what it is worth, I have pulled the forks on two 555SL Raleighs in the last year and both steerer tubers were stamped Tange. While it is possible that the tubes were the only Tange parts, it may be a hint of its origin.
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Old 04-06-12, 11:51 PM
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The completed forks were sourced from Tange. While the Tange theory is the most likely explanation for what 555SL/T is, the forks aren't reason enough to believe one way or another.

-Kurt
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Old 04-07-12, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by frpax View Post

This is in frpax's team thread, and fits with what you posted, Kurt. Thanks.
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Old 04-07-12, 08:52 AM
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^
Makes sense. 555RSL was only used on the Team Pro replica.

-Kurt
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Old 04-07-12, 03:39 PM
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My '84 Raleigh Touring 18 (basicly an older version of the "Alyeska"..similar to the way the '85 Schwinn Le Tour Luxe became the '86 Passage) has Raleigh 555T tubing that is labeled chrome molybdenum. If it's Reynolds tubing...I'm a "happy camper". I'm still OK with Tange. Didn't think much of Huffy until I got this bike...very nice indeed...didn't know they had it in them. This Raleigh/Reynolds thing reminds me of Schwinn using Columbus tubing rebranded as Tenax, and about the same time as the Raleigh rebranding in the '80s.

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