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Columbus Aelle

Old 01-27-06, 07:03 PM
  #1  
skyrider
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Columbus Aelle

I checked out a recent thread on the 85 stelvio bianchi.Researched it on sheldons site , it states that the frame is Columbus Aelle R double butted CARBON MANGANESE tubing. Any of you guys familiar with this type of STEEL and how does it compare to say Reynolds 531 tubing? Is manganese used in todays bikes, also its ride characteristics, was it common in Italian frames in the 80s. Thanks looking forward to your insightful replies.
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Old 01-27-06, 07:52 PM
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The Aelle tubeset was not just Mangenese-Molybdenum-steel (as was Reynolds 531 and some of the Ishiwata tubesets) but IIRC what made it cheaper is that it was a welded/seamed tube, not cold-drawn through a mandrel and die. Welding up tubes is a lot cheaper of a manufacturing process. "Purists" will say that the ride characteristics between a frame made with welded/seamed tubes and one built from cold-drawn tubes are noticeable...but I think it that might be imaginary. Thing is: most top-level frames would be made with everything top-level as well as the best building practices since these are the frames commanding the top dollar. Even so, some people rave about the ride quality of some sloppy, slap-dash French or Italian job with brazing blobs and file marks and crappy paint...so there's more to a great ride then just the craftsmanship..and maybe the tubing, too. In a BLIND test, I doubt I could tell you whether an IDENTICAL frame was made from 531 or Columbus SL or Aelle or Tange Champion #1 or Ishiwata 019 or Dedecchai or Oria or Falk or Mannesman or Excell...but then, nobody has ever done such a test, far as I know. And nobody should ride with a blindfold! :c)
But consider this: people get all excited about what a great ride a certain make or model is and then they swap the wheels off their "great bike" for a ride on their crappy old "beater"...and lo and behold, the beater suddenly becomes a whole new and wonderful discovery...
UPDATE----Wow, a ten-year-old thread and I sure was a blowhard back then...I said "was", didn't I?

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Old 01-27-06, 08:08 PM
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Bah! Never drink and write! Serves me right for relying on my crappy memory, Aelle is NOT seamed/welded, it's cold drawn straight gauge and about 430 grams heavier than SL. Here's the quotation from Columbus:

Aelle Carbon/Manganese/Vanadium 2,345 Lightweight and resilient, featuring cold-drown

thin-wall tubes. A tube set for amateur and sport cyclists.

Cromor 25 Cr Mo 4 2,190 Cold drawn and double butted, this tube set is ideal for more

demanding riders who favor the use of versitile, high performance frames at an affordable price.

Thron Chrome Molybenum 2,067 From the knowledge and experience of working with the EL/OS

in professional races, Columbus created a tube set with similar qualities at a lower price.

SL Chrome Molybdenum Cyclex 1,932 High performance, all purpose double butted road

racing tube set. SL has been the flagship tubing in the Columbus family for decades.
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Old 01-27-06, 08:22 PM
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I have a Guerciotti that is Tretubi Aelle (3 main tubes). Near as I can tell, the frame dates from the late 80s. In fact there is a frame like it on eBuy now. It is not my lightest bike but I cannot say that it has ever disappointed me as far as ride.
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Old 01-28-06, 12:34 PM
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Columbus is confusing, no? It is actually the pre-drawn billet that is "seamed". The aelle billet is electro-welded before cold drawing. So...it is cold drawn, seamless, but it really has a seam...just not like normal seamed tubes that are rolled and welded at their finished thickness. This technique is used in Cromor, Gara, Thron, and the forks and rear triangle of Brain.
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Old 01-28-06, 02:09 PM
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Also, be aware that were two different Aelle, road tubesets. Standard Aelle was plain gauge, while Aelle R was butted.

The brand name, seamed tubest from the 1980s were good quality. I'd have no qualms riding any of them. In my opinion, the geometry, manufacturing practices and other factors make a bigger difference to ride quality than whether it is CMn or CrMo or MnMo.
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Old 07-04-16, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by luker View Post
Columbus is confusing, no? It is actually the pre-drawn billet that is "seamed". The aelle billet is electro-welded before cold drawing. So...it is cold drawn, seamless, but it really has a seam...just not like normal seamed tubes that are rolled and welded at their finished thickness. This technique is used in Cromor, Gara, Thron, and the forks and rear triangle of Brain.
Interesting to learn this of SL.

Might someone be able to enlighten me, as to the different types of Aelle?
Aelle tretubi, Aelle R, Aelle OR, and Aelle.

(I understand it is an old thread. but it appears in top google search results)

Also, just to add to the comments above... Zeta was their seam-welded low-end tubing. I had a track bike made of Zeta and cast lugs (not pressed), and it was the stiffest ride I ever had. Thicker tubing is not always bad. I am 1m87 (6ft2) and about 200lbs. When I accelerate or go up a hill, the bottom bracket flexes with SP tubing, and my chain rubs alternately on one side and the other of the front derailleur.
Anyways, I digress. Just to say, thicker stiffer tubing can sometimes be desirable.
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Old 07-04-16, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Timmi View Post
Anyways, I digress. Just to say, thicker stiffer tubing can sometimes be desirable.

In a former life, I fancied myself a track sprinter-- I weighed 215 lbs and was knocking on the door of the high 10's.

My favorite road bike was an Aelle tubed machine that I recently had restored. The bike would not let me down when it was time to kick in the afterburners, -- straight wall tubing in a size 53 made for a stiff ride

--- and at the time I had a couple of higher end steel bikes as well as high end aluminum bikes to compare to, --- and I liked the Aelle bike better. The money I saved over a pricey Max tubed machine paid for a lot of entry fees

Columbus' description of the steel itself almost makes it sound like you should be hanging a bell and a basket on any Aelle tubed machine though --


20 years ago, Bicycle Guide tested 7 or 8 different machines built with different tubing but otherwise identical to try to settle this argument once and for all about which steel is better and if I recall correctly, the results were inconclusive at best
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Old 07-04-16, 04:40 PM
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Timmi-

Aelle Tretubi is PG 0.8mm Aelle in the 3 main frame tubes often with hi-tensile or Falck elsewhere. Aelle R is butted 0.7 - 0.9 in the main frame with stays 0.9 and forks 1.0 of Aelle. Aelle OR is heavier gauge tubing for off roading, like MTB applications. Plain Aelle is a plain gauge, full set of tubes. Details are here.
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Old 07-05-16, 03:39 PM
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Cold drawn, rolled and welded whatever. It doesn't matter if a unicorn pooped the tubes, it is has a Columbus decal and was built by Bianchi it will ride great!
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Old 07-06-16, 05:16 AM
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Cold drawn, rolled and welded whatever. It doesn't matter if a unicorn pooped the tubes, it is has a Columbus decal and was built by Bianchi it will ride great!
And if that unicorn had two butts, the tubing would be twice as good!-)
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Old 07-06-16, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by DMC707 View Post
...20 years ago, Bicycle Guide tested 7 or 8 different machines built with different tubing but otherwise identical to try to settle this argument once and for all about which steel is better and if I recall correctly, the results were inconclusive at best
I do remember when, I think it was Bicycle magazine, had two identical frames built by, Bruce Gordon. IIRC one was with Columbus tubing, the other Reynolds. I don't remember which tubes were used. The two testers were fans of one of the tube sets over the other. Neither tester could pick out their favored brand.

I imagine a larger test wouldn't fare much better.

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Old 10-26-17, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by bertinjim View Post
Timmi-

Aelle Tretubi is PG 0.8mm Aelle in the 3 main frame tubes often with hi-tensile or Falck elsewhere. Aelle R is butted 0.7 - 0.9 in the main frame with stays 0.9 and forks 1.0 of Aelle. Aelle OR is heavier gauge tubing for off roading, like MTB applications. Plain Aelle is a plain gauge, full set of tubes. Details are here.
Thanks.

I haven't seen any "Aelle OR" in their catalogue - just "OR" - but maybe it's an Aelle variant, what do I know?

I am curious about Aelle R though. I suspect it was short-lived, as I've never seen a bike made of it - maybe it's another one of those tubing variants that was later given a differnt name?
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Old 10-26-17, 11:13 PM
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Yes Aelle R was rare and a short lifespan but AFAIK this did not transition into some other carbon-or-chrome-manganese butted tubeset from Columbus. About this time Columbus was ramping up a lot of chrome-molybdenum tubesets with such bells and whistles as heat treating and multishaping so a higher end "budget" tube was not worth the R&D effort.

Last edited by unworthy1; 10-27-17 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 10-27-17, 05:33 AM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
Yes Aelle R was rare and a short lifespan but AFAIK this did not transition into some other chrome-manganese butted tubeset from Columbus. About this time Columbus was ramping up a lot of chrome-molybdenum tubesets with such bells and whistles as heat treating and multishaping so a higher end "budget" tube was not worth the R&D effort.
I've always considered Matrix/Cromor to be the successor to Aelle R. It did follow Aelle R chronologically and took over as Columbus' least expensive butted tubeset in the late 1980s, occupying the same mid-range price range. Like Aelle R, it too was seamed, though using slightly different technology. While employing a different alloy and tubing gauges than Aelle R, it was still a traditional tubeset, lacking any bells and whistles, outside of employing a heavier gauge down tube to add more bottom bracket stiffness with minimum weight penalty.
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Old 10-27-17, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
I've always considered Matrix/Cromor to be the successor to Aelle R.
well reasoned: I'll buy that!
Though I have not literally bought any Cromor frame
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Old 10-27-17, 12:40 PM
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FWIW my 84 torpado super strada is Aelle R..... ride is very nice

and here is link to the article mentioned https://bulgier.net/pics/bike/Articles/SteelShootOut.pdf
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Old 10-27-17, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by unworthy1 View Post
well reasoned: I'll buy that!
Though I have not literally bought any Cromor frame
Two of my favorite rides are Cromor! I was just out on the Antares the other day and marveling out how well it was riding.



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Old 10-28-17, 08:14 PM
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I've ridden Aelle, Cromor, SLX and SL and I can definitely tell a difference in ride quality. They were all Italian brand bikes but the SLX (a Somec) and SL (De Rosa) rode much better than the Aelle and Cromor bikes (both Olmos). But, to be fair, the SLX an SL bikes had better (and lighter) components too...
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Old 10-29-17, 02:28 AM
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Here's another great article comparing SL and Prestige, very interesting.

And from our favorite retiring builder.

Tubing Article ? Nothing is better than a bike that fits
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Old 10-29-17, 06:48 AM
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I have no involvement with framebuilding other than general interest and a recognition that different bikes feel different. But I've read both of those articles before and came away with a general impression that they weren't as definitive as they may have wished to be. The Magnificent 7 results were ambiguous, and with the oversize-tube bikes obviously recognizable. The Tange/Columbus comparison may have been marred by BG's choice of tube weights, but even that is just conjecture. The title about Fit being so important isn't even mentioned, though rider weight and road surface are. So what do we make of it? I make of it that we can't make much of it. I think.
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Old 10-29-17, 01:20 PM
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And so it goes, like many things subjective. My main takeaway from the BG deal was that he made a couple of darn fine frames for that test (as would be expected) so it seems to me to exemplify the thinking that the builder and quality thereof has more to do with it than anything else.


Originally Posted by jimmuller View Post
I have no involvement with framebuilding other than general interest and a recognition that different bikes feel different. But I've read both of those articles before and came away with a general impression that they weren't as definitive as they may have wished to be. The Magnificent 7 results were ambiguous, and with the oversize-tube bikes obviously recognizable. The Tange/Columbus comparison may have been marred by BG's choice of tube weights, but even that is just conjecture. The title about Fit being so important isn't even mentioned, though rider weight and road surface are. So what do we make of it? I make of it that we can't make much of it. I think.
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