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Columbus SP vs. Oria RANF?

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Columbus SP vs. Oria RANF?

Old 04-20-13, 05:48 PM
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Columbus SP vs. Oria RANF?

I知 well aware that in the grand scheme of things, who built the frame, how well they built it, and the geometry are much more important than the tubing of which it is made, but I知 asking about a comparison between two tubesets anyway.

I知 trying to compare two frames from manufacturers that made a wide range of qualities (especially during the boom), but were more interested in putting their names on the frames than making it easy to tell the difference between models. Imagine Schwinn and Trek not putting model names on figuring their brand names were good enough. As such, I知 trying to determine relative levels of quality by the quality of tubing used figuring you wouldn稚 make a Varsity out of nivichrome steel or Reynolds 953, for example.

I need 60 cm+ frames, so the use of a thicker steel tubing isn稚 surprising. With that in mind, one of the frames is made with Oria RANF and the other with Columbus SP. Are those roughly equivalent tubesets? I致e sometimes heard RANF compared more with SLX or TSX, but I think that痴 because it has straight ridges inside the tube sort of like the rifling of SLX rather than strength/rigidity, and it seems like I read somewhere that the wall thickness of RANF in all areas is thicker, so it might be more in line with SP. Is that a relatively good assumption? Is Oria RANF really a higher quality set of tubes?

If they're roughly the same, I suppose it'll just come down to aesthetics, which is a tough call because I like the both in different ways, so I was trying to look for a different way of determining which was a better choice. Of course, I might not end up with either as I feel both are a bit overpriced on e-bay and the starting bid is just about the max I'd pay for either.
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Old 04-20-13, 06:21 PM
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Oria steel tubing for framebuilding

The link is to an Italian Cycling Journal blog entry about Oria tubing, but is short on specifics. According to the blog entry, the weight for a complete uncut RANF tubeset (head tube, seat tube, down tube, top tube, chain stays, seat stays, and fork blades) weighs 1990 grams. Unfortunately, I can't find wall thickness or butting profiles anywhere, but for a weight comparison, an SL tubeset consisting of the above tubes plus a steerer tube is 1925 grams, and an SP tubeset including steerer tube weighs 2215 grams. The SL and SP steerer tubes are listed as weighing 205 grams, so if you subtract 205 g from the 2215 g SP tubeset weight, you get 2010 grams for SP compared to 1990 for RANF.

There are some issues comparing the tubeset weights directly since the length of the uncut RANF tubes isn't listed.
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Old 04-20-13, 06:38 PM
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Hmmm, I didn't realize that the Oria set didn't include the steerer tube while SP did. Actually in the links below, it looks like they list steerer tube, but not head tube for the Oria. Based on weight then, it looks like SP and RANF might be similar. Butting profiles are different, but I don't know what that means.

Oria:
https://kunstbuch.blogspot.com/2011/1...formation.html
https://photos.at-speed.com/Cycling/D...4471&k=tZjpCB5

Columbus:
https://www.equusbicycle.com/bike/col...umbuschart.htm
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Old 04-20-13, 07:14 PM
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Do look to be somewhat of the same notion, especially similar TT/DT specs. Beefier ST and stays on the SP set. So the latter, all told, is a little 'stouter', I guess.

I have no experience (or knowledge beyond the posted links) of the Oria RANF tubeset, but this topic is of interest - as a tall, heavy rider, I do like my one SP bike for its stiffness, and will be keeping an eye on this thread for others' impression of the Oria set.
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Old 04-20-13, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Hmmm, I didn't realize that the Oria set didn't include the steerer tube while SP did. Actually in the links below, it looks like they list steerer tube, but not head tube for the Oria. Based on weight then, it looks like SP and RANF might be similar. Butting profiles are different, but I don't know what that means.

Oria:
https://kunstbuch.blogspot.com/2011/1...formation.html
https://photos.at-speed.com/Cycling/D...4471&k=tZjpCB5

Columbus:
https://www.equusbicycle.com/bike/col...umbuschart.htm
That Oria tubing specs chart is great in that it provides wall thickness for each tube. Unfortunately, the uncut tube lengths and the weight per tube aren't provided.

The 1983 Columbus catalog gives the weights of each tube and the uncut lengths (the weights are based on the "A" lengths).



The RANF tube walls are definitely beefier than SP.
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Old 04-20-13, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper View Post

The RANF tube walls are definitely beefier than SP.
Oh, I don't know that they were all beefier. The RANF seat tube looks significantly thinner (0.75/0.55 vs, 1/0.7), and the top tube is a wash (0.95/0.75 vs 1/0.7). The RANF down tube has thicker walls (0.95/0.85 vs 1/0.7), but it also has butted (and thinner) chain and seat stays where they appear to be straight gauge for SP (I wonder if that would lead to more flex for the RNAF frame - or more shock absorption when coupled with the thinner seat tube, or both). Forks for both appear to be 1 mm thick. Assuming the weighed tubing is the same length, if you add 100 g for a head tube in RANF, I'd guess the RANF is still a little lighter, but yeah, definitely beefier than the SLX/TSX that I've seen it compared to a number of times.

But you're definitely right that it's hard to compare when all the information doesn't appear to be there for one tubeset (and the set might not include all the same tubes).

Rather than weight (I'm in the range of 100 kilos at the moment, so a couple hundred grams are nothing), I was more hoping to get at quality and reputation of the steel to see how they compared to get an guestimate of whether frames built from the two materials might be expected to be at roughly the same level. Since Columbus is much more well known, I guess I had started out expecting the Oria to be more of a knock off and on lower level bikes, but it appears that a number of high end bikes (including a TdF winner) were built out of the Oria GM 00 stuff, so that's why I was curious. On the other hand, Oria made some low end seemed stuff, so it's not like they were a boutique steel used exclusively on high end bikes. And round and round it goes.

Last edited by himespau; 04-20-13 at 08:36 PM.
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Old 04-20-13, 08:58 PM
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The stiffness and most of the tube's weight is in the center (non-butted) part, so if you look at just the non-butted wall thickness you'll get a better idea of how stiff or flexy the ride will be for a given frame size and rider weight.

Top Tube - SP = 0.7mm, RANF = 0.75mm
Down Tube - SP = 0.7mm, RANF = 0.85mm
Seat Tube - SP = 0.7mm, RANF = 0.55mm (SP will take a 27.0mm seatpost, RANF will take a 27.2mm seatpost)
Chain Stay - SP = 1.0mm, RANF = 0.9mm/0.8mm taper gauge
Seat Stay - SP = 1.0mm, RANF = 0.8mm/0.7mm taper gauge
Fork Blade - SP = 1.05mm, RANF = 1.0mm

They're close, but the thicker wall RANF down tube will make a difference.
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Old 04-21-13, 02:11 AM
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Ok, so both of these sets will be a bit heavier than Reynolds 531. Does that mean they were thought of as a step (or maybe a half step since they're not seamed like 501) lower in quality? Or is that not a fair assessment because at least Columbus SP is designed for larger frames/heavier riders?
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Old 04-21-13, 05:57 AM
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In general, are these about the same level then? Maybe one's a little heavier/stiffer, but roughly similar? And so without further identification, frame made out of either of them might probably expected to be something like say the Masi Nuova Strada: something maybe with an attractive brand name, maybe not, but probably not a top of the line racer or a rare and collectible bike, but at the same token not a bottom of the line clunker or some bike boom era junk? Is that a fair assessment? For bikes built at relatively large factories just mid-range bikes?

That's what I'm really trying to get at, trying to compare two frames for sale over the internet that I can't see/touch in person, that are both attractive but probably overpriced and that their manufacturers (or marketers maybe) covered with their logos, but didn't see fit to put obvious model name makers on as far as I can tell. Both frames have enough of the appropriate pantography in the right places (and not top level names/stickers) that I don't believe them to be fakes.

Any additional discussion of the merits of either of these two types of steel would be appreciated and interesting (sounds like I'm not the only one wondering about sturdier steel that gets put in larger frames), but so far, it sounds like quality of steel isn't going to be able to tell me that one bike was probably a level or two higher than the other. Unless of course I'm wrong and the Oria steel, while not appreciably lighter than the Columbus, was only used in special high zoot large frames or something like that (or vice versa).
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Old 04-21-13, 08:47 AM
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I'm guessing (and it's just a guess) from the tube walls that the RANF frame will have a slightly stiffer front triangle with a little more resilience in the rear triangle than the SP frame if they have similar chainstay lengths.

Since SL, SLX, SP, SPX, and TSX are all made from the same alloy (Cyclex), they are the same quality but designed for different uses. Many builders in the mid eighties (including Schwinn for the Paramount models) used SLX for smaller frames and a combination of SL and SP (SL top tube and seat tube with SP down tube) in larger frames because SLX was too whippy in the larger frame sizes.

I don't know the chemistry of RANF, but because Oria was trying to directly compete with Columbus, I have to think the quality and mechanical properties are similar.
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Old 04-21-13, 10:13 AM
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Oh, Schwinn even used SLX for the Paramount at one point?

So the alloy was the same, just the shape (and reinforcements or lack thereof) was the difference? Butting, wall thin-ness, etc? So it wasn't a case that SP was a lower grade that had to be thicker than SL? Good to know. I guess I'd always thought there were slightly different trace elements causing SP to have to be thicker (not quite hi-ten, but maybe not as good as the others), and Columbus just took advantage of that thickness and said hey, this is also stiff, so lets use it on big frames as well. I guess I'm glad to not always be stuck with cheaper steel because I'm tall like I'd thought.
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Old 04-21-13, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Oh, Schwinn even used SLX for the Paramount at one point?

So the alloy was the same, just the shape (and reinforcements or lack thereof) was the difference? Butting, wall thin-ness, etc? So it wasn't a case that SP was a lower grade that had to be thicker than SL? Good to know. I guess I'd always thought there were slightly different trace elements causing SP to have to be thicker (not quite hi-ten, but maybe not as good as the others), and Columbus just took advantage of that thickness and said hey, this is also stiff, so lets use it on big frames as well. I guess I'm glad to not always be stuck with cheaper steel because I'm tall like I'd thought.
Correct on all counts. Here's part of the specification sidebar from the Paramount page in the 1986 catalog. The 1988 catalog specifically says that SLX was used on 57cm frames and smaller, and the SL/SP mix was used for larger frames (58cm and bigger).



FWIW, SLX and SPX tubes only had the five helical reinforcements in the butts, so the stiffening effect provided by the reinforcements wasn't in the centers (unbutted sections) of the tubes. I'm pretty sure TSX was the only tubeset that had the helical reinforcement in the whole length of the tube.



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Old 04-21-13, 02:45 PM
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So essentially it sounds like RANF was trying to do the same thing as an SL/SP combo (thinner top tube than a full SP set, don't know what the stays were in an SL/SP mixture). That almost makes me wonder if they only used it in larger sized frames like the SL/SP and used some other set (GM 00?) for smaller frames, or if those frames that got GM 00 were an entirely different (higher) class of frame (like the one Miguel Indurain rode) that was just a step up.

I also read somewhere that both Columbus and Oria got at least some (maybe all) their steel stock from the German company Mannesmann (not sure if that's really true for Columbus). If it was both Cro Mo steel from the same company, I wonder if it did indeed have a lot of the same chemical properties. Of course, that's pure speculation and not just speculation, but speculation based on something I read on the internet, so it's entirely worthless.
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Old 04-21-13, 06:47 PM
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Of all the tubing manufacturers, Reynolds seems to be the most open about the chemistry, butt profiles, and heat treatment processes of their tubesets, although most all provide mechanical properties like Ultimate Tensile Strength, Yield Strength, Elongation, etc. Here's Reynolds' chemistry and mechanical properties chart for current tubesets.



It would be nice if there were some published Oria specs on chemistry, and whether or not the RANF reinforcements were simply in the butts or over the length of the tubes.
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Old 04-21-13, 07:21 PM
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FWIW, I reformatted the Oria tubing data from Kunstbuch Blogspot for better legibility. The data is from Kunstbuch Blogspot, so I can't vouch for its accuracy.

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Old 04-22-13, 04:27 AM
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Huh, I didn't notice before that their second lightest set (ML 34) isn't butted at all. Is that unusual to have a light(-ish) weight straight gauge tubeset?
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Old 04-22-13, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
Huh, I didn't notice before that their second lightest set (ML 34) isn't butted at all. Is that unusual to have a light(-ish) weight straight gauge tubeset?
It's unusual, but not unheard of. Columbus had the straight gauge Record tubeset. Most of the tubes had 0.5mm walls. It was used to build very light track bikes.

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Old 04-22-13, 08:14 AM
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You sure seem to know a lot about various types of tubing. Do you build your own bikes, or are you just well versed in what's out there for interest's sake?
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Old 04-22-13, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
You sure seem to know a lot about various types of tubing. Do you build your own bikes, or are you just well versed in what's out there for interest's sake?
I am an amateur framebuilder (hobbyist, really, just building for myself). So far, just silver brazed lugged steel construction.
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