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Columbus SL/SP tubing and decal question

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Columbus SL/SP tubing and decal question

Old 05-19-13, 04:45 PM
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Columbus SL/SP tubing and decal question

On larger 80s frames, a mix a of Columbus SL/SP was often used (Schwinns, Binachi, etc) while smaller frames used SLX. On larger frames, is my understanding correct that downttube was SP while top and seat tube were SL? Also, what decal was used on seat tube SL, SP, or generic?

Edited to add: Nevermind,according to this it appears the SL/Sp mix would have used the third decal below rather than the SL or SP one.
https://www.classicrendezvous.com/Ita...umbus_main.htm
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Old 05-19-13, 05:48 PM
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Upon further review,since I am repairing a frame, I should probably use this sticker,which alink I posted above says is correct for repainted frames.
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Old 05-19-13, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by DOS
Upon further review,since I am repairing a frame, I should probably use this sticker,which alink I posted above says is correct for repainted frames.
One hardly ever sees the respray tubing transfer. I have seen it once, and that was a Reynolds 531 graphic.

There was quite a lag from when Columbus used a generic graphic to when they started to provide graphics that had tubing gauge info.
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Old 05-19-13, 06:47 PM
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Originally Posted by DOS
On larger 80s frames, a mix a of Columbus SL/SP was often used (Schwinns, Binachi, etc) while smaller frames used SLX. On larger frames, is my understanding correct that downttube was SP while top and seat tube were SL? Also, what decal was used on seat tube SL, SP, or generic?

Editedvto add: Neverminds,according to this it appears the SL/Sp mix would have used the third decal below eatherbeitherbthe SL or SP one.
https://www.classicrendezvous.com/Ita...umbus_main.htm
I don't think that is correct. While companies and builders would mix SL and SP on larger frames SLX would not be used on a frame simply because it was smaller. SLX along with SPX is a different grade of tubing and would be used on a higher level frame.

For example a Schwinn Prelude may use SL tubing in the 48 - 57 frames then SL/SP in the 59+ frames. The Circuit being a higher level frame would use SLX and maybe SLX/SPX in the larger frames.

Bianchi would at times mix SL/SP on every size of particular model to achieve their "SuperSet" frame design and desired ride quality as much as to make up for larger sizes.

I do agree if your repainting frame I think your best bet is the respray decal.
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Last edited by Bianchigirll; 05-19-13 at 06:50 PM.
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Old 05-19-13, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Bianchigirll
I don't think that is correct. While companies and builders would mix SL and SP on larger frames SLX would not be used on a frame simply because it was smaller. SLX along with SPX is a different grade of tubing and would be used on a higher level frame.

For example a Schwinn Prelude may use SL tubing in the 48 - 57 frames then SL/SP in the 59+ frames. The Circuit being a higher level frame would use SLX and maybe SLX/SPX in the larger frames.

Bianchi would at times mix SL/SP on every size of particular model to achieve their "SuperSet" frame design and desired ride quality as much as to make up for larger sizes.

I do agree if your repainting frame I think your best bet is the respray decal.
I can't speak for Bianchi or all Schwinns, but its correct for mid 80s Paramounts. Schwinn used SLX on Paramounts up to 57cm and SL/SP on 58cm and above. So my 61cm 87 Paramount would be SL/SP.
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Old 05-19-13, 07:18 PM
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My 1987 62cm Paramount was built with an SP down tube and SL top tube and seat tube. This was a common tube mix for 58cm and larger frames when SLX was considered too flexy for larger frames/heavier riders, and SPX was considered too heavy. SLX was used for frame sizes 57cm and smaller.

This is the decal Schwinn put on my SL/SP frame.

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Old 05-20-13, 04:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper
My 1987 62cm Paramount was built with an SP down tube and SL top tube and seat tube. This was a common tube mix for 58cm and larger frames when SLX was considered too flexy for larger frames/heavier riders, and SPX was considered too heavy. SLX was used for frame sizes 57cm and smaller.

This is the decal Schwinn put on my SL/SP frame.

Thanks for decal info. And the description of SL/SP on larger frame gibes with my understanding. As I understand it, SLX and SPX are identifical to, respectively, SL and SP from a metallurgy and thickness standpoint but the X references ribbing added to tube ends to increase stiffness. So SP not as flexy as SLX because its thicker walled, but not as heavy as SPX because no ribs.
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Old 05-20-13, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by DOS
Thanks for decal info. And the description of SL/SP on larger frame gibes with my understanding. As I understand it, SLX and SPX are identifical to, respectively, SL and SP from a metallurgy and thickness standpoint but the X references ribbing added to tube ends to increase stiffness. So SP not as flexy as SLX because its thicker walled, but not as heavy as SPX because no ribs.
That's right. Note that the SLX and SPX top tubes do not have the five helical reinforcements in the butts.

The uncut SL tubeset is 1,925g
The uncut SLX tubeset is 1,966g
The uncut SP tubeset is 2,215g
The uncut SPX tubeset is 2,325g

All of these tubesets use the same Cyclex metallurgy.







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Old 05-20-13, 06:19 PM
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Builders could use any mix they wanted, at any given time in history, depending on what was available, but often, you will find SP used in the 'hull' of the frame, i.e. downtube, chainstays, and fork blades, with SL everywhere else. A 'full SP' frame should have a 27.0 seat post (vs. a 27.2 for SL, or a 27.4 for KL). Some builders mixed them differently, though, and some builders mixed Reynolds 531 and SL/SP in the same frameset (Pogliaghi for one, iirc).

I recently had a frame built that used 531, 525, and 725 Reynolds tubing.... All in the family, so to speak.
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Old 05-20-13, 06:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Scooper
My 1987 62cm Paramount was built with an SP down tube and SL top tube and seat tube. This was a common tube mix for 58cm and larger frames when SLX was considered too flexy for larger frames/heavier riders, and SPX was considered too heavy. SLX was used for frame sizes 57cm and smaller.

This is the decal Schwinn put on my SL/SP frame.

Ditto for the Cinelli-made Centurion Equipe.
Same decal on the 58cm and up frames, same mix of tubing.
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Old 05-20-13, 06:49 PM
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Originally Posted by RobbieTunes
Ditto for the Cinelli-made Centurion Equipe.
Same decal on the 58cm and up frames, same mix of tubing.
Question just out of curiosity, was view that SLX was too flexy for larger frames

A: a function of the rider, who would presumably be heavier on average than the riders of smaller frames (although not in every case since frame size is determined by length rather than weight), or was view

B: a function of tube length since at some point, irrespective of rider weight, increasing tube length without changing thickness will increase flex of tube? Or

C. all of the above
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Old 05-20-13, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DOS
Question just out of curiosity, was view that SLX was too flexy for larger frames

A: a function of the rider, who would presumably be heavier on average than the riders of smaller frames (although not in every case since frame size is determined by length rather than weight), or was view

B: a function of tube length since at some point, irrespective of rider weight, increasing tube length without changing thickness will increase flex of tube? Or

C. all of the above
C.

There was also TSX which had the five helical reinforcements for the entire length of the tubes. It supposedly offered "very high resistance to bending and torsional stresses", but it didn't really offer any significant weight or performance advantage over the SL/SP mix for larger frames and/or heavier riders.



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Old 05-20-13, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DOS
Question just out of curiosity, was view that SLX was too flexy for larger frames

A: a function of the rider, who would presumably be heavier on average than the riders of smaller frames (although not in every case since frame size is determined by length rather than weight), or was view

B: a function of tube length since at some point, irrespective of rider weight, increasing tube length without changing thickness will increase flex of tube? Or

C. all of the above
Another factor to consider is the length of the headtube. The long headtube on larger frames converts a near triangular frame geometry into a "diamond" shape, for the lack of a better term. The triangle geometry is far stiffer than a diamond.
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Old 05-23-13, 05:26 PM
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More on decals

Originally Posted by Scooper
My 1987 62cm Paramount was built with an SP down tube and SL top tube and seat tube. This was a common tube mix for 58cm and larger frames when SLX was considered too flexy for larger frames/heavier riders, and SPX was considered too heavy. SLX was used for frame sizes 57cm and smaller.

This is the decal Schwinn put on my SL/SP frame.

In touch with Waterford to get decals for my Paramount repaint project and they confirmed Scooper's post about the correct decal. They also resolved why some Paramounts I see around have the Columbus decals while others do not, which I had been wondering about.

these were not applied to the frame before clearcoat, they were included in the box for the customer to apply if desired. The philosophy is we build bikes, not tubesets
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Old 10-24-23, 09:37 AM
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Thanks Scooper! Your confirmation for larger Paramount frames is most helpful!!!
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Old 10-24-23, 09:38 AM
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Great Info!
Thanks!
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Old 10-24-23, 12:35 PM
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Until the mid-80s, Columbus tubing decals did not distinguish between SL and SP tubing. They all used this decal:
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Old 10-24-23, 08:45 PM
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My large Schwinn which is SL/SP mix:


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Old 10-24-23, 11:54 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson
Until the mid-80s, Columbus tubing decals did not distinguish between SL and SP tubing. They all used this decal:
True that. SL and SP are the same steel - the only difference is the wall thickness, with SP being 0.1mm thicker in most places that SL. The real beef went into SP seat and chain stays, which are 0,3mm thicker walled than SL. The head tubes are the same thickness in both, an SP fork blade is 0.15mm thicker. An SP tube set weighed 370 grams more than an SL set. This is all according to a tubing comparison sheet I found on line - no clue where, but I saved a screenshot of it.

I always thought that SLX and SPX were the same steel as SL/SP with the same wall thicknesses except additional heliacal reinforcements, at least at first. Maybe I was mistaken about that.
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Old 10-25-23, 02:22 AM
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As mentioned above, the generic sticker was in use until around the mid 80s, when specific stickers were launched, so you could not know tell just from it. Manufacturers however would give a hint on the kind of tubes used, sometimes with with no further details like in this German Rossin catalog stating “Columbus SL tubes; from size 61 Columbus SP tubes”

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Old 10-25-23, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by JackJohn
As mentioned above, the generic sticker was in use until around the mid 80s, when specific stickers were launched, so you could not know tell just from it.
Well, there were other decals, just none to distinguish SL from SP.
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Old 10-25-23, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by bikingshearer
True that. SL and SP are the same steel - the only difference is the wall thickness, with SP being 0.1mm thicker in most places that SL. The real beef went into SP seat and chain stays, which are 0,3mm thicker walled than SL. The head tubes are the same thickness in both, an SP fork blade is 0.15mm thicker. An SP tube set weighed 370 grams more than an SL set. This is all according to a tubing comparison sheet I found on line - no clue where, but I saved a screenshot of it.

I always thought that SLX and SPX were the same steel as SL/SP with the same wall thicknesses except additional heliacal reinforcements, at least at first. Maybe I was mistaken about that.
My recollection, definitely sketchy, is that SL/SP were originally plain CrMo. They didn't call it 4130 (the American designation), they had a Euro name for the alloy, which is probably slightly different from USA 4130, but similar mechanical characteristics.

Then at some point ('80s?) they came up with Cyclex, which they made claims about that I can't confirm, but it's probably at least a little better than plain CrMo. SL/SP as well as SLX/SPX/TSX were made in Cyclex, with plain CrMo still used on cheaper tubesets like Cromor. There was probably a period where SL was still available in CrMo, and SLX was Cyclex, so there may have been some truth to the statement that "SLX was better steel than SL". But I think that was a brief period, and most SL (after SLX was released) was also Cyclex, same steel as SLX.

I'm happy to get any corrections to my vague memories.

BTW, IMHO the raised helical ribs in SLX/SPX/TSX are pure bunk. Yes they do add stiffness but only a tiny amount, that no human could ever detect by riding. They also add weight, and they reduce the stiffness-to-weight ratio, just a tiny amount, because they project inward toward the center of the tube. It can be proven mathematically that the best place to add that extra metal would be to distribute it even over the tube, not in raised lumps facing toward the neutral axis.

So SLX is effectively identical to SL, just a tiny bit heavier and a tiny bit stiffer, and a bit more expensive. But less elegant engineering, kinda stupid actually. I suspect Columbus has at least one real engineer, and this wasn't his or her idea, it was cooked up by a marketing type. Anything to differentiate your product. I would never build a frame with SLX myself, but I admit that it's not really worse in any way that matters. It's just more expensive for no benefit.

This is all ancient history now of course. With all the "super" steels available now, I don't see many new high-end frames being made out of such lowly steel. I still like old frames made of lowly steel, but the market has moved on.

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Old 10-25-23, 11:40 AM
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Cyclex when Columbus was pushed is near identical to the earlier alloy- very close to 4130.

allegedly not as tolerant of overheating as Reynolds 531.

the SLX tubes did provide noticeable improvement to the localized wall stiffness when using a braze on front derailleur mount.
the early examples using SL tubes noticeably flexed under shifting stress. ( this is to be fair also when using the stamped braze on mount)
the SLX tube did not flex as much, then quickly the majority of the mounts were investment cast, even more rigidity.

if the braze on mount was investment cast to begin with and with the much longer arc engagement of those designs, SLX would not really have been a thing.
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Old 10-25-23, 08:11 PM
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Good info thanks, I always thought SLX was lighter but not so I guess.

Thanks

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