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Reynolds 531 decal question

Old 03-12-15, 11:37 PM
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streetboy651
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Reynolds 531 decal question

I'm considering a purchase of a 70's Italian road bike with original Campy NR gruppo. Top tube has a decal (exact wording) Reynolds 531 Butted Tubes Fork & Stays. There are NO Reynolds decals on the fork. Does this mean the fork is not Reynolds 531? I don't see any glue residue on the fork to indicate a decal may have once been there. Thanks…
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Old 03-12-15, 11:52 PM
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Bit rare, an Italian bike with English tubing!
Could be fork was replaced at one time.
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Old 03-13-15, 12:10 AM
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The builder may have just not put the decals on the tube or a previous owner removed them. It's easy to clean the residual glue.

Does the fork appear to match the frame?
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Old 03-13-15, 03:03 AM
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Originally Posted by streetboy651 View Post
I'm considering a purchase of a 70's Italian road bike with original Campy NR gruppo. Top tube has a decal (exact wording) Reynolds 531 Butted Tubes Fork & Stays. There are NO Reynolds decals on the fork. Does this mean the fork is not Reynolds 531? I don't see any glue residue on the fork to indicate a decal may have once been there. Thanks…
The Italian Legnano and Frejus bikes were produced in Milan by Emilio Bozzi. From the late 60s through the the late 70s both brands used Reynolds 531 tubing on their top models. They also used Italian made Falck tubing interchangeably on those bikes.

If you scroll though these Classic Rendezvous pictures of Legnano and Frejus bikes you'll see some with Reynolds 531 tubing decals on the top tubes and also the forks.

Legnano main


This frame has Reynolds 531 Decals on the top tube and fork:

Legnano green 60 cm* frame set


Here's a Legnano with a Falck tubing decal on the down tube:

Uwe Just's Legnano #EV6547


CR Frejus link:

FREJUS, home


Along with Legnano and Frejus, Masi and other well known Italian brands used Reynolds 531 tubing back then too. The reasons were that Reynolds tubes were more accurately sized, rounder and had a smoother finish than Columbus tubing from that time which made them easier to build with.

The early Reynolds decals were fragile water slide style and got damaged easily especially on the top tube and fork blades.

Also a number of makers didn't bother to put decals on the forks if the primary Reynolds decal stated the the forks and stays were made of Reynolds 531. A lot of bikes made with Columbus tubing didn't have fork decals either.

I think that you answered your own question: "Top tube has a decal (exact wording) Reynolds 531 Butted Tubes Fork & Stays".

verktyg

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Old 03-13-15, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
From the late 60s through the the late 70s both brands used Reynolds 531 tubing on their top models.
Chas.
Even a tad earlier, Chas. Here's a Frejus from 1963. Top end model but looks like main frame tubes only.

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Old 03-13-15, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post


Along with Legnano and Frejus, Masi and other well known Italian brands used Reynolds 531 tubing back then too. The reasons were that Reynolds tubes were more accurately sized, rounder and had a smoother finish than Columbus tubing from that time which made them easier to build with.

verktyg

Chas.
Actually the Italian at Masi Carlsbad stated that Reynolds was less money and easier to braze as it was more forgiving due to the slightly different make up. They did build a few bikes out of Columbus, they were an up charge and made by the shop foreman.
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Old 03-13-15, 07:53 AM
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that's interesting, my experience was exactly the opposite wrt tubing manufacturers

As far as the missing fork decals, they are really easy to damage and the bike looks better without them if they are all scraped up. Since nobody clearcoated decals back then, they come right off
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Old 03-14-15, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
Even a tad earlier, Chas. Here's a Frejus from 1963. Top end model but looks like main frame tubes only.
rootboy,

Those particular decals were always a head scratcher? Did it mean that the whole bike was made of "butted" Reynolds 531 or just the 3 main tubes?

The term "BUTTED" was and still is much misused and misunderstood. Only the top and down tubes were "double butted". The seat tubes and steerers were single butted.



The French Reynolds 531 decals the said "3 TUBES RENFORCE" meaning the 3 main frame tubes were butted. the was no ambiguity!



I always assumed these English decals meant only the 3 main tubes were butted.



The Legnano and Frejus bikes that we sold from late 1973 through 1977 had these unambiguous Reynolds 531 decals on the top tube. This style of Reynolds decal was only used until 1974.



When the bike boom ended in 1974 a lot of bike importers and distributors were stuck with warehouses full of bikes built during the bike boom years 1970-1973.

The Legnano and Frejus bikes that we were buying all had the same quality frames - either Reynolds 531 or Falck tubing and Campy dropouts. None of the bikes we sold had Falck decals on them.



There were 2 or 3 quality ranges - the low end bikes had steel cranks, Gnutti hubs and generic headsets. The derailleurs on all of the models were Campy NR. They all came with Universal Mod 61 center pull brakes, 3TTT bars and stem and I think that the saddles were Unicanitor??? They all had sewup wheels.

The top models were all Campy NR except for the brakes. They offered a lot of bang for the buck. The cosmetics were much better than the average bike boom bikes. Our sales pitch to folks on a budget looking for a nice bike was to buy the low end model and upgrade its as you went along.

I rode a number of those bikes back then. I couldn't tell the difference in ride between the Reynolds and Falck tubing bikes.

The Legnanos had different seat clusters than the Frejus bikes but we got in a few where the feature were switched!

verktyg

Chas,
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
ButtedTubing.jpg (102.4 KB, 79 views)
File Type: jpg
File Type: jpg
Reynolds3TubesRenforce1974.jpg (33.6 KB, 76 views)
File Type: jpg
Reynolds531Butted3Tubes.jpg (13.4 KB, 141 views)
File Type: jpg
FalckLogo.jpg (8.1 KB, 141 views)
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Old 03-14-15, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
rootboy,

...

I rode a number of those bikes back then. I couldn't tell the difference in ride between the Reynolds and Falck tubing bikes.

verktyg

Chas,
I agree. During the 1970s a lot of folks claimed that Columbus was "stiffer" than 531, but I think the entire difference in feel, or at least a huge percentage of it, was due to frame geometry. Yes, my 1959 Capo, with its relaxed angles and long "spaghetti stays" has a softer, flexier ride than my 1981 Bianchi, with its tighter, more closely coupled geometry, but this probably has nothing whatsoever to do with CrMo vs. MnMo.
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Old 03-14-15, 04:42 PM
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Did not the Reynolds tube-set that contained all the tubes, forks and stays come with decals in the box that said "made with Reynolds tubes forks & stays" and no fork decals?
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Old 03-14-15, 04:58 PM
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It was quite common back then to omit the decals on the fork blades. I know for sure that some or all years of Raleigh Professionals and Internationals did not have fork blade decals but were full 531. Many people thought they looked tacky and were unnecessary.
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Old 03-14-15, 05:05 PM
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Got me, Chas,

I had assumed it was just three main tubes. But it may be a bit misleadng since the Frejuses..... Freji, didn't use the fork blade decals either.
At least mine doesn't.

Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
rootboy,

Those particular decals were always a head scratcher? Did it mean that the whole bike was made of "butted" Reynolds 531 or just the 3 main tubes?

The term "BUTTED" was and still is much misused and misunderstood. Only the top and down tubes were "double butted". The seat tubes and steerers were single butted.



The French Reynolds 531 decals the said "3 TUBES RENFORCE" meaning the 3 main frame tubes were butted. the was no ambiguity!



I always assumed these English decals meant only the 3 main tubes were butted.



The Legnano and Frejus bikes that we sold from late 1973 through 1977 had these unambiguous Reynolds 531 decals on the top tube. This style of Reynolds decal was only used until 1974.



When the bike boom ended in 1974 a lot of bike importers and distributors were stuck with warehouses full of bikes built during the bike boom years 1970-1973.

The Legnano and Frejus bikes that we were buying all had the same quality frames - either Reynolds 531 or Falck tubing and Campy dropouts. None of the bikes we sold had Falck decals on them.



There were 2 or 3 quality ranges - the low end bikes had steel cranks, Gnutti hubs and generic headsets. The derailleurs on all of the models were Campy NR. They all came with Universal Mod 61 center pull brakes, 3TTT bars and stem and I think that the saddles were Unicanitor??? They all had sewup wheels.

The top models were all Campy NR except for the brakes. They offered a lot of bang for the buck. The cosmetics were much better than the average bike boom bikes. Our sales pitch to folks on a budget looking for a nice bike was to buy the low end model and upgrade its as you went along.

I rode a number of those bikes back then. I couldn't tell the difference in ride between the Reynolds and Falck tubing bikes.

The Legnanos had different seat clusters than the Frejus bikes but we got in a few where the feature were switched!

verktyg

Chas,
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Old 03-14-15, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
I know for sure that some or all years of Raleigh Professionals and Internationals did not have fork blade decals but were full 531.
The catalog photo for my 1978 show fork decals. When I purchased mine 2 years ago, it had remnants of the decals.
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Old 03-15-15, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by John E View Post
I agree. During the 1970s a lot of folks claimed that Columbus was "stiffer" than 531, but I think the entire difference in feel, or at least a huge percentage of it, was due to frame geometry. Yes, my 1959 Capo, with its relaxed angles and long "spaghetti stays" has a softer, flexier ride than my 1981 Bianchi, with its tighter, more closely coupled geometry, but this probably has nothing whatsoever to do with CrMo vs. MnMo.
The stiffest. harshest riding bike that I own is a 1984 Holdsworth made with Reynolds 753 tubing. It handles and tracks great and descends like it's on rails but the slightest bump is transmitted to my body.

The geometry isn't radical - parallel 73° head and seat tubes, a 40mm fork rake and reasonable length chain stays.

I think that I figured why it's so stiff. The fork blades and rear stays were cut off from the small diameter ends. The diameters are larger than on many bikes which makes this bike stiffer riding.

BTW, for me, lateral rigidity across the bottom bracket is the only area of a bike where stiffness is important to me. A flexy BB results in "ghost shifting" when I'm honking up a hill.



https://www.flickr.com/photos/282672...7624021802289/

I have several other Reynolds 753 bikes and they ride as smooth as silk, Same thing with my Columbus SL bikes.

My 1981 Bianchi Campione Del Mondo is another smooth riding bike. The 3 main tubes are Columbus SL while the forks and stay are probably Falck.



https://www.flickr.com/photos/282672...7623655271692/

My favorite riding bikes are made of Super Vitus 980. It's slightly lighter than Reynolds 753. But the real question is WHY do I like them more and what makes them better in my opinion!

The point is that there are too many variables involved with how a bike rides or handles and subjective descriptions concerning stiffness are personal views.

"I like oranges because they're better than apples"!

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BianchiCampioneDelMondo 002.jpg (100.8 KB, 73 views)
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Old 03-15-15, 04:12 AM
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Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
Did not the Reynolds tube-set that contained all the tubes, forks and stays come with decals in the box that said "made with Reynolds tubes forks & stays" and no fork decals?
Boxed sets of Reynolds 531, 531SL and 753 tubing came with one seat tube decal and 2 fork decals.



Larger producers bought tubing in bulk. Reynolds meted out enough decals to match the number of frames that could be built from the number of tubes purchased.

In general, Reynolds minimum order for standard and special tubing sets amounted to enough tubes or sets to build a 100 frames. In smaller quantities Reynolds referred buyers to "stockists" in the UK and specialty vendors in other parts of the world.

As I mentioned in post 4 above, Reynolds water slide decals were fragile and hard to apply. It was easy for some of the water soluble glue to get washed away. Later the decals would start to lift. Bikes were rarely clear coated back then so the decals were exposed to the elements and physical contact.

During the bike boom the European bike makers were pushing bikes out the door as fast as they could box them up. If a decal wasn't properly applied, tough! Frame decals probably got more attention than fork decals.

40 to 50 years ago, who in the bike industry could have imagined that collectors like us would fret over "little things" like tubing decals? After all, the life expectancy for a bike back then was 5-10 years!

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ReynoldsBox531TubeSet.gif (48.8 KB, 73 views)
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Reynolds753TubeSet.jpg (89.0 KB, 73 views)
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Last edited by verktyg; 03-15-15 at 04:18 AM.
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