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Old tubing Identification help

Old 03-11-24, 06:39 PM
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Old tubing Identification help

Good afternoon,

I have acquired a small collection of tubing from a local retired builder. He believes that its mostly Columbus and Reynolds 531. Reynolds was kind enough to stamp their tubes so I can parse it out pretty easily. But the other tubing (which is in Columbus boxes and appears to be tube sets) has no identifying marks (I have read on the internet and we all know what that's worth). That Columbus went to a graphite etched marking in the mid-late 80s. The other characteristic of the non-reynolds tubing is a satin finish with a purpley,blue/gold rainbow sheen to it. Not unlike the rainbow finish on those SRAM chains, or like the HAZ on a welded frame. Looks like heat treating to me, but I'm a novice.

I plan to build some lugged bike with the Reynolds (as I hate filet brazing with a passion and it shouldn't be tigged, and I have a lot of older lugs). But would like to tig the other tubing if I can be relatively certain that it is not tubing which cant be welded.

I have pics if anyone is interested. But I just got here so I cant upload them.

Cheers,

Jon
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Old 03-11-24, 07:43 PM
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Well, I put on some reading glasses and was able find stamps on at least one box which confirm it is Columbus PS tubeset (.7-1.0 butted). I guess this also means they are early 80s tubes.

Found a stamp in the tube-set in the PL box, no butting but I think I see a faint 'P.L' under the dove logo. Man those are faint....

I guess I can safely say that all of those tubes are columbus and are what it says on the box. Looks like I have some beefy tubes. and one tubeset with straight gauge .6 (thats gonna be interested to build with).

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Old 03-12-24, 02:02 AM
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Looks like you are making some track bikes! I also have amassed a fair bit of older tube sets from Columbus, Reynolds and Ishiwata and don't really know what to do with it all. Standard sized tubing is a bit 'past it's sell-by date' if you know what I mean!
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Old 03-12-24, 04:18 AM
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If it's Columbus it's probably weldable. But just make sure that for TIG you have the thickness you need. You generally want about a 1.2mm wall HT and 1.2mm at the top of the ST (which is often externally butted).
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Old 03-12-24, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by duanedr
Standard sized tubing is a bit 'past it's sell-by date' if you know what I mean!
For a while there, 531 was selling pretty well, but I don't know about now. But you are close to the epicenter of people that would be interested in standard size tubing, I think. Really depends on the wall thickness though. I have a 531 frame I built in the '70s that rides really well. Got me interested in building with standard size tubing again.
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Old 03-12-24, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by duanedr
Looks like you are making some track bikes! I also have amassed a fair bit of older tube sets from Columbus, Reynolds and Ishiwata and don't really know what to do with it all. Standard sized tubing is a bit 'past it's sell-by date' if you know what I mean!
In this area there is a fair amount of interest in narrower tubes, and for the time being these bikes are all just going to be for me, and I'm very light. So for me it will be a good experience to regain my skills and learn new ones.

Take a look for example at the bikes that Bicycle Quarterly/Rene Herse have been working on lately, thats my area of interest. While 531 and CYclex are a far cry from modern steels, they will suffice for my purposes.

-Jon
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Old 03-12-24, 09:00 AM
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Yeah, these wall thicknesses are probably too thin for tig. 1.0 is the thickest and its been years since i welded anything thinner than 1/8th " so I'll stick with learning lugged construction for now until I get my tig skills back up to snuff.

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Old 03-12-24, 09:04 AM
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I'm not light, and I tend to push big gears occasionally. Standard tubing really isn't as bad as people say, but the effects of propaganda last a very long time. The steel tube manufactures had to do something when other materials started stealing market share, so they pushed bigger tubes as the solution. Of course, there are applications where bigger tubes are better, but not as many as people think.
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Old 03-12-24, 09:48 AM
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I agree with you that standard sized tubing is still viable from a structural standpoint, from a customer standpoint, there are very few asking for standard sized tubing with disc brakes and through axles for their gravel bike. Road cycling in this area is WAY down - despite Jan's escapades. 10 years ago, our team rides would have 3-5 groups of 10 or 15 riders, it's now down to 1 group of 10-15 if the weather is dry. Everyone moved to the gravel and they want big tubes with disc brakes, through axles, etc.
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Old 03-12-24, 09:51 AM
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I went through a "how light can I build a frame" period only a couple of years after starting out. Not as extreme as some here have done (Mark I'm talking about you) but I got down to around .4/.7 main tube walls on a couple of frames (Rey 531SL and Col KL). Both were not good riders for my then 130ish lbs and how I rode. I do spin and, although I now am 20ish lbs more, always rode "light" as they say. But I also ride in the Finger Lakes with hills that can see 40-45 a few times a ride and, if my balls were particularly large, over 50 a few times a year. Both these bikes had significant speed shimmy and didn't feel stable enough to let fly. Up hills was completely different of course...

Since then I've built with more robust tubing for all my non rollers bikes, both in wall thicknesses and more recently tube diameters too. An exception being the second KL (but with a .9/.6 seat tube) frame I built only a few years ago for winter roller riding.

Having had this rather lightweight frame with traditional diameters experience way before Bicycle Quarterly came about I have found it interesting to follow the whole "planning" thing and using ultra light tubed frames that they have written so much about. Andy
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Old 03-12-24, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Orchardbikes
Yeah, these wall thicknesses are probably too thin for tig. 1.0 is the thickest and its been years since i welded anything thinner than 1/8th " so I'll stick with learning lugged construction for now until I get my tig skills back up to snuff.
I should say with TIG the DT, TT and bottom of the ST are usually 0.8mm (or less) at the ends, and the seatstays often thinner. But all the joints have at least one thicker tube involved (except for the small join between the DT and ST). Yes very different from 1/8" or even 1/16". It's below about 1mm that you need another level of precision and heat control not to blow holes. Just needs practice.
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Old 03-12-24, 10:50 AM
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I also like standard sizing. Commercial frames are often too stiff. I don't see why you want that unless you are actually racing (sprinting), in which case you wouldn't have a steel bike anyway. But I do use single oversize on my touring bikes after watching Henry Wildeberry on YouTube who reported shimmy issues with his custom standard sized touring frame when loaded up at the back. But back in the day touring frames were always standard size-- everything was.
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Old 03-12-24, 12:20 PM
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I try to ignore shimmy being blamed on frame stiffness, but single oversize tubing generally the same torsional stiffness as standard tubing. Because of wall thickness. But if a touring frame shimmies with a load on the back, put more of the load on the front. Many bikes will shimmy when rear-loaded. Some will do it when you sit back on the saddle. I know people in the U.K. like to ignore the French, but French cyclotourists usually had front panniers from way back. And American companies started pushing front panniers in the '70s. It's like there may be something to it.

Having said that, Jan's "mule" has an oversize downtube. And he's the biggest advocate for flexy tubes in all of humanity.
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Old 03-12-24, 03:52 PM
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I agree with your sentiments about 'propaganda', the bike industry always has to find a way to sell the new bike. In some ways that's totally fine as it advances the technology keeps bike shops open, and gives people jobs. But I also see that often, they return to older ideas and try to make them new again (gravel bikes are a good example as are the trends toward wider tires on road bikes). For me, this is just hobby, something I'm returning to after a 25 year hiatus. So I'm going to build the bikes I like, which are generally steel, fat tire (2.0-3.0) bikes that handle well at moderate speeds and some of which can carry a moderate load of stuff. First bike planned is a 26" wheeled gravel bike with cantis, so that folks can just say, "why don't you just ride a 90s mtb?"

Thanks to all who commented and for all your perspectives. I'll put some pics up once I am able.

Cheers,

Jon
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Old 03-13-24, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Orchardbikes
I'll put some pics up once I am able.
OP: you should be able to upload pix to a personal album now (you just can't put them in your posts yet as an anti-spam control). If you do that and post the fact here, I'm sure someone who frequents this forum will provide a "pic assist" (e.g., post them on your behalf).

Best of luck, and welcome to Bike Forums.
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Old 03-13-24, 07:29 PM
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Thanks for the heads up. I've uploaded pictures. If anyone can post them that may interest some of you. At this point I'm pretty sure of what I have, but the lugs and BBS (other than those which have a makers mark on them) are a mystery. Definitely a bunch of cinelli BB shells. possible HJ jugs, definitely some prugnat lugs, quite a variety to choose from, should make for a fun summer.

-Jon
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Old 03-13-24, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
I went through a "how light can I build a frame" period only a couple of years after starting out. Not as extreme as some here have done (Mark I'm talking about you) but I got down to around .4/.7 main tube walls on a couple of frames (Rey 531SL and Col KL). Both were not good riders for my then 130ish lbs and how I rode. I do spin and, although I now am 20ish lbs more, always rode "light" as they say. But I also ride in the Finger Lakes with hills that can see 40-45 a few times a ride and, if my balls were particularly large, over 50 a few times a year. Both these bikes had significant speed shimmy and didn't feel stable enough to let fly. Up hills was completely different of course...
There was an article about 10 years ago on some website (CyclingNews, maybe) about lending vintage steel racing bikes to three strong teenage amateur Italian racers (who ordinarily rode modern carbon bikes) to do some riding in the Pyrenees. Afterward, they all said they enjoyed riding the bikes but found descending at speed on them terrifying.
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Old 03-13-24, 08:11 PM
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Old 03-13-24, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Trakhak
There was an article about 10 years ago on some website (CyclingNews, maybe) about lending vintage steel racing bikes to three strong teenage amateur Italian racers (who ordinarily rode modern carbon bikes) to do some riding in the Pyrenees. Afterward, they all said they enjoyed riding the bikes but found descending at speed on them terrifying.
The quote I like about very flexible frames and down hill speeds was what Andy Hampsted said. Something like "the only thing worse than climbing without a TI bike is descending on one". Andy
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Old 03-14-24, 05:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Andrew R Stewart
The quote I like about very flexible frames and down hill speeds was what Andy Hampsted said. Something like "the only thing worse than climbing without a TI bike is descending on one". Andy
I heard it as Andy H's take on TVT carbon frames
I got a feeling at the time (or was it just a rumor) that Andy was frustrated by how heavy his team-issue Merckx was. Either on the Slurpee team or later on Motorola, I forget. He was seeing people like Lemond and then Indurain ride away from him on TVTs that weighed over a pound less, and climbing was pretty much his only time to shine.. I might be pretty far off on any of those recollections though.

For people who don't remember, TVT were an early-ish carbon frame, mandrel-wound tubes glued into aluminum lugs. Extremely flexible. Lemond won the worlds, his second win, on a specially-made (so they said) TVT that was even lighter and more flexible than the off-the-shelf frames. Bicycling magazine got ahold of it later and tested it in their Tarantula, and I'm pretty sure it was the flexiest frame they ever measured. Some editor rode it and reported that it felt like the rear wheel was trying to pass the front wheel. But it was stiff enough to win the Pro Worlds in a sprint, against a couple pretty good road sprinters, Konyshev I think, and notably Sean Kelly (4x green jersey TdF).

EDIT: ah here's some corroboration for the Hampsten quote, though it's still hear-say.
On SheldonBrown.com, but the article is by Damon Rinard. He's just one more person who remembers the quote like I do:
"I once read a quote attributed to Andy Hampsten to the effect that the only thing scarier than descending on a TVT frame was climbing without one!"

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Old 03-14-24, 07:26 AM
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I have seen people that the test in the Pyrenees. was conducted on bikes that didn't fit properly. My '80s racing bike can be terrifying to descend on, because it shimmies at around 30mph if you push your weight back at all. But after riding it for a few decades I finally figured that out. And still did it occasionally. But carbon bikes will also shimmy, in reality shimmy is not related to frame stiffness at all. But if you say that it is, people will nod sagely in agreement.

There is so much cognitive bias in these sorts of findings, poorly run tests are basically just garbage. Properly run tests are expensive, who is going to make a set of frames for a test.
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Old 03-14-24, 08:34 AM
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Yesterday I put SPD-SL pedals on my vintage skinny tubed bike for the first time and realized how much a modern saddle, pedals, and bar tape can "modernize" the feel of a bike. Frame/wheel stiffness can sometimes get more than its share of attention. That being said, I've been thinking about its speed wobble problem and the lack of real scientific testing around whether frame stiffness is actually beneficial from a performance perspective. Somehow I've gotten the idea stuck in my head that speed wobble can come from an anemic top tube, especially on larger frame sizes. I forgot where I first heard this (tell me if I'm wrong), but if there's any truth to it one could imagine a frame with 28.6mm ST/DT/TT as an experiment in getting the best of both worlds
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Old 03-14-24, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by harrier6
Yesterday I put SPD-SL pedals on my vintage skinny tubed bike for the first time and realized how much a modern saddle, pedals, and bar tape can "modernize" the feel of a bike. Frame/wheel stiffness can sometimes get more than its share of attention. That being said, I've been thinking about its speed wobble problem and the lack of real scientific testing around whether frame stiffness is actually beneficial from a performance perspective. Somehow I've gotten the idea stuck in my head that speed wobble can come from an anemic top tube, especially on larger frame sizes. I forgot where I first heard this (tell me if I'm wrong), but if there's any truth to it one could imagine a frame with 28.6mm ST/DT/TT as an experiment in getting the best of both worlds
The bike that Henry Wildeberry had built for Ms Cools (by John Fitzgerald) does have 28.6mm TT and DT. I could be wrong but I think it was Rivendell who first started this trend for oversizing only one of the tubes.

But it's interesting what unterhausen is saying that shimmy might not have anything to do with frame stiffness at all anyway. The bike that HW was getting shimmy on is also very low trail (like thirty-something mm).
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Old 03-14-24, 11:24 AM
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I got a PM from Mark Beaver with interest in one of the lugs I posted. Mark, I cant seem to access PMs yet, so I'll get back to you when I can. I'm still sorting through this all and trying to figure out what I want to use. If the one you are interested in are the ones with the windows in the side of the head tube lug and the 1/8" hole in the top tube leg of the headtube lug, then I believe I have two sets.
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Old 03-14-24, 12:07 PM
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There has been plenty of research on shimmy on motorcycles. You can find videos of "tank slappers." They generally don't consider stiffness at all, but the one (simulation based) paper I read that did said they had to reduce frame stiffness to a ridiculous level before it contributed.

The thing that nobody seems to be able to explain is why a frame would bend back and forth when there is a hinge in the middle that can't support bending moments at all in the direction of shimmy. And we had some undergrads do some modal testing of bike frames, and even the biggest, wimpiest vintage road frames had a 1st natural frequency above 10 hz. That's faster than shimmy. It was in the rear triangle, btw, and I don't think anyone asserts that shimmy is related to rear triangle stiffness. This actually proves that shimmy isn't related to frame stiffness, but people don't understand vibration and dynamic systems. So it's not surprising that nobody understands that. This includes ME undergrads, who have to take a vibration class and associated lab. Like I said above, I just let it slide most of the time when I see someone mention it nowadays. The cycling community believes all sorts of happy ********* and there really is no combatting it.

My belief is the reason this is so widespread is that it does look like your top tube is bending. It's so much that you would definitely die if it bent that much. It's an optical illusion.
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