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Frame Weight Question

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Frame Weight Question

Old 05-16-14, 04:00 PM
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Frame Weight Question

Newly returning to the road guy here. I am not and will never be (I think) a framebuilder, just to be clear. But this seems like the best place to ask my question.

My current bike is a mid-late 90's Bianchi frame (custom LBS build from out in Ca.) and the frame labels say the following (I added the English, 'word for word' translation in case that helps).

Tubi Speciali Rinforzati = Tube Special Reinforced

Alliaio Nivacrom = Steel Nivacrom

Extra El Leggeri = Extra the Light

It is a 56cm frame (Campy Chorus components but that isn't the question here - although it is strongly related to any decision that I might make).

While I am hardly an experienced (although not totally inexperienced either) biker, I like the feel and fit of this frame. OTOH it is the only real 'road bike' that I have ever owned so ......

I know that this frame weighs more than the typical frame that you would find on a (for example) $1800 to $3000 new bike. And the question is just how many pounds (oz., grams,newtons, whatever) am I 'losing' by staying with this frame.

I realize that it varies depending on the alternative chosen, but I just don't know (without taking my bike apart) where I am right now (and am not sure where I 'could go' either).

Thanks.

dave
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Old 05-16-14, 06:27 PM
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First I'll say that many ,me included, feel that the weight of the frame is the least important component to be concerned about.

Steel frames(of mid sizes) will weigh between 3 and 5 pounds, tubing dependent. Carbon frames these days are from just under 2 to about 3 pounds. (These are generalizations). So the weight gain with steel is often around 1 to 3 pounds. But it is usual that not all is equal with this comparison. With fork/head tubes and crank, BB and shells being far more manipulated in carbon then steel.

Your frame tubing decal says in common tubes- Butted tubes, better the standard 4130 cromo and, the one that I like, the frame's extra light (what ever that means).

What can't be measured or weighed is how the frame fits your needs and how it helps the bike feel just so. These two aspects are worth pounds IMO. Andy.
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Old 05-16-14, 06:48 PM
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Andrew, thanks for the comments. Very helpful.

I was unable to parse the third paragraph. Your frame tubing decal says in common tubes- Butted tubes, better the standard 4130 cromo and, the one that I like, the frame's extra light (what ever that means).

I just couldn't figure out how to interpret that - could you expand - thanks.

dave
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Old 05-16-14, 08:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Andrew, thanks for the comments. Very helpful.

I was unable to parse the third paragraph. Your frame tubing decal says in common tubes- Butted tubes, better the standard 4130 cromo and, the one that I like, the frame's extra light (what ever that means).

I just couldn't figure out how to interpret that - could you expand - thanks.

dave

"common tubes" should have been "common terms".

In other words the frame tubes are of butted design. Nivacrom is claimed (by Columbus) to be a stronger grade of steel then basic 4130. And that the marketing department thinks that by saying "Extra El Leggeri" it will make people think more highly of the frame. Andy.
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Old 05-16-14, 09:53 PM
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Columbus Genius, Max, and Zona were all tubesets made with Nivacrom alloy. Does the tubing sticker on your Bianchi have any of these names (or other tubing name)?

Andy's absolutely right about frame weight. Depending on which Nivacrom tubes are used (diameters, wall thickness, butting profile) a 56cm frame should weigh 3 to 4 pounds. The steel fork should be between 1.5 and 1.8 pounds.
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Old 05-16-14, 10:02 PM
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For the sake of illustration, and I'm not by any means an expert in frames or components, but if I'm looking at two frames - one weighing 5 lbs and the other 2 lbs, that is a 3 pound difference.

I lost that much (3 lbs) the first two weeks I got serious about my health and state of fitness.

For a competitive racer or Olympic class athlete 3lbs in the frame might be critical, but for most of us it should be the least of our worries.

There's just more to it than frame weight.
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Old 05-16-14, 10:56 PM
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opening a huge can of worms here but losing 2 lbs isnt the only advantage you'll gain by switching from a 20 yo steel frame to a modern carbon machine. CF technology has come a long way in that time and the price has decreased greatly. IMO CF frames ride, and transfer power better than a flexy steel steed, thus making you a more efficient cyclist.
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Old 05-17-14, 12:19 AM
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On the other hand, if the OP wants to be riding the same bike for the next twenty years, he should probably avoid carbon.

His frame is made of double butted quality steel from a regarded manufacturer. Can't see any reason to change. It might be fun to try out some different geometries or materials, sure, but hardly needed.
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Old 05-17-14, 01:08 AM
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never said anything about needed.
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Old 05-17-14, 05:37 AM
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Got it - thanks, Andrew. I guess certain marketing practices are universal (or at least world wide).

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Old 05-17-14, 05:54 AM
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Scooper, here is all the additional stuff I could l find.

The main label listed in the original post also says "Over Size" (Over on one side and Size on the other with the Columbus decal in the middle). I somehow missed that.

The fork says
Columbus
Foderi
Rinforzati
Custom

The Chain Stay says
Costructa
Nel
Reparto
Corse ... (my cadence sensor could be moved to see the rest if it matters. I'd guess maybe two more letters)

The Head Tube has Eduardo Bianchi. And there 'Bianchi' and some 'B' s scattered about (also Made in Italy). The top tube has what would appear to be a script signature, but it is totally illegible.

Thanks again for the help.

FWIW, this is really about trying to understand what I own. And I am coming from a position of 'extreme ignorance' (at least on a relative basis) regarding bicycle construction and technology.

dave
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Old 05-17-14, 06:14 AM
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EL OS was one of the thinnest gauges tubes as far as I known. Frame weight should be around 1700 g. The fork around 700 g. Lightest carbon frames are 800 g, lightest forks 300 g but these tend to be pricey. Normal weights would be about 1200 g and 400 g I think.
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Old 05-17-14, 06:19 AM
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Pictures??
A pretty frame is much faster than a less elegant one.
Not sure how oversized your tubing is.
The really skinny steel frames are a little more eye worthy that the bigger diameter tubes(but just a little)
Elegant looks are worth the weight penalty if you don't race.
CF frames-rarely elegant looking-
If you aren't racing,and like your frame-it's elegance should trump 2-3 lbs
But we need a picture to pass judgement on whether its looks make up the 2-3 lbs.
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Old 05-17-14, 06:39 AM
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Well, let's see what the image/uploading restrictions are here. I am not a picture kind of guy, but here are some. And it appears no restrictions that will affect this - great! dave

Attached Images
File Type: jpg
Fork.jpg (98.6 KB, 107 views)
File Type: jpg
Front.jpg (99.9 KB, 103 views)
File Type: jpg
Rear.jpg (100.5 KB, 96 views)
File Type: jpg
Side.jpg (98.9 KB, 108 views)
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Old 05-17-14, 06:42 AM
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Originally Posted by tuz View Post
EL OS was one of the thinnest gauges tubes as far as I known. Frame weight should be around 1700 g. The fork around 700 g. Lightest carbon frames are 800 g, lightest forks 300 g but these tend to be pricey. Normal weights would be about 1200 g and 400 g I think.
Very useful data, Tuz. Thanks.

dave

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Old 05-17-14, 08:43 AM
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Looking back at the original post, the "Extra El Leggeri" means it's EL, and now with the OS it's oversize. Tuz is right, it's EL-OS.



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Old 05-17-14, 08:50 AM
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This chart shows the relative weights of mid-eighties Columbus tubesets (before the tubes are cut to length and mitered by the framebuilder). 1800 grams is light!

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Old 05-17-14, 10:15 AM
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Thanks for the pictures-
Pretty bike- red, great color-and LIGHT too
1800 grams-just 3.97 lbs-
CF is nice-but maybe just 1.5 lbs lighter not as elegant
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Old 05-17-14, 01:21 PM
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basiclly weigh the tube set after cutting and mitering , and the BB shell and dropouts separately ..
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Old 05-17-14, 07:00 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
basiclly weigh the tube set after cutting and mitering , and the BB shell and dropouts separately ..
I've weighed a lugged BB shell (28.6 ST, 31.7 DT) at 160g, OS lug set (28.6 TT, 28.6 ST, 31.7 DT, 31.7 HT) at 190g, and rear vertical dropouts at 100g, for a total of 450g, or almost exactly one pound. That weight will be pretty consistent regardless of frame size.

My 61cm 953 frame weighs 1650g without the BB cups and head tube bearing cups, so if the BB shell, lugs, and rear dropouts total 450g, all of the tubes total 1200g (~2.65 lbs).

The density of 953 and EL-OS is virtually the same (~8 grams per cubic centimeter), so with the slightly thinner 953 walls (0.5/0.3/0.5 TT, 0.6/0.4/0.6 DT) compared to EL-OS (0.7/0.4/0.7 TT, 0.7/0.4/0.7 DT) the 953 tubes will be slightly lighter than the EL-OS tubes, but the OP's frame is 56cm compared to my 61cm. I'd expect his frame to weigh about the same as mine, possibly a skoshi bit more.

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Old 05-20-14, 07:47 PM
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Word to DaveLeeNC and anyone else who might care to listen...................

Dave, do not EVER concern yourself with weight, it's a loser's game increasingly and tragically played out well into the past decade plus, plus with sickening results by far too many who are either too dumb by choice or chance to see the pernicious folly. If, as the label indicates the tubing is EL (Columbus) on that modified - obviously greater set back seat tube, that tubing is/was essentially (one of) their lightest offerings ever, especially in the standard diameter not oversize offering which was also manufactured. Few tube sets if any to this day still are as light regardless of mfgr. Hopefully your physical weight is in proportion to your height as EL was not intended for heavier weight riders for starters...............

Concern yourself with any bike as per same being a solid, sturdy, reliable foundation (as all bike frames potentially are - should be but not always are) for what should be clearly solid, reliable componentry (in your case Campy - be thankful more than you know for that!) and above all solid wheels.........., the single most important component on any bike, period. Never cut corners on wheels. Never, ever.

You've cleaned the bike completely - hit it with a decent car wax or sealant, checked everything and spec'd fully as if building from scratch/brand new............, beginning with all bearing units (headset, hubs, BB, cassette), cleaning, re-lubing and calibrated to perfection, made certain the chain is right and well lubed always, right? Of course you have. Take it from there.................

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Old 05-20-14, 08:38 PM
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[QUOTE=DaveLeeNC;16766273] .... FWIW, this is really about trying to understand what I own. And I am coming from a position of 'extreme ignorance' (at least on a relative basis) regarding bicycle construction and technology. dave[/Partial QUOTE]

Dave - what you have is a very nice production bike and a beauty at that. I have owned several B's and never found one that was less than an excellent ride. The red is a nice choice also... given how many of them are Celeste green. Hopefully you are riding the heck out of it.
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Old 05-21-14, 05:30 AM
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Originally Posted by equinoxranch View Post
Word to DaveLeeNC and anyone else who might care to listen...................

Dave, do not EVER concern yourself with weight, it's a loser's game increasingly and tragically played out well into the past decade plus, plus with sickening results by far too many who are either too dumb by choice or chance to see the pernicious folly. If, as the label indicates the tubing is EL (Columbus) on that modified - obviously greater set back seat tube, that tubing is/was essentially (one of) their lightest offerings ever, especially in the standard diameter not oversize offering which was also manufactured. Few tube sets if any to this day still are as light regardless of mfgr. Hopefully your physical weight is in proportion to your height as EL was not intended for heavier weight riders for starters...............

Concern yourself with any bike as per same being a solid, sturdy, reliable foundation (as all bike frames potentially are - should be but not always are) for what should be clearly solid, reliable componentry (in your case Campy - be thankful more than you know for that!) and above all solid wheels.........., the single most important component on any bike, period. Never cut corners on wheels. Never, ever.

You've cleaned the bike completely - hit it with a decent car wax or sealant, checked everything and spec'd fully as if building from scratch/brand new............, beginning with all bearing units (headset, hubs, BB, cassette), cleaning, re-lubing and calibrated to perfection, made certain the chain is right and well lubed always, right? Of course you have. Take it from there.................
FWIW, from this ( https://www.bikeforums.net/general-cy...iscussion.html ) thread.

Thanks for all the comments. Based on these comments and other research that I have done, I am going to basically stick with this bike for the foreseeable future. When functional upgrades are required (right now pedals/shoes are a given and something lower than my current 39/25 is likely) I will be trying to preserve what this bike is which means probably spending a good bit extra (so be it). Beyond that I will be on my Bianchi for a good while.

I'm not sure that I would agree that that weight should be of no concern, but I'm not going to spend a bunch of money chasing it (given where I am right now). Regarding your reasonable questions about what I did, for the most part I am not competent to execute your list, so the bike's first movement was to a local LBS where lots of things had to happen (including cables and tires). But I do now own Zinn's book so maybe down the road...

My last trip to the scales yielded 160 (pounds) and somewhere in my mind I have it that on this bike somewhere around 180 is the reasonable max. But I have no idea where that number came from.

dave
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Old 05-21-14, 05:39 AM
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[QUOTE=ksisler;16777302]
Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
.... FWIW, this is really about trying to understand what I own. And I am coming from a position of 'extreme ignorance' (at least on a relative basis) regarding bicycle construction and technology. dave[/Partial QUOTE]

Dave - what you have is a very nice production bike and a beauty at that. I have owned several B's and never found one that was less than an excellent ride. The red is a nice choice also... given how many of them are Celeste green. Hopefully you are riding the heck out of it.
You referred to this as a production bike. I had absolutely no clue as to what I was buying when I bought this thing. At the time I had gotten back into running, was in good shape and had dropped 30 pounds, but for the third time I was 'out of running' for a number of weeks due to ankle sprains and/or iliotibial band injuries. I would fill in my exercise on an exercise bike and that last time I said 'well screw it - let's just start biking'.

Went to a local LBS run by (even by LBS standards) a biking fanatic. I don't recall exactly what I spent but I told him that I wanted a bike good enough to race if I ever chose to. I got the impression that 'he built whatever I bought', but that was a long time ago and I didn't even know the difference between friction and index shifters. It doesn't matter other than my own curiosity.

So now for a question. If this is a production bike, what is the model name (if you know). Thanks.

dave

ps. What is interesting is that I have taken exactly the same path, pretty much. I tried to get back into running but my knees are as old as I am. I put in 18 months on a spinner bike before I decided to ride for real (and I lost 50 pounds this time).
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Old 05-22-14, 12:20 PM
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Originally Posted by catonec View Post
opening a huge can of worms here but losing 2 lbs isnt the only advantage you'll gain by switching from a 20 yo steel frame to a modern carbon machine. CF technology has come a long way in that time and the price has decreased greatly. IMO CF frames ride, and transfer power better than a flexy steel steed, thus making you a more efficient cyclist.
Is there any actual evidence that is true. Carbon can be a highly disruptive technology. For instance a light carbon fiber paddle vs a wooden one is a night and day difference; or a carbon arrow in archery; or carbon in fishing rods; very noticeable; etc...

In some cases there is a great advantage, like sailboats, but you need nation state dollars to exploit it.

With a bike there isn't anything all that special about a carbon frame; It is lighter but the overall saving there is dampened by the fact that the frame is only a part of the overall weight; The ME of carbon, a fishing rod or bow limb that responds with dramatically imporved velocity isn't there, or if there is an effect it would have to be timed to the relatively slow movements of cycling legs; Carbon has had a much rockier advantage in golf club shafts where numerous complexities have made it a poor choice, not for the lack of trying since the shafts are an area for huge upcharges, even when they are hard to make work.

Bikes are not radically restructured in carbon, for instance most saiboat spars are in need of rigging wire to stand, but in carbon you can make unstayed spars that are revolutionary, though not generally needed. Carbon wings on aircraft can have dramatically different aspect ratios than alloy wings, and this can immensly improve performance, on sailplanes of the 787. This is not really being done on road bikes though there are possibilities for aero where legal. Forks being the exception.

Anyway, I am just not seeing a real game changing capability. Which leads to the fact that steel bikes remain competitive in certain venues where contracts allow them to be ridden. At the hacker level, I can't even see the issue.


Then there is the whole area of carbon fiber enhancements. If there was real evidence that carbon boosted energy througput, it is possible to make carbon rear triangle, or perhaps simpler to wrap steel tubes in carbon. This would allow older bikes to compete, or to use geometry and fit advantages in steel in tandem with carbon.

Carbon is now both a cheap material, and technology. There was a brieft periof a little over 10 years ago, before Boeing, Airbus, the war on terror, etc... When we actually had some cases where a carbon spar could be built more cheaply than a wooden one. But then the prices spiked back up. Those were US prices, China is now a big player. I think the real issue is the profit margin in quality steel bikes is pretty much non-existent. The profit margin in carbon is real. Much higher tooling costs, but bikes can be turned out cheaply and sold at a high price point. Every technology has some advantages. The real key is whether there are any net wins in it.
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