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School me on tubing!

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School me on tubing!

Old 08-02-11, 01:40 PM
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School me on tubing!

Is there some sort of difference between Columbus tubing and Reynolds? Is Columbus higher quality? Or is it basically the same thing? It seems like a lot of the higher quality frames use Columbus, or the ones I have seen.
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Old 08-02-11, 01:52 PM
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They're brand names, each with different "qualities" of tubing at different price ranges. I don't know much about the differences. Though I'm really curious if anyone is familiar with Kaisei 022 (supposed descendent of Ishiwata 022) and which Reynolds/Columbus tubes are most comparable. I can't find much of anything from Google, besides that it's really nice steel.. My guess is that it's about the same quality as Reynolds 700-whatever?
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Old 08-02-11, 02:20 PM
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yup...just brand names. both make nice and not so nice tubing. higher-quality tubing will be seamless, butted and/or shaped, have higher tensile strength (thus can be thinner walled and therefore lighter without sacrificing strength), may be heat treated and/or air hardening.
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Old 08-02-11, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mashtofu
They're brand names, each with different "qualities" of tubing at different price ranges. I don't know much about the differences. Though I'm really curious if anyone is familiar with Kaisei 022 (supposed descendent of Ishiwata 022) and which Reynolds/Columbus tubes are most comparable. I can't find much of anything from Google, besides that it's really nice steel.. My guess is that it's about the same quality as Reynolds 700-whatever?
Check out both columbus and reynold's websites; no seriously, they have all their line ups with full description and data.
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Old 08-02-11, 03:52 PM
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Chemically, they differ slightly. Columbus is chrome-molybdenum while Reynolds is manganese-molybdenum if I'm correct. However, many would argue that these materials are more or less the same. Columbus tubing usually has a bigger snob factor than Reynolds possibly because it's Italian and used more widely by Italian manufacturers. If you looks at vintage English or French track bikes, you might find more Reynolds stickers patched everywhere.

The better Reynolds would be 531, 753, 853, and 953. Good Columbus would be SLX, SPX, MAX, and more. Keep in mind that for track bikes, slightly heavier steel was used because the stress the bikes normally take on the track exceeds that of a roadbike.
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Old 08-02-11, 03:54 PM
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The stresses of the frame is probably pretty similer. But weight on a road bike matters, since they are used to climb hills and mountains. And since a track is flat, you can ride a much heavier bike so stiffness is the most important factor.
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Old 08-02-11, 09:29 PM
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Tubing materials range from cheap hi-ten to carbon fiber, with different, mostly standard numbers assigned to different material formulas: Two tube sets with the same number will have roughly the same qualities.

High tensile steel (hi-ten) is cheap, springy, and heavy. Most manufacturers don't bother naming the tubing or the manufacturer, but there can be major differences in ride quality, especially torsional stiffness. The Giant with the ridiculous tubing stamp in my avatar makes a classic American bike feel like a bendy straw. Lots of forks are made with hi-ten to take advantage of its bump-absorbing capacity, regardless of what the frame is made out of. This is sometimes labeled as "1020," which is the standard formula name for high carbon steel; higher numbers are stronger and lighter, but rarely seen in bikes.

Chromoly steel (Cro-Mo) is much stronger than hi-ten, so less can be used, making it lighter. Tru-Temper (the wheelbarrow people) make a lot of the high-quality U.S.-sourced tubing. It's the de facto choice for BMX freestyle bikes because it can withstand a major beating. 4130 is standard cro-mo.

Aluminum is light and stiff, making for a very light frame. Like hi-ten, aluminum frames have improved tremendously, all but eliminating the ride harshness once associated with these frames. Ishiwata 022, Columbus SL, and Reynolds 531 are roughly on the same level.

Titanium is very heavy, but also very strong, allowing builders to use very thin tubes. However, torsional strength is terrible, and early bikes had weld problems leading to cracks. Again, most of the problems have been ironed out over time.

Obviously, carbon fiber is very light, but it also has a good spring like hi-ten making it a popular choice for forks. On the other hand, a hard enough smack to metal will cause bending, while carbon fiber will break. Old CF frames used CF tubing held together by aluminum lugs, but modern frames are put together as a single piece of material. Carbon fiber is graded by tensile strength at million of pounds per square inch (MSI.)
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