Thursday, November 4, 2010

Columbus MAX Bikes

I have a fascination with bikes made with Columbus MAX tube sets, and tubes. Columbus MAX bikes are to me very interesting, from their visual appearenace, the creative construction techniques that builders used to accommodate the ovalized tubes, to their unique ride characteristics.

This blog is dedicated to all things related to Columbus MAX. If you have a contribution please email me at

First some history that appeared at one time on the Columbus website:

"MAX (1987) was the first tube-set to break tradition of conventional diameters (25.4 mm for the top tube and 28.6mm for the down tube) with its 31.7 mm (top tube) and 35 mm (down tube). Max was a revolution in the frame construction system, allowing very tall or very heavy men to have a light but extremely strong frame and introduced the concept of oriented ellipses and differentiated sections, applied to each of the 11 tubes, to give the frame greater rigidity."

And, from the 1989 Columbus catalog (note reference to MAX and MAX OR):

MAX: Tube set for special racing bikes made from the exclusive Nivacrom® steel with exceptional strength characteristics.The elliptical cross-sections are oriented in such a way that the major axes are directly opposed to the highest active and passive stresses.This set has been designed to optimize efficiency under the demands of extreme bads: sprint, time trials, climbingand strong centrifugal acceleration when descending. Nivacrom Steel - Weight: 1900 g

EL: Tube set for time trials over even terrain, climbs and triathlon events. Super-lightweight thanks to the reduced thickness of tubing made from the exclusive Nivacrom" steel with a very high yield point.Double-butted tubes and oval, butted unicrown fork blades. Nivacrom Steel - Weight: 1670 g

EL-OS: Drawing on the experience with the EL set in the toughest professional competitions, this set features tubes of comparable lightness but with increased diameters for greater rigidity thanks to the use of the exclusive Nivacrom* steel.Nivacrom® Steel - Weight: 1800 g

TSX: Tube set for professional use, coupling maximum performance with reduced weight. It is particularly suitable for stage races of more than 150 Km over mixed terrain. In addition to butted walls, this set has five helicoidal internal reinforcements, thus giving greater rigidity against tube flexing and torsion.Cyclex Steel - Weight: 1945 g

SLX: "Superbutted" tube set specially designed for professional cyclists, featuring five spirals for greater rigidity in the joint area or the bottom bracket.Double-butted tube ends. Cyclex Steel - Weight: 1966 g

SPX: "Superbutted" tube set with increased thickness for professional cyclists. Ideal for larqe frames. Double-butted tube ends.Cyclex Steel - Weight: 2325 g

MS: Multishape, special tube set developed in collaboration with Gilco Design. Each tube profile is shaped to withstand specific stresses.Designed for competition use, it requires a precise riding style, and improves frame response to sudden shocks.Cyclex Steel - Weight: 1930 g

SL: All-purpose, high-performance tube set for road races over even terrain. Double-butted tubes. Cold-rolled fork blades.Cyclex Steel - Weight: 1925 g

SP: Heavy-duty, high-performance set, especially recommended for large frames. Double-butted tubing. Cold-rolled fork blades.Cyclex Steel - Weight: 2215 g

CROMOR: Built of cold-drawn, chrome-moly butted tubing, this set is for the more demanding riders who favour versatile, high-performance light frames, but can also be used for larger frames. Cr Mo Steel - Weight: 2190 g (Note: Columbus Matrix was the first name for Colombus Cromor; Matrix became Cromo when Trek asserted their right to the Matrix name.)

GARA: Road set especially suited for amateur and touring cyclists who demand stout,lightweight racing frames. Cr Mo Steel - Weight: 2300 g

AELLE: Set for amateur and touring cyclists, built of cold-drawn, microalloyed-steel thin-wall tubing which makes it especially lightweight.CMn Steel - Weight: 2345

MAX OR: Set exclusively designed for the toughest off-road races. The oversized oriented elliptical cross-sections have thicknessesof as little as 0.5-0.6 mm, thanks to the exceptional characteristics of the exclusive Nivacrom® steel.The oversized unicrown fork blades are cold-rolled for greater elastic strength and resilience.Nivacrom® Steel - Weight: 2180 g

NIVA OR: Tube set for off-road competitions and high-performance riding.It combines the excellent performance of Nivacrom' steel with the traditional diameters.Nivacrom Steel - Weight: 2220 g

NIVA OR OVERSIZE: Set built of oversized, round-section tubing for maximum off-road performance. The butted tubes are in the exclusiveNivacrom® steel, which has made it possible to increase diameter while reducing thickness, and hence weight.These features, and in particular the oversized tube cross-sections, ensure excellent rigidityand good handling over rugged terrain, making this set idea for competitions.Nivacrom Steel - Weight: 2000 g

CROMOR OR: Set for off-road experts who want to take on any terrain, regardless of difficulty,enjoying the maximum safety and dependability of an indestructible vehicle.The cold-drawn, chrome-moly tubing has butted ends.The butted unicrown fork blades have increased thickness in the weld areas.CrMo Steel • Weight: 2495 g

CROMOR OR OVERSIZE: Chrome-moly set specially designed for the most demanding mountain-bike enthusiasts.Oversized tube diameters give the frame excellent rigidity and stability,offering both pro and amateur cyclists a good measure of safety coupledwith the characteristic lightness of Columbus butted tubing.CrMo Steel - Weight: 2580 g

GARA OR: In addition to the advantages offered by the GARA set, different diametersand thicknesses in the three tubes of the triangle make this MTB set highlyshock-absorbing and resistant to stresses on rough terrain.CrMo Steel – Weight: 2740 g

PL for pursuit or record races tubeset weight 1845 g

PS for sprint and 6-day races tubeset weight 2435 g

1 comment:

  1. hello...haveread your page...are those weights for frame plus fork?