What kind of tubing is that?

Several times a year, I receive an email asking about a what kind of bicycle tubing is being used on a bike. The decal is not in any of the catalogs and the owner is stumped. The most recent of these inquiries was from Ravi and it was a very Columbus looking decal on a Grandis. The tubing was for OVER-MAX. Tubing catalogs contain ‘stock’ sets of tubing that are available to builders. Framebuilders can do things to modify handling by changing individual tubes. For instance, many builders used to replace the Columbus SL down tube and chain stays with SP if the rider was of a certain weight. This would allow something between a full SL frameset and a full SP frameset.
grandis overmax decalWhen a manufacturer is large enough, they can go to a tubing supplier and ‘spec’ a custom tube set. In some cases, this will be to make something seem better than what is really is; like the Schwinn Premis of the 80’s with it’s Tenax tubing. This was a not very special chrome-moly that was most likely seamed. Probably similar to Aelle. Schwinn used the decal make the bike more ‘special’. At the the other end of the spectrum, you have folks like Ritchey, designing a tubing pretty much from scratch and working with the tubing manufacturer to produce a high end product like "Logic". In the case of this Grandis, it appears that they worked with Columbus to spec a tubing based on MAX, but has properties that Grandis felt could only come about with a custom product. The thing about these ‘custom’ tube sets, is that unless you have the specs from the manufacturer, there is no way to tell exactly what the butting is like. Apart from a hacksaw check.

About Bobby Sapovits

The creator of the Bicycle Info Project. Dedicated to scanning hundreds of old bicycle catalogs for restoration work, research, and general bike curiosity.
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