Monday, July 25, 2011

Columbus Max road frame

I've never owned a road bike. I'm not whining, I don't particularly like road biking... I love the esthetics of road bikes though, especially the curvaceous latest generation of carbon fiber frames. They look elegant and fast just standing. So I decided to build one somewhat in the style.
Luckily, back in 1987, Columbus released a tube set called Max, designed for bigger, stronger riders (not me by any means). To cope with the stresses of these more powerful guys, the tubes were beefed up compared to the norm and feature oval sections aligned with the principal forces. The top and down tubes have a vertical oval around the head tube and then transitions to a round profile in the middle and to a horizontal oval at the other end.
They look really good but are a nightmare to cut to size since they don't fit in the cylindrical tube holders we have!
This is one of the reasons for the lack of pictures lately, I've been filling steel like a possessed man, so much my thumbs hurt sometime. And the build is complicated by nature, as it will/should feature a bi-laminate for the head lugs and fillet brazing for the other joints and seatstays that kind of blend in the top tube line... Should...

It's far from being finished but here are some pics of progress so far:

The top 3 tubes are Max, the other ones not. The short taper chainstays were swapped for a longer taper version.

Top tube and head lugs in their original form. They are meant to fit a 1" steerer tube but, to make things easy, I want a larger 1"1/8, more fitting with the large tubes. 1"1/8 wasn't the standard at the time these came out.

And that's were the fun starts.

And done! Amazing what can be done in 4 days with a needle file!

Chopped down and made to fit a 1"1/8 head tube.
Doing this changed the shape of the lugs themselves were the tubes slide in them. The fit is not quite tight anymore. I have no idea at this point if this will come out as planned and might just have been a huge waist of time... We'll see...

Seat tube to bottom bracket shell. A bit more filling needed to fit around the sockets

Brass tinned joint, nice and clean:

So much for now. Off to the workshop!

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