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I have always had a crappy steel bike (Columbus SLX) to ride through the winter months. It costs me around EUR 200 to put together, so I decided a while back that if I could build another winter bike on the same budget, I would allow myself to get a new winter bike. On Monday I came across a second hand vintage steel bike online with a frame that looked very familiar. I asked the seller if he could send me some bigger pictures of the bike and it was indeed built with Columbus MAX tubing . Except for the forks and the top tube that is. According to the seller the frame was built by Ridley in the days they just built frames for LBS'. I made him an offer of EUR 200 and he accepted it. I picked up the bike yesterday near Brussels and took it for a quick spin today. The difference with my SLX frame is really noticeable. The frame is much stiffer, especially near the BB. The top tube is a little bit on the short side for me, but you can't be picky if you can get a bike at this price.
I plan to sell off the parts that are currently on the bike (Shimano 600) and build it up with an even cheaper Shimano 105 7-spd groupset with down tube shifters. With the money I will save, I plan to get the frame resprayed in a single color. The chrome is pretty rusty, so I hope that won't be an issue. I am thinking of going for light blue or green. The guy who is going to do the paint job is on a vacation for the next couple of weeks, so I have some time to think about it.
Here is a picture of the bike. You can find more pictures on my blog
IMHO the traditional in me says that reproduction Max tubes are not genuine Columbus Max.
However in technical terms reproduction tubes has the same Max tubing dimension, and are still being made by Columbus albeit no longer in Italy. Hence it should be regarded as a genuine Max.
On a side note, most people would regard Merckx MX Leader as a Columbus Max bike, but in actual fact it is not a true Max since the toptube and seat stays were made differently to suit Merckx's custom requirement.
Here's my MX Leader
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I did manage to locate a custom builder in Italy who has some remaining original Max tubes a couple of months ago. Looking into a custom made geometry with short wheel base. Frameset will be fillet braze (for weight reduction) using all Max tubes, Max fork blades, fork crown in chrome.
Anyway, as for your build please share with us some pics once completed
A couple of weeks after purchasing the Columbus MAX bike I stumbled across a pretty rare Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra bike on eBay built with Columbus MAX tubing. I placed the winning bid and picked it up somewhere near Liège, Belgium. The silly thing was that, although I had always thought that a true Columbus MAX frame would be my dream frame, seeing it in real life made me realize it was not what I wanted. The oversized and ovalized top tube and seat stays just seemed a bit out of place; way to bulky. Now I know why Merckx started using a different top tube and seat stays on his MX-leader frames.
So again I needed a new frame. For a couple of weeks I thought a (lo-pro) time trial bike would be cool, just to give the discipline a new try during the winter months. This resulted in the purchase of a Litespeed Blade bike, which didn't look as cool in real life as I had hoped either, and in the purchase of 2 pairs of Spinergy REV-X wheels (700c and 650c), for use on a steel lo-pro frame I came across on eBay. In the end I didn't place a bid on the lo-pro frame (just didn't seem practical/comfortable), so I sold off the 650c Spinergy wheels and I also parted out the Litespeed.
On cycling discipline that has always intrigued me is cyclocross. After Googling for steel CX frames, I decided I was going to build myself a steel CX bike. Finding one was a different story though. Frames like the Surly Cross Check can be had pretty cheap, but are generally quite heavy and not very special. There just don't seem to be too many vintage CX bikes around, aside from a couple built with low end Columbus Cromor.
Luckily my patience has been rewarded, because last week I was finally able to buy a true vintage high end CX bike for a great price: a Belgian Diamant. The bike was built for a professional rider, but he retired almost immediately after receiving the bike. Hence, the bike looked almost like new. Frame tubing is Ishiwata EX 4130 triple butted steel.
The new plan is to remove the paint from the frame with paint stripper and to do a bare metal finish, possibly with gun blue. The bike was built up with Shimano 600 7-speed parts, combined with an XT rear derailleur and LX brakes. I will be keeping most of these parts on the bike, aside from the cranks and the wheels. The cranks will be replaced by a compact FSA crankset (for the time being) and for the wheels I plan on going with the 700c Spinergy REV-X's.
Here are a couple of pictures of the bike and the frame. Frame weight (with paint) is just 2080 grams . The fork weighs in at 840 grams .
As far as I know Colnago only built steel CX bike for professional cyclists. This frame seems to be based on the Colnago Super. The bike features a beautifully drilled and pantographed Campagnolo Nuovo Record parts group, a custom drilled 3TTT stem, Mafac brakes, Mavic Monthlery rims and a Selle Royal saddle. Aside from the saddle, the whole bike in great condition. Given its age (the rear derailleur is stamped 'patent 76') I would say that is pretty unique.
I plan to keep the bike as original as possible. Unfortunately the seatpost is too short for me, so I will be keeping my eyes open for a longer one. The saddle and pedals will also be replaced. Currently the bike is equipped with Challenge Grifo XS tubulars. I am going to give the tubulars a try, but I will probably lace in some clincher rims.
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