An Overview of Columbus Steel Tubes

An Overview of Columbus Steel Tubes

Columbus S.R.L is the biggest and most famous steel tubing manufacturer in Italy, known worldwide for their extremely light and well manufactured products (read more about the history of Columbus on our website).

Almost all classic bicycle frames made in Italy and southern Europe between the 1970s and 1990s were made of Columbus steel tubing. Throughout this period, Columbus developed a series of the world's finest steel bicycle tubing; below you can find a comprehensive list of the most popular Columbus tubes used by the finest bicycle manufacturers of this era.

Columbus SL was used by a majority of the Italian bike industry during the late 1970s and early 1980s. It is a high-quality double-butted tube set made of Cyclex Cromo Steel.

Columbus SLX was released in the early 1980s as the pinnacle of Columbus tubing, made of Cyclex Cromo Steel. In order to make it stiffer and better suited to a variety of terrain, it used a helicoidal reinforcement to the bottom bracket, butted downtube sections and lighter chain stays.

Columbus TSX, released in 1986, was made of Cyclex Cromo Steel and is lighter than the SLX model. All the main tubes used internal helicoidal reinforcements. Ideally, TSX was made for long-distance races over mixed terrain.

Columbus MAX, released in the late 1980s, was lightened by avoiding the internal helicoidal reinforcements of other Columbus tubing and used Nivacrom Steel. The main tubes had an elliptical section at their end; the top-tube and downtube are oversized.

Columbus EL is popular for its lightness, which was achieved using reduced tubing thickness. This double-butted tube set was made from Nivacrom Steel. Usually, frame builders used this tubing for time trial, climbing and triathlon bicycles.

Columbus Genius, made of Nivacrom steel and launched in 1991, was designed to optimise climbing and descending. It has larger diameter tubing and thinner walls (as little as 0.4 mm in the central section).

Columbus Cromor was designed in the 1990s and used butted tubing for high-performance, compact, light frames. It was manufactured using Cyclex Cromo Steel.

Columbus Nemo was released in 1996 in collaboration with Nivacrom Steel. Famous for its “zona butting concept”, the length and proportions of Nemo tubing were designed in order to make it stiff and robust.

At Steel Vintage Bikes, we have seen many Columbus-tubed bicycles at our workshop. Here are some of our best examples:

Eddy Merckx Vintage Bicycle De Rosa Vintage Bicycle Pinarello Vintage Bicycle