Steel tubes may all look the same, but there’s a world of dif­fer­ence be­neath the skin

Cyclist - - Columbus | Insider -

Colum­bus tubes have been rid­den to vic­tory in the Tour de France by such cy­cling leg­ends as Mer­ckx, Hin­ault, Coppi, An­quetil and Lemond

is Colum­bus’s flag­ship stain­less steel tube­set, which emerged in 2009 hav­ing ini­tially been de­vel­oped for mil­i­tary ap­pli­ca­tions. XCR is re­sis­tant to heat dam­age and cor­ro­sion while mak­ing sub-1,500g frame­sets eas­ily achiev­able.

is Colum­bus’s top non-stain­less steel, and sits within the Nio­bium fam­ily of tubes, which is named for the nio­bium ad­di­tive used in the al­loy. It’s drawn nu­mer­ous times and heav­ily butted.

uses the same nio­bium-in­fused al­loy as Spirit but has less lam­i­na­tion and cold draw­ing, mean­ing it isn’t as ag­gres­sively butted or as thor­oughly re­fined.

uses Colum­bus’s pro­pri­etary 25Crmo4, a slight mod­i­fi­ca­tion to the chro­moly al­loys of years past. It lacks some of the me­chan­i­cal won­ders of Nio­bium tube­sets but is eas­ier to work with, and as a re­sult is of­ten pre­ferred on tour­ing and off-road bikes.

is also made from 25Crmo4, but is welded at a seam rather than be­ing seam­less. It’s drawn and butted like the rest, but comes out heav­ier.

Above: Three of Colum­bus’s pol­ish­ing ma­chines, which are used to grind and pol­ish the tubes to of­fer an ex­tremely smooth ex­te­rior be­fore and af­ter draw­ing and lam­i­na­tion

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