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Can you ID this bike?
#1
Hello all!

I just pulled a trigger on a used bike from my local classifieds. It was reasonably priced, for what it seems, and from a reputable seller so I bought it without inspecting.

The seller can't identify the brand since decals are either missing or too scratched away so I'm trying to get as much information about the bike through community help.

This is what I know about the bike:
  • clearly visible Columbus Thron decal on a frame
  • Shimano Deore LX groupset
  • Mavic wheelset with Schwalbe Marathon Plus 650b × 47 mm tires
  • Race Face handlebar
  • Hollowtech bottom bracket
  • dynamo hub

Can you ID the bike or tell something more about it?

The frame seems partially (?) lugged with ample tire clearance and fairly modern components. This is weird since my local used market is usually either old cottered ten-speeders, old Peugeots, run-down supermarket bikes and such or high-end modern bikes currently en vogue. None have lugged construction with ample tire clearance. Surly bikes or Rivendells or Velo Oranges are absolutely unheard of in my area. Besides, this was waaay cheaper than something like that.

Pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/IUJmCwy

Thanks!
  Reply
#2
(04-27-2021, 05:42 AM)ermallion Wrote:  Hello all!

I just pulled a trigger on a used bike from my local classifieds. It was reasonably priced, for what it seems, and from a reputable seller so I bought it without inspecting.

The seller can't identify the brand since decals are either missing or too scratched away so I'm trying to get as much information about the bike through community help.

This is what I know about the bike:
  • clearly visible Columbus Thron decal on a frame
  • Shimano Deore LX groupset
  • Mavic wheelset with Schwalbe Marathon Plus 650b × 47 mm tires
  • Race Face handlebar
  • Hollowtech bottom bracket
  • dynamo hub

Can you ID the bike or tell something more about it?

The frame seems partially (?) lugged with ample tire clearance and fairly modern components. This is weird since my local used market is usually either old cottered ten-speeders, old Peugeots, run-down supermarket bikes and such or high-end modern bikes currently en vogue. None have lugged construction with ample tire clearance. Surly bikes or Rivendells or Velo Oranges are absolutely unheard of in my area. Besides, this was waaay cheaper than something like that.

Pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/IUJmCwy

Thanks!

The "Thron" tubing was entry-mid level CroMo; maybe replaced Columbus "Cromor" tubing. If the decal is correct it is a '90s frame, who knows what parts are original. I'll try to find out more.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#3
(04-29-2021, 03:55 AM)Jesper Wrote:  The Thron tubing was entry level CroMo; maybe replaced Columbus From or tubing. If the decal is correct it is a '90s frame, who knows what parts are original. I'll try to find out more.

I just got the bike delivered to me, I'll inspect it and post some additional pictures when I come home from work.

What do you mean by 'maybe replaced Columbus From or tubing'?
  Reply
#4
(04-29-2021, 06:54 AM)ermallion Wrote:  
(04-29-2021, 03:55 AM)Jesper Wrote:  The Thron tubing was entry level CroMo; maybe replaced Columbus From or tubing. If the decal is correct it is a '90s frame, who knows what parts are original. I'll try to find out more.

I just got the bike delivered to me, I'll inspect it and post some additional pictures when I come home from work.

What do you mean by 'maybe replaced Columbus From or tubing'?

"Cromor" got "autocorrected" to "From or". I think Columbus ceased making (at least by name) the Cromor tubing variant and then came out with Thron which I believe has similar characteristics and is a Chrome Moly steel alloy. Just another tubing name in their line-up; nothing wrong with it, but I don't think I have a frame using it since most of my rides are before its advent or are higher end frames using a different Columbus tubing so I can't give you any idea as to the ride/feel of a frame made with Cromor or Thron. I have heard nothing particularly bad about Cromor, but it is a little heavier than their other products, except probably Zeta and Aelle which are earlier and heavier tubesets. Thron might also indicate a specific tubeset that either incorporated the entire frame (and fork?) or just the main tubes (Tretubi); I don't know.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#5
I got the bike delivered yesterday and had a few short ride. So, here's my take on it so far.

  • unknown frameset: there's a badly scratched decal that I can't decipher. There's also a Columbus Thron decal there and tubing actually feels like chromoly. It's much more 'road-absorbent' than my Kona Rove aluminum frame and it feels similar in weight. Feels much more stiff and bottom heavy while riding, and it's a weird feeling I'll need to get accustomed to. The frame is badly scratched but only superficial rust. Same thing on the inside, as far as I could see. Lugged construction and 'retro' geometry but it has internal rear brake cable. Never seen an old frame that has internal routing.
  • wheelset: Schwalbe Marathon Plus 650b, 47 mm tires in a pretty good shape. They're great! Very silent and it surprised me how little rolling resistance they have for such big tires. Mavic rims. Schmidts Original Nabendynamo K179 front dynamo hub which seems great. Shimano Deore LX rear hub with a 9-speed cassette.
  • cockpit: WTB SunTour Grease Guard headset which I have no idea about. This is a threaded headset converted to threadless, right? If it is, I think I'll go back to a much higher quill stem because I'm rather hunched and my weight rests on my hands too much while riding. Flat Race Face handlebars and Veloplus grips. Grips are a bit flaky and have no cushioning and I don't dig flat handlebars.
  • Cionlli saddle and unknown seatpost. Saddle seems sturdy and serviceable. Interesting looking seat clamp.
  • Pletscher Athlete System rear rack, sturdy as hell! It has some weird loops which seem like they're there for a reason. I'll need to read up a bit on their website, see what's up with that. Unknown stainless steel fenders, the nicest I ever owned. B+M Lumotec front light which is a revelation after years of questionable and small battery-powered lights. Unknown rear light bit it works like intended.
  • Shimano Deore LX groupset, 3×9 gearing and XTR v-brakes which are cool as hell and work better or on par with any disc brake I tried out. Brake levers have some markings and a switch which I don't know how to operate and what it does. Hollowtech bottom bracket.

All in all, I think I got a pretty good deal and I'll definitely try to restore this bike to it's former glory. The main problem is the cockpit since it's too low for me and I don't like flat bars.

Pictures here: https://imgur.com/a/i7eCGiz

Any thoughts on that signature/decal on the frame? Any insight on components? Also, what's up with that rack connection to the frame? Is that how it's supposed to be?
  Reply
#6
(04-30-2021, 03:53 AM)ermallion Wrote:  Any thoughts on that signature/decal on the frame? Any insight on components? Also, what's up with that rack connection to the frame? Is that how it's supposed to be?

The rack mounting seems fine except it does not appear to be level; might be able to adjust. Overall, a decent frame and components; granted it's entry level stuff, but not the cheapest frame or lowest groupset. There should be date codes on the components (derailleurs, cranks, brakes, etc.) that should help you date the bike better (I believe they are original) to within a year of manufacture. I don't know when Shimano started/stopped using "Deore LX" (might be "SLX" now), I think that groupset you have is mid to late '90s as is the bike. Internal cable routing has been around for decades. I have seen a 50s bike with internal cable routing; most race frame builders started to regularly use internal routing in the 80s and later as a standard or premium feature.

That signature/script decal may be the model and/or the builder/designer/brand (but probably not the actual frame builder). I would assume it to be a bike shop budget-medium priced mtb made in Taiwan or there about as a general guess.

Might be wise to replace brake and shifter cables; cheap and easy fix. Check everything for tightness and proper adjustment.

Enjoy!!
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#7
@ermallion, here is someone's description of the Thron and Cromor tubesets (not from Columbus themselves so it may not be completely accurate):

Thron: Mid-90’s saw the introduction of Thron. Thron is still popular, and is the immediate predecessor to Brain. It’s just regular Cyclex, the standard Columbus steel for a couple of decades, but has shorter butts, is a little manipulated, and has an OS version. CroMo, butted down to 0.5mm.

Cromor: Late 90s. Columbus Matrix was the first name for Columbus Cromor; Matrix became Cromor when Trek asserted their right to the Matrix name.
Cold-drawn, chrome-moly butted tubing, this set is for the more demanding riders who favour versatile, high-performance light frames, but can also be used for larger frames. Cr Mo Steel – Weight: 2190 g

Cyclex steel is Columbus' CroMo seamless steel tubing in what ever manner they decided to shape, rib or butt. It is what their higher end "SL" and "SLX" tubing ('70s-'80s) was made from that was generally double butted and/or ribbed.

If it has "OR" on the decal it is an off-road variant designed for mountain bikes and the like; "OS" on the decal indicates oversized tubing.

Okay, if that information is correct than "Thron" was around before "Cromor"; I thought it was the other way around because I could have sworn I have seen a late 80s frame with the "Cromor" decal so who knows.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply


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