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Not Italian - Columbus Gilco Frame !?!?!

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 5:35 pm
by guidogad
Here's a real puzzle. I've picked up a frame w/o decals or engravings to reveal the maker. And It's a weird one.
By the parts I'd date it to 94/95.
It has an investment cast MFI BB shell with "Columbus" engraved, Columbus dropouts front and rear, and Gilco tubes. My first idea was that I'd eventually found something Italian. These indented tubes where used on the Colnago Master Light and also on a bike from Rossin. However, my frame has no markings and an English thread BB - which means it's most definitly not Italian.
Does anyone know any maker who might have used this distinctive tubing? I guess what happend was that a small frame builder/ boutique built that bike here in Australia. It has a short serial number on a rear dropout that reads "TI14".
Any guesses welcome!
P.S.: Approaching picture posting worthiness...

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 7:34 pm
by stevendavid75
interesting indeed, I have no idea but look forward to finding out what it might be???

Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2008 8:43 pm
by ggundersen
Some italian frames do have BSA threads.

Many italian companies used formed steel tubes in the old days. How do you know they are Gilco?

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:36 am
by guidogad

The thread and the lack of engravings/ signage makes Italian most unlikely. These bikes are usually marked all over the place...
Regarding the Gilco tubing. Well, it says Columbus an the BB shell and the dropouts, it looks exactly like it, and it's the stated weight. My kitchen scale puts it to 1900g-1950g depending on it's mood. The catalogue weight is 1930g. So I'm rather sure it's Gilco.
And the old days haven't been to old in this case - as I said by the components I'd date it to 94/95.

It did have two more Italian things on it when I picked it up, though. Campa rims and Cinelli handlebar tape and caps.

This tubing was originally exclusive for Colnago, later it was for sale to anybody who'd want to buy it. Rossin made a bike from it and I think also Tomassini. Other than that I don't know any brand that used it.

Any help would be highly appreciated. This is a special bike - it deserves a history :cry:


Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 2:32 pm
by ggundersen
Still why Gilco?

Gilco is a company that designs things for cars and has done some bikes as well.
Yes Colnago, Cinelli and Tommasini have used Gilco designed tubes.
But which tubes are shaped on your bike and what are the shapes?

Columbus lugs and fork ends are readily available to anybody.

Like I said many companies used to shape their tubes inhouse.
I have for ex had a Conti (Ciöcc outside of Italy) with spiral formed tubes. I have had a Daccordi with square tubes. And have seen Olmo frames with star shaped tubes. None of these were Gilco.

In the old days a lot of "cheaper" frames were made in spain with either english or french BB, depending on were they would be sold ( or who ordered them)((have seen Italian Viner frames with french threads))

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 5:03 pm
by guidogad
Yes, ggundersen, there is no real proof of it beeing Gilco and this assumption might in fact have distracted from finding the ID.

All the main tubes have 5 flutes - I guess that might be called star shaped?

I've been discussing this in another forum where I'm able to post pics.You might want to have a look. Thanks a lot.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:11 pm
by ggundersen
A set of Gilco MS tubes comprise of 11 different shaped tubes - that means no 2 tubes are the same shape

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:20 pm
by ggundersen
If you can put pictures on another forum then I would guess that you could also be able to put them here.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 7:39 pm
by stryker84
ggundersen wrote:If you can put pictures on another forum then I would guess that you could also be able to put them here.

Not so. You've reached the min posts (10), but still are too new (under a week). If you want, PM me the URLs, I could chuck'm up for ya.

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 8:51 pm
by stryker84
And here's guigogad's bike. Hold on to your screens, there's plenty of pics!


Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:05 pm
by ggundersen
from those pics it is defernately not Gilco MS tubes

I am thinking maybe a french bike (Gitane and Motobecane used Columbus tubes and english BB)
defernately european
have seen bikes with that type of BB
Moser and Merckx for ex

If Columbus tubes then should be a columbus logo on fork (have to remove it from frame first)

Se if any spirals inside frame at BB

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:36 pm
by guidogad
Thanks for all the help. Wow, you are very knowledgable.
There is no trace of Columbus on the fork - just the dropouts.
The tubes are empty inside as far as I can see :roll: (all of the seat tube and a little bit of the downtube).
What tubing could it be?

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 10:29 pm
by ggundersen
Good question

The fork looks french

The filed off brake cable entrances look french/belgian/german/dutch?

Maybe they are columbus sl tubes. These were often used for shaped tubes. If it is columbus sl and you strip the paint there should be a visible columbus logo on the tubes. Otherwise sl tubes often had a seat post size of 27.2
sl down and seat tubes are 28.6 mm and top tube is 25.4 mm

The frame is made for modern Ergo power gears (the braze ons on the head tube)

Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2008 11:55 pm
by guidogad
The seat tube takes a 27.0 mm seat post.

In case it is Columbus: Will a Columbus loga be visible after sandblasting, too? Or should I strip a tube before the frame gets blasted just to see?

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 8:58 pm
by ggundersen
Should be visible near ends of the 3 main tubes (but one can never tell with sandblasting)

Can remember some Daccordi frames made of Oria tubes that were shaped like yours. I think they were ML 34 tubes But that is many years ago, and the fork design still worries me.

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:41 pm
by Mulger bill
Are those McGyvered cable guides on the BB shell a worry?

Just wondering...


Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:54 pm
by ggundersen
I'd find another solution than those.

What ever it will be a nice frame to ride.
The BB shell was designed to move the BB backwards to give a shorter rear triangle. To increase the speed if I remember correctly.

Posted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 10:02 pm
by ggundersen
drill some holes for ex:


just a thought

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:28 pm
by guidogad
Those holes look good.
When I look at my shell it seems to ask for that kind of treatment.

Here is another thought I've had. What do you think?
The serial number TI14 could account for an annual production level of 1200 frames if the two letters are a date code for year and month.
When I look at the Shimano codes "T" means 1995. That would be right on. Coincidence?

Too much of a strech? What do you think?

Posted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:32 pm
by ggundersen
I have no idea of what you are talking about.

How do you get 1200 frames?

I certainly don't think Shimano has anything to do with it.

Those shaped tubes were a thing of the late 1980's. The Ergopower cable guides on the frame suggest from after 1993 (Campagnolo Ergopower surfaced in 1992).

So your guess of 1995 is possible.
So my guess is a Columbus SL frame and a Aero fork from France or middle Europa as most Italian frames have the frame size stamped under the BB.

Thats about as close as we can get.