Re: [CR] Columbus Aelle tubing

(Example: Framebuilders:Norman Taylor)

From: "Peter Brueggeman" <>
To: <>
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2009 17:11:27 -0800
Subject: Re: [CR] Columbus Aelle tubing

Kevin Ruberg asks "Anyone have any experience ... with Aelle straight gauge tubing? ... I am wondering if it just a less expensive tubeset to produce an economy frame ... or are there distinct differences in say durability handling etc. ..."

Bicycle Guide ran a story by Alan Cote entitled "The Magnificent 7, the ultimate blind test?" using seven Mondonicos built the same (frame, paint, and parts) with seven different Columbus tubesets. The bikes were ridden, and the author concluded:

"... The bike I liked best, which I also thought was the stiffest, was ... the Neuron frame. The one I thought was the softest was ... the SLX frame. The one that seemed to absorb vibrations best was .... the Thron frame. I could perceive no real difference between ... Cromor ... Brain ... Aelle... and... EL-OS. ... To be honest, I couldn't feel a difference between an Aelle frame - with straight-gauge tubing and weighing in at 4 pounds 12 ounces - and an EL-OS frame - with double-butted, oversize thin-wall Nivacrom tubing and only 4 pouncs of heft. A conclusion which, if marketing literature is to be believed, doesn't make a whole lot of sense. If the numbers on the bikes were switched around and I were to test each bike again, my guess is that I'd come up with different tubing preferences. I think my ride impressions were essentially random. Does this mean you should pass on the expensive steel frame and buy a cheap one? I don't know. The Aelle frame does weight 3/4 pound more than the EL-OS frame, but the El-OS frame costs $815 more - close to three times as much as the Aelle frame. I'm reminded of something Richard Sachs - one of the finest custom framebuilders in the country - told me. Sachs said, "When someone is buying a bike from me, they're buying my design choices and my construction skills. I actually think material is the least consequential choice." What do these seven Mondonicos say about bike performance and testing? Perhaps more than anything, they illustrate that the personality of a bike is determined much more by fit, frame geometry and components than by what kind of tubing lies under the paint."

Peter Brueggeman
La Jolla California USA