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Columbus Combines Technical Innovation with Italian Style

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Many dealers may think of Columbus as the iconic frame tube set and fork manufacturer from the steel frame era.

This is certainly true, but it’s only part of their story.

Today Australian dealers can buy cutting edge technology Columbus carbon forks for road, track adventure and gravel bikes with adjustable for offset using specially designed inserts.

Better still, for over 20 years, exclusive Australian importer of Columbus, Paul Hillbrick has ensured that Columbus forks represent great value for dealers.

Hillbrick Bicycles are very conscious of their wholesale pricing and are keen to keep the Australian bicycle dealers competitive against the international mail-order companies.

Columbus Tubesets
Columbus make a tube set for every type of rider and bike.

“We want to keep Australian retailers in the game,” Paul explained. “We want to make sure that the business remains in Australia.”

Thanks to this winning combination of product and pricing, Columbus have a big share of the high performance carbon fork after-market across all styles of road, gravel and cyclocross bikes.

Steel is Still Real!

The lightest weight frame tubing may have progressed through steel, to aluminium to carbon, but steel is making a comeback for certain customers.

Columbus has new offerings to meet the demands of the re-emerging steel market.

New innovations include Niobium content tubes, stronger tube shapes and thinner wall thicknesses to get the tubing as light as possible.

In recent years Columbus have introduced XCR stainless steel tubing. Frame builders can use parts of the XCR tube set in combination with a regular Columbus steel tube set. For example, use XCR for the right chain stay to save getting it chromed. (Otherwise chain slap can quickly damage a regular painted right chainstay).

Columbus also makes a range of tapered head tubes to suit the latest design trends.

Columbus Manufacturing in Italy
Columbus products are still handmade in northern Italy.

2019 was Columbus’ centenary year which they celebrated by releasing the Cento tube set (pronounced ‘chen-tow’)

“They’re just about to manufacture the last production run of the Cento 100th anniversary tube sets,” Paul revealed. “I’m making sure that we keep some extras, because I see the Cento tube set like a good bottle of red that you buy and you put away, like a Grange Hermitage because it will only become more rare over time.”

“The retro bike market has had a big resurgence in recent years,” Paul reflected. “I think a lot of people who used to race in the steel tube era, now that their kids have grown up and left home, they can finally afford to get that perfect hand made steel bike that they always wanted.

“It’s the appreciation of the past design of bikes. Now there’s swap meets with show and shines with all these retro bikes.”

100 Years of Columbus Bike Exhibition
This special exhibition celebrated 100 years of Columbus by displaying some of the most famous Columbus tubed bikes of the past century.

Remarkably, there have only been two generations of owners in over a century of Columbus history: founder Angelo Colombo from 1919 to 1977 and his son Antonio Colombo from 1977 until today.

“Antonio Columbo has recently staged a bike display in his Milan art gallery of famous bikes that have used his tube sets.

“He has a strong artistic side. Italians are often renowned for the design and appearance of their products. Columbus established themselves as being able to make anything from tubular steel – from art deco furniture and on to bicycles. Everything has got that flair about it.”

For more information about Columbus forks, tube sets and other frame building products, please contact Hillbrick Bicycles at sales@hillbrick.com.au or call (02) 4648 4002.

Australian legend Phil Anderson’s 1988 time trial bike was made from Columbus Max steel tubing. Phil was riding with TVM during this era.

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