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No-name early 1980's Italian custom frame w/Columbus Zeta pantographing

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No-name early 1980's Italian custom frame w/Columbus Zeta pantographing

Old 07-21-19, 07:40 PM
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No-name early 1980's Italian custom frame w/Columbus Zeta pantographing

I was offered this one today, and both the owner and myself are deferring to the forum for valuation. The owner says it was imported in '81/82 into the US, as part of a lot of similar frames sold in the LBS he was working at.

This frame carries no builder's name or brand - the anachronistic Andante repaint is obviously from much later - but it's really odd in one respect: Instead of being engraved/pantographed/forged with the builder's name, this thing is awash in the name of the tubeset it was built with - Zeta. Even the fork crown has the Columbus logo in it. It adds up with the '81/82 date, before the tubeset was renamed to Aelle. (EDIT: Thanks for the clarification, T-Mar).

I know Zeta is seamed carbon steel tubing and is at the low end of the Columbus pecking order (basically just a step up from hi-ten), but I'm not really interested in the frame (it's also too small for me) as much as I'd like to re-purpose the group on my '78 Raleigh Pro Mk.V, and then move the NR from the Pro to one of the '75 Mk.IV framesets in waiting. And there's no guarantee that it's Zeta; if this was from a small framebuilder, it's not out of the question that the cast bits could have been pulled out of the parts bin and the frame built with better tubing (seatpost diameter should be a giveaway to that).

No idea if the original wheels are around; it presently runs mid-V rims with Shimano 105 hubs and a Uniglide rear freehub (this one is the model capable of being converted to HG though) and cassette on it. Nuovo hubs or period rims don't factor in here for my particular needs.

Curious what the forum has to say.





-Kurt
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Old 07-22-19, 06:39 AM
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I never understood why Columbus put their logo on framebullding parts. Same with Cinelli. Seems like a good way to get named in a lawsuit. Of course, that issue might not really be in their radar
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Old 07-22-19, 06:59 AM
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BMZ built frame? I would investigate the frame to check further such as spirals in the steerer to indicated SL, seat post size, etc.

As far as value, tough one. Parts are worth more than frame I would think. My guess is if seller put that bike up on CL for $150 or $200 it would sit for a long time, but we all know you could easily spend twice that accumulating the Super Record parts. If trying to work out a fair deal for both of you, and depending on quality of the wheelset, and assuming frame is low end, I think somewhere between $200 and $300 works.

BTW, I like the flat bar conversion and that frame can live well going forward in that format with a cheaper, functional, group. I just built up a similar bike for my wife using a Ross frame and parts bin Alivio bits that she loves. If you get the bike and don’t like Flite saddles, drop me a line!
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Old 07-22-19, 07:54 AM
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I tend to value these at the most expensive parts: say crankset, seat post, and derailleurs. The rest is profit for the trouble of dismantling, cover fees and any negative surprises.

Now IF it is your size and you want to ride it/keep it, I'd value higher. Say add up ALL of the Campy parts. So that might be a range from $250 to a top of $400.

Can't tell for sure, but looks like crankset is missing dust caps. That cuts into the value a bit.

If I was buying from a friend? $400. When buying from a friend, I tend to pay the top. If I was buying from someone I didn't know, and to make a return (profit), in my local soft market, $200. But perhaps your market is stronger. Bought something almost identical build wise earlier this year for $150. I am basically putting the frame value at zero.

Last edited by wrk101; 07-22-19 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 07-22-19, 08:18 AM
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Zeta and Aelle are two entirly different tubesets. The seat post diameter will go a long way to increasing your confidence in the tubeset. Typically, Zeta frames are spec'd with 26.6mm seat posts. Zeta debuted for the 1981 model year. The presence of a Portacatena dropout would corroborate circa 1981-1983. That doesn't look like a standard lug cutout but specifically a 'v', which may relate to the builder. The frame looks nice but if it is Zeta then I don't think it adds a lot of value. Maybe $50 over what you consider to be the value of the components.

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Old 07-22-19, 01:34 PM
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What is the standard seat post size for Aelle?
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Old 07-22-19, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
I never understood why Columbus put their logo on framebullding parts. Same with Cinelli. Seems like a good way to get named in a lawsuit. Of course, that issue might not really be in their radar
I'm just surprised they made the effort to advertise an el-cheapo tubeset like this. SL or SLX would make sense, but Zeta?

Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
BMZ built frame? I would investigate the frame to check further such as spirals in the steerer to indicated SL, seat post size, etc.

As far as value, tough one. Parts are worth more than frame I would think. My guess is if seller put that bike up on CL for $150 or $200 it would sit for a long time, but we all know you could easily spend twice that accumulating the Super Record parts. If trying to work out a fair deal for both of you, and depending on quality of the wheelset, and assuming frame is low end, I think somewhere between $200 and $300 works.

BTW, I like the flat bar conversion and that frame can live well going forward in that format with a cheaper, functional, group. I just built up a similar bike for my wife using a Ross frame and parts bin Alivio bits that she loves. If you get the bike and donít like Flite saddles, drop me a line!
Who knows? Can always go over to check sometime, but if those decals are under the clearcoat (and they appear to be), it really doesn't make me that excited about the frame.

Don't you think $300 is a bit on the high side without the hubs? Perhaps I'm doing the frameset and the wheels an injustice, but locally, I couldn't get a very similar Romani frameset w/SL (27.2 post) to sell for $100, and I know those wheels won't do more than $60 on the local C-list.

Originally Posted by wrk101 View Post
I tend to value these at the most expensive parts: say crankset, seat post, and derailleurs. The rest is profit for the trouble of dismantling, cover fees and any negative surprises.

Now IF it is your size and you want to ride it/keep it, I'd value higher. Say add up ALL of the Campy parts. So that might be a range from $250 to a top of $400.

Can't tell for sure, but looks like crankset is missing dust caps. That cuts into the value a bit.

If I was buying from a friend? $400. When buying from a friend, I tend to pay the top. If I was buying from someone I didn't know, and to make a return (profit), in my local soft market, $200. But perhaps your market is stronger. Bought something almost identical build wise earlier this year for $150.
Makes sense, which puts me out of the running.

Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
Zeta and Aelle are two entirly different tubesets. The seat post diameter will go a long way to increasing your confidence in the tubeset. Typically, Zeta frames are spec'd with 26.6mm seat posts. Zeta debuted for the 1981 model year. The presence of a Portacatena dropout would corroborate circa 1981-1983. That doesn't look like a standard lug cutout but specifically a 'v', which may relate to the builder. The frame looks nice but if it is Zeta then I don't think it adds a lot of value. Maybe $50 over what you consider to be the value of the components.
Do tell; most of the threads suggest Zeta was renamed to Aelle later in the 1980's. I'm not quite convinced that the lug cutout means much of anything though; that looks like a standard V-shaped cutout adjusted for length to fit a short point lug.

-Kurt
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Old 07-22-19, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
...Do tell; most of the threads suggest Zeta was renamed to Aelle later in the 1980's....
You've got to stop believing everything you read on the internet and stick to reliable sources. The differences between Aelle and Zeta are fact.

Aelle was introduced for the 1978 model and used a carbon-manganese alloy steel. The plain gauge main tubes were 0.8mm thick and tubeset weight was 2345g

Zeta was a lower level set introduced for 1981 model year and used a carbon steel The plain gauge main tubes were 0.9mm thick and tubeset weight was 2440g.

Basically, Zeta was a very lightweight hi-tensile steel, while Aelle was a more exotic alloy with a higher tensile strength and therefore drawn to slightly thinner/lighter gauges for the main tubes and stays. Both sets used the same gauge for head tube, steering column and fork blades. Here's a scan of the relevant portion from the German version of the 1981 model year Columbus catalogue, showing the differences between Aelle and Zeta, and that they existed concurrently.
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Old 07-22-19, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by delbiker1 View Post
What is the standard seat post size for Aelle?
The typical seat post size for an imperial Aelle seat tube is 26.8mm

Seat tube outer diameter - 2 x tubing wall thickness - 2 x tube to post clearance = post diameter.

28.6mm - 2 x 0.8mm -2 x 0.1mm = 26.8mm
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Old 07-22-19, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by T-Mar View Post
You've got to stop believing everything you read on the internet and stick to reliable sources. The differences between Aelle and Zeta are fact.

Aelle was introduced for the 1978 model and used a carbon-manganese alloy steel. The plain gauge main tubes were 0.8mm thick and tubeset weight was 2345g

Zeta was a lower level set introduced for 1981 model year and used a carbon steel The plain gauge main tubes were 0.9mm thick and tubeset weight was 2440g.

Basically, Zeta was a very lightweight hi-tensile steel, while Aelle was a more exotic alloy with a higher tensile strength and therefore drawn to slightly thinner/lighter gauges for the main tubes and stays. Both sets used the same gauge for head tube, steering column and fork blades. Here's a scan of the relevant portion from the German version of the 1981 model year Columbus catalogue, showing the differences between Aelle and Zeta, and that they existed concurrently.
Some of the sources were credible BF members, but our collective sources may not have been as good 10 years ago - at least, those are the types of BF threads Google was giving me.

Thanks for the clarification, T-Mar. I've ridden a few Aelle frames and never thought bad about them - they'd always performed well (even one with front end damage) - and it didn't align with what I was reading about Zeta's status. We're basically talking about a sexy Italian equivalent of something approaching a '70s Raleigh Grand Prix boat anchor...with better lugwork.

Of course, that's probably splitting hairs, especially coming from someone who really likes the ride of a Paramount with a heavier, straight-gauge seatube, but it's not an unwise consideration in terms of cost...especially since it's almost exclusively the group that I'd prefer.

-Kurt
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Old 07-22-19, 07:01 PM
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FYI, we may have a plan: I get the Campy bits, and the rest goes to the local co-op where they'll build it back up. I may chip in some Suntour bits to help get it back together.

-Kurt
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