Frame builder Tiziano Zullo, of Castelnuovo del Garda, Verona, is producing a limited, numbered, edition of twenty "MaxSilenus" lugged frames made with Columbus MAX. I am waiting to receive pricing info.
The MAX was a tubeset was introduced in 1987 and designed for special racing bikes. Made from exclusive Nivacrom® steel it had exceptional strength characteristics.The top, seat, and downtube are ovalized so that the major axes are directly opposed to the highest active and passive stresses. The chainstays are massive, 36mm tall and 18.5mm wide with a .6mm wall. The concept of oriented ellipses and differentiated sections was applied to all the tubes in the 11 piece tubeset. A MAX tubeset weighed 1900g and a full lugset could add another 340g.
The use of the specially shaped tubes required special lugs (unless a frame was built using the TIG method, and these types of Columbus MAX frames exist as well). In recent years the lack of these special lugs has been the barrier to building MAX frames.
The best known Columbus MAX bikes, and sought by collectors, are the Eddy Merckx "MX Leader" frames. These fall into two basic categories, the originals and the anniversary (which came with threadless steel forks rather than threaded forks).
As one framebuilder said of a properly assembled MAX lug frame, "Consider it the last bike you should ever have to purchase even if it's not the last one you'll want."
See http://www.zullo-bike.com/ for contact information.
Photos: Zullo MaxSilenus
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