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  1. #1
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    Columbus Tenax Tubing?

    Anybody know the details on Columbus Tenax tubing, the type that was used in the Schwinn Tempo circa ~1986?

    Thanks!

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    Quote Originally Posted by fbagatelleblack
    Anybody know the details on Columbus Tenax tubing, the type that was used in the Schwinn Tempo circa ~1986?

    Thanks!
    It was a fairly heavy straight gauge if I remember right. A buddy of mine had a Tempo and I was underwhelmed with the frame for the most part. A decent bike for thrashing about, but nothing special really.

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  4. #4
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    I like those Tempo's

    Quote Originally Posted by fbagatelleblack
    Anybody know the details on Columbus Tenax tubing, the type that was used in the Schwinn Tempo circa ~1986?

    Thanks!

    I have had 8 of them that I buy, repaint, ride a while and sell. I usually can buy the frame/fork for $35 - $50, they all needed repainting/powdercoating. I build them as fixies and think they are way under-rated.

    Straight tubing but nice lugs and OK weight, 6.5lbs frame fork and hs. But they ride great.
    Not in the mood?! Mood's a thing for cattle and love play... not fighting.

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    Tenaz = SL with cosmetic blemishes?

    Quote Originally Posted by racerx
    I have had 8 of them that I buy, repaint, ride a while and sell. I usually can buy the frame/fork for $35 - $50, they all needed repainting/powdercoating. I build them as fixies and think they are way under-rated.

    Straight tubing but nice lugs and OK weight, 6.5lbs frame fork and hs. But they ride great.
    Other groups have suggested that Columbus had problems with their initial run of Tenax tubing, so they just used SL tubing with costmetic blemishes for the first year. Can anybody confirm or deny that rumor?

  6. #6
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    My understanding is that Tenax was entirely rolled, seamed, and welded straight gauge CrMo steel tubing. A step down from Cromor in the Columbus line in the mid 80s.

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    ive got an 86' prelude. frame is pretty fun, definitely under 6 pounds. with it specced as is (ultegra 10spd and some stuff, check profile for more specifics) its under 20lbs. its double butted, as is your frame.

    this link will take you to the catalogue your bike is in
    http://www.trfindley.com/flschwinn_1...986Ltwt30.html

    i like the frame. it can be a bit flexy when climbing, but so can my legs

  8. #8
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    The Tempo is a hi end Schwinn. I have an 88 Prelude, and it is a step or two below the Tempo. From what I understand Tenax is cosmetically blemished SL or SP, that was sold to schwinn, and called Tenax.

    My Prelude frame ways less then 5lbs, and has a great ride. The catalog scans says chrome moly double butted tubes, and chrome moly stays. Far from straight guage seemed pipe. No where near in fact. I think it is a very nice underrated frame. I would actually like to have a Tempo too.

  9. #9
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    I know this is an old thread, but had some relevent information. I have a 25" Schwinn Prelude that is made out of Tenax that weighs 2460 grams (about 5.4 lbs.)

  10. #10
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    Tenax is drawn tubing, usually SL or SP, depending on size of the frame, labeled Tenax for Schwinn. I agree that these are undervalued frames and often a bargan on e-bay.

  11. #11
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    Like raymonda says, Tenax is the production grade of professional SL and SP tubing. It's double-butted drawn seamless tubing with the same wall thickness and butt profiles as SL and SP.

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  12. #12
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpuffe
    My understanding is that Tenax was entirely rolled, seamed, and welded straight gauge CrMo steel tubing. A step down from Cromor in the Columbus line in the mid 80s.
    My brother and I both bought Tempos new in 1989. When I took the BB out you could see the tubing had a seam. I can't say for sure about being straight gauge. For some reason I thought there was a sticker saying it was butted. I may be wrong.
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  13. #13
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    I have a 85 Schwinn LeTour Luxe with Tenax and it has double butted main tubes, says so on the Tenax tube sticker. This particular frame I cannot see the seam, can't speak for others. I did know of a guy who had a Tempo and a Prelude, both were made of Tenax and both labels stated they were double butted main tubes.

    I'm not sure where this straight gauge nonsense came from. Anyway here is the catalog in regards to my LeTour Luxe frame to verify what I said, you may have zoom in to read it: http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1985...1985Ltwt31.JPG

    These touring bikes are great riding frames, I have a 07 Mercian built with Reynolds 753, while the Mercian is lighter by about 3 pounds the 85 Schwinn seems to ride a tad better. There could be variables like tires and wheels that could be messing with the results, but on really long rides I really like the Schwinn and it's my go to bike for touring.

  14. #14
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    I have an 89 Tempo and it is one of my favorite rides. I modernized the components to Sora 7 speed with a carbon fiber fork and dual pivot brakes. I also use a modern 130mm rear wheel with a spacer for the 7speed cassette. The tubing is definitely double butted. The ride is fantastic, stiff yet comfortable the carbon fork lightened it by about a pound. It is one of the smoothest and quietest riding bikes I have ever ridden.

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    I owned an 88 Schwinn Premis. I've been down this road. The Tenax frames were SL/SP tubes with cosmetic blemish sold specifically to Schwinn for the US domestic market. Many confused the labeling to think these were triple butted tubes. The labeling meant that the three main tubes were butted tubes. The stays were 4130 chrome moly. I bought this bike new for $600 with shimano 105 and mavic wheels. This was one sweet ride and was the second best bike Schwinn made at that time only trailing the Paramount. At this same time I was racing and I had a Cannondale 3.0 with Shimano 600 (now ultegra). I bought the Premise as a training bike. I liked it so much that rebuilt the Cannondale for time trialing and used the Premise for racing. I was so impressed with the Premise that I bought a Paramount. I then made a huge mistake and gave the Premise to a cousin who used it as a beater bike and never comprehended the value of this bike though he loved riding it. I kept the Cannondale. To this day I wish I had given him the Cannondale.

    The problem with any of these old Tenax Schwin's is that the rear spacing is 126 mm and that makes them difficult to upgrade but if you want an inexpensive top notch frame to convert into a fixed gear or a touring bike at a great price you cannot go wrong with one of these.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mottleydude View Post
    I owned an 88 Schwinn Premis. I've been down this road. The Tenax frames were SL/SP tubes with cosmetic blemish sold specifically to Schwinn for the US domestic market. Many confused the labeling to think these were triple butted tubes. The labeling meant that the three main tubes were butted tubes. The stays were 4130 chrome moly. I bought this bike new for $600 with shimano 105 and mavic wheels. This was one sweet ride and was the second best bike Schwinn made at that time only trailing the Paramount. At this same time I was racing and I had a Cannondale 3.0 with Shimano 600 (now ultegra). I bought the Premise as a training bike. I liked it so much that rebuilt the Cannondale for time trialing and used the Premise for racing. I was so impressed with the Premise that I bought a Paramount. I then made a huge mistake and gave the Premise to a cousin who used it as a beater bike and never comprehended the value of this bike though he loved riding it. I kept the Cannondale. To this day I wish I had given him the Cannondale.

    The problem with any of these old Tenax Schwin's is that the rear spacing is 126 mm and that makes them difficult to upgrade but if you want an inexpensive top notch frame to convert into a fixed gear or a touring bike at a great price you cannot go wrong with one of these.
    Take a gander at this Schwinn spec page out of their Catalog if you haven't already: http://bikecatalogs.org/SCHWINN/1988...LL/1988_16.jpg Also notice the order of the bikes, because Premis, while a very nice bike was not number 2.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    Take a gander at this Schwinn spec page out of their Catalog if you haven't already: Also notice the order of the bikes, because Premis, while a very nice bike was not number 2.
    I stand corrected though I have to point out to you that in 88 their was a discrepency with the product literature as the 88 Premis I bought had the exact same frame construction and parts/components mix as listed for the Tempo. Be that as it may, The Avion was a Cannondale knock off and I can personally attest that the Circuit/Tempo/Premis were better bikes that were more durable and had superior ride quality and handling characteristics even if they did weigh a pound or two more. As point of evidence. My cousin still has the Premis I gave him and still uses it to tool around his farm. It still has the original components and wheels the only thing that's been changed has been the tires and brake pads. The Cannondale long ago was tossed into the recycle bin.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mottleydude View Post
    I stand corrected though I have to point out to you that in 88 their was a discrepency with the product literature as the 88 Premis I bought had the exact same frame construction and parts/components mix as listed for the Tempo. Be that as it may, The Avion was a Cannondale knock off and I can personally attest that the Circuit/Tempo/Premis were better bikes that were more durable and had superior ride quality and handling characteristics even if they did weigh a pound or two more. As point of evidence. My cousin still has the Premis I gave him and still uses it to tool around his farm. It still has the original components and wheels the only thing that's been changed has been the tires and brake pads. The Cannondale long ago was tossed into the recycle bin.
    There were many brands that made higher end models that were higher end only due to the weight issue. Trek had the 760 in 84 that was their top end bike and the frame was the 531c, but when I test rode one (at the time I lived in California and participating in Cat 3 races) I could get the BB to flex enough that the big chain ring would rub on both sides of the derailleur in an all sprint up a grade. So I past and tried the 660 which was 531cs, and that one I couldn't get BB to that. Even the LBS where I ended up getting the 660 agreed the 760 though lighter flexed too much and he felt the frame wouldn't last. But I ended up getting the 660 frame and fork and then had the entire Suntour Superbe group put on. I still ride that bike today; the only problem I had with the components in over 150,000 miles was the front derailleur band snapped and I had to put on a back up Superbe front I purchased at the time I got the bike. I bought a set of front and rear derailleurs and pedals because I felt those would break first, so I still have the rear derailleur, but the pedals I put on a 88 Fuji Club because I didn't like the original pedals.

    So even though my 660 frame weighs about 1/2 pound more then the 760, the 660 is a better frame.

    Some companies didn't do it the way Schwinn and Trek and others did though, Miyata's top of the line Team (which I own an 87) were indeed a bit better the next model below, but by 87 their triple butted splined tubing and filtered down to their mid level bikes. I think that splined tubeset was the best tubeset ever made by anyone...but that is just an opinion.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by froze View Post
    Some companies didn't do it the way Schwinn and Trek and others did though, Miyata's top of the line Team (which I own an 87) were indeed a bit better the next model below, but by 87 their triple butted splined tubing and filtered down to their mid level bikes. I think that splined tubeset was the best tubeset ever made by anyone...but that is just an opinion.
    Oh you are spot on right there. The Japanese steel frames of late 80's and early 90's were probably the best made steel production bikes in the world, at that time. The combination of JIT manufacturing, superior quality control and their philosophy of focusing R&D on their top end products and allowing it to filter down to the lower levels was (and still is) a superior business model.

    I remember when I bought my series 7 Japanamount I thought the price was to good to be true and I bought into the bike snobs who haughtily discredited it as a "pretendamount". Then I talked to a guy who used to build frames at Huffy's old Celina plant. This guy had mentored Ben Serrota and was a top notch torch guy himself. When I asked him if it was true what the bike snobs were saying about the series 7 Paramounts that they were second rate and was the price to good to be true?

    He told me that the bike snobs were idiots. These bikes were made by Panasonic who were making some, in not the best, production bikes in the world with top notch Tange Prestige OS tubing. When I told him the price he told me to jump on it and ignore the bike snobs that they didn't know what they were talking about that these were superb bikes/frames and were superior in quality to most Italian steel bikes of that time and to go ahead and let the snobs look down their noses as I'd be riding a superior bike at a fraction of a price they paid.

    I heeded his advice and bought that series 7 paramount and it turned out to be the best bike I ever bought. Does it have the aesthetic or snob appeal of a Waterford Paramount ? No, ( I don't know why, it's a beautiful bike that still looks cherry after 19 years and I constantly get complemented on it) but in terms of quality and performance, it's just as good. Anyone who say's other wise just simply doesn't know squat about engineering or manufacturing.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mottleydude View Post
    Oh you are spot on right there. The Japanese steel frames of late 80's and early 90's were probably the best made steel production bikes in the world, at that time. The combination of JIT manufacturing, superior quality control and their philosophy of focusing R&D on their top end products and allowing it to filter down to the lower levels was (and still is) a superior business model.

    I remember when I bought my series 7 Japanamount I thought the price was to good to be true and I bought into the bike snobs who haughtily discredited it as a "pretendamount". Then I talked to a guy who used to build frames at Huffy's old Celina plant. This guy had mentored Ben Serrota and was a top notch torch guy himself. When I asked him if it was true what the bike snobs were saying about the series 7 Paramounts that they were second rate and was the price to good to be true?

    He told me that the bike snobs were idiots. These bikes were made by Panasonic who were making some, in not the best, production bikes in the world with top notch Tange Prestige OS tubing. When I told him the price he told me to jump on it and ignore the bike snobs that they didn't know what they were talking about that these were superb bikes/frames and were superior in quality to most Italian steel bikes of that time and to go ahead and let the snobs look down their noses as I'd be riding a superior bike at a fraction of a price they paid.

    I heeded his advice and bought that series 7 paramount and it turned out to be the best bike I ever bought. Does it have the aesthetic or snob appeal of a Waterford Paramount ? No, ( I don't know why, it's a beautiful bike that still looks cherry after 19 years and I constantly get complemented on it) but in terms of quality and performance, it's just as good. Anyone who say's other wise just simply doesn't know squat about engineering or manufacturing.
    Exactly. When I use to race in the mid 70's to mid 80's the bike "snobs" would bad talk my bikes because they weren't Italian frames and components! There were a few of us "from the other side of the tracks rebels" racing on Japaneses stuff though. I had a 76 Trek 900TX with top of the line Columbus tubing (I only owned it for a year then sold because I needed a nice car, it was a girl thing!) and that thing was a damn noodle! At the time I thought that's what bikes did...until I discovered Japanese steel that Trek had put on a 412 with Ishawata 022 (this was the bike I was snobbed on the most because it was cheap bike with a no name brand bike with Japanese tubing and Suntour components), but that frame was the stiffest frame I test rode for the price area I could afford at the time, and had a sport geometry! But my Trek 660 with the Reynolds 531cs tubeset is just a bit less stiff then the Miyata Team, but the Trek was a bit more comfortable on longer 75 plus mile rides so I rode that one the most, but mostly because I didn't buy the Miyata Team until 87 and within 2 or 3 months of getting it I got out of racing. I've now been riding the Team exclusively since semi retiring the Trek this last spring, and man that thing is great, you can feel the quality of the frame. But again on long rides I'll take one of the other bikes depending on what the ride entails.

  21. #21
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    I love my Tempo if I could just keep one bike it would be the one. Even with the low end modern stuff and the threaded 1 inch carbon/alloy fork it is stiff, comfortable and a joy to ride. I am glad I found it my aluminum bikes beat me to hell on long rides. CAAD9 and Fuji Team SL

  22. #22
    cs1
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    Quote Originally Posted by cpuffe View Post
    My understanding is that Tenax was entirely rolled, seamed, and welded straight gauge CrMo steel tubing. A step down from Cromor in the Columbus line in the mid 80s.
    Both my brother and I had 89 Preludes. When you take the BB out and look down the seat tube you can see it's welded. Yet the decal on it says butted. So maybe Columbus made rolled and butted tubes. All I know is the bikes were very nice. I sold mine, too small. My brother still has his and we're going to build it up this winter.
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    If I am not mistaken the Premis and the Prelude where essentially the same bike with the Premis having a slightly nicer component group and was made only in 1988, anyone know this to be true? There is a 57cm Premis on CL for $200, the pictures look great, think it is worth the $200? It has been listed for over a month, started at $285.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by davcruz View Post
    If I am not mistaken the Premis and the Prelude where essentially the same bike with the Premis having a slightly nicer component group and was made only in 1988, anyone know this to be true? There is a 57cm Premis on CL for $200, the pictures look great, think it is worth the $200? It has been listed for over a month, started at $285.
    Both bikes did in fact used the same tubeset like you said, just the components were changed to higher level components on the Premis. A lot of bicycle manufactures did this with their bikes and still do today. Cervelo has a roadI bike that uses the same exact frame on two different bikes and the high end one cost nearly $2,000 dollars more and only weighs 2 ounces less the the other lower price one! It's the R5 vs the R3.

    I think the Premis is worth $200 if it's mint to excellent condition and all original factory components. There is a one on E-bay trying to get $300.
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  25. #25
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    Here is the local Premis, Mens 57cm Schwinn Premis Roadbike Looks nicer than the eBay one and no shipping. I see that the brochure posted from 1988 says the Premis has a bit nicer fork than the Prelude also. Maybe I will go check out the local one and make an offer. I am really only interested in the frame as I would put 8/9 speed STI setup on the bike.

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