1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
rmurphy195
Posts: 1978
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Location: South Birmingham

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby rmurphy195 » 6 Feb 2020, 7:53pm

If I remember rightly, the horizon at some time had a mix of 531 and another alloy on different parts of the frame, one for the main triangle, the other for the rear triangle and forks, but not sure which.
Brompton, Condor Heritage, creaky joints and thinning white (formerly grey) hair
""You know you're getting old when it's easier to ride a bike than to get on and off it" - quote from observant jogger !

RJS
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Location: Torbay

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby RJS » 6 Feb 2020, 10:10pm

Hi Murph195,
first I owned a Sterling, I think it was '96 500 tubes I thought it rode fine, then I bent it :oops: :( next had a 2000? Horizon made in Czechoslovakia, 531 main frame Cro-moly rear triangle, fat seat stays, it was awful :shock:; son had a '98 Galaxy 531 with pencil stays, I believe the last ones made in the UK, I later owned it, it rode really well.
Cheers, Rob.

peetee
Posts: 2782
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby peetee » 7 Feb 2020, 9:20am

It’s easy to see these Reynolds tubes as a fixed set of eleven pipes and decal bound tightly together that travels from the manufacturer to bike building company to craftsman to frame set. In reality things can be different.
I had reason to question the authenticity of one 531c frame that was built for me by a company in the West Midlands. I was told that, although the tubes were printed with specification info by Reynolds, they were stored in the build room according to their frame position so different types and gauges of chain stay would be stored together. The builders were aware what constituted a ‘set’ but mistakes could be made.
Perhaps even more alarming is what was related to me back in the 80’s by a south coast builder of very highly regarded frames. 653 had just been introduced and Reynolds was keen to see 531 Pro superseded. He was told to use 531 tubes in a 653 build until his stock ran out.
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

pwa
Posts: 13676
Joined: 2 Oct 2011, 8:55pm

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby pwa » 7 Feb 2020, 9:30am

I had a 531 ST frameset made by a small outfit in the late 1980s and, frankly, it was quite heavy and with full camping gear it managed to be too flexy. I didn't like it much. So the 531 thing doesn't impress me. I'd be just as happy with 501.

hamster
Posts: 3722
Joined: 2 Feb 2007, 12:42pm

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby hamster » 7 Feb 2020, 9:37am

Dawes also seem to have swapped tubesets round. I used to own two identical Dawes tandems, one had a 531 transfer, the other 501.

I'm with PWA: does it do the job you want it to, and do it well?
If so, enjoy and forget it. My well-loved and well-travelled tourer uses a very ordinary butted tange low-end MTB frame. I've ridden it for 30 years and it's perfect for my purposes.

rmurphy195
Posts: 1978
Joined: 20 May 2011, 11:23am
Location: South Birmingham

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby rmurphy195 » 10 Feb 2020, 7:25pm

RJS wrote:Hi Murph195,
first I owned a Sterling, I think it was '96 500 tubes I thought it rode fine, then I bent it :oops: :( next had a 2000? Horizon made in Czechoslovakia, 531 main frame Cro-moly rear triangle, fat seat stays, it was awful :shock:; son had a '98 Galaxy 531 with pencil stays, I believe the last ones made in the UK, I later owned it, it rode really well.
Cheers, Rob.


I had a pencil-stayed galaxy, c1990. Carried my son's christmas present home on it - a set of barbell weights. You could feel the frame flexing! You could also see the tips of the front forks flexing slightly soaking up the road shocks.

Still have the frame, sadly now banana-shaped after an argument with a Transit, hanging up in the garage.
Brompton, Condor Heritage, creaky joints and thinning white (formerly grey) hair
""You know you're getting old when it's easier to ride a bike than to get on and off it" - quote from observant jogger !

Cobdenrd
Posts: 1
Joined: 1 Jan 2021, 8:25am

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby Cobdenrd » 1 Jan 2021, 8:43am

horizon wrote:531man: yes, I do have the 1996 brochure (with your Equinox in it). Do you want some specific information or just a scan of the brochure (it's 36 pages) or your page?

AFAIK the 96 brochure is widely available and comes up on ebay every so often. And AFAIK the Veteran Cycle Club have old Dawes brochures.

I'am new to the forum but i just brought a Dawes Giro Competition from the mid to late 90's and it would be cool to see the brochure you mentioned. Would it be possible to get a scan of the catalogue you have from 96 or just the section where the model is mentioned

Brucey
Posts: 42232
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby Brucey » 1 Jan 2021, 9:56am

peetee wrote:Perhaps even more alarming is what was related to me back in the 80’s by a south coast builder of very highly regarded frames. 653 had just been introduced and Reynolds was keen to see 531 Pro superseded. He was told to use 531 tubes in a 653 build until his stock ran out.


alarming? there's not very much difference between the gauges and post-braze strengths of 531pro vs 653 and the steel chemistry is the same. Arguably 653 is more a rebranding of 531pro than it is a whole new improved tubeset.

Other comments on ride quality loaded and unloaded reflect the different expectations people have regarding bikes like the Dawes galaxy. Some value the ride quality unladen, others value the ride quality when the bike is laden. There is no one frame design which will keep both camps entirely happy.

In a lot of steel frames with steel forks the perceived compliance of the fork comes (almost equally) from three sources; deflection in the fork blades, deflection in the steerer, and deflection in the down tube and top tube. 'Old' 531 DB tubesets (before they were rebranded 531C etc) used a much higher quality seamless butted steerer tube than was used in later tubesets. In later tubesets you can see they have used a (thicker, softer) seam-welded steerer tube. It is still butted but it is a bit crap by comparison with the previous incarnation, and lacks noticeable resilience unless it is quite long and then it is prone to bending . There are also differences in ride quality with fork blades and tube gauges in the main frame.

The bottom line is that for unladen riding the feel of an old 531DB frameset (or a later one built in the better tubesets) can be beautifully subtle. But the more the design is skewed towards load-lugging the worse it gets, unladen. The polar opposite being a touring bike frame (meant for a load) with oversized frame tubes, 1-1/8" steel fork meant for disc brakes. If you ever get the chance to ride both back to back you might be surprised; the latter might only be comfortable with thin-walled 35-38mm tyres fitted, whereas a similar ride quality at the front may be achieved with 25 or 28mm tyres on the lighter-built frame. Obviously if you fit a light-built frame with the wider tyres it can be a real 'magic carpet' ride.

If you mostly ride with a load on, a heavy-built frame is probably a better choice. However if you tour with a load on for a couple of weeks a year, it may be a better choice to go for a light-built frame; after all you have to put up with its ride quality, unladen, for the other 350 days a year. Between the quality of racks, loading strategy and expectations (eg about riding in a clumsy fashion) you can usually learn to live with an appreciable load even on a fairly light-built frame.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

peetee
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Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm
Location: Cornwall

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby peetee » 1 Jan 2021, 10:49am

Brucey, I agree with your observations about differing ride qualities. To clarify, by ‘alarming’ I was mainly making reference to the dishonesty of it. 653 was still quite new and buyers were taken in by the marketing which very much suggested it was a poor mans 753 which made for an appealing product as 753 was far more expensive than 531 when built into a frame. So 653 appeared to most potential customers as an upgrade over 531 and was priced accordingly. Reynolds must have known this, the choice of number and badge colour was easy to confuse with 753 when viewed from the left where the number 7 could be obscured by the tube curvature. It’s hard to dismiss entirely the idea that Reynolds were being a bit devious and underhand in the promotion of their product.
Your comments about the use of seamed tubes are interesting. In 1989 I ordered a 531c training frame from Bromwich Cycles. It was very nicely built but I found the ride quality lacking (I had a 531pro frame at the time and even with racing geometry the ride quality was superb and 30 years and many and various steel frames later it remains the nicest-riding frame I have ever owned). On inspection of the steerer of the Bromwich frame I could see it was seamed. At the time all the promotional literature I could fine about 531c claimed it was a set of 11 seamless tubes. I rejected the frame outright and to their credit Bromwich replaced it free of charge. Their explanation for the error was that they used various grades of tubing and these were organised by profile rather than specification and Reynolds’ identification was small and hard to read in the variable lighting in a workshop so mistakes were occasionally made. Entirely believable but I now wonder if that was the around the start of substitutions such as you have described and such practice wasn’t common knowledge as far as the customers were concerned.
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

Brucey
Posts: 42232
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby Brucey » 1 Jan 2021, 11:22am

by 1989 the seamed steerers had been a standard feature in most 531 tubesets for some years. Ironically Reynolds had been busy selling off their massive inventory of older tubes and tubesets a few years earlier which meant that 531 forks appeared (often unbadged and unheralded) on some bikes which were not listed as such. For example I have an early 1980s Falcon road frame (which came with 105 golden arrow gearset parts on it) and it was badged to have 531 main tubes only. I thought the fork felt nicer than that and sure enough when I repainted the bike I could just make out the 'Reynolds Butted Tube' stamp marks on the fork blades and the steerer, which was the older (better) sort. So I don't think the stays are anything special but the whole thing rides nicely and only weighs a couple of ounces more than some '531 throughout' framesets I have owned.

FWIW a well made and silver brazed 653 (or 531pro) frame was for a while the thinking man's choice for a light and cost-effective road frame; the post-braze strengths are not far short of 753 and the weight/ride quality is very similar.

Come to that 531pro tubeset was pretty much a con too; in the days of the slopey 531 DB transfer, if you bought an off-the peg frame (Raleigh, say) it would have a standard tubeset in it, but if you went to a good builder they would choose the tube gauges to fit you and your chosen use. The result would be that you could have two frames that looked the same, and had the same stickers on, but one would be built like the later 531pro tubeset and the other would be more like the later 531C tubeset.

In any event the stickers on framesets mean less than you might at first suppose. One of the nicest frames I have owned came with a 531ST sticker on it, (because that is all the framebuilder had at the time) but had actually been built with a mixture of rather thin-gauge 531 and 653 tubes, all nicely silver-brazed. It is not at all heavy and remains one of my all-time favourite frames to ride.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

jimlews
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Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby jimlews » 1 Jan 2021, 11:35am

A plain gauge seat tube is quite often used on a small size frameset.
Reynolds used to make the thinner centre section of the tube to a standard dimension, such that with a small size frame, the seat tube would have had to be trimmed below the thicker butted ends, thus weakening the frame.
To avoid this, a plain gauge seat tube would have been substituted.

Jamesh
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Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby Jamesh » 1 Jan 2021, 12:32pm

Brucey what's the difference between 531 pro and 531c

My 501 is different in ride to my 531c. But still very much adequate for a winter / audax bike.

Perhaps like groupsets you really need a couple of levels of spec above to notice the real difference.

Cheers James

peetee
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Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby peetee » 1 Jan 2021, 2:30pm

As far as material specification goes all 531 tubes are the same. Pro and c vary only in the gauges of the tubes. Pro is thinner in some sections and identical in others to c. Built into a large frame Pro makes for a very comfortable lively frame but a powerful rider could find it whippy and inefficient to ride.
I used my 531 pro road frame for hill climbs. I was under 10 stones back then and didn’t produce much power but I have a photo of me standing on the pedals going ‘eyeballs out’ on a 12% hill and the head and seat tubes are clearly not parallel.
At the same time a friend had a 501 Peugeot. That rode beautifully - better in fact than my 531 Holdsworth hack bike with virtually identical geometry.
Reynolds decided to create these tube sets based on intended use but their suitability or not were as much a factor of the style and potential of the rider. As Brucey says, the best 531 frames were not made from a tube set at all but individually picked by the builder to suite the requirements of the rider. I did this myself in 1989 when I had my mountain bike frame made. The builder gave my a typed sheet from Reynolds listing all the 531 tubes available and, knowing the stresses each tube would be subjected to, I chose the gauges that would build into the right frame for me and the job. It rode quite differently to the standard 531ATB set of the time. I still ride it and 32 years of abuse later I still can’t fault it.
Winter had arrived in the land of Kernow. Along with it came wet roads and cool winds.
“Oh, my wheels and coupling rods!” Peetee exclaimed.

Brucey
Posts: 42232
Joined: 4 Jan 2012, 6:25pm

Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby Brucey » 1 Jan 2021, 2:53pm

jimlews wrote:A plain gauge seat tube is quite often used on a small size frameset.
Reynolds used to make the thinner centre section of the tube to a standard dimension, such that with a small size frame, the seat tube would have had to be trimmed below the thicker butted ends, thus weakening the frame.
To avoid this, a plain gauge seat tube would have been substituted.


traditionally, in a lightweight tubeset, seat tubes are single butted, and can be trimmed to any length in a lugged and brazed frame.

Tubesets which are designed for welding are a different kettle of fish though; they can be externally butted at the top, for example.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Brucey
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Re: 1990s Dawes Horizon/Galaxy- Reynolds 531 or 501?

Postby Brucey » 1 Jan 2021, 3:05pm

Jamesh wrote:Brucey what's the difference between 531 pro and 531c


different gauge tubes, 531pro is almost as light as 753 in most of the tubes.

My 501 is different in ride to my 531c. But still very much adequate for a winter / audax bike.


many 501 frames were not built with a complete tubeset, just the three main tubes. Check yours to see what the badge actually means.

501 is CrMo and 531 is MnMo steel, which means that the post-braze strength profiles are different. In theory this shouldn't make the frame feel different when you ride it, but tube gauges definitely will.

Note also that even with the same tubeset and the same geometry you can get a different ride, depending on how the butted tubes are trimmed. This can affect top tube, down tube (these tubes are double butted but the butts don't have to end up symmetric in the trimmed tube, which can be used e.g. to make the front of the frame more or less flexible) and any single-butted tube, including steerer, fork blades, and seat tube, where the tube stiffness can be varied depending on the trim position.

Golf club shafts are effectively single-butted and by varying the trim positions you can often make the same shaft (which is supplied over-length so that it can be trimmed at both ends, much like single butted bicycle frame tubes) floppy enough for a slow swinger or stiff enough to suit the strongest swing.

cheers
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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Brucey~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~