Mention Colnago (not Colango as I’ve narrowly avoided) to anyone over the age of 17 and their reaction will usually be one of glazed eyes and a distinct lack of concentration on what you were about to say.
To say the company has cycling heritage wouldn’t be enough, this company is one of the founders of cycling as we know it today, it has provided the heritage we all talk about.
The frames and accessories Colnago produce are truly beautiful and have just recently been updated to keep them modern and a viable race-bike choice in this ‘ISP and tapered head tube’ world we live in.
To see what I’m on about, have a quick watch of this: Mr Ernesto Colnago himself talking through a few of the bikes in a museum.
A little history for you all:
It all started on the 9th of February 1932 when Ernesto was born in a village near Milan. He soon started riding bikes and his first bike was a 3rd hand bike he named ‘Perla’ – Perla went on to inspire one of the best frame builders the world has ever seen.
As a welding assistant Ernesto was gaining a good education in bike building and also racing, which it soon became apparent he was quite good at!
In 1951 he broke his leg in a crash and while spending lots of time off the bike started to build up wheels, this led to him becoming a mechanic on the Nivea Team in 1954 and them going on to win the Pink jersey in the Giro with Magni. He triumphed as a mechanic for over 10 years, working for the Italian National team for 10 world championships and his frames going on to support champions in all of the classic names.
The Giro D’Italia, Milan SanRemo, Roubaix and the Tours in between have all had wins and winners riding Colnago’s frames.
His early days with Eddy Merckx:
To F1 technology and collaborations with the Ferrari car company:
Just this year Colnago have released a monocoque frame – the M10 which is a mini revolution for them but with the cycling world and technology advancing so far this was a step that had to be taken.
One interesting note is the Colnago badge, the distinctive clover leaf wasn’t released until 1970 when his first Milan SanRemo win came. The badge stands for the spring flowers which bloom around Milan SR time and the fact that Ernesto wanted to be the ‘Ace of cycling’:
For 2010 Colnago frames are being ridden by the Bbox Bouygues Telecom team, French with a majority French rider list including William Bonnet, Anthony Charteau, Cyril Gautier and Tommy Voeckler.
And just for pure ‘what the…’ factor:
The Colnago M10 frame:
Colnago’s new monocoque frame takes the technical advances seen in the highly popular CX-1 to a higher level. The new lamination technology and materials used in the manufacture of the M10 make it lighter than the CX-1 and stiffer laterally thanks to a bigger bottom bracket, but with a little more vertical absorption to provide more comfort without in any way sacrificing performance.
With the C-HS1 tapered headtube and a new fork to accommodate it, the M10 is designed to be precise on descents and smoother through corners. The M10’s classic Colnago looks are complemented by internal brake cable routing for clean lines.
Good looking yes, that’s easy to see, but when you check the spec you see that it’s also a ‘proper’ race bike which while expensive, will definitely deliver on the road.
- Alfa carbon 100% monocoque construction.
- Frame weight 850g (manufactures weight).
- Internal cable routing.
- Colnago fully integrated headset system.
- New M10 full carbon fork.
All M10 models are available in a Shimano Di2 specific frame, on this model the cables are routed inside the frame and the battery is fitted at the bottom of the down tube by the bottom bracket shell. By doing this Colnago achieve a sleek, uncluttered look, built on a frame exclusively designed for the Dura-Ace Di2 groupset.
The C59 Colnago frame:
The absolute top-end Colnago is the C59 which is still lugged, the consensus of the office being that done right there’s no disadvantage or reason not to (and we’re not going to argue with Mr Colnago!)
Again the range of colours is amazing, you’ll definitely find one to match your team colours here.
Colnago’s new top-of-the-range, custom-made 100% carbon-fibre racing machine, the C59 Italia, was four years in development. Designed, built and painted in Italy and with a frame weighing about one kilo, the C59 Italia features a classic Master-shaped internally ribbed top tube and down tube to maximise stiffness, which is further increased by square chainstays and seatstays.
Colnago invented modern bicycle racing geometry and has refined it to perfection with handling that is unwaveringly accurate but stable at speed, so a long day in the mountains is a battle against the gradient and your rivals, not against a twitchy bicycle.
For the full size image click here – it’s well worth downloading.
- New Made in Italy model for 2011.
- Lugged Omega carbon construction.
- Classic Bi-conical tubes.
- I-beam vertical rib in down tube for increased stiffness.
- Internal cable routing.
- Colnago fully integrated headset system 1″ 1/8 – 1″1/4 tapered increasing the rigidity of the frame by over 20 percent for more precise handling. In a top-quality bicycle, everything turns on the headset. It must be smooth for accurate handling, and it must be durable for thousands upon thousands of hard kilometres.
Note the point about the internal rib, this is an internal piece which adds massive strength to the frame and helps it to resist the twisting forces when riding.
The Colnago Super:
For the first time available as frame only the Super, winner of a design award by iconic style magazine Wallpaper and described by Ernesto Colnago as “almost too beautiful for a city bicycle”, the Super is as he says, “the ultimate city bicycle” and can now be purchased from PBK.
Available in head-turning black livery, the Super sets the standard for simple urban bicycles by combining Colnago craftsmanship with street style. The classic lugged steel frame harks back to Colnago’s artisan heritage, while chrome plating highlights the handlebar stem and the head of the straight-bladed fork. Its performance on the road lives up to its spectacular looks and its sure handling and zippy acceleration deals with everything a city’s streets can throw at it.
- New frame only option for 2011.
- Double butted cro-mo frame with chrome head tube lugs and stainless steel drop outs.
- Classic “vintage” styling.
- Track frame drop outs.
- Drilled front and rear for caliper brakes.
- 1″ Thread-less straight bladed fork.
The paint work on Colnago frames is one of the attractions:
Ignore what anyone says about ‘you must build with this and that’, this is your Colnago and it deserves to be built up how you see fit. Campag, Shimano or SRAM will look great on any frame and it’s all completely up to you.
Once built you can go on and relish the ride quality, rarity of the brand and the heritage of a Colnago frame.
Click here to view our Colnago range, which as well as the frames above includes the dedicated Flight TT frame set, which is as fast as it looks:
Also accessories such as saddles, cages and bottles.
Every Colnago bicycle starts with the soul and creativity of Ernesto Colnago and the Colnago family. Since 1954 Colnago’s determination to perfect the competition bicycle has been legendary. Whether you race or simply love the thrill of riding, Colnago has a great Italian bicycle to take you further and faster.
If you build yours up let us see it, it would be a shame not to share!!