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Colnago

The Most Successful Bikes In The World

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Ernesto Colnago got his start crafting bicycles at the tender age of 13 with a rigorous apprenticeship at Gloria Bicycles, the leading producer of Italian race bikes at the time. Here he rubbed elbows with other legendary builders Faliero Masi and Cino Cinelli while learning the trade of building professional quality bicycles. It is with the famous Molteni team that young Ernesto would become the frame builder for Eddy Merckx during his ascent to becoming the world’s most winning road racer.

As competition became more fierce there were many pro racers seeking the advantages of a stiffer frame, Colnago began experimented with a variety of tube profiles to increase the lateral stiffness of his frames without adding weight or compromising ride quality. Through this experimentation the iconic oversized, star-shaped tubing of the Master framesets was born and his never-ending pursuit of technological advancement began.

Today, Colnago is still at the forefront of craftsmanship and quality. With models like the Colnago C60 carrying the torch of the classic Colnago Master, to the race-ready Colnago V2-r Disc, the brand is thriving and doing better than ever. Its no wonder that Colnago is known as the Ferrari of bikes.

Colnago C60

It's Time to Meet Your Hero

There’s an adage that goes along the lines of “never meet your heroes”. The idea is that more often than not, one finds that those held in such high regard are found with unsuspected faults when put under the microscope. For the many who lust after the Colnago C60 road bike, we have good news: if this is your hero, do everything you can to meet the Colnago C60.

When someone draws up their dream road bike, more likely than not it would look something like this bike. The Colnago C60 is made of the stuff of dreams. The C60 is fully handmade in Italy, with great care – the same care that we’ve used over the last 60 years. The carbon frame is built with star-shaped lugs and tubes – an iconic design element that started with the Master, and is unique to Colnago’s flagship road framesets. While it makes sense to use carbon tubing all the way around, why would a company use something as seemingly antiquated as a lugged joint? According to Colnago, the C60 tubes and lugs provide greater stiffness and resistance to bending. Lugs also allow for a greater size range; instead of using an expensive carbon mold that limits most companies to a third the sizes of the C60, Colnago can offer custom sizing. And since Colnago has moved to a bigger bottom bracket shell designed to incorporate their own ThreadFit82 standard that uses replaceable screw-in alloy cups, the increased width of the bottom bracket adds to the overall rigidity of the frame. By making its cups internal but threaded, Colnago is able to protect the frame from long term harm.

Despite its beefy tubing, the Colnago C60 is designed to be comfortable to ride for long distances, with tapered chainstays and flattened seatstays. This gives it a bit of a spring to it’s step; while it helps with ride smoothness, the bike feels lively and responsive, almost reminiscent of a good steel bike. It’s similarly comfortable to a good steel road bike as well; mid-corner bumps that normally unsettle leven the best road bikes are put under control here. Stomp on the pedals, however, and the bike just moves.

The construction techniques used in the C60 offers a range of nine sloping top tube and five horizontal top tube sizes (fourteen in total), with custom sizing also an option. A disc brake frame option continues with the Colnago C60 Disc, and Colnago have managed to cut 140 grams from the frame compared to the previous Colnago C59 Disc frameset. A myriad of color schemes and limited edition colorways complete the wide range of customizability.

If the Colnago C60 is your personal hero, it is a hero that must be met to be truly understood. Without settling into typical cliche, the Colnago C60 is one of the most balanced road bikes on the market today, regardless of price. it’s ride quality is unparalleled, an uncompromising package that matches tit-for-tat the bike’s immense beauty.

Colnago Prestige

Winning Under All Conditions

The Colnago name might be synonymous with road racing, but the brand is surprisingly prolific in the cyclocross realm. Dating back to the mid 1980’s, Colnago is one of the most premium names in european cyclocross. Under the legs of Sven Nys, Niels Albert, and Wout Van Aert, the Colnago Prestige has become one of the most storied cyclocross bikes on the market.

Colnago might be late to the disc brake cyclocross bike party, but because Colnago focuses so much on racer needs, it made sense that a dedicated disc brake model wasn’t release until now. As such, the newest generation of the Colnago Prestige goes disc brake only, with flat mount brakes built into its newly-monocoque frame design. While the previous generation’s seat tube cluster was notoriously overbuilt, the new generation is svelte. The previous bike sported a shouldering arch support, a feature that defined Colnago. It’s deletion obviously cuts weight, but more than anything the bike is much smoother over typical cyclocross terrain.

The new Prestige wraps the seat stays to join along the toptube instead to allow a bit more flex at the seat cluster for more seatpost/seat tube movement. Colnago also switches to a round 27.2mm diameter seatpost that can further absorb road vibrations. Going with a monocoque frame design also allowed Colnago to optimize tubing profiles. While the the chain stays are large and rectangular in shape, they’ve been designed to emphasize ride quality. The results show on cyclocross courses. It maintains it’s traditionally Eurocentric geometry, keeping a relatively high bottom bracket, steep headtube and seat tube angles, all in the name of agility. To be sure, this isn’t intended to do double duty as a gravel or all road bike; it’s intended to be the fastest bike on the course.

Newly redesigned with input from young phenom Wout Van Aert, the Colnago Prestige (as well as the aluminum Colnago A1r CX) holds the torch as the quintessential Euro cyclocross bike, modernized to take advantage of the newest technologies. As more brands have catered their bikes to a more American and gravel grinding group (lower bottom brackets, clearance for wider tires, slack head tubes), Colnago sticks to what distinguishes them from the rest: World Championship success.

Colnago Road

C60, V2-r, Concept, Master

Colnago’s road racing legend started in 1968 with the Colnago Super, a Columbus SL/SP steel-tubed race road bike that first featured the now-infamous Colnago “Asso di Fiori”, or “Ace of Clubs”. This logo defined multiple Colnagos ridden by the likes of Eddy Merckx and Giuseppe Saronni, and it continues to define their road bikes today. From the ultra-aero Colnago Concept aero road bike to the classic Colnago Master, Colnago’s famous dedication to excellence in both performance as well as build quality is on full display.

When someone draws up their dream road bike, more likely than not it would look something like this bike. The Colnago C60 is made of the stuff of dreams. The C60 is fully handmade in Italy, with great care – the same care that we’ve used over the last 60 years. The carbon frame is built with star-shaped lugs and tubes – an iconic design element that started with the Master, and is unique to Colnago’s flagship road framesets. While it makes sense to use carbon tubing all the way around, why would a company use something as seemingly antiquated as a lugged joint? According to Colnago, the C60 tubes and lugs provide greater stiffness and resistance to bending. Lugs also allow for a greater size range; instead of using an expensive carbon mold that limits most companies to a third the sizes of the C60, Colnago can offer custom sizing. Despite its beefy tubing, the Colnago C60 is designed to be comfortable to ride for long distances, with tapered chainstays and flattened seatstays. It’s similarly comfortable to a good steel road bike as well; mid-corner bumps that normally unsettle leven the best road bikes are put under control here. Stomp on the pedals, however, and the bike just moves. It is also available in the Colnago C60 Disc.

The Colnago V2-r is an evolution of the outgoing Colnago V1-r road bike, which was developed in conjunction with Ferrari as an aero road bike with a svelte 835g frame weight. It retains the powerful direct mount brakes, but moves the rear brake to the seat stays, where it is more accessible. Aero gains have been made in the incorporation of the seatpost clamp, which is now built into the top tube, as well as refined tubing profiles that add gains everywhere. The geometry of the Colnago V2-r has also been tweaked, with a 4mm reduction in head tube length relative to the V1-R. The bottom bracket is 13% stiffer torsionally, and 4% stiffer at the headtube, yet another small tweak that makes a big difference on the road. These myriad of small changes (along with a new disc brake model called the Colnago V2-r Disc) make for a bike that is much improved over its predecessor – it feels fast, light, and confidence-inspiring on descents, just as a Colnago should.

In 1986 Colnago collaborated with Colnago to create one of the earliest carbon fiber road bikes. Called the Concept, it was a test bed of technology, and lessons learned did eventually find their way into their first production carbon fiber bike, the legendary C40. The new Colnago Concept approaches with the same mindset in bringing forth the very best technologies Colnago has to offer. The monocoque carbon frame went through 41 different design iterations and extensive wind tunnel testing, allowing the bike to save 20 watts of energy over the C60 at 50 km/h, with the Colnago Concept Disc frameset achieving similar numbers. The head tube has also received an hourglass shape, as well as a seat tube that tapers along the rear wheel, for again-upgraded aerodynamics. With capability for direct-mount rim brakes as well as flat mount disc brakes, the Colnago Concept isn’t just the fastest road bike in the model line, it’s also the company’s most advanced frameset yet.

Few bikes incite as much nostalgia as the Colnago Master road bike. The Master was the superbike of the 1980’s, and in the cycling world was as popular as the movie Rambo was to the rest of the world. It wasn’t without reason; the Master was deceptively light, even in the face of competition from aluminum and carbon fiber. It was surprisingly stiff too; as pro riders complained about lack of stiffness, Colnago worked with Italian tubing company Columbus to make a stiffer tube than the competition. The result was the star-shaped crimped tube profile that now defines the Master as we know it, as well as the modern carbon Colnago C60. The Master frameset features a whopping 17 sizes, traditional Italian frame geometry (ie long reach, low stack, steeper head and seat tube angles) the option for Art Decor colorways, the Colnago Master is a living legend.

Colnago’s heritage is illustrious and worthy of praise, and their road bikes continue on that course. Each bike is a model of top-quality construction superior ride quality that can only be derived from decades of racing experience.

Colnago History

Innovation Drives Racing Success

Giuseppe Saronni. Eddy Merckx. Gianni Motta. These names are three of the most influential cyclists in road riding history, with numerous wins, titles, and accolades to their names. All names with whom Ernesto Colnago, the head of Colnago, has worked with to build some of the most advanced and desirable bikes on the market. What began in a humble workshop in Cambiago, Italy is now known globally as one of the best race-bred cycling brands in the world today.

Starting at just 13 years of age, Ernesto Colnago, worked in a welding shop learning to build bicycle frames, among other things. Working for master craftsman Dante Fumagalli, Colnago learned to push toward being on the bleeding edge of technology, and to push harder toward craftsmanship excellence. By 1954 & 1955, Colnago not only started a welding shop for his bicycle frames, but he became a mechanic for Fiorenzo Magni, who later went on to with the Giro d’Italia. By 1962, Colnago was a mechanic for the infamous Eddy Merckx, who donned the orange, blue, and orange jersey that defined a generation of cycling. By 1968, Colnago had moved to sponsoring the team, now racing Colnago frames with the Merckx name emblazoned on the downtube. This sealed Colnago’s fate as an influencer in the Italian cycling world, a company developed for the very specialized needs of the fastest racers.

The 1990’s led to sponsorship of the Mapei racing team. For as iconic as their cubed jerseys were, the Mapei team was perhaps the most influential cycling team ever. Cycling’s top riders were atop Colnago frames that were pioneers in design and geometry. Further sponsorship of current teams like UAE Team Emirates show Colnago’s continued dedication to making bikes that perform at the highest level. Since 1974 there have been over 5000 pro wins on Colnago bicycles, and through expansion into the cyclocross racing world, it doesn’t look like there are any signs of stopping.

Over the years, developments to bicycle technology pushed forward road bike design as we know it today. The Colnago Master had star-shaped tubing and a pioneering straight-blade fork that made the name legendary, but Ernesto Colnago’s self-professed claim to fame was in his carbon fiber work. In partnership with Enzo Ferrari, they built and later produced the first carbon fiber road bike frames. Together the pair became pioneers of carbon frame design, with Ferrari applying Formula One-level expertise and technology to Colnago’s ideas. Their first creation, however, didn’t make it onto the production line, while the ones that followed soon after were exclusive and out of the reach of the average cyclist. These developments eventually led led to the iconic C-40 and C-50 road bike framesets. Perhaps more importantly, they had explored important ideas and techniques, some of which are still used in carbon cycle manufacturing today.

Today, this dedication to the utmost quality and forward-thinking design is shown in their desire to make some of the best handling, highest performing, and prettiest road bikes on the market. While the Colnago C60 might be a modern representation of what made their formative years so historic, it uses building techniques and design that continually define the Colnago name. Models like the Concept shows that the company is still on the bleeding edge of innovation, quality, and beauty on the market.

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Come talk to one of our Colnago experts today

At Contender Bicycles, our best tools for selling bikes are the people who ride them. Each of us on staff has extensive experience riding bikes across many brands. If you have any questions regarding a Colnago road or cyclocross bike, send us an email any time to info@contenderbicycles.com, or contact us during shop hours by phone at Contact Us.

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