Archive | October, 2010

Colnago’s Early Carbon Creations !

30 Oct

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I thought it might be interesting to take a look at some of Ernesto’s early carbon creations. Just looking through these pictures from the gorgeous Colnago C35 to the C42 gives you an idea of Colnago’s long history of working with this mouthwatering product called carbon fibre!   

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Ernesto has a long history with carbon fibre bicycles, going back to his first one back in 1986, the Concept, which had a sensational debut at the Milano bike show that year. This was developed in collaboration with Ferrari Engineering, who helped create this first carbon fibre model. The frame was developed with the same engineers who developed Ferrari’s F1 cars. It turned out very well and helped Colnago learn about carbon fibre construction. Back then it was unheard of manufacturers using this exotic composite material to build a bicycle.

  

The Concept model, which became the template for his future carbon fibre bicycles, was never sold to the public, mostly because the integrated universal gear change made the Colnago Concept just too heavy to market.

Three years later in 1989, Colnago wowed the bicycle world again with the Colnago C35, a swoopy monocoque beauty that was again developed with Ferrari Engineering. The C35 was a true race bike and was used by some of Colnago top riders back then. Its been around 26 years that Colnago have been working with carbon fibre.

 

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Back in the early days of carbon fibre frames, many makers leaned by trial and error how to place the carbon fibre in such a way that it supports the rider properly, absorbs the road vibration and has all the appropriate mechanical characteristics to provide the best performance and lightest weight. 

 

Ernesto Colnago has compared carbon fibre to cloth, carbon fibre is woven, like cashmere wool. There are many grades of quality of carbon fibre. To make a bicycle out of 8 to 10 layers of high modulus carbon fibre is expensive! That’s why many bicycle manufacturers are willing to cut corners, to save money by using a few layers of good quality carbon fibre, then using inferior materials as filler. For many years Colnago had used same Italian supplier for carbon fibre, ATR. They are the same company that supplied carbon fibre to Ferrari, Ducati and others; and worked exclusively with Colnago.

 

The Colnago C35 is one of the first road bikes made with a carbon fibre frame. The C35 was launched in 1989 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the company founded in 1954 by Ernesto Colnago at Cambiago near Milan.

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Hence this limited-edition bike features monograms and lettering highlighted in gold leaf and some gold-plated parts. However its sculpted frame is its most striking feature. Unlike metal frames, carbon fibre frames are generally formed in one piece, known as a monocoque. The C35 was produced in association with Ferrari, which began using carbon fibre in its Formula One cars during the 1980s. In 1986 Ferrari and Colnago produced the first carbon fibre bike.

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In 1989 the C35 was at the leading edge of road bike technology, which had been revolutionised only a decade earlier when the availability of TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding made aluminium frames possible. Carbon and aluminium frames are significantly lighter than the steel alloy frames in use until the 1980s; in addition carbon frames absorb some of the vibration and road shock produced by hard tyres and rigid frames. However the C35’s toe clip pedals already look antique, as do the tube-mounted controls of its Campanoglo gear set.

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Colnago Ferrari LTD CF3 – Only 750 of these were made by Colnago -Ferrari

 

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Colnago President – This one is in the LDV paint scheme 

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Colnago C42 Pisa – Prototype

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Colnago CF1

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Thomas Voeckler has been awarded the prestigious Velo d’ Or as the best French rider for 2010 !

28 Oct

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Thomas Voeckler has been awarded the prestigious Vélo d’Or as the best French rider of the 2010 season by leading French bike magazine Vélo. The Bbox Telecom rider received 109 points in a poll of journalists and other seasoned observers of the cycling scene, with Sylvain Chavanel earning 90 points and 2009 Velo d’Or winner Grégory Baugé 56 

 Announcing news of the award, French newspaper l’Equipe described the 2010 season as Voeckler’s best so far in a distinguished career. It was also his first on Colnago bikes, and notably the C59 on which he won the French national road title, the Luchon stage of the Tour de France and the GP de Québec ProTour event.

 

Voeckler also played a key role in helping his team attract a new sponsor. The 30-year-old demonstrated very impressive loyalty in committing himself to Bbox team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau despite a number of offers from other squads. That loyalty paid off when multinational car hire company Europcar came forward as the team’s new backer, with Voeckler very much the new team’s leader.

Voeckler is now eagerly looking forward to the 2011 season where one of his main targets will be to make an impression during the opening days of the Tour de France, which take place in his team’s home region of the Vendée.

 

This is indeed great news for Thomas who’s been a great servant and and anchor man of the Bbox Bouygues Telecom team. He’s had a fantastic 2010 and has been an inspiration!  

 

This is Thomas in action in the GP Quebec 2010! 

 

 

Some great footage of Thomas – stage 15 – Tour de France 2010

 

 

Thomas interview after winning stage 15 – Tour de France 2010

 

Colnago Cycle Clothing

26 Oct
 

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Visiting the London bike show this year at Earls Court, I couldn’t help but notice the new range of cycle clothing from Colnago. On closer inspection, this clothing will not disappoint the discerning Colnago owner/enthusiast. If you think about the care and attention they put into frame manufacturing etc, they have also applied the same principles to their new clothing range.
The first thing that struck me is the quality of the material. You can see that these garments are manufactured to a very high specification, which one would expect from the house of Colnago. I was informed that this collection of clothing was created and designed by Alessandro Colnago who is the Grandson of Ernesto. I understand that the fabrics used are the very latest in cycle clothing technology and manufactured in Italy.
Just looking through the photos, you can see they they have brought out a series of garments which will suit all types of weather conditions. Whether you like the larger Colnago motif on your jersey or a discreet smaller emblem which is nicely stitched onto the fabric, they have accommodated all tastes and colours. Its really is a stunning collection of clothing which must be seen !
 

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Like many others out there, I have longed for some great quality Colnago cycle clothing and its finally arrived!

Lightweight Standard 111 Clincher Wheels

20 Oct
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Clinchers I hear you cry! Yes, clinchers! At the beginning of this year, I decided that I wanted to buy a good set of Carbon clincher wheels. Why clinchers, well I’m not racing anymore but wanted a pair of clinchers for convenience sake. However, I didn’t want to sacrifice on quality, weight and performance!. Like many other cyclists, I spent weeks pondering and researching various makes and models of carbon wheels sets etc. Although I’m no longer competing, like many others out there, I would consider myself as a dedicated cyclist and always looking to improve my performance and fitness, balancing work, wife and kids etc. So, after weeks of pain staking research, I decided upon a set of Carbon Sports Lightweight Standard 111 (C) wheels. So, why Lightweights?  Well, I guess one of the first reasons is that the Germans are always associated with fine design and engineering. After all, why do people pay a premium for BMW, Audi & VW. Also, I required a set of wheels which could perform, offer strength, reliability and have the capability of dealing with all the imperfections that UK roads have to offer. The other key factor for me was, do these wheels actually work with my frame? How many times have you trawled through pictures on the Internet and you can plainly see the wheels just don’t work with the frame, but people have bought them just for the name. Personally, I think Lightweights really work with the geometry of Colnago frames and the whole aesthetic package is complete.

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 Now, in the UK, Wiggle  http://www.wiggle.co.uk/ are the importer and distributor for Carbon Sports (Lightweight) products. I must admit, when buying such a wheel set via mail order, it would of sent a few shivers down my spine, especially when you could buy a very good used car at that price tag. Also and ideally, when spending that kind of money, I would of liked to touch, feel, smell and assess these wheels in the flesh. However, Wiggle is a company which I and many others around the world have 100 % confidence in. Their customer service and fast delivery is well known and I have always found them extremely helpful. So, I was buying with confidence which most certainly gave me piece of mind!

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When the wheels arrived, they reminded me of intricate pieces of finally sculptured carbon furniture. It was immediately evident why these hand made wheels from Friedrichshafen where held in such high regard. However, the proof is in the riding. The rim depth is 47.5 mm and the aerodynamic carbon spokes are laminated into the actual carbon V-shaped rim. The front wheel also includes a small magnet moulded right into the rim for use with a cycle computer as well as a small embedded memory chip that stores each individual wheel’s serial number. The rear wheels comes with a DT Swiss 190 S hub which is rapped within a carbon body. The rear wheel comes with a free hub, so you can either use Campagnolo or Shimano. The front wheel comes with Carbon Sports own hub also wrapped in carbon. My wheels came with 20 spokes at the rear and 16 spokes up front. I understand that you can have 20 spokes up front if you so wish.  One thing you do notice is just how lightweight these wheels are, quite amazing!  At approximately 1,080g for the pair, they’re roughly 30 percent lighter than the competition and weigh almost exactly the same as the tubular version. I also quite like the subtle decals on the side of the rims. They look like the application has been by hand which is a nice touch.      

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So, how do they perform on the open road? Well yes they are indeed stiff as one would expect, but they are also very comfortable. As soon as you ride on these wheels, you just notice the ride factor. The whole bike felt more nimble and responsive with the frame urging forwards. I also noticed the weight element which was immediately obvious within the quality of the ride. They are indeed immensely quick and just laying down the power through the crank will reward with instant acceleration. Hell they are fast! Again, they just inspire confidence within your actual ride. Whether you are on the flat or climbing, these wheels have a distinct quality and feel about them. Climbing with these wheels is a complete joy as I found myself searching out more hills. They are also robust and can withstand the ruts and bumps etc that we have to live with in the UK. The DT Swiss hub sounds like a finely made Swiss time piece as it ticks confidently away at the rear. Altogether, these wheels are very appealing and offer something for everyone. If you are looking to race then these will amply accommodate offering the rider a tubeless like feeling, or if you are a keen enthusiast who doesn’t race, then they are equally at home. Carbon Sports have manged to achieve a unique set of wheels which will appeal to both the Tubeless and Clincher camps!

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Here is Jorg Ludewig offering a little more information on the Lightweight Standard 111 wheels

 

The wonderful world of Colnago colours.

15 Oct
 

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Speak to anyone about Colnago frames and the conversation will always include Colnago’s paintwork or colour schemes. On numerous occasions whilst I’m out riding and have stopped off at a coffee shop for refuelling, my Colnago always attracts conversation. Probably like you, I get approached by people of all ages etc telling me how they have owned or own a Colnago. Also, reminiscing about Colnago’s past race glories and the riders of the past and present. Its a great feeling when someone is bursting full of information about the marque and wants to share their experiences. I once owned an MV Agusta motorcycle which also stimulated conversation about this prestigious Italian motorcycle manufacture.  Its a great feeling that such a name can evoke such emotion from people sitting down shooting the breeze over a coffee with their partners etc. It kind of feels like you belong to this great big world-wide family of Colnago owners or enthusiasts! Anyhow, during the conversation, the topic of paintwork normally gets mentioned. I guess people are just so struck with the quality and design of Colnago paintwork through the ages. With this thought in mind, I though I’d put together a few photographs of Colnago’s artwork through time. Of course, quite a lot of these frames/bikes have become highly collectible and can fetch high prices. Who needs paintings, when you can hang Colnago art-work on your hallway wall or over the fireplace! 

Colnago Ferrari Limited Edition – Celebrating 60 years of Ferrari
 

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Colnago For Ever – Mr and Mrs Colnago’s wedding anniversary (Limited Edition) 

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Colnago Leonardo Davinci Special Paint Scheme 

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Sunflower Paintwork

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Lightening Paint Scheme

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King of the Mountains (Extreme C)

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Colnago Master 55 Limited Edition

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Erik Zabel EPS

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Jet Aircraft

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Thomas voeckler’s Special Edition C59 ( French National Champion Colours)

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Colnago Geo Paintwork

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Colnago new C59 colour scheme

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Thanks very much to all the owners that very kindly sent pictures in from all over the world!

 

Colnago EPS – Lets take a closer look !

12 Oct
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As I mentioned within my first post, I have owned a Colnago EPS for approximately two years. Sadly, before I purchased the frame, there really wasn’t a great deal of information out there to go on. Apart from one, there were no other in-depth reviews on this frame. Or should I say, articles which a potential buyer might find of interest. The majority of information on the net two years ago, looked like it had been copied out of a Colnago booklet. Sadly, most of these glossy magazine reviews fail to give the information the customer really needs to make an informative decision whether to say goodbye to the best part of £3000! Also, a frame/bike at this price, dealers do not offer them for test rides for the obvious reasons.  Of course, quite a lot of these journalists never really want to bite the hand that feeds, so even if a particular frame wasn’t up to much, it would just be glossed over in the typical journalistic style. However, this is where the blogger can help out others who may have an interest in a particular bike. Personally, I don’t work within the bike industry and I’m not a journalist. So, for what its worth, I’m quite happy to tell it how it is! So, as you can imagine, it wasn’t at all easy two years ago finding some real hard facts about this frame. However, after quite a considerable amount of research, both in the UK and Italy, I decided to by one! I put my trust in Colnago!
  

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If we look at both the C50 and Extreme Power, the EPS looks like a natural evolution of cycle design and technology. However, the EPS has a beefed up lugged frame, using considerably over-sized carbon tubes. You can see that Colnago have built this frame for purpose. Colnago uses a pre preg carbon cloth which is wound by hand into tubes to ensure the correct lay up and to control the amount of resin to create the best characteristics for each tube. The top-tube and down-tube also feature what Colnago calls 3PRS which can best be described as three 10mm wide carbon ‘ribs’ on the inside of the tubes; the thickness tapers along the length of the tubes and the ribs prevent any lateral movement. The result is a chassis that’s rock solid even when you’re sprinting out of the saddle and wrenching on the handlebars.

The bay-leaf chainstays which are beautifully sculpted are massively over-sized and shaped to add maximum strength and resistance to twisting forces from the bottom bracket. They have somewhat of a feminine feel about them has your fingers run over the curvaceous lines.  A dedicated EPS fork which is quite substantial is also used with a speciļ¬c tapered headset,  1.125″ in at the top and  1.25″ at the bottom, to stiffen the front end for more precise handling. The EPS comes with an integrated headset, which I feel works perfectly. The frame weight is approximately one kilo. Yes, there are indeed lighter frames on the market, however, you don’t ride the frame you ride the bike.

 

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The paintwork and finish is second to non. Colnago is famous for its paintwork and doesn’t disappoint. The attention to details is quite amazing. I just love the way they have etched the name Colnago through the paint finish, leaving this lovely dark black carbon weave coming though. This is used throughout the frame. Also, the varying colours used in spraying is quite breathtaking. I have the AMIT finish which combines the colours of the Italian flag, which really stands out. They really are masters of their craft. After two years of riding, the paintwork has stood up extremely well against chips and general road/riding grime. The paint is very substantial.

 

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So after all this, how does it handle on the road. I can honestly say, I have never ridden another bike quite like the EPS. Erik Zabel once said, If you require a rider to perform well, then the frame needs to be comfortable. Looking at the EPS, you can see this is a thoroughbred race frame, from the back to the front. However, as you would expect, this frame is incredibly stiff, but also extremely comfortable. I don’t know how the research and development department at cambiago has achieved this, but it works extremely well. So, if you are doing 40 to 100 miles on this frame, you do it in relative comfort. Personally, I feel totally connected with this frame as a rider. Depending on your riding, this frame will accommodate all styles, however, I deify anyone to take this frame for a gentle ride. As soon as you are in your stride and have picked up pace, you know this frame just wants to motor.

 

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With every turn of the crank, you can feel the frame projecting forward like a missile, its amazing! Of course, the bike is only as good as the engine driving it, however, the EPS will flatter all that put their leg over this frame. You can just feel that all the power and energy you achive at the crank comes together in a single format and is pushed out at the rear wheel. Its as if the energy is centralised and not wasted.  Its a very focused frame and extremely surefooted. It will quite happily motor along on the flat and its just as happy climbing the steepest of hills. I live in Kent and completely surrounded by big climbes, the EPS feels at home on a good hard climb. In fact, it climbs like a mountain goat on steroids. As you are giving it some beans, you just feel the frame is quietly whispering in your ear, is that all you’ve got!

 

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On a fast decent, the frame doesn’t miss a beat, its as if nothing phases it. Its very confident and seems to glide over our UK roads. The frame seems to soak up road shock and any road ruts you ride over. This is where those solid front forks come into their own. They are built like a bull dog and inspire confidence in the rider to lay the power down. Even fast cornering, there is no nervousness or twitching at the front end, just rock solid stability. The frame seems to respond very quickly, so if you are looking to attack at pace, you can be sure this frame will not let you down. I suppose in truth, its a great all-rounder.

 

Over a period of time, I have spoken with quite a few riders who either own an EPS or professionally race the EPS. One such dedicated EPS fan is Yanto Barker. Just speak with him about how this frame performers, you just see this beaming smile emerge across his face! 

 

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To be extremely honest with you folks, I love this frame. Its now like a family member. I could never ever part with it. I recently ordered a C59 from Italy and my wife mentioned, so, I suppose you will be selling the EPS. I must say, I gave her such a look! It would be like selling one of the children, you just wouldn’t do it. In fact, I would rather sell the car first!

 

Please see below some great video footage produced by Colnago. It takes you through every step of the way from birth to creation of the EPS….enjoy!

 

         

 

 

 

Colnago at the London bike show 2010

10 Oct

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There was a real buzz of excitement centering around the Colnago stand this year at the Earls Court bike show. The display had great presence and was very impressive. I arrived at the show quite early to get a few photo’s before the crowds arrived, but already I could see the Colnago bikes were attracting quite a lot of attention. The stand was decked out with a great centre shot of the Colnago-CSF Inox sprinter Manuel Belletti in jubilant mood after his victory on stage 13 of the 2010 Giro d’ Italia! There were also some impressive shots of Thomas Voeckler riding his C59 in the French National Champion colours and Anthony Charteau (King of the Mountains) riding his iconic polka dot frame……fantastic! Taking centre stage was the mouthwatering C59 Italia Limited Edition, or better know as ‘ The White Lady’. Colnago have only made 59 of these limited edition frames and each one is individually numbered.  

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Diego Colosio (Colnago) & Peter Nesbit (Windwave) 

A big congratulations to the boys at Windwave (Colnago UK distributor) for laying on a fantastic show which was well received. Peter Nesbit who is the Managing Director of Windwave was on hand to answer all questions about the Colnago range. Peter stated that he was really enjoying the show and was very proud of the Colnago teams achievements! Peter is a really nice guy and answered all my eager questions about the Colnago range.

Also on hand was Alessandro Colnago who is the Grandson of Mr Colnago and global sales manager Diego Colosio. They were meeting and greeting the public and talking about the Colnago frames on dislay. Diego Colosio said, its a great atmosphere at the bike show and its lovely to meet and talk to people interested in our frames. It was immediately obvious that Colnago still hold true family values within the company and their attention to detail in frame construction, finish and paintwork was very evident. You could see that customer service and satisfaction is extremely important to Colnago. It really made me proud to be a Colnago owner! 
 

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Brian Palmer – Washingmachinepost 

It was also nice to see Brian Palmer who runs the http://www.thewashingmachinepost.net/ . Brian is a really lovely guy and we both share a deep passion for the Colnago marque. I have know Brian for a while now and its always a great meeting of minds. I thoroughly enjoy reading his posts which are both educational and informative. I also get from Brian that he is writing from the ‘common man’ approach and gives it from the angle of the everyday/weekend rider. Very down to earth with a cheerful personality!  

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 Colnago C59 in black & Silver

This is the new top of the range frame from Colnago.Pictures in catalogues do not do this frame justice! Seeing it in the flesh is something to behold. Get up front and personal with this frame is the only way to view it. The stunning carbon weave working hand in hand with the lush paintwork! This frame was literally four years in the making. This frame is designed, built and painted in Italy. The top and down tube are internally ribbed to maximise stiffness. This frame has already proved itself within the Giro and Tour de France 2010! 
If you are interesting in purchasing one of these frames, apparently there is a 3 month waiting list. They are working flat out at the factory in Cambiago Italy. Presently, they are producung around 80 frames per week!

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Above is a short video of the C59 in the in black and yellow (GDYB) although this colour scheme didn’t feature at the 2010 bike show, just thought you might like to see a nice close up video of the colour which was used by Team Bbox Telecom in the Tour de France. 

 Below is the stunning M10. Very stelf!  

Colnago’s latest creation in monocoque carbon frames. It must be seen! This frame takes technical advances seen in the CX1 to a higher level. The new Lamination technology and material used in manufacture of the M10 makes it lighter than the CX1 and stiffer laterally with the use of a bigger bottom bracket.So, we have the classis looks of a Colnago, combined with the elegant5 frame design. Like the C59, this frame also comes with internal cable routing. This is the lightest frame in the Colnago range.
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Colnago will offer the new M10 in five eye-catching paint schemes plus a spartan matte black finish.
The new M10 is fitted with a tapered front end.
The new M10 uses a standard threaded bottom bracket.

Colnago has also brought out a series of top quality cycle clothing for the discerning Colnago owner.
Having a good look at it yesterday, the quality is superb. It has the same sort of quality as a very well know Swiss manufacturer !

  

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For further information on any of the above including UK dealer information Please contact Windwave