Colnago C59 – A truly stunning build !

3 May

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When asked for permission to use pictures of your Colnago and maybe add a little write-up to go with them I really only had one response… “I’d be honoured”. That was almost three months ago and I’m finally getting around to fulfilling that request for Colnago Con Brio. And the benefit of being tardy is that I can talk a little bit about the actual experience of riding it as well.

 The C59 is a beautiful Colnago in every sense. It is my fourth carbon framed Colnago, having owned a C40, two C50’s and now, the C59. And this is without a doubt my favourite, but to be fair that’s what I always say when I get a new Colnago. I thought about every detail on this bike from the outset. It’s function, it’s fit, it’s form. I was very clear in my mind what I wanted aesthetically and fit wise so it was just a matter of knowing what’s out there and spec’ing it accordingly. Here’s how it looks in its final state, how I ride it now and quite frankly how I believe it will stay for a long time.

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Biggest Quandary – Traditional or Sloping

Without a doubt I laboured over this decision at first. I’ve always favoured a traditional road frame, in the sense of a horizontal top tube, clean lines, etc. I just think they look better. But as sloping frames go, Colnago does one of the nicest jobs of that I’ve seen. So what’s a guy to do. I ordered both of course and would keep whichever one I liked the most once I saw them both built up identically. I knew that I could potentially be on the hook for buying two C59’s, but with the demand like it is, my shop wasn’t too worried. Size-wise, it turned out to be kind of a Goldielocks and the three bears kind of scenario where the 56 sloping would be just a little too small and the 58 sloping would be too big but the 61 Traditional would be jussst right. I knew the 61 was perfect for me, but I still wanted to see what the closest sloping C59 would look like, which happened to be the 56s. The 61 traditional arrived first, and I mocked it up with saddle, wheels, bars etc., to get a feel for the overall visual aspect. Well guess what… I didn’t even need to see the sloping frameset and cancelled that order before it even arrived. I know what I like when I see it, and for me… that’s a traditional geometry Colnago. If sloping geometry allows fewer sizes having to be made to fit more people, then fine, but that’s a business decision by Colnago. My decision was much more selfish.

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The Build:

That my C59 would be adorned with anything but the latest from Campagnolo was a no-brainer for me. Super Record 11 all the way, the exceptions being the pedals and seatpost. Thank goodness Shimano came out with their newest all carbon Dura-Ace pedal in time for this build. I use Dura-Ace pedals on all my road bikes. But I was trying, where possible to keep the aesthetics of this build on equal footing alongside function and performance, so everything had to be just right. The silver Dura-Ace pedals prior to the carbon version would not have done here. And let’s just pretend I never even mentioned a Campagnolo/Shimano union for the time being. The other option was the oh so sexy LOOK Keo Carbon Ti Blades and truth is that’s what I initially installed on this build. But I do get off my bike quite often to enjoy the stops along the way. Coffee here, lunch there. What about the peleton you ask? Who cares… they’re always in such a hurry. So for me, the walk-ability of a cleat became an issue and the walk and ride Shimano cleat is just better in this regard. LOOK provides a cleat with “grips” for walking, and one without the grip which works better while actually engaged in the cleat. Since I already have a bunch of Shimano pedals, I decided on the carbon Dura-Ace pedals in the end.

 

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Rounding off the finishing kit are the 3T LTD Dorico seatpost and Rotundo handlebars, a 3T ARX-TEAM stem and a 2011 Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio saddle. I prefer a classic bend bar and the 3T Rotunda LTD fit that bill perfectly. Although I toyed with a couple of other saddle options at first just to experiment, in the end not only does the SLR saddle fit me perfectly but the 2011 version complements this build perfectly.

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The Finishing Touches

Building up a nice bike is something in itself but I wanted to make it my own in some way, however small, without being gaudy. I lucked out with having my own little C59 stem cap created. After a few design attempts, I eventually settled on this. In addition, I removed the red stripe that is stock on the 3T Team Arx stem.

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The Experience

The ride is pure Colnago which has been described enough in cycling literature that I think justifies me using the name as an adjective. It’s stable, precise and just a joy to ride. Descending, cornering, climbing… it’s all been talked about before and it’s superb in every aspect. I’ve by no means ridden every other frame out there but I’ve ridden enough, including custom steel frames designed and built specifically for me. And at the end of all my experiments I have no desire at this point in my life to ride anything else. The balance is perfect, and quite frankly I don’t know that it would be as perfect if it weren’t for the availability of the incremental sizing that Colnago still offers to this day. It’s jussst right.

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 Say what you will but, to me at least and I’m sure many others, owning a Colnago invokes a feeling synonymous with owning a bit of cycling heritage that doesn’t automatically come with just any brand. And no other bike that I have owned has elicited as much of a response as this one has. From the racer to the most inexperienced, they all seem to want to stop a little longer to look at it, maybe ask a question or two about it, and to touch it. It’s a gorgeous bicycle and I’m very proud to be fortunate enough to own it. Building it was a pleasure. I could talk about every nut and bolt and technical aspect that anyone might care to talk about if asked. But one encounter I had which sticks in my mind more than most occurred a few weeks ago while I was stopped for a coffee outside a small town cafe. A couple walked by and stopped to look at my bike. Then they looked over to where I was sitting and said “We don’t know anything about bicycles, but that sure looks like a good one”. To that I just smiled and said “Yes, it is”. And a good ride home it was.

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Colnago Con Brio would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank Cal for sharing pictures of his beloved Colnago C59. I think you will all agree, its truly a stunning build!

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4 Responses to “Colnago C59 – A truly stunning build !”

  1. racolnago May 4, 2011 at 6:25 am #

    yep a true beauty,has always with Colnago

  2. carloslam May 5, 2011 at 7:30 am #

    I really love your stem cap. Are you making it by your own? I ordered my c59 but it has to wait for a couple months for my size. 😦

  3. Colnago Con Brio May 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Yes, the owner had the stem cap made up. Its a lovely finishing touch! Be great if Colnago adopted this idea! 🙂

  4. Colnago Con Brio May 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Yes, the owner had the stem cap made up. Its a lovely finishing touch! Be great if Colnago adopted this idea! 🙂

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