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Hands-on with Colnago's all-new carbon endurance road bike with disc brakes

Just arrived in the new road.cc office is the Colnago CX Zero, the Italian company’s all-new endurance road bike that is available with or without disc brakes. We’ve got our hands on the £3,495 Ultegra 11-speed model with Shimano’s BR-R515 mechanical disc brakes.  With a taller head tube and shorter top tube, the bike has been designed for riding long distances and events like Gran Fondos, where comfort is an important consideration.

Colnago was one of the first big manufacturers to offer discs with its C59 Disc, launched at Eurobike to much fanfare a couple of years ago. But where that bike was simply an existing frame modified for discs, the CX Zero was always intended from the first drawings to be used with disc brakes. Colnago, keen not to alienate potential customers not interested in discs, also offers the frame in a non-disc version. That'll also be the perfect bike for any Colnago sponsored pro team when it comes to the Spring Classics.

Both models share a frame that has been designed to to offer increased comfort over its racier models. It’s the sort of bike you could ride a sportive on, enter a road race, ride to work or just use for leisurely Sunday jaunts. Colnago’s ‘classic’ geometry decreases the drop from the saddle to the handlebars with a taller 17.6cm head tube. The 100.6cm wheelbase is a bit longer than typical race bikes (and longer than the C59), to promote stability and comfort over rough roads, and make room for the 25mm tyres that are fitted.

There the similarities between the two frames end. Key differences on the disc version include the obvious inclusion of post mounts on the specific fork and reshaped rear stays. They’ve also worked on the carbon fibre layup to ensure the frame copes with the extra forces the discs generate. The rear caliper is placed inside the rear dropout, with drop kinked chainstays to sit the caliper in the necessary position.

Colnago has also introduced a new proprietary press fit bottom bracket on the CX Zero. And in a move we’re seeing the industry increasingly make on road bikes designed with comfort in mind, Colnago has fitted a 27.2mm seatpost. While the chainstays are substantial in their diameter, the seatstays in comparison are really skinny.

Cables for both front and rear derailleurs and rear brake are routed inside the frame. The rear brake cable enters the top of the down tube and pops out at the end of the non-driveside chainstay just in front of the brake caliper. It’s all neatly finished.

The CX Zero Disc is only available as a complete bike - the non-disc version is available as a frameset - and costs £3,499.95 as pictured. That gets you a full Shimano Ultegra compact 11-speed mechanical groupset paired with Shimano’s BR-R515 cable operated discs. There is a 160mm rotor on the front wheel and 140mm out back. An Ultegra Di2 model with R785 hydraulic disc brakes. 

The wheels are DT SWiss 370 disc hubs laced to Colnago’s own brand Artemis WH32 deep section rims. Tyres are Continental Grand Sport Race 23mm. Colnago supply their own alloy seatpost topped with a Selle Italia X1 saddle, and a Deda RHM 02 handlebar and Deda Zero One stem look smart on the front of the bike. 

We had a good look at it at Eurobike back in September too, and even filmed the new bike along with Colnago engineer Davide Fumagalli, who talks through the development of the bike. It’s an interesting watch.

The weight, that’s 8.82kg (19.44lb). Certainly not the lightest bike at this price with a bit of a weight penalty, but perhaps not as much as you’d expect. It’s 720g heavier than the recently arrived Orbea Orca though, a bike which is £500 cheaper but has an Ultegra Di2 groupset. Colnago do offer the bike with lighter DT Swiss wheels which saves 400g, and that costs £3,699.95.

More obvious rivals for the CX Zero are Cannondale’s new Synapse Disc, BMC’s GranFondo Disc, Specialized's Roubaix Disc and the Bianchi Infinito CV Disc, all sporty comfort bikes with the addition of disc brakes for those cyclists who want better braking performance than calipers provide.

More at www.colnago.com/cx-zero/

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

7 comments

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Nick T [1090 posts] 3 years ago
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Is the front brake cable supposed to just be dangling down like that?

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Guyz2010 [304 posts] 3 years ago
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Hardly likely to dangle up! Sorry couldn't resist that one.
Nice but what is it about carbon bikes all being black, don't manufacturers like to use paint.
I like the idea, discs are the way to go for me having worn out two sets of rims in three years.

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mrmo [2094 posts] 3 years ago
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couldn't they do a décor finish?

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Al__S [1254 posts] 3 years ago
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What sort of anarchist names a road model the "CX"?

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Karbon Kev [690 posts] 3 years ago
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dull looking, and where are the hydraulic discs? come on Colnago!

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Spangly Shiny [150 posts] 3 years ago
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8.8 Kg for £3.5K? Pull the other one!

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Father Faff [1 post] 3 years ago
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You've had the bike two months now - do we get a ride review or has there not been enough Mediterranean sunshine to get it out of the garage?