Here's a pleasant post-holiday treat, the Colnago CLX complete bike built up with Campagnolo Centaur complemented by a generous smattering of FSA parts.
The CLX is Colnago's entry level (these things are relative mind) carbon road bike, conceived in Italy and built in Taiwan and designed to give high end performance at an affordable price. Again, that's also a relative concept, buy one of these babies and you'll walk away with a very nice bike and 5p change from three grand. First impressions at least, (and that's simply lifting it out of the box and nipping around the corner to take some static shots) are that you wouldn't have too many complaints either way.
We didn't need to be too strong to get it out of the box, but then neither did it float out either – registering 8.4Kg (18.6lb) on the road.cc scales, light but not earth shatteringly so. Mind you that might be a good thing, we recently spoke to a technical boffin from another carbon bike manufacturer who said that ultra-light weight in carbon wasn't the be all and end all – the best way to get the most from carbon was to combine the materials ride qualities, design and manufacturing advantages with reasonably light weight and durability. He pointed out that the pros never went for the the lightest bikes except on special stages.
The frame features a monocoque front triangle: top, head and down tubes with extra reinforcing courtesy of external ribs running along the top and down tubes and over the bottom bracket. As you'd expect of a carbon fibre frame of this price the carbon lay-up is of variably thicknesses putting more reinforcement where it is needed around high stress areas such as the bottom bracket.
The back end of the bike has a distinctive arc shaped rear chainstay which Colango claims aids braking performance and enhances comfort – it's also distinctively leaf shaped, although Colnago don't say if this adds any performance benefits – other than to confirm you are riding a Colnago.
Other highlights of the package are a Colnago CLX all carbon fork – new for 2009 – it's a monocoque construction and an elegantly straight bladed affair. The aero seatpost is also Colnago carbon and designed to match the profile of the seat tube.
Colnago are distributed in the UK by WindWave, who also distribute FSA so the complete bike is a mix of Campagnolo and FSA componentry. Drivetrain is a Campag Centaur 10 speed rear derailleur, 12-25 10-speed Centaur cassette and freewheel, matched up to an FSA 34-50 Team Issue MegaExo chainset, FSA front mech, and FSA 10spd Team Issue chain. Brakes and shifters are Campag Centaur.
As you'd expect the handlebars are FSA – the Wing Pro Alloy bar, as are the the white stem and headset. The white theme continues with the Prologo White Colnago Saddle.
Finally the wheels too are FSA D-400EUs.
As soon as it landed at the road.cc offices we were on the blower to Roger Blessed our chief high end bike tester, just the mention of the word “Colnago” caused him to drop the phone and charge round here to wrestle if from our hands and ride off before we'd even had a chance to take it for a spin around the block… so expect a full test report and review soon.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.