Colnago launch stylish new Classica carbon city bike

It's crazy but it might just work...

by nick_rearden   December 8, 2011  

Colnago-Classica

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It's pricey at £1,799 and we haven't ridden it yet but the new Classica from Colnago seems to pull off that old 'sum is greater than the parts' equation quite well, at least on paper for now.

The Classica is based on the existing 'Ace' carbon monocoque sportive frame which we have ridden and very nice it is, too. That carries on at the beginning of the exotic Colnago carbon range as a comfortable and stable all day racer. But for the new Classica, the Italians have done that thing you often see in Italy but hardly ever here; they've swapped the handlebars on the Ace for a pair of upright flatties and fitted city-bike shifters and brake levers to make an even more comfortable and upright machine that you will still be happy to ride all day. It's just that you'll be breaking it up with a stop at a café, then a nice lunch and maybe another drop into a pub on the way home. It's a 75km-in-a-day bike if the Ace is designed to be ridden 150km over the same period.

What this Classica isn't is a Dutch-style expedition tourer with flat bars - what they call a trekker - even if it does have a triple chainset with a 30-tooth smallest chainring. The geometry is still 73° parallel classic-racer-style, so its relatively short wheelbase will get twitchy if you start loading it up with hefty panniers but then you'll search in vain for places to attach a pannier rack anyway and let's look and see how much room there is for fatter touring tyres and fenders? Whoops.

No, the closest equivalent we can think of here is the hell-for-leather but now-defunct carbon Trek FX 7.9 which up until this year was also around at this price, maybe a bit more at £2,000. They couldn't sell too many of those out-and-out flat-barred street racers and it had a better spec on paper than this Colnago. Maybe Trek made the mistake of making the 7.9 look too overtly hard-core sporty with a bare carbon finish? Perhaps the rider it was supposed to appeal to was shamed by our snooty nouveau sportif shops into buying a bike with dropped bars when in Italy it is perfectly respectable to ride upright in a dignified manner on a bike with a sporting heart.

Unlike the Trek, however, this new Colnago will look at home on the Tweed Run wearing a pair of Quoc Pham leather touring shoes and if you're up for spending £150 on touring shoes, then you're probably happy with £1,799 too and why not?

If you do need to feel better about that price for a bicycle, consider this. Emboldened by their recent helmet collaboration with Gucci the folks at Bianchi have also this week launched their own carbon city tourer. But For US$14,000. There's also a steel fixie at just over the $6,000. Yes, they both have some nice Gucci leather accessories but mainly though if you're in the market for some Italian-inspired bling that Colnago is now looking pretty good, yes?

 

Colnago Classica 2012 £1,799

  • Frame: Carbon 'Ace'
  • Fork: Carbon 'Ace'
  • Crankset: Shimano FC-2303 30/42/52t
  • Front Gear: Shimano FB-2303
  • Rear Gear: Shimano RD-2300
  • Cassette: Shimano CS-HG50-8sp 13-26t
  • Gear Levers: Shimano SL-R440-8sp
  • Brake Levers: Shimano BL-R550
  • Brakes calipers: Colnago X-Brake 3
  • Wheelset: Shimano WH-R501-30
  • Tyres: Vittoria Zafiro 700 x 25mm
  • Handlebar: Colnago Flat alloy
  • Stem: Colnago alloy
  • Saddle: Colnago Vintage brown leather
  • Seat Post: Colnago alloy microadjust

Details: colnago.com

 


Bianchi Gucci Sport launched this week in the US for $14,000. It has Gucci signature green-red-green contrasting stripes on the carbon frame… so that'll be where the money went then

 


Bianchi Gucci Pista: US$6,100. Two words probably sum up this baby "How much?!"

 

9 user comments

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I don't wish to bash it for the sake of it, but unless you collect bikes it's hard to see why you'd have a dropped bar bike for days when you're riding 150km and a flat bar bike for 75km excursions, rather than just riding the dropped bar bike on the hoods rather more slowly when you felt like it.

Cool

posted by BigDummy [273 posts]
8th December 2011 - 11:03

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Ooo, nice. Do they make a colour coordinated locks for when you leave the bikes outside the cafe, restaurant and pub?

posted by Coleman [329 posts]
8th December 2011 - 11:20

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Leaving aside the handlebars - £1800 for a 2300 grooupset equiped bike?

posted by Chris James [156 posts]
8th December 2011 - 11:56

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Chris James wrote:
Leaving aside the handlebars - £1800 for a 2300 grooupset equiped bike?

Because all 2300 groupset bikes are the same, aren't they? Smile

BigDummy wrote:
...it's hard to see why you'd have a dropped bar bike for days when you're riding 150km and a flat bar bike for 75km excursions...

You'd do it that way BD - sensibly - because you may already have that dropped-bar bike and why not? But the point about this kind of bike as far as I can see from the way they're used in Italy is that they're ridden around as stylish city bikes most of the time and then ridden 75km on holy days. In other words, it's a 75km bike for someone that wouldn't routinely ride that far and doesn't have a 'racer'. But made all the more enjoyable by having a light, responsive frame, fast tyres and easy gears.

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
8th December 2011 - 11:59

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@poseur@
Not what I'd spend 1800 moondogs on....

The_Kaner
FREEEEEEEEDOM!

The _Kaner's picture

posted by The _Kaner [375 posts]
8th December 2011 - 15:06

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nick_rearden wrote:
Chris James wrote:
Leaving aside the handlebars - £1800 for a 2300 grooupset equiped bike?

Because all 2300 groupset bikes are the same, aren't they? Smile

No they are not, but it is particulary poor spec for a £1800 bike. The wheels only cost about £90 too. It might have a nice frame but the build is totally unbalanced.

The groupset, wheels and finishing kit could probably be bought aftermarket by you or I, not a major bike builder, for less than £500 (for Sora STIs not 2300 and rapidfire shifters).

So that's a fair chunk of cash going on the frame, stickers and paint job.

posted by Chris James [156 posts]
8th December 2011 - 16:02

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Chris James wrote:
nick_rearden wrote:
Chris James wrote:
Leaving aside the handlebars - £1800 for a 2300 grooupset equiped bike?

Because all 2300 groupset bikes are the same, aren't they? Smile

The groupset, wheels and finishing kit could probably be bought aftermarket by you or I, not a major bike builder, for less than £500

But Chris, it's not going to be bought by you or I, is it? It's going to be bought by someone who'd think this degree of discussion about a bicycle is ridiculous. They just want to walk into a certain kind of classy bike shop and ride out an hour later on something they feel good about and that will do a fine job of what they're going to use it for. There's nothing wrong with 2300 unless you're going to ride it 40 miles every day in all weathers, really. It *is* unusual to see it married to such a classy-looking frame but so what? You want to see everyone riding identikit bikes that you approve of?

posted by nick_rearden [859 posts]
8th December 2011 - 17:25

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arrrg. All these bikes are bizarre and pointless at those prices. If they cost about 1/4 to 1/10 as much as they do they might be relevant.

rrrrrrrrr.

posted by kaptnkrunch [57 posts]
8th December 2011 - 20:22

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Perfect for lovers of Rapha kit...

Nic

posted by nbrus [278 posts]
10th December 2011 - 10:31

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