Tapei show: Colnago launch C59 Disc road bike

Italian brand update CX bike too... plus new pics of the K.Zero TT machine

by Dave Atkinson   March 7, 2012  

If you still don't think disc brakes are going to be big on road bikes in the next year or so, you might want to take a gander at this.

Yup, that's right. It's a Colnago C59, a bit like this one that we tested, only with disc brakes front and rear. According to Alessandro Colnago it'll be available from June… not sure if that applies to the UK though. The discs in question look like Colnago-branded Formula R1 units - a pretty sensible choice since they're the lightest MTB discs currently available. Going slightly against whet we've heard from other industry sources, Colnago clearly think that 140mm rotors front and rear will be plenty, since that's what they've specced for the C59.

The fork is entirely new, redesigned to cope with the twisting forces a disc brake imparts, and the stays at the rear are new too. The chainstays have a bulge on the inner face, increasing the cross-sectional area and adding stiffness. They've done the same to the fork; the inner face bulges towards the wheel for the same reason.

The dropouts are new and they accept a 135mm hub width. There's no brake calliper hole at the top of the seatstays or in the fork, and the frame will work with both mechanical and hydraulic discs. The disc mount sits between the chainstay and seatstay and inboard of the stays, and looks pretty neat. The C59 was always a good looking bike and we don't think this one - which we've seen at the Taipei International Cycle Show - is any exception. Except for the fact that it's grey.

"But what about hydraulic drop levers?", I hear you cry. Well, this bike is running Dura Ace Di2, which opens it up to options such as the third party Tektro levers that are knocking around at Taipei right now. They're not finished yet, but clearly Formula have been busy because their levers are.

We've never seen these levers before, and we didn't know they existed until today. They're a hydraulic Di2 lever from Formula, and they have a dual paddle behind the brake lever in the same sort of configuration as the Shimano ones. They look kinda classy to us. If you want to run mechanical gears and hydraulic discs you can do that too. At least you can when the SRAM Red hydraulic comes out in the summer...

The wheels are new too - Colnago Artemis Discs, they're called. You can't radially spoke a disc wheel so the Artemis Disc uses a two-cross lacing pattern at the front to handle the braking forces; there's 24 spokes front and rear. The wheel uses the same 50mm rim as the standard Artemis, just with two of the rear rims instead of the 20-hole front.

So how much does all this hydraulic gubbins add to the weight of the bike? About 200 grams, according to Alessandro Colnago who's been tweeting pics of the bike this morning (that's Ernesto Colnago posing for road.cc in the pic above). That doesn't seem like a huge weight penalty and it would still be possible to build the C59 up at around the UCI weight limit with some nice light handlebars. The bike will be available as a complete build and also as a frameset in the 2013 lineup. It'll cost lots and lots and lots of money.

Colnago have updated their cyclocross bike too with a new disc-brake version of the Prestige, an evolution of their current World Cup model. It's a shame they camouflaged it against that background in Taipei; they bolted it in place so there's not a lot we could do about that.

The disc brake version will come in one design that can be built up with either electronic or mechanical shifting. The rear brake cable will run internally, exiting the chainstay just ahead of the disc calliper.

Like the C59 Disc, the Prestige Disc will take a 135mm-width rear hub and run with 140mm rotors.

As well as taking disc brakes, the 2013 model will feature a tapered head tube for the first time; the current version uses 1 1/8in headset bearings top and bottom but the lower one will be increased to 1 1/2in for the new incarnation, allowing Colnago to beef up the front end stiffness.

Colnago reckon the Prestige Disc will be in the shops by June or July – certainly in plenty of time for the start of the next cross season.

The Taipei International Cycle Show has given us our first chance to see Colnago’s new K.Zero time trial bike in the flesh too. We reported on it last week, so follow the link for our initial write up.

It’s certainly a good looking bike with a super-deep section head tube and internal cabling throughout. The cables come back from the bars and travel underneath a cap on to of the stem and then into the frame.

We didn’t know what brakes the K.Zero would be using before but they’re V-style callipers from TRP, the front one hidden behind the fork legs. The rear brake sits behind/beneath the bottom bracket and, as you can just about see in the picture, it gets itsown little shroud over the top to smooth the airflow down there.

Rather than forming a smooth line from the seat tube to the dropouts, the chainstays kink out away from the rear wheel straightaway before heading south. Plenty of other time trial and triathlon bikes do something similar to manage airflow efficiently at the back end.

The handlebar and stem are one bespoke unit. Despite the minimalist looks, the aero extensions can be tuned for height and reach while the base bar remains fixed in its aerodynamic position.

The K.Zero will be available in Shimano, SRAM and Campag builds and one model will be compatible with both mechanical and electronic shifting setups. And, if it’s a deal-breaker for you, the bike is fully UCI legal and it has the sticker to prove it.

25 user comments

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i've added it to my ever growing wish list

velorunner's picture

posted by velorunner [2 posts]
7th March 2012 - 11:09

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Those levers remind me ever so much of the old Modolo's from the 80's. Uber Italian bling.

mr-andrew's picture

posted by mr-andrew [294 posts]
7th March 2012 - 11:36

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Is anyone getting nervous about the combination of external-cam QRs, very small rotors and vertical fork dropouts?

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [364 posts]
7th March 2012 - 12:12

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I had some issues with my Tri-cross, running disc brakes with vertical drop-outs.

Issues such as the wheel falling out!

solution was simple - better QR skewers! and fresh pants!

Racer 074 for the 2014 Transcontinental Race; 2,000 miles from London to Istanbul.

http://themartincox.co.uk/2014/03/racer-074-transcontinental-race-2014/

posted by themartincox [319 posts]
7th March 2012 - 12:30

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Looks nice but the classic look of a road bike is being lost slightly I guess (IMHO).

It does open the question about the huge number of road bikes with rim brakes on sale and what will happen if the UCI 'allows' this technology.

I will open this up as a thread in the forum and see where it leads..............

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
7th March 2012 - 12:42

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From personal experience running R1s I think 140mm rotors would be plenty powerful for a road bike.

jezzzer's picture

posted by jezzzer [339 posts]
7th March 2012 - 12:58

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The actual braking force they generate isn't the issue. The problems are that for a given rate of retardation small rotors (a) heat up quicker and (b) apply more force on the axle at the dropout.

That means they're going to fade quicker on long descents, and with the caliper behind the left leg they're going to apply more downward force to the hub and QR.

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [364 posts]
7th March 2012 - 13:15

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Bez wrote:
The actual braking force they generate isn't the issue. The problems are that for a given rate of retardation small rotors (a) heat up quicker and (b) apply more force on the axle at the dropout.

That means they're going to fade quicker on long descents, and with the caliper behind the left leg they're going to apply more downward force to the hub and QR.

assuming you can do a QR up properly, there's no real reason to suspect you could pull your wheel out of the frame. especially if you have tabbed dropouts, which all bikes do these days. I've had plenty of MTBs and roadgoing bikes with discs and QRs with no issues at all

braking fade / heat dissipation is an issue and it's certainly true to say that not everyone's convinced about 140mm rotors on road bikes being effective enough dissipiators of heat. certainly you don't want something machined to within an inch of its life. you'd be better off with something like Shimano's ICE rotors which use an Aluminium core sandwiched between the steel braking surfaces to better conduct the heat away.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
7th March 2012 - 13:24

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140mm is an interesting choice. Of course they will be powerful enough, the issue is more whether they will cope with heat build up and provide adequate heat dissapation during longer descents. They wouldn't be showing this bike if the rotors hadn't been adequately tested, so i presume they are comfortable that the rotors will be fine.

I can't wait for discs to filter down to more affordable road bikes over the next few years. More reliable braking, better modulation and power, no wear to the rims - all sounds great.

Will be interesting to see how this works in terms of the aero impact.

posted by paulrattew [51 posts]
7th March 2012 - 13:27

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dave_atkinson wrote:
assuming you can do a QR up properly, there's no real reason to suspect you could pull your wheel out of the frame. especially if you have tabbed dropouts, which all bikes do these days. I've had plenty of MTBs and roadgoing bikes with discs and QRs with no issues at all

Same here - though I only ever use Shimano QRs. (And IME not everyone does do up QRs properly.) I suspect you're right and in reality it won't be a real issue.

That setup just smells a bit like the traditional road philosophy of "lighter is always better" and makes me wonder whether everyone will have done their homework in the rush to the impending mass appearance of discs on road bikes.

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [364 posts]
7th March 2012 - 13:57

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I can't recall reading this or other roadbike forums where people have complained about calliper brakes being inadequate. Is it a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist? I think so.

Honestly, I think the pros are laughing at the eagerness of MAMILs in parting with their hard-earned on something that will surely be seductively marketed but a completely over-engineered solution for sportives and the like.

I also think many pros will be nervous about their bike suppliers foisting disc brakes upon them. They might be useful on the Arenberg trench, Strade Bianche or on a 20km alpine descent but in terms of weight, wheel changes and the potential to brand oneself on a hot disc in a fall, I suspect there's no so much enthusiasm in the Peleton.

arrieredupeleton

posted by arrieredupeleton [536 posts]
7th March 2012 - 15:29

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arrieredupeleton wrote:
I can't recall reading this or other roadbike forums where people have complained about calliper brakes being inadequate. Is it a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist? I think so.

I think it is more of an issue for the pros. It is a problem on alpine descents, where rim brakes overheat and fade. It is also a problem with carbon fibre rims, which have worse modulation than aluminium braking surfaces. I think that's why we saw Geraint Thomas and Jens Voigt heading off corners into the greenery during the Tour de France last year.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1331 posts]
7th March 2012 - 16:46

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It's great too see a proper TT bike from them. Any ideas when they will be in use? Europcar are still riding the old bikes.

oh and despite all my preconceptions and snobbery...i love the look of the disk bike. I must be growing up! (hope not)

Benjamin Hall's picture

posted by Benjamin Hall [64 posts]
7th March 2012 - 16:58

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if my brakes get hot enough to brand myself on then that is going to be the least of my worries if I come off.

I doubt I'd have any skin left to brand!!

posted by mrchrispy [281 posts]
7th March 2012 - 18:00

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arrieredupeleton wrote:
I can't recall reading this or other roadbike forums where people have complained about calliper brakes being inadequate. Is it a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist? I think so.

You've obviously never been near a Clydesdale forum/thread. I'm 1.95m at 110kg, I will munt any current production rim brake you can think of. I have worn through rims in less than a third of their expected lifetime, had to pick metal remains out of brake pads, and wasn't even allowed near carbon rims because they would've delaminated in a heartbeat.

Then there's the fact that you can keep riding if you've dinged your rim when running discs, what you can't do with rim brakes. I'm sure there are many other reasons why some riders would prefer discs. Just because you are fine with something doesn't mean it is perfect for everyone else.

posted by Ciclismo [19 posts]
7th March 2012 - 21:03

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Bez wrote:
That setup just smells a bit like the traditional road philosophy of "lighter is always better" and makes me wonder whether everyone will have done their homework in the rush to the impending mass appearance of discs on road bikes.

Lighter may be better for getting you up hills, but if your brakes are more reliable and offer better modulation without heat fade (yes, I said "if..."), then heavier may be better for getting down the other side.

I can't remember which rider said something like "a race is won on the climbs and lost on the downhills"...

posted by Pierre [79 posts]
7th March 2012 - 21:14

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dave_atkinson wrote:

assuming you can do a QR up properly, there's no real reason to suspect you could pull your wheel out of the frame. especially if you have tabbed dropouts, which all bikes do these days. I've had plenty of MTBs and roadgoing bikes with discs and QRs with no issues at all

Well, there's quite a bit of info here:

http://www.ne.jp/asahi/julesandjames/home/disk_and_quick_release/

The key points:

1. The force created by a disc brake can fairly easily exceed the retention force required by the relevant ISO standard for a properly done up QR.

2. If the axle slips even a little bit, it will act to undo the QR a little bit, so over time you may find your QR undoing itself.

I've also used discs with QRs on MTBs and have never had a problem, presumably because all decent QRs exceed the ISO standard by a fair margin.

As has been pointed out, for a give rate of retardation, a smaller rotor increases the forces.

posted by pdw [28 posts]
7th March 2012 - 23:29

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that's an interesting read. could be an issue on those super quick wheel changes on non-tabbed dropouts in the heat of a race Thinking

Like you say, a decent QR will exceed the minimum engineering standard by a likely minimum of a factor of two. I wouldn't use a superlight QR on a disc-equipped MTB and that would apply to a road bike as well

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7252 posts]
8th March 2012 - 0:35

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Wouldn't forward-angled dropouts, like on Magura forks for example, help prevent the disc brake axle ejection problem? I'd guess if it has been efficiently overcome on forks designed for XC racing (small rotors, light weight, etc) there will be some transfer of tech to the road forks.

posted by Pierre [79 posts]
8th March 2012 - 1:18

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Amongst all the debate about braking/pivot forces pushing the wheel out, I haven't seen anyone mention the reason why I want discs.

I ride all year round, and the reality of doing this in the UK is that even when it's not raining, the road is damp, covered in mud etc. Braking on standard rim brakes creates an amazing amount of mess. This grey sludge drips off the rim brakes, it covers tyres, sprays on the frame and gets on your hands when trying to mend a puncture. The blocks themselves pick up all sorts of rubbish, shards of alloy from the rapidly decomposing rims, stones from the road etc.

This is the only justification I need for disc brakes and I welcome them with open arms. Bring it on.

My only reservation is lack of backward compatibility with my existing collection of wheels. But the only reason I have this collection is due to the weather and the effects mentioned above! I have a dry and wet set of wheels Crying

dodgy's picture

posted by dodgy [103 posts]
8th March 2012 - 10:27

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Not saying I agree with this but thought it might be of interest

http://www.bikerumor.com/2012/02/14/road-bike-disc-brakes-are-coming-but...

posted by Super Domestique [1592 posts]
8th March 2012 - 12:24

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dave_atkinson wrote:
I wouldn't use a superlight QR on a disc-equipped MTB and that would apply to a road bike as well

Sure - I wouldn't use a superlight QR on anything, but I'd have thought they're fairly common in the road world. And how many riders will be aware that disc brakes exert a very significant downward force on their axle?

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [364 posts]
8th March 2012 - 13:27

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arrieredupeleton wrote:
Is it a solution to a problem that doesn't really exist? I think so.

Filthy brake sludge: gone.
Rim wear: gone!
Need for added weight on rim walls: gone.
Debris in the pads: gone.
Having to remember the QR on the caliper when putting wheels in: gone.
Reduced performance in the wet: gone.
Mudguard/tyre clearance: improved.
Ability to instantly swap wheels with different rims: tick.

The first two are justification enough for the non-pro, IMO.

Bez's picture

posted by Bez [364 posts]
8th March 2012 - 13:36

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I have been dreaming about such breaks for 20 years and could have saved countless lives if introduced years ago.

Sports trophy Co's picture

posted by Sports trophy Co [2 posts]
8th March 2012 - 14:16

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ppf. What a bunch of worriers!
Disc brakes are the best thing since sliced bread (as they say!) 140mm will be more than enough for a cycle! Look at moped disc sizes,they are faster and heavier (all up weight of vehicle and rider)than a cycle.The advantages outweigh the weight penalty,(anyway most race bikes have to have weight added to be UCI legal!)
Obviously the manufacturers will test and redesign the frame and forks to avoid the torque forces trying to steer the fork to the left and ejecting the axle out of the dropouts.
As for overheating on long descents,the pad and disc materials will be designed appropriately and tested!
Correct downhill braking avoids overheating anyway!
If the pro's "dragged" brakes on constantly on a single tour descent they would melt a set of conventional brake blocks before reaching the bottom!!!
I think the Colnago C59 disc with Campagnolo electronic shifting has to be the ultimate all round road bike!
Have a great time all!

peasantpigfarmer

posted by peasantpigfarmer [46 posts]
17th March 2012 - 11:16

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