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Tapei show: Colnago launch C59 Disc road bike

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

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 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.

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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