Colnago have just released details of their 2010 range and they've certainly come up with the goods. Amongst the highlights are a limited edition version of the Master X Light, a new fixed/singlespeed bike in a retro stylee, an updated version of the CLX, plus a new carbon cross frame, a new range of carbon road bikes and a new line entry level aluminium road bike. There's also what looks to be a flat bar street bike, the Freedom, which will be coming in to the UK for the first time.
Conduct a random poll of cyclists and it's a fair bet that the name Colnago will come time and again the Italian company has a rich racing heritage 55 years of it to be precise a fact that they celebrate in the 2010 range with a Ltd Edition version of the legendary steel the Master X Light.
Limited edition it may be, but there are plenty of sizes available, from 49cm right through to 65cm in one centimetre increments. Geometry varies from a parallel 75° in the smallest sizes right through to 72° - 75° in the largest sizes. No details as yet on price but the standard Master X Light frame made from DT15V steel will set you back £1549.95. This baby though will only be available as a complete bike sporting an 11 speed Campag Record groupset, some very snazzy looking Colnago branded deep section carbon rims, and a set of custom painted FSA Plasma carbon bars.
Either way we're pretty sure there will be no shortage of takers for what is a very classy looking combination of classic and modern.
The next eye-catcher in the 2010 range is also steel and has more of a retro flavour while being totally of the moment. It's a lugged steel fixed/singlespeed, the Super Singlespeed, again this one is only available as a complete bike £1399.95. Colnago describe the Super as vintage and Eighties inspired… they weren't that long ago surely!
The frame comes with horizontal dropouts and a flip/flop hub plus brown leather saddle and matching bar tape. The business end of things is handled by a Sugino 48 tooth crankset pushing and 18T cog. Most of the rest of the kit on board is Colnago own brand, but brakes are Tektro and the silver FSA Orbit X headset is a nice touch.
Next year isn't all about classic steel from Colnago though, in fact that bike that they are probably most excited about is a new carbon model, the Ace – which is Colnago's take on the carbon sportive bike. This is a full monocoque carbon compact affair (again it's only available as a complete bike) boasting a more upright postion, thanks to Colnago's Real-X geometry which essentially means they've made the head tube 20mm taller than on a standard Colnago to give a less aggressive postion “for a better riding experience”.
Available in a choice of eight different sizes from 42cm through to 58cm and two different colours: white or red. Front and rear mech plus levers are Campagnolo Veloce matched up to an FSA Gossamer MegaExo 50-34 compact chainset. Brakes and tyres are Colnago own brand but the wheels are Fulcrum R7s in other parts of the world the bike comes with Campag Khamsin wheels. Handlebars, stem and seatpost are all by FSA with the standout item being the very nice Wing Pro Compact bars. In the UK an Ace can be yours for £2199.95.
Slotting in just above the Ace in the Colnago range the CLX gets a new frame for 2010. The front end of the CLX is a carbon monocoque and it is this part of the bike that has been re-designed with the aim of producing a lighter, stiffer frame than the 09 version. The distinctive curved top tube and external ribs, for added stiffness and strength, remain the difference are mainly on the inside of the frame and around the areas of high stress.
Colnago claim a frame weight of 1100g for the 52cm (the comparable Ace is 1200g) and while that is not earth-shatteringly light to their credit have never gone down the ultra-lightweight route preferring to concentrate on producing durable frames that will handle well, while we were impressed with the 09 model we did think it lacked just that last little spark in the handling department that sets a really good top end bike apart from a great one. Maybe the new frame will make the difference – we look forward to finding out.
Available in a range of 8 sizes from 42 through to 59. In the UK the CLX will come with a mainly Shimano Ultegra 6700 build (all of the drivetrain and controls except for the chainset which is FSA's Team Issue Mega Exo Compact), wheels are Fulcrum Racing 5s with Vittoria Rubino tyres (we'd probably swap them off immediately). FSA supply the handlebars and stem with the aero seatpost full carbon fork and brakes coming from Colnago.
There's quite a change in the spec over the 09 model and a significant drop in price too £2599.95 – last year's Ultegra equipped version was £300 more expensive and that was with old Ultegra, if you went for the Campag Centaur option it was about £400 more. This year if you want the complete bike it's got to be Ultegra 6700 or nowt – we'd have no complaints there. Wheels are different too, last year's CLX sported an FSA wheelset in the UK, it also came with FSA's Wing Pro Compact 'bars which are replaced with a more conventional, and dare we say it, probably cheaper offering from FSA.
Hats off though to what looks to be some very clever component speccing which enables Colnago to reduce the price while revamping the frame particularly as the fork and seatpost remain the same top quality items as on the previous model and most people who've ridden it would regard Ultegra 6700 as a significant upgrade.
The Prima is another new bike in the Colnago range, it's their new entry level machine – this being Colnago though entry level means you'll get 5p change from a £1,000. Hmm… a price that brings it just inside the taxman's limit for the UK's Cycle to Work initiative… Colnago haven't managed 55 successful years in the bike industry without being able to spot a trend (as the Super Singlespeed also testifies). What you get for your money is a 6000 series aluminium frame, built in Taiwan, designed in Italy – not a bad combo in our book – featuring a round top tube and a downtube that changes from a round section at the head tube to a flatter, wider section at the bottom bracket – the idea being to give strength and rigidity where it's needed most.
The back end is aluminium too so you would expect a fairly stiff ride, although those leaf section rear stays should add a bit of vertical twang to proceedings and the semi-compact frame should let you run a reasonable length of exposed seat post to add a bit more.
It may be a nudge under a grand but the finishing kit, or at least important elements of it are fairly entry level – the front and rear mechs plus the levers are Shimano Tiagra, something that is appearing higher up the ranges on premium brand bikes than it once did, but even so more the sort of kit you would expect to find on a bike costing closer to £600. Colnago supply own brand wheels, tyres, brakes and saddle while FSA are responsible for the handlebars, stem, seatpost, and the chainset.
The Prima is available in 8 sizes (from 42cm through to 58cm) and one colour (silver).
Developed with the help of former cyclo-cross world champion, Sven Nys the Cross Prestige is another new bike in the lineup for 2010. This all carbon crosser features a monocoque front triangle mated to a lugged rear end – a set up that Colnago seem to favour for many of their carbon models, the only full carbon monocoque in their road line-up is the entry level Ace and the further up the range you go the more lugged carbon comes to the fore, the top end Italian made bikes are all lugged. It would be interesting to know if this is because Colnago see lugged carbon as having inherent performance advantages or it's simply that Giant, who make their Taiwanese bikes, are so good at building monocoque frames? We've certainly heard tales of at least one major manufacturer (not Colnago) that outsourced its second string carbon bikes to Taiwan and had to send a container load back when they turned up lighter than the range toppers built in their own factory… but back to the Cross Prestige.
The front end is made from High Modulus Carbon and features similar polygonal tube section on the top and down tubes to the road-going CX1 (Colnago's stiffest frame) the B section rear stays also share similarly stiff and chunky profile to those of the CX1. Colnago do a lot of stress testing of their frames and that has been put to good use on the Cross Prestige with tube profiles designed to add strength to the areas of maximum stress. That's not what the little curved section of tubing between the top and down tube is all about though, that's to make the bike easier to carry during race transitions.
The Prestige Cross is available in six sizes from 50 - 60cm as a frameset including fork and headset for £1799.95.
Not new, but worth a mention is Colnago's other cross bike, the World Cup. This is an altogether less high tech bit of kit than the Prestige, tubes are round and it comes with a traditional 11/8 headset rather than one of Colnago's semi-integrated jobs, but it does look like the sort of bike that would be a great all-rounder serving as a both a good starter bike for having a stab at cyclo-cross and the sort of bike you could ride every day. The only drawback might be the £1299.95 price tag.
Although it has to be said your money buys a sound mix of Shimano 105 and FSA kit with Shimano supplying all the wheels, levers and all of the drive train except the crankset which is FSA's Omega MegaExo Compact, and FSA supplying all of the finishing kit except for the saddle which is Colnago own brand. The tyres are Vittoria's Cross XG Pros.
The all new Pista offers a full-on fixed experience in a much more contemporary form than the Super Singlespeed. This is not a bike designed for the street it is a pure track machine: no brakes no flip flop hubs, it's made from 6000 series heat treated aluminium which has also been reinforced for extra rigidity and power transfer. According to Colnago the chunky looking down tube has been aerodynamically optimised for the track it also comes with one of Colnago's C-HS2 integrated headsets and a carbon fork. Price in the UK will be £1299.95.
Another model to get a full makeover for 2010 is the Arte, Colnago's top line aluminium bike which gets a completely new frame in hydroformed 6000 series aluminium. According to Colnago the Arte's top and down tubes are the same shape – the seat tube is different though and takes a round post rather then the CLX's aero version. So you could say that the Arte is the CLX design realised in metal rather than carbon, well, apart from the rear triangle which is carbon… in fact we're guessing that it is probably the same as the CLX back end.
Where the CLX has external carbon ribs for extra rigidity the Arte has longitudinal indents but they do look very similar – they've even got the same Fulcrum R7 wheels. We'd definitely like to compare the ride characteristics of both – that aluminium front end may be heavier than the CLX's but then it is certainly going to be stiff and efficienct while the carbon rear end should offer the same levels of power transfer and rider comfort, Colnago reckon it also boost braking performance… interesting.
The other big difference over the CLX is that the Arte comes with Shimano 105 where the CLX has Ultegra 6700, oh, and it's a grand cheaper at £1599.95. The rest of the finishing kit is the same mix of FSA and Colnago but down a rung in the pecking orders an FSA seat post instead of the aero Colnago one on the CLX, the fork is Colnago's Street Carbon which is also used on the new Prima.
The Arte comes in 8 sizes from 42 through to 58.
Not new in the Colnago range, but new to the UK for 2010 is the Freedom, Colnago bill this as a trekking bike but it looks more like a flat barred road bike to us. Prices and spec are yet to be confirmed for the UK, but it is likely to come in at a nudge under £1,000. As is the Freedom comes with a mix of Shimano Alivio parts and Shimano Deore MTB components – they may be swapped out for Shimano's 105 road groupset in the UK. The frame is a compact design in aluminium – we're guessing 6000 series matched up to a carbon/alloy fork shod with Shimano WH-RS10 wheels. All of which should be more than capable of handling whatever city streets can throw at it. We look forward to getting one in for test.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.