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The Colnago C68 is not only a stunning bike to look at, it's also stunning to ride. Colnago describes it as the pinnacle of its craftsmanship. The geometry is a balance of endurance and race, with certain parts of the frame feeling pro peloton, others more Sunday club run – in a good way. This is probably as close to a race bike as a non-racer wants. In a nutshell, it's incredibly expensive but also incredibly brilliant to ride.
Don't have £15K to spend on a new ride? Check out our guide to the best road bikes, from £300...
A few months back I reviewed Colnago's V4RS and loved riding it. Considering its success in the pro peloton, its geometry kind of goes against the norm – it had stunning handling and comfort, but it wasn't as racy as I was expecting considering what it does for a day job.
That was the beauty of it, though, it was so easy to live with. Much easier to tame than many top-flight race bikes.
Colnago obviously has its own way of doing things, and the C68 is no different. In fact it has exactly the same geometry as the V4RS.
Looking at the setup we have here, with the slammed stem and deep-section wheels, this C68 looks aggressive and purposeful. And twitchy. As though it's going to need to be ridden on the rivet to get the best out of it.
That is so far from the truth. Don't get me wrong, smash the pedals round and this bike is going to impress – the frame is unbelievably stiff everywhere it needs to be, and at just over 7.5kg it feels light and nimble too.
The steep seat tube also puts you in a forward position to open your legs up and let you get the power down, and when you are out of the saddle you can feel the efficiency through the rear end of the frame, driving that power through the rear wheel.
The front end is quite the contrast, though. The head angle is nudging the numbers I'd expect to see on a gravel bike, and the whole steering feel is much less frantic than you would expect it to be.
It doesn't affect the handling overly so. It's still a quick bike through the bends – competently so – with direct steering and a precise turn in.
The stiff fork cancels out any understeer, which means you can carry plenty of speed through the corners, and the whole setup feels very stable. And that's the key; by subduing the steering just a touch Colnago has made the C68 a well-balanced bike, which gives security and confidence on a technical descent.
I can see the C68 being a great sportive machine, and I mean the sportives of Italy which, if you've ever ridden one, you'll know are very competitive – they're amateur races in all but name. The Colnago is going to give you the confidence in the middle of the pack and on the descents, while also providing the performance and easy-to-live-with nature required for big mile rides.
In terms of comfort the C68 does well. It's still a very firm road bike, but the carbon layup and construction minimise harshness. I'd say it feels a little smoother than the V4RS, but we are talking very marginally here.
Overall, the C68 is a stunning bike to ride, both in terms of how it behaves and the ride feel. There is an impressive level of refinement in the ride quality, even on poor UK roads.
Colnago is keen to point out that the number of parts used in this handbuilt-in-Italy frame is the same as the C64; it's built in a different way, with many sections being created in one piece.
This has allowed Colnago to increase stiffness in some areas, like the top of the down tube where it meets the head tube, for instance, and the bottom bracket shell as it is now part of the seat tube.
I prefer the look of the C68 over the C64. This new smooth design where the sections meet looks much more modern, although Colnago has managed to keep some joins noticeable, like where the seat tube meets the top tube, and I do love the split head tube design.
Colnago is also offering the C68 frame with a 3D printed titanium head tube (upper) and seat tube/top tube clusters.
It's not the lightest. The frame is claimed to weigh around 925g for a size 485 with a 535mm top tube (935g if you go for the titanium model). The next size up V4RS, for instance, is a claimed 798g.
Like many other road bikes now, the C68 has all of its wires and hoses running internally, through the handlebar, headset and head tube so that you don't see them at all. It results in a very clean-looking machine.
The fork has been completely redesigned as well, with Colnago getting rid of the previous TFS D-shape with internal ribbing, returning to a standard 1 1/8in steerer tube.
For the bottom bracket it has adopted the T47 standard, something a lot of brands are doing these days. It allows the use of the oversized dimensions of a press-fit system while retaining the threaded nature of attaching the bearing cups to the frame; the idea is that you can still get the performance gains without having to rely on tight tolerancing between the frame and bearing cup, to avoid creaking from a poor fit or water/dirt ingress.
Looking at the geometry, the C68 is available in seven sizes, with the average stack to reach ratio being around 1.43, which highlights the C68's performance intentions. An endurance style bike is around the 1.5 to 1.55 mark.
This 510 size (which relates to the seat tube measurement) has a 550mm top tube and a 148mm head tube. Its stack and reach figures are 557mm and 388mm respectively.
The seat angle is 74 degrees, while the head angle is a much slacker 71.8 degrees.
The C68 is, as you'd expect, only available in top-end builds or as a frameset. Ours came with Campagnolo's Super Record EPS groupset for a cool £14,995, while other options are SRAM Red eTap AXS, and Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and Ultegra Di2.
The groupset we have here isn't the latest wireless version of Super Record EPS (which we have a review of in the next couple of weeks), but it is very good nonetheless.
Whereas the new version has done away with the thumbshifter, these SR levers still have them, so you get that traditional Campagnolo feel to the ergonomics. I am a massive fan of the hood shape of Campag's levers too.
As a groupset the performance is great, with crisp, quick shifting up and down the cassette and across the chainrings.
Campagnolo has done a great job of maintaining the feel of its mechanical levers too. Whereas Shimano and SRAM's electronic levers have a very lightweight feel to the gear changes (as their mechanical setups do), Campag EPS still has that reassuring clunk as you drop the chain down the sprockets.
The braking performance is very good, and I do think that the callipers and rotors look a bit more sculpted than the other two brands.
With the amount of carbon used in its construction, Super Record does look very high end, and its red and white logos blend well with the paintwork of the C68.
For the cockpit, the C68 comes with Colnago's CC.01 integrated carbon fibre handlebar which is a monocoque design, the bar and stem all one piece. It's smart looking, has impressive stiffness even when you are yanking it hard from side to side when sprinting or climbing, and brings an aero advantage.
Hidden underneath the stem cap you'll also find a multi-tool, which is pretty cool.
The seatpost is full carbon fibre and has a slight aero shape to it rather than being completely round. I like the Colnago logo on it, another classy touch.
Saddle-wise Colnago has fitted a Prologo Scratch M5 Ti, which has titanium rails. I like Prologo's saddles, and have ridden loads of them over the years; the shape suits me, and I like the firm padding – I'm not a fan of anything too squishy.
With a Super Record groupset there isn't really any other option than Campagnolo's Bora WTO wheelset if you want aero and to keep that complete groupset look.
At 45mm deep and an amazing 1,420g in weight, they give you a speed boost while also not hampering you on the climbs. Check out our review of them for the full details.
Across all of the builds Colnago has specced Pirelli's P-Zero Race TLR tyres, and I'd say that is a good shout. They'll be expensive to replace (or probably not for someone blowing £15k on a bike), but the performance and fun you'll have out of them while they're wearing out will be worth it, and their rolling resistance and grip will allow you to exploit the characteristics of the C68.
It'll come as no surprise that Colnago can price its bikes higher than most because of the badge and the company's heritage. Branding and perceived image are very powerful, and while I'm more of a value-for-money kind of consumer, balanced with quality, performance and so on, if you can get away with it, then why not?
I'm not saying that the C68 isn't a high-end product either, it definitely is. In terms of the overall quality and finish it's excellent. It's just that you can get similar weight, stiffness and performance elsewhere for less.
Even against other Italian superbikes.
The Pinarello Dogma F that Aaron reviewed recently is probably closer in genre to the V4RS, but it is still a top-of-the-range machine with a Super Record EPS groupset and Campag Hyperon wheels, yet it 'only' costs £12,400.
And Basso's Diamante Disc with Super Record Wireless and Campag Shamal Carbon wheels is a relative snip at £9,999.
We actually have one of these in for review at the moment (with Ultegra Di2), so keep your eye out for that one.
Is it worth £15k? Well, that's up to you to decide. Money aside, this is a stunning bike to ride; everything about the ride quality, the geometry, and the handling is spot on. It has character about it which can be hard to create in a carbon frameset.
On top of all that, it is a beauty. This latest design has brought Colnago's C series bang up to date.
Stunning looks, build quality and ride characteristics, for a premium price
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Colnago C68 Super Record
Size tested: 510
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Cassette: Campagnolo Super Record, 11/29T
Shifter: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
Bottom Bracket: T47
Crankset: Campagnolo Super Record Carbon (52/36T)
Brakes: Campagnolo Super Record EPS
Wheels: Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 45
Seat post: Colnago C68
Saddle: Prologo Scrath M5 Ti
Bar Tape: Colnago Grip
Handlebar: Colnago CC.01
Stem: Colnago CC.01
Headset: Ceramic Speed SLT
Tyres: Pirelli PZero Race
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Colnago says, "The new pinnacle of Italian bicycle craftsmanship"
It is stunningly made and very impressive in terms of ride quality and performance.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
Colnago lists a few builds on its website: Shimano Ultegra Di2 and Dura-Ace Di2, SRAM Red eTap, and this Campagnolo Super Record EPS.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The build quality and finish are exceptional.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
The frame and fork are full carbon fibre, although Colnago doesn't divulge the grade of the carbon itself, like some brands do.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
The geometry is a blend of race and endurance. You get quite an aggressive pedalling position and low front end, but the handling speed is backed off a touch compared to a full race bike.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
The stack and reach figures are fairly typical for this style of bike at a ratio of around 1.43.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
It's a firm, stiff bike, but the ride quality is such that it doesn't feel harsh or uncomfortable.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
Stiffness is impressive throughout the C68.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Thanks to the stiffness and the weight, the C68 feels very efficient.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? On the quick side of neutral.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
For a bike of this style the handling isn't as quick or twitchy as you'd expect, and by backing things off a touch Colnago has created a bike that can be ridden fast through the bends without it being a handful.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
The Prologo saddle has a shape that I like and the minimal padding means I didn't find it too soft which can cause pressure points.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?
The Bora wheels are very stiff for hard efforts.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?
The Bora wheels bring an aero bonus and you can keep the speed high in the bends thanks to the grippiness of the Pirelli tyres.
Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?
An impressive feeling groupset in terms of shifting and braking performance, and it's great that Campag has managed to maintain its traditional mechanical shift feeling in this electronic version.
Wheels and tyres
Tell us some more about the wheels.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels? If so what for?
Incredibly light, stiff, and with great aero gains.
Tell us some more about the tyres. Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the tyres? If so what for?
Loads of grip and low rolling resistance which suits the C68's characteristics.
Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?
The handlebar is great in terms of hand positions and comfort, although you are limited to specific width/stem lengths dictated by Colnago.
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? Yes, if money was no object.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You are paying a premium price here, even against other Italian superbikes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
If money is no object then you'll probably score the C68 higher than the 8 I've rated it, but I have to take that into account. Is it three grand better than a top-end Specialized SL8?
Price aside, though, this is one of the best all-round road bikes I have ridden.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!