Colnago has officially launched the V4Rs road bike – which has been ridden by UAE Team Emirates pros, including Tadej Pogacar, over the summer – calling this its ‘fastest monocoque frame ever’ (let’s be honest, a new bike has never been launched with the claim that it’s the brand’s third or fourth fastest ever).
Colnago says that the V4Rs has been “conceived as a fully-integrated system”, designed with both aerodynamics and a light weight in mind. This is the bike that Colnago had previously been calling the Prototipo – the Italian word for prototype.
“The V4Rs has been designed as an integrated system – as a complete bicycle in a “ready-to-race” configuration,” says Colnago. “The technical work focused on reducing the impact of the frontal area, basically the head tube, and the consequent better integration with the fork crown.
“While being compatible with third-party components, V4Rs has been conceived to offer the best aerodynamic performance in combination with the Colnago CC.01 handlebar which is also enriched with a 3D printed support, currently compatible with Wahoo Bolt V2, able to guarantee a further saving of 0.75 watts at 50km/h [31mph].”
Colnago says that the new cockpit CC.01 “has a drag surface reduced by up to 16% compared to the cockpits mounted on V3Rs, and at the same time the shape has been designed as a NACA-derived profile in order to have the minimum impact on the airflow, which is laminar and clean while impacting the components”. It is also said to be as stiff as previously.
The fork has been designed to offer space for tyres up to 32mm wide. Although the upper headset bearing is larger than that of the Colnago’s previous V3Rs, allowing the cables to run internally without the need for a D-shaped steerer tube, the overall shape is said to offer lower drag.
Using a weighted average drag (the sum of power at different yaw angles, weighted by the probability of occurring in such a condition), Colnago says that with the same wheels fitted and using a head unit and support, the V4Rs will save the equivalent of 17.5 watts over the V3Rs at a speed of 50km/h and a rider cadence of 90rpm (in other words, you could achieve that speed while putting out 17.5 watts less).
Colnago says it has been able to reduce the weight of the overall module (frame, fork, headset and handlebar) by 47g compared with the previous V3Rs (with Colnago Sr9 stem and Colnago Hbr41 handlebar + headset). It’s down from 1,715g to 1,668g
The frame weight has actually increased slightly from 795g to 798g but that is more than offset by a decrease in fork weight from 390g to 375g.
These figures are based on a size 50 V3Rs (with a stack of 542mm and a reach of 382mm) and a size 48.5 V4Rs (with a stack of 539mm and a reach of 383mm).
Colnago developed its own stiffness measurement system which it calls ‘Real-Dynamic Stiffness’, and used this to compare prototypes in the development of the R4Rs.
“During riding, a bicycle is subjected to several different loads, acting on the whole bicycle at the same time. To replicate and measure in indoor testing procedures able to stress the frame in many of these conditions simultaneously, our engineers needed to develop internal testing methodologies to take into account both static and dynamic, and both flexural and torsional loads,” Colnago says.
“[To mimic riding in the sprint condition], a combination of loads is applied both on the handlebar and on the bottom bracket, with both components laying on the front triangle plane and normal to the frame plane, aimed to simulate the flexural and torsional stresses at oscillating cambers.
“To mimic riding in the seated position condition], loads are applied only on the same plane of the front triangle to replicate all-round riding.”
According to these self-developed tests, the V4Rs is 4% stiffer than the V3Rs in the sprint position and 5% stiffer in the seated position.
This result has been achieved thanks to the innovative carbon fibre lamination featured on the V4Rs,” says Colnago. “For the ultimate racing machine, many different layups featuring as many different stiffness matrices, have been developed, tested and validated for professional use.
“The final call was given to the riders themselves, who were provided [with the bike] for the most complete and stressful competition of the year (Tour de France 2022) with ‘Prototypes’ with the most promising layups [the arrangement of the layers of carbon fibre), in order to bring the bicycle to real limit conditions (on cobblestones, in sprints, on climbs and downhills) and provide data and feedback to our engineers.”
Bike brands are forever saying that the teams they sponsor have been involved in the development of products and sometimes these claims are more plausible than others. The fact that we’ve seen UAE Team Emirates riding the Prototipo for months adds credibility here.
Colnago has developed a new geometry for the V4Rs.
“The geometry (especially reach and stack) has been revised to have even more balanced performance in all the different sizes with respect to the V3Rs,” it says.
“For the V4Rs the relationship between seat tube length and reach [between the different sizes] is almost linear, which means easier and more precise size selection and more possibilities of position tuning for each rider.
Furthermore, the stack/reach ratio has been optimised and harmonised among all the sizes, and the chainstay length has been reduced. This geometry affords a better balance, power transfer and the same race feeling for all the sizes.”
The 510 size, for example, with a 550mm effective top tube, has a stack of 557mm and a reach of 388mm, giving a stack/reach of 1.44. The chainstays are 408mm.
Colnago is also keen to emphasise the robustness of the V4Rs, which is something that brands don’t usually tend to dwell on with their road race bikes.
“[Compared with the V3Rs, the new V4Rs significantly improves the crash worth of the most exposed parts which may be subjected to impact in racing conditions.
“An example is given by the completely new designed seatstays which, besides their more aerodynamic shape, also significantly improve the flexural and impact resistance.
“The robustness of this design also minimises the need of maintenance in, for example, the new headset, fully provided by Ceramic Speed, which uses SLT technology with unique solid polymer and stainless-steel components to ‘remedy two of the most common causes behind bearing failure: the absence of lubrication and grease contamination through dirt ingress’.”
We don’t yet have complete UK prices but, as an indication, the Colnago V4Rs built up with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 groupset (with power meter), ENVE 3.4 wheels, Colnago CC.01 integrated handlebar, Prologo Scratch M5 Nack saddle, and Continental GP5000 tyres) is priced at €15,260 (around £13,100).
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Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.
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