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TECH NEWS

Colnago introduces C68 Gravel bike “for uncompromisingly stylish humans”

New made-in-Italy model uses a tube and lug construction and has space for 42mm tyres – but are you stylish enough to own one?

Colnago has added a new C68 gravel bike to its C Series lineup. The new gravel machine takes things a step further into the chunky gravel territory than the C68 Allroad model the brand released last year and adds another gravel bike to sit alongside the race gravel bike model G3-X

And with that gravel race bike already existing in its ranks, with the C68 Gravel Colnago is trying to establish that although the new gravel bike is premium and well, performance-oriented, the whole 68 series is really aimed at "a certain type of rider" - not necessarily a racer. The Italian brand has actually defined the C-Series rider as "the uncompromisingly stylish human being". So if you're stylish, then this new C68 Gravel is certainly one to complete the look. 

2024 Colnago C68 Gravel front

The C-series bikes are still handmade in Italy, and represent the cream of the crop, according to Colnago. The new C68 Gravel is no exception to this, and Colnago goes as far as saying: "It's more than a mere bicycle; it's a true, powerful work of art, seamlessly continuing the legacy of excellence, beauty and performance embodied by our esteemed C Series bicycles."

Blimey! Right, and now we take off the rose-tinted Asso di Fiori glasses… 

Though the C68 gravel is new to the premium lineup, it's still built using a modular carbon frame design, featuring tubes and lugs sanded and glued together instead of opting for a monocoque construction. This results in a more sleek look and better ride quality, according to Colnago. 

2024 Colnago C68 Gravel seatube

Though the C68 Gravel stays true to the rest of the Colnago C-series aesthetics, its geometry has been optimised for rowdier gravel riding and terrain. Though, despite this being a gravel bike, Colnago has kept the mounting points to a minimum and only added an extra pair to the top tube for a bag.

In terms of fit, the C68 Gravel comes with a longer reach and higher stack than the C68 Road, and also differs from the Allroad in a similar way. Colnago says the geo offers "an optimal handling and setting, perfectly poised for challenging landscapes, while maintaining an overall aggressive setting".

Take what you want from that – it's perhaps easier to compare the differences from the geometry numbers. That, however, isn't as straightforward as it could be as the C68 comes in five sizes: 450, 480, 510, 540 and 570 – and these are slightly different to the seven sizes offered for the C68 Road and C68 Allroad. 

But if we take the size 550 C68 AllRoad and compare it to the C68 Gravel, the latter has a 2mm taller stack and 15mm longer reach figure. The Gravel also has a very slightly slacker seat tube angle of 73.2° and a two-degree slacker head tube angle of 70.5° compared to the Allroad. 

Colnago C68 Gravel geometry

Compared to the brand's existing G3-X gravel race bike, the C68 Gravel has an increased stack-to-reach ratio (which should allow for a shorter stem to be used for "more control") and the overall wheelbase is longer for increased stability. 

Where the C68 Gravel does take things further from the C68 Allroad model is in tyre clearance. The C68 Gravel boasts a tyre clearance of up to 42mm,  in line with most modern performance-oriented gravel bikes, and plenty more than the 35mm on the Allroad. 

2024 Colnago C68 Gravel cockpit handlebar

The C68 Gravel also comes with an all-new Colnago CC.01 Wide one-piece, integrated cockpit. Colnago says you could swap this to another configuration as long as the system is disc brake and internal cable routing compatible. The CC.01 Wide handlebar comes with more flare than the previous Colnago CC.01, and has a 72.5mm reach and 120mm drop measurements. There is only one width available: 40cm (46cm on the drops) but there are five stem lengths to choose from, ranging from 80mm to 120mm. 

COLNAGO-C68-GRAVEL-CHIARA-REDASCHI-69 gravel riding

Colnago C68 Gravel models and pricing

The new C68 Gravel will be available in three builds, or you can get a frameset for £5,269. All of the builds come in 1x configurations, with the new CC.01 Wide handlebar and Pirelli Cinturato Gravel H gravel tyres, and they're available in two colours: green and black. Colnago has confirmed the bikes could also take a 2x setup, just as long as it's electronic. 

Colnago C68 Gravel with Shimano GRX 820 - £6,899.95

  • Shimano GRX 820 drivetrain with 1x42 crankset and Deore 12-speed 11-52 cassette
  • Fulcrum Rapid Red 900 wheelset
  • Prologo Dimension T4.0 saddle

Colnago C68 Gravel with SRAM Force XPLR ETAP - £8,099.95

  • Fulcrum Rapid Red 500 wheelset
  • SRAM Force XPLR ETAP drivetrain with 1x40 crankset and XG 10-44 cassette
  • Prologo Dimension NDR T4.0 saddle

Colnago C68 Gravel with SRAM Red XPLR ETAP - £11,099.99

  • ZIPP 303S wheelset
  • SRAM Red XPLR ETAP drivetrain with 1x40 crankset and XG 10-44 cassette
  • Selle Italia Regal Short Open Fit CRB saddle

Colnago is also using some new non-cycling technology with the C68 Gravel, as every bike will come equipped with an NFC tag linked to a digital passport stored in the blockchain. This will allow you to access information about your bikes, ensuring authenticity, ownership certification, and technical specifications without the need for any paper certificates.

The Colnago C68 Gravel is available now, and you can find out more about it on Colnago's website

2024 Colnago C68 Gravel downtube

 

Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops. 

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27 comments

Avatar
don simon fbpe | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Perfect for preening cocks!

Avatar
Nick T | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

Looks like any other gravel frame ever made, dull as green dishwater. And it's not lugged, I wish they'd stop saying that. These are lugs, and this doesn't have them

Avatar
Sredlums replied to Nick T | 3 weeks ago
7 likes

Or, you know, you could just say you like the traditional type of lugs better.
There's no shame in preferring old stuff - heck, I still happily ride my 1994 mtb.

Just like Giant's Cadex frames in the nineties, and Alan and Vitus and many more brands, these Colnago's definately use lugs. It's what the tubes are connected to, instead of direct tube to tube connections or monoque constructions.
Tthat they made some of the tube-to-lugs connections invisible doesn't change that, neither does the fact that you don't like it.

Avatar
Wingguy replied to Sredlums | 3 weeks ago
1 like

Indeed, they are lugs. They're different lugs and not as many, but lugs they are. I do understand the feeling though - when the C68R launched it was a shock to see such a departure from the C-series visual DNA... but actually I love it now. It's a sleek, clean bike and it still stands out.

Now, whisper it but with the extra styling of the downtube on this one vs the Road versions you could aaaallllllmost pretend they're bringing a bit of the cloverleaf tube shape back.

Avatar
Nick T replied to Sredlums | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

No, a lug is a coupling device between 2 or more parts. These are carbon lugs that they used to make for the C60 and C59

Avatar
Nick T replied to Nick T | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

the C68 tubes join directly together, they do not need to be "lugged"

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to Nick T | 3 weeks ago
2 likes
Nick T wrote:

the C68 tubes join directly together, they do not need to be "lugged"

Dude.  You can literally see them in that picture.  Look at the seat stay stubs.  Internal lugs are a thing - especially with carbon.

Trek were one of the pioneers when the OCLV tubes came along.

https://www.trekbikes.com/gb/en_GB/inside_trek/oclv_carbon/

Avatar
Nick T replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 weeks ago
1 like

Dude, a tube sliding over a tube isn't a lug, it is, quite literally, tube to tube. They have coupled, but not with a lug providing the interface. This isn't complicated, it's how most so-called monocoque frames are constructed; the front and rear triangles are formed separately and joined afterwards. No one ever called this a lugged frame, adding more joints doesn't change that

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Nick T | 3 weeks ago
4 likes

From the CilciCorsa website: "The C68 is still built by hand and with a lugged construction, but the Cambiago technicians have revolutionized the fabrication process. Now some important lugs remain hidden, flush, without any noticeable grafts, offering a more minimalist appearance in line with the current style." It really does have lugs, just because they are designed flush doesn't mean that they are not there.

Avatar
Nick T replied to Rendel Harris | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

The term lugs has been used as a marketing tool in this instance, just because a press release says it doesn't make it true. The Colnagoworld video describing the glue used to bond it as the same used in aeroplane wings that "take off at 1000km per hour", that's not true either. They say lots of things to make a product sound better

Avatar
quiff replied to Nick T | 3 weeks ago
1 like

From the image above, it looks like there is one lug as traditionally understood - to join the seat tube and top tube. Talking about the rest as lugged construction seems to me to be an appeal to their heritage rather than an accurate description of how the frame is made. However, I believe they offer optional 3D printed titanium lugs for full custom geometry.  

Avatar
Nick T replied to quiff | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

I'd agree that the seat clamp piece is the only lug on the frame and any use of the term is designed entirely to associate this frame to their C series heritage. It appears to have worked, in any case. There's nothing particularly wrong with this modular approach to moulding component parts, the only real benefit to their traditional lugs was the ability to offer dozens of frame sizes compared to monocoques. This one suffers from the increased weight from reinforcing multiple joins while only coming in limited size options

Avatar
festina replied to Nick T | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

If a monocoque is made of more than one part does it become a polycoque?

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to Nick T | 3 weeks ago
0 likes
Nick T wrote:

No one ever called this a lugged frame, adding more joints doesn't change that

 

No-one ever except a tiny little company called Trek? 🤔

Avatar
Wingguy replied to Nick T | 3 weeks ago
0 likes
Nick T wrote:

No, a lug is a coupling device between 2 or more parts. These are carbon lugs that they used to make for the C60 and C59

Ok, by your strict definition, the C64 had one lug (the BB) and the C68 has one lug (the ST/TT junction). Are neither of them actually lugged?

Avatar
Glov Zaroff replied to Nick T | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

Does posting this shite give you some sort of sad pleasure? Weirdo. 

Avatar
Nick T replied to Glov Zaroff | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

I get my sad pleasure from you reading my shite, but you did indeed read it so who's got the problem here?

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Nick T replied to Glov Zaroff | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

Oh god, I've been posting about bicycle tech on the tech news section of a bicycle website, I've been such a fool. I'm so embarrassed, thank you for your input Glov, been a real fucking Saint here

Avatar
NOtotheEU replied to Glov Zaroff | 3 weeks ago
4 likes
Glov Zaroff wrote:

Does posting this shite give you some sort of sad pleasure? Weirdo. 

That's a bit strong isn't it?

Anyway, what's your take on wing mirrors and floating discs?

Avatar
andystow | 3 weeks ago
6 likes

I think something more like this Rivendell is a gravel bike “for uncompromisingly stylish humans”. I'll also allow a Crust.

Avatar
Steve K | 3 weeks ago
3 likes

I might be.  One of my friends has a weird obsession that I am incredibly stylish and well turned out.

The illusion is rather ruined by how funny Mrs K finds this.

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 3 weeks ago
5 likes
Quote:

Colnago introduces C68 Gravel bike “for uncompromisingly stylish humans”

Which at least deals with the common misconception that they may have been producing bicycles for uncompromisingly stylish porpoises or moose.

Avatar
marmotte27 | 3 weeks ago
5 likes

Looks like any nondescript carbon gravel/allroad/whatever bike.
Is this bike stylish enough for me? No way!

Avatar
Wingguy | 3 weeks ago
1 like

"In terms of fit, the C68 Gravel comes with a shorter reach and higher stack than the C68 Road, as you'd expect"

That's not true. If you go by the size of bike a person is intended to ride (eg a 510 vs a 510) the C68 Gravel is both significantly taller and significantly longer. This is in line with the gravel trend of achieving longer front centre measurements by getting to the same bar reach using a longer frame and shorter stem.

Interestingly if you you do try and compare the sizes by using the ones with the closest stack and reach measurements, the S/R ratio of the C68G and C68R are almost identical. As said though, this is misleading because gravel bikes like this are 'supposed' to be setup with higher bars and shorter stems.

Avatar
Suvi Loponen replied to Wingguy | 3 weeks ago
2 likes

You're absolutely right here, it should have said longer reach and taller stack, which has been corrected. Cheers! 

Avatar
Mamil1 | 3 weeks ago
1 like

No Ekar?

Avatar
Glov Zaroff replied to Mamil1 | 3 weeks ago
0 likes

Most folk who buy Colnago buy the frame (myself included) so who cares what they offer as a full build. 

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