Colnago Concept road bike

A head-turning stunner from the Italian marque, which packs in plenty of substance too

When we look at a bike on RCUK, we’re usually interested in the frame, the fork, the drivetrain and so on – all the things that make you as a rider faster or more comfortable. This one’s different, though, because… well, just look at it. That paintjob.

Finished ogling? Good.

The paintjob is what Colnago call ‘art deco’, and we think it’s one of the most striking licks of colour we’ve seen in a very long time – all gentle tapers and artistic flourishes. We even think the likes of Peter Sagan, Greg van Avermaet and Alberto Contador are going to look at this, compare it to their own custom bikes, and wonder if Specialized, BMC and Trek respectively should be upping their game.

Let’s be honest, on a frame that looks this good, you’re going to feel great no matter who you are, but we should get down to the nuts and bolts to prove that there’s serious substance here too. The Concept was launched just as the historic Italian brand stepped back into the WorldTour limelight with UAE Team Emirates, so it needs to be able to stand up to the rigours of the fastest men in the world.

In a way, it’s a throwback to the original Concept that heralded Colnago’s first carbon frame (a project brought to fruition in partnership with Ferrari), but brought right up to the present in this ever aero-obsessed world – superseding the V1-r aero bike in the Italian firm’s ranks.

This means that knowledge from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) has gone into the entire bike frame, following the guidelines set by those American aero sages. Starting with the fork, it favours a super-thin, straight blade profile rather than some curved forks out there, but has clearance for 28c rubber and wider hoops.

Some neat air manipulation work has been performed behind the close-fitting crown so the downtube is unaffected in an aero sense, which allows the biggest tube of them all to do its work. It’s about as deep as UCI regulations allow, and is heavily truncated with a flat rear edge to improve handling over a traditional aerofoil in real-world conditions.

Apart from the concave profiling of the head tube when viewed front-on (a trend increasingly spotted among dedicated aero bikes), from side-on it’s very much all sharp angles and clean lines – much like the Wilier Cento10 Air – with internal cable routing throughout. The toptube is gently tapered, but meets the sharp and purposeful-looking seattube, which features a cutaway rear profile to smooth airflow around the leading edge of the rear wheel. It means clearance is tight, but you can squeeze 28c tyres in there, calipers permitting, effectively shielded by that cutaway.

RCUK 100 2017 - Colnago Concept frameset

Comfort is also an invisible presence – spot the tapering at the seatstay-seattube junction, which has been shunted down the seattube at a flatter angle, helping to provide a little more compliance without messing around with the bike’s racy-stiff raison d’être.

You’d also think the direct front end wouldn’t be predisposed to comfort, but Colnago’s engineers have been at work to develop a headset system to effectively separate the forks from the frame via carbon and nylon-elastomer mix cups. It intends to deaden road buzz.

RCUK 100 2017 - Colnago Concept frameset
RCUK 100 2017 - Colnago Concept frameset
RCUK 100 2017 - Colnago Concept frameset

Colnago Concept

Back to the aero, and you’ll find a bladed, integrated carbon seatpost, held in place by a tidy wedge system, while the Vision Metron carbon bar-stem setup is stunning, not only for its clean profile but tapered and comfortable ergonomics too.

The Concept is actually normally available as a frameset, but the bike you see comes kitted out with Vision Metron 55 hoops and Vittoria Corsa G+ tyres – and, of course, a Campagnolo Super Record groupset.

Well, you don’t garnish a delicately-balanced panna cotta with tinned custard, do you?

[monetizer101 search=’Colnago Concept’ price=’3900′]


Selected for The RCUK 100 2017

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