The world has moved and reached to the era when we talk about geo-satellites and lunar vehicles. We talk about automated gear enabled machines that can reach speeds of sound in seconds. However the journey began in much simpler forms of combination of levers and gears which are manually driven. These simple devices which were christened as cycles were easy to handle and drive, cost effective and good for physical fitness. Cycles traveled alongside the human modernization and were part of everybody’s life. Even today the very first lesson on dynamic balance that a child learns is riding cycles only.
Down the ages cycling has come far beyond its recognition as a mere mode of transport to a sport which draws attraction of millions and is favourite in any mega sporting event. The new nature of cycling has called for a systematic study and the need of professional hands in the manufacturing of the cycles. Among the very many names of sports bike manufacturer, perhaps the most loved and known manufacturer is the Colnago founded by Ernest Colnago in 1954 in Cambiago, Italy. The firm is making frames for over fifty years and this perhaps has
resulted to make a mark on most of the races in the world. Great riders like Merckx, LeMond, Moser, Museeuw, Argentin, Saroni, Rominger, Bartoli, Dekker, Tonkov and Steels have favored and appreciated Colnago.
Let us have an insight of these dynamic machines. Colnago’s are designed to use an off seat and a long stem that helps in rider’s weight over the wheels and not over the frame which ultimately gives a short wheelbase and fast handling. The much talked about Colnago dream is made of Columbus Airplane 7005 aluminium; a proprietary heat treated tube prepared with an alloy of magnesium, zinc, silicon and other materials using multi-shaped profiles. The shape of the tube has Biconic top and down tube. The chainstays are the
unique master profile having complex shape designed to enhance chainstay stiffness. One unique feature of the bikes is the fact that the tubing is size specific and therefore a 62cm frame and a 50cm frame gives similar ride quality. Another important feature of colnago bikes are the finish with which it comes. Although looks is not that important criteria when we talk about racing bikes, yet when one buys Colnago one can be sure that the color scheme would be spectacular and unique. No two bikes are similar as far as colnago bikes
are concerned. There has to be difference in the looks in some or the other ways. The difference can be major or small depending on the model. On some tubes you may find the painting of a small racer, in some the racer with the arms in the handlebars while in some the arms are raised in a victory salute. The quality definitely can be assured as Colnago is perhaps only Bicycle Company in the world which has got an ISO certification.
The craze of the bikes in the bikers arena is immense and this can be understood from the fact that riders who were part of Mapei team once after leaving the team bought their team bikes for their personal ridding. The popularity is showcased in different competitions like OLN, Paris Roubaix, Tour de France and so on. Now their main concentration are the domestic teams like Navigators and Wauters in U.S.
Lets now peep a little into the history of this world renowned bikers company. The passion for bikes developed in Colnago in much early stage of his life when he was mere 12 years boy while he was working as an apprentice in the workshop of craftsman Dante Fumagalli in the year 1944. A year later he was hired in Gloria, a prestigious bicycle factory. Another year later Colnago started his racing career and wins 13 races altogether, the most important being the 1950 edition of Coppa Caldirola. Things took a shape and changed his life in the year
1951 at the end of Milano Busseto classic where Colnago met with an accident and broke his left leg which eventually put an end in his racing career. Back in home he asks Gloria to give him some wheels to build at home. This is perhaps how he got idea to start something of his own. But it was in 1954 only when Colnago opened his own bicycle shop in Cambiago. In the year 1955 he was invited by Fiorenzo Magni to take part in the Giro d’Italia as his mechanic. A year later on 5 th September he married Vincenzina Ronchi. His company was doing great and the passing years are proving to be beneficial for the research and development on bicycles. In the year 1957 he invented the cold folding of fork blades which led him to build the frame for team Gastone Nencini who won the Giro d’Italia. In 1959 Colnago was blessed with his daughter Anna. However the first major glory came in the year 1960 when Luigi Arienti rides a Colnago as part of the gold medal winning team in 4000m race in the Rome Olympic. From 1962 to 1973 he was with Giorgio Albani at Molteni. In between in the 1964 he was appointed as the mechanic for the Italian national team. The years
passed and Colnago attained the reputation of a reliable mechanic for several winning team and Colnago bicycles started gaining the world fame. In 1974 he sponsored team SCIC. The famous Del Tongo-Colnago Squad build in the year 1982. A year later the Colnago’s unique oval cx Arabesque frame was invented. Progress and technology moved very fast over the years. Colnago collaborated with Ferrari in the year 1986. The next year was the birth of precise fork with straight blades. Colnago by now was representing Italy in the world bicycle market. The 1990 models would be showing the
Italia 90 logo to commemorate the football world cup in Italy. One of the most spectacular models of the company Carbitubo, with a split down tube took birth in the year 1991. This model was presented to the king of Spain, the next year. 1993 was the birth year of the model Bititan. 1994 proved to be another milestone for Colnago as Tony Rominger wins the world hour record with more than 55 kms covered in one hour. This was the same year of Colnago’s joining hands with Giorgio Squinzi the owner of Mapei resulting the strongest team in the world. Same year Colnago obtained the patent of C40 which won Paris-Roubaix 5 times. Colnago, now the world leader in bicycle opened its world headquarters in Cambiago in 1997. The much advanced CF2, CF3 and C50 were produced in 2001, 2002 and 2003 subsequently. The company celebrated its 50 th Anniversary in the year 2003 which became special with the launch of a special bike.
Now if you are impatient to the extent of getting out right now and ordering one for you, hold on. Let us know the name of some of the tempting models which are just irresistible. In carbon we have C-40, C-40HP, C-42, C-35, CF-1, CF-2, CF-3, President and President Leonardo. In titanium we have Ovaltitan, Ovalmaster, CT1 and Ct2. in double down tube frames we have Bititan, Carbitubo and Duall. In classic steel Colnago offers Arabesque, Super, Mexico and Master. The latest editions carry a panache with it and are in high demand all over
the world. Few to mention are President LdV, Brerart, C50 Crono, C50 Pista, E-1, Dream, CT2, Mix, Active, Rapid and Master X Light. Colnago’s are favourite for many years for riders like Eddy Merckx, Alessandro Petacchi and Erik Zabel and it will remain favourite for the future riders also because Colnago has learned to fulfill the requirement of the era and time in terms of technology and style.