Developed in collaboration with Ferrari, Colnago’s new Concept frameset meshes renowned ride quality with wind-cheating aerodynamics to create a remarkable new bike. The Concept project was many years in the making, and the result is Colnago’s most aero frame ever. Every tube on the bike has been designed and shaped to cut the wind. The fork features an airfoil design that joins the headtube for a sleek, smooth transition between the fork and frame. The downtube changes shape from the headtube to the bottom bracket, and there are three water bottle cage braze-ons.
The frame is designed to use the lower two braze-ons when using only one water bottle cage (the most aero location), or, for optimal fit on the frame, the top two braze-ons if using two water bottle cages. The seat-tube features a cutout around the rear wheel that tucks it into the frame to reduce drag, while the upper part of the seat-tube flows seamlessly into the seatpost, which also has the same aero shape. Even the seatpost’s binder bolt is flush with the toptube and therefore out of the wind. The cables are internally routed, but follow the smoothest lines to also remain out of the wind as much as possible. The Concept meets all Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) criteria and is UCI-approved for WorldTour racing.
While the Concept is offered with virtually any build, the test bike was equipped with a Shimano Dura-Ace 11-speed mechanical groupset and a mix of Colnago-branded parts. The multiple-butted Colnago HB02 aluminum handlebars feature shallow drops that are attached to Colnago Nemesis aluminum stem. The proprietary carbon seatpost (with seat-height markings) is finished with a Colnago saddle made by Selle Italia. An Artemis carbon-clincher wheelset is matched with a set of Hutchinson Fusion5 25mm tires. Fortunately, there is enough clearance for a set of 28mm tires to fit. Both the headset and bottom bracket are Colnago-branded, as is the chaincatcher.
The frame size (as tested) is considered to be 54 centimetres, but the toptube measures 56 centimetres, similar to a 56-centimetre frame. The geometry has a slightly sloping toptube that is matched with a higher headtube. The fit allows the rider a position that is suitable for UCI racing while yielding a level of comfort despite being on the bike for the better part of the day. The Concept is a proven racing machine, and it rides like one. The overall handling is fast and quick and makes you want to sprint out of the corners.
The bike’s overall weight of 7.1kg (as tested) helps to make it feel light, and this is noticeable on the climbs. The bike has a stiff ride feel, and road conditions are not muted or plushed out. You get a feel for the pavement as you are riding over it. The aerodynamics were most pronounced in two circumstances. First, when descending, this bike really cuts through the wind, allowing for higher-than-usual speeds. Second, it feels so quick you’re easily motivated to bridge up to the group ahead of you.
Several test rides saw strong crosswinds that were challenging, but the Artemis wheelset performed well, keeping the front wheel solid, while the frame offered some sidewind resistance.
The Shimano Dura-Ace group worked flawlessly, and the mechanical shifting took little effort. The Artemis wheelset was also quick to accelerate out of corners and made climbing easier. Braking performance on the carbons rims was great in all conditions.
The handlebar and stem combo was solid with no flexing while sprinting and on climbs. This combo, along with the steel wheel skewers, would be options to shave off some weight, as both are easy to replace and relatively inexpensive.
Overall, the Concept is a great racing machine. If you’re looking for a bike that’s fast in all conditions with head-turning good looks, check out the Colnago Concept.
The Concept project was many years in the making, and the result is Colnago’s most aero frame ever.