The Ace of Clubs
The Colnago brand dates from a time when as much thought and imagination were put into head badges as the bicycles themselves. While modern incarnations are almost invariably simplistic and sometimes look like little more than afterthoughts, the intricate designs of Colnago’s time were often creations to be proud of; telling a story, presenting a scene, and in some cases even featuring the company address.
The Ace of Clubs that has become so synonymous with the Colnago brand is relatively no-frills for the time, but no less emblematic for it. It was conceived in 1970 after Italian all-rounder Michele Dancelli, riding for Molteni, scored the first Milan-san Remo win for the home nation in 17 years — on board a Colnagobuilt bike.
Journalist Bruno Raschi wrote in Gazzetta dello Sport that Dancelli had “won on a bicycle that was in bloom”, and with the ace of clubs known as the ace of flowers in Italy, Raschi later suggested to Ernesto Colnago that he create a new head badge based on it in recognition of the win.
Ernesto Colnago has previously been quoted as saying: “I liked the idea right away. San Remo is the city of flowers and Raschi had written that the bicycle was in bloom, and I was hoping in my heart that I would become an ace in the bike world.
“As soon as I got home, I created the new logo — the ace of clubs. Today that logo is recognised all over the world.”
Colnago’s emblem, borne out of a bicycle ‘in bloom’