Col­nago Con­cept

BIKE TEST

Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by Chris Red­den

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.

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