Colnago - The Story Behind Why The Bikes Are So Good
Colnago - What makes this bike so special?
As a racer my whole life, I have always been very detail oriented in the equipment I rode. However, much of the time I was limited to using options that my team was sponsored in. Today, while I now have to pay for my equipment with my own money, I get to choose what I ride. Even more exciting is that I view my time riding as a way to find better ways to teach and educate others about cycling.
CINCH Cycles is a new extension of CINCH where now I can provide the best cycling equipment and service to cyclists of all levels.
Why did we choose Colnago as our brand of bike at CINCH Cycles? It’s simple, because with Colnago design and quality come first. The brand is legendary in the sport of cycling because of these ideals. Few bike manufacturers invest the amount of money and resources into this dimension as does Colnago. In fact, over the last years the leadership chose to invest in the advanced design of the V3Rs instead of running advertisements. The only advertisement they did was supplying this bike to the UAE World Tour Team, which, handedly WON the Tour de France with the V3Rs.
So who is the leader of this operation? None other than the legendary 88 year old Ernesto Colnago.
So what makes him different from the rest?
To begin, he founded Colnago much like I did with CINCH, in the face of adversity. As a teenager Ernesto was stricken with poverty of post-war Italy. He knew bicycles would be the way out for him. He started with chasing the pro cycling dream, however that came to a quick end when a crash in a race left him with a broken leg. Without money, he needed to find another way to earn income, however he was injured and needed to work from home. Ernesto began by creating his own wheel building and assembly business which evolved into making frames. He was performance focused with his design from the beginning and used his expertise to help legendary Italian cycling pro Fiorenzo Magni resolve a problem with his bike position.
Colnago did such a good job that earned him a job as a professional team mechanic with his team where they went on to win the Giro D’Italia. He then started developing his own brand, Colnago, at the request of a young Eddy Merckx who wanted the best equipment. Colnago knew how the bike needed to perform at the highest level from his experience working with the best in the Giro. His relationship with Merckx took his craft to a new level. "I did the Giro d'Italia 25 times as a team mechanic and learnt to listen to the riders and then build their bikes. When you spend years with a perfectionist like Eddy Merckx, you learn how to do everything," Colnago stated. With Colnago’s bikes Merckx went on to a legendary career.
But nowadays we all ride carbon fiber bikes right? So is Colnago a legend in this territory as well?
The answer is a definitive YES. In fact, Colnago created the first carbon fiber bikes! Colnago states: "But who invented carbon fibre bikes? Who? Colnago! Who first fitted disc brakes to a high-end carbon road bike? Colnago! Who first understood the benefits of a straight fork? Colnago! I've never copied anyone. The people who churn out carbon fibre bikes from the molds in Asia, should thank me for introducing carbon fibre bikes and helping them make a load of money." Wow!
Colnago began creating top level carbon frames in 1981 and has never looked back since. Just three years into this new venture Colnago partnered with Ferrari to learn the best methods and have access to the highest level of carbon fiber made. The legendary Mapei team’s success was largely built on Colnago’s top carbon fiber frame which proved its early strength and performance being the first carbon fiber bike to win Paris Roubaix in 1995. A feat that at the time most people thought was impossible!
Quality and performance must go hand in hand according to Colnago. "Unfortunately these days a lot of people don’t understand the real quality of a bike, what's under the paint and in the joints, they just look at the appearance. At Colnago we're not interested in the quantity of bikes we sell, we're interested in the quality of the bikes we sell."
I’ve been riding high end carbon bikes for a long time, and I think quality is something I did not think much about, I even took it for granted. I can honestly say I have found a crack or broken every frame brand that I have ridden over the last 20 years. But I was sponsored and it just was replaced. Honestly, I also just thought it was part of the territory. But according to Colnago, quality should not be an afterthought. The reality is saving some money up front is later lost in money to replace the frame and time lost riding it as you must wait for the next one!
"Colnago costs a few hundred Euro more but our frames don’t suddenly break," Ernesto argues bluntly. "I met hundreds of people who have had a Colnago for years with never a crack or break. Maybe I've made the mistake of making my bikes too strong.” I think he is implying that since his bikes don’t break, they don’t need to be replaced as often, lower sales.
Colnago goes on to say, "The difference is like buying a cheap jacket from a fast fashion brand and buying a made to measure Italian suit. In truth, there's no comparison because you end-up throwing away the cheap garment after a few washes. But people end up paying the same price for a poor quality frame because they don't realize the true quality and the true value of a Colnago."
"We use a high quality carbon fibre, the same that Ferrari use for their F1 motor racing cars. The quality is certified, they cut the tube and look at the lugs to check the layup and the quality. People still visit us and see how C64 bikes are made. They're amazed by what they see."
I have to say, after riding both the V3Rs and the C64, the difference in quality and performance is obvious. I have never felt a bike accelerate quite like this. With only a small increase in power you can feel the bike jump forward at a higher speed. When I stand, it feels like my body weighs 20 lbs less as my energy to push down on the pedals just sends the bike forward so efficiently, making me feel like I am weightless. I mean, you all are also probably gonna call bs on me for saying this, but even riding the trainer feels better and easier as the bottom bracket does not sway side to side as I pedal like my previous frames. Ok, ok, I’ll stop. But the bottom line is these bikes ride like the legendary artist designed them to. I am proud to kick off our new extension of CINCH with Colnago!!!!
Thanks for sharing this experience with me!