11 Via Cavour, Cambiago (Milan), Italy
One of the most successful racing bike builders in history!
Ernesto was a racer in his earlier years, and later served as a team mechanic for the
famous Molteni (sausage!) Team with Eddy Merckx. Colnago bicycles have a current
domination of the Pro team ranks.
Always an innovator, arguably sometimes for effect as much as
efficiency, Colnago has built a legend. (Note: The attempt
year of manufacture from
serial numbers has been abandoned as
there is no discernable pattern.)
Colnago details timeline
through the mid/late 1970s.
Ernesto's early racing
Ernesto and brother prep Merckx
Ernesto Colnago confirms the oldest
This is an Ernesto Colnago track bike from the period
1957/1958. The lugs were hand cast by the man who subsequently
received his appointment as a “Cavaliere del Lavoro” ( Knight Master
Artisan ) of the Italian Republic.
This model bike was known as “La Freccia” (The Arrow). This
cycle is distinguished by its cherry red color, used in those years
in the automobile industry, as well as by three white stripes on the
seat tube and the fork blades.
The down tube decals have a multi-banded motif with the
legend “Amateur Championship of Lombardy-1957, “ signifying a
Colnago victory in this event.
The most particular feature of this model is a very narrow G11
Georg Fischer bottom bracket. This same bottom bracket was used by
Faliero Masi on a track bike built for Antonio Maspes.
The wheels have hand soldered spokes and Clement Colnago team
racing tubular tires.
The complete originality of this cycle has been established by a
very detailed examination by Ernesto Colnago.
According to Colnago himself, as well as many collectors and
devotees, this cycle is the oldest preserved example of the Colnago
production and a very important landmark in Cambiago's manufacturing
Mr. Luca De Ponti, Milan, Italy.
Dr George Hollenberg, translator of the
original Italian test.
Greg Softley's controversial Pista bicycle:
known Colnago in existence? Said to have been constructed in 1959,
this bike is somewhat controversial. Some cognoscenti think it may not be
genuine, but it has obviously authentic patina and is equipped
with era-correct components. Did Colnago make his own brand as
early as 1959? This is not yet revealed in the contemporaneous
press or literature, nonetheless it is said to be a 1959 or
early 1960s bike. In any case, it is handsome machine.
"The black and white photo below of the 1971 Polish team
the journey. With the able assistance of
John Murray (Qld Oz), a 12 month
long research project covering several continents and dozens of leads finally
resulted in a correct restoration."
1971 Team bike with decals of that era and "drillium".
Freeman's 1971 Super
full pantographed bike
1978 Colnago Mexico
Colnago Mexico ORO
Super Record era Colnago
Dual down tube (as were the early carbon models) were
made by ALAN to
Colnago's specs... Not just a rebadged
ALAN though, these bikes had unique details especially an aluminum version of the "anti-vibration" fork.
"Mexico" style 6 arm crank set
made famous by Bepe "Saronni
Richardson's full chrome Mexico
Paul Wilczynski's 1980
Colnago Olympic bike
ridden by Sergei Shevchenko
"...bare frame with headset and
BB from a Swedish seller who got it from the Ukraine.
It's one of the original 2 bikes built for Sergei Shevchenko (1 spec, 1
by Ernesto in 1980 for the Moscow Olympics." Last pic is team in action!
David Poole's Master "Equilateral"
circa mid 1980s
O'Conner's Oval CX
A very special TT bike at the 1982 NY Int
A YouTube video of
the Colnago steel frame workshop, perhaps in the 1990s?
Colnago continues today in a combination
of technology and tradition, and all with a flair for the artistic!