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C-40 Question for pmf(3 posts)

C-40 Question for pmfzelig1
Mar 22, 2001 3:06 AM
I recall you and your wife were in Italy last year and fitted at the Colnago factory for C-40's. A few questions.

Did you make arrangements in advance of your visit and how was it done? Email, fax, etc.?

What form of payment was used, or what do they accept?

How long did it take from the time of measurement to the time the frame was ready and what time of year was it done? I seem to recall that you picked up the completed frames at the factory and brought them back to the States at the end of your trip.

How far outside of Milan, by train or car, is the Colnago factory?

I'm going to Milan in May and considering getting something done by Alberto Masi at Milano, Derosa or Colnago. I'm in the UK so I won't have to worry about any arrangements the factory(s) may have with a US distributor although there may be issues with whomever their UK distributor, if they have one.

Oh, and were you satisfied with the bikes and their fit?

Thanks
re: C-40 Question for pmfpmf
Mar 22, 2001 6:53 AM
Sounds like you're going on vacation soon.

Yes, I did buy two 2001 C-40 frames last September while I was in Italy. I did not go to the factory in Milan. I don't know if they even let tourists in there or not (Ernesto has a reputation as being a flaming A). We got fitted in a little shop in Castegneto Carducci (near Pisa) called Ciclosport (they have a website: ciclosport.it). The owners claimed to know Colnago pretty well and worked with members of Mapeii (Bettini in particular) who have training camps in the area every winter. The frames were supposedly custom, but mine measures as a standard 56 cm (I fit on standard bikes pretty well though, plus, its hard to figure out exactly how these measurments are made). I know that if you buy steel or aluminium, a custom frame is no extra cost although it takes longer.

We ordered the frames and then went home. About 8 weeks later, they arrived at the shop in Italy, but one had a bad paint job so it was sent back. That caused another 4 week delay. When they were finally ready to send, I used my credit card to pay for the frames and fedex shipping (5.5 million lira total). There was another small customs charge of around $75 (the rate is 3.9% in the U.S., but I just declared them as used frames worth $1800 total). The big savings of buying a bike there is VAT, which I'm sure you know about (20% off in Italy). I do think we got them at a wholesale price. These things retail in the U.S. for $3800. We paid closer to $2700 (that includes a fork, stem, seatpost). If you do it, make sure the shop you deal with can fill out the paperwork. Customs was also a pain in the butt. Some overzealous agent held them up in Newark for a week because the international bill of lading wasn't filled out correctly.

When the frames finally came, we were quite happy with them. Of course, it snowed the day after we got them built. Mine fits great. The stem on my wife's bike was too long and I ended up buying another one. All in all, I'm glad I did it. I do think an equivalent deal could be had just by going through romeobicycle in Rome over the net. If you're over there, you might as well consider doing it. Most bike shops do not carry much inventory, so you'd probably have to order it and then get it sent later. There are exceptions to this -- especially shops in bigger cities like Rome or Milan. Everytime you ride your bike, you'll have good memories of Italy. In general, I find Italians to be very honest and trustworthy people. The chance of getting ripped-off is pretty minimal.
re: C-40 Question for pmfKen
Mar 22, 2001 6:55 AM
I planned on doing the same thing. I emailed the Colnago factory in Italy and they were prompt in their reply saying that they don't do retail and directed me to contact some of their retail distributors in and around northern Italy. The fastest turn around time for buying a C-40 fresh out of the factory in Italy for me was 40 days. I don't have 40 days to wait for a bike, Colnago or not. I eventually got a model year 2000 C-40 from http://www.gvhbikes.com/. I paid $2350.00 for frame and star fork.

Ken