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Expensive Italian bikes, Pinarello / Colnago ...(15 posts)

Expensive Italian bikes, Pinarello / Colnago ...Crash
Jul 6, 2001 5:27 PM
I'm new to road riding, and this may seem like a silly question, but I hear such glowing reviews of the Italian road bikes that I was wondering if they really are that much better. They certainly are beautiful, but are they worth 4000 - 6000 ? I have a Cannondale 2001 R2000si that I have had for around a month, I'm doing 70 - 100 miles a week and I just love the bike. I would love to hear from someone that upgraded from a bike at my level and what you experiences were.
I usually trade up bikes every 3 - 5 years and I want to decide if I should start saving now. Thanks !
re: Expensive Italian bikes, Pinarello / Colnago ...PaulCL
Jul 6, 2001 5:36 PM
Ooh...tough question. I rode a Diamondback Expert steel bike for years. Very basic. very heavy. Then I moved up to a Ti Colnago bike and eventually outfitted it with Campy Record 10spd - in other words, all the 'bells and whistles'. I went from a 22-23lb bike to now, a 15 lb bike. There is a lot of difference.

Faster on the hills, better feel, better shifting, better accelleration, better looks (hey, I can admit it!), better everything, and I'm a better rider... Is it truly worth $3000 more than your Cannondale...for me yes, for others,maybe not. I own one road bike, one mountain bike. The road bike is my baby. I can afford it (or could before the stock market crashed), so, I, like all other expensive Italian bike owners, will say the difference is worth every penny.
If you rode them in succession, you would notice a difference. But the value is in the "wallet" of the beholder.
re: Expensive Italian bikes, Pinarello / Colnago ...stoutga
Jul 6, 2001 6:56 PM
I went from a Trek 1000 to a LeMond Zurich and then to a Colnago Ovalmaster and the difference was worth the price to me. The light TI frame and the feel has really brought a lot of enjoyment to my riding. I expected a level of satisfaction with the price tag being so steep but am surprised at how satisfying the new bike is.
re: Expensive Italian bikes, Pinarello / Colnago ...JohnG
Jul 6, 2001 7:14 PM
No difference in "performance"..... huge difference in perception and fun factor.

YMMV ??? (nm)Crash
Jul 8, 2001 12:44 PM
YMMV ??? (nm)JohnG
Jul 8, 2001 9:20 PM
Your Mileage May Vary.... ;)

just another way of saying this is all just cyber jaber.

good rides JohnG
re: Expensive Italian bikes, Pinarello / Colnago ...terry b
Jul 6, 2001 10:16 PM
I have a Colnago Master Light and a Pinarello Opera. I started road riding on a $2000 Sampson Ti bike with full Dura Ace. Certainly not the top of the heap but not a garbage truck either. Neither of the Italianos out performs the Sampson - I'm the same rider and I am absolutely faster on the Sampson (1-2 mph over lots of rides.) However, nothing but nothing "feels" like those two bike feel to ride. Both make me feel great when I'm on them, they look great, they smell great and they sound great. Is it psychological? No doubt. Is the feeling worthwhile? I wouldn't trade it. In my book, it's always worth the money if the ride makes you feel like a better rider regardless of whether it actually does or not. Waste of money? My money to waste. And don't be dissuaded by the price range - I got on the Colnago for only a little more than 3k and the Opera for a hair over 4k. Both at or below the range you quoted.
re: Expensive Italian bikes, Pinarello / Colnago ...Rusty Coggs
Jul 6, 2001 11:01 PM
I have a Cdale CAAD4, Colnago,Carrera,and Moser,(all steel) among others.....The Cdale collects dust. The Moser,for example, is about as light,and rides SOOOOOooo much better.
re: send the CAAD4...Akirasho
Jul 7, 2001 12:26 AM

not everyone's cup o tea, but I do luv dem 'Dales... Alas, I've been lustin' over the Pinarello Prince... dunno why... just do (I had to hide the Platinum Card from myself).

Be the bike.
dollar for dollar no - passion/enjoyment factor -yes ;-)wes_london
Jul 7, 2001 5:30 AM
a pure efficient race bike can be had for less but as everyone has already aknowledged there is a certain anticipation that come from an italian bike with pedigree.

the old lexus v. jaguar thing.

i would be prepared to lay down cash for a used high end italian as generally the previous owners are a bit mre fastidious in their maintenance and care and i always know that the mere mention of one for sale always has people thinking about how to make room for one in their stable. this is something to consider as well.
post addy (nm)R.C.
Jul 9, 2001 8:19 AM
re: Expensive Italian bikes, Pinarello / Colnago ...spinner54
Jul 7, 2001 6:26 AM
I would suggest that you don't necessarily get hung up on the "Italian" part. Look at as many higher end frames as you can in your area. There are real craftsman out there making really wonderful frames and they are not necessarily from Italy. Put your hands on them - and your butt, if possible! Needless to say, fit is everything. Be patient and inquisitive beyond the trite and you may find yourself heading off in a differant direction (on a new ride that you may keep way longer than 3 - 5 years!). Have fun with it.
re: Expensive Italian bikes, Pinarello / Colnago ...jschrotz
Jul 7, 2001 9:19 AM
Spinner54's got it right. Italian frames have all the mystique and prestige, but if you're serious about spending that much $$, you need to make sure the bike fits you. Make sure to go to a shop that does professional bike fitting to determine what you really need in terms of geometry and tube lengths. When I first got into cycling, I only considered Italian bikes. To my disappointment, I found that the bike that I'd spent so much money on didn't fit me well at all. It was a beautiful bike, but that doesn't mean much if it doesn't work with you the way a bike should. Italian frames tend to have relatively steep seat tubes and short top tubes. If you're like me and have a longer torso in proportion to the rest of your body, the Italians are not the people you'll want to make your bike. American builders tend to build with longer top tubes and they make bikes that are every bit as good, if not better, than the Italians. It all comes down to three things; fit, fit and fit.
I agreeSimpleGreen
Jul 7, 2001 9:39 AM
I agree with spinner54. Italian bikes aren't the only great bikes out there. Fit is everything and you may want something different than standard Italian geometry.

To answer the original poster's questions. I would say that from a functional standpoint, a $5000 bike will not be twice as good as your 2000SI. Above $2500 is the region of diminishing returns per dollar spent. Certainly the 2000si is a capable bike and it is every bit as fast as any other bike.

Some differences between a C'dale and a typical Italian frame--Italian bikes tend to have a lower Bottom bracket height and great fork rake and/or slacker headtube angles. This results in a bike that is more stable at high speeds (good for those mountain decents) that is a product of European-Race geometry for Stage races over varied terrain. The C'dale is more of a crit bike. It handles faster, but might be more twitchy on high speed decents. Geometry is the difference between the two.

You may desire a more compliant ride to complement your C'dale in the future. I think instead of trading up later, you should keep the bike you have and get something that complements your ride. You also don't need to spend $5000 to get a nice ride. So look around and read and ask and someday you'll know what is right for you. Perhaps it'll be a colnago, a custom steel frame, or perhaps yet another cannondale.

In the end, all that really matters is that you get on the road and enjoy!


PS The best "upgrade" you can make is a heartrate monitor and training book, if you don't have one already :)
It's not about the bike...DINOSAUR
Jul 7, 2001 9:47 AM
Pinarello and Colnago are fine bikes and both have a full pedegreed race history. It comes down to you can ride the same machine that the pro's ride in the peloton. It's the Italian mistique and race breed history. That's not to say that they are better than an American custom made frame. I've walked this line before when deciding what my new bike will be in the future. I must say that some of the Pinarello's and Colnago's are rather pricey, especially the Pinarello Prince and the Colnago C-40. It might be that one is paying for the name more than the bike. Then to do a complete flip flop, a couple of the bikes I am considering are the Pinarello Opera and the Colnago Master X-Light. Maybe it's the Italian flair or maybe it's because I just want one. It all comes down to what makes you happy I guess.

I ride a stock full blooded American Klein Quantum Race. I love it so much I just might upgrade it and let the new bike idea sit for another year or so.

I've also been passed on occasion by an aray of bikes. Full blooded Italian and domestic American. IMHO it ain't the bike, it's the rider. Don't get sucked into names and just ride and maintain your bike the best you can and whatever you choose to ride will serve you well.

One thing not mentioned was fit and geometry and that is the paramount number one item one should consider when selecting a bike, no matter what it's name..