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Info on Colnago Classic versus ready-mades or other options?(21 posts)

Info on Colnago Classic versus ready-mades or other options?whgopher
Aug 1, 2001 5:42 AM
I am looking to spend about $2000 for my first well-made road bike.
Thus far, I have considered many ready made bikes around this price including Lemond Zurich, Cannondale R1000, Trek 5200/2300, etc.

However, I have discovered that Colnago, among others, makes a "budget" frame: the classic, that retails for about $1000 or a little less. It weighs about 4.25 pounds, which seems a little heavy.

Given that I could pick up an ultegra build kit and cosmos wheel set for about $1000-$1100, is the heavier colnago that much better of a ride than a lighter aluminum production bike?

are there other options in this price range that make more sense in terms of performance per dollar and pound???

Much thanks for your consideration.
Colnago and other optionsbianchi boy
Aug 1, 2001 6:20 AM
The Classic is a nice frame, if Colnago geometry fits you. Colnagos tend to have shorter top tubes in relation to seat tube length compared to most frames. Gios is another Italian frame with similar geometry, and the Compact Pro is very comparable in quality for about $300-400 less from

In my opinion, nothing rides better than a quality steel frame, although others will disagree. I think most cyclists with experience riding different frame materials would agree, however, that a good steel frame provides a very nice ride that is hard to match with other materials -- particularly considering the cost. Steel is heavier than other materials, but not that much for a good quality frame. Myself, I would rather ride a comfortable 4.3-lb steel frame than a harsher 3-lb aluminum frame.

Before you make a decision on a frame, if you are new to road biking, I would recommend getting a professional frame fitting done by a Serotta dealer or something comparable. This will cost you about $50-75 but it's well worth the cost. Colnagos and Lemonds both make fine quality steel frames, but their geometries are very different. Chances are you would be comfortable on one and not the other.

If you decide to get a steel frame, check out GVH Bikes (, which has a broad selection of quality steel frames, both Italian and US made w/ photos. Some of the frames he carries include Colnago, Cinelli, Pinarello, Steelman, Landshark -- all high quality steel. The descriptions include both seat and top tube lengths, which are the key measurements you'll need to know.

You should be able to buy a quality steel Italian frame from GVH or Excel with Ultegra or even Campy Chorus for less than $2,000. I recently bought a Gios Compact Pro with full Chorus 10-speed group for about $1,900. With Ultegra, this bike is about $1,500-1,600. I have not weighed my Gios, but based on descriptions of similarly equipped bikes, it probably weighs about 19 lbs. -- not bad for a "heavy" steel frame that is very comfortable.
Does that mean you will be changing your name to Gios Boy?(nm)Len J
Aug 1, 2001 6:24 AM
Not yet ...bianchi boy
Aug 1, 2001 6:37 AM
Still got my Bianchi, which I don't think I can part with.
how aboutD'Ohhh!!!
Aug 1, 2001 7:56 AM
re: Info on Colnago Classic versus ready-mades or other options?uciicu
Aug 1, 2001 8:23 AM
dont fall for that italian craftsmanship bs. the zurich or the c-dale will serve you better than that heavy steel rip off
not really the pointColnagoFE
Aug 1, 2001 9:36 AM
the lemond and colnago geometry are like night and day (not sure about c'dale). get fitted first.
re: Info on Colnago Classic versus ready-mades or other options?Bob Cock
Aug 1, 2001 10:47 AM
I'm a huge fan of the Trek OCLV frame. I'm not nessecarily a Trek fan, but the ride of the bike is great for the price. I've ridden quite a few other frames and haven't had one fit and perform as well as this one has to this point.

A Colnago on the other hand is a great bike! I've ridden a friends Colnago and the craftsmanship is through the roof. I think if you are looking for your last bike, I would go with the Colnago!
the myth of the "last bike"ColnagoFE
Aug 1, 2001 11:56 AM
if you are serious about cycling i really dount you will ever buy your "last bike". bike lust never rests.
the myth of the "last bike"whgopher
Aug 1, 2001 11:58 AM
i assume from your name that you have a colnago?

are you pleased? do you know anything about the classic?

thanks in advance.
the myth of the "last bike"ColnagoFE
Aug 1, 2001 12:33 PM
I have the Master XL. Great bike especially for a heavier rider like me (195 lbs 6'2"). The classic should share the same geometry, but I really don't know much about it...what tubes are used, etc. You will hear all kinds of bad things said about Colnago and you can find other steel bikes that may perform just as well for you, but personally I haven't ridden a bike that I like as well as the Colnago--and my last bike was a Merlin XL which was still a nice bike, but flexy enough to send me back to steel. In my opinion the only bikes to get from Colnago are the carbon C-40 or one of their steel offerings. They seem to know how to do steel right.
I can speak to this issueBrian C.
Aug 1, 2001 12:49 PM
The Master X-Light is a fine bike and worth checkig out, if only for a reference point. It's one of the few consumer products I've ever purchased that lived up to the superlatives. And over four months of smooth riding, it didn't give one iota of trouble - until two weeks ago, when the chain slipped off during a routine shift, somehow became entangled in the spokes and tore off the rear derailleur, with a small piece of the wheel dropout.
It has to be shipped back to Italy to have the dropout replaced and probably won't be back till November. The LBS owner was quite concerned about this and didn't hesitate to offer a loaner for me to use in the meantime. He's given me a Classic.
I haven't yet put this Classic through its paces, but so far it seems like a good, solid bike. It's a tad heavier than the Master X-Light and lacks the MXL's rocket acceleration. But, again, the Classic would be good, respectable wheels for you.
I can speak to this issuewhgopher
Aug 1, 2001 1:15 PM
much thanks! when you say heavier, what do you think the whole bike weighs? i am trying to put together a nice bike for about 2000, and cant afford an MXL. will the classic fit the bill, or is an 853 production the way to go?
Not sure how much it weighs. Will check.Brian C.
Aug 1, 2001 1:42 PM
Also not sure what you mean by 853 production.
For $2,000 you have many good options. Although I'm a Colnago fan, there are many others worth considering. If you can spend a Saturday cruising the bike shops in your town, try a few different models on for size.
Just a suggestion.
Not sure how much it weighs. Will check.whgopher
Aug 1, 2001 1:51 PM
by 853, i mean bikes like the lemond zurich or jamis eclipse.

ive tried alot of bikes and i like the zurich, but the classic recently caught my attention. i dont know much about it, and am trying to figure out if it stands above a "cookie cutter" bike, and if it could be built up to a respectible weight.
zurich vs colnagoColnagoFE
Aug 1, 2001 2:12 PM
you really can't pick two more different bikes. about the only similarity is that they are both made of steel. the lemond will have a more "relaxed" geometry with a longer TT--definately not the bike for me. I hear it fits people whose initials are G.L. very well!
thanks for checking, very appreciated! (nm)whgopher
Aug 1, 2001 2:09 PM
the myth of the "last bike"rodemiles
Aug 1, 2001 5:00 PM
You're dead on target with that observation. In the past 20 years I've bought 4 "last bikes". I truly dread the day when I don't lust after the latest improvement.
good steel cheap....C-40
Aug 1, 2001 2:09 PM
When asking for frame advice, it's always good to post your size and weight. What make a good ride for a 180 pound rider often rides too harsh for a 135 pounder like me.

The best deal I know of in steel is the Tommasini Sintesi at Colorado Cyclist. A lot more frame for the money than a Colnago classic. $900 for the frame with fork, $2100 complete with Campy Chorus (the best value group). A great frame for all but the heavy mashers.

If you're 160lbs or over, you might consider the Colnago Master X-light, one of the finest steel frames around. It costs about $1400 for the frame and fork, unless you go to or, where it can be had for under $1000.

As others have noted, geometry varies between brands (though not as much as some folks think), so it's important to know if you have unusual needs before ordering a frame. If you have short legs and long torso, most of the Italian brands aren't going to be your best choice.
better deal?IDIOT
Aug 2, 2001 5:07 AM
that joker hobbs has casati's w/ultegra for 1295, if you're just hung up on having an italian frame
a lot lower level frame....C-40
Aug 2, 2001 5:35 PM
A nice bike for the money, but you get what you pay for. The Casati has low level tubing (significantly heavier). No fancy chromed lugs and fully chromed rear triangle. Very basic steel.

Ultegra bikes will always be a lot cheaper than ones with Campy Chorus.