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How Stiff is the Colnago CT1?(20 posts)

How Stiff is the Colnago CT1?jtolleson
Jan 20, 2002 1:42 PM
For those of you who have followed my fitting saga (the oversized Litespeed), I did the Serotta size-cycle gig. The good news is that a number of stock frames will work (main goal is not too long a top tube and a long enough head tube... with all those other exciting variables).

I am looking to stay on ti; I think that the Serotta pricing is criminal, or at least I'm shopping around.

One thing that will fit is the 54cm Colnago. Gary Hobbs has one in stock (the ti/CF CT1) but I see that it is 6/4 ti. Based on my Litespeed knowledge, I'm wondering about stiffness.

5'7", 150 lb. (really! all muscle! errr... almost) female rider... 3-6 centuries a year, Ride the Rockies, club hill climbs, whatever. No racers. Comfort over performance (though I do value my place in the pack).

I'd love a little analysis of the CT1 (or the Ovalmaster for that matter) or any other ti offerings of interest.
re: How Stiff is the Colnago CT1?gtx
Jan 20, 2002 2:28 PM
if you think the Serotta pricing is criminal and want ti, check out the Dean El Diente, which in size 52 c-c is pretty darn close to the 54 c-t Colnago. I think their custom options are also reasonably priced if you need a slightly shorter tt or whatnot. And I believe you live in Colorado? So is Dean!
re: How Stiff is the Colnago CT1?CT1
Jan 20, 2002 3:43 PM
I'll let you know in about a week. :-)

My Euro dealer just recieved my GEO 54cm CT1 so I should have it in about a week. Mega :-)

BTW: I've chatted with plenty of CT1 owners and ALL said that the CT1 was a VERY comfy frame. Rumor has it that it was originally designed for Bartoli(sp?) when he was having lower back problems. ??? not sure how true that is.

One heavy-duty racer type told me that the "old" non-BSTAY rear was a little on the flexy side for him. ??? I would guess that the BSTAY rear CT1 would be similar to the C40 which is known as a fairly stiff frame. Like I said, I'll post a detailed "review" after I've got a couple hundered miles on mine.

email me if you want details on how to get a GREAT price on a CT1. It'll blow you away!

Alright Johnny, I sent ya an email.jtolleson
Jan 20, 2002 4:53 PM
Anyone else wanna extoll the virtues of the CT1?

Here's my paranoia. I know straight guage ti. I know I like it for its cushiness. I've always heard the Ultimate, for example, is bone jarring in the LS lineup, and although I know that stiffness can be as much about geometry as frame material, it has made me worried that 6/4 ti ain't for me.


Also, does anyone know about the DeRosa Titanio?
Jan 21, 2002 7:47 AM
How could just a seatstay change turn a flexy bike into a stiff one? That makes no sense at all. Frame flex is caused by the bottom bracket swinging in a pedulum-like motion between two fixed points - i.e. the two hubs. Therefore to make a stuffer bike you need: 1. better downtube with better head tube/down tube/bb connection, 2. better chainstays with better chainstay/bb connection. To say that the CTI with the same seat stay as the C40 would be as stiff as a C40 is pure fantasy and propaganda. I have ridden both and the CT1 is a much flexier ride, thus more comfortable than the new C40. If you want a really comfortable ride then see if you can get your hands on one of the old round tube C40's from 1997 before Colnago started shaped the joints. IF you can't the CT1 is pretty flexible so I would think that it would fit your needs. Too bad that you have to pay so much for a Russian made bike with inconsistent welds (make sure that you get a good one). Get the fanciest paint job available so that you can coem close to getting your money's worth.
fit won't be much different...C-40
Jan 21, 2002 12:19 PM
Just in case you're interested in a geometry comparison between the 55cm Litespeed and the 54cm Colnago, here it is:

The Litespeed had a 73 degree STA with a 55.5cm TT.
The 54cm Colnago has a 74 degree STA with a 54cm TT.

The steeper STA on the Colnago effectively lengthens the top tube by 1.2cm to 55.2cm, which is only .3cm (1/8 inch)shorter than the Litespeed. This comparison assumes that the KOP position remains identical on both frames. If you have a need to move the saddle forward, the Colnago will help in that regard.

The Colnago's head tube will be about 1cm shorter, requiring more head tube spacers or a higher rise stem to get the same bar to saddle height.

Hopefully the fitter didn't lead you to believe that there was some substantial difference between these two frames. If you compare 55cm models, they are as nearly identical as possible. Only the nominal saddle position on the post is different.
What am I missingjtolleson
Jan 21, 2002 1:51 PM
The geometrically impaired...

I though the steeper STA brings the rider forward a notch and effectively shortens, not lengthens, the top tube?

Hmmmm. Am I thinking about this wrong?
common mistake...C-40
Jan 21, 2002 3:44 PM
A steeper STA does bring the nominal saddle position forward in relation to the bottom bracket. To maintain the same KOP position that you have been using on the Litespeed, the saddle would have to be moved back by 1.2cm on the Colnago. This saddle movement effectively lengthens the 54cm TT to 55.2cm.

The choice of STA should be based on a obtaining an optimum KOP, with some reasonable amount of saddle fore-aft movement remaining for adjustment and experimentation. The STA should also be appropriate for the type of seatpost and saddle that you intend to use. If the Litespeed's 73 degree STA did not allow enough forward movement of the saddle, a simple change in the style of seatpost would be an easy fix that that would also effectively shorten the TT length.

There is no way for a fitter to know what your optimum KOP postion is. It can only be determined by riding and taking note of the results. A typical starting point places the knee directly over the pedal. In general, as the saddle is moved back, the tendency is to use a lower cadence and more torque to produce a given amount of power. The opposite occurs as the saddle is moved forward.

Although a good fitting is valuable in finding major deviations in body proportioning that may warrant a custom frame, the final determination of the most effective KOP position (and the corresponding geometry to achieve it) is in the hands of the rider. Serious racers might use a power-measuring wheel to determine if changes in saddle position improve maximum power or endurance.
re: How Stiff is the Colnago CT1?MP
Jan 21, 2002 1:57 PM
I've been considering a CT1, but haven't been able to test ride one. I won't buy a bike that I can't test, so that led me to test a Litespeed Siena. I loved it. Try one, you'll really enjoy it. Amazing acceleration, and the compact frame design will allow you more flexibility in sizing.
re: How Stiff is the Colnago CT1?MP
Jan 21, 2002 2:04 PM
One more thing. The 54 CT1 is too big for you. I am 5'9" and have a 31.5 inch inseam. I would buy a 54 in a Colnago. Go to for a good sizing formula. M.P.
Sizing frustrations...jtolleson
Jan 21, 2002 3:36 PM
I just spent $125 on the friggin' Serotta SizeCycle with a recommendation of the 54 cm Colnago as a viable possibility. Hmmmmm. Something is rotten in Denmark!

My numbers look like ...

Seat Tube 54
Top Tube 54
(assuming seat tube angle of 73.5)
That should give 13cm from seat rails to center of TT
Assumes a 9 stem

Did they screw it up? Did I?
sounds reasonable...C-40
Jan 21, 2002 4:16 PM
The 13cm distance from center of TT to seat rails is OK, but indicates the largest frame (vertically) that you should ride, IMO. My Colnago measures a little more than 14cm even with speedplay pedals, that keep the saddle as low as possible. There would be nothing wrong with a 53cm frame, unless the 1cm shorter head tube creates a bar to saddle height problem that isn't easily fixed with a change in stem rise. You didn't mention the assumed head tube length and stem angle.

To compare frames with seat tube angles other than 73.5 (like Colnago's 74) add 1.2cm for each degree of additional angle. For the Colnago, add .6cm to get the effective the top tube length.
Let me just say ...jtolleson
Jan 21, 2002 5:53 PM
That you are FABULOUS.

PS -- Eight years of fairly serious riding and I still can't figure out what fits. Go figure. Sometimes I think I'm overanalyzing it, but after 3 seasons of subtle dissatisfaction with the Litespeed I guess I'll keep analyzing...

Also, the Sizecycle fitting assume a HTA of 73.5% (probably because it is inspired by Serotta and thus uses Serotta presumptions for STA and HTA, I think) and -17 stem. I don't size a head tube length issued, which seems to me something I need to know?
Let me just say ...CT1
Jan 21, 2002 6:27 PM
Did your "fitting" generate bike inseam #'s. If so, what's that # and your overal height.

FWIW: I'm 5' 8" with a 31.9" "bike" inseam and I fit a 54 Colnago like a glove. My ideal stem is 11.5cm with a 3" saddle/bar drop.

To fit a 54cm Colnago you should have a 31.5-32" inseam. I wouldn't recommend anything less than 10cm for a stem length. If you need something in the 9cm range then the frame is probably too big.

ride on
Jan 22, 2002 7:41 AM
I'm 5'7" and show a cycling inseam of 81.75 (No, I'm not a mutant... I'm guess that is in mm?) on the size cycle sheet
Whoops, cmjtolleson
Jan 22, 2002 7:42 AM
Like I said, I'm not a mutant.
pretty much normal...C-40
Jan 22, 2002 10:02 AM
I'm also 5'-7" tall with an 83cm inseam. I consider myself to have longer than average legs (short torso).

Your inseam is certainly not unusual. The frame size formula that I like best (inseam - 28cm) would put you on a 53 or 54cm frame. The 55cm that you have been riding is larger than most fitters would consider appropriate.

I ride a 55cm (the largest size I would consider), but I've got at least 1cm more inseam and arms long enough to handle a 110 or 120 stem.

In a Litespeed, a 53cm would have been a lot better choice for you. If you get a Colnago the decision would be between a 53 or a 54. Compare the head tube length on your Litespeed (120?) to the Colnagos 116 & 125 (respectively) to aid in making the decision.
Sounds good for a 54cm ColnagoCT1
Jan 22, 2002 9:28 PM
Your longer than "normal" inseam is actually pretty typical for a female. My niece who is "only" 5' 11" has an inseam of something like 36". She towers over her top tube. Makes for a tough fit though!

Anyway, back to your fit issue. I think you've got it just about right with the 54cm Colnago. Your real problem will be TT length.... long legs and short torso = neeeeed shorter TT. The 54 Colnago has a medium length TT which should be OK. I'd guess you would feel OK with a 10cm stem. If you have a chance to ride a 54cm pay particular attention to how you feel in terms of the torso "stretch" and arm reach. A lot of this will depend on how "aggressive" you want the setup to be and how flexible you are. I seem to recall you saying you were a strong rider so perhaps you have also adapted to an aggressive setup. Ideally, you would end up with an 11-12cm stem which would weight bias the bike perfectly.

Hmmmm, if TT length is an issue, you might want to consider trying the TTT morphe Hbar. These bars have a fairly short reach and also position the levers a little closer to the bar which is good for smaller hands. I put one of these bars on my niece's bike and that brought the effective lever position back by about 1cm. I actually liked the way the levers set on the bars much more so than my 199's.

Anyway, good luck with the new bike ideas. Lots of exciting options!

Sizing frustrations...MP
Jan 21, 2002 5:01 PM
It comes down to what's comfortable for you, but you should stand over the 54 and see how much clearance you have. I agree that top tube length is more important, but you don't want to have a bike that you can't stand over comfortably. I've been fighting with this sizing thing myself, and seem to fit differently on different brands, even though they purport to be the same size. Let us know how you do.
re: How Stiff is the Colnago CT1?djg
Jan 23, 2002 8:48 PM
Despite repeated and baffling problems posting a response lately I'll try one more time.

I just got a CT1 this winter and don't have enough miles on it to give a complete story. But I'm glad to give my initial impressions. I'm starting at a different point--185 lbs and a 56 cm frame--but here goes: The CT1 is certainly stiffer than some Ti bikes I've been on (although that's a short list)--it's a responsive bike that climbs well (and incidentally, carves a pretty sharp turn). But it's not a board at all--it's a pretty lively ride and, although I've yet to do any real long rides, I'd say it's quite comfortable. Comfortable enough that my 5200 is definitely FOR SALE. It's a damn nice race bike but I think it'll be pretty kind to my 41 year old bones (that, as it happens, haven't actually raced in about 13 years).

I'd say the bike is very well suited to your described needs/wants. Whether you'll find exactly the fit and position you're looking for is not something I can know. The 54 sounds like it's in the ballpark for you. But I don't see how someone can give you a more definitive answer over the internet. I can't, at any rate. Ideally, you'd have a test ride. I winged it and had things work out.

The Ovalmaster is beefier than the CT1--in build, tube size, and rep. But I haven't ridden one.

If you're going mail order anyway, you might consider ordering from England. That's what I did and I was pleased with how things went with Maestro-UK. You can get a new 2002 CT1 with a Force fork from England for less than the GVH price on a 2001 model with the cheaper, and heavier, force fork. (And if you want the force fork you can save even more. Plus, you can get any color you want (although what's in stock is obviously quicker).

Good luck.