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Which Colnago Frame to Buy?(33 posts)

Which Colnago Frame to Buy?CKS
Apr 12, 2002 7:22 AM
I may be able to get a deal on a Colnago, and am interested in opinions about the different frames. I am considering a C40, or CT1, although am completely open to other options. I looked at the Ovalmaster, but heard it's for heavier riders, which I'm not. Obviously these are different (carbon vs. Ti), but I am interested in ride characteristics, etc of each/any/all Colnago frames, even steel and AL. I currently have an older LeMond OCLV (licensed from Trek) and do like the carbon ride. Since I'm most interested in carbon or Ti for my next bike, I'm leaning towards the C40 or CT1.

I am 145lbs, and will use it for long training rides, and road races.
re: Which Colnago Frame to Buy?pmf1
Apr 12, 2002 7:44 AM
Guess I'll chime in because I have one, but have never ridden the other. I've had a C-40 for about a year. I also have a ti bike (LS Ultimate). I also have another carbon bike (Kestrel 200 Sci). I've has some steel and aluminium bikes in the past.

Carbon bikes, at least the two I have, ride similarily. Some people like how carbon feels, others call it dead. You appear to fall into the latter camp. I think they feel plush and are very comfortable for long distance riding. I'd guess the ride will be similar to your Lemond, but the frame is quite a bit lighter and the BB probably a bit stiffer. The ti bike I have is probably not your typical ti bike in that it is made for crits. I think it has a ride similar to steel bikes I've had, perhaps a little stiffer. At 145 lbs, you would probably find it punishing.

I personally would not buy an Italian ti bike. I think the best ones are made here in the U.S.

Many people will tell you that Colnago has this wierd geometry with a really short top tube and that fit is a problem. I haven't found this to be the case. All my bikes are 56 cm, all have 11 cm stems. If I were to choose one that I could go with a shorter stem, it would be the C-40.

If you like carbon, then the C-40 would be a great bike for you. If you want something different, then try a ti bike.

To me, bikes are like women, I can find something beautiful about most of them.
What about the CT1?CKS
Apr 12, 2002 8:11 AM
Price is always a concern, what about the CT1?
Never ridden onepmf1
Apr 12, 2002 8:16 AM
Its the ti bike with carbon stays, right? Personally, I think carbon stays are a gimmick. I'd take the Ultimate frame I have (1999 model) over the current one.

You can probably find a C-40 for a lot less than the $3800 retail price. I got mine for $2500 when I was in Italy (plus another $200 shipping). Whoever the U.S. distributor is, he's a greedy guy. Look on the net for deals.
Love it.djg
Apr 12, 2002 8:42 AM
I've been really pleased--lively, responsive, and comfortable all at the same time. YMMV.

I, on the other hand, have never owned or ridden a C40, so I cannot compare them.
re: LS Ultimate - punishing?doggintx
Apr 12, 2002 9:26 AM
I've been riding a 2002 Ultimate (with rear carbon stays) and have not found it punishing. In fact, it's quite a nice (fast!) ride with great road feedback. I assume you're riding a previous year's model without the carbon stays... do you use it for rides/races other than crits? What size do you ride? I'd like to hear your experience.
re: LS Ultimate - punishing?pmf1
Apr 12, 2002 9:48 AM
I've got the 1999 model. All ti with bent seat tube instead of cut-out (the 2000). Got a good deal on it on a close-out in early 2000 ($1600 for frame and Look HSC2 fork).

It is a fast bike and I do like the ride. However, many smaller riders complain that it is overly stiff. Its a good bike for a big aggressive rider. I've ridden it long distances (centuries) and not been uncomfortable. It is stiffer than many other ti bikes.

In fact, I look forward to riding it home from work in a few hours.
re: Enjoy the ride home!doggintx
Apr 12, 2002 10:38 AM
I'm 175 lbs. and hammer hard on the Ultimate. No problems at all with flex or harsh ride. Looking forward to my first century on it in 2 weeks! I should be able to put in 30 miles tonight before it gets dark.
Apr 12, 2002 10:49 AM
You'd hard pressed to flex that frame.

Ain't daylight savings time great? I removed my light sunday and hope to not look at it again for 6 months.
Apr 12, 2002 8:02 AM
You can get a great deal on C-40's from and several other euro web stores. Total Cycling's selection is limited, but they can have one shipped to your door in only a few days, if they have your size & color. I just received a new 2002 54cm C-40 from Like my current Raboboank frame, the paint work is incredible.

I've been riding a 55cm C-40 for the last two years and enjoy it greatly. I weigh 140 or less. I find the C-40's ride to be quite lively, a lot like good steel, but with better vibration dampening on gravel sealed roads that produce high frequency vibration. The response to road cracks and mismatches is quite stiff. There's nothing dead about the feel of this carbon frame (with the Star fork).

If I ever get the remaining Campy Record parts from Total Cycling, I'll soon be advertising the 2000 model for sale.
Apr 12, 2002 8:59 AM
Why did you drop from a 55 to a 54? What is your inseam, and how tall are you. I'm considering a Colnago, but am a little concerned about the short top tube lengths. I'm 5'9" and have an inseam of 31.
Apr 12, 2002 11:11 AM
Is that your pants inseam or a proper cycling measurement? I ask only because I'm about your height--heck, just under--have legs slightly on the short end of the scale, and have a cycling inseam of 83 cm (checked fairly recently with one of those spring-loaded fit stick things).

In our size range, the Colnagos do not have especially short top tubes. A size 56--measured from the bb to the bottom of the seat tube collar--is almost exactly 55 cm measured to the top of the top tube. And the top tube, center to center, is pretty damn close to 55 cm. 55, 56, 57--all reasonably close to square measure.
Apr 12, 2002 12:57 PM

Apr 12, 2002 1:29 PM
Compare OCLV 54cm with a 53cm Colnago: the Colnago's seattube measured to top of collar is 4mm longer the the Trek, and the toptube is 11mm shorter. Headtube is also a few mm longer. THe 53 COlnago also has a slightly shorter toptube than Litespeed. Certainly shorter than Bianchi and Lemond as well. But slightly longer than Pinarello.
Apr 12, 2002 5:10 PM
Do a search on Colnago TT lengths. There are plenty of posts re the "effective" TT length.

Effective TT length is NOT the listed TT length!!!!

JG is rightpmf1
Apr 12, 2002 7:06 PM
I have 3 56 cm bikes from 3 different mfg. All with the same stem lengths. They all fit me the same -- if anything, I'm more stretched on the Colnago.

They must measure thing strangely.

IMHO --- 98% of all bikes will fit 99% of all people with proper stem and fit. Most bikes fit most people. I've never worried that an off the shelf frame won't fit. Worse case, you buy a different stem -- biggest fit component and the cheapest.
55 to 54 reasoning...C-40
Apr 12, 2002 12:31 PM
I'm only 5'-7" tall, but my inseam is 32-5/8". I can ride either size and get the same fit by carefully selecting stem length and angle. There's only .3cm difference in top tube length. Switching from an ITM 80 degree stem to a Ritchey with an 84 degree angle will but the bars at the same height (both without spacers).

The 54cm will have 1cm more post showing (a little racier look). My saddle (top) is only 17cm above the top tube on the 55cm. It will be 18cm on the new 54 frame. Both are on the low side, compared to what a lot of the pros ride.
unlimited budget?ColnagoFE
Apr 12, 2002 8:45 AM
Then go for the's the only other bike I'd rather have than my Master XL in the COlnago lineup.
Luv my C-40...roadmeister
Apr 12, 2002 11:00 AM
I've had mine about 3 weeks...what a remarkable machine.
Still have my Lightspeed Classic, it's a great bike, but
this C-40 is light, comfortable, stiff, and,well, just
remarkable. I have a 57cmframe for both bikes...the C-40 top tube is 556 mm long and the LS top tube is 565mm long; all I did was get a 10mm longer stem on the Colnago, and the fit is right-on. If you have the $$, go for the C-40,
you will NOT be disappointed. If you like long training
rides, this will be your dream come true, but it also sprints and climbs very well and handles like it's on
rails. Best of luck...
But what if I'm NOT on an unlimited budget?CKS
Apr 12, 2002 12:18 PM
It seems clear the C40 is the hands-down favorite, but what if that's just too expensive? What other frames are super nice (besides all of them)?
But what if I'm NOT on an unlimited budget?Jekyll
Apr 12, 2002 12:27 PM
If they fit they are all nice. I've ridden C-40's, Dream and MXL. Total Cycling is selling '00 pre B-Stay models for well under $2k with fork or the new '02's with fork stem and post for $2450. When compared to Serotta, Calfee, LS, IF, etc it almost a "bargain" :-)
Its logarithmicpmf1
Apr 12, 2002 12:35 PM
There is no real way you can justify a C-40 on a benefit cost basis. The difference in a $1000 to $2000 bike is fairly significant. Going from $2000 to $3000 is noticable. From $3000 to $4000 is less noticable. From $4000 to $5000 is trivial. I bought one because I was on my honeymoon in Italy, my wife was buying one, and it was $1000 cheaper than here (I can never resist a good deal). Aside from being a pound lighter (OK,, 1.5 pounds when forks are taken into account), the ride is not that much different than the Kestrel I already had. Its a cool bike and I enjoy riding it. Its definitely an indulgence that I'll probably rarely make in my life. If its an issue of giving up money you can't afford to give up, then get something less expensive. Or look for a used one. Personally, I always thought the Masterlight was a nice frame.

I wonder if these frames sold for $750 whether they'd be so sought after.

It has cured my bike lust though. For the time being anyway.
that's one of the downsides to the C40 actuallyJohnG
Apr 12, 2002 1:08 PM
There are a ton of them around. Most are ridden by recreational riders too.

Dont' equate $ with goodness. The bottom line is that neither of these frames will make you any faster!!!!!

that's one of the downsides to the C40 actuallypmf1
Apr 12, 2002 6:57 PM
You are absolutely right. But a former girlfriend of mine once said "you're never dissapointed with the best". I am defintely not a world class rider. I don't race, or even shave my legs. I wish my body fat % is lower. But I really like to ride a bike (avg 6000 miles per year). For what I do, I do not need a $4000 bike ... or 3 of them (OK, I'm rounding). It makes me feel good -- I like them -- and am under no illusions that 1.2 lbs less will make me any faster. Still, having a nice bike(s) -- motivates me to ride and I enjoy them. I have been cycling seriously for 15 years and I can tell you that the higher end stuff is nicer. If you can afford it, what the hell. If you're spending your kid's college fund, then no way is it worth it.

Frankly, I miss that cheapass Fuji Cross I used to have that I sold when I got the C-40 because I didn't want to have 4 bikes (wife input here too).

I guess the way I feel about it is that I'll never have a Ferrari, yacht, 8500 sf house or trophy wife (no appeal there ... I've got a great woman), but for a year or so, I have the pinnacle of road bikes. Everyone blows their cash in some way ... you could do worse than a C-40
well said.......... nmJohnG
Apr 12, 2002 7:01 PM
MXL or at your weight maybe Tecnos nmgtx
Apr 12, 2002 1:10 PM
sage advice hereJohnG
Apr 12, 2002 1:04 PM
I've got a new BSTAY CT1 and think the ride quality is PHENOMENAL. Best riding bike I have or ever used. Absolutely raceable too...... Rona and the Nav's are on them this year. :)

The C40 will be a couple of ounces lighter and perhaps a tiny bit more racy feeling.... Oh, it costs whole lot more too. I'll probably order a C40 myself in the next couple of weeks but if I had to have just one Colnago it would DEFINITELY be the CT1.

BTW, if you think you can get a good price on a C40 or CT1 give me a jingle.. I bet I have a source that's cheaper.

C40 from Maestro?B2
Apr 12, 2002 1:06 PM
Maestro ( seems to have pretty good prices on the C40. Anyone out there buy from Maestro recently?

two frames in the last 5 months.... and one more very soon.JohnG
Apr 12, 2002 1:10 PM
Had the CT1 for about two months now. Mike just got my Dream Cross frame in so that will be in my hands in a couple of weeks.

A C40 might be next ........... ???
sounds like it's time for an interventiongtx
Apr 12, 2002 1:22 PM
you, sir, have a problem ;)
Second thatpmf1
Apr 12, 2002 7:11 PM
Since I got my C-40, it's ruined my life. I'm seriously considering buying a machine gun.
The only problem with.......JohnG
Apr 12, 2002 8:44 PM
I'd be a bit nervous about the poseur factor when riding the Friere C40. To whit..... I could have bought a new Ferarri (sp) frame for a great price but I ultimately decided against it for the same reason.

Anyway, that Friere is one pretty color and I've never owned a C40.... so :)

I am selling my LOOK KG so maybe that partly justifies another frame??? hahaha

ride on
Apr 13, 2002 9:32 AM
Bought a CT1 from maestro about 4 months ago. Very pleased with all aspects of the purchase--not least the price, but the whole deal. Mike Perry is the proprietor.