Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony), long a legend in international cyclocross, cemented his status with his second UCI cyclocross world championship title Saturday in brutally cold and muddy conditions in Louisville, Kentucky. We took a look at his Colnago Prestige.
The Colnago Prestige frame is several years old now but the fact that it's currently in use by Nys as well as current world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) stands as a strong testament to its solid design. Known more for its lugged carbon chassis, Colnago instead builds the Prestige in more contemporary fashion with a monocoque front end mated to bonded-in seat stay and chain stay assemblies, both joined with two-piece hinged aluminum dropouts.
Further reinforcing the straightforward construction are the straight 1 1/8in front end where most new bikes now use tapered setups, a threaded bottom bracket shell, and a dead-level top tube. The seat cluster is uniquely punctuated by an additional arc of carbon that supposedly eases the pain of shouldering, however, and Nys' Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 wires are internally routed. Consumer-spec Prestige frames are further modernized with disc brake tabs but as is still currently the case with most top-level European racers, Nys carries on with simpler – and lighter – cantilevers, at least for now.
The curved bridge at the seat tube-top tube junction is supposedly meant to ease the pain of run-ups, although Sven Nys' (Crelen-Euphony) shoulder is usually placed further forward
One might expect someone like Nys to pilot an exotically outfitted machine but it's decidedly workhorse everywhere you look, which perhaps only further highlights his athletic talents. In fact, most of the bits on Nys' bike aren't even current.
For example, the Dura-Ace Di2 transmission is the older 7970 generation, the replacement for his Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU carbon tubular wheelset has already seen action for nearly a full season with WorldTour road teams, and even the XTR pedals are the previous M970 edition (although it's widely accepted that the newer ones actually aren't as good in heavy mud).
Countless races in wet and muddy conditions have worn the anodizing off of the crankarms and even the frameset shows numerous battle scars from competition and travel. Considering the abuse served up week in and week out by both rider and environment, the bike's impeccable functional condition speaks volumes about the mechanics that tend to it.
33mm-wide Dugast Typhoon tubulars are mounted to Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU carbon wheels
Rounding out the build are 33mm-wide Dugast Typhoon tires (though the more aggressive Rhinos might be used if Saturday afternoon proves muddy), a Selle Italia SLR Team Edition saddle, and a mix of PRO aluminum and carbon fiber cockpit components. Nys apparently doesn't require a number to know how hard he's working as there is no power meter or computer installed – success is measured instead by the grimaces and weeping of his competitors on course.
Total bike weight is light but not especially so at 7.68kg (16.93lb).
On paper, a less astute observer might say Nys' Colnago Prestige is due for an update. But where someone else sees nicks, scratches, and abuse, we see experience, wisdom, and confidence. As the saying goes, it's not the size of the sword that counts but how you wield it – and Nys can cut a wicked slice indeed.
|Complete bike specifications|
|Frame||Colnago Prestige, rim brake, 56cm|
|Fork||Colnago Cross Carbon, straight 1 1/8" steerer|
|Headset||Colnago zero-stack, 1 1/8"|
|Stem||PRO PLT, 120mm x -6°|
|Handlebars||PRO Vibe Round, 44cm (c-c)|
|Front brake||Shimano CX70 cantilever w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads|
|Rear brake||Shimano CX70 cantilever w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads|
|Brake levers||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970|
|Front derailleur||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-7970|
|Rear derailleur||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-7970|
|Shift levers||Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970|
|Cassette||Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 12-27T|
|Chain||Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7901|
|Crankset||Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7900, 172.5mm, 46/39T|
|Bottom bracket||Shimano Dura-Ace SM-BB7900|
|Pedals||Shimano XTR PD-M970|
|Wheelset||Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU|
|Front tire||Dugast Typhoon tubular, 33mm|
|Rear tire||Dugast Typhoon tubular, 33mm|
|Saddle||Selle Italia SLR Team Edition|
|Seat post||PRO Vibe|
|Rider's height||1.81m (5-foot-11)|
|Rider's weight||70kg (154lb)|
|Saddle height, from BB (c-t)||765mm|
|Saddle setback (ask mechanic)||73mm|
|Seat tube length, c-t||560mm|
|Seat tube length, c-c||540mm|
|Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem)||567mm|
|Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical)||83mm|
|Head tube length||148mm (including headset cups)|
|Top tube length||550mm|
|Total bicycle weight||7.68kg (16.93lb)|