Pro bike: Sven Nys' Colnago Prestige

The bike of the 2013 cyclocross world champion

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.

The belgian team has 140 sets of wheels on hand in louisville so it's important that they're all carefully marked:
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.

Belgian cyclocross superstar sven nys (crelen-euphony) is vying for his second elite world championship title aboard this colnago prestige:

Complete bike specifications
FrameColnago Prestige, rim brake, 56cm
ForkColnago Cross Carbon, straight 1 1/8" steerer
HeadsetColnago zero-stack, 1 1/8"
StemPRO PLT, 120mm x -6°
HandlebarsPRO Vibe Round, 44cm (c-c)
Tape/gripsColnago cork
Front brakeShimano CX70 cantilever w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
Rear brakeShimano CX70 cantilever w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
Brake leversShimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970
Front derailleurShimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-7970
Rear derailleurShimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-7970
Shift leversShimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970
CassetteShimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 12-27T
ChainShimano Dura-Ace CN-7901
CranksetShimano Dura-Ace FC-7900, 172.5mm, 46/39T
Bottom bracketShimano Dura-Ace SM-BB7900
PedalsShimano XTR PD-M970
WheelsetShimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU
Front tireDugast Typhoon tubular, 33mm
Rear tireDugast Typhoon tubular, 33mm
SaddleSelle Italia SLR Team Edition
Seat postPRO Vibe
Bottle cagesn/a
Other accessories 
Critical measurements
Rider's height1.81m (5-foot-11)
Rider's weight70kg (154lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t)765mm
Saddle setback (ask mechanic)73mm
Seat tube length, c-t560mm
Seat tube length, c-c540mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem)567mm
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical)83mm
Head tube length148mm (including headset cups)
Top tube length550mm
Total bicycle weight7.68kg (16.93lb)
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