Colnago Ace review£2,199.95

Italian masters' sportive-specific design

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A new departure for the classic Italian marque, the Ace might look like a race bike but it’s actually a dedicated sportive machine with a 20mm taller head tube. Not that it’s a slouch of course – after all, it is still a Colnago.

The Colnago Arte entered in last year's Bike Of The Year test was a little lacklustre compared to a lot of the opposition. The Ace, a new design for 2010, not only looks as good as you’d expect from Colnago, but proved a massive hit with all our test riders.

Admittedly the 10-speed Campagnolo Veloce setup and Khamsin wheels are outshone by the kit on most of the bikes it’s up against, but Colnago have put most of their efforts into the frame. Comfort is excellent, with the chassis providing a cushioned, floating feel.

It manages to successfully dampen most road bumps – large and small – while still giving you a great road feel; the best of both worlds. And the FSA shallow-drop bar proved popular for its comfort too.

Acceleration was very impressive, partly thanks to the Ace’s carefully reinforced chainstays – our testers said that when you turn the pedals in anger the bike picks up its heels, sharpish. It climbs pretty efficiently too, high speed carving is really solid and convincing, and even at low speeds we found it to be very agile.

But what’s even more surprising is that our racers reckoned you could easily compete on this. It seems that in spite of setting out to make a more sportive-friendly machine, Colnago couldn’t entirely leave behind their racing heritage.

Ultimately the Ace might be a little bit more at home on a gran fondo ride in the Italian Alps or Dolomites, but wherever you ride it, this Colnago with a twist is likely to turn heads. There’s no women-specific model, but it comes in a wide range of frames sized from 42 to 58cm.

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