To anyone with a passing interest in road cycling, Colnago need no introduction. Simply put, the Italian company sit at the very top, coveted by professional and amateur enthusiasts alike. The top-of-the-line C59 is the result of an evolutionary process that started in 1989 with Colnago’s first production carbon bike, the C35, and continues to this day.
It's available in any number of incarnations, with sloping or standard geometry, and compatible with either mechanical or electronic groupsets. (The frame and fork are £3,499.95.) Our Thomas Voeckler/Europcar special edition is one of several finishing options for 2012.
Aesthetically, it follows a very classical path, with traditional lugs made of highly compacted carbon composite into which subtly shaped and ultra-high-strength straight carbon tubes are bonded. An internal vertical rib splits the forward business end of the down tube, adding strength and stiffness right where it’s needed most. The result is a rigid yet comfortable structure.
With a real-world weight of about 1,200g, the frame is blessed with a full-length internal brake cable guide, while feeding gear cables through the down tube is a cinch as they simply drop through a large scoop in the bottom bracket shell. Add a conventional English-threaded bottom bracket and durable aluminium headset bearing seats and the C59 is guaranteed to be liked by those who depend on it for their livelihoods.
Equipped with a Campagnolo Record groupset that performs faultlessly, the Colnago is rock steady when you need it to be, with good manners and comfort all round. High-speed handling is helped by the fairly conventional tube profiles, which are less affected by turbulence than broad-sided monocoque frames, so while closing in on a large group in a fast descent, slipping through the vortex into the sweet spot goes unnoticed. The stable handling also means it stands up well to a bullying crosswind.