Colnago Freedom review£999.95

Classy commuter

BikeRadar score4.5/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

Coming in at just under the magic £1,000 mark, we had to ask, is there more to the Freedom than aspiration? Is this a recession-friendly way of being able to say you ride a Colnago, or is it more like owning a Jaguar X-type diesel – the pleasure of joining the brand offset by the disappointment on people’s faces when you admit to driving a Mondeo in a party frock?

It doesn’t take long to find the answer to that one, whether you’re looking at the spec sheet or the road flashing beneath your wheels: the Freedom is equally impressive on paper and from the saddle. Make no mistake, this is a bike worthy of the clubs symbol on the head tube.

  • Frame: Lightweight, high quality goods from one of the most prestigious names in cycling (9/10)
  • Handling: Faster and sportier than its price rivals by a wide margin (9/10)
  • Equipment: FSA finishing kit, adjustable stem and Deore drivetrain show you’re not paying for the name (9/10)
  • Wheels: At this price point the Shimano RS10s are a real treat and they light up the performance (10/10)

Any thoughts that the Freedom might be built down to the price are dispelled when you clock the Shimano Deore drivetrain, FSA components and smart Shimano RS10 wheels. These hoops sell for over £150 on their own and impressed us when we tested them last year. At 791g and 1,053g for the front and rear respectively, these are truly light wheels.

Contact points consist of a comfortable Colnago-badged saddle and soft, tacky grips on a tapered mid-width FSA bar. You’re connected, confident and in charge of the Colnago from the first pedal stroke.

The adjustable stem is an excellent addition, capable of transforming the bike’s attitude in moments from chilled cycle path cruiser to thrilled psychopath bruiser. We enjoyed the Freedom most with the stem set five degrees down for a sportier experience that encourages more investment from your lungs and legs. You get a rate of return that the city boys would like to feel, the Freedom piling on the speed and maintaining it too.

The cassette packs nine speeds into an 11-32T spread. Shifts are quick and smooth so you can keep spinning efficiently. The triple crankset completes an excellent transmission of this test and gives a spread wide enough to take you through the Alps.

Arguably, the real story of this bike is the rolling chassis. The aluminium frame is light for the price and rides brilliantly. Road buzz is well subdued and the carbon fork does a good job of taking the sting out of sharper potholes. Better still, when you get out of the saddle and give it all you’ve got you’ll really experience the race bike that’s barely hiding beneath the surface of the Freedom’s modest black paint.

The low overall weight and quality wheelset are instantly apparent as the Colnago surges forward with every pedal stroke. It’s by far the fastest accelerating bike we've recently tested at this price, the quickest on open roads and the only one we’d even consider for a brisk Sunday run or sportive.

 colnago freedom:  colnago freedom
colnago freedom: colnago freedom

For more news about Colnago, visit the Colnago channel on Cyclingnews.com.

Jamie Wilkins

Deputy Editor, Procycling / Editor, Urban Cyclist, Procycling Magazine
Rides fast everywhere, all the time. Jamie started riding age 12, first on mountain bikes, progressing through cross-country and downhill racing (followed by motorcycle road racing and a dark time as a runner). A dedicated roadie since 2007, Jamie has dabbled in road racing, crits and time trials, but has the most fun simply riding hard with a couple of friends, chasing daft average speeds. Needless to say, Jamie values pure performance above all else and loves aero kit. Fiercely honest in his reviews. Has a chain-cleaning fetish.
  • Age: 36
  • Height: 185cm / 6'1"
  • Weight: 71kg / 156lb
  • Waist: 79cm / 31in
  • Chest: 96cm / 38in
  • Discipline: Road
  • Preferred Terrain: Mountains, rolling stuff, flat and windy, hacking through the city…
  • Current Bikes: Ridley Noah SL 20, Scappa Purosangue, Canyon Speedmax 9.0 SL
  • Dream Bike: Canyon Aeroad CF SLX 9.0 LTD, in red, please. And a Pashley Guv'nor.
  • Beer of Choice: Recovering teetotaller, still working this one out
  • Location: Bath, UK

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