I recently stumbled across this eBay listing for a crazy Colnago C35 mountain bike — one of the first ever carbon mountain bikes produced — that for some reason has no seat tube.
The C35 was released in 1989 to mark Colnago’s 35th anniversary — though this particular bike rolled off the production line in the early '90s.
The bike was produced in collaboration with Ferrari, who was already very familiar with using composites at this time. An equally striking road equivalent was released at the same time as the mountain bike.
As is perfectly illustrated here, bike designers of the late eighties through to the early nineties appeared to have had a curious obsession with removing key structural parts of frames, seemingly in the name of trying to do something different for the sheer sake of it.
I'm particularly fond of the vestigial stub lurking above the bottom bracket shell that this curious design requires — where else was Colnago going to mount a front derailleur?
Thankfully, we seemed to have moved past this and with the exception of very few bikes, modern hardtails largely stick to the essentially not improvable triple-triangle format.
It’s actually surprisingly hard to find any information on the C35 MTB online, but I imagine the ride quality of the frame would be, well, unique...
In typical late-eighties fashion, the paint job is delightfully far out, though sadly it just predates the ‘anodize everything’ era by a few years.
The bike is fitted with a Shimano XTR M900 groupset — which I personally think might be one of the most beautiful groupsets ever made — and is matched with a set of notoriously-easy-to-crack early SRAM GripShift shifters.
The Marzocchi XC600 forks, with their insane drilled-out lowers are also a highlight. Incidentally, I discovered this site that still sells service kits for vintage Marzocchi forks when researching this article, so tip-top performance — well, as tip-top as you’ll get from a set of forks of this vintage — can be ensured for many years to come.
The listing claims that the bike has “never set foot on the mountains” and that the little riding it has done has only been by road. Indeed, the Geax Street Runner tyres suggest to me that the bike has been used as an excessively classy-ish around-town runner and the idea of that pleases me no end.
Of course, such pristine heritage demands a high price and this particular example can be yours for a cool €4,900 (approx £4,300 / $5,800 / AU$7,500).