Colnago has announced it will be debuting a prototype bike, suitably named the Prototipo, at the 2022 Critérium du Dauphiné.
Riders from UAE Team Emirates, including two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogačar, can choose to test it at the race. The team currently have the V3RS at their disposal, which they will continue to ride for now.
New method of carbon construction
Colnago says it has used a new method of carbon construction to test the potential design of the new bike.
The Prototipo frame is of a monocoque design. This sees sheets of carbon fibres laid up with epoxy resin in a mould to create what is effectively a ‘one-piece’ frame.
However, prior to this, the brand says it tested various carbon layup techniques and tube shapes using the same modular construction as the brand’s C-series bikes. Modular frame construction sees the various frame tubes bonded together with separate lugged sections. The recently-released C68 is the brand’s flagship bike.
The brand says this approach allowed it to experiment and make tweaks at a granular level to tube shapes and thicknesses without having to manufacture a fully monocoque frame to test different designs.
Through this process, Colnago has constructed five Prototipo frames, each with a slightly different carbon layup to determine which of them offers the best performance and ride quality.
Colnago acknowledges that, while computer and wind-tunnel tests are important, they have their limitations and therefore it has opted for this revised collaboration with its sponsored riders.
Colnago can then continue to develop the frame, which will become commercially available in the future.
The Prototipo frame looks to be a lightweight race bike with some subtle nods to aerodynamics, such as with the profiling of the bottom of the seat tube and what looks to be a D-shaped seatpost.
In keeping with many modern monocoque carbon designs, the seatstays are subtly dropped to support the seat tube.
The head tube is thin and veiled, with Colnago claiming the revised design offers the best blend of stiffness, responsiveness and aerodynamics. The brand says the bottom bracket area has also been beefed up.
Could the bike replace the V3RS, or will it sit alongside it in the Colnago range? We’ll keep our eyes peeled and let you know once we have more information.