Colnago AC-R review

The Colnago experience without the wallet-worrying pricetag

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
GBP £1,999.95 RRP | AUD $2,599.00 | USD $2,362.73

Our review

Pitch-perfect Colnago handling now available at a realistic price
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The new AC-R replaces the ACE, but sets out to be sportier. It takes its design cues from Colnago’s previous top-level monocoque frame, the M10. That means it eschews the current trend for all things sportive in favour of a much racier approach. It shares the M10’s geometry, and its monochrome finish even mimics the much pricier model.

  • HIGHS: Punchy ride and sublime Colnago handling
  • LOWS: Middleweight wheels and waxy brake pads
  • BUY IF… You want the full-fat Colnago experience but without the wallet-worrying price tag

Its black and white frame hides some quality features we’d expect from a classic marque like Colnago. The down tube is subtly triangulated and oversized to enhance stiffness. This melds into a large bottom bracket shell taking a Shimano Hollowtech bottom bracket.

The rear end is classic Colnago with both the chainstays and seatstays starting from wishbones. This effectively makes the rear end a one-piece structure, no doubt adding to the feel of solidity inherent in the AC-R’s ride. With a 181mm head tube, racy angles and a mid-to-tight wheelbase the AC-R sets itself out as a bike that’s more sport than sportive. It does have an endurance-friendly drivetrain, pairing a 50/34 chainset with a 12-28 cassette.

Its comfortable saddle and well-shaped Deda bar also give us the armoury required for a sportive-slaying special.

Colnago bikes, whatever their price, are defined by their long-standing geometry, and that gives the bikes a beautifully balanced ride. The straight-legged, sharp-angled fork makes for a swift response without dipping into twitchy nervousness. The result, when married to a taut-feeling rear end, is a bike that has stability at its core. This gave us huge amounts of confidence, making us push the Colnago that bit harder on descents and to get out of the saddle to sprint as often as we could.

The AC-R’s only drawbacks are from the Colnago-branded Artemis wheelset and the pad quality of the brakes. We have no qualms about the wheels’ construction quality, and we like the stiffness and their rim profile. But paired with middleweight rubber they’re carrying a little too much weight.

They’re no heavier than the Shimano or Fulcrum wheels we’d find on similarly priced bikes – it’s just that the AC-R feels so punchy and responsive that the heft of the hoops makes its presence known on longer ascents. When you’re braking, the hard waxy pads lack the bite of quality units, and changing them is a small upgrade we’d recommend. If ever a frame deserved better wheels and brakes it’s this.


Even as it stands the AC-R is the best base model bike Colnago has ever produced, and if you’ve always wanted to own a Colnago but couldn’t afford the ticket price, the AC-R might be just what you’ve been looking for.

Product Specifications


Name AC-R (14)
Brand Colnago

Description 42, 45, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58cm, Vittoria Zaffiro Slick 700x23 tyres, Colnago bottle cage
Rear Wheel Weight 1190
Top Tube (cm) 56
Standover Height (cm) 80
Seat Tube (cm) 48.5
Chainstays (cm) 40.6
Bottom Bracket Height (cm) 27
Wheelset Colnago Artemis, 30mm alloy clincher rim, 24 standard pull radial spokes front, 28 standard pull 2-cross spokes rear
Weight (kg) 8.93
Stem Deda RHM EL 120mm
Shifters Shimano 105 5600 STI 10-speed
Seatpost Alloy 31.6mm
Saddle Colnago VL1319
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105 short cage
Bottom Bracket Shimano Hollowtech II
Headset Type Colnago 11/8-1¼in
Handlebar Deda EL 42cm
Front Wheel Weight 940
Front Derailleur Shimano 105 braze-on
Frame Weight 1350
Frame Material Colnago AC-R M10 monocoque
Fork Weight 420
Fork Colnago AC-R 11/8-1¼in steerer
Cranks Shimano R565 50/34, 172.5mm cranks
Chain KMC
Cassette Shimano Tiagra 4600 12-28
Brakes Colnago X-brake
Wheelbase (cm) 99.4