Very few would argue against Colnago’s position on the top spot of the ‘prestige brand’ podium. Although production of a good portion of their frames has moved from Italy to Taiwan over the last few years, they’ve continued to maintain the strict quality controls and high standards we’ve come to expect.
Highs: Comfort and performance in one
Lows: Wheels don’t quite match the frame
Buy if: You’re not on a tight budget and value speed
The CLX 3.0 is a superb bike, and forms part of a range of realistically priced models – for Colnago anyway – designed to get more fans riding their beloved marque.
Similar in appearance to its aluminium/carbon predecessor, the Arte, the CLX 3.0’s full carbon frame strikes a graceful note. Curved seatstays mated to reasonably sized chainstays cushion you from road vibration and help the bike to stay pointed steadily in the right direction.
Handling is simply superb: where we once referred to Colnago’s ‘stable platform handling’, we’d like to add that it’s like being on a self-righting lifeboat. No matter what the road throws at you, this bike will see you through.
Featuring contemporary sloping geometry hovering at about a 72.5-degree head angle for our 52cm test bike, and a pin-sharp yet forgiving straight-bladed fork, the CLX 3.0 just got better the faster we went.
This made us do the stupidest things, and inspired so much confidence it was easily worth an extra 5-10mph on downhills – but we wouldn’t encourage such reckless behaviour just for the sake of increased grin factor.
Finishing kit is excellent, with good ergonomics and great overall comfort, even with an aero-shaped seatpost. The wheels are Shimano RS30s, which are good if workmanlike and weighty – their robust build and standard ball and cone hub configuration, along with exposed spoke nipples, ensures easy serviceability.
Shimano’s second from top mechanical groupset Ultegra takes care of the shifting, the compact chainset matched to a close 12-25t cassette. It’s pretty much the ideal compromise between pro-racing quick and sportive-ready climbing gears.
But whether you’re racing to win or riding for fun, the Colnago will give you the chance to push your limits at risk-taking speeds on an amazing machine – just fill out the right health and safety forms first…
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.