The V2-R is Colnago’s latest and greatest monocoque frame, a successor to the V1-R.
When the V1-R launched it occupied the ‘aero’ niche for Colnago, but since the launch of the Concept — a proper aero bike — it’s taken up the mantle of the all-rounder, and is a slightly more affordable counterpart to the lugged C60 made using more mainstream construction methods.
Campagnolo Super Record and Bora Ultras pretty much make the dream buildMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
The V2-R is exceptionally unusual in one regard: it doesn’t claim to be lighter than its predecessor, instead boasting increased stiffness (13 percent at the bottom bracket, four at the fork) and various refinements.
There’s a tidy integrated wedge to clamp the seatpost in place; the gear cable routing now mimics that of the Concept, entering the top of the down tube; and the rear brake has been moved to its proper place on the seatstays.
The V2-R’s seat wedge is incredibly tidy, but not the most convenientMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
The brakes are direct mount for better performance and more clearance, with the V2-R officially taking a 28. Unofficially, you could almost certainly squeeze slightly bigger rubber in there.
Direct mount brakes mean lots of power and clearance for at least 28mm tyresMatthew Allen / Immediate Media
The bottom bracket uses the same ThreadFit 82.5 system as the C60, one that accepts press-fit BBs into a replaceable sleeve. That means a worn bottom bracket area won’t write off the frame — if it goes out of spec you just need a new insert.
Colnago V2-R spec as tested
Weight: 6.6kg (size 50s)
Frame: V2-R carbon, ThreadFit 82.5 bottom bracket
Fork: V2-R full carbon
Levers: Campagnolo Super Record
Brakes: Campagnolo Super Record direct mount
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Super Record
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Super Record
Cranks: Campagnolo Super Record 50/34
Cassette: Campagnolo 11-25
Wheels: Campagnolo Bora Ultra tubular
Tyres: Tufo Elite Ride 23mm tubular
Bar: Colnago carbon
Stem: Deda Superzero
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR
Seatpost: V2-R carbon, frame-specific
First ride impressions
My first ride on the V2-R left me wanting more
I took the V2-R on a brief ride from Colnago’s HQ on the outskirts of Milan, just enough to get a taste for bike, but not so much that I’ll be giving any kind of final verdict.
With 23mm Tufo tubulars pumped to approximately one million psi in the usual Euro fashion, it was hard to gain a meaningful sense of the V2-R’s comfort levels, but what was apparent was real smoothness — this is a frameset that absorbs high-frequency vibration from the road surface beautifully.
The Super Record and Bora Ultra build is likely the dream spec for many Colnago fans, and it certainly seems appropriate for a bike like this.
Ironically, the groupset on my test bike couldn’t be persuaded to shift consistently at the rear with basic adjustments, but that was a setup issue rather than anything inherently wrong with the bike.
When it was working, the shifting was pleasingly positive and the combination of the direct mount brake calipers and the Bora Ultras’ braking surface was very confidence inspiring, with loads of power and good modulation on offer.
First impressions of the V2-R are very positiveGruber Images
It’s a small thing, but I’ve always liked the curve of Campag’s brake levers, into which your fingers naturally hook.
The V2-R’s all-round performance is seemingly beyond reproach. It’s an extremely stiff bike that makes climbing a pleasure and it exhibits remarkable composure on the descents.
I was fiddling with my GoPro at one of our stops on the ride and I looked up and realised the group had left without me.
The ensuing downhill chase was immensely enjoyable, and despite the mental overload of riding with brakes set-up in reverse, it served to emphasise the V2-R’s talents — it’s a very precise machine with that inherent ‘rightness’ we all look for in a race bike.
After the ride I wrote in my notes: “light, stiff, exactly what you’d bloody expect”, and that pretty much sums it up.
Gearing aside, the only issue I had with the V2-R was with the seat clamp design. As with other similar systems, the clamping wedge tends to jam itself in place when it’s tightened, requiring a modicum of violence to dislodge.
This doesn’t matter once you’ve got the saddle height spot-on, but it makes small adjustments difficult as you need to dislodge the post before you can actually re-position it.
Colnago V2-R early verdict
Riding a Colnago makes your muscles bulge more. FactGruber Images
When Colnago launched the Concept aero bike last year I questioned whether it felt ‘special’ enough to justify the price.
It’s a highly subjective question, but while the bike was attractive and performed well, there was nothing about it that seemed inherently Colnago-esque — it’s a modern aero bike with many of the same features as a lot of other modern aero bikes.
Like the Concept, the V2-R is made in Asia using mainstream carbon construction methods and there’s not a lug in sight, so in that sense it’s much the same.
Personally, however, I can’t help finding the V2-R more alluring. Maybe it’s just that aero bikes don’t move me in quite the same way, but the V2-R’s looks are to my eyes a touch more distinctive and while none of its features are particularly unique, it’s an extremely appealing package.
Early impressions suggest that the V2-R is a highly capable machine that deserves the ‘superbike’ label. It’s extremely expensive and value for money is as debatable as ever, but it’s also very, very good.
Colnago V2-R pricing and availability
The V2-R is on sale now as a frameset costing £2,999.95 / $4,400. As tested, a complete bike would set you back around £9,000 / $12,000.
Matthew Loveridge (formerly Allen) is an experienced mechanic and an expert on bike tech who appreciates practical, beautifully-engineered things. Originally a roadie, he likes bikes and kit of every stripe, and he's tested a huge variety of both over the years for BikeRadar, Cycling Plus and others. For a long time Matthew's heart belonged to the Scott Addict, but he's currently enjoying Specialized's sublime Roubaix Expert and having a torrid affair with a Giant Trance e-MTB. At 174cm tall and 53kg, he looks like he should be better at cycling than he actually is, and he's ok with that.