Colnago V2-R first ride review

£9,000 superbike in "quite good" shocker

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.

Colnago V2-R — not lighter, but stiffer

Campagnolo Super Record and Bora Ultras pretty much make the dream build
Campagnolo Super Record and Bora Ultras pretty much make the dream build

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 convenient
The V2-R's seat wedge is incredibly tidy, but not the most convenient

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 tyres
Direct mount brakes mean lots of power and clearance for at least 28mm tyres

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 positive
First impressions of the V2-R are very positive

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. Fact
Riding a Colnago makes your muscles bulge more. Fact

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 Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 174cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 53kg / 117lb
  • Waist: 71cm / 28in
  • Chest: 84cm / 33in
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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