Although no longer a WorldTour team, Europcar is virtually guaranteed a Tour place every year, and its long association with Colnago means that the Italian marque’s machines will feature throughout July. On the back of the stunning C60, Colnago’s model range has been bolstered by the aero V1-R, which became the first choice of team fast man Bryan Coquard.
Ferrari’s Cavallino, or prancing horse, logo is applied to each frame to recognise the company’s collaboration with Colnago, which instructed the frame’s carbon quality.
Colnago has majored on classic looks while creating its road aero frameset, with subtle Kamm-tail tube shapes that look more round than aero in profile. Even the head tube looks relatively slim, compared with the aero competition.
The chainstays aren’t asymmetric, there’s a wide bottom bracket shell, and all cabling is routed internally from neat interchangeable ports in the head tube. The complete bike looks unfussy and purposeful.
Vision supplies the carbon stem, carbon bar and its well-proven Metron 40C clincher wheels
Both brakes are direct mount units with a reversed quick release lever at the front that tucks out of the wind when closed. The rear brake is hidden beneath the chainstays, leaving the seatstays brake-free, with just a streamlined bridge remaining.
It has a supremely composed ride, with more comfort than many road bikes, let alone those with aero pretensions. Over rippled roads and tracks the 25mm rubber, wide carbon rims and wonderfully engineered frameset and seatpost do an incredible job of isolating you from road buzz and harsh vibration. The saddle is a Colnago-branded Selle Italia SLR with Vanox metal rails, so, as comfy as it is, it’s not responsible for the cushioned plushness.
Performance is relentless – as the V1-R just goes when you prompt it, and no sooner have you thought about accelerating, then it goes some more. The Vision Metron 40C wheelset is well proven, specialising in crisp cornering, progressive braking and urgent acceleration.
Gaining speed on the Colnago is simple, but the way it helps you sustain it and pick up more is addictive. Despite weary legs on our first ride, our regular test loop average speed increased markedly.
Both the direct mount brakes are very effective, but the rear isn’t that easy to access
Positionally, we found the 54cm frame size ideal for our conventional 56cm frame tester, with perfect reach and weight distribution, allowing plenty of room to work without feeling cramped or stretched. Vision Metron’s wing topped carbon bar is excellent for rouleur duties; the almost twisted flattened tops morphing in to a supportive wrist platform above the super-ergonomic Campagnolo Record hoods, offering multiple positions for relaxed flatland flying.
They’re stiff enough in a sprint too, somewhere the frameset excels. All those unfussy straight tubes keep things direct, and the aero shaping can be brought to bear in a gallop to the line.
We’re often sceptical about manufacturer’s own branded brakes, but the Colnago direct mount units performed admirably. There’s a little less rigidity than Shimano’s benchmark, but sometimes with carbon rims that can be a help, evening out the sometimes patchy pad grip. We’d have liked to see some gear cable adjusters below the bar for on-the-fly tweaks, and racier chainring sizes, but in performance terms the V1-R is hard to fault.