Colnago Super Bicycles
Few bicycles have influenced the scene as much as the Colnago Super. In 1968, when the Super was first released racing bicycles had long wheelbases, flat angles, large tyre clearance and were rather heavy. Ernesto Colnago noticed these flaws and released a bicycle that would revolutionise the world of cycling.
Ernesto Colnago designed the Super frameset for high performance using an innovative geometry solution. This new geometry made the Colnago Super significantly stiffer which increased the efficiency of the power transfer from the rider. As well as adapting the new aggressive racing angle, the Colnago Super was also particularly lightweight for the period and it was no surprise that many professionals were keen to ride them. Ernesto Colnago had released a more compact bike that would become legendary and a dream bike for a whole generation of cyclists.
One of these professionals was none other than Eddy Merckx, Merckx rode the top model of Colnago’s 1970s catalogue to many a victory. It was designed for high performance and really helped Merckx surpass his competition, cementing him as one of the greatest of all time.
The Colnago Super was extremely popular and remained in production for just over thirty years. For the majority of those years, it was built using plain round tubes for the top tube, down tube, seat tube also featuring crimped chainstays. The smaller frames were manufactured using Columbus SL tubing and the larger frame used slightly thicker Columbus SP tubing.
During all those years of production, the frame received regular moderations and updates to its design. If you compare a 1968 Colnago Super frame with a 1980’s model, there are many features that will be different.
Colnago Super 1968
Fork features two circles on each side of the fork crown. With clamp-on shift levers attached to the down tube.
Colnago club symbols are displayed on both head tube lugs.
Bottom bracket shell has a number of drilled holes.
Changes made to the Colnago Super 1971
Fork features a “C” with a club inside it on the top of the crown and two circles on each side of the fork crown.
Colnago club symbols are on both head tube lugs, but the lower club is bigger.
The Colnago club symbol has been cut out of the bottom bracket.
Changes made to the Colnago Super 1972
Braze-on bottle cage mounts on down tube.
Changes made to the Colnago Super 1973
Fork features a club symbol on top of crown and small club symbols on inside fork tongs. Head tube features a club symbol in the lower lug only.
Changes made to the Colnago Super 1974
Brazed-on shifter as part of the down tube now standard.
Changes made to the Colnago Super 1976
Fork crown now features both a Colnago club symbol and Colnago lettering below it.
Changes made to the Colnago Super 1978
Both the front and back brake calliper mounting nut is now recessed into the frame. In earlier models the mounting nut was exposed.
Changes made to the Colnago Super 1981
Chain stay bridge is changed from a simple tube shape to a spool shape. Chain stay crimping altered to a longer crimp on the inside of each stay. Shift cables routed under the bottom bracket.
Chain stays features imprinted Colnago lettering.
Rear brake bridge mount now displays the Colnago club.
Changes made to the Colnago Super 1983
The fork crowns have been crafted into an aerodynamic shape and again feature a “C” with a club inside.
Changes made to the Colnago Super 1986
The seat stays now display Colnago clubs instead of the lettering.
The bottom bracket now display two Colnago club on the upper side.
Colnago Super Athena (Arlecchino)
Campagnolo occasionally teamed up with famous bike brands such as Bianchi or Colnago to market their new components. In 1988 Campagnolo released a new top of the range groupset, Campagnolo Athena. Consequently, a special edition of the Colnago Super was produced, The Colnago Super Athena "Arlecchino”. This particular edition of the Colnago Super was famous for its fancy harlequin paint scheme and of course, came equipped with a Campagnolo Athena Groupset as standard.