Colnago Super Bicycles

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.

Eddy Merckx's Personal Colnago Molteni Team Bike, 1971, Liège-Bastogne-Liège
Eddy Merckx's Colnago Super Team Molteni bike, 1971

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 Super 1968 Shifters

Colnago club symbols are displayed on both head tube lugs.

Colnago Super 1968 Clubs

Bottom bracket shell has a number of drilled holes.

Colnago Super 1968 bottom bracket

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 Super 1971 fork crowns

Colnago club symbols are on both head tube lugs, but the lower club is bigger.

Colnago Super 1971 clubs

The Colnago club symbol has been cut out of the bottom bracket.

Colnago Super 1971 bottom bracket

Changes made to the Colnago Super 1972

Braze-on bottle cage mounts on down tube.

Colnago Super 1972

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.

Colnago Super 1973

Changes made to the Colnago Super 1974

Brazed-on shifter as part of the down tube now standard.

Colnago Super 1974 brazed-on shifters

Changes made to the Colnago Super 1976

Fork crown now features both a Colnago club symbol and Colnago lettering below it.

Colnago Super 1976 Fork crowns

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.

Colnago Super 1978 brakes

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.

Colnago Super 1981 bottom bracket

Chain stays features imprinted Colnago lettering.

Colnago Super 1981 bottom bracket

Rear brake bridge mount now displays the Colnago club.

Colnago Super 1981 rear brake bridge

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.

Colnago Super 1983 Fork crowns

Changes made to the Colnago Super 1986

The seat stays now display Colnago clubs instead of the lettering.

Colnago Super 1986 Seat stays

The bottom bracket now display two Colnago club on the upper side.

Colnago Super 1986 Bottom Bracket

 

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.

Colnago Super Athena, Arlecchino 1988
Colnago Super Athena, Arlecchino 1988

Colnago Super Sprint

The Colnago Super Sprint was one of the successors of Colnago's classic Super model, first released in 1989. The chainstays inherited the crimpless design of the older Mexico models, the rear brake cable was routed internally and the head lugs were chromed like on the earlier Master models. The frames were made using quality Columbus SL (superleggeri) and Cromor tubing.

Colnago Super Sprint Team Panasonic Paintwork
Colnago Super Sprint Team Panasonic Paintwork
Colnago Super Sprint Chromed Lugs & Internal Rear Brake
Colnago Super Sprint Chromed Lugs & Internal Rear Brake

Colnago Super Più

The Colango Super Più is another evolution from the Colnago Super that first appeared in the Colnago Catelog in 1992. The main difference being the rear brake cable routed inside the top tube.

Colango Super Più
Colango Super Più