When in the late 1970s Colnago developed a more aerodynamic bike, he decided to go for a radical design. Not so much concerning the geometry which was still based on the Mexico, but as far as tubing and parts are concerned, he went all in.
The key aspect of the design was the decision to use tubes with extra-narrow diameters and the outcome was the Colnago Mexico TT. A bike which was so labor-intensive to make that only very few were actually built.
It is easier to say what was normal on this bike then to list all the stuff that was special in some way. Yet let's try to go through the bike, piece by piece.
- The fork had been specially developed. It has an aerodynamic integrated fork crown and more often than not a fixed front brake socket - which amazingly sat on the back. Our bike is the rare exception with its standard brake. The fork's steerer had to fit through the headtube which had an ultra-narrow diameter. Consequently the steerer was even more narrow.
- What would be necessary to connect such a fork with said headtube? Right - the tiniest of headsets was delivered by Campagnolo.
- And the next link in this chain of downsizing was the stem. To fit it into the dwarfed steerer, it had to be specially built with a Liliputian shaft.
- If we turn back to the frame, we can see that the headtube is actually round, but the other tubes of the main triangle are not. In fact they are profiled to add stability to the structure in a way which we would find much later on the Nuovo Mexico models.
- Without a question, the lugs are undersized, too. Well, the bottom bracket shell is almost normal. To add stability and fit the tubes into this cluster, a set of sleeves was added which work as an external butting.
- The seat stays are not only really thin but also aerodynamically improved.
- The shifting levers have been moved into the main triangle on top of the downtube. And the cables? Are all routed internally as far as this was possible.
- Would it be feasible to mount the front derailleur direct-mount style to a slim braze-on? - Well for this bike it was made possible.
- A 'normal' seatpost of 24mm diameter was not aerodynamic enough, the sides were milled off, to make it even slimmer.
It is frankly impossible to over-estimate the amount of work and planning that went into this bike.
And it comes as no surprise that the USSR cycling team ordered a low-pro time trial version of the Colnago Mexico TT for the 1980 Olympics. They rode it in the 100km team time trial wich they absolutely smashed!
The chances of getting hold of such a Colnago Mexico TT are getting rarer.
It is possible to refurbish the surface of the frame close to perfection, but we refrained from it to keep some of its patina.
If you are interested in rare bikes in general and Colnagos specifically, this is a must-have!