Review: Colnago PrestigeBy Scott Mares | Published Aug 17, 2012
Right Out of the Box
UPS pulled up to the house and I had been expecting the Colnago Prestige frame set that week and I was pretty stoked to get a Colnago. I have gotten other carbon cross bikes and frame sets in and I have seen my fair share of them. So I got the box knife out and carefully cut the white Colnago branded packing tape that sealed the contents form the hostile world of things that would surely damage the boxes precious cargo. I opened the box and I could see the frame inside totally wrapped in a big bubble wrap bag. Surrounding it were blocks of Styrofoam. It was obvious to me that the factory had taken their time to pack this frame set. So I reached in and grabbed the frame by the head tube and pulled it from its cardboard box and removed it from the bubble wrap bag. Like in a movie a long and loud period of silence enveloped the office. After that I could only say one word. WOW! Its my job to get in cross bikes and put them together and ride them. Its a pretty cool job and I get to ride a lot of cool stuff. But so far this is the sexiest frame set to get to us.Bling Factor
This bike has a lot of Bling factor going for it. The bling is mostly in the frame set as you can imagine. I live in Portland and they love black here. or anything Non-Euro. So when I got sent this bike I was hoping for something other than black. I like the euro look and a black bike just doesn't appeal to me. However, this is no ORDINARY paint job. One thing that Colnago prides itself on is its paint. And wow did they do a awesome job on this frame set. The black is deep and bright at the same time. There is also a simple accent stripe of red and white on it as well. Just enough to make it really pop. Even people that don't know what a Colnago is were making comments on what a hot bike it was. Like some dream pinup girl I can t help but stare in appreciation. Now, Putting a total PRO and Dura Ace group on the bike only completed the picture.
Road Test Ride
We headed out to one of our favorite places to go vertical. So even though we don't live in the mountains doesn't mean that you can get some climbing in here in Portlandia. Just on the other side of the river is a nice little road called German Town Rd. I like to go through down town and head noth on hwy 30 and then pick up German Town Road and head west. Its a little bit of a haul but its a good warm up to get there. There is about 1,000 feet of vertical in 2 miles. By the time I haul my ageing sub Clydesdale body to the top to skyline Rd its enough for me. The grades go from 6% all the way up to 16.5%. Now we swapped out the wheels for some Dura Ace clinchers and the bike climbs really well. Its not a pure climber as there is no bottom bracket bridge. And quite frankly right now there is more bike than motor. So I don't think that the Mt. Evans Hill climb record is in any danger from me. Does the Colnago prestige climb like my road bike? No... its a cross bike, longer wheel base etc... The bottom line for this bike is that it does climb very well. But its not a pure climber.Cornering
Now for the fun part! You see the climb up German Town road is not straight at all. It has more cures than the entire Kardashian family put together. That section has a lot of hairpin and swooping corners. All in all that road changes direction 15 times in the 2 mile section. So if you like to descend its a lot of fun. If you don't like descending its a nail biter. So much that if you are on this road for the first time going down and you see a yellow corner sign that says 10 mph Its not a suggestion. But getting back to the Colnago, Its a hoot on the descends and with the geometry and longer wheel base it was like taking a bobsled to the bottom on the hill..Handling
Stable, predictable. SolidRide Feel
The bike feels alive. The bike has a liveliness about it when ever you take it out. Its almost like my Siberian Husky in that it wants to play and is up for just about any road.
Dirt Test Ride
Most of the climbs that we have in cross are pretty short and are mostly a power type of climb. The only climbs that are longer are usually on the road section in a race. So with that being said its about traction. The bike climbs pretty well on the road and it climbs really well on the dirt. why is that? Well its because of a couple of things. The geometry lends itself so that the rear is stable and its not so tight as to make the rear skip around while climbing or pedaling really hard. The rear end gives just enough. Not too much but just. This was great in the dry loose course at Deer Valley this year.Cornering
Again the Colnago Prestige is great on the tight stuff and the fast sweepers. I had no troubles with this bike and I am looking forward to getting into a course with lots of turns in it as I think this is a strong point of the Colnago Prestige. The course at Deer Valley was hot, dry and had lots of transitions in the corners. You were either going from pavement to dirt or hard pack to loose sand. In any and all the situations that this course had the Colnago Prestige was nothing but pleasure. Especially the high speed off camber descent that went from pavement to dirt. You come off the road (down hill) jump the curb and go into a right hand off camber sweeper... All that changed was the sound of the tires from biting pavement to digging in the dirt.. Sweet....Handling
Before I say this again. I want to say that the bike felt at home on the dirt. The Colnago Prestige was predictable and not twitchy at all. It was very stable and wanted to go hard but did not feel out of control at any time.Ride Feel
So after taking the bike on the dirt and then taking another bike on the same bumpy course I can tell the difference between the two. The ColnagoPrestige was the more comfortable of the two and it did a really good job in gobbling up the bumps and smoothing things out. The uber high end carbon construction with the geometry of the Colnago made for a great combination.
Trainer Test Ride
We didn't get it on the trainer because the weather outside was always too nice..
Race Test Ride
We got the Colnago Prestige pretty early in the year and so we got to race it both on the road and in a cross race at Dealer camp this year. After riding the bike for a while it was no surprise on how it handled on the dirt. Dealer camp is in Deer Valley/Park City Ut. The race was at 7,000 feet and it was hot and dry. Now this is not what I am use to as I race in the Pacific North West, usually at like 200 ft above sea level. I was happy that the course was relativity flat. But it was very bumpy. There was lots of rocks on the course from small gravel to baseball size. The Race was fast and I was glad that I was on the Colnago prestige. The bike was very smooth over the fields of boulders and buffalo grass that was abundant at Deer Valley. The carbon fiber construction really lent it self to allow me to apply the power under these rough conditions and maintain control.
The paint job.
The Ride quality.
All the attention that the bike got from everyone.
We Didn't Like
I would like to see this bike offered in a couple more color schemes. Other than that nothing at all..
The Colnago showed up as a frame set only and so we were lucky enough to get a Dura Ace group to try and duplicate the World Champs bike as close as we could. So we got to dress this bike out with some pretty cool stuff. We used PRO components for the bars, stem and post. We would have liked to have used their carbon line but they were all out. So The only thing that we really could have upgraded was changing out the Aluminum parts for carbon ones. That's it!
The Final Say
The Colnago prestige is not just a pretty paint job with off the shelf carbon fiber. Colnago strives to make the very best frame sets in the world period. And that means using the very best and most expensive materials and construction methods that are available. Lets face it, we will never be able to put our bikes through the amount of stress that a Ferrari or Formula 1 race car does. So we know that this stuff will hold up to us slogging through the woods with our hair on fire. The bottom line is with Colnago's meticulous attention to detail in style & paint, uncompromising methods of materials and construction; you will not find a better steed to throw a leg over, go out into the mud, turn yourself inside out and get dirty for an hour. If you can afford one, it is well worth it. Personally I love this bike.
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- First Impressions
- On the Road
- On the Dirt
- Race Performance
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- PRO 7S Vibe
- Shimano CX70
- Bottom Bracket
- Shimano Dura Ace
- Shimano Dura Ace
- Shimano Dura Ace 10 speed chain
- Shimano Dura Ace 175 50/36
- Front Derailleur
- Shimano CX 70 top pull
- Rear Derailleur
- Shimano Dura Ace
- Colnago Internal
- PRO 7s Vibe
- Shimano Dura Ace 10 Speed
- PRO 7S Vibe
- Specialized Terra Tubular
- Shimano C35 Tubulars