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Colnago World Cup 2.0

Review: Colnago World Cup 2.0

Elaine Bothe's picture

Right Out of the Box

5
First Impressions

Oh my goodness, this Colnago World Cup 2.0 is one of the most gorgeous cross bikes I have seen! The World Cup 2.0 is Colnago's entry level offering, but it doesn't look it in the least. The lines are classic and beautiful, every bit as attractive as the more expensive Presitige carbon fiber frame. The World Cup's black and white paint job is striking and very high quality, the white bar tape is almost overkill and the touches of red are just enough racy brightness. Like a hot supercar with bright red brake calipers peeking through the wheels. No matter what else might flip your lid, this Colnago is amazing!

Ease of Assembly

I received this Conago beauty in one piece, very close to ready to go. The talented guys at Seven Corners Bicycles in Portland made a few adjustments. Like most brand new bikes, this one wasn't perfect out of the box -- the brakes needed some attention, the hubs got new grease to replace the weird sticky stock stuff and we flipped the stem for a better fit. Everything else was dialed, impressively and especially the sweet Shimano 105 drivetrain.

Bling Factor

Besides the flashy paint and big sporty Colnago words on every single tube of the frame, the words "World Cup 2.0" and the little red club logo (like on a deck of cards, only red) everywhere you look, this bike is all about the bling. Even when it's covered in mud it still looks great, in motion or leaning up against a fence. In fact the shiny bright paint overpowers other bling-worthy parts such as the full 105 and the mounts for disk brakes on the frame.

The unusual curved piece on the Conago 'cross bikes between the top tube and the seat tube looks great, turns out it's functional, too. Niels Albert, the repeat World Cyclogross Champion and Colnago team rider requested such a piece added to his bike to make shouldering more comfortable. He was right, and the signature innovation trickled down to both Colnago 'cross bikes.

Road Test Ride

4
Climbing

I could not wait to unleash this beauty. I took the Colnago World Cup out for a shake-down spin on a rolling road loop. Though this bike is heavy, I hoped for the best, since the World Cup has a reasonably sporty geometry and nice beefy alumiminum frame. Besides parts specified to meet a price point, such as the stem, handlebars and seatpost, hugely accountable for the excess weight is the sturdy but entry-level wheels with rotor-ready hubs. Unfortunately, heavy wheels, disk-ready or not, really made the bike feel slow. Glacially slow. The 12-25 Shimano 105 cassette didn't help either, most 'cross cassettes go up to 27, 28 or even higher, which makes pedalling much easier.

Knowing these wheels would not make for a worthwhile review, not to mention even a fun ride, I tossed those suckers as far as I could throw them, which wasn't very far. I tightened up the quick releases on some mediocre Easton Vista SL wheels I had sitting around with a Shimano 12-28 cassette. That alone dropped 1.3 lbs off the overall weight of the bike!

Instantly the Colnago World Cup 2.0 woke up. Losing all that rotational mass let the bike accelerate faster... in that it accelerated, climb better... and even handle quicker and more confidently. With the Easton wheels, the World Cup climbed on the road -- both sustained climbs and shorter punchy stuff -- well within expectations. It's still not a full rocket up hills, but quite competent. The nice wide handlebars helped, too, with providing leverage. I even was happy doing a hilly interval workout, at least as happy as you could be working that hard on any bike. I can excitedly imagine what a real set of race wheels would do for the World Cup 2.0.

Cornering

I do have to say the heavy stock wheels helped the Colnago World Cup 2.0 feel very planted in the middle of a corner but turning the stock front wheel took some effort. With the Easton wheels, the World Cup turned much quicker and felt planted, but not so much that line changes mid-corner upset the bike. I was a lot more comfortable and confident throwing the World Cup through fast sweeping corners as fell as tighter ones. It's fun railing through the city turning on streets you don't normally ride down just becase it adds more corners to your ride.

Handling

Throwing around the Colnago World Cup 2.0 isn't hard. Tight turns, sweepers or just going straight, the World Cup is more than happy going right where you want it to. The nice wide bars help you set up, and the momentum and sheer weight helps you follow through. My weight is nicely balanced fore and aft, and I found the faster you go, the better it handles. Many bikes get scarier the faster you go, but not the World Cup. This bike rewards hard efforts!

Ride Feel

At first I thougth the Colnago World Cup 2.0 was harsh. But it's a race bike, not a comfort-orieted endurance rod tourer. The incredibly stiff frame and fork contributes to this feel, and transmits road irregularities through to your hands and rear end. But as I spent more time on this bike, I figured out that I'm just feeling the bumps on the road, not an irritating vibration. The stock wheels are also very unforgivingly rigid. The replacement Easton wheels seemed to be more resilient and offered a smoother ride.

Dirt Test Ride

4
Climbing

Similarly to my experiences on the road, the Colnago Wold Cup 2.0 in stock trim isn't a great climber for me, mostly due to its weight. The chain stays are about average for cross bikes, not stubby short nor super long. When I swapped out for lighter wheels and easier gearing, I got up any little or big incline I wanted. Slippery, gravelly or rooty, traction was good and I enjoyed the leverage of the nice wide 44 cm bars. I had a fun working around reasonably technical rocks and berms. While not a rocket uphill, my weight balance was a little further forward, partly because of the short head tube, which helped me climb the punchy stuff a lot.

And, the World Cup 2.0 handles bumpy descents very well. Again, the mass of the bike helps. I expected less from the racerly geometry and its steeper angles, but I was delighted hammering down some gravelly sweeping turns. Hands in the drops, hammer and hold on!

Cornering

The harder you push it the better the Colnago World Cup 2.0 feels. It's perfectly suited to flat but twisty race courses, and add a bit of technical fun or slop and the World Cup 2.0 is right at home. While climbing on this bike is a chore, accelerating out of a corner is not. It's as if the World Cup 2.0 is egging you on to go faster and faster.

Handling

The Colnago World Cup 2.0 rewards aggressive and powerful riding styles. I'm just saying this bike is very in touch with the ground. This can be a positive or negative, depending on how you look at it. The ride is bumpy, if you're comfort-oriented. If you like knowing when the conditions change even a little bit, the World Cup 2.0 provides important and instant feedback. That beefy Colnago fork, sturdy stem and handlebars jackhammer over bumps large and small. Though you feel every rock, this doesn't seem to affect the handling. The faster I went, the happier I was with my hands in the drops and hovering over the saddle. My elbows and knees absorbed the vibrations, and I could still hammer on the pedals and be ready for instant changes. I bounced over some big rocks and through holes sure enough, but my eyes were right where they needed to be and I was never knocked off line.

Ride Feel

The Colnago World Cup 2.0 is not a comfortable bike ready for a 125 mile gravel road fondo. It's a big, bold bike that wants to go fast and hard. It's going to be a hoot on a race course, but you may want some other bike on which to spend all day in the saddle building your base. If it was, the name of the bike would probably be something like "Colango Tourmaster Cruiser" rather than the raceworthy "Colnago World Cup 2.0." I was fine on bumpy two hour training rides, but much more dirt than that, I'd probably look for something else.

Trainer Test Ride

5
Ride Feel

All that aluminum beefiness on the Colnago World Cup 2.0 makes for a surprisingly nice ride on a trainer. With my bone-rattling experience on some really rough gravel roads, I expected an uncomfortable harshness on the trainer but I was very pleasantly surprised. The 7000 Series aluminum alloy provides stiffness, but not harshness. No annoying and nauseating vibrations and no frame flex whatsoever that I could tell. The wide handlebars make for a comfortable and well-balanced riding position. Just keep an extra wheel with a slick tire mounted up, and with the World Cup 2.0, you'll at least have a bike for long indoor winter training!

Race Test Ride

0

I have not raced this bike. Yet. The World Cup 2.0 is a hugely raceworthy platform, watch this space for upgrades and updates!

We Liked

I really love how bold this bike looks, its price and its racerly potential. Colnago's race heritage is evident in the World Cup 2.0, in fact, it's spilling all over the place. I also love the buttery smooth Shimano 105 drivetrain, a less frequent option than the increasingly ubiquitous SRAM Rival and - gasp- Apex on bikes at this price point. Together, the frame, fork and 105 drivetrain are a solid race platform to customize as you like.

I came to enjoy the Colnago's ride a lot. It took me a while to figure it out, since it's hard to test a race bike in the middle of winter base training when you're supposed to log many many long, slow miles. But finally on some good downhill sections relatively free of snot-slick mud, slime, snow and moss, I got a taste of what the World Cup 2.0's potential. It's a rock solid, fast race bike that will let you be as crazy as you want. A cross race is not about elegant cadence, smooth, slow motions and gradual changes. A cross race is zippy, nutty, bar-banging, bumpy, out-of-the-saddle fun and the Colnago World Cup 2.0 loves it!

And I like the white bar tape. Besides looking amazing, it is also easy to clean!

We Didn't Like

I sure wish the World Cup 2.0 was lighter. I didn't like how it did not come with disk brakes, but it was fun anyway to test out this Colnago with traditional brakes. And I really really did not like the stock wheels.

Bicycle weight issues are annoying but not necessarily deal breakers. With the Colnago World Cup 2.0, swapping out the wheels alone brought the bike into a more reasonable 20-something pounds. Still no featherweight, but not too bad for a semi-entry level machine.

And weighy parts are easy, though potentially expensive fixes. Keep reading...

Upgrades

Wheels! Immediately! If you're selling a bike to buy a Colnago World Cup 2.0, consider keeping your old wheels and sell off the stock World Cup wheels with your new bike. Or budget something in as soon as you can.

And ditch the saddle for one more appropriate if you're female.

The saddle, stem, handle bars and seat post are a lot more sturdy than they need to be, again, these are easy enough to replace to lose some easy weight. And, bonus: these parts are the most likely things you'd need to replace to dial in the fit and comfort. So upgrade if you need to replace something. You don't even need carbon parts, though some carbon in the seatpost, stem and handlebars might make the ride a little smoother if you can afford it.

To get much lighter, you'd be looking at spending a lot of money. And since the Colnago World Cup 2.0 is a very competent race bike, I'd recommend sticking to the easy stuff.

Oh, and brakes... since the World Cup 2.0 is disk-ready, including the frame's rear dropout 135 mm spacing and wheels. Disk brakes are an option to consider, but probably would increase weight if you're concerned. The handling difference might offset the weight gain however, especially when the going gets muddy.

The Final Say

The Colnago World Cup 2.0 is a decently priced rolling frameset that you can have a lot of fun on right away, and customize as your preferences and budget allow. This bike has the soul of a higher end race bike, and only a few parts are separating the World Cup 2.0 from being as competitive as you'd want to be. Keep the drivetrain (score!) and spend some money on wheels and other parts as they break or need replacing.

In stock trim the World Cup 2.0 is much more bike than the usual entry-level racer (except the wheels). Male or female, people who are already racing would probably enjoy this bike a lot more than a true beginner would. And, with upgrades along the way, the Colnago World Cup 2.0 won't be a bike you grow out of any time soon! The better you get, the more you'll appreciate the World Cup 2.0.

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