Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
When designing its aero bike, the Concept, Colnago didn’t want to lose the revered feel of its classic bicycles in the pursuit of speed. On the surface, with an airfoil down tube and seat post, internal cables and a fork that integrates into the frame, the Concept looks like many aero bikes. As it should—those are concepts proven to cheat the wind. But it also strives to maintain ride qualities of the flagship carbon-lugged C series bikes, with features like a fork whose rake offers more precise handling and an aggressive geometry that is slightly tuned back where needed, as in the head tube, to offer a smoother ride.
A positive for some is that certain design choices, like the direct-mount rear brake being placed on the seatstays instead of the once-trendy chainstays and a traditional stem and handlebar, make this frame simple to work on for the home mechanic. And the dual-pivot brakes are said to be better for aerodynamics in addition to offering better stopping power.
Known to most for its lugged carbon and classic steel frames, Colnago may soon start to be associated with excellent aero bikes. The first time we rode the Concept, it was supposed to be a slow, easy day. But, shortly into the ride, looking down at our GPS, we realized we were doing 25 mph on a flat stretch of road and decided to have some fun instead. It accelerates quickly, both from stoplights and climbs, with a lightweight feel. And once up to speed, it retains it, as an aerodynamic bicycle should.
But, while no climber, it can impressively hold its own on shallower climbs. It’s not the most responsive climber, but its relatively light weight (7.735 kilograms, just over 16 pounds, for a size 54) is an asset in this department, helping it to maintain a steady uphill pace (until you reach the top, when you get to enjoy the planted descending).
The Concept’s a bit like Peter Sagan’s 2015 Tour of California win—definitely suited to flatter terrain but, if called upon, it can rise to the occasion and haul up Mount Baldy. So if you like to go fast on the flats, and need to occasionally climb, this bike will suit you well. One small fault we found was that the Colnago Zeta 2 saddle provided on our test bike had a bit too much padding and caused too much perineal pressure. Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 (mechanical), Dura-Ace crank 53–39, 11–25 cassette, 3T ARX II Pro stem, Colnago HB-01 carbon handlebars, DT Swiss RC 38mm wheels, Hutchinson Fusion 23C tires, Colnago Zeta 2 saddle. $4,600 (frameset); 7.375 kg /16.225 lbs (size 54); colnago.com
From issue 88. Buy it here.