Skip to main content

Pro bike: Sven Nys' Colnago Prestige

Image 1 of 21

Belgian cyclocross superstar Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony) is vying for his second elite world championship title aboard this Colnago Prestige.

Belgian cyclocross superstar Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony) is vying for his second elite world championship title aboard this Colnago Prestige.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 2 of 21

The rear brake cable is sealed in between the housing stops.

The rear brake cable is sealed in between the housing stops.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 3 of 21

A Selle Italia SLR Team Edition saddle is mounted to a PRO Vibe carbon fiber seatpost.

A Selle Italia SLR Team Edition saddle is mounted to a PRO Vibe carbon fiber seatpost.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 4 of 21

The 172.5mm-long Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 cranks are fitted with 46/39T chainrings and M970-generation XTR pedals.

The 172.5mm-long Shimano Dura-Ace 7900 cranks are fitted with 46/39T chainrings and M970-generation XTR pedals.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 5 of 21

While the newer M980-generation Shimano XTR pedals offer a bigger platform, the older M970 version has better mud clearance.

While the newer M980-generation Shimano XTR pedals offer a bigger platform, the older M970 version has better mud clearance.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 6 of 21

The down tube water bottle cage bolts go unused here. The Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 battery is mounted atop the down tube, just ahead of the bottom bracket.

The down tube water bottle cage bolts go unused here. The Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 battery is mounted atop the down tube, just ahead of the bottom bracket.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 7 of 21

The Belgian team has 140 sets of wheels on hand in Louisville so it's important that they're all carefully marked.

The Belgian team has 140 sets of wheels on hand in Louisville so it's important that they're all carefully marked.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 8 of 21

No other cycling discipline subjects parts to as much abuse as cyclocross and Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 bits seem to be holding up pretty well.

No other cycling discipline subjects parts to as much abuse as cyclocross and Shimano's Dura-Ace Di2 bits seem to be holding up pretty well.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 9 of 21

The anodizing on the Dura-Ace cranks is worn off from lots of muddy races.

The anodizing on the Dura-Ace cranks is worn off from lots of muddy races.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 10 of 21

33mm-wide Dugast Typhoon tubulars are mounted to Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU carbon wheels. If conditions are super muddy on Saturday, we expect these will be replaced by the more aggressive Rhino pattern.

33mm-wide Dugast Typhoon tubulars are mounted to Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU carbon wheels. If conditions are super muddy on Saturday, we expect these will be replaced by the more aggressive Rhino pattern.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 11 of 21

Colnago has recently switched the consumer-spec Prestige to disc brakes but Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony) is using Shimano CX70 cantilevers here in Louisville.

Colnago has recently switched the consumer-spec Prestige to disc brakes but Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony) is using Shimano CX70 cantilevers here in Louisville.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 12 of 21

Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony) uses a traditional-bend PRO Vibe carbon fiber handlebar mated to an aluminum PRO PLT stem.

Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony) uses a traditional-bend PRO Vibe carbon fiber handlebar mated to an aluminum PRO PLT stem.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 13 of 21

While most modern carbon 'cross frames now sport a tapered front end, Sven Nys's (Crelen-Euphony) Colnago Prestige carries on with a straight 1 1/8" steerer. It doesn't seem to be holding him back any, however.

While most modern carbon 'cross frames now sport a tapered front end, Sven Nys's (Crelen-Euphony) Colnago Prestige carries on with a straight 1 1/8" steerer. It doesn't seem to be holding him back any, however.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 14 of 21

The curved bridge at the seat tube-top tube junction is supposedly meant to ease the pain of run-ups, although Sven Nys's (Crelen-Euphony) shoulder is usually placed further forward.

The curved bridge at the seat tube-top tube junction is supposedly meant to ease the pain of run-ups, although Sven Nys's (Crelen-Euphony) shoulder is usually placed further forward.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 15 of 21

Colnago builds the Prestige with a monocoque front end and bonded-on stays. You can clearly make out the stepped joint here.

Colnago builds the Prestige with a monocoque front end and bonded-on stays. You can clearly make out the stepped joint here.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 16 of 21

Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony) is one of the favorites for a title in Louisville.

Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony) is one of the favorites for a title in Louisville.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 17 of 21

There's no shelf behind the threaded bottom bracket but Eva Bandman Park's thick mud and grass seems to collect on anything and everything. The Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur means the seat tube mounted pulley hole goes unused.

There's no shelf behind the threaded bottom bracket but Eva Bandman Park's thick mud and grass seems to collect on anything and everything. The Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 front derailleur means the seat tube mounted pulley hole goes unused.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 18 of 21

The thick aluminum dropouts perhaps aren't as light as carbon but they're well suited to cyclocross's frequent wheel changes.

The thick aluminum dropouts perhaps aren't as light as carbon but they're well suited to cyclocross's frequent wheel changes.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 19 of 21

Sven Nys's (Crelen-Euphony) Colnago Prestige bears the scars of racing - and travel.

Sven Nys's (Crelen-Euphony) Colnago Prestige bears the scars of racing - and travel.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 20 of 21

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 7970 STI Dual Control levers are mounted high on PRO traditional-bend bars.

Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 7970 STI Dual Control levers are mounted high on PRO traditional-bend bars.
(Image credit: James Huang)
Image 21 of 21

Shimano provides sponsored racers with these profiled chainring nuts. Sadly, they're not available to consumers, at least not from Shimano.

Shimano provides sponsored racers with these profiled chainring nuts. Sadly, they're not available to consumers, at least not from Shimano.
(Image credit: James Huang)

This article first appeared on BikeRadar.

Sven Nys (Crelen-Euphony), long a legend in international cyclo-cross, cemented his status with his second UCI cyclo-cross world championship title Saturday in brutally cold and muddy conditions in Louisville, Kentucky. We took a look at his Colnago Prestige.

The Colnago Prestige frame is several years old now but the fact that it's currently in use by Nys as well as current world champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus) stands as a strong testament to its solid design. Known more for its lugged carbon chassis, Colnago instead builds the Prestige in more contemporary fashion with a monocoque front end mated to bonded-in seat stay and chain stay assemblies, both joined with two-piece hinged aluminum dropouts.

Further reinforcing the straightforward construction are the straight 1 1/8in front end where most new bikes now use tapered setups, a threaded bottom bracket shell, and a dead-level top tube. The seat cluster is uniquely punctuated by an additional arc of carbon that supposedly eases the pain of shouldering, however, and Nys' Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 wires are internally routed. Consumer-spec Prestige frames are further modernized with disc brake tabs but as is still currently the case with most top-level European racers, Nys carries on with simpler – and lighter – cantilevers, at least for now.

One might expect someone like Nys to pilot an exotically outfitted machine but it's decidedly workhorse everywhere you look, which perhaps only further highlights his athletic talents. In fact, most of the bits on Nys' bike aren't even current.

For example, the Dura-Ace Di2 transmission is the older 7970 generation, the replacement for his Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU carbon tubular wheelset has already seen action for nearly a full season with WorldTour road teams, and even the XTR pedals are the previous M970 edition (although it's widely accepted that the newer ones actually aren't as good in heavy mud).

Countless races in wet and muddy conditions have worn the anodizing off of the crankarms and even the frameset shows numerous battle scars from competition and travel. Considering the abuse served up week in and week out by both rider and environment, the bike's impeccable functional condition speaks volumes about the mechanics that tend to it.

Rounding out the build are 33mm-wide Dugast Typhoon tires (though the more aggressive Rhinos might be used if Saturday afternoon proves muddy), a Selle Italia SLR Team Edition saddle, and a mix of PRO aluminum and carbon fiber cockpit components. Nys apparently doesn't require a number to know how hard he's working as there is no power meter or computer installed – success is measured instead by the grimaces and weeping of his competitors on course.

Total bike weight is light but not especially so at 7.68kg (16.93lb).

On paper, a less astute observer might say Nys' Colnago Prestige is due for an update. But where someone else sees nicks, scratches, and abuse, we see experience, wisdom, and confidence. As the saying goes, it's not the size of the sword that counts but how you wield it – and Nys can cut a wicked slice indeed.

Complete bike specifications

Frame: Colnago Prestige, rim brake, 56cm
Fork: Colnago Cross Carbon, straight 1 1/8" steerer
Headset: Colnago zero-stack, 1 1/8"
Stem: PRO PLT, 120mm x -6°
Handlebars: PRO Vibe Round, 44cm (c-c)
Tape/grips: Colnago cork
Front brake: Shimano CX70 cantilever w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
Rear brake: Shimano CX70 cantilever w/ Shimano carbon-specific pads
Brake levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970
Front derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 FD-7970
Rear derailleur: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 RD-7970
Shift levers: Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 STI Dual Control ST-7970
Cassette: Shimano Dura-Ace CS-7900, 12-27T
Chain: Shimano Dura-Ace CN-7901
Crankset: Shimano Dura-Ace FC-7900, 172.5mm, 46/39T
Bottom bracket: Shimano Dura-Ace SM-BB7900
Pedals: Shimano XTR PD-M970
Wheelset: Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C35-TU
Front tire: Dugast Typhoon tubular, 33mm
Rear tire: Dugast Typhoon tubular, 33mm
Saddle: Selle Italia SLR Team Edition
Seat post: PRO Vibe
Bottle cages: n/a
Computer: n/a

Critical measurements

Rider's height: 1.81m (5' 11")
Rider's weight: 70kg (154lb)
Saddle height, from BB (c-t): 765mm
Saddle setback: 73mm
Seat tube length, c-t: 560mm
Seat tube length, c-c: 540mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem): 567mm
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical): 83mm
Head tube length: 148mm (including headset cups)
Top tube length: 550mm
Total bicycle weight: 7.68kg (16.93lb)