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Retro tech: 1972 Colnago Super Pantografata

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Colnago produced the Super Pantagrafata in very limited numbers - and imported far fewer than that into the United States

Colnago produced the Super Pantagrafata in very limited numbers - and imported far fewer than that into the United States (Image credit: James Huang)
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Of course, the paint detailing on the pantographed seatpost features the world championship colors

Of course, the paint detailing on the pantographed seatpost features the world championship colors (Image credit: James Huang)
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Topping the Campagnolo seatpost is the classic Cinelli Unicanitor saddle

Topping the Campagnolo seatpost is the classic Cinelli Unicanitor saddle (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Silca Impero frame pump is finished to match. Note the perfect placement of the Colnago logo, too

The Silca Impero frame pump is finished to match. Note the perfect placement of the Colnago logo, too (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Campagnolo Nuovo Record crank is brilliantly detailed with milled-out slots and pantographed Colnago logos

The Campagnolo Nuovo Record crank is brilliantly detailed with milled-out slots and pantographed Colnago logos (Image credit: James Huang)
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Sure, the milling saves weight but it also looks awesome

Sure, the milling saves weight but it also looks awesome (Image credit: James Huang)
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The front derailleur is mostly untouched save for the holes drilled in the mounting clamp

The front derailleur is mostly untouched save for the holes drilled in the mounting clamp (Image credit: James Huang)
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Silk tubulars are prized for their supple ride quality

Silk tubulars are prized for their supple ride quality (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Campagnolo single-pivot brake calipers are left untouched

The Campagnolo single-pivot brake calipers are left untouched (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Campagnolo Record hubs are minimally sealed but feature grease ports for easy overhauls

The Campagnolo Record hubs are minimally sealed but feature grease ports for easy overhauls (Image credit: James Huang)
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Cartridge bearings are prized today for their ease of use but adjustable cup-and-cone setups - especially these - are incredibly smooth and easy to service, provided you know how

Cartridge bearings are prized today for their ease of use but adjustable cup-and-cone setups - especially these - are incredibly smooth and easy to service, provided you know how (Image credit: James Huang)
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The Campagnolo Nuovo Record rear derailleur is stamped with the year of manufacture

The Campagnolo Nuovo Record rear derailleur is stamped with the year of manufacture (Image credit: James Huang)
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Shaping on the Regina Oro five-speed cassette is decidedly minimal

Shaping on the Regina Oro five-speed cassette is decidedly minimal (Image credit: James Huang)
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CO2 cartridges may be easier and faster to use but none are this pretty

CO2 cartridges may be easier and faster to use but none are this pretty (Image credit: James Huang)
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The rear brake housing is secured with real Campagnolo chromed steel clamps

The rear brake housing is secured with real Campagnolo chromed steel clamps (Image credit: James Huang)
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The ends of these leather toe straps were once folded over and secured with a nut and bolt to make them easier to tighten

The ends of these leather toe straps were once folded over and secured with a nut and bolt to make them easier to tighten (Image credit: James Huang)
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Thread specs were once stamped right into the crankarm

Thread specs were once stamped right into the crankarm (Image credit: James Huang)
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Beautiful

Beautiful (Image credit: James Huang)
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The shift levers are carefully milled out, leaving just an elegant outline remaining

The shift levers are carefully milled out, leaving just an elegant outline remaining (Image credit: James Huang)
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This bike may be more than 40 years old but it was raced for just a single season and then hung up so it's in fantastic condition

This bike may be more than 40 years old but it was raced for just a single season and then hung up so it's in fantastic condition (Image credit: James Huang)
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The coordinated decal and paint colors make for a supremely unified look

The coordinated decal and paint colors make for a supremely unified look (Image credit: James Huang)
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These stripes aren't exactly easy to earn

These stripes aren't exactly easy to earn (Image credit: James Huang)
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The chrome plating and paint detailing is in excellent shape. Such slim dimensions are rarely seen on more modern machines

The chrome plating and paint detailing is in excellent shape. Such slim dimensions are rarely seen on more modern machines (Image credit: James Huang)
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Yes, kids, there once was a time when brakes weren't attached with recessed nuts

Yes, kids, there once was a time when brakes weren't attached with recessed nuts (Image credit: James Huang)
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The brazed construction is elegantly simple and purposeful

The brazed construction is elegantly simple and purposeful (Image credit: James Huang)
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While this sort of derailleur cable routing may seem antiquated now, it's arguably a more direct path than modern setups and the cable takes a larger-radius bend. Note the Campagnolo head on the Silca frame pump, too

While this sort of derailleur cable routing may seem antiquated now, it's arguably a more direct path than modern setups and the cable takes a larger-radius bend. Note the Campagnolo head on the Silca frame pump, too (Image credit: James Huang)
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These clover leaf cutouts were done by hand

These clover leaf cutouts were done by hand (Image credit: James Huang)
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A Campagnolo quick-release skewer clamps a set of Campagnolo dropouts

A Campagnolo quick-release skewer clamps a set of Campagnolo dropouts (Image credit: James Huang)
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One of the highlights of the customized group is the pantographed Cinelli 1A stem with hand painted details

One of the highlights of the customized group is the pantographed Cinelli 1A stem with hand painted details (Image credit: James Huang)
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Absolutely gorgeous

Absolutely gorgeous (Image credit: James Huang)
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Such deep etching and engraving isn't typically seen nowadays because many components are far too thin to tolerate removing that much material

Such deep etching and engraving isn't typically seen nowadays because many components are far too thin to tolerate removing that much material (Image credit: James Huang)
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You can still see the machining marks if you look closely enough

You can still see the machining marks if you look closely enough (Image credit: James Huang)
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So why did the practice of pantographing go away? It's a tedious process for one, but modern lightweight components simply aren't thick enough to do this without compromising the structural integrity

So why did the practice of pantographing go away? It's a tedious process for one, but modern lightweight components simply aren't thick enough to do this without compromising the structural integrity (Image credit: James Huang)
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Even the brake levers are drilled out, pantographed, and painted

Even the brake levers are drilled out, pantographed, and painted (Image credit: James Huang)
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The cloth tape offers no padding but it's quite grippy

The cloth tape offers no padding but it's quite grippy (Image credit: James Huang)
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The wheels are typical for the day, built with shallow-profile aluminum tubular rims and stainless steel spokes with brass nipples

The wheels are typical for the day, built with shallow-profile aluminum tubular rims and stainless steel spokes with brass nipples (Image credit: James Huang)

This article first appeared on BikeRadar

There was a time when riders drilled holes and milled channels in components as a means of making them lighter. Eventually, these modifications also became a means of artistic expression, and few bikes exemplified this practice better than the 1972 Colnago Super Pantografata.

The Super Pantografata was Colnago's flagship road racing bike at the time. It was based on a standard Columbus steel tubed Super frameset but dressed up with a radically 'pantographed' version of Campagnolo's Nuovo Record group. This wasn't some sort of special edition that Campagnolo provided, however, but something Colnago went out and did on its own.

"There was no collaboration with Campagnolo about the decoration," Ernesto Colnago told BikeRadar through company representative Alessandro Turci. "At that time, Campagnolo did not agree to that job. They were manufactured by hand by an Italian craftsman close to Colnago. [It was] a masterpiece."

Campagnolo may not have given Colnago its blessing but the outcome was stunning. Lightening holes were drilled in the brake levers, for example, but their placement was carefully chosen so they actually added to the Nuovo Record group's already gorgeous aesthetic. Likewise, the slots milled into the chainrings reduce their weight but also turn them into rotating pieces of artwork, rather than just a consumable drivetrain item.

Shallow slots were also milled into the upper portion of the seatpost, but simple holes or slots simply would not do for the shift levers. The interiors were removed entirely, leaving just a minimal – but beautiful – outline in its place.

Even more impressive are the various Colnago logos and diamond patterns carved into several of the components. Still-visible milling marks clearly indicate that they were created by human hands, not a machine connected to a computer. Most of the modifications were embellished with various colours of paint.

The Super Pantografata wasn't just a standard Super dressed up with special parts, either. Unique identifying features on the frame include chromed lugs with holes drilled in the fork crown, while the included Silca Impero frame pumps were finished to match – complete with a properly placed Colnago logo that lines up perfectly with the one on the seat tube.

Ernesto Colnago says that he doesn't remember how much the Super Pantografata cost back then, but he did confirm that it was the top-end model for the time.

"It's very difficult to know that," he said from Colnago's headquarters in Cambiago, Italy. "Too much time [has passed] to remember. [It was] a high price bike for the early 70s – like a C60 today."

Special thanks to the folks at The Pro's Closet, who will soon open up a museum of noteworthy vintage bikes at their headquarters in Boulder, Colorado.

Complete specifications

Frameset: 1972 Colnago Super
Headset: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Stem: Cinelli 1A Pantografata
Handlebars: Cinelli Giro d'Italia 64
Tape/grips: Cinelli cotton
Front brake: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Rear brake: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Brake levers: Campagnolo Nuovo Record Pantografata
Front derailleur: Campagnolo Nuovo Record Pantografata
Rear derailleur: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Shift levers: Campagnolo Nuovo Record Pantografata
Freewheel: Regina Oro 5-speed, 14-22T
Chain: Regina Oro
Crankset: Campagnolo Nuovo Record Pantografata
Bottom bracket: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Pedals: Campagnolo Nuovo Record
Rims: Nisi tubular, 36h
Front hub: Campagnolo Nuovo Record, 36h
Rear hub: Campagnolo Nuovo Record, 36h
Spokes: 14g stainless steel w/ brass nipples
Front tyre: Clement Criterium Seta Extra tubular
Rear tyre: Clement Criterium Seta Extra tubular
Saddle: Cinelli Unicanitor
Seatpost: Campagnolo Nuovo Record Pantografata