Sixty-eight years since Ernesto Colnago founded the Italian brand, Colnago has today unveiled what it describes as 'A New Colnago', as it launches a new bike, a new business model, and a new way of securing ownership of its bikes.
The bike will mark those 68 years with its name, called the C68, and will be positioned as the brand's top-tier offering, with a hero build price set at €16,780. The new business model involves the opening up of a direct-to-consumer sales channel in Europe and the UAE, in which consumers can configure and buy directly from the Colnago website. The third change - the securing of bike ownership - comes via leveraging blockchain technology with an NFT effectively replacing the traditional certificate of ownership.
Sitting alongside the V3Rs at the top of the Colnago hierarchy, the C68 is aimed at riders who aren't necessarily chasing race performance. Colnago says that while the V stands for victory and velocità, the C is representative of Colnago, carbon, Cambiago (the Italian town in which the bike is built), and class.
With that in mind, the C68 is now available in three separate iterations catering to road, all-road, and gravel use, but rather than simply replacing components to suit the terrain like how Wilier's Rave SLR can be changed from all road to gravel, Colnago says there are three different frames all bearing the C68 moniker. As a result, there are 18 different frame sizes to choose from; seven road, six all-road, and five gravel. Disc brakes will be the primary option across all frames, but Colnago also says a rim brake version of the road frame will be made available from August.
Colnago has continued to rely on its modular construction for the frame, effectively using carbon lugs to join together the tubes instead of assembling them inside a mould. Colnago says the result is a frame that can be better fine-tuned to specific fit requirements, as well as providing a cleaner more modern aesthetic. A run of limited edition bikes will also be constructed using 3D-printed titanium lugs.
Colnago claims a weight of 925g for a raw, unpainted carbon frame, with the limited edition frame bearing titanium lugs being 935g. All frames will be fitted with a threaded T47 bottom bracket, as well as CeramicSpeed's SLT headset which will be covered by a lifetime guarantee. Bikes will be fitted with the same seatpost standard as the C64 and V3Rs, and a new CC.01 one-piece cockpit will also be available.
Each bike will be fitted with an NC tag on the down tube, acting as a frame number or 'digital passport' for the bike. This passport will allow the owner to register their ownership; data which will then be stored in blockchain. Colnago believes this is the future of bike ownership, preventing the possible loss of the paper certificate.
Colnago also claims the NFT will allow certification of the bike's participation in 'exclusive and official events', details of which are said to be coming in the second half of this year.
New business model
Alongside the launch of the C68, Colnago has also quietly announced its switch to an omnichannel business model, meaning that Colnago is no longer only a business-to-business brand.
In a move that bears a lot of similarities to Specialized's recent switch to the same model, customers in Europe and the UAE will now be able to buy direct from Colnago's website, with the bike's delivery being available via a 'white glove' service in which a Colnago employee will hand-deliver the bike, rather than relying on third party courier services.
Price and availability
As mentioned, the C68 will be available in a trio of iterations for road, all-road and gravel. However, at launch Colnago has only supplied information pertaining to the framesets and road-going builds, which we've relayed below.
- C68 frame kit with carbon lugs – €5,650
- C68 frame kit with titanium lugs – €6,600
- Custom colour configuration – extra €1,200
Complete builds for road, carbon lugs:
- Colnago C68, SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset, Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels – €13,260
- Colnago C68, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 groupset, Shimano Dura-Ace C50 wheels – €14,065
- Colnago C68, Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset, Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 45 wheels – €15,770
Complete builds for road, titanium lugs:
- Colnago C68, SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset, Zipp 303 Firecrest wheels – €14,205
- Colnago C68, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 groupset, Shimano Dura-Ace C50 wheels – €15,225
- Colnago C68, Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset, Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 45 wheels – €16,780
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Josh has been with us as Senior Tech Writer since the summer of 2019 and throughout that time he's covered everything from buyer's guides and deals to the latest tech news and reviews. On the bike, Josh has been riding and racing for over 15 years. He started out racing cross country in his teens back when 26-inch wheels and triple chainsets were still mainstream, but he found favour in road racing in his early 20s, racing at a local and national level for Team Tor 2000. He's always keen to get his hands on the newest tech, and while he enjoys a good long road race, he's much more at home in a local criterium.
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