Italian manufacturer Colnago is known for lovely road bikes, but has long had a mountain bike in the range because, rumour has it, Ernesto Colnago quite likes riding them. Colnago introduced a monocoque 29er for 2012 and has just snuck out a top-end race version, the C29 Italia, which made its debut under Eva Lechner over the weekend as she won the Italian national championships.Italian Olympian and Colnago rider Eva Lechner with her new C29.
According to Aldo Bertoni at Pianeta Mountain Bike, who kindly gave us permission to use these pics, Lechner received the new bike from Colnago HQ in Cambiago. Racers don’t usually roll out at a national championships on a brand new bike, but Lechner wanted to test it ahead of the Olympic mountain bike race.
Dubbed the C29, the new frame is made at Colnago’s HQ in Cambiago, Italy. Claimed weight is 1,150g, which isn’t ultra-light by current standards, but Colnago has always said he’s more concerned about safety and durability than chasing down the gram-count.
The tubes are bonded into Colnago’s carbon fiber lugs, with reinforcing internal ribs in some spots to increase rigidity. Each tube comprises multiple layers of both woven and unidirectional carbon, with a 3K weave top layer.
The lugged construction allows for frame customisation, while to make the frame future-proof, Colnago has gone with a 1.5 inch head tube, fitted with a spacer at the top to accommodate a steerer that tapers to 1 1/8 inch.
There’s no word yet as to price, though we’d guess it’ll be in the same ballpark as the £3.5k C59 road frame.Colnago has long made mountain bikes for its sponsored riders, but this is the first time it’s brought to the dirt the same lugged technology that it uses for its top-end C59 road frame. The paint job’s huge logo echoes the Europcar’s Tour de France bikes too. When Colnago says ‘Italia’ they mean it. C29 and C59 frames are made from Italian-sourced tubes and lugs in the workshop underneath Ernesto Colnago’s house. The one-piece head lug has to be custom-moulded for each frame size. It’s not cheap, but Colnago’s frames test out as bomb-proof. In these days of BB30 and press-fit bearings, the C29’s bottom bracket area is surprisingly gimmick-free. The front derailleur on this version is a regular band-clamp but production bikes will have a direct mount.