Thursday, 25 April 2013

Presenting... the Italian stallion...sort of


Granted, the post title may be a bit mis-leading (there is not much Italian engineering going on here, it's more Taiwanese carbon and Japanese components than Tifosi steel) but there is no denying the Colnago name, "Ace of Clubs" mark and understated geometry gives it that Milano flair. God bless Ernesto and his wonderful bicycling vision of 1954.

I found this beauty by chance whilst on a trip to northern Italy last October, ironically for some mountain bike action. There she was sitting in the local bike shop's basement, second hand and unloved. I've never owned a full carbon frame until now and was fairly sceptical about making my first entry into the market with a pre-owned machine in a foregin land. The problem with carbon is that unless you know the history of the bike, it is difficult to spot compromises in the frame.

The bike shop owner gave me the low down on its history - one owner, a doctor, decided after 300 kms use that he wanted to spend 7000 Euros on a super-velo. My layman eye could not spot any cracks or dings. Too good to be true? Maybe, but we all love a holiday impulse buy and this was going for a song. Luigi let me test ride it. Love at first pedal - light, racy, stiff and transmitting all my power into forward drive. With one eye on riding the 2013 Tour, the deal was sealed.

Later and suffering a touch of buyer's remorse, I was relieved to hear that the northern Italians trade their bikes as often as footballers their WAGs. They are a fashion conscious lot, obsessed with their velos and looking their best on the Sunday club ride (or Tuesday in the middle of the day when I was there!). Usually they'll part exchange their bike for the latest model at the end of the season, meaning that there are some lovely second hand bikes kicking around. Shop owners want to do quick sales at good prices to clear the shop space. If you are on the look out for a new pre-owned top end bike, you could do worse than heading to San Remo for La Primavera and shopping around.

So here she is - the bicycle that is going to roll me to TdF glory. Full carbon frame, Dura Ace components all over. Light as a feather. Wheel upgrade, some proper pedals, a pro-fertility saddle and we are good to get on Tour.