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The new Colnago C68 is the storied Italian brand’s latest update to its flagship carbon bicycle. And it’s priced accordingly.
This carbon bike will initially be available as a frameset or a full Shimano Dura-Ace 12-speed 9250 build in the United States. Those who are in Europe will also have a custom C68 carbon/titanium-lug option, which can be “made-to-measure” with tubes cut to specification.
Continuing the C-series line, this bike is available in a road version, however, Colnago teased an all-road model and also a gravel version to come later in 2022.
The C series should not be confused with the bikes raced by UAE Team Emirates and UAE Team ADQ, which use the V series.
Fabrication and custom sizing
Colnago builds the C68 by joining multiple carbon (and titanium) parts, instead of using a monocoque process. This allows for more sizes and custom options. With this manufacturing process, it should be noted that there may be some visible joints, which Colnago says are evident at the upper head tube and the seatpost clamp area, among others.
Another benefit of bonding multiple carbon sections, Colnago claims, is fine-tuning the relative angles of the joined tubes, as well as creating a custom stack and reach fit for each individual by changing where the tubes intersect.
Colnago says that with this manufacturing process it can better control tube lamination since the molds are smaller, and fewer carbon parts compose the single section. The Italian manufacturer also says that it can achieve higher pressure inside the parts during this process than with a traditional monocoque construction process.
The Colnago C68 carbon and titanium bike forgoes the carbon lugs, and instead, mates the main carbon tubes with 3D-printed titanium.
Head tubes and bottom brackets
The top tube is merged with a carbon lug (or Ti, depending on the version) at the seat tube and at the head tube. Colnago says this offers more rigidity and enhanced precision while steering.
The head tube now features a CeramicSpeed SLT (Solid Lubrication Technology) headset, which is guaranteed by both CeramicSpeed and Colnago for the life of the bike. CeramicSpeed’s SLT tech offers a solid lubricating system that promises no way to damage the bearings.
The fork is claimed to be more rigid and lighter than the one used in the C64 — the previous top-end model — and has internal cable routing.
The unpainted carbon frame and fork are claimed to weigh 925g (+/- 10g) for a size 485mm, without metal fittings (dropout hanger, derailleur mount, and other various, small elements and fasteners). The carbon and titanium edition sheds an additional 50g for a claimed weight of 935g.
The new Colnago C68 accepts a T47 bottom bracket.
Colnago CC.01 integrated handlebar
In conjunction with the launch of the new Colnago C68 road bike, the company is also pulling the wraps off of a new one-piece monocoque handlebar, which weighs a claimed 310g for a 110mm long stem with 410mm wide bar.
The carbon bar is designed for the modern wireless or wired electronic component groups but is still compatible with external cable routing and rim brakes, which means it can be used as an aftermarket upgrade for your existing bike. This bar is promised to fit any 31.8mm diameter handlebar.
The CC.01 integrated handlebar is available in four widths (370, 390, 410, and 430mm) and with seven different stem lengths (80, 90, 100, 110, 120, 130, and 140mm) which allows Colnago a total of 16 different of bar-stem combinations.
This bar promises a relatively longer reach with a compact drop and a modest flare (+2cm) without any outsweep on the tops. The drops have 2cm of flare — 410mm top becomes 430mm bottom — with the exception of size 370mm, which has a 14mm flare. The reach is 80mm (75mm for size 370mm width) and a drop of 122mm (119mm in size 370mm width).
This shaping, says Colnago, with a wider base in the drops, should enhance control while also taking into consideration the trend for narrower and inward-turned brake hoods.
Colnago’s CC.01 handlebar kit comes with a spacer kit, the steering cap containing an integrated multitool, and an optional cap that allows the adjustment of the fork height before cutting the steerer tube.
The stem angle is 84 degrees, and the bar has an integrated computer mount compatible with Garmin, Wahoo, Bryton, and Hammerhead.
Colnago C68 geometry
The Colnago C68 is currently available in 18 sizes. There are seven stock sizes available in the carbon road edition. Later in 2022, Colnago promises a rim-brake version of the C68, also in seven sizes.
The teased all-road edition will be available in six sizes, and as a disc-brake-only bike (expected in fall 2022), while the gravel version of the C68 will come in five sizes when it becomes available at the end of the year.
In order to thwart intellectual property theft and ensure authenticity, every new Colnago C68 will come with a NFC (near field communication) chip integrated into the frame, and a separate smart card that can be presented to bike shops to guarantee authenticity, prove ownership, and also track the frames production and service history. The NFC chip can be read by the Colnago mobile app, which is connected to an NFT (non-fungible token).
The card and NFC chip are transferrable to another owner, says Colnago, as is proof of ownership of the bike. Also stored on the Colnago smart card is information and access to media of the fabrication process, which will also be memorialized in the Colnago blockchain.
Colnago C68 pricing
Colnago is moving to a direct-to-consumer model later in 2022, but for now, customers in the United States can purchase a C68 through a Colnago dealer.
At launch, only the Colnago C68 carbon bike with a complete Shimano Dura-Ace 9250/C50 group ($15,999) or frame-only option ($7,099) will be available in the United Stages. Custom color configuration is available for an additional $1,300.
European customers — and eventually those in North America — will be able to purchase the Colnago C68 with Shimano, SRAM Red AXS eTap (€13,260/$14,391), or Campagnolo (€15,770/$17,115) builds. The carbon titanium build options also include Campagnolo (€16,780/$18,211 ), SRAM Red AXS eTap (€14,205/ $15,416), and Shimano (€15,225/$16,525) builds. The C68 carbon and titanium frame kit (€6,600/$7,999) is also available in Europe.