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Among luxury Italian brands, flagship stores are a must have. Every iconic brand from Ferrari to Gucci and beyond has one (or more) of the spaces devoted to showing off its products and history.
Now Colnago, the venerable Italian bike brand, has one too. To see it you’ll have to head not to Milan or Rome, but Abu Dhabi.
The airy store complete with floor to ceiling windows occupies a spacious 10,000 square feet spread over two floors, and it serves as much more than a bike shop.
“Colnago is more than a bicycle brand and this store has been carefully planned and designed to showcase the best of Colnago’s products and our rich heritage that we are proud of while offering distinctive hospitality experiences,” said Colnago CEO Nicola Rosin.
Rosin was there in person to open the store, and was joined by Tadej Pogačar, who has twice won the Tour de France on the brand’s bikes. The entire roster and staff of the his UAE Team Emirates as well as the also-Colnago-sponsored UAE Team ADQ were present to open the building that will serve many purposes.
Of course, there are bikes for sale. Colnago makes a variety of high-end road, time trial, and gravel models, including an in-development prototype model raced by Pogačar and the UAE Emirates team this season. There’s a bike fitting system as well to help customers choose the right size, and a three-dimensional configurator on a giant screen lets customers design one of the brand’s current models.
The store also serves as a showcase of Colnago’s seven decades of history through an exhibit of important bikes over those years. A sliding screen installation shows a more complete history of the brand’s models.
Spanish interior architect Pablo Paniagua has provided a series of contemporary works of art for the store, which with its couches and seating areas looks more like a trendy place to grab a drink than average local bike shop.
Colnago wants the space to serve as a cornerstone for cycling culture, highlighted by a café serving Italian food and beverages with a large screen that will display bike races. Its location on Hudayriyat Island, which has 40 kilometers of bike paths, puts it near cycling friendly infrastructure, and Colnago hopes the space will become a focal point for cycling in Abu Dhabi.
Why Abu Dhabi?
The United Arab Emirates might not seem like an obvious location for a store for an Italian bike brand whose history is intertwined with European racing. However, the brand was acquired from founder Ernesto Colnago in 2020 by Abu Dhabi-based private investment fund Chimera Investments LLC.
The fund is part of Royal Group, an investment firm in Abu Dhabi chaired by Sheikh Tahnoun bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is also the United Arab Emirates’ national security advisor and a brother of the president of the country, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
The UAE government backs both the UAE Team Emirates and UAE Team ADQ professional cycling teams, which are both sponsored by Colnago bicycles.