Posts

Colnago K.One

My friends at Colnago decided to let me know about their new machine, the K.one. This is the fastest Colnago frame if I want to ride at speeds faster than my age — which is getting harder and harder each year now.

From their website:

The new Colnago K.One represents pure performance ”“ pushing the limits of speed. The K.One is the fastest Colnago frame for cycling at speeds above 50 km / h. The frame was developed in the wind tunnel, building on the information gained during the development of the Concept, Colnago”™s aero road frame. The K.One offers total aerodynamic integration, adjustment, and customization thanks to solutions designed to facilitate ease of set-up and precision bike-fit.

Super bikes come with super prices. I suspect the K.one tricked out like the photo above is somewhere north of $10,000, probably closer to $15,000. Before taxes.

I have two Colnago bikes, one carbon and one steel. The steel bike is built off the Master X 30th anniversary frame. Whereas the K.one looks like a stealth bomber, the Master X has a timeless, classic design. And the feel of steel. I love riding that bike.

Colnago Master X 30th Anniversary

She is home. And she is now a bike. I had picked up the Colnago Master X 30th Anniversary frameset a few years back. The frameset was built in 2013.

I had wanted to build the bike out before my 60th birthday. I’m not sure why. Perhaps as some sort of trip back in time when I first started riding steel bikes. How long ago? 46 years.

I have very fond memories of riding steel bikes. Back in the 1970s, steel was all I knew in a frameset. The Colnago Master X represented one of the best designs in a steel frameset. The 30th Anniversary edition features a unique paint scheme, the Art Decor.

I have the bike in the front hallway. I will wait until the roads are clean which means sometime in March or April before I get to ride the bike. And that’s okay. I waited this long for the bike to get built. Another few months won’t matter.

I really love all of the details in the frameset. For example, the chrome lugs that connect the tubes.

I decided on Campagnolo Chorus for the groupset. Chorus provides most of the performance of the Super Record groupset — I ride that groupset on my Colnago EPQ — although it weighs a bit more. The hoods are a bit different from older models but still represent the most comfortable hoods I’ve ever experienced in a groupset and I have ridden all of the top groupsets from Shimano and SRAM.

The front forks are straight. A bit aggressive perhaps.

The front and rear hubs are Campagnolo Record. They should last a long, long time.

The wheels were custom built using Ambrosio Excellence rims and DT Swiss spokes. I am running Continental GP4000s tires. 25mm. First time running 25mm tires on a wheel. Should be interesting to see if I can tell a difference from the 23mm tires I normally use.

The 30th Anniversary seal.

The Chorus rear derailleur should provide confident gear changes.

The rear chainstay.

The Colnago symbol just below the saddle. I am running the same SMP Dynamic saddle as I have on my other Colnago. At my age, a bit of comfort is important especially on those longer rides.

Deda Zero 100 for the bar, stem and seat post. Speedplay zero pedals — I use those on my Colnago EPQ as well. A couple of water bottle cages although I only have one on the bike right now. I’ll add a Wahoo speed and cadence sensor and a platform for my Garmin Edge 800. I’ll just have to remember to select the right bike on the bike computer before a ride.

My bike mechanic built this Colnago for me. He had also built the Colnago EPQ. He did a terrific job. When he sent me his note with a couple of photos, he was concerned that the photos did not do justice to the bike. I took this set of photos to highlight some of the features of this beautiful machine. It was a frameset that had to be built. I am glad I was able to get it done in time for my 60th birthday.

Ride often. Ride safe.

Colnago Master X

My bike builder sent me a note:

Here she is I hope you like it.  My pictures do not do it justice. 😉
Cheers

She is now back home as a finished bike. I haven’t had a chance to shoot some pictures of her yet but I will do so over the weekend.

The frameset is a 2013 Colnago Master X-Light 30th Anniversary. The wheels are custom built Ambrosio Excellence with Campagnolo hubs. Groupset is Campagnolo Chorus.

The Colnago Master X-Light was first offered thirty years ago. The Master X was probably the best road racing frame at that time. The tubing in the 30th Anniversary model, DT15V steel, is identical to the tubing that was used in the original. The original frameset was built as a joint effort between Colnago and Columbus. Columbus doesn’t make the tubes anymore. Colnago found the person who originally drew the tubes, brought him the dies, and he produced them for Colnago. The 30th Anniversary frameset is built with the same mix of star-shaped and round tubes and joined by the same lugs. It features the straight-blade Precisa fork. The paint is incredible on this bike. And, of course it is fully steel. A bit on the heavier side, the frameset weighs in at 1400g.

The ride is said to be fast, stable, and comfortable. An exceptional platform for the purest that can appreciate the characteristics of what a steel frame can provide. I’ll find out soon enough once March comes along.

Colnago Master X-Light 30th Anniversary

I have had the frameset for a while now. The 30th Anniversary Master was built in 2013. I am now getting it built out in time for my 60th year on the planet. Really looking forward to getting this one out for a ride. More details on the build to come.

For now, this is how it started out. A few pieces of steel.

Giuseppi Marinoni

Marinoni

Giuseppi Marinoni was born in Bergamo, Italy in 1937. He apprenticed with Mario Rossin during the early 1960’s. Mario was the head frame builder at Colnago. It was there that Marinoni learned everything he needed to know to build frames.

Marinoni came to Canada in 1965. He was a major figure in Quebec’s cycling community. He returned to frame building in 1974. Cycles Marinoni in Terrebonne, Quebec became one of only a very few successful North American frame builders. Jocelyn Lovell, one of Canada’s greatest cyclists, rode a Marinoni.

He was still riding strong into his seventies. In October 2012, Marinoni broke the hour record for riders in their late 70’s. He rode 35.7 km at Brescia, Italy. That is a challenging pace even for riders like myself in their late 50’s.

Montreal filmmaker Tony Girardin produced a documentary about Marinoni called The Fire in the Frame, a character study of the cycling legend. A reader of my blog was kind enough to let me know that the documentary would be playing here in Kingston. Maclean’s ran a story on the movie here. And Canadian Cyclist also ran a story about the movie here.

I think I know where I will be on June 7th.

Watch Out! Watch Out!

ColnagoDown

This cyclist was lucky. Although his Colnago was shattered, he survived a close encounter with a Jeep Cherokee.

Whenever I ride, I am very aware of my surroundings. And the possibility of a close encounter.

I’ve had a few really close calls lately.

On Saturday, I did a long ride. I was coming back from a small town called Wilton, turning off County Road 6 onto Maple Road, just by Burt’s Greenhouse, north and west of Kingston. Roughly 30 kilometres from home.

An elderly driver made the turn from the opposite direction and he seemed unable to share the road with me. He cut me off twice, the second time almost crushing me into one of the parked cars by the nursery.

My best move was to sprint out of his way. Fortunately I can sprint in excess of 45 kph and the elderly driver was well below that speed. I found a narrow slot beside him and sprinted away.

Close call.

On Tuesday night, I did a short 30 kilometre ride. On the return leg, I was southbound on Howes road. This is a rural area where a lot of people have built homes in the country. It is a beautiful area to ride. Generally calm. Few cars.

My pace on this stretch of road can reach speeds between 35 and 45 kph. If I have a great tailwind, I will certainly be in the higher forties.

On a solo ride, that is a fast pace. If you hit something, or lose control of the bike, you are going to get hurt. Maybe even killed. So, my spidey sense was working overtime. I always stay really focused when I am on the road.

This type of cycling can be dangerous. Staying focused and anticipating danger is a definite requirement.

I could see, in the distance, two kids on bikes in the middle of the road. Unsupervised. No helmets.

In the province of Ontario, which is where I do most of my riding, bicycle helmets are mandatory for riders under the age of 18. I always wear a helmet when I ride. It could mean the difference between having a bad day and having a really, really bad day.

The two kids, without helmets, are circling the road, not paying any attention to oncoming traffic.

As I close in on the kids, I’m not sure what to do.

One of them sees me coming and, surprisingly, starts riding out to meet me on the road.

The other kid stops his bike on the side of the road. He is on the left side of the road. The kid coming out to meet me is on my right.

As I close in, the kid on my right abruptly turns around. I suspect he is going to try and race with me.

But what happened next could have ended very, very badly.

That kid makes a move to cut me off. And the other kid, who was stopped on the left side of the road does the same thing. Both kids trying to close my opening with their bikes.

I did not have time to do the math but I looked down quickly at my cycling computer: 42 kph. Distance to this improvised road block was now only ten to twenty metres away.

I won’t be able to stop in time.

I screamed in the loudest voice possible: “Watch Out! Watch Out!”

The kid that had tried to block my path on the right side reacted and he swerved his bike to the right.

I literally brushed his arm as I went through this impromptu blockade.

Close call.

How To Ride A Bike

BikeRide

I have a bit of routine that I follow whenever I ride my Colnago EPQ. Preparation for the ride can mean the difference between a good day and a bad day. This is what I do.

1. Physically prepare to ride

There are three things that I do to get my body ready for a ride. The first is to do a bit of stretching, to prepare the muscles for the work ahead. The second is to apply sunscreen to all of the exposed areas of my body. And the third is to apply some saddle cream. If you aren’t sure what saddle cream is, or what it does, this link provides more than enough information.

2. Get dressed

For the type of riding that I do, clothing is critical. During the spring and summer months, I use bib shorts, a base layer, a cycling jersey, cycling socks and cycling gloves. Most of my clothing comes from Assos out of Switzerland. Their products are expensive however they are engineered to provide as much comfort and performance as possible when you do a long, hard ride. I also wear a heart rate monitor under my clothing.

3. Prepare the bike

I usually wash the bike down after each ride and I clean and lube the drivetrain after every second ride. The bike is ready to go most of the time but I always do two things with the machine: inflate the tires to my preferred riding pressure and check the mechanicals (e.g., brakes) for proper function. I have a precision bicycle pump which allows me to dial in the tire pressure. I visually inspect the tires to make sure that there are no cuts or other issues with the wheels. I also look the bike over carefully to make sure nothing is amiss.

4. Stock fluids and food

Depending on the length of the ride, I make sure that I can stay hydrated. If the ride is going to be over two hours, then I also need to make sure that I carry some calories with me. A sports drink goes into one water bottle, with ice. And water goes into the second water bottle, again with ice. Food gets thrown into the back pocket of my cycling jersey.

5. Carry ID and a smartphone

Although I never expect to end a ride badly, it is one sport where being prepared for the worst is a good idea. I always carry ID with me. I also use Cyclemeter on my smartphone. It sends messages back to Lorraine every kilometre of the ride to let her know where I am at that point in time. If I stop moving for any reason, Lorraine knows roughly where I am.

6. Set up the bike computers

I ride with two bike computers, one on the handlebars and one in my pocket. The one on the handlebars, a Garmin Edge 800, tracks all of my critical bike and personal metrics: heart rate, cadence, speed, location, etc. And the one in my pocket provides cellular communication on my bike ride. I view both of them as complementary. And both need to be initialized prior to each ride.

7. Put on helmet and glasses

I never ride without a helmet and glasses. I change helmets every couple of years although there are many different perspectives on how frequent helmets should be changed. I ride with Oakley eyewear.

8. Lube shoe cleats and put on cycling shoes

I use Speedplay clipless pedals. I find that I need to give them a bit of lube before every ride to clip in quickly and easily.

9. Enjoy the ride

With all of the preparation work complete, I can go out and enjoy the ride.