01-24-09, 05:41 PM
Time for the bi-monthly "help me date this Colnago" thread! Woo-hoo!
I am trying to date (and identify model of) a Colnago frame with the following build characteristics. There are no decals on this bike.
- Columbus SL tubing
- "short" Campagnolo dropouts
- "tapered" Colnago lettering on seat stay caps
- 2 top tube brake cable braze ons
- under BB cable routing
- Club on lower headlug only
- lugged, semi-sloping crown with club in the middle of a "C"
- shifter boss braze ons
- COLNAGO stamped into both chainstays
- chrome fork
- crome dropouts and drive-side stay
- club on top of rear brake bridge
- braze-on front der. tab
- water bottle bosses on downtube only
- "0258" stamped on right rear dropout
01-24-09, 05:46 PM
Will post pics shortly. JUST got the thing home and haven't had a chance to get out the camera yet!
Old Fat Guy
01-24-09, 05:50 PM
Outlined below is the most comprehensive (to date) Colnago Super timeline
beginning in ~1969 and going up through the mid/late 70's. There are still
numerous blanks and some conflicting thoughts - all are presented below.
I've done the best I could based on all the snippets of info provided so
please, no flames if you disagree or if I got something wrong; a simple note
to me with your info will get it added/included to the info below. I will
update the list and send out as appropriate. Also, do keep in mind that
"dates" are subject to variation, no one believes that Colnago made these
changes on January 1st of each new year and therefore use them as a guide to
the year of manufacture or availability.
Keep in mind that this is not definitive and is based solely on the inputs
from numerous list members with varying degrees of experience and/or
ownership (original owner vs. subsequent owner, restorers, and enthusiasts
like me that have been looking at them for years but still await the right
one to come along).
A few CR members have wrote to advise that the standard production bikes
were fairly consistent but that Colnago's could be special-ordered at any
time and thus could include any number of details that might seem
atypical... graphics, custom paint, chrome, etc.
1969: Cutouts in all 3 lugs, all clubs are the same size. Note however that
one experienced member recalls differently "I've never seen a Super with
cutouts all the same size. That would be physically impossible anyway,
based on the sizes of the lug tangs."
1970: Cutouts in all 3 lugs, but club in bottom head lug is now larger than
the other lugs.
1971: Cutouts in all 3 lugs, but club in bottom head lug is now larger than
the other lugs.
1972: 3 lugs cutout, all same size.
1973: 3 lugs cutout, all same size. There is general consensus on this too
but note again that an experienced member believes the single cut-out came
earlier; may have been as early as 1972.
1974: Cutout in bottom headlug only.
1975: Cutout in bottom headlug only.
General comments: the "fluffier/bulbous" club cutouts appear on the earlier
bikes. The smaller/leaner cutouts began to show up, give or take, sometime
1969: Two holes in each side of crown, crown itself is a sand cast type
crown. Some may also have Vagner forged crown, two holes in sides.
1970: First use of investment cast semi-sloping crown, two holes in each
1971: IC crown, two holes in each side of crown
1972: IC crown, two holes in sides and club in top of each side of crown for
the first time.
1973: IC crown, club on top of each side of crown.
1974: IC crown, club in top of each side of crown.
1975: IC crown, club and "COLNAGO" on top of each side of crown. There were
numerous contributions supporting this but again, a experienced member took
the time to write "this is too early for the *Colnago* in the crown. I
think that came in by 1977 or so. The first generation Mexico's had no
"Colnago" in the crown, and their first year was 1975...earliest possible
year for the Colnago stamp in the crown would be 1976, but I'm betting it
was later than that.
1969: Fork tangs are blank.
1970: Fork tang can be blank and a wide tang as opposed to the typical
1971: Often blank narrow tangs.
1972: Narrow tangs with two holes, upper hole larger than lower hole.
1973: Some narrow tangs with two holes but now usually with club in them.
1974: Tangs with clubs.
1975: Tangs with clubs
Seat Stay Caps:
Years??: Plain fluted, ??" length
Years??: Plain fluted, ??" length (I think the length changed)
Years:??: Fluted with "COLNAGO" cast along the flute length.
Rear Brake Bridge:
Years??: Round tube w/brazed on washer (facing the brake caliper),
reinforced at seat stays, for nutted brake bolts.
Years??: Round with square/cube area that accepts recessed brake bolt, (did
this have a club in the top?).
1969: Circular drilled holes pattern in BB shell.
1970: Club cutout in BB shell.
1972: Club cutout in BB shell.
1973: Club cutout in BB shell.
1974: Club cutout in BB shell.
1975: Club cutout in BB shell.
1974/75: Sometime between '74 & '75 there should be a change from long
Campag drop-outs to the shorter ones.
197? & earlier: none except chain stay derailleur cable stop
197? - 197?: Above plus over BB cable guides
197? - 197?: Above plus shift lever mounts
197? - 197?: Above plus one set DT water bottle mounts
19?? - 19??: Above plus ST water bottle mounts
1976/77: Above plus first appearance of two TT brake cable guides (note that
the "Colnago" cast into the fork crowns definitely happened before the
addition of TT brake cable braze-ons).
1968/69: The playing-card-style decals appeared on frames imported to North
America in 1968 or 1969.
1969: Playing card graphics.
1970: Playing card decals?
1971: Playing card graphics?
1972: Graphics change, now just Colnago on DT and first appearance of head
decal just a club with Colnago underneath.
1973: First appearance of "wreath" decal on seat tube, between the bands.
1975: Another graphics change?
1977/78: Another graphics change?
Generally the Colnago crowns are chromed.
General comments: Sometimes the dropouts are chromed on these early bikes.
This varies. Head-lugs were chromed sometimes also, nearly always on show
bikes..but not confined to them.
Known Original Standard Colors:
1972/73: Turquoise/baby blue
Early/mid 70's: Candy green, candy red, candy blue, Molteni orange, yellow,
mauve metallic, black, silver, white, pearl white, electric blue,
salmon-metallic (similar to Cinelli Rose, but lighter), light purple
General comments: some wrote to advise you could get a Colnago painted
nearly any color you can imagine.
With Colnago in the earlier years there are a few slight variations
possible, mainly in the fork tangs. One list member has a '74 with no fork
tangs at all. He also had a '74 that had a club in the
bottom headlug and the SEAT lug only, none in top headlug (he suspects a
stray leftover cutout seat lug). Another member also knows of an original
'72 track bike with road blades in a Vagner crown and no chrome. Finally
two list members have/had ~1975 frames where the crowns were painted, not
Early first-generation Mexico's looked just like older Supers, except for
the thinner tubing.
To the subject of clubs on decals and clubs cut into lugs...
Ernesto Colnago has stated that the inspiration for changing his logo
to the Ace of Clubs was the result of Michele Dancelli winning the
'70 Milano-San Remo for Molteni while riding a Colnago. "La
Primavera" (the spring) is the nickname for Milan-San Remo and the
Ace of Clubs represents the spring flowers.
Steven Maasland previously elaborated about the club/flower tie in:
"The 'asso di fiore' is correctly translated as 'ace of clubs',
however there is also a double entendre in Italian that is lost here
as 'Fiore' is also 'flower', the symbol of the San Remo area. After
the San Remo race win, Colnago spoke to the very well-known Italian
sports reporter, Bruno Raschi, who was preparing his race report.
He came up with the saying that the 'in fiore' bike won the race.
This was a play on the fact that the race known for the 'riviera dei
fiori' (flower coast) as well as 'in fiore' (flowering or blooming).
That particular race win was very important for Italian cycling
because it was the first San Remo race won by an Italian in many
years, hence the 'flowering' part in the 'flower' race."
Okay, so that would explain the "playing card" club logo decals used
later in 1970, but what about Colnagos built before that date with
the same club shape cut in the lugs?
It has been mentioned before that the club cut in the lugs of the
Colnago Super was a tribute to Gloria where Ernesto Colnago first
apprenticed at 13 years of age and worked for almost a decade.
Gloria used a large lily at the sides of the lugs and bottom bracket;
the three petals of the club echo the three petals of the lily.
Here's the latest version of the frame dating (some dates plus or
minus a year):
Colnago Super Frame Dating (10.14.07)
1968 -- First Super(?)
1968 -- Fork crown (sand cast) with two holes in each side
1968 -- Fork tangs wide, no cutouts
1968 -- Club cutouts in all three lugs
1968 -- Bottom bracket shell with drilled holes (eight in circle plus
one in center)
1970 -- Fork crown (investment cast semi-sloping) with two holes in
1970 -- "Playing card" club decal graphics (inspired by 1970 Milano-
San Remo victory)
1971 -- Fork crown with clubs in top and two holes in each side
1971 -- Fork tangs narrow, no cutouts (or rarely no tangs)
1971 -- Club cutouts in all three lugs but club in lower head lug is
1971 -- Bottom bracket shell with club cutout
1972 -- Club/COLNAGO decal on head tube/seat tube (two seat tube
Worlds bands) and COLNAGO on down tube
1972 -- Fork tangs with two holes (or very rarely three holes tangs
or no tangs)
1972 -- Cable guide braze-ons top of bottom bracket shell
1972 -- Water bottle braze-ons on downtube
1973 -- Wreath seat tube decal with Worlds band at top and bottom
1973 -- Fork crown with clubs on top but no holes in each side
1973 -- Fork tangs with club cutouts (or rarely two hole tangs or no
1973 -- Club cutout in lower head lug only
1974 -- Shifter braze-ons on down tube (option before this)
1975 -- Vertical COLNAGO seat tube decal with diagonal Worlds band at
1976 -- Fork crown with COLNAGO added to clubs on top
1976 -- Short Campagnolo or COLNAGO dropouts
1977 -- Top tube cable guide braze-ons (option before this)
1978 -- Fork crown for recessed brake bolt with shallow triangles cut
1978 -- Brake bridge for recessed brake bolt
1980 -- Fluted seat stay caps engraved COLNAGO and straight seat
stays (no longer biconical)
1980 -- Brake bridge with cast square boss for recessed brake bolt
1981 -- Chain stay bridge is small spool shape (no longer tube)
1982 -- Chain stays stamped COLNAGO on sides
1982 -- Cable routing on underside of bottom bracket
1983 -- Aerodynamic fork crown
Dates are plus or minus one year; changes in frame details might have
occurred the end of one year or the beginning of the next for example
or may have been offered as an option before becoming standard.
Paint schemes, panels, decals and chrome varied according to how
importers spec'd their frames, so this all varied considerably and
there are lots of anomalies. ALL CORRECTIONS WELCOMED AND ENCOURAGED!
I do not think you can nail down an exact year for any of the late 70's-early 80's bikes, unless you bought it new.
Same with the '75-'78 bikes, you just have to live with an "about".
Yours sounds like a 1980-'83 or so?
01-24-09, 06:29 PM
Thanks for the info, gang.
Does this sound like a Super or a Mexico?