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My first Colnago

Old 10-22-18, 09:32 PM
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My first Colnago

This one popped up on my local CL and before I had time to think about it, it was in the back of my car on it's way to its new home, my garage. Not exactly sure what I bought nor if I over paid ($275) but that's what I need your guys help with.

Seller had no information other than it was his father's bike that he bought brand new. The bike needs quite a bit of TLC and the only clue I have to it's history is a Cycle Art decal on the NDS chain stay. No serial number obvious anywhere. It is a full Shimano 600 build with Mavic wheels. Please help with ID (year, model etc) and approximate value.




Last edited by tarsi; 10-23-18 at 12:11 AM. Reason: Title Change
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Old 10-22-18, 09:51 PM
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a few more photos.... Also, suggestions on cleaning up/polishing chrome are welcome.





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Old 10-22-18, 10:09 PM
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I think you got it for a big bargain at that price. What does hurt its value quite a bit is the fact that it had been repainted by Cycle Art. Most people looking for Colnagos want originality. Not sure, but the graphics (decals) somewhat look incomplete. I could be wrong but I'm expecting to see the Colnago letters on a white background. Might have been part of the request to Cycle Art not to do an original decal work on it. Not sure too if the lugs were originally chromed or if the PO just had the chrome on the lugs exposed from under the original paint and polished to enhance the bike's looks. It sure makes the bike really pretty though....
Looks like it should clean up really nice!
Post up some pics when you get done with its restoration. We are curious to see wgat's under all that dust and grime!

Last edited by Chombi1; 10-22-18 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 10-23-18, 12:26 AM
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It looks like a Colnago Super model to me. I think it would be a 1984 to 1986 build. As for the chromed lugs, depending on the original bikeshop/importer, the frame finish could be ordered as they liked it.

Back in the 90's, Colnago decal sets were hard to obtain but there was one cheap decal set that everyone seemed to use, especially on non-Colnago frames. The COLUMBUS decal that came with this set was easy to pick from an original COLUMBUS SL decal as the blue was a much lighter tone than the original. Your COLUMBUS decal looks like one of these 'repro' decals. Perhaps that was all that was available to Cycle Art when they repainted the frame. The lugs may clean up okay with the use of steel wool and metal polish. I think the frame may clean up quite well too and a little touch up with a matched paint may be easy as well.

The 'norm' was to buy a frame (and more often than not with a Colnago) and attach the groupset or components of your choice.

For the price you paid, you got a great deal.

Last edited by Gary Fountain; 10-23-18 at 12:33 AM.
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Old 10-23-18, 01:40 AM
  #5  
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1980-82 Colnago

Originally Posted by Gary Fountain View Post
It looks like a Colnago Super model to me. I think it would be a 1984 to 1986 build. As for the chromed lugs, depending on the original bikeshop/importer, the frame finish could be ordered as they liked it.
Looks like a 1980-82. Definitely not a 84-86.

Colnago timeline:

Velo-Retro: Colnago Super Timeline

As far as cleaning up the rust on the chrome, xx or xxx steel wool will clean off most of the light surface rust but the stuff on the crown below the headset looks pretty bad. If it were mine and I repainted it, I'd paint over the chrome lugs.

To do a proper chrome and repaint could run from $500-$900.

My 1983 Super with original paint and decals.





BTW, CycleArt was known to play foot loose and fancy free with decals. "Artistic license"....

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Old 10-23-18, 03:46 AM
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[QUOTE=verktyg;20629094]Looks like a 1980-82. Definitely not a 84-86.

Colnago timeline:

Velo-Retro: Colnago Super Timeline

Did you look at the seatstay caps? Definitely not fluted (concaved). They look flat to me thus 84 - 86.

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Old 10-23-18, 04:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tarsi View Post
Please help with ID (year, model etc) and approximate value.
Thread moved to Appraisals forum.
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Old 10-23-18, 05:01 AM
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Nice bike! I have one that I bought new around 1982? But it has a fully chromed fork and lugs and is all Campy equipped. Mine is just like verktyg's and still has the original (anthracite colored?) paint job but the chrome fork is pretty crusty and needs re-chromed. I'm interested in the value as well.

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Old 10-23-18, 05:16 AM
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A good scrubbing with Quickglo would do wonders for that chrome. Nice score BTW.
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Old 10-23-18, 07:44 AM
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Thanks everybody. Super sounds right.



I'm not planning on refinishing at this point, just stripping down, cleaning thoroughly and rebuilding with current components or possibly a very nice 8 speed Tri-Color groupo I have sitting around. Perhaps at some point I'll refinish the frame and hang some fancy Campy parts on it but first I want to put some miles on it before making that decision.

One thing that's not obvious from photos but worth mentioning is that frame has a second set of bottle cage mounts on the seat tube. I've read that they only started doing that in the late 80's, early 90's. Does it make sense that mounts were added by Cycle Art at time of refinishing?


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Old 10-23-18, 08:11 AM
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I would never use steel wool on chrome even the finest wool will scratch leave scratches on the finish (steel is harder than the chrome finish).
I would thoroughly wash the area to remove any rust particles and either soak with a mild solution of Oxalic Acid or use the aluminum foil process to remove the rust.
JM2C's, Ben
Nice bike BTW
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Old 10-23-18, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1 View Post
I would never use steel wool on chrome even the finest wool will scratch leave scratches on the finish (steel is harder than the chrome finish).
I would thoroughly wash the area to remove any rust particles and either soak with a mild solution of Oxalic Acid or use the aluminum foil process to remove the rust.
JM2C's, Ben
Nice bike BTW
^what he said.
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Old 10-23-18, 08:19 AM
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That's a good deal and yes quite likely that the 2d set of water bottle braze ons were added when the bike was repainted.
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Old 10-23-18, 08:28 AM
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It looks like those Colnago frames that were advertised in the mid 1980's in the back of cycling magazines. I think you got a decent deal on it. Obviously there are some chrome issues. The repaint hurts the value also. Parts are not worth much either. You can't go by decals on placing the age on a repaint since you never know what they replaced them with. More accurate decals are being made now with better technology so getting that correct is easier then it was back in the day. The second set of bottle holder should not be correct with this frame unless it was added later or the frame is post say 1985ish. If you were to strip the components off it and list it as a frame on ebay I think you'd get between 250-375ish range.
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Old 10-23-18, 09:28 AM
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OP,
I wouldn't worry about it being correct...afterall it has been painted, stripping it down to sell on eBay 375 will yield you less than you purchased it for (add fees and your time to strip, pack and ship into the equation).
Folks looking for a frame will not pay a premium for a repainted frame that is in need of a full restoration. It looks like it has set out in the rain for a bit, I would be certain that the seat post and stem are not stock, service it and ride and enjoy it, where else will you find a Colnago for the price that you paid for it...RIDE IT!
JMHO, Ben
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Old 10-23-18, 10:17 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1 View Post
OP,
...RIDE IT!
I agree. In a way I'm happy that bike has already been painted. The pressure to keep everything "original" doesn't come into play. At this point I feel free to update and use the bike as I choose. If/when I decide to "revert" back to as original as possible and hang up on the wall I can always do that as well.

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Old 10-23-18, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by xiaoman1 View Post
OP,
I would be certain that the seat post and stem are not stock
confirmed!
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Old 10-24-18, 07:29 PM
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Serial Number?

I started the strip down today and discovered what might be a serial number on the RDS drop-out. Anybody have any clue what this is and if it helps are far as dating or model ID?


Last edited by tarsi; 10-24-18 at 07:31 PM. Reason: language
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Old 10-24-18, 09:32 PM
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Your numbers likely indicate a batch number. Check the fork steerer tube and it will most likely have a matching number.

Since we know this is a refinish, deciding what was original to the frame in the way of braze-ons and such is impossible. That said, just going by the combination of flat seatstay caps and the fork crown, it's right around 1983-1985. I go one year further back than my pal Gary because my '83 Mexico has the exact same flat caps, so I have to think they shared those with the Supers of the time, too.

Features are good - the second set of bottle bosses is a plus. I wouldn't mod a pristine frame to add a pair, but since the work's been done for you...

Great price. Frame and Super Record seatpost would be a deal at that price on Ebay I would think. I see the typical CyclArt inconsistency, however, in the paint job (they botched a frame of mine once and I admit, I've never forgiven them); paint in the dropout ear threads, thick paint at the seatstay caps. But I'm nitpicking.

How about a pic of the BB shell cutout? I assume it has a flat stem vice the pointy version of the early-to-late 70s.

You got yourself a pretty nice first Colnago

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Old 10-24-18, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Your numbers likely indicate a batch number. Check the fork steerer tube and it will most likely have a matching number.
I'm not seeing any numbers on the steerer tube, only the Columbus tubing/Dove stamp.

Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Features are good - the second set of bottle bosses is a plus.
I agree. The mod has already been done so why not enjoy it. I always carry two bottles on my rides so I'm not complaining.

Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
How about a pic of the BB shell cutout?
See below.

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Old 10-24-18, 11:05 PM
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Yup, that's the clover cut out I was expecting. That's the later one, and the headlug clover window is of the later type, too.

Interesting about the lack of number on the steerer tube, but then again, it's more than likely that by the time this frame was made Colnago was doing chrome forks exclusively. The only matching criteria for a frame and fork would be a long enough steerer for the frame size - and those guys could surely eyeball that. So maybe they didn't need any ID numbering on the steerer.

I know both my early 70s Colnagos have matching numbers, but I haven't had the fork out of the '83 Mexico since 1994. I can't rightly recall now if the number on the DS rear dropout is on the steerer, too.

I wonder if the USA stamping on yours indicates that it was part of a batch destined for a US importer, to ultimately wind up available through catalog order?

Always fun trying to figure out the details of numbers when it comes to old Colnagos.

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Old 10-25-18, 02:27 AM
  #22  
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My question marks for dating this frame is the fork crown and the 2nd set of bidon mounts. I too think the 2nd set of bidon mounts could possibly have been added by Cycle Art along with the pump peg. Initially, they were my problem when dating this frame. I have added biddon mounts and pump pegs to frames I have been renovating myself as it is a pretty simple process.

The fork crown does suggest 1983 or earlier but I felt the fork could have been a replacement. I remember buying a Colnago frame in 1991 and I was offered a choice of front fork.

I know this version of the flat seat stay caps was introduced in 1983 and 1983 does seem to be a better estimation as Drillium Dude suggests if the 2nd set of bidon mounts and pump peg are ignored. Of all the inconsistencies found on this frame, the seat stay caps are most probably the original build components.

No matter what went on before your ownership, this is still a great frame and I would have bought it too. I think there are a few components that should be kept and my favourite 'must keep' component is the gear levers.

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Old 10-25-18, 07:44 AM
  #23  
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Bicycle Sereial Number Fantasies

Originally Posted by tarsi View Post
I started the strip down today and discovered what might be a serial number on the RDS drop-out. Anybody have any clue what this is and if it helps are far as dating or model ID?

Editorial Comment:

There is an obsession (fantasy) among many C&V enthusiasts about bike serial numbers! Of the millions of bikes manufactured since the beginning of cycling, only a few brands and bikes have traceable serial numbers.

A few of the larger European marques like Bianchi, Raleigh, Gazelle plus some Peugeots used traceable serial numbers but many of the classic brands went out of business 30-35 years ago and all records were lost. There was NO logic to Gitane and Motobecane SNs.

There are good records for some of the Japanese brands because after the CPSC (US Consumer Protection Safety Commission) rules went into effect in the late 70's bicycle manufacturers and importers were required to maintain those records. They exist mostly because of former employees and brand aficionados who maintained them. Also Schwinn.

There is ABSOLUTELY no basis in reality concerning any numbers stamped into Colnago frames!!!

Case in point: in November, 1978 I bought 2 Colnago frames from a shop in Denver. They had ordered 12 Colnago frames at the beginning of 1977 and they had just arrived at the beginning of the 1987 ski season. The frames were stamped 1-12... I bought one for myself and one for our shop.

My 1983 Super has "MC" stamped into the DS dropout.



I had a 1987 Colnago MTB (yes Colnago made MTBs for a few years). The serial number was 4N172...



My Colnago Technos doesn't have any numbering at all....

@Drillium Dude "Your numbers likely indicate a batch number."

"Always fun trying to figure out the details of numbers when it comes to old Colnagos".
Chasing wind mills too!

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Old 10-25-18, 07:52 AM
  #24  
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As always, provide laura@colnago.com with the serial number and she will tell you the year, model, and if possible the original color.
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Old 10-25-18, 08:29 AM
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Hardness of Chrome Plating vs. Steel wool

Originally Posted by xiaoman1 View Post
I would never use steel wool on chrome even the finest wool will scratch leave scratches on the finish (steel is harder than the chrome finish).
I would thoroughly wash the area to remove any rust particles and either soak with a mild solution of Oxalic Acid or use the aluminum foil process to remove the rust.
There are sever kinds of chrome plating: hard chrome is a thick layer applied to hardened steel surfaces like engine parts for wear resistance.

Regular decorative chrome plating is either double or triple plated. The standard process is to apply a layer of nickel which is usually polished before the final layer of chrome. Triple plated chrome has a base layer of copper plating to fill imperfections. It's usually polished then nickel plated and finally chrome plated. Triple plating gives the most durable surface.

Chrome thicknesses range from 0.002" to 0.020" (0.05 to 0.5 μm) but usually between 0.005" and 0.010" (0.13 and 0.25 μm).

Hard Chrome usually has a Rockwell Hardness (Rc) of around 70rc. Decorative chrome plating ranges from 66Rc to 70Rc. The chrome layer has to be at least 0.001" thick for those hardnesses.

"steel is harder than the chrome finish" HUH!

Steel wool has a hardness of 4 on the Mohs scale which converts to 32Rc... The nickel plating under the chrome is harder than that.

Copper, bronze or brass wool are for wood working use. Any embedded fibers of steel wool can rust and cause a stain in light colored wood. Those products are not hard enough to remove rust effectively.

Rust "grows" out of pores and scratches in the chrome/nickel plating and spreads across the plated surface. The thin layer of surface rust is easy to remove with steel wool. Over time and because of thin/poorly applied plating, the rust can get between the plating layers and the steel below causing the plating to lift or peel off.

No amount of anything that you use or apply will fix that problem! Just stripping and re-plating.

I photoshopped this picture of the fork crown on my 83' Super. All of the dull looking areas around the Colnago C logo were badly rusted. I used a dental pick to scrape away all of the crusty rust down to the bare steel then covered with paint or clear coat.



I was going to get the fork repainted but I found an NOS Colnago replacement fork.

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