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Colnago frame vintage?

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Old 02-09-19, 05:52 PM
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obit
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Colnago frame vintage?

I recently bought a repainted Colnago frame. I am trying to determine it's era. It has a fluted downtube, round seat and top tube, there is no rifling inside the seat tube (like you would see with SLX tubing), it has internally routed cable on the top tube, a screw-in cable guide (nothing built in) on the bottom bracket, and horizontal rear drop outs. (I realize this is easier with pictures, and will try to post some.) Are there any Colnago experts/afficionados out there that know the variations among the 80s and 90s vintage frames? Thanks.
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Old 02-09-19, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by obit View Post
I recently bought a repainted Colnago frame. I am trying to determine it's era. It has a fluted downtube, round seat and top tube, there is no rifling inside the seat tube (like you would see with SLX tubing), it has internally routed cable on the top tube, a screw-in cable guide (nothing built in) on the bottom bracket, and horizontal rear drop outs. (I realize this is easier with pictures, and will try to post some.) Are there any Colnago experts/afficionados out there that know the variations among the 80s and 90s vintage frames? Thanks.
Welcome aboard, glad you found us. Yes you are right,"pics or it didn't happen".

Go around, say hi or comment to get 10 posts so you can post pics.
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Old 02-09-19, 06:41 PM
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Picture would help for sure but it sounds like ESA Mexico.
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Old 02-09-19, 06:47 PM
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flyingPiggy could be spot on but also look into a Colnago model called a 'Conic SLX - Totally Spiral' frame. Your description sounds a little like this frame. These frames were produced around the late 80's to early 90's.

The down tube has ribs and tapers to a bigger diameter at the bottom of the tube,

This is from the Bulgier collection of bike brochures - Colnago 1988, (page 6):

The ESA Mexico (page 6a) also appears in this catalogue - bulgier.net - /pics/bike/Catalogs/Colnago-88/



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Old 02-09-19, 07:50 PM
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I own an SLX SC. Built it up with Campy 10 Speed. Very unique with the fluted down tube. Also has the top tube internal routed brake cable. Have seen a number of paint schemes that look specific to this frame. Production looks to be limited. With the fluted and ever increasing diameter downtube, this is a Master on steroids....

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Old 02-09-19, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Gary Fountain View Post
flyingPiggy could be spot on but also look into a Colnago model called a 'Conic SLX - Totally Spiral' frame.
Ah yes, but OP said no rifling on the seat tube which means... SL tude I think. Wasn't Conic full SLX?
OP, I think Conic was 4+4 sides while ESA has more... i think 6+6? sides on fluted tubes...can you see how many sides your fluted down tube has?

Now having said all that, personally, I think dating or ID-ing Colnago is not really clear cut as I wish it to be. Colnago's production management during the bike-boom era is... less than... combobulated affair... imho.
There are lots of odd examples out there which go against there own catalogs and records. @[email protected]
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Old 02-10-19, 02:38 AM
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Yes flyingPiggy, I too think it is probably an ESA Mexico due to the absence of rifling but sometimes it is hard to detect. The Conic SLX is indeed Columbus SLX. My Conic SLX has 8 flutes on the downtube.

I also agree that there are always exceptions to the 'rule' when examining Colnago Build dates. I have also seen responses from the Colnago factory where their estimation of build date of a frame is obviously way out. Just looking at the Bulgier site's example of the Colnago 88 brochure, you can see a couple of different examples of seat stay caps often used to estimate a build date. Just knowing that frame building was farmed out to other frame builders rings 'date I.D'ing' bells. I think an estimation of build date is appropriate for a Colnago frame..

Just on the ability to contact Colnago for their assistance - this is a great development. I recall sending the factory letters asking for their assistance in frame identification in the 90's. I even had my letters translated into Italian. I never once got a reply.

(Haha - I started 3 sentences with the word 'Just'. Next I'll be using 'So' to start my sentences - like my daughter. Haha.)

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Old 02-10-19, 06:50 PM
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Trying to post

Need to get above 10 posts to upload pics. And can only post 5x / 24 hrs. Will get them up soon.
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Old 02-10-19, 07:09 PM
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Just to muddy things for the older bikes, the Super that I have has "C81" stamped on the drive-side rear dropout. The stamp is under the original paint. The tubing, frame construction, and graphics are all consistent with the available "date your Colnago" info here and around the 'net identifying it as a 1981 (+/-). Is it a 1981? I dunno, but I still love it. I would wonder what the motivation to put that stamp on it might have been since it was obviously done at the factory before it was painted?
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Old 02-10-19, 09:53 PM
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Dating Colnagos

Originally Posted by flyingPiggy View Post
Ah yes, but OP said no rifling on the seat tube which means... SL tude I think. Wasn't Conic full SLX?
OP, I think Conic was 4+4 sides while ESA has more... i think 6+6? sides on fluted tubes...can you see how many sides your fluted down tube has?

Now having said all that, personally, I think dating or ID-ing Colnago is not really clear cut as I wish it to be. Colnago's production management during the bike-boom era is... less than... combobulated affair... imho.
There are lots of odd examples out there which go against there own catalogs and records. @[email protected]
Agree. Determining the vintage is really challenging.
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Old 02-10-19, 11:11 PM
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Old 02-10-19, 11:20 PM
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I agree, it looks like a "Spiral Conic". You will note the downtube is larger at the bottom bracket than the head tube, although you might not notice it without actually measuring.

Here are some notes I made earlier.



I have it marked as "Mystery", but the Spiral Conic has an octagonal tubing profile, while the Master has a diamond profile, and the Mexico has creases along the sides, I think.

My guess is that frame has been recently repainted white and black.

I think my Spiral Conic is a fairly early frame, and has lines along the top tube to give it a bit of an appearance of a top tube tubing profile that tit doesn't have.

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Old 02-10-19, 11:56 PM
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Yes, it does look like a Conic SLX but it is different to mine as well as CliffordK's. My Conic's lugs are single pointed while yours has 3 pointed lugs (very desirable). I wonder if it is some other model? I too think it's a re-paint with a little cleaning up yet to be done. That said, my frame does have some factory overspray in places.

I would also like to know it your frame's downtube tapers to get bigger (diameter) at the bottom of the tube?

I bought my frame new in early 1992 but I know it was imported and for sale in the bikeshop (where I purchased it) in 1991. It's condition is how it was originally made.

Here's my Conic SLX to compare yours to:

(P.S. I was given the choice of front forks so I chose this pair.)










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Old 02-11-19, 12:24 PM
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Nice Bike!!!

I took time to read the catalog and it is stated that while ESA Mexico has six ribs, Conic Spiral has eight ribs and tapering. I was wrong and all the characteristics are pointing toward Conic Spiral!.
As for what many think ESA Mexico is... actually Nuovo Mexico. ESA has ribbed tube while the Nuovo Mexico (Profil) had creases on the side...IIRC.
Can't remember the year but remember seeing one with nice little tube cutout diagram in each picture...

Good luck on the build, many happy and safe miles to you!
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Old 02-11-19, 07:26 PM
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It sure sounded like ESA Mexico though.
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Old 02-11-19, 07:54 PM
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Wow, what a beautiful bike.
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Old 02-12-19, 01:52 AM
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Thanks dmerk2 and flyingPiggy. You can really imagine just how nice Orbit's bike will be when it's built.
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Old 02-12-19, 11:20 PM
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Thanks

Thanks everyone. This forum is a great resource - I appreciate finding a community that is so helpful. I agree with the Conic “diagnosis” after looking at the details/examples posted. I am going to be building it up over the next couple months with my son and will post the final result!
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Old 02-14-19, 09:21 PM
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obit
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Anothet question- restoration (factory paint)

I looked around the forum and saw a couple of related topics, but I figured I would ask this group. How do you think about restoring worn frames. The frame I bought has a good but not great paint job. If you come across a factory original bike that has been beat up (well used mid -80s de rosa, colnago, etc), how do you think it best to ‘rejuvenate’?
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Old 02-14-19, 09:38 PM
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I like to just clean-up the frame and find components with a similar patina to suit the frame. That said, if the condition is really bad I have often just touched-up really poor areas or have stripped the paint off and started again with a new paint job. I have only done this to frames i have considered less collectable or desirable or of unknown origin.

Thinking of a DeRosa or Colnago in poor condition I would do my best to keep it's originality. I do, however, have a Colnago that is a re-paint and it's lovely to have a nice shiny frame underneath you on a nice day.

Really, it's what fits well with you.

Last edited by Gary Fountain; 02-14-19 at 09:45 PM.
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