Colnago International - Pantografato
I bought this mid 70's Colnago from the original owner. It had been sitting in his garage for the past 20 years. The bike and all of its parts are completely original, representing a real time capsule (except for the tubular tires that had turned to dust). The decals had also cracked away and were replaced. Otherwise, the condition is exceptional. After cleaning up a (protective?) layer of black soot, the bike was left with a nice patina. The once bright, metallic yellow paint is now softer, warmer.
This Colnago International measures 56cm seat tube (center to center) and top tube 56cm (center to center). The head tube is 15cm. A very classic, traditional geometry; proportionally elegant (in my opinion).
The International was made with Columbus SL tubing and the same lugs as its pricier Super or Mexico siblings. However, the International did not get much chrome, only the fork crown. While I've seen plenty of Super's and Mexico's, I've never seen another International. And I've never seen a Colnago in this color either. If rarity equates to value, then this bike has that in its favor.
The gruppo is Campagnolo Record throughout, while the brake levers, stem (3ttt), seat post (two bolt, 27.2), cranks and chainrings are all Colnago tricolore pantografato. The gear levers are drilled.
The cranks are 170 long, the chainrings are 52 X 42. A curiosity (upgrade perhaps?): there are 4 black, unmarked, aluminum bolts, while the other chainring bolt is the typical steel 'Campagnolo Patent' one. The chain and freewheel are from Regina, Extra Record, I believe.
3ttt stem measures 11cm, while the Competizione bar measures 40cm (center to center). It wears NOS Colnago cork tape. Some brown electrical tape is how I've dealt with the inevitably crumbly gum hoods.
The orginal decals had dried up and crumbled away. So I replaced them with those Aussie reproductions.
This is the most damage on the whole frame: a few nicks on the drive side seat stay. I put some yellow paint that can be easily removed if desired. The front and rear brake pads still have plenty of miles left.
The wheels are Record hubs, both 32 spoke'd with Nisi Countach rims - while truing the rear one, a slight crack developed around a drive side nipple. The Campy quick releases are curved, not straight. The saddle is a Concor, no rips or tears, just the normal patina from use.
I don't know much about this Colnago branded headset.
There is something kind of naive about these old paint jobs. They are thick, the metallics tended to fade, the hand filled lug details are sloppy. But all of this somehow adds to the charm. Call it nostalgia or authenticity?
A lot has been written about Colnago's "magical ride quality" and though I am generally sceptical of such ravings, this International certainly rides quite nicely. It is very well balanced, composed. It is reassuringly steady, just what you want in a bike.
[Click on the image to see the full size version] Here is a catalogue scan from a later model, I believe early 80's, by the looks of that rear derailleur. The most notable changes seem to be the fully chromed fork and drive side chain stay. Colnago was never modest in his colors, love the electric lime!
Super Record rear derailleur, 'Patent 77'. I replaced the pulley wheels with less used ones.
This Colnago is about 35 years old and in pretty much original condition. This bike isn't the fancy lady hiding her age under make-up and new threads, it's the real thing that you woke up with in the morning. Though it's ready to ride now, it is not that far away from being a show bike. It all depends on one's point of view. I really love this bike, but I haven't been riding it much, so it's got to go. I will miss it dearly.
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