In any case, I doubt that Master Ernesto, as gifted as he is, has designed the previous C64 or V3RS himself, engineers specializing in composites and a multitude of computers that have long since taken over.
A Colnago that leaves the construction with tools for the first time ….. well almost. It’s not monocoque, but there are several pieces that fit together and then “weld” through the lamination process. But the Italian brand has still managed to maintain a style reminiscent of accessories.
The seat tube is one with the lower support, the upper tube is connected to the steering tube and the seat tube by lamination. The steering tube and lowering tube are one, and finally the seats and chainstays are built in one piece and then laminated with the seat tube.
This construction allowed Colnago to preserve the artisanal elaboration of this frame in Italy. In Cambiago, painting is still being done. In addition, this C68 proudly displays this handmade in Italy on the seat tube with the Italian flag perfectly visible.
The bike is offered here in an excellent white / blue / gold blend that magnifies every detail of this C68. There are 4 other colors available.
But among the 5 options offered, this is, in my opinion, the one that best fits the C68, mixing originality while remembering the Colnago line of C. You can also opt for a custom color for an additional € 1200.
The lower tube maintains a slightly hexagonal shape. If the Colnago abandoned the star or clover tubes a long time ago, this hexagonal shape, in addition to having advantages from the point of view of rigidity, allows us to remember the history of Colnago. Like a Porsche 911 that has evolved over the years while retaining the shape of the first models.
The seat clamp is placed on the horizontal tube, in front of the seatpost, with a flexible plastic cover Level finish, I would have preferred a slightly harder cover that would have made it a little more qualitative. This is, in my opinion, the only “cheap” point of this C68. But at least this cache has the advantage of staying perfectly in place.
The fork is brand new. The former had a “D” -shaped direction with a complex inner rib and a metal threaded screw attached to the length. Colnago returns to a simpler system with a much sleeker and lighter 1 “1/8 round steering wheel.
To allow the routing of the cables, the brand has designed a special patented system of eccentric headphones, without having to use a 1.5 “pad larger and heavier. Simplification also next to the bottom bracket. Colnago leaves its own TF82.5 for a more “standard” and easy to find T47.
Side finishes, it would be hard to find bugs. The reputation of the Italian brand in this area is unbeatable and this Colnago C68 is no exception to the rule. Everything is perfect, with boundaries between the perfect colors, without any imperfections.
The weight of the frame for a size 485 is approximately 925 grams, unpainted. So we’re far from a super light frame. The full version with the Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 group and Dura-Ace C50 wheels is advertised at 7.3 kg without pedals. I weighed my copy, in Dura-Ace Di2 with Dura-Ace C35 wheels, at 7.15 kg size 51.
In terms of geometry, the latter has been revised. Finished the custom series (but we can still access it as an option), Colnago offers this C68 in seven sizes. Steering sockets are slightly higher to increase comfort.
To offer you this model, it will cost about € 15,399. Yes, it is a high price, but it certainly lives up to the legend of the brand and the quality of the product. The frame kit comes to € 5899.
Crime of injury majesty for some, this Colnago C68 delivered me with a Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 transmission. But for my part, not being a fan of the “Italian bike = Campagnolo”, this is not a problem for me, everyone can choose the group that suits you best for this C68.
I won’t pay too much attention to this group, which I already tested extensively before the release of this new transmission and which you can find in my article “Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 R9200 12-speed group test”.
The latest group launched on the market, which combines 12 pine nuts with a minimum weight and impeccable responsiveness. Here it is supplied with an 11-30 cassette associated with 50/34 plates.
The Shimano Dura-Ace C36 wheels, with a profile of 36 mm in height and a weight of 1338 grams, are certainly the most suitable for this bike, being a little heavier the C50, with 1465 grams. The C68 has, in the Sierra de Colnago, the most eager to climb, this choice seems logical to me. Here it is equipped with Pirelli P Zero Race tires of section 28 mm.
The Prologo Scratch M5 CPC seat is mounted on the seatpost dedicated to this C68.
The big news that comes with this C68 is its CC.01 carbon cab that allows all cables to be routed inside and weighs only 310 grams.
It is available in 16 combinations, with stem lengths from 80 to 140 mm and handlebar widths from 370 to 430 mm.
Too bad, for my test, counter support was not provided. But this hanger is a great aesthetic success, with a nice profile and a not too pronounced shape at the top that should fit even small hands. On the other hand, I would have appreciated a slight relief on this top without a handlebar strap to prevent my hands from slipping too much with perspiration or rain.
A little special attention, Colnago was concerned with integrating a multi-tool into the steering tube, at the level of the cab. Just pull it out firmly and you’ll have all the tools you need for a quick fix.
To the road
The Colnago C68 is still a heart runner bike, no doubt about it. After more than 400 kilometers on the handlebars, there is no doubt that the C68 is a very high level bike.
An agile and rigid bike but which retains good comfort, no doubt aided by the 28 mm air support. At first glance, this stiffness can make you fear a very moderate bike, but Colnago has found the right balance, a rigid bike, which can easily withstand more than 1100 watts in sprints or attacks, without being inert when we run quietly Wherever we are. high percentages at less than 15 km / h.
Of course, some will mark a mass of 7.15 kg without pedals for a price of more than € 15,000. But weight is not everything, and we are left with a relatively light bike that, with its 36 mm high wheels, is comfortable and likes to climb, either quietly when you lack strength, or muscular. .
However, if you decide to add 50mm high wheels, this C68 requires much more watts. The extra rigidity of the high-profile wheels makes the bike more difficult to hold, as the mounting is very rigid, it will be necessary to approach at least 300 watts on a climb to maintain dynamism. Otherwise, the bike is much less pleasant than with 36mm wheels.
Without being the most comfortable bike I’ve tried, like the endurance bikes, it filters the roughness of the road pretty well for a bike of this caliber, that is, a bike designed primarily for competition and performance. . A well-balanced filtration between the front and the rear, despite the presence of a very rigid cabin in the front.
A well-designed cabin with a not too pronounced shape that makes it comfortable even for small hands. On the other hand, a small improvement could be made to make it almost perfect in the future, add embossed elements to the top, because when you sweat a lot or walk in the rain, this part is quite slippery, like all carbon booths.
On the flat, this C68 manages to keep a good pace and the Shimano Dura-Ace C36 wheels are aerodynamic enough not to give the impression of being penalized compared to 50 mm wheels. I was also able to test this Colnago C68 with a pair of 50mm wheels, the difference in speed and inertia is not really obvious, however, the bike is more comfortable and more stable in case of wind with these 36mm profiles. wheels. Without a doubt, wheels under 40 mm are the most relevant with this C68.
Being a better descendant than climber, I especially enjoyed this C68 in exercise. Super stable at high speed on straight descents, it is also super accurate on the more technical sections where you have to chain fast turns or place yourself to the millimeter on forks adjusted at low speed. A real pleasure for a good descendant.
The braking of the Shimano Dura-Ce group is shown in this exercise above all suspicion, powerful and silent.
But the rigidity of the C68, especially at the level of its fork, also allows you to have fun with angle changes that are made lightly while remaining perfectly riveted to the ground even on degraded surfaces. In this, the tires of section of 28 mm allow, if they do not surpass the 5 bars, keep the wheel permanently in contact with the floor at the same time that offers a lot of adhesion to the angle.
On the other hand, distrustful of cyclists less comfortable on descents, the C68 is a precision instrument that, at high speeds, does not forgive mistakes or hesitations in a placement. Fortunately, the powerful brakes are there to make up for any overconfidence, as are the Pirelli tires with their excellent grip.
But before venturing headlong into a descent, it must be borne in mind that its accuracy also requires the cyclist to be very rigorous in his trajectories and angle changes.
This Colnago C68 is the archetypal bike around. It may not be the fastest at very high speeds on long straights with headwinds, but instead it will be dynamic both when the road goes up and once it has reached the top and when it reaches the top. go down quickly.
But for that, don’t look “too high” next to the wheels. Shimano Dura-Ace C36 (or any other mid-profile wheel) are without a doubt the most suitable wheels for this bike. Unless you can develop 350 watts for more than an hour, you should avoid a 50mm high profile if you have unevenness to pass.
With this C68, Colnago has managed to maintain an aesthetic that will be familiar to lovers of the clover brand (from the C40 to the C64) while offering a decidedly technical and modern bike in its design.
Of course, the price is crazy, but in the same areas as what the competition offers at this level of the range. But remember that the C68 is still made in Italy, with a clean finish.
Surely many cyclists will never be able to invest so much money in a bicycle, but the Cambiago brand offers a bicycle at the level of the best, not counting only its history. And that’s what matters most to me, more than the lack of Ernesto’s signature on this bike.
PS: many thanks to APESUD, the French distributor of the brand, who made this test possible.
Photos: Céline and Guillaume for Matos Vélo – Sonam.cc