Few bike companies are as renowned and admired as Colnago. Though Colnago’s founding date is 1954, Ernesto Colnago’s career really started in 1945 when, as a 13 year old, he lied about his age to start working in the Gloria bicycle factory in Milan as a welder. We’re all for age limits to prevent teens from wielding welding torches, but we’ll give Ernesto a pass — as this core education sparked his development and benefitted bike fans the world over.
Colnago has a deep history working with the greats, including post-war icons like Merckx, Maertens, and Saronni, and it continues its rich tradition of handmade steel to this day. But, Colgnago’s elegant carbon fiber masterpieces have supplanted steel as the focal point of its modern output. That said, Colnago sets itself apart from the competition because their most popular frames still rely on tube-and-lug designs (though they have monocoque options as well). The focus on tube-and-lug frames means that they can ensure both safety and ride quality for every frame in every size — and they look damn good, too.
At the end of the day, neither the history of a brand, nor the big names who have ridden the bikes makes any difference if the ride doesn’t deliver. And that’s where Colnago — over 65 years in the making — continues to make the difference.