Like millions of us, I’ve watched a lot of the BBC’s Top Gear programme and recently when I’ve been thinking about Colnago bikes I’ve kept wondering about something on Top Gear that keeps coming back to me. Whenever Top Gear do a story about an Alfa Romeo they inevitably say that in their opinion you can’t be a true car enthusiast unless you’ve owned an Alfa. I’ve been thinking that perhaps you can’t ever be a true road cycling enthusiast unless you’ve owned a Colnago.
I know lots of people, who profess to be serious car enthusiasts but virtually none of them have owned an Alfa. I know more and more cycling enthusiasts and a smallish number of them have owned or aspired to own a Colnago. With Colnago’s current range I think this percentage is likely to increase and there’s a lot of love out there for the C40, C50 and the Master as I see it, not to mention newer bikes like the EPS and now the C59.
However, personally I’m not totally convinced about Colnago’s as I often haven’t been about Alfas – well not enough to hand over my money. A lot of Colnago colour schemes to me have been horrendous (they’re not the only brand guilty of this in fairness) and I’m not sure there is another bike company that is likely to benefit from the MAMIL effect (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-10965608) as Colnago probably will (but good for them). I also think that here and there they’ve rested on their laurels a little.
Likewise Alfa have their own blackspots and plenty of them – with some howlers over the years that were at best style over substance. Not having owned a Colnago (yet) they do seem to be universally praised by their owners and I have to say that if I had the money in my pocket now – I’d find it very hard to say no to a C59. Much of the rest of the range I’m less convinced that I’d buy over products from other brands, much as where I always seem to end up with Alfas.
In fairness the closest I’ve been to buying a Colnago so far was at the beginning of this year when Wiggle were virtually giving away Primavera framesets for £280 from memory – I do really regret not buying one of them and throwing a SRAM Rival groupset on it. It would have been a great way to dip my toe in the Colnago waters and become a real road cycling enthusiast and I’m sorry that it didn’t happen.
Now of course Colnago may not be the best brand to take on this Alfa Romeo inspired mantle – Pinarello or De Rosa are other names that spring to mind that might also be contenders – but I have a strong feeling that Colnago is the right brand for the analogy.
Much like car nuts, I think the principle is that to be a true fan you’ve got to have owned something from an Italian brand with lots of heritage and history to be a true enthusiast. I do believe that there is something about some of the iconic Italian brands that makes them somehow a bit magical in an emotional way that not many other companies successfully emulate.
As with cars, there are many, many great bikes out there from manufacturers and designers all over the world, many of which are outstanding products … and I’m all for owning them too, but even as someone who’s not completely sold on Colnago – I can’t help feeling that there is something a little bit special about the brand and the way owners revere it so completely.
If it’s not something for us to aspire to personally it probably is something many other brands aspire too. Personally I think Colnago’s range is stronger than it’s been for years, so they deserve their current success and I’m delighted to see them pushing their designs and products further and further. As for me, well perhaps there’ll be another opportunity at some point which I really can’t refuse …. I hope so.
If you’d like to check out Colnago’s in more detail, I can recommend the following links:
Thanks for reading …. and if you’ve got any suggestions for brands that fit the Alfa analogy better than Colnago please let me know.