Building up a Colnago

This is what I’m starting with: a mid- to late-80’s (I think) era Colnago fork and frame. Some have suggested that perhaps it’s a Colnago Master, others have convincingly identified it as a Super Sprint. The simple fact of the matter is that I don’t know. There are enough anomalies between this frameset and the few catalog pages I’ve come across to suggest that Colnago may have constructed it as a “special.”

Which creates a dilemma for me.

See, I’d originally planned to have the frame powder coated. I was thinking about going with a smoked chrome in place of the chipped up original paint. But – oddly – I’m unable to locate an exact replacement set of decals, despite finding numerous Colnago decal sets on eBay and other sites. The tubing is Columbus, with Cromor rear triangle. The Columbus decal doesn’t match up to others, as it really ought to – another clue that this was a specially constructed frame.

One online forum contributor contacted me, confident in his appraisal that Ernesto Colnago had, himself, specified this build.

I’m very skeptical.

But not crazy enough to go and mess around with the original paint – just in case!

So – for now, anyway – I’m going to build it up to ride (which is the point after all, isn’t it?) This afternoon I had my LBS install a very pretty Velo-Orange Grand Cru headset. (I just don’t have the right tools, and have never installed a headset myself so I handed it off to the guys at Cycle City.)

Sometime in the next couple of days, I’ll install the Velo-Orange Italian-thread bottom bracket I ordered at the same time as the headset.

I found a couple of online references to Colnago Super Sprint bicycles and was a little surprised to discover that they hadn’t been built up with Campagnolo components, but Shimano 600/Ultegra.

Well talk about things that make you go, “Hmmm!” Turns out I’ve got most of a 600/Ultegra groupo: front and rear derailleurs, bar-end shifters, cranks and chainrings, downtube adjusters, brake calipers – everything, in fact, except for the brake levers – which are Shimano 105’s mounted to a nice Cinelli handlebar and stem.

The Colnago fork is all chrome and nicely pantographed.

As is the chromed lugwork.

And, interestingly – especially if this frame does eventually get stripped and powder coated – it appears that the rear triangle might be chromed under the paint. I am, of course, wondering just how much, and how polished, that chrome just might happen to be … because a chromed rear might be a nice pairing with, say, a red or blue frame.

Just sayin’.

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