To celebrate the arrival of Classics season, and of our BSC Classics kit, this weeks bike check jumps in the wayback machine to look at a beautiful 1997 Colnago Tecnos. This Italian lugged steel frame hearkens back to an era of rapid transition in bicycle technology, when traditional construction and frame materials vied for prominence with newer alloy and carbon frame manufacturing. First produced in 1995, the last year Le Tour was won on a steel bike, and last made in 2000, Tecnos frames are representative of the pinnacle of steels prominence and the era of the materials rapid fade from the ranks of pro road racing.
While this steel road racer spends its winters on the walls of Broad Street Cycles (look up, look waaaay up above the mechanics benches), BSC’s longtime friend and newest team member Raph Lalumière sets this Colnago free during Victoria’s drier summer months. What good are legendary handling characteristics on a bike that lives indoors? So purists, please forgive the non-period specific tires, and any minor blemishes on the Italian finery of this incredible classic road build. Bike’s are born to be ridden, not be museum pieces. And when Raph’s the lucky rider, you know this bike is flying through corners as it’s maker intended.
What do we need to say about Colnago? Not much, the brands reputation in cycling is literally the stuff of legends: Eddy Merckx, Freddy Maertens, Johan Museeuw, all aboard frames built by Ernesto Colnago. From when Luigi Arienti rode to Gold in the 1960 Rome Olympics onward, the Colnago name has been synonymous with the upper echelon of pro-level racing. What do we want to say about this beautiful steel Colnago Tecnos? We’ll try restrain ourselves, but we could go on for hours.
A bike builder with his own museum has no shortage of noteworthy frames, so what makes the Tecnos special? Especially when it’s 5 year production run started in 1995, well after even Colnago himself had started using carbon fiber in his race bikes. For starters, it was one of the lightest productions steel frames ever made. Tecnos frames were so light, it’s rumored Colgango’s American distributors felt the need to advertise the bike with a rider weight limit. The ultralight frame was built with custom Tecnos tubeset, featuring an oversized top and down tube with Colnago’s unique clover-leaf shaping, from Columbus Nivachrom steel. The frame features chromed three point crown-tip head tube lugs, eye-catching chromed chain and seat stays, numerous detailed Colnago pantographs, and is finished with an incredibly intricate paint job. Raph’s is paired to Colnago’s Flash fork, with an alloy crown bonded to straight carbon legs. Raph has built his Tecnos up with an array of Italian parts: Campagnolo Chorus groupset, Ambrosio rims laced to Campy hubs, Fi’zi:k saddle, and Elite cages, with Ritchey stem and Easton bars being the only non-Italian parts to make an appearance.
While newer Colnago C-series lugged carbon frames are still beautiful, Raph’s Tecnos wonderfully displays the level of detail and artistry of lugged steel frames that still commands loyalty from riders even 20 years after the frame material’s exit from the highest ranks of the pro peloton. Click through for all the details in the gallery below: