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New bike alert: Colnago launches new V3Rs race bike

Sam Challis
18 Jul 2019

The V3Rs is the third iteration of Colnago’s monocoque race bike design

Colnago will always be best known for its tube-and-lug C-series bikes but that doesn’t mean the brand has tied itself to one construction method. Spending time with the brand and its founder, Ernesto Colnago, it becomes clear that as much as Colnago celebrates its heritage it also embraces innovation.

This was why the brand decided to tap into its long-standing relationship with Ferrari several years ago to explore monocoque frame design. Released in 2014, the V1-r was the result.

Colnago says it improved upon that bike a couple of years later with the V2-r and has now released the final stage of the V-series project, the V3Rs. Available in both rim and disc versions, the new design brings with it the standard set of claims: it is apparently 70g lighter, 12% stiffer at the bottom bracket and 6% at the head tube.

Aerodynamics and comfort have not been quantified but Colnago explained thse areas have been given significant attention too.

First ride review: Colnago V3Rs

‘In our V-series we have always aimed to achieve a balance between lightweight and aerodynamic efficiency to create the best all-round bike,’ says Davide Fumagalli, Colnago’s lead engineer on the V3Rs project. ‘We were very happy with the V1-r and the V2-r, but in the V3Rs we think we have perfected the design.’

The frame has had an overhaul that brings it much more in line with several of its newly-released competitors - dropped seatstays, integrated cables, aero flourishes, disc brakes and increased tyre clearance are all in evidence on the V3Rs.

This is not to suggest that Colnago has released a copycat product - brands can only work within the confines of UCI-governed rules.

As a convergence seems to be occurring in bike design it could be suggested that the perfect recipe given current limitations is close to being achieved. My experience of the V3Rs would certainly point towards this being the case - despite my limited time aboard it there’s no mistaking that this is a well-rounded performance machine.

The V3Rs’s weight is a standout feature. A small disc frame is said to weigh just 790 grams. It sheds almost 100g over the equivalent V2-r, despite claims of increased stiffness at the bottom bracket and head tube. Colnago’s staff suggest builds well below the UCI’s minimum weight limit can be easily achieved - no mean feat for a disc bike.

‘We worked on all the small details in order to accrue a large net reduction in weight,’ says Fumagalli. ‘The seatpost clamp has been made lighter, the cable guide under the BB has been moulded in to the carbon, even the carbon around the bottle cage threads has been optimised. All these few-gram savings add up to an impressive final figure.’

There are no specific figures regarding aerodynamic performance, but there are plenty of truncated Kammtail tube profiles in evidence in key areas like the head tube, down tube and seat tube. Colnago made it clear that aerodynamics was a priority in the V3Rs, and the most important area given an aerodynamic boost is the cockpit.

The V3Rs uses something Colnago dubs its ‘TFS’ Integrated fork system, which allows the bike’s cables to pass into the bike almost completely internally from the bars - first nestled in a cover formed by an extended spacer under the stem, then through the fork steerer and into the frame.

First ride review: Colnago V3Rs

The V3Rs has clearance for larger tyres than its predecessors. Officially Colnago is saying 28mm is the maximum but unofficially it suggests 32mm can be fitted without issue. As a result of the likelihood of users running bigger tyres the V3Rs’s geometry has been revised: among several minor tweaks, the BB has been lowered (BB drop is now 72mm) in order to promote better stability.

Other geometrical changes include a longer fork and shorter head tube - done to accommodate bigger tyres and to facilitate better airflow around the front tyre in the aid of aerodynamics.

Incidentally, these changes create the welcome illusion of the bike being more aggressive despite the stack remaining the same, which does nothing to hurt the bike’s racey pretensions. Colnago is aiming for the V3Rs to be ‘the complete bike’, and it certainly looks the part.

The V3Rs will be available from August. Disc framesets will cost £3,999.95 and the rim counterparts £3,599.95. A complete build with Sram Red eTap AXS and Vision Trimax 40 carbon wheels is going to be £9,499.95.

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