Sizzling off the presses, Colnago launched its first ‘C’ Collection gravel bike, the C68 Gravel. This bike is barely Colnago’s second devoted gravel bike, however it’s a certain shot. The bike isn’t a smooth lob at “all issues gravel.” It’s a quick, opinionated, and beautiful piece of handmade Italian craftsmanship, and much more importantly, it rides like a dream.
Colnago Depth in Drop Bar Grime
Colnago has such depth within the sport of biking that it’s straightforward to neglect what number of legendary riders as soon as known as their frames dwelling. It’s not simply highway using, although it’s onerous to miss Pogačars’ expertise and tie it to the model. Years in the past, Wout and Mathieu had been using Colnago; earlier than that, Sven, earlier than him Andrew Van der Pol (MVDPs’ Dad), and earlier than all of them, Roger De Vlaeminck.
There are too many to call (I do know a few of you may so go away these within the feedback if you happen to’d like), however the level I’m making right here is that Colnago is aware of drop-bar dust. So when the enduring Italian model mentioned they had been making a C Collection gravel bike, we knew it might be distinctive.
Try our information piece right here to be taught extra concerning the C68 Gravel’s building, ethos, and general tech specs.
Colnago C Collection Therapy
The C collection bikes within the Colnago line are the highest; by that, we imply the very high. The UAE Group Emirates rides the V collection, one beneath C within the lineup. Sure, the bikes are painted in Italy however should not hand-assembled within the Colnago plant just like the C variations.
How A lot?
This consideration to element and expectation of the shopper makes the C collection frames one thing greater than a carbon body; it feels customized in a method. However, with top-of-the-line remedy comes top-of-the-line pricing, and the C68 doesn’t draw back from a hefty price ticket; the frameset is $7,100. Sure — you may get the C68 in Shimano GRX for $7,999, with alloy wheels, however in order for you the dentist particular, you’ll pay upwards of $14K in your experience.
The large query of the C68 Gravel “Is it definitely worth the worth?” I believe we will reply that…
I first noticed the C68 Gravel at a press launch in San Deigo with the Colnago USA/Italy crew. The design/engineering workforce behind the C68 Gravel was current and laid down a transparent idea and efficiency expectation for the brand new machine.
In a nutshell, the C68 is supposed for velocity and efficiency, not adventuring or bike packing. The body is modular, and every tube is tailor-made to the bike’s dimension and handmade in Combiago, Italy. The experience will really feel refined, responsive, and controllable on a single observe. It would really feel like a robust, balanced endurance highway machine, with muted highway chatter on the gravel and pavement.
Once I initially noticed the C68 Gravel, I assumed, “Take a look at that paint,” after which, ” Take a look at the top tube.” However apart from that, the bike could be very subdued. It has no screaming paint job with Italian flags on each tube; it’s a little bit understated, elegant, and sculpted.
Trip Impressions — Colnago C68 Gravel
Did you ever get on a motorcycle, make one minor adjustment, and really feel like, “that is it”. Properly, that’s what occurred with me and the C68 Gravel. The bar and stem on the C68 Gravel are the Colnago CC.01 Extensive one-piece bar/stem with no adjustability. Fortunately, it suits me very nicely. For body dimension. I rode the 48s (54cm) body with a 100mm stem and felt pleasantly accountable for the entrance finish whereas nonetheless being low sufficient to be aerodynamic within the wind. I often experience a 40c bar with a 120mm stem on my gravel bike, and this combo feels very acquainted. The slight adjustment I made was the seat submit top. Coming off of cyclocross season, my seat submit was barely decrease for on/off the bike efforts. That top didn’t really feel proper on the C68 Gravel, and I raised it to my highway saddle top, which locked every thing in place off the beginning.
My using consisted of two days of gravel and path using with the Colnago crew, pushing the C68 Gravel from enjoyable group using to race tempo and “this must be OK?” territory.
We began our rides by the seashore roads of coastal San Deigo, then off to the pastures and gravel to check the bike, free from motorized distractions. On the highway, the C68 Gravel may transfer. The feeling was that of a highway bike with a predictable geometry you’re feeling assured piloting. My bike was outfitted with 40mm Pirelli gravel tires: a Pirelli Gravel M within the entrance with some further chew and a Gravel H within the rear for velocity.
Our rides had been a mixture of pebbled gravel climbing, techy bits, and plenty of twisty new-to-me San Deigo single observe. I began the experience with 35psi within the rear and 33psi within the entrance. At 158lbs, that felt strong for acquainted territory and to push back flats. I used to be pleased with my tire stress after we entered the one observe. The bike may slice by the turns with out washing out and climb punchy sections with out slipping. I discovered the climbing stability level of the bike rapidly and felt assured climbing free terrain.
Within the cyclocross fashion on/off sections of the paths, the C68 was a tick above different gravel bikes I’ve ridden. The dealing with and driving in close-quarters trails was like being on a shorter ‘cross bike. The consolation of the experience, nonetheless, was completely different. Coming from my ‘cross machine, I’m used to some knocking round and a few stiffness. The C68 felt calm; the experience was clear and predictable. This could possibly be attributed to the bigger tires, however it wasn’t solely that — It’s onerous to place a finger on it. All the weather labored collectively very nicely, and the geometry is true the place I choose a gravel bike — a close to ‘cross bike. (coming from a CX racer).
Now, I’ll be the primary to confess I like using my ‘cross bike for mainly every thing. The C68 Gravel seems like that however extra normalized. As an alternative of feeling under-biked however having enjoyable on the gnarly trails, I felt like I used to be on the proper bike. The sturdy body felt rock strong whereas pushing by the berm and pump observe sections.
On the longer steep climbs, the C68 rode predictably and had a pleasant kick from a push in opposition to the pedals. The sensation is like when on a steep climb with a sturdy highway body, and you’ll actually dig into the trouble.
Is that this Cool?
There comes a time in each experience once you push the bounds, and on the C68 Gravel, these occasions had been flying down some techy single observe and rocky/washboard-style descents. Taking a $14K bike down this terrain will be nerve-racking (enjoyable), however the bike carried out excellently. The shorter stem permits for a playful entrance finish and helps you pull out of a tailspin in case your dealing with is barely off. For instance; whereas descending some unfamiliar cracked earth options (the type the place the path can eat your wheel as much as the hub). I discovered myself off the road and bouncing in direction of doom, in a last-ditch effort I pulled to leap again on the road however prepped for a fall. The bike reacted rapidly, and I used to be protected from the dreaded press camp crash.
Colnago C68 Gravel — Lasting Impressions
Having spent two days of mixed-surface using on the Colnago C68 Gravel, I’ve robust impressions of the bike. First off, I favored the experience (not simply the paths). The shopper for the C68 Gravel could possibly be (is) a extra road-focused gravel rider who likes to go quick, not essentially slogging by miles of roots and rocks. That mentioned, the bike can deal with it, and gravel is exclusive as a result of everybody defines it otherwise. Colnagos definition of gravel with the C68 Gravel is snug, quick, elegant, and highly effective.
The C68 Gravel is a improbable experience, however it may not be for everybody. Colnago is cool with that. Nevertheless, if you happen to’re on the lookout for a motorcycle that handles superbly, like a motorcycle you’ve ridden for years, it’s value checking one out.
Is it definitely worth the worth? Properly, that’s as much as the customer, but when you should purchase a C68 Gravel and admire the highway really feel and magnificence — that is your gravel bike — this could possibly be your solely bike. In case you’re on the lookout for one thing to race ‘cross on and do some endurance gravel occasions, the G-3X is perhaps a greater match. Both method, Colnago has entered gravel full drive, and the C68 is a transparent assertion of intent. This bike challenges what a road-focused, “classically styled” gravel bike will be. One thing extra refined than ultra-wide bars, mountain bike tires, and dropper posts.