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COLNAGO SUPER (unknown year)
#1
Just got this for next to nothing (considering what I could have paid) before the holidays. Listed as "Women's Italian racing bike" on CL. Early Colnago Super previously being used as a commuter bike. I will be putting it back into racing form: removing rear rack, front reflector, light and computer, and foam bar grip. Replacing Weinmann wheel set with Mavic GP4 rims laced to Campy Record hubs. Replacing "comfort" saddle. Very little rust except bottle cage; bike was stored oceanside for decades so some oxidation on alloy parts, but nothing that cannot be polished up.

Guessing year of manufacture to be 1979-1981(probably '80); frame features changed during and/or after 1981-1982. Components range from late '70s (Shimano headset) to early '90s (Athena rear mech); I think it was originally built up with Campy Super Record/Record, and Gran Sport parts. Purchased from original owner who says she got it no earlier than late '81, but prior to 1983. Decals appear the same as a 1983 catalog example, but frame features do not match. Note: Colnago catalogs from the mid '80s and earlier often used "stock photos" for use in multiple model year catalogs so the 1983 image by Colnago could easily be from 1982 so as to make identification even more difficult. Also, year of purchase has nothing to do with the year of manufacture. This bike was bought as a new frameset with new components ordered separately and then built up. I suspect that this frame may have hung in a shop for a couple of years due to the extremely small frame size (Colnago's smallest excluding "junior" frames; seat tube 48.5cm c-c/50cm c-t, top tube 53cm c-c) and that it has no chrome treatment (it has not been repainted). Nor were many women buying professional racing bikes at that time; although by the mid '80s that changed with USA's first Tour de France winner, technically a woman (Marianne Martin, 1984 Tour De France Feminin; 1st edition), not Greg Lemond. Rebecca Twigg was also tearing it up in the '80s (medalist in '84 Olympics; first Games with women's cycling).

As purchased:
Columbus "SL" tubing frameset with Colnago fork dropouts
3ttt: Mod. Gran Prix cockpit
Campy; Super Record crank set with pantograghed ring, and shifters; Gran Sport brakeset, BB, and pedals; Record custom pantograped seat post; Athena rear mech; Triomphe front mech; rear dropouts; and seat clamp bolt
Shimano: 600EX (arabesque) headset
Sun Tour: 6 spd freewheel
Weinmann: LP18 rims 19mm (hubs assumed Weinmann), tires 25mm
Louis Garneau: rear rack and computer
Saddle: modern "comfort" type
Toe cage and pedals: unknown, not included, but found by owner and being sent to me.

REPLACING: Saddle, wheel set (Campy Record/Mavic), front and rear mechs (Campy Super/Nuovo Record), stem (too short 65mm; replacing with 3ttt 120mm), foam grip (green cloth, with cushion tape underlay [for my old wrists!]). Possibly replacing brakeset with Modolo Speedy set anodized in gold tone; if so, then yellow/gold bar tape.

Owner knew that the saddle and wheels were replaced, but does not recall if or when other parts were replaced. Cranks have dates codes of 1980 and 1983 so at least one was replaced.

I have some '70s Colnago gear that will be great for "L'Eroica" events.

If anyone has a known model year Super from 1979, '80, or '81; or knowledge of the stock decals for those years; I would greatly appreciate any insight you can provide.

Thanks,
Howard

Hope everyone is having a great and safe holiday season!

   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#2
very cool bike, want to see some pics after you are done cleaning it up!
There are two kinds of people in the world, "Those who help themselves to people, and those who help people!"
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#3
I just did about 65 miles on this bike after some modifications: 120mm 3ttt stem from the '90s (double the size of what It came with), new drop bar with more of a track style I guess (you cannot ride out of the drops), half wrapped the bars with some old tressostar cloth bar tape (two-tone green/white custom job that might get changed), dropped the front brake caliper so only rear brakes now, LOOK pedals from the '90s, Campy aero bottle and cage. Still debating on a saddle so I left the "comfort" saddle in place; and the wheels run well for my needs so I will keep them on for now.

Much more comfortable with the new stem; not feeling cramped at all. I think the chain is incorrect for the rear cluster as I notice some "skating" between shifts in the middle gears; probably too narrow for the older gearing set-up. Campy Super Record rear shifter lever is not staying put for very long during shifting, probably add some light duty thread lock to it to keep it from loosening up.

The bar tape was not sticking very well, plus I double wrapped the green over the white to get a striped effect so I might need some contact cement to adhere it better if I keep it that way. I did notice a little discomfort in my hands being down in the drops the whole time so a cushion tape might be in order if riding over a couple hours; especially having the tires at 125 psi.

I put the rack back on just due to the riding I was doing, but it will be removed again in short order.

I will post a photo when I have my camera on me next ride. It certainly looks faster (sans rack), and with having to ride the drops 100% of the time it probably gives me a little advantage with the aero position.
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#4
Work in progress photos; not through with the refurbishment, but better than what I started with. Lighter, and sleeker looking; and much more comfortable with the longer bar stem (120mm vice 60mm). Removed rusty parts. Painted the chainring panto's and crank spider arm flutes with "World Champ" colors. Campy "Triomphe" FD gone; keeping the "Athena" RD (looks and works great!). I ditched the front brakes with this bar set-up, but I will install Modolos if I return to a conventional drop bar. Still need to replace cables and housings.

Present component mix ('70s-'00s) build for '81 (best guess, rear dropout stamped "C39" or "G39") Colnago Super 50cm frame set; 3t stem (120mm, bronze, 90s, unknown model); narrow and shallow drop (track?, new, unknown make) alloy bars with cloth wrap (tressostar); Selle San Marco "Rolls" saddle (perforated, '80s); LOOK A3.1 pedals ('90s); Shimano "600EX" headset ("arabesque" model, late '70-early '80s); OFMEGA small chainring (44T); Sugino chromed steel chainring bolt set; Sun Tour "Perfect" 6 spd freewheel ('70s-'80s, believe cogs are replacements!); Sedis chain; Wienmann LP 18 wheels/25 mm tires; REG brake lever cover; Zefal pump. Campy stuff: "Super Record" cranks ('80 & '83 date codes), large chainring (52T, "COLNAGO" pantographed), and shift levers; "Nuovo Record" late style (3 hole cage) front deraileur ('80s) and BB assy; "Athena" rear derailleur (early first model, late 80s); "Chorus" aero seatpost (27.2mm, 1st gen., late '80s); "Gran Sport" brake lever and caliper (rear only, '70s-'80s); "Biodinamica" aero bottle and cage ('80s); seatpost binder bolt; and front and rear dropouts.


Attached Files Image(s)
                                                   
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#5
More photos:


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Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#6
Cool looking bar and stem. I like 3t "Mutant" stems, and that looks similar. Good job Howard!
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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#7
Your stem is an "Evol"; another member says it's an "Evol 2002", but made in the 90s.
Your rear cluster is wrong given that the spacer is too wide between the 3rd and 4th speed gears. The freewheel has been dismantled and then was re-assembled incorrectly. All spacers should be the same width between gears. You need to replace the spacer or you will continue to have shifting issues. Also, the gears are not Sun Tour unless they made cheap replacements with no bevel on the teeth. I would think that with a properly assembled freewheel with Sun Tour bevelled teeth cogs you would have great shifting utilizing the "Athena" RD.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#8
Rebuilt the freewheel with proper/even spacing between cogs. NO more shifting issues. Curious if that was a reason why this bike was sold. It is possible if it was brought to a shop for adjustment/tuning that the mechanic never noticed the uneven spacing, and thus, never could make it shift correctly. I will never know, but it hums along beautifully now. Wrists are still a bit uncomfortable riding 100% in the drops so I may convert back to a standard drop bar, but I will keep a narrow profile using a 34.5 cm width 3t bar which I have previously used and am pleased with. I have used the old foam grip zip tied over the cloth grip just to see if the extra cushion helps; it does, but it looks horrendous of course!

Just a note: the chainring and crank spider were supposed to be in World Championship/Olympics colors, but I had no red so orange was substituted for the time being and the pedals need to be completely painted or have the LOOK logo redone ("LOO" just does not cut it!).
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#9
Judging by the decal, it matches Colnago spec from 1985.
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#10
(07-21-2021, 06:35 AM)ReapThaWhirlwind Wrote:  Judging by the decal, it matches Colnago spec from 1985.

I agree on that front, but that is about the only thing that is similar. From about '83 the BB cut-out and chain stay bridge are different; "COLNAGO" is stamped into the chainstay; cables run under the BB shell. There also may be a difference in the rear drive dropout; mine is a Campy drilled and tapped for their portacatena option which was introduced around '77, but those DO's may have been used for some years after due to excess stock since the idea never really took off (you loose your smallest rear cog with the portacatena installed due to the design; a seat stay chain hanger pin works just fine). That style dropout is a good indicator of how early a bike is; if you have the drilled DO your bike is definitely no earlier than '76. Not much help on how new the bike is though, but I doubt you would see that feature on any 90s frame.
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#11
(07-21-2021, 09:08 PM)Criminal Wrote:  
(07-21-2021, 06:35 AM)ReapThaWhirlwind Wrote:  Judging by the decal, it matches Colnago spec from 1985.

I agree on that front, but that is about the only thing that is similar. From about '83 the BB cut-out and chain stay bridge are different; "COLNAGO" is stamped into the chainstay; cables run under the BB shell. There also may be a difference in the rear drive dropout; mine is a Campy drilled and tapped for their portacatena option which was introduced around '77, but those DO's may have been used for some years after due to excess stock since the idea never really took off (you loose your smallest rear cog with the portacatena installed due to the design; a seat stay chain hanger pin works just fine). That style dropout is a good indicator of how early a bike is; if you have the drilled DO your bike is definitely no earlier than '76. Not much help on how new the bike is though, but I doubt you would see that feature on any 90s frame.

Your frame has the same characteristics (BB cut-out, brake and chain stay bridges, lugs, cable routing, etc.), excepting decals, as my Super which is probably 1 or 2 years older than yours. I have yet to see a frame matching my decals (white with black lettering, no signature or World Champ. stripes). Mine should be about 79-81, but '79 decals (and earlier) are significantly different from 1982 and later. I have yet to see a verified 1980 or 1981 frame to compare mine to (I purchased it used in 1986). Always difficult to ID a year with Colnagos and many other vintage Italian hand built frames due to changes (frame features, decals, chrome) made between model years (groupsets/components were always open to changes). Usually best guess to within a year, but +/- one year since even an original owner who bought a new bike in 1980 may have actually bought an earlier (1979) model frame, or may it may be the next year's (1981) model frame if purchased late in 1980. I suspect your frame is a 1981 if my frame is a 1980; there are already frame features differing from my bike and yours for frames made for 1982 per a Colnago catalog example if the catalog is indeed from 1982 and the image actually reflects the frame for that year. I have seen a Colnago catalog images that were stock photos used in catalogs for more than 1 model year; and also, images that did not match the description given for the frame being described. Colnago makes good bikes, but their documentation is horrible for doing research; and that does not account for the multitude of custom ordered frames which could be different than a standard model given an owner's personal preferences (chrome, braze-ons, cable routing, and paint color, etc.). Your "serial' number might get you some information if you contact Colnago. I tried but received no response many years ago. I don't know when they started stamping the dropout, but I suspect it was post-'77 due to changes in US import and safety requirement policies during the late 70s.

I know it is pushing it, but if you're interested in selling the bike (complete, or frameset) I would be very interested in purchasing it. I hope you tire of it soon; maybe consider a frame swap with me as I do have some very high quality framesets in various sizes (47cm to 61cm) that are very small volume artisan built Italian frames; primarily Columbus "SL"/"SP" tubing.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
  Reply
#12
Thanks @Jesper for your insight regarding this bike. As "Reap" mentioned my decals are similar to the mid 80's Supers (I saw an 83 catalog that matched decals, but not frame, the 85 sports a different fork crown); I would like to see what your frame details are like. I do not think you have posted that bike here yet; or have you? Also, you mentioned the dropout stamp alphanumeric. What is yours if you do not mind me asking?

I forgot to mention that my frame has the chain stay indentation for chainring clearance which differs from the Supers with the "Colnago" stamped on it and no indentation.

As far as selling that is a ways off unless I stumble across (as I did this bike) another Colnago bike or frame that is slightly larger and about the same price (unlikely). I have seen some of your frames and would not mind getting one, but I figure from what I have seen here that you would probably be about the same cost as what I paid for my complete bike compared to a bare frameset from you. I believe that the Feremi (I had to go back and check the thread) would be something up my alley so you are welcome to throw me a cost on that one if you still have it, but again I really do not think that I am in the market for another bike for awhile. I let my friend ride it the other day and all he could say was that it was so smooth to ride something like that compared to his mass produced bike; and that was after I did a modification to his bike that he could not believe the difference in riding comfort from before and after (all I did was a install a seat post with greater offset).

This bike continues to please, and it is the only race bike I have ridden since finishing the rebuild in late March. I do not think I have put over 1000 miles on it yet. I personally prefer it to the Nuovo Mexico since I think the Athena derailleur far outperforms the Super Record unit; of course hard to compare since the Mexico is definitely the 'wall hanger' and does not get much riding time except for special events.
Ride Fast, Be Safe!
Howard
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#13
Understood, but consider that your specific bike could have come from a facility in another region, which would explain the different specs in the frame. For example, it could have come from a facility manufactured in Italy, and not the United States, where these specs were implemented for integrity purposes of the brand in its origin region.
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#14
(07-23-2021, 02:20 AM)Criminal Wrote:  Also, you mentioned the dropout stamp alphanumeric. What is yours if you do not mind me asking?

My dropout stamp is "C55". From your photo it appears that yours is "G39" by my eyes. If you assume that the letter designates a year then your frame would be 5 years newer than mine and that is definitely not the case here. I wouldn't go more than 2 years difference.

(07-23-2021, 07:57 AM)ReapThaWhirlwind Wrote:  Understood, but consider that your specific bike could have come from a facility in another region, which would explain the different specs in the frame. For example, it could have come from a facility manufactured in Italy, and not the United States, where these specs were implemented for integrity purposes of the brand in its origin region.

Most Italian/European artisan crafted frames of that era and earlier operated out of very small shops due to limited volume production; even some of the well established brands from the 30s and earlier. None made bikes in the US; they were generally small family businesses; most until the 80s never even distributed bikes in the US, or if they did they were often less expensive models (e.g. Colnago Export, Tommasini Export) without all the bells and whistles; often contract builds with decals stating the brand, but not made by the same builder.
At that time all the true Colnagos (there were some contract builds without Colnago details [no clubs cut-outs in lugs or BB, no signatures: Saronni Criterium]) (not sure about Colners) were built in the same shop in Cambiago, Italy. Colnago didn't make many models until around '82 when the Nuovo Mexico with 'Profil' tubing started being built (Saronni won the '82 road World Championship on the first version). Prior to that it was essentially the Super and the Mexico with variations in details for special editions of the same frames (Mexico Oro, Super Specialissima, Saronni, Vlaeminck, etc.); thus, still able to build out of a small shop (not sure when they moved to the new location in Cambiago). In the mid 80s (83-87) many more models (N. Mexico [1st and 2nd gen], Oval CX, Master, Arabesque, Profil, Super Profil, International, ESA Mexico, Regal, etc.) were added including very early carbon monocoque style frames and alloy lugged carbon frames so I would assume that they needed more space with that type of production range.
I have been researching my Super and have come no closer to a year of manufacture after 20 years of researching it.

I have not posted the Super, but I have put up a photo of the Super Piu circa early 90s. It is not similar to even the mid 80s Supers in many details.

Note: the Feremi (still only a frameset, but with chosen reserved parts) is not for sale (or swap) at this time. Don't forget what I did for you regarding that bike I sold you; that was a very good deal on a bike with over $1000 in parts alone, and a mint frame that sells (in worse condition) for $800-$1000.
Take care,
Jesper

"I am become Death, the destroyer of bicycles." NJS
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