The Colnago A1-R shows how Colnago can adapt their classic ride to an aluminum frame. This is the successor to the popular Strada, and it is a big step up. The shaping has become both more extensive and more sophisticated thanks to hydroforming, and this results in a better ride at a lighter weight.
Colnago expects that anyone looking at their bikes is looking for high performance. So they start with the cues and designs that have done racers so well at the zenith of competition. Giuseppe Saronni, Toni Rominger, Andrea Tafi, Fabio Aru have all helped the master learn new tricks, helped him elevate his game. Often, it goes into cutting-edge bike design. Here, it’s finding a way to translate that race handling for newer riders who aren’t necessarily as flexible or nimble on two wheels. The ride is classic, but it’s adjusted for the needs of people who don’t have tens of thousands of miles in their legs.
As this bike proves, aluminum is an excellent material for frame-building. The hydroforming allows for a tuning of characteristics once thought unfathomable. Both the front of the top and down tubes flare out to put more material on the head tube and increase torsional rigidity. The downtube itself is extensively shaped for more lateral rigidity at the bottom bracket—which works quite nicely with the wide BB86 bottom bracket shell. The top tube is flattened to favor vertical compliance. The stays and the seat tube are tapered.
The fork is a carbon-aluminum hybrid to both increase performance and reduce price. The straight legs have a dramatic taper to provide both an excellent ride and stiff legs for precise handling.
The seatpost is round and has a diameter, a classic size that marries light weight to compliance.
With all these features, Colnago tweaked their traditional road racing geometry to work better with both aluminum tubing and newer riders. Bottom bracket drop and stay length is roughly the same as you’ll find on their top-flight bikes. The A1-R frames have a taller head tube and longer front-center measurement so you don’t have to get as low and have more stable steering.
Colnago keeps some things with the A1-R you can find in those pricier bikes. The tapered 1 1/8” to 1 ¼” steerer tube helps with steering. Internal cable routing looks clean and keeps things neat. The front derailleur hanger makes adjustment easy. The rear derailleur hanger is replaceable. There is enough room for 25mm tires, which is how the complete bikes come dressed.