Colnago C40 58
Colnago Ernesto & C. S.r.l. or Colnago is a manufacturer of high-end road-racing bicycles founded by Ernesto Colnago near Milano in Cambiago,
The C40 name originates from ‘C’ for Carbon and ’40’ in recognition of Colnago’s 40th anniversary (1954 to 1994). It was in production for
approximately 10 years (1994 – 2004) and eventually superseded by the Colnago C50. Over the 10 years, the frame was revised on 3 occasions –
so there are 4 different versions of the C40 frame.
The Colnago C40 proved to the cycling industry and consumers that carbon frames were not only light and stiff, but extremely durable.
In an interview with Ernesto Colnago, the C40 was listed as one of his most favorite bikes. Sir Bradley Wiggins was also quoted as saying the C40
is probably his most favorite bike to look at (having not ridden it yet – he bought a frame on eBay for his collection). With it’s classic lines, racing
pedigree and history, it’s easy to see why any serious cycling enthusiast (myself included) would like to own a C40.
For many years, the C40 was also sold with a steel Precisa fork of which there are 2 versions. It wasn’t until late 90’s to early 2000’s when the C40
was sold with a carbon fork (Star or Force models). Detailed information about the different frames and forks is discussed later in this article.
Clever Design of the C40: Carbon Lugs.
Whilst the C35 was built as a monocoque frame design (just like modern carbon road bikes), the C40 was built using carbon lugs, which saved
weight and could be bonded to the carbon fibre tubes to create a single homogenous structure. Colnago was able to achieve this by taking
advantage of Ferrari’s technology derived from exploring new ways to work with composites and join structural members as part of the
development of the Ferrari F40 super car.
This carbon lug frame building technique has been used for every ‘C’ series bike since the C40 ie. C50, C59, C60 and the current C64 model. By
manufacturing the lugs in 19 different angles, Colnago was able to manufacture frames in many different sizes or with custom geometry – just like
they were doing for so many years with their steel road bikes. The image below highlights the variety of lug angles.