While Belgian crosser Wout Van Aert spent last season and his Worlds winning ride in Heusden-Zolder on the cantilever version of Colnago’s current generation of the carbon Prestige, this year the Italian company has already seen him ride their new disc brake to victory in Belgium and in the states at Trek’s Waterloo weekend opener. Van Aert is set to bring the new bike to the big stage as the UCI Cross World Cup opens in Las Vegas tomorrow night, but while we were at Eurobike we got an up close look at the new bike before it headed across the Atlantic. The new bike brings the Prestige up to date with the latest tech and drops its signature shoulder rest, while again signaling the move to disc brakes even for the elite Euros. At the same time as they’ve reworked the top CX bike in carbon (and aero on the road), Colnago has also throughly updated aluminum versions of bikes for both cross and road with the new A1r series, hoping to make their brand accessible to more riders…
The new Prestige gets a completely new monocoque carbon frame and full carbon monocoque fork. Both needed to use completely new tubing profiles to take into account the switch to disc brakes. But at the same time, improvements that Colnago has made in constructing their top carbon road frames make their way to cross and both frame and fork are lighter than their previous generation.
More comfort has been designed into the new Prestige frame. In addition to the removal of the shouldering arch support that actually added a bit of reinforcement to the seat cluster, the new Prestige slighty moves the path of the seatstays around the seattube to wrap onto the toptube. This was done both to transmit forces from the rear wheel better into the structure of the front triangle, but also to allow a bit more flex at the seat cluster for more seatpost/seattube movement. To top that off, the Prestige switches to a round 27.2mm diameter seatpost that give more flexibility to the rider to choose either a stiffer or more forgiving post.
Colnago says that they were quite happy with the move to disc brakes, as it freed them up especially to redesign the stays in such a way to offer greatly improved mud clearance and the ability for improved mud shedding. It also incorporates internal cable routing through the downtube. The rear derailleur cable even gets a special shaped tunnel through the new lightened up carbon rear drop out to make its way internally past the thru-axle insert.
The new disc brakes are flat mount both front and rear, which lets cross riders opt for the smaller 140mm rotors that are often preferred. Both ends of the bike also go with Shimano-threaded 12mm QR thru-axles to cinch the wheels down tight. The bikes spec DT RWS QR axles for easy on-and-off access.
The Prestige is spec’ed with a SRAM Red 22 Hydro groupset and comes in black, either with an Italian Tricolore paint job or a Crelan+World Champion inspired color palette that mixes in some orange & white and stops just short of you trying to look like you won Worlds. Frame only pricing is said to be about 2200€.
Wout’s personal race bikes bike though does go all the way, with a full UCI rainbow kit, and even some dazzling World Champ Zipp decals. He also is one of the few riders (as is Jeremy Powers) who are already racing and winning on the new SRAM Red eTap HRD double group.
The aluminum framed A1r CX is said to have been developed with racing in mind, and like the Prestige is disc brake only, eliminating all rim brake cross bikes from Colnago’s 2017 lineup. It gets the same race-targeted geometry as the Prestige, yet in a more affordable package. The A1r CX uses heavily hydroformed top and downtube to offer a wide boxy shape at the tapered headtube for solid stiffness, and pairs that with a carbon legged fork with an alloy steerer.
The bike sticks with external toptube cable routing to make everything accessible and easy to swap through a muddy cross season, still uses quick releases, and opts for a traditional round 27.2mm seatpost to add a bit of comfort back to the rider. Around its PressFit bottom bracket, the bike has reasonable mud clearance, but with a race focus it really is not designed to run much wider than UCI-max 33mm cross tires. The bike is available in just one spec, with a 2×11 105 group and BB7 mechanical disc brakes, in either all black or with blue highlights. Pricing is expected to be right around 1800€.
Like the cross version, the aluminum A1r road bike shares similarly shaped top and down tubes, but here a full carbon fork. It also uses the same fairly large diameter stays set a bit closer together for what is most likely a stiff and responsive ride. Thankfully it keeps the same 27.2 post to pull back a bit of comfort.
The road-going A1r also gets Colnago’s standard race inspired geometry, and here the bike gets mostly internal routing for a cleaner look, but still external rear derailleur routing on the chainstay for easy routing.
The A1r also gets a single similar 105 drivetrain, this time with Colnago labeled dual-pivot brakes, and in either a white paint scheme or red & black, and with similar pricing to the cross bike. It is also slated to be available to women as the A1r Donna in white with blue r black with magenta finishes.