The Colnago Conundrum

With new owners, will Ernesto's legacy remain?


The larger-than-life impact that one man has had on the sport 

Although officially founded in 1954, Ernesto Colnago’s bike brand really began years prior in his earliest days spent first as a racer, then most famously as bike mechanic and builder for a list of great riders, including Eddy Merckx. 

Even though it consists of a single brand, the museum of famous Colnago bikes located upstairs at the company headquarters  in Cambiago , Italy remains one of the most significant collections in the world.

Another list that the 88-year-old is famous for would have to be countless innovations that he’s brought to cycling. From aero shapes to disc brakes and carbon fiber, Colnago has always been ahead of industry trends that so many others sought to label “revolutionary” after they’ve caught on years later.

But having grown his empire over the last six decades, Mr. Colnago has now sold a majority stake of his company to an investment firm headed by Dubai’s royal family who also owns the UAE Emirates team, which, conveniently enough, is equipped with Colnago bikes. 

Ernesto Colnago has never been short on visualizing performance designs and technology long before the rest of the industry. Note the hydraulic brakes and trussed chainstays.

Regarding the transition, Mr. Colnago said, “Chimera Investments will give Colnago the ability to grow and increase its presence in all markets whilst maintaining and improving the quality of Colnago products. We have a unique opportunity, with the support of Chimera, to ensure that we continue to build the world’s best bikes well into the future.”

For years the limited number of high-end lugged bikes built in the basement factory underneath Ernesto’s home have been the brand’s best sellers. Will this change with the new owners?

Owing to the checkered success of many such deals in the past, we can only hope that the Colnago brand indeed continues to thrive. After working tirelessly to design and build fantastic bikes, all we can say is, what’s good for Ernesto Colnago is good for the Prince of Cambiago – Forza!

While the news that Ernesto Colnago has sold a majority stake in his eponymous bike brand should be seen as a good thing, it nonetheless reflects a new reality for the storied Italian marque. What the future may bring remains unknown, but for anyone who, like us, has stood in awe of the master frame designer, the purchase marks the passing of an era.
Although Colnago bikes have won many major victories, a win at The Tour de France has always escaped Ernesto’s grasp. Still, the brand has enjoyed many days in yellow – as Thomas Voeckler celebrates




Yes, even Colnago has jumped on the e-bike wagon with their 2019 E-64 that uses a rear hub motor.
Colnago’s most recent high-end bike – the C64.



Besides the lugged frame construction, Colnago’s are also famous for the extravagant hand painted finishes.


The venerable C-40.
Triple triangle frame…Ernesto did that too.


The famous Colnago sweep at Paris-Roubaix in 1996 led in by Johan Museeuw with Gianluca Bortolami and Andrea Tafi..

Race Photos: Bettini, courtesy Colnago

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