2015 Colnago AC-R Ultegra
Trickle-down technology works. The Colnago AC-R Ultegra Bike is proof that once a smart company has a solid design, they can scale it down so that everyone can benefit.
The AC-R is based on Colnago’s M10s frameset, which has been in the thick of things in classics and stage races, both on the flats and in the mountains. Once they dialed the design to perfection, they wanted to make a version that did the same for much less. The M10s is a $4000 frameset. This complete bike leaves you with plenty of cash left over for only an extra 150g of frame weight.
Ride quality remains. They went with monocoque to make the bike stiff for crushing the pedals, but they only did monocoque when they figured out how to keeps the ride smooth. While this bike has traditional racing geometry, it still is quite comfortable thanks to the lay-up of materials and the shaping of the tubes.
The component build relies heavily on Shimano Ultegra 6800. Hard to argue with these parts, as they do everything Dura-Ace does, but saves on flash, preferring to return that to your wallet. The STI levers feel great in the hand, have speedy action, a light touch, and even look good. The 50/34 compact crank helps you have a wide range of gears and is complemented with an 11-28 cassette. It’s a climber, it’s a descender, it’s a racer.
Wheels are Shimano’s WH-RS11. Just like a miner’s pick, these are indispensable. They will stand up to everything, every ride, every day, no matter how long you repeat. The rim is tough, the spoke-count is low enough not to hold you back at races, and they’re even dressed with tires that have the same character. The rubber is Vittoria Zaffiro in 23mm.
Colnago builds bikes to last. Their head tube hides their proprietary headset system, in which the tapered steerer turns on bearings sitting in replaceable cups: these will give before your bike in a hard front-end crash. The bottom bracket is the traditional BSA threaded standard, which has generations of success. The cabling is internal through the down and top tubes, and can easily be switched from the mechanical you see here to electronic, with the battery either internal or under the down tube.
The Colnago AC-R Ultegra Bike adds high performance to a smart investment.