2015 Colnago CX Zero Evo Ultegra
CX Zero is Colnago’s line for endurance road bikes. When it debuted, it came out as a disc-brake bike. Then a rim-brake bike. And as the feedback came in on the rim-brake version, the wizards in Cambiago saw some ways that the rim-brake version could be improved. The CX Zero EVO has all those improvements: weight reduction, stiffer at the head tube and the bottom bracket
The CX Zero EVO is Colnago’s top endurance frame. Endurance is a modern term for calling it a classic road geometry. The positions of many top contemporary racers are so extreme that they barely can ride in the drops. There’s little reason to be so low in front unless you can comfortably ride the drops. Taller head tube with shorter top tube means less flexible riders or those who prefer to have their hands and head higher can have an easy time finding a comfortable, powerful position. While many might think of this as a “classics,” or Paris-Roubaix frame, it’s also the daily tool of several riders on the Europcar team. These riders have not only taken the frame to the classics and Roubaix, but use it at the Tour de France and plenty of other stage races. They use it because they like it; sometimes the choice is that simple.
Carbon-fiber is a popular material for building frames because it is easier to manipulate than metal. Cloth and resin create really thin layers, and by moving the material around, putting more here and less there, the characteristics of any frame can be very finely tuned. So it is with the Evo. Because rim brakes put different demands on frame than rotor brakes, Colnago could remove both aluminum and carbon from the rim brake design. And even with this material removed, they could move around the remaining material to better counteract forces both rider and brakes put on the machine. The result is a frame that’s approximately 60g lighter per frame, 10% stiffer at the head tube, and 15% stiffer at the bottom bracket. The bike is an even better climber and is more efficient in its power transfer.
The comfort factor is not to be minimized. The long, curved chain stays function like the curve in traditional forks. It’s a way to dissipate vibrations without lengthening the wheelbase. The thin seat stays further this vibration damping. And the seat post is a traditional 27.2mm round post, also for comfort.
Even with the taller head tube, shorter top tube, and stays designed for comfort, the geometry still provides a fast, confident ride. This bike feels like a racer when you’re going 60kph in a tight bunch barreling towards the flamme rouge, but it still rides predictably when bouncing over rough or gravel roads. In fact, you can fit tires up to 28mm in diameter into the frame without issue.
Even if there’s something old-school about a bike that takes on terrible roads and can be ridden all day, the frameset is modern in terms of how you can set it up. The cables are routed internally, making it easy to swap between electronic and mechanical. If you go electronic, the battery can be mounted internally or under the bottom bracket. The bottom bracket standard is BB86, allowing Colnago to both save weight and increase stiffness. The headset is Colnago’s proprietary design, with 1 1/8” and 1 ¼” bearings sitting in replaceable aluminum cups which can protect the frame in the event of a crash or poor adjustment. The seatpost is from Colnago, made of carbon, possesses 15mm of setback and is included with the frame, along with the seat clamp.
The Colnago CX-Zero EVO is a bike that rides like those seen in yellowed photos, but better, as the comfortable, fast geometry is balanced with greater lateral stiffness and much less weight.