The Colnago CLX is a monocoque carbon frame made in Taiwan and comes from a factory with some of the most experienced craftsmen. It is billed as “Colnago quality, but not the typical Colnago price.” The CLX frame retails for about half of the premiere C50 model (lugged carbon, made in Italy).
When Colnago first announced that they would be making frames sourced from Taiwan, it was a great source of debate on several websites, even our own RoadBikeReview Colnago forum. As a long time Colnago fan and owner (my own personal road bike is a Master X Light in Mapei colors) I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed to hear that my favorite brand was going to building bikes out of Asia. A big reason that I bought my Colnago in the first place, was because I wanted something steel, something Italian, and something that fit my style of riding. I am one of those riders that couldn’t bear the thought of putting Shimano parts on my Italian bike, even though I loved my Dura-Ace. So, I was a bit saddened when I first heard the news.
It’s been almost two years now since those first announcements came and many things have changed. The main thing that has changed for me, is the fact that I have had the chance to put several rides in on the CLX, and in doing so, have regained an appreciation for carbon bikes, for Colnago, and maybe even for cycling in general.
(for the record, the CLX I tested was a 48cm Ultegra SL equipped bike, in 2008 red paint scheme.)
As I pulled the CLX out of the box, the first thing that we all noticed was the (typically Colnago) beautiful paintwork. I know from first hand experience that Colnago paint is beautiful but not always the most durable. But the CLX had a very nice clearcoat finish that looked very durable. The black with red and white highlights was not my first choice (the yellow and black scheme was my first choice, but it was not available stateside and is currently no longer available), but I was not dissappointed in the red. The fit and finish were typical Colnago quality, so that put my mind at ease right away. On our office scale, the complete bike weighed 17.7 lbs without pedals. Not bad, but not as light as I was hoping for, for a carbon bike. But the CLX is not meant to be the lightest bike out there. I was more interested in how it would ride.
From the Manufacturer:
“After a fantastic introduction, CLX, Colnago’s entry level carbon fiber model is back for 2009. Ernesto Colnago created the CLX as an affordable, yet high performance Colnago with an innovative frame design. CLX has a monocoque front triangle, designed and created in Cambiago, Italy as a project of Colnago Lab.”
- External Reinforcing Ribs
The CLX front triangle has two special external reinforcing ribs along the top and down tubes and bottom bracket and uses a variable carbon lay-up, where extra strength is in the head tube and bottom bracket to provide additional rigidity under stress.
- Arc Shaped Chain Stays
CLX features distinctive, arc-shaped rear chain stays for better braking performance and comfort, and rear chain stays in Colnago’s distinctive leaf shape section.
- All New Monocoque Carbon Fork
An all new monocoque 1” 1/8 CLX carbon fiber fork and Colnago AERO Carbon seat post that matches the aero section down also grace Colnago’s new CLX.