Colnago confirms new Prototipo all-rounder for Team UAE

Race-ready prototype to be tested in competition by Team UAE as final phase in testing before a general release.

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Remember that unidentified bike we spotted Tadej Pogačar training on recently? Well, Colnago has now confirmed the bike is a race-ready prototype Team UAE riders will have the option to use as of tomorrow, June 10.

The new bike looks lighter and more aero than the current V3Rs, but surprisingly Colnago is not making any claims as to how much faster the Prototipo is just yet. Despite looking every bit the finished article, the Prototipo (Italian for prototype) is still just that, a prototype.

Colnago says the new bike has just completed the first development phase and will now move on to in-competition testing with Team UAE riders now having the option to choose between the existing V3Rs and the new Prototipo prototype.

New construction methods

Colnago has developed what it claims is a completely new way of designing, constructing and testing its latest bike. While the Prototipo, if that is your real name, is a monocoque frame, the thickness and placement of the carbon fibre were tested by Colnago on the modular parts that make up the new C series frame. Colnago claims to be able to work on individual parts of a frame rather than a complete frame providing designers with the opportunity to study different layups and laminations with more accurate and quicker results in a shorter timeframe.

Having tested “numerous options”, Colnago says it has landed on five specific frame laminations with varying stiffness matrices. Colnago then created a series of test frames for Team UAE each using one of these five test laminations. Team UAE will race the prototype Prototipos through this final testing phase of testing after which Colnago will select a final lamination that will become the consumer-ready model in the future.

While computer and wind tunnel tests are important, they have limitations. It is difficult – if not impossible – to replicate the race-specific situations, the irregularities of the course, the stresses of the terrain, the aerodynamic turbulence, the accelerations in the different moments of the competition. At the level of development we have reached, it is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve improvements. In this way, by taking advantage of the experience of those who ride their bicycles for many hours a day, we feel we can make our racing bikes take a further and important step forward.

Davide FumagalliColnago Head of R&D

“The only way to enjoy perfect and clean feedback is to make real race-ready bikes available to our riders and encourage them to use them as hard as possible during competition,” Colnago says of its belief in this pro-level testing with varying laminations.

While Colnago has not provided any aero or weight saving claims for the new bike just yet, presumably the weight will largely depend on which laminate it settles on, the bike is clearly a light aero so-called all-rounder offering. As is often reported, Team UAE have struggled to get the V3Rs down to the UCI 6.8kg weight limit and it is also thought to be slower than many of its contemporaries. Colnago, and presumably the entire Team UAE will be hoping the new frame can address both these concerns.

By studying how the different laminations of carbon fiber respond during race situations, Colnago will find the best solution for a frame that must be versatile and fast on every type of terrain.

Colnago

Yes, but it has to look good

Colnago explains the key development targets for the Prototipo were in creating “a thin and hollowed head tube with deep and marked veins, in addition to a larger and more robust bottom-bracket area.” While both will no doubt increase stiffness and decrease aerodynamic drag for a faster bike, somewhat refreshingly Colnago admits it also has to look good. “The aim was to combine the technical results with the aesthetic results. At Colnago, we believe that product design and engineering must go hand in hand.”

To hit those aesthetic targets Colnago recruited Norwegian Torgny Fjeldskaar, the designer behind some of the most recognisable race bikes of the past two decades including the Cannondale SystemSix and BMC Teammachine. But of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and only time will tell whether the new Prototipo becomes an iconic bike of its generation. Initial impressions of the Prototipo as pictured here in matt black do not suggest the new bike will become instantly recognisable, but if it goes fast Pogačar surely won’t mind.

Want my advice, Colnago? A little AD10 will go a long way to making the Prototipo an iconic bike.

Expect to see Team UAE riders race with the new bike, alongside a growing list of other new bikes, ahead of the upcoming Tour de France.