From this weekend, UAE Team Emirates riders will enjoy another bike option in races: the Colnago Prototipo. In addition to the world-class Colnago V3Rs, riders from Tadej Pogacar’s team can choose to ride the Prototipo even though it’s still under development and before it’s available on the open market.
This exciting project has involved a completely new method of construction. In the first phase, the lamination (the thickness and placement of the carbon fiber) of some parts of the Prototipo – a monocoque frame bike – was tested by Colnago on the parts that make up the new C series frame. This was made up of modular parts and not monocoque. Why? Because being able to work on parts of a frame instead of a complete frame, as you would traditionally for a monocoque design, provided Colnago with the opportunity to study different laminations of the carbon tubes with a much more agile and verifiable sequence in a shorter timeframe; in other words, Colnago could enjoy much more accurate results as fast as possible..
After testing numerous options, five final “test” stiffness matrices that led to five different laminations were selected for the monocoque frames to be ridden on-field. And it’s this quintet of Prototipo prototypes that will be available for the team to race on starting from tomorrow. From these five different laminations, Colnago will arrive at the final version that will be sold in the future. 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.
Davide Fumagalli, Colnago Head of R&D, explained: “To improve the performance of this frame we used a totally new method – that is to collaborate directly with the UAE Team Emirates athletes, proposing to race with frames produced with different carbon laminations. The ultimate goal is to achieve the best lamination for a frame that must be as versatile as possible, suited to the needs of sprinters, rouleurs and climbers alike, and to be at the top in the different phases of a race.
“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.“
From a design point of view, the key points in the development of the Colnago Prototipo are the thin and hollowed head tube with deep and marked veins, in addition to the larger and more robust bottom-bracket area. 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. For this reason, during the development of the Prototipo we have involved one of the world’s greatest bicycle designers, the Norwegian Torgny Fjeldskaar, who has designed some of the most iconic bike models of the last 20 years and has unrivaled experience in the world of automotive and industrial design.
Fjeldskaar said: “First of all I am very proud to be able to collaborate with one of the most important brands in the world of cycling. The starting point in the development of the Prototipo was to create a totally performance-driven frame; that is, with a design clearly oriented towards obtaining the best technical performance. The objectives we set ourselves with Davide and his team, and on which we worked, involved achieving greater stiffness in the areas where stress is greatest from pedaling plus lower aerodynamic drag against the overall weight of the frame. I think the most important work was to improve aerodynamics through that new head-tube design. This also improved stiffness, which makes it even more responsive.“