In the early 1980’s Colnago began experimenting with crimping main frame tubes to increase stiffness. In the mid 1980’s, Colnago and Gilberto Columbus developed the Gilco Master tube profile which was a round tube that featured four distinct symmetrical flutes through the central section of the tube and resembled a 4-sided star. This tubing was used to build a new bicycle simply called the Colnago Master.
The Gilco Master tube profile outlasted all other Colnago tube designs and can you can still order a modern Master steel frameset in 2019.
Before you start with the identification process, you should start here;
How to identify a Colnago vintage bike.
Special features of a Colnago Master.
As mentioned previously, Gilco Master tubing is the special feature of this frame and it’s unique shape is easy to identify. These specially profiled tubes were used in all 3 tubes of the front triangle ie. top tube, seat tube and down tube.
This tube shape was so successful it was a patented design by Colnago and evolutions of if were used in many of Colnago’s more modern carbon fibre lugged high performance frames.
Some of the original Colnago Arabesque models are built using Gilco Master tubing (just like the modern Arabesque). The difference being the Arabesque is built with ornate lugs.
Here are some pictures showing the profile of the tubes. Images courtesy of www.steel-vintage.com
General features of a Colnago Master.
These images demonstrate the features typically found on a Colnago Master frame. Images courtesy of www.steel-vintage.com
What is a Colnago Master Più.
A Piu version of the frame featured the rear brake cable routed inside the top tube instead of on top of the top tube. Several other models were released in this style or could be custom ordered with this feature ie. Colnago Super Più etc. Here are some images of a Colnago Master Più. Images courtesy of www.raydobbins.com.
Later Versions of the Master
Models released around 1988 featured the straight Precisa front fork rather than the traditional curved forks you see in the catalog image above. A set of biddon cage bosses were also added to the seat tube for mounting a second water bottle.
|Models released from the early 1990’s featured different lugs like the one shown here.|
Colnago Master Equilateral
The Colnago Master Equilateral frame is quite rare as it was only in production for a year. I couldn’t find it listed in any of the Colnago catalogues I have on file. Further research online suggests that possibly only 85 frames were ever manufactured. Road Bike Action magazine wrote an interesting article about this bike along with close-up photos.
Interested to see how a 1984 Colnago Master compares with a 2014 Cervelo R5? I have written an in depth article on how these 2 bikes compare.
The following websites have a large selection scanned Colnago literature including reviews, catalogues and brochures.
I hope you found this article interesting. I have listed the following website pages as general references.
Please remember that this information is only to be used as a guide.
I consider myself an enthusiast, not an expert. The information I have presented in this article is based on my many hours of online research.
In addition, there will always be frames that don’t quite match the characteristics of a particular model as they could have been a custom build, prototype etc. Note: forks can also be swapped between different frames.
I have been riding and working on my own bikes for many years now. I wanted to share my experiences, knowledge and research with others. My aim is to inspire people to get involved in all aspects of this amazing sport. Cheers.
I welcome reader feedback in the comments section. Should you wish to suggest an amendment, please include a note advising the source of your information so that myself and other readers can ascertain the accuracy of your information. Note: Trolling or argumentative comments will be removed as they are counter-productive.