Colnago released several models of the ‘Saronni’ bicycle which appeared to have been launched as a sub-brand of Colnago, which may explain why Saronni frames do not feature the familiar Colnago ‘club’ markings usually found on the frame lugs of their other models. So far I have discovered 3 or 4 variants of the Saronni branded bicycle.
- Colnago Saronni which was released celebrate Saronni’s World Championship’s Goodwood win in 1982.
- Beppe Saronni Giro d’ Italia model to celebrate his overall Giro win (I suspect 1979, but he also won in 1983).
- Saronni Tipo Sprint (English translation: Saronni Sprint type).
- Saronni Criterium.
A recent comment below led me to the following forum post that advises about 4 years after Colnago created the Saronni brand, it passed manufacturing duties to Tecnotrat and thereby ended the Colnago connection to the Saronni frames.
I believe the Colnago Saronni and Giro d’Italia models were made by Colnago, but I am unsure as to which company manufactured the other 2 models. I suspect the Saronni Criterium frame was made by Tecnotrat as the example pictured later in this article has the frame size stamped underneath the bottom bracket. This is something I have not seen on other Colnago models of this era.
Saronni’s 1982 World Championship Bike.
In 1982 Giuseppe (Beppe) Saronni won the World Championships in Goodwood, England on a bike with crimped frame tubes. This bike is on display in the Colnago museum. Read more..
Before you start with the identification process, you should start here;
How to identify a Colnago vintage bike.
Special features of a Colnago Saronni.
The Colnago Saronni is essentially a Colnago Super and it is built using Columbus SL tubes although larger sizes use Columbus SP tubes. It is believed that only the early Saronni models were built with Columbus SL tubes. Later models were suspected to be built with tubes from lower down the range.
Images of the 1983 bike courtesy of www.vintagevelo.co.uk
Beppe Saronni Giro d’Italia model.
There was another Colnago Saronni featured in an early 1980s Colnago catalogue as shown below. This model was released to commemorate one of Giuseppe Saronni’s victories in the Giro d’Italia. He won the race overall in both 1979 & 1983. As shown in the catalogue, this model features a large ‘S’ pantograph on the lower head tube lug and Saronni pantographs on both the stem and chain rings.
Saronni Tipo Sprint
The Saronni Tipo Sprint wasn’t originally listed in this guide until it was mentioned by a couple of people in the comments section below, one of whom kindly provided the original images of this Tipo Sprint frame. There is no problem identifying this model as it is clearly branded a Saronni Tipo Sprint on the down tube decal which appears to be original. Other features are the Saronni lettering engraved on the top of the seat stays and in the rear drop-outs.
One of the interesting aspects of this frame is the heavily crimped chain stays presumably to provide more rear end stiffness presumably for.. well sprinting. The decals heavily feature the World Champion rainbow bands, so it is possible this frame was manufactured after Saronni’s world championships win in 1982.
As this model isn’t mentioned in any of the Colnago catalogs I have, I am not sure who manufactured these frames, but the head tube decal says it was made in Italy. Also a decal on the seat tube says this frame is built from Colombus Aelle tubing which is apparently a straight gauge – thin wall tubing designed for amateur and touring cyclists, built of cold-drawn, micro alloyed steel (according to www.millfieldvelo.com.au). Colombus Aelle is not as light as Colombus premium butted tubes like SL / SLX which were regularly used in Colnago’s frames such as the Colnago Super.
I didn’t find any mention of this frame in any of my vintage Colnago catalogs. It is not discussed widely over the internet so I presume this model was quite rare. Like most of the Saronni frames, there are none of the usual Colnago markings on this frame even though Saronni rode in teams supplied by Colnago for most (if not all) of his professional career.
The frame is quite easy to identify as both the top and down tubes have a round-oval-round profile, but this is a little hard to see in the photos.
Of the three examples I have found online, the frame and forks are fully painted with no chrome plating. The frame size is stamped under the bottom bracket which is different to other frames manufactured by Colnago of the same era. No braze-on front derailleur mount on seat post. One set of biddon cage bolts on the down tube only.
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.