How to identify a Colnago Saronni

Colnago Saronni
Colnago Saronni (circa 1983)

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.

Colnago Columbus Tube Chart
Type and weight of tubing used in Colnago Super and Colnago Mexico frames (circa 1981).

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.

Colnago Saronni Giro d'Italia
Early 1980’s catalogue page featuring a Saronni Giro d’Italia version.

Saronni Tipo Sprint

I couldn’t find much documentation regarding this particular model other than the following catalogue image. Thanks to the enthusiast whom advised me of the existence of this model. There are no engravings on top of the seat stays.

Colnago Saronni Bicycle (later 1970's)
Colnago Saronni Tipo Sprint

Saronni Criterium

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.

Colnago Literature.

The following websites have a large selection scanned Colnago literature including reviews, catalogues and brochures.

bulgier.net
2velo.com

Article References.

I hope you found this article interesting. I have listed the following website pages as general references.

www.vintagevelo.co.uk
en.wikipedia.org

Disclaimer!

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.

About Me.

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.

Comments.

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.

8 thoughts on “How to identify a Colnago Saronni

  • Thanks for your article. I have been fortunate to discover a Colnago Sarroni Super here in South Africa. The top tube and down tube are not “crimped” as such but flattened/ovalised. Your article seems to be conclusive that it is not the 1983 because it lacks the “S” in the head tube/downtube lug. The thing I add is that mine has decal on the top tube “Criterium” – I wonder were there a range of Colnago Saronni models each year, or whether this decal might date mine to a particular year? Mine came out fully specified with Gipiemme Crono Sprint parts throughout, and it has a chrome fork crown, but is otherwise Saronni red. The only stamp I can find is “58” on the bb shell, which is the frame size.

    • Hi Las, thanks for posting your comments about the Saronni Criterium. Looks like we are now up to 4 different bikes that were branded as Saronni models. After searching around the internet, I found a few photo’s and posts discussing the Saronni Criterium and I plan to add it to the Saronni page. Unfortunately, I don’t really know when it was made as it seems quite rare. I havent seen it in any of the Colnago literature I have. The Oval shaped top & down tubes make it different to the other Saronni frames. If you can post a link to some photo’s of your bike, I would be interested to see it, particularly the Criterium decal. The curious thing for me with this frame is how the frame size is stamped under the bottom bracket. Of all the different Colnago models I have posted on my site from the 70’s & 80’s, I haven’t seen the frame size stamped under the BB before. Whilst I believe Saronni rode Colnago bikes his entire professional career, it makes me wonder if Colnago actually manufactured this particular frame?

  • Hi . I’m looking for some information about my frame. I supose that it’s a colnago saronni but it’s not like any of the photos that you have shown.. if you don’t mind qive me an email adress to send you photos of my frame. Thank you

  • Dear Saronni experts:) I did days of research on internet, but I cant identify a bike.   I am looking for help to identify this bike which might be a Saronni?https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1qy-jkwfUZ0EKqh7NB0fwInlFtE1WM0Ol?usp=sharingI acquired this giant bike recently, all remaining stickers and paintwork (probably groupset as well)  look original.  It has the trace of a Saronni badge, but otherwise has nothing to relate to Colnago made Saronni, no engravings, different lugs.My idea was it might be a late “tecnocrat” Saronni (without engraving) but there is nothing else to relate either (Tecnotrat saronnis has different lugs and dropouts, even different badge)The paintwork and lugs look much like an Oscar Simonato (e.g. https://www.velovilles.com/en/parts/frames/Special-oxid.html) but other details are different, no ‘S’ engraving, cable guide is under the BB shell, in general it looks younger (mid-eighties imho).In general it looks a nice Italian bike (BB shell is 70 mm), but oddly it has a Reynolds 531 sticker.Dropouts are clear BREV. CAMPAGNOLO.Any tips are very welcome!

    • Hi Marci, that is a very tall head tube on that frame and I suspect it is a custom built geometry. The seat tube decal looks completely original and it appears to say Reynolds 531 tubing. According to Wikipedia, this tubing was first introduced in 1935, but based on the design features of your frame I expect it was made in the early 1980’s when Saronni was famous. However, I have not found any Colnago frames built with Reynolds tubing. The frame also doesn’t match the features of any Saronni frames I have identified so far. As for the glue residue on the head tube which resembles the shape of the Saronni decal, it is not much to go by. However, thanks for mentioning the Tecnotrat era of Saronni bicycles, I have added some more information to the page.

    • Hi Karol, that is a very interesting discussion about your bike and it looks like you have had some real vintage experts trying to determine if the frame is a genuine (Beppe) Saronni. I expect any Colango Saronni bikes sold with components (like the Giro d’Italia model), were supplied with Campagnolo Super Record brakes, not Modolo brakes. The Reynolds 531 decals on your frame look very original and I have not found any Colnago frames built with Reynolds tubing.

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