How to identify a Colnago Super Profil

Colnago Super Profil (first version)
Colnago Super Profil Bicycle (early 1980s)
Image courtesy of www.steel-vintage.com

The Colnago Super Profil bicycle is the most mysterious of all the Colnago frames I have researched so far. The word PROFIL is often associated with frames that have crimped tubes. In the early 1980’s Colnago began experimenting with crimping main frame tubes to increase stiffness. Colnago referred to these crimps as ‘ribs’ in their early brochures.

I have found 3 slightly different versions of this frame.

  • The first version features a crimp on either side of the top tube, crimps on the inside of the chain stays and a ‘spool’ shaped chain stay bridge.
  • The second version labelled as a ‘Super’ in the 1983 Colnago catalogue (pictured below) is similar to the first version but also has 2 crimps on the down tube.
  • The third version is similar to the second version, but does NOT have a chain stay bridge. A bicycle of this frame design was ridden to victory in the 1982 World Championships by Beppe Saronni. Colnago’s Hall of Fame website page refers to his race winning bicycle as a Colnago Mexico, but the actual bike in their museum is labelled a Super. Depending on who you ask this frame is either called a (early model) Nuovo Mexico or a Super Profil. Hopefully Colnago will update this conflicting information to eliminate the confusion.

In this article, I have classified all 3 versions as members of the ‘Super Profil’ family, but I cannot be 100% sure unfortunately.

Colnago Super 1983
Colnago Super 1983 Catalogue Photo (second version design)

Before you start with the identification process, you should start here;
How to identify a Colnago vintage bike.

Colnago Super Profil (first version)

The first version is easy to identify by a single crimp on either side of the top tube only. The rest of the frame had the same round tubes and features as a regular early 1980’s Colnago Super including a chain stay bridge and crimps inside the chain stays.

Super Profil frame first version diagram
The red line in this diagram represents the crimp in the top tube. One each side.
Colnago Super Profil crimped top tube
This image shows the crimp in the top tube of the frame.
Image courtesy of www.steel-vintage.com
Colnago Super Profil Bottom Bracket
Photo of the chain stay bridge which was a typical feature of a Colnago Super.
Image courtesy of www.steel-vintage.com

Checkout more images of a first version Super Profil bike.

Colnago Super Profil (second version)

The second version of the frame featured an added pair of crimps on the down tube and retained the chain stay bridge.

Colnago Super Profil second version diagram
The red line in this diagram represents the crimp in the top tube and down tube.
Colnago Super Profil v2
Colnago Super Profil (second version)
Image courtesy of www.classicsteelbikes.com
Colnago Super Profil v2 top tube
Single crimp on either side of the top tube
Image courtesy of www.classicsteelbikes.com
Colnago Super Profil v2 down tube
Single crimp on either side of the down tube
Image courtesy of www.classicsteelbikes.com
Colnago Super Profil v2 bottom bracket
Chain stay bridge
Image courtesy of www.classicsteelbikes.com

Colnago Super Profil (third version)

The third version of the Super Profil was also released in the early 1980’s. This version is easily identified by a single crimp on either side of both the top tube and the down tube and matches the bike Saronni rode to win the 1982 World Championships. It has crimps on the inside of the chain stays, but does not have a chain stay bridge (like the other 2 versions).

Colnago Super Profil second version diagram
The red line in this diagram represents the crimp in the top tube and down tube.
Colnago Super Profil second edition Top Tube
You can clearly see the crimp in the top tube.
Image courtesy of www.classicsteelbikes.com
Colnago Super Profil second edition chain stays
View of the crimped chain stays with no chain stay bridge.
‘Colnago’ lettering on chain stay.
Brazed-on front derailleur mount.
3 Images courtesy of www.classicsteelbikes.com

It seems that the third version of these frames did not have a chain stay bridge like the other two.

Assuming all these frames are part of the Colnago Super family, this chart provides specifications for the Columbus SL tubes that were presumably used in their construction.

Colnago Columbus Tube Chart
Type and weight of tubing used in Colnago Super and original Mexico frames.

My Theory of Colnago’s Frame Evolution

Up until the early 1980’s the Colnago Super was the bike of choice by professional and amateur racers alike. However, it seemed not all riders were happy with the frame stiffness. So the idea of adding crimps to round frame tubes was conceived. This process had already been proven to add extra stiffness to chain stays, so why not main tubes as well? I believe it made sense to test this concept on their premium race bike at that time, ‘The Super’ and as such I suspect these variations of the Super Profil appeared.

Not long after inception, the third version of this frame was ridden to victory in the 1982 World Championships. The following year, a new frame design appeared in the Colnago catalogues and it is unquestionably the ‘Nuovo Mexico‘. It featured a total of 4 crimps in the down tube. As the Nuovo Mexico became the new premium race bike, the Super reverted back to manufacture with plain round main tubes.

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.steel-vintage.com
www.classicsteelbikes.com

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.

2 thoughts on “How to identify a Colnago Super Profil

  • I have been dealing in vintage Colnago bikes a number of years .
    There is no model with just two ribs in the model as you are stating , and the SP/SL chart relates to Mexico and Supers from the 1970’s .

    • Hi Saarf,
      Thanks for your interest in this article. Whilst I was unable to find mention of a Super Profil in any Colnago catalogue I have on file, I have found pictures of a blue Colnago that has 2 crimps; one on each side of the top tube, and NO crimps on the down tube. Whilst this bike has a decal saying ‘Colnago Mexico’ on the chain stays, research suggests the original Mexico did not have crimped chain stays and the Nuovo Mexico’s do not have a chain stay bridge, so I suspect the Mexico decal is not original. All these features are commonly found on a Super, so I have categorised this frame as a Super Profil as it is different to the standard Super.

      As for the Columbus tubing chart, I found it in an old American catalogue from 1981, so it is quite probably older than that, but I just dated it according to the source of the data. However, the content is still relevant as Super frames were still being made with Columbus SL tubing well into the late 1980’s.

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