How to identify a Colnago Super

1975 Colnago Super
Colnago Super 1975
Image courtesy of www.speedbicycles.ch

The Colnago Super bicycle was the first production model Colnago released back in 1968. It was manufactured using Columbus SL tubing, however larger frame sizes used thicker Columbus SP tubing. You can see in the chart below that a 57cm Colnago Super frame and fork was barely any lighter than a larger 58cm Colnago Super frame and fork.

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

Colnago designed this frame for high performance using a different geometry to other manufacturers of the period. The Colnago Super was also stiffer and lighter. It was extremely popular and remained in production for some 30+ years. For majority of those years, the Colnago Super was built using plain round tubes for the top tube, down tube and seat tube. It also featured crimped chain stays. If you have a Colnago vintage steel frame with 3 round tubes, there is a high likelihood the frame is a Colnago Super.

During all those years of production, the frame received regular updates to it’s design and styling. If you compare a 1970’s Colnago Super frame with a 1980’s model, there are many features that will be different. To add to the complexity, variants of the Colnago Super were released like the Colnago Superissimo and Colnago Super Sprint making it a bit more complicated to determine an exact model.

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

Features of a very early Colnago Super.

These images show some of the features found in an early model Colnago Super.
Images courtesy of www.speedbicycles.ch.

Colnago Super (circa 1968).

The following photos highlight features typical to a frame of this era.
Images courtesy of Art Bikes.

Colnago Super (circa 1971).

The following photos highlight features typical to a frame of this era.
Images courtesy of www.speedbicycles.ch.

Colnago Super (circa 1972).

The following photos highlight features typical to a frame of this era.
Images courtesy of www.speedbicycles.ch.

Colnago Super (circa 1973).

The following photos highlight features typical to a frame of this era.
Images courtesy of www.speedbicycles.ch.

Colnago Super (circa 1974).

The following photos highlight features typical to a frame of this era.
Images courtesy of www.speedbicycles.ch.

Colnago Super (circa 1976).

The following photos highlight features typical to a frame of this era.
Images courtesy of www.speedbicycles.ch.

Colnago Super (circa 1978).

The following photos highlight features typical to a frame of this era.
Images courtesy of www.classicsteelbikes.com.

Colnago Super (circa 1981).

The following photos highlight features typical to a frame of this era.
Images courtesy of premium-cycling.com and www.vintagevelo.co.uk.

Colnago Super Più.

Any model with a Più suffix implies that the rear brake cable is routed internally in the top tube of the frame, instead of on top of the top tube. There was an official Colnago Super Più model released in the early 1990’s. Any versions prior to this were probably built to customer request.

Colnago Super Profil.

Learn how to identify a Colnago Super Profil bike.

Other Colnago Catalogue Variants.

  • ‘Victory’ which was a Colnago Super frame supplied with a Campagnolo Victory group set.

Colnago Super beyond the mid 1980’s

The Colnago Super and similar versions (with different names) were advertised in Colnago catalogues up until 2004 and possibly beyond.

For example, in the 1996 Colnago catalogue, the Thron Super was listed as being made from Columbus Thron tubing. In other catalogues there are several editions of the ‘Classic’. These models are not listed as this reference is primarily focussed on frames manufactured up to the mid 1980’s.

The following excerpt below is from a USA Colnago dealer catalogue (1981).

Colnago Mexico and Super pricing in USD (1981)
Colnago Mexico and Super pricing in USD (1981)
Colnago Super catalogue page (circa 1982)
Colnago Super catalogue page (circa 1982)

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.classicvintagecycles.org
www.velo-retro.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.

42 thoughts on “How to identify a Colnago Super

  • Hi, what a brilliant site, very useful. Can I ask if I can send a photo showing a Super frame from around 1977? The seller suggests it is, however, I am not so sure?

    Kind regards

    John

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for posting a comment and your kind words. In regards to your query, unfortunately I don’t consider myself an expert on Colnago frame identification. I simply created this website to be a compilation of all the information I found online. This page contains everything I have learnt about the different versions of the Colnago Super. If the frame you wish to purchase doesn’t match the typical features of a frame depicted here, then you are right to be cautious.

  • Great info! Do you know anything about Colnago Superissimo’s made with three brake cable guides on the toptube instead of two?

    • Hi Joshua, looking through some 80s & 90s Colnago catalogues, there were definitely frames that featured 3 cable guides on the top tube for routing the rear brake cable, however they were not shown specifically on the Superissimo. Typically variations do occur, possibly the customer or frame builder decided to add 3 guides or maybe larger size frames got an extra guide. My Master and Nuovo Mexico are 56cm top tube frames and they only have 2 guides. How large is the top tube of your frame (center of head tube to center of seat tube)?

      • Interesting about the 3 cable guides as I recently bought a restored Nuovo Mexico with 3 guides – and its in a small size!

        I’ve been advised by people more knowledgeable than me that an extra cable guide was a factory option back in the day.

        • Hi Gary, thanks for posting a comment about 3 cable guides in your small size frame. Definitely helpful to know.

      • Hi. Found your article very interesting, as despite my ownership of 14 Colnagos (including 3 of my original race bikes from the 1980s) I am puzzled as to the the identity of a frame I acquired a few months ago and am trying to build up.

        It was advertised as a Super that had been resprayed but the owner sadly passed away before he could pick up the frame. I wanted to recreate one of my original Saronni red Supers (which I stupidly sold in the 80s!) so I took the plunge and negotiated a decent price.

        Aside from the painted forks (over chrome dropouts) it ticks all the boxes as a 1980s Super…until this week when I tried to build it!

        The bottom bracket shell is 68 mm Italian thread. Now it may have been faced down from 70 but it did seem a bit odd. The real issue is that the seat tube appears to be 27mm – as a Super Record 27.2mm seatpost became a real struggle to get in! I did get it there but it was literally starting to shave alloy off the post. I took it out with a view to polishing the post down a fraction.

        I thought then maybe it was a later model in Thron tubing, but is that also 27.2?

        There is a frame number but Colnago can’t access the records.

        Happy to send photos but for now your thoughts will be of interest.

        Regards

        Ted

        • Hi Ted. What a fleet of Colnago bikes you have!
          If the definition of happiness = number of bikes owned + 1, you would be a very happy man, except the new +1 is apparently causing a bit of grief.
          Unfortunately the old Colnago literature I have has no details regarding the seat tube diameters or BB specs for their different frames over the years.
          I have 2 early-mid 1980s Colnago bikes and they both frames have 27.2mm diameter seat tubes and 70mm Italian bottom bracket shells, so that was nice and easy.
          Feel free to post a link to pictures in the comments section, I’m happy to take a look and other readers may be able to chime in.

          • Hi and thanks for your recent reply.

            The bike is finished and in the end I just rubbed down the seatpin to get it to fit. I’m still none the wiser on the year of manufacture though!

            I am featuring the bike on my Twitter feed later today (Sunday 14th) as I have featured one every week for the past 12 weeks. There will be plenty of photos for you to have a look at:

            @feckingpsycho

            You may well find all of the other posts I’ve made about them but more than happy to send photo’s to you via email so you can see the full collection (assuming you’re interested of course!).

            Original ’86 Arabesque; ’88 Master; Krono; Dream; C50; C60; Ottanta 5; C64 and Rui Costa’s 2017 C60 team bike.

            All above bought new (and the first three all raced).

            A recently acquired Carbitubo; recently built C40 and a Super I had new in ’86 that I have recently rebuilt.

            Good night from the UK!

          • Hi Ted,
            I just had a look at your (up to) 13 weeks Colnago bikes on Twitter.
            Talk about a pristine collection of amazing bikes, no cheap ‘n’ cheerful bikes in that collection.
            It’s a bit like having the Colnago museum in the comfort your own home!
            I just sent you an email with an idea for a new page.

    • Hi Valaerica,
      Not many detailed photos to go by, but it looks like all round tubes so I expect it is in the Super family. Some features indicate a mid to late 1980’s era. I suspect it has been repainted with possibly some new decals added. The decal on the seat tube says SLX so if that were original, it would likely be a Superissimo, but hard to say for sure. There is quite a mix of components on this bike. If you buy it, I would recommend you take it to a bike shop to remove the bar tape, rotate the handle bars and move the levers to the standard locations, then apply a new bar tape in white or black. http://www.cycling-obsession.com/how-to-identify-a-colnago-superissimo/

  • Good evening all,
    Recently bought a lot of bikes and in there was a Colnago. I’m battling to find the exact model as it the decals show Colnago Sport but the frame has characteristics of the Super. Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.

  • Ciao,
    I just acquired, what I think may be a 1981 Super. Possibly someone may be able to pinpoint the vintage. It has the club cutout under the bottom bracket, but no script. It has the long arching cable guides, on each side of the club cutout. Both top and bottom stays are chrome-plated.
    The fork crowns have the club and Colnago cutouts designs. It has the lower rear stay tapered spreader tube. The top tub has the 2 cable housing stops brazed on. The chainring center has 5 spokes. Both rear stays are chromed, but ends before the seat post.
    Thanks!
    Giovanni

    • Hi Giovanni, based on your description, it sounds like a frame from around that era. If you post a link to some photos, we might be able to give you a more accurate year model.

  • Hi Rouleur,
    I have a few early Colnagos and few later models. If you would be interested in photos of the earlier models (or any model) I would be happy to contribute. I primarily ride and rebuild Italian and European race bikes from the 50s to 80s. Colnago: “Super” (year unknown, circa ’75/’76, Camp. date codes from ’74; original decals match no example I have seen), “Nuovo Mexico” ’86 (2nd generation frame style), “Saronni Criterium” (year unknown circa early 80s, “aero” top and down tubes are oval, “Saronni” I have seen 3 other examples; never seen one in a catalogue), “Carbitubo” (year unknown circa late ’80s-early ’90s, never ridden display model with custom matching Camp. “Delta” brakes), “Super Piu” (year unknown circa early ’90s), “Asso” ’01. If you are looking for photos of these or other Italian and European marques let me know. Some are frames, and some are complete bikes. Happy to help others.

    Take care,
    Jesper

    • Hi Jesper, that sounds like you have a very nice collection of bikes. Thanks also for your generous offer to provide images of your bikes. I restricted the Colnago models in this guide to be released before the 1990’s so some of your frames would beyond that, however I’m always happy to have a look at some pictures of any of your bikes if you want to post a link.

      But, I don’t have an article on how to identify the Saronni Criterium which sounds like an interesting and rare model, so if you are able to supply a link to some images of that frame/bike I would be happy to create a new page for it and credit you for the images. Specifically photos required would be a photo of the entire frame/bike, pics of the oval top and down tubes (to show the special shape) and pics of any specific markings on the frame will be great to help people identify it. Cheers.

    • Hi Jason. Thanks for your kind words. You posted your comment on the Colnago Super page, but I believe the bike you are looking to buy is a refurbished mid to late 1980’s Colnago Superissimo. The frame looks to be been nicely refurbished and would make a great vintage project. To give you some tips on building a vintage bike, checkout my Colnago Nuovo Mexico bike restoration and build article.

  • Well done, Rouleur, on an absolutely fabulous and very important resource for all cycling enthusiasts!
    I am just starting my journey into the world of Colnago and vintage rebuilds. I’ve recently been given a Super that is in need of some serious TLC. I was wondering if you were able to identify the year of this bike? Looking at your research, I’m guessing it’s around 1980. There is a slightly surprising mix of Dura Ace and Campagnolo and I also wondered if they were every sold like this or perhaps parts have been changed somewhere along the way? I’ve included some photos here – I hope you can see them. I’m very excited to be bringing this bike back to life.

    • Hi Joe, thanks for your kind words. Great to hear this info has been of help to you. Fantastic to hear you are going to bring a classic Colnago back to life. You get a lot of satisfaction restoring a bike, it creates a special connection you just don’t get buying a new bike from the local shop. I think the parts may have been mixed and matched overtime on your bike. Regardless it is very easy to buy Campagnolo parts on eBay if you want to standardise the build. You know the old adage; Italian components for an Italian frame. I have written up a heap of articles on parts from that era in my Vintage Campagnolo Super Record Review. If you are going to re-spray & re-chrome the frame it is worth taking a lot at my experience with this process for my Colnago Nuovo Mexico Bicycle Restoration. Also I was unable to look at your photos, it is a protected folder.

        • Hi Joe,
          That is going to be a challenging project. The fork looks to be quite rusted, hopefully the rust is not too deep so it can be polished out and still safe to use, otherwise the frame looks like it should restore well. The frame looks like 1970’s. If the brake bolt mounting nuts are recessed, then I would say late 1970’s. The seat post is really low, hopefully it is not rusted in and can be removed without too much drama. Right side bottom bracket cup will be the other part that could be difficult to remove. What are your plans for this restoration? Full respray & re-chrome? Retain all original parts or replace some? The modern saddle is probably the only thing that really stands out. Love the pantographed large chain ring.

  • Hello again, I’ve added a few more pictures to the file. You can see that the forks are coming up quite nicely. One image shows the forks after I’ve rubbed one side down using Diet Coke and aluminium foil – this worked surprisingly well! They still need more work but I am hoping to avoid having to have them re-chromed. The frame will be re-sprayed. I’m thinking of a classic blue with the same yellow detailing that is evident now and the same yellow decals. The brake bolt mounting nuts don’t appear to be recessed, so I guess that means it’s a bit earlier than late 70’s? Luckily the seat stem came out easily and revealed some nice yellow fluting details too. I was given the original Colnago saddle. The Campagnolo brakes also have the yellow detailing, so I suppose these were finessed by Colnago. I like the idea of Italian parts for Italian bikes, so I think I’ll keep my eyes open for Campagnolo parts to replace the 3 Dura Ace ones (both mechs and brake levers). You were correct about the bottom bracket. I assume the lock ring is counter-clockwise to loosen on both sides? This is going to take a while!
    https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12niFMEBDu_uA74MWABs_c4mXNeTfhLBV?usp=sharing

    • Hi Joe. You’ve done a great job on the fork leg, it looks great. Lots of nice details on the components too. Getting the right tool for that drive side bottom bracket cup will be critical. I believe all Colnago frames have Italian threading which is anti-clockwise to loosen. I suspect it may not be a Campagnolo BB looking at the notches on the drive side. It’s going to come up great. Definately search for replacement decals before removing the old ones if you want to match the originals. Cyclomondo do high quality decals and can custom make ones they dont have in stock.

  • Therefore, I keep dudes about its authenticity.If it is a real Colnago bike.

    The frame, anyway, seems to be a high end piece of the seveenties, since the old decal in seat tube, before the respray, it is Columbus SL (anyway it could be added), and the rear dropouts are Campagnolo (it can be read on the dropout, in one the pics : ” brev. Camp.”).

    I have got another Super and the dropouts are Columbus.

    The bycicle seems to be from the late seveenties, because of the brake cable guides.

    I would appreciate if you could help me with it.

    Thanks.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/XpkX2JduXRQGnHPeA

  • Good Morning,

    I’d liked to be sure about the authenticty about this bike that seems to be s Colnago Super (because of the identations in the chain stay that it can de apreciatted in the picture before restauration) but the bottom bracket is lacked of the club Colnago mark.Instead of it there are two parallel rectangular cutted holes.

    Observing the pictures, shown in the link below, the frame seems to belongs to a top classic racing bike (Columbus SL decal on seat tube in picture before the repainting or the Campagnolo dropouts) but I keep serious dudes about if this bike is a real colnago bike (despite of club marks in the fork crown and in the head tube lug).

    Waiting for your contribution, thank you in advance.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/XpkX2JduXRQGnHPeA

    • The photos are a little unclear, but the lower head tube lug and forks match a genuine Colnago frame. Some of their frames have cut-out slots under the bottom bracket rather than a club cut-out as shown in this image on the page.

  • Thank you very much for your answer.

    Then, your conclussion, after seeing the pictures, is that is a real Colnago frame, despite of the lack of club mark in bottom bracket?

    I also saw in Internet a Colnago Super with a non club (clover) mark laser cutted in the bottom bracket anf it was, like this bike, a big size frame (62 ct), the same size, in fact.I don’t know of the size is related with it.

    It is also a colnago Super (despite of the claiming of being a Colnago Mexico), isn’t it?

    I don’t know if this kind of bottom brackets with the two slots belongs to some determined models or to a specific period of time.

    Thanks again.

    • I would guess the dual cut-outs under the BB were related to a time period but not sure. I expect their purpose was to provide ventilation and drainage at the lowest point of the steel frame. The original Colnago Mexico doesnt have indents in the chain stays, the Super of that period does. Hard to tell from the photos, but you can see examples of the indents on this page.

      • Thank you very much for your help and your explanations

        It’s very probably hat it’s a Colnago Super despite of being a Mexico model according to the seller claiming, because of chain stay indentations that it can be seen in the old picture, before respraying althought it is not easy to detect it.

        Anyway, the most important issue is that is a true Colnago.

        If it is a Colnago Super instead of a Colnago Mexico it is not so important as if it was a fake Colnago.

        • You’re welcome, hopefully it brings you lots of satisfaction riding it. Looks like quite few Campagnolo Super Record components fitted to the bike as well which is nice. I think Colnago have a much bigger problem with counterfeit modern carbon frames (coming out of China) than copies of their original steel frames. The Colnago Super was produced in large numbers and sold over many years. There are plenty of original frames out there.

  • Thank you very much again, Rouleur.I really appreciatte your help and your experience.

    I was a little worried since I am buying this bike I showed off and I saw some differences with plenty of Colnago Super, as well as another Super I have already got (this one totally equipped with Campagnolo Super Record and,besides, a Colnago headset) and I distinguised that differences with my previous Colnago Super as I mentioned in my previous messages (lack of club cutt out in bottom bracket shell).

    Another differences I saw is that the chain stays indentations are deeper In the “new frame” (first photo in the album attached in link below) than my old one (second photo in the same album).

    But as you said, it may be a consecuence of the existence of so many Super bikes along these more than thirty years this model was produced and there must be different versions.

    Anyway, it is undeniable that it is a top frame (with also Campanolo dropouts) and the weight of the bike, 9,5 kg, according with seller statement, is surprinsingly low for beig a big frame (62 cm (ct); 60,5 cm (cc) (this is more my size rather than the other one a 59 cm (cc) frame), and with a heavy saddle (a nice Brooks Colt).

    Regarding to the components, yes, indeed, there aren’t too much Campagnolo Super Record components (just the crankset, front derailleur, a Nuovo Record rear derailleur, a C Record seatpost, if I am right, and the wheel quick releases).

    I will complete it gradually.I will also try, later on, to chrome the fork crowns, as originally.

    Regards.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/RGC4jhNXjR5aPvp67

    • Hi Miama, you can only judge by what you see in the photo’s and some of the visible features match what you would expect to see on a Colnago Super frame of that vintage, however, I am no expert – just an enthusiast. If you have any concerns about it’s authenticity, better to wait and buy a bike that you are certain is genuine. Obviously finding the right frame size, components, condition and asking price will be factors in your decision as well. But if you still decide to buy it, definitely chrome the fork crown and best of luck updating the components over time. At least you already have one classic Colnago in your collection of bikes.

  • Thank you again for your answer, Rouleur,

    Some corrections about my last message.

    The bike also has got Campagnolo Nuovo/Super Record bridge brakes (in fact, I’ ve already got some other Super Record components, like rear derailleur, one SR hub and shift levers from another bike whose I will replace for it original C Record components from this anothee bike) and the weight seems to be 9,8 kg.I missed the exact weight when writting.

    I will continue with the purchase.

    It’s very probably is a genuine Colnago Super.The photo you posted at Colnago Mexico section when is explained the different between these two models, shows a photo of a Super stays with deeper identations that my “old one”, althought not so deep as this new one”.

    Possibly, there must be different versions with some little variations along the years of production.

    And as you say, matching all variables of model, size (very difficult in my case, searching a size not less than 60 cm (cc)).

    The bike frame , is, certainly, a top classic item with its weights, weight, dropouts, and type of steel tubes.

    Regarding to my collection, it is growing .I have some good classic pieces, some of them that need to be replaced in some components for its original ones, like a Pinarello Gavia I’ve got equipped in Super Record and C Record, instead of only C Record or a Colnago Conic SLX Total Spiral with any original component (Camp Super Record from 1993).More difficult it will be repaint the Conic SLX in its original art decal scene and dual colors, since it was repaint in plain single color.

    It is a question of time and money.

    Another chapter will toey to built it up in its originals components.

    Some others ones, besides my first Colnago totally equipped, like a Gazelle Champion Mondial AA with Campagnolo Nuovo Record, entirely, and other one, as well totally assembled with Nuovo Record components.Maybe, in the near future, I upgrade both bikes to Super Record.

    Another history will be to built up a Alan frame (of 60 cm cc, like the another ones, also very difficult to find) I’ve also got.
    As it is said, it’s a matter of time and money, and patient, because I cannot be in a hurry with it.

    Regards.

  • Yes, I became a top classic 60 cm cc racing bike collector.
    It’s not all.I’ve also got a Vitus 979 bike…:).

    I have got main classic steel racing bike tubes (with its complete bikes, except the Alan, just the frame by the moment), Columbus SL(two frames), Columbus SLX, SLX New, SLX Spiral Conic, Columbus FRX (a TSX specific tubes for Pinarello), Reynolds 531 (two frames), Alan and Vitus 979.

    Yes, it’ s not an easy question its storage…:) I keep them in different places.Next stage will be to upgrade the bike components, chroming some parts in different bikes and painting two of them, rather to grow up the “family”… (three of them are totally asembled in its top originals components, another two in more than the half of the top original pieces, three with none one or almost zero original components and the Alan frame).

    Cheers!

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