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1980 Colnago Super: A Build Thread

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1980 Colnago Super: A Build Thread

Old 12-13-21, 11:55 PM
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1980 Colnago Super: A Build Thread

Okay, finished photo first, before I lose the TLDR crowd:



I recently finished putting together my latest project, a 1980--or possibly 1981?--Colnago Super. I had been slowly cobbling together some Super Record parts with the vague notion that I would like a late-70s or early-80s frame to hang them on. I was hoping to find either a nice Italian or American race frame, 56-57cm, with decent clearance. Beyond that, I didn't have anything specific in mind. Then, when hazetguy offered up this Colnago frame and fork at a decent price over the summer, I jumped at the opportunity to own my first Colnago.

The project sat on the shelf--figuratively and literally--while I considered my options, rounded out some missing parts, finished some other projects, and dealt with an injury setback.



The frame itself was in good shape--straight with no dents or dings. However, the paint and logos are compromised in places have acquired a certain level of patina, especially around the non-drive-side bottom bracket. There was a mild amount of surface rust, but nothing too severe. Nonetheless, I gave the frame and fork an oxalic acid bath, then coated the inside of the frame with boiled linseed, rubbed on some polish and a coating of wax before the build. Some will feel it's definitely time for a repaint, but I'm happy enough to ride as is with a heavy coating of wax over the exposed areas. That way I don't have to fret about each new scratch, and I expect to add my own new scratches.





This project wouldn't have been possible without the contributions of many different forum members, so thanks again to everyone who bartered and sold their vintage treasures. I hope you'll agree they've found a good new home:
@hazetguy First and foremost, thanks for a great deal and superb packing job on the frame and fork, as well as shifters and brake calipers we added on.
@billytwosheds sold me the rear derailleur many months ago, before the Colnago was a twinkle in my eye.
@deux jambes for the Silca frame pump (purchased as lot of 3 in May)
@Spaghetti Legs added the chainring bolts, which I robbed off a different crankset he sold to me a ways back
@Shrevvy sold me the cushy 30mm Challenge Strada Bianca tubulars
@Ex Pres traded a 32-hole Campagnolo Record front hub for a 36-hole version
@romperrr contributed the front derailleur
@Iniezione contributed the Brooks saddle
@verktyg sold me the Cinelli bars at the Marin Bike Swap at a can't-refuse price (I like them narrow).
@Henry III who I don't think is still active on the forum, contributed the pedals, which have been kicking around my parts bin for several years.
It takes a village!

Dating?: The frame was pitched as a 1980/1981 Colnago. I'm leaning toward 1980, but I'm not a Colnago expert. Based on the Velo-retro Colnago timeline, it is my understanding that by '81 Colnago Supers started getting chromed stays with "Colnago" stamping, and under BB cable routing. This bike also has portacatena holes, which could have still been found by '81, but not as likely. A couple of other small differences also lead me to think it's more likely a 1980 model than 1981, but I welcome other expert input.

Once everything was assembled, the bike came together really quickly and easily. The only difficulty was getting clearance for the large 30mm tubulars. The front wheel wasn't an issue. The rear has good clearance at the chainstays, but I ran into a snag with the rear brake. However, I found a workaround by filing down the faces of a thick washer at an angle, so that it is thinner at the top than the bottom. This gave me an extra couple of millimeters of clearance, just enough for the rear tire to avoid skimming the bottom of the brake caliper.





I made a bit of a fudge to the front derailleur. This is the short-lived 4-hole record front derailleur that was only produced in 1978, I believe. It's similar to the Super Record front derailleur, but with a different, straight clamp, and no black anodizing. I really like the way the black Super Record anodizing plays with the black/yellow decals, so I dissembled the FD and painted the two arms in black to play the part.

Astute viewers may also notice that I have unmatched bar end plugs. I went with what I had in my parts bin, which included a single yellow Campagnolo-logo plug, and a blue/white Campagnolo plug. If anyone has a spare one of either of these, maybe we can work something out?

I'm not totally sold on the Colnago-branded crank dust caps--a late-night drunk ebay purchase. They are yellow, and have a Colnago logo, but they are plastic and a bit too cheesy/inauthentic?

I did have to build some wheels, but that was a fun job. A neighbor gifted me a pair of NOS Fiamme Red hoops. I forgot how nice it is to build a pair of wheels using quality NOS wheels, since I've mainly been building with refurbished, used rims. I purchased the spokes from Peter White, and we did the deal the vintage way, over the phone. He and his wife(?) were a pleasure to deal with. I didn't want to pay $2/spoke from the LBS, nor pay for a whole box. Peter will sell you a specific number of spokes based on what he has in stock. I'd be happy to purchase from Peter White Cycles again for my next purchase.



A note on the spokes: I ended up building the front with some lightweight Wheelsmith LX14 spokes (from the Peter' White's website: "Wheelsmith XL14 and Sapim Laser spokes are 1.5mm diameter in the center. They save quite a bit of weight with little or no loss in durability. Since the center cross-section is so thin, these spokes cannot take as much tension as thicker spokes, and are not suitable for use on the right side of dished rear wheels, or with disc brakes. As you tighten them, they don't achieve high tension, they only stretch out longer and longer until they break. However, they are perfect for front wheels and for the left side of dished rear wheels, which don't need as much tension. I highly recommend them for front wheels and the left side of rear wheels. But I do not recommend them for the right side of modern road rear wheels since the right side requires very high tension.")

First impressions: I was able to finish the bike on Saturday and got out for a short ~15-mile shakedown ride before a big week-long storm rolled in. The bike rode wonderfully. There's a bit less post and stem showing compared to my other bikes, but I feel like I nailed the fit on the first go. It felt really comfortable and the handling was excellent. There is a little more toe overlap than expected. I often do track stands at stop lights so I don't have to unclip and almost toppled over at one point, but it's not an issue at speed. It also seemed to climb really well.

More photos of the finished bike to follow...

Last edited by gaucho777; 12-16-21 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 12-14-21, 12:02 AM
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Old 12-14-21, 12:03 AM
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Wait. What happened? It looks dark green in that second photo.
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Old 12-14-21, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
Wait. What happened? It looks dark green in that second photo.
The photo by the bookshelf? Blame the poor basement lighting. That photo still looks blue to me, albeit a bit darker than it should. In any case, in person, it's definitely a light blue as I hope the photos on the trail show.
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Old 12-14-21, 12:23 AM
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It's the dress blue or gold photo all over again with that 2nd picture lol
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Old 12-14-21, 02:10 AM
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Large Tires On a 1980's Nag

Originally Posted by gaucho777 View Post
Looks good! What trail is that?

When your frame was built, the current tire fad was skinny 19mm-23mm 700c tires or sewups. This creates a problem since any tires larger that those mentioned will probably need to be deflated to install and remove the rear wheel.

I had that problem with my 1983 Super. I've been running 700x25c tires on it since I built in in 2006. (hide the kids... cover your eyes.. blasphemy - Campy free zone except for the wheels and FD)



Solution to problem: get out a good 6"- 8" file and "drew" the bottom tips of the dropouts!

About 4mm - 5mm did the trick. With 30mm tires you may have to remove more metal. Who's gonna notice it?



BTW, back in the late 80's I did a lot of trail riding up the hill in Redwood Park on my 1980 Bertin C37bis with CX sewups. Those are skinny road tires pictured.




Stronglight 105 cranks with 46T-37T chain rings for the steeper hills.



Continental 28mm CX sewups.



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Old 12-14-21, 07:31 AM
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Neat workaround on that caliper clearance.

Paint issues aside, I think that's a nice color.

Congrats on the score, and on completion of a fantastic build.

Last edited by BFisher; 12-14-21 at 08:14 AM. Reason: goof
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Old 12-14-21, 07:49 AM
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Very nice indeed. I just got my 1975 Super

back together after Franklin Frame repainted it . I rode it as i bought for a year before deciding to do the the full restoration. I bought mine from a fellow BF member like you did and mine came pretty much ready to ride except for personal adjustments. I rode it quite a bit and honestly could not come up with anything I wanted to change about the bike except the paint, and not because of the color. I actually loved the color but it was so old and “checked” that there were areas of metal exposed. I wanted it to look as good as it rode so I went ahead with the respray. After riding it for two weeks I am so glad I did it. If it weren’t for the bare metal on mine I would not have done it simply because it meant being without my bike for several weeks, yea I love it that much. I hope that one gives you the same , miles of joy. FYI , I am running 700 x 28 clinchers with no issue.

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Old 12-14-21, 08:05 AM
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Slick solution for your rear brake clearance issue.

I'm glad you chose against opting for a total repaint. The bike is perfect with all of it's patina. I'm a big fan of Brooks saddles; however I'm not sure I would have opted for leather on this bike. I have a Cinelli Unicanitor on my 83 Super, but I've also switched to my vintage Turbo from time to time. Still, your saddle has the patina to match the bike so all is good in the world.
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Old 12-14-21, 08:32 AM
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TL;DR (j/k)

Looks awesome! I'm so happy it went to a good home. Hope you enjoy many, many km/miles on it!
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Old 12-14-21, 10:20 AM
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those are big donuts on those rims. Turned out well.
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Old 12-14-21, 12:54 PM
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That's very nicely done. Thanks for posting the "parts provenance". Always nice to know when former parts of my stash live on elsewhere!

Here's a recent pic of my '82. I took pics to sell it, but just yesterday swapped the parts out to build up a Masi, so not sure if I'm going to keep it or not. One of those that I'm sure I'd regret when I sell (like most often happens to me).


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Old 12-14-21, 01:56 PM
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Masi, depending on the era, are very different from a Colnago Super.
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Old 12-14-21, 03:12 PM
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Nice build! Makes me a bit nostalgic for this one (passed along about 5 years ago):



I like the Colnago-branded crank dust covers. Never seen those before; the bit of yellow I can make out is probably just the color of the plastic showing through rubbed-off chrome plating. And I think it may be a '79 because your BB shell has the older clover cutout, top-of-shell guides, and doesn't have one of those foil chainstay decals that were used for about a year. A Bicycling magazine from summer of 1980 called out the chrome chainstay decal on their test bike.

What are your riding impressions on the fatter rubber? Never had anything bigger than 19s on mine.

As far as modding the rear DOs, please don't follow that advice. After all, one only needs to deflate the tire to remove the rear wheel for maintenance and flats - and in one of those cases the tire's gonna be flat anyways

Enjoy!

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Old 12-14-21, 03:48 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
Masi, depending on the era, are very different from a Colnago Super.
Thats what I’m interested to see for myself. This one is from about 1980.
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Old 12-14-21, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by verktyg View Post
Looks good! What trail is that?...

When your frame was built, the current tire fad was skinny 19mm-23mm 700c tires or sewups. This creates a problem since any tires larger that those mentioned will probably need to be deflated to install and remove the rear wheel. I had that problem with my 1983 Super. I've been running 700x25c tires on it since I built in in 2006. (hide the kids... cover your eyes.. blasphemy - Campy free zone except for the wheels and FD)...Solution to problem: get out a good 6"- 8" file and "drew" the bottom tips of the dropouts! About 4mm - 5mm did the trick. With 30mm tires you may have to remove more metal. Who's gonna notice it?...

verktyg
Thanks, Chas. The trail is a little hidden gem near the top of Spruce and Grizzly Peak. If you follow Grizzly Peak North to where it ends, the trailhead is at the intersection of Grizzly Peak and Kenyon Ave just past the reservoir. It only goes for maybe a little over a mile and lets out at Kensington Hilltop Elementary. From there you can easily connect to the Arlington. It's a nice "take the long way home" commuting option for me.

Good kludge option with the drewed dropouts. I like the painted end embellishment, too. I do have some 27mm and 28mm tire options I'll probably use once I wear out these 30mm tubs. I was pleasantly surprised to get the 30mm tubs to work, but it's a bit too close for comfort in all honesty and I have to deflate the tire to about 40psi to squeeze it into the drops.
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Old 12-14-21, 08:47 PM
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Originally Posted by Drillium Dude View Post
Nice build! Makes me a bit nostalgic for this one (passed along about 5 years ago):



I like the Colnago-branded crank dust covers. Never seen those before; the bit of yellow I can make out is probably just the color of the plastic showing through rubbed-off chrome plating. And I think it may be a '79 because your BB shell has the older clover cutout, top-of-shell guides, and doesn't have one of those foil chainstay decals that were used for about a year. A Bicycling magazine from summer of 1980 called out the chrome chainstay decal on their test bike.

What are your riding impressions on the fatter rubber? Never had anything bigger than 19s on mine.

As far as modding the read DOs, please don't follow that advice. After all, one only needs to deflate the tire to remove the rear wheel for maintenance and flats - and in one of those cases the tire's gonna be flat anyways

Enjoy!

DD
Thanks, Dude. Your old blue Colnago is a beauty.

The dust caps were a late-night impulse ebay buy from an overseas seller that offers other similar caps with different vintage logos. The yellow in the background is part of the design, a colored logo behind a clear plastic cover as far as I can tell.

Thanks for the input on dating. I'm still educating myself on the arcane arts of Colnago identification and dating.

The big tires are a joy. Comfortable and grippy, feel is kind of like an F1 car with super-wide tires. Although, as you can tell from the amount of post showing and long stem, I've got relatively short legs and a long torso. These fat tires make a not unnoticeable difference in standover height--still in the safe range, but not by a lot when bare-footed!

Don't worry, the dropouts won't get filed on this one. I like the idea for certain frames, but having to deflate the rear for installation isn't a major concern. I don't often remove the rear wheel on my bikes, and can deal with the minor inconvenience when needed.
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Old 12-15-21, 05:47 AM
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Well done. I love a vintage bike that still gets ridden.
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Old 12-15-21, 08:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
Thats what I’m interested to see for myself. This one is from about 1980.
I have Masi bikes from a number of eras, and Colnagos from two.
The Colnago was a bike I avoided for over 40 years.
my first was a ‘72 Super.
very entertaining bike.
I have a ‘73 that is basically the same save in a grail color, “electric blue”
the last is actually earlier and more Masi like, a 1968 but the steering is a wee bit different.

Colnago somewhere about 1980-81 updated their geometry again, rear triangle gets a bit shorter and so does the top tube for a given size I have observed.

the Masi Nuova Strada from what I have seen seems to have been a Colnago clone almost from the same era.
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Old 12-15-21, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Spaghetti Legs View Post
That's very nicely done. Thanks for posting the "parts provenance". Always nice to know when former parts of my stash live on elsewhere!

Here's a recent pic of my '82. I took pics to sell it, but just yesterday swapped the parts out to build up a Masi, so not sure if I'm going to keep it or not. One of those that I'm sure I'd regret when I sell (like most often happens to me).


Glad your keeping that nice nago.
Sorry to read it will be a parts doner thus no longer a rider.
You need more parts so this does Not happen
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Old 12-15-21, 10:26 AM
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Good to see you are keeping it original. I struggled with that topic but gave in to leaving it and glad I did. Mine is a 1983 I believe but the super version.
1983 Colnago Superissimo on Flickr
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Old 12-15-21, 02:00 PM
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That's a beautiful, classy build. Congratulations.

Those are big donuts, but they look great. What kind of tires are those?
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Old 12-15-21, 06:47 PM
  #23  
panzerwagon 
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
my first was a ‘72 Super.
very entertaining bike.
I have a ‘73 that is basically the same save in a grail color, “electric blue”
the last is actually earlier and more Masi like, a 1968 but the steering is a wee bit different.
How would you compare the handling/steering/ride of the 68 vs the 72/73 ?
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Old 12-15-21, 07:49 PM
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Great looking build. I may need to use your modified washer trick on my '81 Bianchi. The 28's I have on it were very very close and, depending on terrain, I like going up to 30's.
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Old 12-16-21, 12:07 AM
  #25  
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Thanks everyone for the nice feedback.

Originally Posted by Fredo76 View Post
What kind of tires are those?
Tires are 30mm tubular Challenge Strada Bianca.
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