Colnago, the brand started by Ernesto Colnago in 1952 and closely associated with Eddy Merckx and the Molteni team, launched the CLX for 2016. It’s familiar name that has appeared on bikes by the Italy-based company before, but the 2016 CLX is a new bike. It shares a few characteristics with Colnago’s top-end aero bike, the V1-r, which debuted in 2014, such as geometry and the ThreadFit 82.5 bottom bracket. The BB works with PressFit 86.5 bearings within a steel insert that can be replaced. The system is said to make the bottom bracket more secure and keep things from creaking.
The CLX differs from the V1-r in that the new model is a more simple and more practical machine. While I do like the latest innovations, such as the V1-r’s truncated-airfoil seat tube and seatpost and direct-mount rear brake under the bottom bracket, I also really like the straight-ahead tech of the CLX. The brakes on the CLX are Shimano Ultegra single-pivot caliper, which have great modulation and stopping power, and are easy to work on. The seat tube is beefy at the bottom bracket, but tapers toward the top tube. Colnago has used a 27.2-mm-diameter seatpost to add some compliance, and thus comfort for the rider. Of course, a narrower-diameter seatpost doesn’t make CLX an endurance bike. No, it’s a race machine, just a little friendlier than, say, the V1-r.
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When it came to attacking my co-workers on local hills, the CLX was a great weapon of choice. Looking at the ride file afterwards, I saw that I had posted some of my stronger times on those hills in a while. I’m going to take credit for most of those performances, but having a frame with a claimed weight of 950 g was no doubt a help.
The bike has a sloping geometry. If you are normally a Size 54, you’re not likely going to fit a Size 54 CLX. The model with the stack and reach that best fit me (regularly a 54) was the 50. A general rule of thumb is to look four sizes smaller, which seems drastic, but it’s accurate. On the CLX, I like a slightly longer stem to round out the fit.
In the turns, the bike handled great. It gave me confidence to hold more speed throughout some sharp bends. The wheels, Fulcrum Racing 5 DB, are solid aluminum hoops. For most applications, they are great. For serious climbing, I’d want lighter wheels. If sprints are your thing, something a bit more reactive would be better.
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My rides on the CLX extended beyond office punchfests. (There’s usually pizza and beer afterwards, so it’s all good.) On longer rides, the bike was comfortable, a pleasure for cruising in the country. On the head tube, the CLX sports the brand’s club logo. The story goes that Ernesto Colnago changed the logo to the ace of clubs after Michele Dancelli’s win at Milano-San Remo in 1970. When you ride Colnago’s CLX, you, too, feel like you have an ace up your sleeve. The Colnago CLX carries a $4,899 price tag.