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Colnago’s Special Edition Team Rabobank C50, and Other News

Limited Edition Team Rabobank Colnago C50 HM

Few frames have the race pedigree of the Colnago C50 HM. You can trace its lineage back in time to 1996 when its predecessor -- the Colnago C40 -- was ridden by Johan Musseuw, Gianluca Bortolami, and Andrea Tafi to a Team Mapei 1, 2, 3 sweep of the podium of Paris-Roubaix. It was a historic day of dominance befitting a bike that was so outrageously ahead of its time.

Limited Edition Team Rabobank Colnago C50 HM

In the time since, the C40 has progressively evolved -- the C40 became the C40 B-Stay, which became the C40 HP, which begot the C50 HP and now the C50 HM. Colnago’s rivals struggle to keep up -- not to match their present-day technology, but rather to measure up to what Colnago unveiled a year or two previously. There’s a reason why the C50 is the most beloved single bicycle in the world: Its technological superiority (which translates into lightness, durability, and an amazing ride quality) is matched only by the breadth of its palmares in the last decade: 3 or 4 Paris-Roubaix titles, plus victories in Milan-San Remo, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Tour of Flanders, the Amstel Gold Race, multiple road World Championships, countless stages of the Giro d’Italia, the Tour de France, and the Vuelta a Espana.

Colnago has long had the knack of sponsoring winning teams worldwide, but none of its associations has been as long-lived as its sponsorship of the Dutch Rabobank team. Rabobank has three living legends racing for it: Michael Boogerd, Erik Dekker, and Oscar Friere. Between the three of them they have enough really tall trophies to fill up a medium-sized museum and enough UCI points to stump a math professor. Beyond their pro team, though, Rabobank is committed to Dutch cycling at every other level possible: Espoir, junior, and women. Rabobank is a national phenomenon. They’re the fuel behind the bike racing craze in a country that has always been bicycle-mad.

To commemorate their relationship with the Rabobank team, Colnago has just announced their plans to release a special, limited edition C50 HM in the exact team colors of Rabobank. It will be known as the ‘RB05’ paint scheme, and Colnago is making only one production run of this frame. Like the other C50 HM frames, it makes minimal use of paint in order to highlight the beautiful carbon fiber latticework of Colnago’s new Twill Weave carbon fiber. As you can see, though, there is certainly enough orange and blue to complement Rabobank’s team kit. You’ll also see the small Rabobank logo on the top tube, plus the ‘Columbus’ logo on the Star carbon fiber fork. The Columbus logo is a bit of an idiosyncratic touch given that the C50 and the Star fork are made in collaboration with the Italian carbon fiber powerhouse ATR, not with Columbus -- a legend when it comes to steel tubing. Like many other logos you’ll find on pro bikes and jerseys, it’s a decal that’ll make for good conversation on a long ride!

The C50 HM in RB05 will come as a frame with a Star carbon fork. It has a retail cost of $4399, and here at Competitive Cyclist we are proud to provide you with a few bonuses with your purchase, including a limited edition Giro Atmos helmet in Rabobank colors, along with 2 Tacx Rabobank water bottles and a roll of orange Colnago cork handlebar tape. We expect to see the frames on/around March 15. For more information, please feel free to email us or call.

Zero Gravity OG-Ti Update

There’s no arguing the fact that the Zero Gravity OG-05 Ti brake calipers are red hot here at Competitive Cyclist. We’ve sold literally hundreds of them, and the feedback we’ve gotten from our customers has been universal. They’re not sure what they’re happier about: their superb braking power or the fact that they are indeed virtually weightless.

Zero Gravity OG-Ti

We get numerous inquiries about whether we have the calipers in stock -- clearly there’s a nationwide shortage --and we can assure you that the answer will always be an enthusiastic ‘Yes!’ We have an especially tight relationship with Zero Gravity, and our arrangement is one where we’ve been assured instant replenishment of our stock as it depletes.

We laud Zero Gravity for their recent decision to make their calipers more versatile than ever before. Previously they shipped calipers to us with Corima brake pads -- perfect if the only wheels you’ll ever use have a carbon braking track. The Corima pads are made from cork, though, and cork is nobody’s first choice for aluminum rims. In order to address this problem, beginning late 2004 Zero Gravity started shipping calipers with Corima pads installed, but also with 2 extra sets of Kool Stop rubber pads -- perfect for when you’re using aluminum rims. It’s also nice to have the 2 extra sets of pads if you own both carbon and aluminum rims. Flecks of aluminum tend to embed themselves in your brake pads over time, and if you swap your aluminum wheels to a set of carbon ones on race day, this embedded aluminum can scrape up your carbon rims. Swapping the pads is easy, and it’s your best bet for extending the life of your top-dollar carbon wheels.

2005 DeRosa Update

The new US importer of DeRosa bicycles, Albabici, has made a decision to limit the distribution of DeRosa bicycles to brick-and-mortar bicycle shops only. That means no internet or mail order sales, which of course means that we won’t be selling 2005 DeRosas. We look at this decision as an unfortunate one for us, as we have great respect for the DeRosa brand, and our customers have shown enthusiasm for the new ‘Superlight’ King and the wild ‘Tango’ frame. We also know enough about currency exchange rates to imagine what the 2005 retail pricing will be for such frames. It’s a complete mystery to us how DeRosa envisions securing a foothold in traditional brick-and-mortar shops -- ones that earn their keep selling Trek, Cannondale, Specialized, and Giant. These are bike brands that offer far superior margins than any European brand. Furthermore, they have better marketing than DeRosa, and all of these brands offer fully-built authentic pro bicycles for the same cost as a King frameset alone. Our bet is that the final chapter of DeRosa distribution in the US has yet to be written. In the meantime, we’ll continue to offer tremendous closeout pricing on our remaining 2004 DeRosa framesets.