by Jamie Mack

Colnago is as synonymous with tradition and quality in bicycles as the name Sven Nys is with winning prestigious cyclocross races.  After a decade of racing in the orange of Rabobank, Nys made a switch and is now riding in the Landbouwkrediet-Colnago kit, but is still perched on the bikes of the iconic Italian builder.  Cyclocross Magazine contributor Dan Seaton was able to get a close look at Nys’ Colnago Cross Prestige.

Sven Nys' 2009 Colnago Cross Prestige photo: Dan Seaton

Sven Nys’ 2009 Colnago Cross Prestige photo: Dan Seaton

The frame is an exotic carbon masterpiece with all the Italian style expected from Colnago.  The lugged front triangle of Nys’ 2009 C-50 frame has given way to a smoother-finished monocoque front end for 2010.  The rear triangle on the 2010 frame uses the lugged carbon construction that Colnago developed for previous road and cyclocross models.  The addition of a brace at the junction of the seat and top tubes creates a nicely contoured surface for shouldering – even though with proper technique, your shoulder rests much farther forward.  The clear coat finish highlights the weave of the carbon and lets the graphics, including the signature of Ernesto Colnago on the wishbone seatstays, standout.  The geometry features ultra-short 42.2 cm chainstays and reflects the preferences of Nys, as the rider provided significant input to the design.

Nys is one of only a handful of riders racing with the Shimano Di2 electronic group (Niels Albert, Adam Craig and Molly Cameron are three others – see our previous profile of Adam Craig’s Di2-equipped Giant).  The sealed electronic system uses no cables, hence there are no problems with mud and the elements wreaking havoc on the shifting performance.  The system consists of shifters, derailleurs and a small battery pack located on the down tube of Nys’ bike.  The system has proved its reliability for cross at the hands of Nys but, at the price of a small car, is still out of reach for many amateur racers.

Sven Nys' quiver of Colnago Prestige cyclocross bikes in 2009.

Sven Nys’ quiver of Colnago Cross Prestige cyclocross bikes in 2009.

The majority of the remainder of the components on Nys’ bikes also come from Shimano.  The wheels that Cyclocross Magazine checked out were deep-profile Dura Ace C35 carbon hoops. The C35 wheels will be available to the public in 2010, and are listed at 1240 grams.

The Shimano influence continues in the cockpit with the PRO branded stem and carbon handlebar.  The seatpost sports the clover symbol of Colnago.

Stopping power for all the momentum that Nys can generate comes in the form of a set of carbon Euro-X brakes.  The wide-profile TRP Carbon Adjust Euro-X brakes provide a mix of braking power, adjustability and mud clearance.  Nys forgoes braking power for mud clearance by setting the straddle cables high (as Issue 7 readers will know, this is a useful trick for when conditions get sloppy).

While he has every tire available on race day, Nys was riding on Dugast Rhinos at Gavere.  Dugast, like Colnago, has a reputation as the exotic, most-expensive brand in cyclocross, and thus complements his bike well.  The 32mm Rhinos that Nys was running are the standard ‘cross tire for muddy days in Europe, with many companies working hard to play catch-up.

The frame and the components combine for a package that very few riders can afford, but many will lust after.  Some may even sacrifice the college fund to pull together a similar ride to tear through the local races – Cyclocross Magazine spotted a Colnago Cross Prestige as a pit bike during a C race at Cow Palace in San Francisco. But the rest of us will just have to live vicariously through the Cyclocross Magazine Pro Bike Profiles.

Frame: Colnago Cross Prestige
Fork: Colnago Carbon
Stem: PRO
Handlebars: PRO
Front Brake: TRP Euro-X Carbon
Rear Brake: TRP Euro-X Carbon
Shift/Brake Levers: Shimano Di2
Front Derailleur: Shimano Di2
Rear Derailluer: Shimano Di2
Cassette: Shimano CS-7900
Chain: Shimano CN-7900
Crankset: Shimano Dura Ace
Bottom Bracket: Shimano Dura Ace
Pedals: Shimano XTR
Wheelset: Shimano Dura Ace Carbon
Front Tire: Dugast Rhino, 32mm
Rear Tire: Dugast Rhino, 32mm
Saddle: ProLogo
Seatpost: Colnago Carbon

Sven Nys’ Colnago Prestige Cyclocross Bike Photo Gallery: