I’ve always loved Colnagos. Thinking about it, who hasn’t?
Anyway, a little while ago I rescued this Saronni from Spain. At first glance, it looks great, and that’s what drew me to it.
First thoughts on seeing a bike badged Saronni are usually:
“Is it a Colnago Saronni or one of those Technotrat Saronnis?”Or, indeed “Is it a Saronni at all?”
For some reason, they seem to be very popular aftermarket fakes. Either because the decals are cheap or, more likely, because for a 1980s bike with classic heritage, comparatively little is known about them. This makes them ripe for the less-than-scrupulous eBayer to pass them all off as Colnagos. In much the same way as all Raleigh Dynatechs are passed off as titanium.
So, how to check if it’s a genuine Colnago Saronni?
Well, a good first port of call is the bottom bracket shell: has it got the famous cloverleaf cutout?
Next stop, lug cutouts. Any cloverleafs cut into the headtube lugs?
Then look for other pantography on the frame and forks. Some, like this one, have Saronni in the top of the seatstays.
Forks, which can always be changed, of course, are not such a reliable indicator of authenticity. That said, this one had a pantographed fork crown too, so all good on that score.
Just to further confuse your eBay searching, ‘Saronni’ became the name for the iconic burgundy colour of Saronni’s 1982 World Championship-Winning Bike. If you search eBay for ‘Colnago Saronni’ you will get maybe one bike-named-in-honour-Guiseppe-Saronni for every ten Colnagos-in-that-iconic-burgundy-colour. You know the one. This one:
So, clearly this Colnago Saronni, whilst a genuine Colnago Saronni isn’t Colnago Saronni.
Underneath the badly polished chromework and dodgy spray-can paint job, however, is a 1983 Colnago Super waiting to be restored properly.
It is, essentially exactly the same bike as my Super in the photo above, but in need of some love and attention, so that’s what it’s getting at the moment. My little Saronni is currently with Brian Reid at Golden Age Cycles in Banbury and thence to Bob Jacksons being shot-blasted, repainted and rechromed.
Upon its return it’ll be rebuilt with pretty much the current components, bar a period-correct stem and Campagnolo brake levers. Looking at the photo above, a nice metal rear mech cable outer that sits nice and parallel would be lovely too… oh and possibly some rebuilt wheels with polished Campagnolo rims. It’s so easy to get carried away with these things.
Even before I get the bike back, I must thank Brian. Firstly for arranging for me to drop the bike off at his parents’ house in Essex – and what an amazing couple his folks are, I could have stayed all day talking – and secondly for breaking his British-made Specialism rule to work on something Italian. I know that’s increasingly becoming the case, but I still feel a bit guilty tucking my little Saronni in amongst his amazing array of Curly Hetchins, Mercians, Ephgraves and the like.
As with the Bianchi Folgore, I now cannot wait until the New Year to get the bike back and start playing with it.
Watch this space for the ‘after’ photos.