Colnago V3Rs Road Bike
A First Look
Ciacci Piccolomini d’Aragona - a beautiful winery in the rolling hills of Tuscany, and the launch venue of the Colnago V3Rs Road Bike. When many people think of Italy, it’s the stunning landscapes of this region that come instantly to mind - a fitting location, therefore, for such a revered Italian brand to showcase their latest release. Unveiled by Ernesto in the wine cellar accompanied by co-owner of the estate Paolo Bianchini, this bike is the next in line in the successful ‘V’ series.
It’s been five years since the release of the V1-R, which was followed up with the V2-R, the latter only undergoing small changes and updates. Although the latest model takes experience and inspiration from those before, it has been completely redesigned to be the final stage in the V-series project.
The priority with the V3Rs was to meet the needs of modern riders looking for a performance road bike, and to keep up-to-date with recent competitor developments. It's a bike that's packed with innovation yet retains the strong heritage of the brand. The frameset is optimised for wider tyres and you have a choice of disc or rim brake models, the former of which has incredibly clean aesthetics with fully integrated cables. Not only the lightest frameset Colnago has ever produced, the V3Rs also features aerodynamic, drag-reducing details.
Described by Colnago’s engineer Davide Fumagalli as a ‘frame to do almost anything’, that can sprint and climb, be used for everyday riding, stage racing and gran fondos; one that will excel across all terrains. He designed the bike he wanted to ride, resulting in one engineered with the amateur performance rider in mind, not purely the professionals. There are two bikes in the V3 family. The flagship V3Rs with its pro-peloton grade super-light carbon fibre, and the more accessible V3 model, which shares the same racy looks and handling but uses a more cost-effective carbon fibre layup.
As mentioned before, quite a lot has changed. Not least of which is the grade of carbon fibre used for the bikes’ monocoque construction. Not only does this far higher grade result in a frame weight of just 790 grams (raw, disc, size 50s), it also means a claimed 12% and 6% improvement in rigidity in the rear triangle and head tube area respectively, and more vertical compliance compared to the V2-R.
The fork is lighter (cut weight around 340 grams), and the shape completely new – longer, with a concave upper. It brings comfort and lateral rigidity, plus space for 30mm tyres – you could possibly even stretch to 32mm – making your ride even more comfortable.
The rim brake version utilises a standard fork and stem and is designed for direct mount brakes. However, if you opt for a disc brake model you’ll benefit from the TFS Integrated Fork System. Cables run completely internally through the underside of an SR9 stem and then through the fork steerer. Not only clean and sleek in its aesthetics, the system also improves usability and the hidden cables provide a large additional aerodynamic advantage.
The headset design has been borrowed from that of the C64, and both the upper and lower cups are composed of carbon fibre, resulting in improved absorption of road buzz and shaving a few extra grams off.
One of the main areas of focus was the seatpost clamp, with the aim of reducing weight and providing a more modulated clamping force. Taking ideas from both the V2-R and the C64 systems, the new design is smaller than both and an upper pull clamp with no fixed wedge adds a wider range of operation. Aside from this change, the seatpost of the V2-R has been replaced with the D-shaped post that's found on the C64.
A shorter head tube is married with a longer fork, and the bottom bracket is 2-3mm lower across the range of sizes. This new geometry optimises the use of wider tyres for improved stability and it's on the racier side, in-line with its intended use.
With the presentation of the V3Rs complete, I was keen to get out and give it a ride. We were provided with disc brake models, built up with Campagnolo Super Record EPS and Bora WTO wheels. Instantly clear was how incredibly light it felt, despite the disc brakes and 45mm deep wheels. Coming in at around 7kg with this specification, it was the lightest bike I had ever ridden. 28mm Pirelli P ZERO Velo tyres were likely to prove perfect for the roads we were about to tackle.
Those that are familiar with Tuscany will know of the mixed surfaces and rolling, almost never flat, terrain. The perfect testing ground, with some short, punchy climbs, longer drags and fast descents, and the roads ranging from smooth tarmac through potholed surfaces to the unpaved white roads that this area is famed for. Add into that the heat of the sun and it was sure to be a beautiful yet challenging ride.
The 75km route took us out across 6km of gravel to start, and then onto the smooth tarmac. It didn’t take long to settle in and get used to the feel of the bike. Over the looser surfaces I felt in control and confident. The bike was planted and stable giving me the confidence to really enjoy the fast, sometimes winding descents despite it being an extremely blustery day. Lively and stiff, the most noticeable benefit to me was how well it rolled over rough roads, smoothing out even the bumpiest, most weather-damaged surfaces – likely due to a combination of the high compliance and the wider tyres.
This bike was definitely more willing than my legs when it came to the 1700 metres of climbing, and when I put the power down the responses were instant and acceleration smooth. All in all the Colnago V3Rs has an incredible ride quality and with a few tweaks to the fit, it is definitely a bike that I’d be very keen to jump back on and test more thoroughly back here in the UK.
The latest offering from the renowned Italian brand, the Colnago V3Rs brings their performance road racing bike bang up to date. As with every Colnago, the attention to detail is obvious in both aesthetics and the resulting performance. It’s light, fast and versatile. Ride it in the mountains or take it to your local crit or a stage race; this is a bike that’ll excel in all scenarios.