Colnago Flight TT (frameset) review

Italian aero ride

BikeRadar score3/5

If you know your classic Italian road brands then Colnago need no introduction. The Flight TT is their first serious step into the multisport market though, thanks to a choice of two seatposts for this classy aero chassis.

Ride & handling:Charismatically smooth, balanced ride from classic Italian brand

Colnago delivered our sample bike with a super-pimpy carbon-railed and -shelled tricolor Colnago saddle. While we wouldn’t want to spend hours on the nose of this, it’s a mark of how comfortable this frame is that we didn’t have any ischial issues in our winter tights.

Despite deep section wheels, a super-wide seatpost and some very solid looking pieces of frame between you and the road, very little vibration travels all the way from tarmac to rider. You’ll still get clunked and shaken if you thump into a big hole you can’t avoid or you’re on a frost fragmented section of road. Compared to most aero bikes though, it’s a seriously cushy number.

The handling is equally neutral and friendly too. The bars are a bit narrow, but obviously you can choose whatever width you want when building up your frame. Otherwise there’s no low-speed-tuck or out-of-the-saddle twitch and it steers at slow speeds and stays steady at high speeds without ever deciding to do its own thing.

There’s a bit of gusting with the deep frame tubes and rims if you’re cutting across the wind, but not enough to leave a damp patch in your Lycra. This all means you can stay tucked in and aero for most of your riding, increasing overall efficiency no end. Despite the smoothness it doesn’t feel soggy under power. The light wheels respond well to every push and it can hold a grunted gear or a smooth spin equally well.

Relatively high overall weight does cut into the responsiveness and speed of the Flight if the road goes up for extended periods, though. It never feels quite as sharp as the best of the competition, marking it out as more of a cruiser that’s suited to longer distances than a cut-and-thrust short-course machine.

The top-line Zipp and SRAM Red kit it’s already wearing means there’s not much scope for reducing the weight either. Then again you’re going to have more money left from a Colnago compared to building the other bikes here to a similar spec.

Our test model came equipped with this super-pimpy carbon-railed and -shelled tricolor colnago saddle: our test model came equipped with this super-pimpy carbon-railed and -shelled tricolor colnago saddle
Our test model came equipped with this super-pimpy carbon-railed and -shelled tricolor colnago saddle: our test model came equipped with this super-pimpy carbon-railed and -shelled tricolor colnago saddle

Chassis: Frame is weighty but gets added twin seatpost setup versatility

Colnago have drawn from 50 years of pro race bike building to create the Flight’s slipper silhouette. The conventional round head tube flows into an extended head section before splitting into the straight, rounded top tube and deep teardrop down tube. There’s a notch behind the head tube for the fat extensions on the back of the tapered-blade forks to fit into, but it’s not as dovetailed as some frames. The small wheelhugger cutout is subtle too.

It’s much more muscular where power delivery is at stake, with a tall belly section and big straight-edged rectangular section S-snaked chainstays. The seat tube gets a curved wheel wrap at the bottom end, expanding back and out over the top of the rear wheel in a broad fin shape. The conventionally mounted rear brake sits above broad rectangular seatstays which sway down to windowed alloy dropouts. These come complete with thumb-wheel set screws in the horizontal slots for accurate spacing behind the seat tube.

Rather than a switchable seatpost, Colnago provide two separate seatposts with the frame: one for conventional time trial use that creates a 74° seat angle and a forward offset one to give triathletes the open torso benefits of a 77° seat angle. Full height adjustment of the aero seatpost is controlled via a two-piece external clamp which is effective if not exactly sleek.

Equipment: Full SRAM Red plus quality wheels and minimalist front end

We expected an Italian stallion like this to come with Campagnolo componentry but that certainly doesn’t mean we’re complaining about the full SRAM Red suite here. Not only is it super-light but we’re rapidly becoming addicted to the ergonomics and psychosomatic aerodynamics of the R2C tip shift levers. The power and predictability of conventional brakes are a real bonus on wet descents compared to the contorted anchor arrangements found on some aero frames.

Cockpit and rolling stock are also neatly co-ordinated thanks to Zipp. Deep section 808 wheels roll on top quality Vittoria Triathlon tubulars. The Vuka Aero cockpit with its distinctive hummingbird style hand pods and low-profile S-curved extensions creates a minimalist front end, with a Colnago stem keeping it solidly connected.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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