2015 COLNAGO AC-R 105 – 52S (56cm) – £1,500
If you want to know a simple way to think of the Colnago AC-R 105 bike, think of it as their now-departed, WorldTour-proven Colnago M10s on a budget. The geometry is identical; the tubing shapes somewhat simplified, and the cable runs simplified. This means they chose to run the rear brake cable externally, and the rear derailleur cable runs externally from the bottom bracket to the cable stop. They kept the defining feature of the M10s, the ride, the same, and then found a way to do the rest for less.
If you're wondering what that ride is like, it's something that takes the Colnago ride template and adapts it for people who like monocoque frames. The tube sizes are larger than you'll find on other Colnagos, though still fairly slender by monocoque standards. The ride is stiffer than you'll find on other Colnagos, but there is still plenty of compliance, thanks to the slender stays and slimming of the top and seat tubes as they move towards the seat juncture. It's a bike that both the gram-counters and the mashers will appreciate.
They thought of this bike as a way to get the M10s when you've got more ambition than your experience should allow. That's why they went with a build dominated by Shimano 105 5800 componentry. 105 is used for the shifters and derailleurs, crank, and chain. If they look familiar, it's because the shapes are borrowed from current Dura-Ace components, and finished more economically. The crank sports compact 50/34 chain rings and is mated to a wide-ranging eleven-speed 11-28 cassette, so you can tackle both halves of a mountain with equal agility.
To further control costs, Colnago pulled for a number of house-brand components on the AC-R. The Artemis CW28 wheels, X-Brake 3, Colnago saddle and post all take advantage of economies and are finished to further the flash factor of the bike. Italian flair is important to Colnago, and it celebrates the ride, making the bike more inviting.
This bike can be rolled out the door and provide years of great riding as is. But if you have the yen to upgrade, the AC-R is ready. It is switchable, so if you want to upgrade to electronic shifting, you can do it as attractively as you have the mechanical shifting it comes with. There's room to install a triple crank if you want lower gears still. There is clearance for 25mm tires, and the bottom bracket is English threaded.
The Colnago AC-R 105 bike goes the distance for very little investment, yielding a great cost-benefit return.
Colnago AC-R 105 review:
Custom Build Specification:
- Bottom Bracket Shimano
- Brake Calipers Colnago X-Brake 3
- Cassette Shimano 105 5800, 11-28
- Chain KMC 11
- Crankset Shimano FC-RS500-L, 50/34
- Fork AC-R Carbon
- Frame Material Carbon Monocoque
- Front Derailleur Shimano 105 5800
- Handlebar Deda RHM01
- Headset FSA No. 63/51E
- Pedals Not Included
- Rear Derailleur Shimano 105 5800
- Saddle Selle Italia X1, Alloy
- Seatpost Colnago Aluminum, 31.6mm
- Shifters / Levers Shimano 105 5800
- Stem Deda Zero One
- Tires Vittoria Zaffiro, 700x23c
- Wheel - Front Artemis CW28 Alu
- Wheel - Rear Artemis CW28 Alu