How to Identify a Colnago C40 Frame (First Version)

Colnago C40 - First Edition
Colnago C40 – First Edition Frame
Image courtesy of Steel Vintage Bikes

This article is only part of my ULTIMATE GUIDE to the Colnago C40 which I recommend you start reading first. This guide includes a lot of information about this legendary frame such as;

  • An overview of the Colnago carbon bikes that preceded the C40.
  • The brief history of the C40 including major race wins.
  • Discussion of the C40 lugs and how the frame was assembled.
  • How to identify the different versions of the C40.
  • The different forks that were supplied with the C40 over the years.
  • Frame geometry and build specifications.


The Colnago C40 was manufactured for approximately 10 years (1994 – 2004) and over that time, 4 different versions of the frame were released. This article discusses the first version (original) C40 frame that was sold for about 4 years (1994 to 1997, dates are approximate).

General Features of a C40 Frame

All 4 versions of the C40 frame were made from carbon tubes and carbon lugs. They were not a monocoque design, which has a flowing style – like modern carbon frames. The top tube and down tube featured a distinctive 4 sided Master profile as shown in the images below. The majority of C40 frames were built using traditional geometry (that has a horizontal top tube). However in 2001, their catalog listed sloping geometry for the small frames sizes (46,47,48).

Colnago C40 frame tubes
Colnago C40 frame tubes
Colnago C40 first version down tube
Colnago C40 first version down tube
Image courtesy of Steel Vintage Bikes

The C40 logo was located at the top of the seat tube as shown in the following image.

Colnago C40 first version seat tube
Colnago C40 first version seat tube
Image courtesy of Steel Vintage Bikes

How to Identify the 1st Version Frame

It is actually quite easy to identify the first version of the C40 frame by looking at the location of the shift cable stops on the frame. The photo below shows that the cable stops are located on the down tube below the head tube lug. On later versions of the C40 frame, the cable stops are mounted up higher on the actual head tube lug.

Colnago C40 first version cable stops
Colnago C40 first version frame
Image courtesy of Steel Vintage Bikes

General Features of the 1st Version Frame

General features of the 1st version frame are visible in this 1995 Colnago catalog page. The features to note are;

  • The first version of the C40 was sold with a steel Precisa fork, which was updated for the 1995 model. Read more about different versions of the Precisa fork. Note: Prior to the release of Colnago’s own carbon forks (around 2000), some early model C40’s were sold with Time ‘Colnago’ carbon forks, just not exactly sure when that commenced.
  • First version chain stays are fairly slender in comparison to later versions of the frame.
  • The seat stays join the seat tube lug at separate locations. Very different to the B-Stay design used for the 3rd and 4th version frames.
Colango C40 in 1995 Colnago catalog
1995 Colnago catalog featuring the C40 with revised Precisa fork.

About Me.

I have been riding and working on my own bikes for many years now. I wanted to share my experiences, knowledge and research with others. My aim is to inspire people to get involved in all aspects of this amazing sport. Cheers.


I welcome reader feedback in the comments section. Should you wish to suggest an amendment, please include a note advising the source of your information so that myself and other readers can ascertain the accuracy of your information. Note: Trolling or argumentative comments will be removed as they are counter-productive.

2 thoughts on “How to Identify a Colnago C40 Frame (First Version)

  • I just unearthed my 2 decade old C40 which was out of sight and mind for that long. Thanks to this, I learnt much more than my vague memory constitutes. And yes, mine’s this first version. Nostalgic.

    • Hi Joe, glad to hear the aticle was of help. Hope it is still working you can get it out for a nice ride

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