How to identify a Colnago Mexico

1979 Colnago Mexico Oro
1979 Colnago Mexico Oro
Image courtesy of

The Colnago Mexico bicycle was released in the early 1970’s to celebrate the 1972 Eddy Merckx world hour record. Whilst it is difficult to determine exactly how long the Colnago Mexico was in production, but there is a gold plated Colnago Mexico Oro still advertised in an early 1980’s Colnago brochure.

Special features of a Colnago Mexico.

The Colnago Mexico is almost identical to the Colnago Super in appearance, but the Mexico was built using thinner Columbus Record tubing which resulted in a lighter frame. According to the chart below, a 58cm Colnago Mexico frame & fork was 170 grams (6 ounces) lighter than a smaller 57cm Colnago Super frame.

Colnago Columbus Tube Chart
Type and weight of tubing used in Colnago Super and Mexico frames.

Visually the main difference between the Colnago Mexico and the Colnago Super (of the same era), is the Colnago Mexico has round/oval chain stays, whereas the Colnago Super has indentations in the chain stay tubing for both tyre clearance and chainring clearance. As you can see in the following images, both the Colnago Super and Colnago Mexico featured a chain stay bridge.

Images courtesy of

Chain stay indentations of a 1970’s Colnago Super.

In the following image you can see the indentations that were present in the chain stays of a Colnago Super of the same era. Image courtesy of

Catalogue Pages.

Colnago Mexico advertisement (circa 1973)
Colnago Mexico advertisement (circa 1973)
Colnago Mexio catalogue page (circa 1981)
Colnago Mexio catalogue page (circa 1981)

The following excerpt below is from a USA Colnago dealer catalogue (1981).

Colnago Mexico and Super pricing in USD (1981)
Colnago Mexico and Super pricing in USD (1981)

Colnago Mexico Oro.

The Colnago Mexico was produced in both regular painted colours as well as a limited edition, fully gold-plated version known as the Colnago Mexico Oro. One of the first Colnago Mexico Oro’s was presented to Pope John Paul II by Ernesto Colnago. The bike was later returned to Colnago and added to the Colnago Museum. You can read more about that on

Colnago Mexio Oro catalogue page (circa 1981)
Colnago Mexio Oro catalogue page (circa 1981)

Colnago Literature.

The following websites have a large selection scanned Colnago literature including reviews, catalogues and brochures.

Article References.

I hope you found this article interesting. I have listed the following website pages as general references.


Please remember that this information is only to be used as a guide.
I consider myself an enthusiast, not an expert. The information I have presented in this article is based on my many hours of online research.

In addition, there will always be frames that don’t quite match the characteristics of a particular model as they could have been a custom build, prototype etc. Note: forks can also be swapped between different frames.

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.

26 thoughts on “How to identify a Colnago Mexico

  • Hi,

    Do you know if Mexico from early 80s have crimps inside the chain stays?

    I have a Super of 1981 which have long crimps inside each stays, while I recently have got a frame set that was presented to me like a Super of 1981 but the chain stays does not present crimps, the rest is the same (round tube shape). That makes me wonder that it’s Actually a Mexico but I could not verify the weight.


    • It is a good question. For it to be an original Mexico, the frame would need to feature older characteristics in terms of the above BB cable routing configuration, bottom bracket club shape cut-out as shown in picture, tube shaped chain stay bridge and no crimps in the chain stays (as I understand). Things I doubt you will find on an original Mexico frame are a below BB cable routing and either no chain stay bridge or a spool shaped chain stay bridge. Those are the hallmarks of a late model Super assuming the frame has all round tubes with no crimping in the 3 main tubes.

      • Hi, my Super from 81 has a spool bridge and crimped chain stays. The might be Mexico has the spool bridge but not the crimps.

        Both model have round main tubes without crimps.

        Here some pics:
        1) Super (should be from 1981): Crimps on chain stays and Spool bridge

        2) Unknown from early 80s: No crimps on chain stays and Spool Bridge on the unknown model and cut out

        I struggling to think that is a Super without crimps. Moreover looking at Sold Bikes on a famous Vintage Store from Berlin, all the Mexicos from 80s present the same characteristics (no crimps, spool bridge, cable routing below the BB).

        • The frame does not to look like the original Mexico from the 70’s as they had cable routing over the BB. The Nouvo Mexico’s had crimps in the top and down tubes. If there are no crimps in your top and down tubes then I think the frame is most likely a Super. Both of your frames look like they are from the same 80’s era judging by the spool shaped chain stay bridge and the COLNAGO lettering in the chain stays.

          • Rouler: I agree with your comments about cable routing under the bottom bracket for the 1970’s Mexicos and the crimped tubing on the Nouvo Mexicos that were introuced in 1983 (from online info). For the Mexicos there is a gap in 1981 and 1982 where there is no information. I bought my Mexico from the original owner and I think it is a 1981 – chain stays are not crimped, there is no stamping on the chain stays and cable routing is under the bottom bracket. The original owner had it repainted at Cycle Art within a year of buying it – Colnagos from that era had poor paint jobs and often the bottom bracket and fork threads needed to be chased. I am not sure if the tubing is Record or SL but it has a superb feel. It is a 54 cm and the weight is 21.8 lbs with pedals, Mavic MA40 clinchers and a big 13-26 seven speed freewheel. With a tubular wheelset it is 21 lbs

          • Hi Ron, thanks for comments and sharing information about your bike. When looking through the various Colnago catalogues, late model frames often inherited the new design features. Maybe your frame is a Mexico that featured a below bottom bracket cable routing layout?

      • Hi, I have a Colnago Mexico Gold from 1979. My father in law bought the bike new. Have quite a good number of original spare parts. Would this type of bike be in interest for any collector?
        Best regards

        • Hi Dag, I would expect there would definitely be interest in the bike, however the amount of interest would be determined by the condition of the bike. When you say gold, you mean a frame plated in real gold and not simply gold paint?

  • As I indicated in my first post, gear cable routing is below the bottom bracket. Chrome forks, painted drive side chain stay and no pantograph parts. The original owner purchased the frame and built it up with super record components except for the brakes were are Modolo professional. I checked with him yesterday and he thought it had Record tubing – there were 2 types 10/4 butted and 0.5 mm straight gauge. It does seem strange that Colnago would build a road bike with thin straight gauge tubing – there probably were few large frames made.

    • I needed to service the bottom bracket and headset on my 1981 Colnago Mexico and in doing so I could weigh the frame and fork. The seat tube is 53 cm center to center and the top tube is 54 cm center to center. As I posted earlier, it is definitely a Mexico because the chain stays are not crimped. In addition, the gear cables are routed under the bottom bracket.
      Frame without headset: 1800 grams plus or minus 25 grams
      Fork without headset: 700 grams plus or minus 10 grams
      My scale has precision but I don’t really know if it is accurate hence the range on weights. For a frame and fork on the small side to weigh 2.50 kg it appears to be Columbus SL. I would expect that a frame with Record tubing (0.5 mm plain gauge) would be about 150 – 200 grams less that what I measured (I did some checking and I think the Record and SL forks have the same tubing and thus the same weight).
      Any thoughts out there on what type of tubing the bike has?

      • Hi Ron,
        I’m not sure if the forks that came with the Mexico were Record tubing or SL.
        I weighed my forks (from the early 1980’s) that came with a Nuovo Mexico and they are 740gms.
        My Nuovo Mexico is a standard size 57 frame with paint & decals but no fittings is 1870gms.
        The Nuovo Mexico frame is a mix of Columbus Record and SL tubing.
        We really need the weight of a Super with the same sizing as your frame from that era to compare.

  • I just bought a 1981? Colnago Superissimo.
    Trying to find out if parts are original.
    What hubs and rims do I need?
    I’m excited to restore it.
    image 1
    image 2


    • Hi Giovanni, the bike looks very genuine. Not sure about the seat post, headset, or bottom bracket, but the remaining parts all look like Campagnolo Nuovo Record parts, early predecessor to Super Record. The chrome looks to be in very good condition which is great news but rust in the paintwork. What are your plans to restore the frame? You should be able to find a set of tubular rims with Campagnolo Record hubs or similar. has a large database of wheel rim models.

  • Hello i need the Help ,Can you please identify what colnago Model is that? It write mexico but i am not sure ,Frame paint seems repainted Is it really a mexico? Note that there are no cribs in the chain stays like the super its all round tubing near to the right side of the diagonal tube next to the head lug had a faint engraving SL 4/10 and frame weight is 1680 gr and fork is 707 gr size is 55.Thanks

  • Hi and thanks for all your articles. The photographs of the Colnago Mexico’s within this literature show crimps on the inside of the seat stays. I thought Mexico’s of this era didn’t have these crimps – I must be wrong. Thanks for the photographs.

    • Hi Gary, thanks for your comments. You are correct to say the Mexico did NOT have crimps on inside of chain stays. Looking at photos of the gold Mexico in the article, it is just reflections that may look like crimps.

      • Hi, I have a genuine Colnago frame from 1976 with no crimps on the inside of the chain stays, but one single crimp externally on the drive side. The tubes are otherwise round. Were any such Mexicos produced or is this perhaps an experimental Super? I guess only weight can distinguish the two otherwise? Thanks for any tips! Great site!

        • Hi Jon, the Mexico is one of the more tricky frames to distinguish as it is visually similar to the Super. Ultimately, the most important feature of the Mexico was Colnago’s use of lightweight tubing. As we have no reference for frame weight comparisons, we have to rely on NO crimping in the chain stays as the primary identifying feature.

          The design of the Colnago Super also evolved over the years, crimped chain stays did not feature in later frames. Your frame may have been be built at the beginning of that evolutionary change. Enjoy.

          • Thanks for the reply. Confirms my thoughts as well and will make a super fine Super when I have finished restoring her. Keep up the good work!

  • I have a Colnago Mexico Oro that I believe is from sometime in the 70s that I bought in Italy in the mid 90s. Both the fork and Frame are stamped F3 and it has many original parts, but everything above the frame is not original. The fork is in great shape and the frame is in good shape, but has some corrosion and some of the gold plating has come off. I wondered if you or others have an opinion on having it re-plated. Would that harm the value? I am not planning to sell, but don’t want to destroy value either. I’d be happy to send pictures if it helps.

    • Hi David, that is a very good question. I’m certainly not an authority on this subject but happy to share my opinion. Typically the highest value would be paid on a bike in original (excellent) condition. As the condition deteriorates or parts become worn and not period correct, the value declines. However, when a bike reaches a certain point of decline, I would expect that would be a good time for a full restoration.

      I recommend you take the bike to a specialist vintage bike shop to get a professional opinion. They may also be able to assist with recommendations for trades and parts. Do what makes you happy.

      If it were me, I would probably restore it (at least remove the corrosion) because it will help preserve the bike and I like vintage bikes that look like NEW. Resale value is not my main concern, I enjoy looking at them and most importantly; riding them.

  • Thanks, Rouleur. I am looking into restoration and weighing the plusses versus the potential to damage the frame in re-plating. I’d rather keep the gold with some rust than remove the plating altogether. The bike still looks great (my opinion) if I can keep the rust from worsening. Thanks for the great posts!

    • Hi David, it might also be worth investigating some of the many rust removal products that are available as you might be able to neutralise or remove surface rust without damaging the gold plating? I’ve also read about people using aluminium foil on rusty chrome plated surfaces with some success. All the best.

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