How to identify a Colnago Nuovo Mexico

Colnago Nuovo Mexico
Colnago Nuovo Mexico
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The Colnago Nuovo Mexico was released approximately 1983 and available for only a few short years. It was easily identified by a single crimp on either side the top tube and two offset crimps on each side the down tube (total of 4 crimps on down tube). As a result of the crimping applied to the down tube, the Nuovo Mexico was the first frame to feature Colnago’s iconic club shaped down tube. This frame is easy to identify and well documented in Colnago’s literature (below).

These frame tubes were also used to manufacture some of the most collectible early Colnago Arabesque frames. The Arabesque was in production at a similar time as the Nuovo Mexico. The Arabesque however, was built with more decorative lugs.

Colnago Nuovo Mexico diagram
The red lines in this diagram represents the crimp in the top tube and dual offset crimps in the down tube.

In the early 1980’s Colnago began experimenting with crimping main frame tubes to increase stiffness. Colnago referred to these crimps as ‘ribs’ in their early brochures.

Predecessor’s to the Nuovo Mexico.

There were several earlier crimped frames that preceded this Nuovo Mexico frame. Both of these earlier frames featured a single crimp on either side of the top tube like the Nuovo Mexico, but the differences being that one frame had no crimps on the down tube, and the other frame had 2 crimps on the down tube. The Nuovo Mexico was clearly documented in Colnago’s catalogue has having 4 crimps on the down tube.

Interestingly, the frame with only 2 crimps on the down tube is often referred to by many as a Nuovo Mexico as well, however it still remains unclear if this is accurate. You can read more about those early crimped frames in my How to Identify a Colnago Super Profil article.

The original Colnago Mexico (released in the 1970’s) was built using only Columbus Record tubes which are thinner and lighter than the Columbus SL tubes used to build the Colnago Super frames. Unlike the Nuovo Mexico, it did not have crimped top or down tubes.

The Colnago Nuovo Mexico however was built using a combination of Columbus SL and Columbus Record tubing. But, it is not clear as to which frame tubes were SL and which were Record. The following chart provides specifications for both types of tubes. Ultimately a Nuovo Mexico should be a little lighter than a Super for the same frame size and era.

Colnago Columbus Tube Chart
Type and weight of tubing used in Colnago Super and 1970s Mexico frames.
Colnago Nuovo Mexico top tube crimp
Single crimp in top tube.
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Colnago Nuovo Mexico Down tube
Excellent picture of the offset crimped down tube with bottle cage mount.
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Colnago Nuovo Mexico Top Tube
‘Colnago’ lettering in flat seat stay caps (in earlier versions).
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Colnago Nuovo Mexico seat stays
‘Colnago’ lettering in rounded seat stay caps (in later versions).
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Colnago Nuovo Mexico chain stays no crimp
No crimp on inside of the chain stays.
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Colnago Nuovo Mexico Head Tube
Club symbol on lower head tube lug.
Sloping fork crown with ‘Colnago’ lettering and club symbol
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Colnago Nuovo Mexico Bottom Bracket top
Dual offset crimps on downtube.
Club symbol on top of bottom bracket.
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Colnago Nuovo Mexico Chain stays
‘Colnago’ lettering on chainstays.
I don’t think the Mexico decal was standard on this model.
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Colnago Nuovo Mexico Bottom Bracket underside
Shift cable guides under bottom bracket.
No chain stay bridge.
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Colnago Nuovo Mexico catalogue page (circa 1983)
Colnago Nuovo Mexico catalogue page (circa 1983)

The following extract from a Colnago catalogue (circa 1985) specifies the number of crimps (ribs) on the top tube (2) as well as the down tube (4) and the tube diameters. Interestingly this brochure also refers to the model as a Mexico rather than a Nuovo Mexico.

Colnago Nuovo Mexico catalogue page (circa 1985)
Colnago Nuovo Mexico catalogue page (circa 1985)

Saronni’s 1982 World Championship Bike.

In 1982 Giuseppe (Beppe) Saronni won the World Championships in Goodwood, England on a bike with crimped frame tubes. This bike is on display in the Colnago museum. Read more..

Check Out My Bike Build Project

Colnago Nuovo Mexico Bicycle Restoration

I recently restored a Colnago Nuovo Mexico frame. Read more about the project including the wheel build, Campagnolo Super Record components and finishing kit choices.

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.

30 thoughts on “How to identify a Colnago Nuovo Mexico

  • I have what I believe is a vintage Nuevo Mexico but I’m not sure. It has all the decals and crimps as you describe. But the cable routing bosses are on the lower side of the top tube and not the top. Were the versions of the frames built like that?

  • Hello,

    Great post!
    I am a bike enthusiast and love working on steel bikes, but I need help.
    Found a Colnago Nuovo Mexico online, but unsure if it is a Colnago.
    It lacks the ace of spades on the top down tube, but has them on the bb.

    Would you be able to give me a hint?

  • Hello, I picked up 2 Colnago’s recently.
    I think one is a Nuovo Mexico and the other is an early Super? but I’m not sure.

    Can anyone offer some thoughts ?
    I’ve read the details on the site,

    • Hi Kev, I cant access the photos as I dont have an Instagram account. But the blue/silver Colnago showing on the main page looks like an ESA Mexico. Can you post the images for public access?

  • Hi, great information here. I hope it’s ok to leave a comment? I’m about to purchase what I believe to be a “nuovo Mexico” but was after some advice on whether or not any of you may know the authenticity of this particular frame.

    Many thanks in advance


    • Hi Ashley, of course happy for any cycling enthusiast to leave a comment. I looked at the pics in the link and the frame is advertised as a Colnago Mexico (not a Nuovo Mexico). The Nuovo Mexico has crimped top and down tubes. The Mexico has plain round tubes, just like a Super. The frame shown in the ad has plain round tubes like a Mexico, but my best guess is this frame is a Super from the mid 1980’s. I’m not sure the original Mexico was ever produced with rounded cap’s on the top of the seat stays. The most important feature of the Mexico was the frame was built from Columbus Record tubing and therefore a bit lighter than the Super. The seller might be able to provide you with further info to confirm the frame is a Mexico.

  • Hi , I have found your articles most informative. I have a Colnago frame that has the characteristics of a Nuovo Mexico , two crimps top tube and four crimps down tube . What is puzzling is the seat tube takes a 26.4 seat post not a 27.2 , the seat post is not loose in the seat tube so I don’t think it has been pinched at the top.

    • Thanks David, unfortunately I am not able to explain that one, maybe this frame was a custom build. Is the frame a very small size? My understanding is 27.2mm was the standard seat tube diameter. Have you tried to fit a 27.2mm post? With my first Colnago frame, I was told it required a 27.2mm post and I seriously doubted it because it was a super tight fit, but I discovered the clamping area was pinched and the inside of the seat tube was lined with light surface rust & residue. After I cleaned the inside of the seat tube and rectified the frame clamp, the greased 27.2mm post moved in/out smoothly, but with resistance. The post needs to be a firm fit so the frame clamp doesn’t need to be overtightened. I knew my frame clamp was pinched because the surface of the seat post was scratched when I rotated the post in and out of the seat tube.

  • Hi, good info for Colnago steel bikes. I am doing restoration on my bike and i find your website is very useful. But i am confused wether my Colnago bike is Mexico or Super Early version. There’s a Colnago D 41 printed at the chainstay.

    • The frame is an unusual combination of tubes. It is quite large, features a race number hanger, has curved forks and a water bottle cage mount on the seat tube. I suspect it is a custom build. Looks like a master seat tube and 4 x crimp Nuovo Mexico tubes used for top and down tube. It doesn’t match the regular Master, Nuovo Mexico or Esa Mexico (which was advertised with 6 x crimp tubing in the Colnago catalog). But anything is possible in the world of vintage Colnago frames. I often read online that Colnago used other companies to build frames back then. Enjoy.

  • Thanks for all the info on these beautiful road bikes. I have saved a lot of vintage road bikes from the scrap yard but I don’t restore them, I just make them road worth again with whatever patina they have (after a thorough detailing and then protect them with car wax) I have a Colnago Nuovo Mexico, per most info, but it is enigmatic in the things that are missing, eg. stamping and especially the club under the bottom bracket. I hope you or one of your followers may have some insight as to what I have. Photos are on Pinterest titled Pink Colnago Nuovo Mexico. Unfortunately the reason I want to identify it is to sell it as it is 1 size too small for me.

  • Sorry, not exactly a big time pinterest person. If you search Michael Clapp you will find my board. I am starting to think it may be a 2nd edition Profil CX but there are still anomalies.
    Cheers and my thanks

    • Same, I don’t even have an account on Pinterest. Probably why I don’t see much on your board with that search.

    • Hi Michael, yes I had a look at the photos and see the dilemma. The tubes look crimped like the Colnago Nuovo Mexico, but I don’t think the Nuovo Mexico ever had a rear chain stay bridge. This bridge was commonly featured on the Super of that era, but the Super didn’t have that style of crimped down tube.

      I would say if it were a Colnago frame of that era, the frame would feature multiple locations of Colnago branding eg. cut-outs or stampings with their name or ace of clubs logo as shown in the many photos on my site. If the frame has none of these features I doubt it is a Colnago frame..

  • Hi
    Fascinating website and some great info…keep it up !.
    I have just received a Colnago build from my father. He believes its a Mexico but reading all the info here I’m not so sure.
    It has 2 Crimps top tube, 2 crimps down tube and 2 crimps on the stays. embossed painted colnago on the down tube lug and the Colnago emblem cut-out on the bottom bracket. Painted embossed colnago lettering on the tops of the seat stays. Hope this info will help decide what it actually is as i want to do a full restoration

  • Hello,
    I have one of the single-crimp versions of the Colnago, what would be considered a 3rd-gen Super Profil based on your pages. Mine, however, has a fully chromed rear triangle(well up to the brake bridge) and a front derailleur brake-on. I tried to have a discussion with another blog owner about his analysis, but was quickly shut down with insults. There are a few other details, but I actually think the catalog picture from1983 shows a frame with single crimps on the downtube. I have wondered if the white pinstripes were not part of the paint, but just included drawn over the picture to show the prospective buyer where the crimps are located. On the top tube, one can see that the white stripe goes right over Ernesto’s famous signature, one reason I am suspicious. I am interested to hear some more thoughts on this, if ypu are willing to entertain some other thoughts.

    • Hi Chisom, unfortunately the photo from the 1983 catalog is not good enough quality to determine whether those lines are paint, decals, lighting reflection or something else.

  • Great job on the Nuovo Messico article, it answers a lot of questions.
    Any idea how many were produced?
    I wouldn’t sell mine for $10K, it’s the best steel frame I have ever ridden.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Hi David,

      Thanks for your comments, it is a wonderful bike. Sorry I don’t know how many were made, but based on ebay listings, I dont think they are that common, or nobody wants to sell.. haha.

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