How to identify a Colnago Saronni

Colnago Saronni
Colnago Saronni (circa 1983)

Colnago released several models of the ‘Saronni’ bicycle which appeared to have been launched as a sub-brand of Colnago, which may explain why Saronni frames do not feature the familiar Colnago ‘club’ markings usually found on the frame lugs of their other models. So far I have discovered 3 or 4 variants of the Saronni branded bicycle.

  • Colnago Saronni which was released celebrate Saronni’s World Championship’s Goodwood win in 1982.
  • Beppe Saronni Giro d’ Italia model to celebrate his overall Giro win (I suspect 1979, but he also won in 1983).
  • Saronni Tipo Sprint (English translation: Saronni Sprint type).
  • Saronni Criterium.

A recent comment below led me to the following forum post that advises about 4 years after Colnago created the Saronni brand, it passed manufacturing duties to Tecnotrat and thereby ended the Colnago connection to the Saronni frames.

I believe the Colnago Saronni and Giro d’Italia models were made by Colnago, but I am unsure as to which company manufactured the other 2 models. I suspect the Saronni Criterium frame was made by Tecnotrat as the example pictured later in this article has the frame size stamped underneath the bottom bracket. This is something I have not seen on other Colnago models of this era.

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..

Special features of a Colnago Saronni.

The Colnago Saronni is essentially a Colnago Super and it is built using Columbus SL tubes although larger sizes use Columbus SP tubes. It is believed that only the early Saronni models were built with Columbus SL tubes. Later models were suspected to be built with tubes from lower down the range.

Colnago Columbus Tube Chart
Type and weight of tubing used in Colnago Super and Colnago Mexico frames (circa 1981).

Images of the 1983 bike courtesy of

Beppe Saronni Giro d’Italia model.

There was another Colnago Saronni featured in an early 1980s Colnago catalogue as shown below. This model was released to commemorate one of Giuseppe Saronni’s victories in the Giro d’Italia. He won the race overall in both 1979 & 1983. As shown in the catalogue, this model features a large ‘S’ pantograph on the lower head tube lug and Saronni pantographs on both the stem and chain rings.

Colnago Saronni Giro d'Italia
Early 1980’s catalogue page featuring a Saronni Giro d’Italia version.

Saronni Tipo Sprint

The Saronni Tipo Sprint wasn’t originally listed in this guide until it was mentioned by a couple of people in the comments section below, one of whom kindly provided the original images of this Tipo Sprint frame. There is no problem identifying this model as it is clearly branded a Saronni Tipo Sprint on the down tube decal which appears to be original. Other features are the Saronni lettering engraved on the top of the seat stays and in the rear drop-outs.

Saronni Tipo Sprint frame
Saronni Tipo Sprint frame.
Original images courtesy of Michael McKinlay (refer comments below)

One of the interesting aspects of this frame is the heavily crimped chain stays presumably to provide more rear end stiffness presumably for.. well sprinting. The decals heavily feature the World Champion rainbow bands, so it is possible this frame was manufactured after Saronni’s world championships win in 1982.

As this model isn’t mentioned in any of the Colnago catalogs I have, I am not sure who manufactured these frames, but the head tube decal says it was made in Italy. Also a decal on the seat tube says this frame is built from Colombus Aelle tubing which is apparently a straight gauge – thin wall tubing designed for amateur and touring cyclists, built of cold-drawn, micro alloyed steel (according to Colombus Aelle is not as light as Colombus premium butted tubes like SL / SLX which were regularly used in Colnago’s frames such as the Colnago Super.

Saronni Criterium

I didn’t find any mention of this frame in any of my vintage Colnago catalogs. It is not discussed widely over the internet so I presume this model was quite rare. Like most of the Saronni frames, there are none of the usual Colnago markings on this frame even though Saronni rode in teams supplied by Colnago for most (if not all) of his professional career.

The frame is quite easy to identify as both the top and down tubes have a round-oval-round profile, but this is a little hard to see in the photos.

Of the three examples I have found online, the frame and forks are fully painted with no chrome plating. The frame size is stamped under the bottom bracket which is different to other frames manufactured by Colnago of the same era. No braze-on front derailleur mount on seat post. One set of biddon cage bolts on the down tube only.

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.

39 thoughts on “How to identify a Colnago Saronni

  • Thanks for your article. I have been fortunate to discover a Colnago Sarroni Super here in South Africa. The top tube and down tube are not “crimped” as such but flattened/ovalised. Your article seems to be conclusive that it is not the 1983 because it lacks the “S” in the head tube/downtube lug. The thing I add is that mine has decal on the top tube “Criterium” – I wonder were there a range of Colnago Saronni models each year, or whether this decal might date mine to a particular year? Mine came out fully specified with Gipiemme Crono Sprint parts throughout, and it has a chrome fork crown, but is otherwise Saronni red. The only stamp I can find is “58” on the bb shell, which is the frame size.

    • Hi Las, thanks for posting your comments about the Saronni Criterium. Looks like we are now up to 4 different bikes that were branded as Saronni models. After searching around the internet, I found a few photo’s and posts discussing the Saronni Criterium and I plan to add it to the Saronni page. Unfortunately, I don’t really know when it was made as it seems quite rare. I havent seen it in any of the Colnago literature I have. The Oval shaped top & down tubes make it different to the other Saronni frames. If you can post a link to some photo’s of your bike, I would be interested to see it, particularly the Criterium decal. The curious thing for me with this frame is how the frame size is stamped under the bottom bracket. Of all the different Colnago models I have posted on my site from the 70’s & 80’s, I haven’t seen the frame size stamped under the BB before. Whilst I believe Saronni rode Colnago bikes his entire professional career, it makes me wonder if Colnago actually manufactured this particular frame?

  • Hi . I’m looking for some information about my frame. I supose that it’s a colnago saronni but it’s not like any of the photos that you have shown.. if you don’t mind qive me an email adress to send you photos of my frame. Thank you

  • Dear Saronni experts:) I did days of research on internet, but I cant identify a bike.   I am looking for help to identify this bike which might be a Saronni? acquired this giant bike recently, all remaining stickers and paintwork (probably groupset as well)  look original.  It has the trace of a Saronni badge, but otherwise has nothing to relate to Colnago made Saronni, no engravings, different lugs.My idea was it might be a late “tecnocrat” Saronni (without engraving) but there is nothing else to relate either (Tecnotrat saronnis has different lugs and dropouts, even different badge)The paintwork and lugs look much like an Oscar Simonato (e.g. but other details are different, no ‘S’ engraving, cable guide is under the BB shell, in general it looks younger (mid-eighties imho).In general it looks a nice Italian bike (BB shell is 70 mm), but oddly it has a Reynolds 531 sticker.Dropouts are clear BREV. CAMPAGNOLO.Any tips are very welcome!

    • Hi Marci, that is a very tall head tube on that frame and I suspect it is a custom built geometry. The seat tube decal looks completely original and it appears to say Reynolds 531 tubing. According to Wikipedia, this tubing was first introduced in 1935, but based on the design features of your frame I expect it was made in the early 1980’s when Saronni was famous. However, I have not found any Colnago frames built with Reynolds tubing. The frame also doesn’t match the features of any Saronni frames I have identified so far. As for the glue residue on the head tube which resembles the shape of the Saronni decal, it is not much to go by. However, thanks for mentioning the Tecnotrat era of Saronni bicycles, I have added some more information to the page.

    • Hi Karol, that is a very interesting discussion about your bike and it looks like you have had some real vintage experts trying to determine if the frame is a genuine (Beppe) Saronni. I expect any Colango Saronni bikes sold with components (like the Giro d’Italia model), were supplied with Campagnolo Super Record brakes, not Modolo brakes. The Reynolds 531 decals on your frame look very original and I have not found any Colnago frames built with Reynolds tubing.

  • Ciao a tutti mi chiamo Marco e scrivo dalla provincia di Bergamo,ho ereditato da poco la Colnago Saronni Criterium originale di mio padre,la bicicletta al momento è in fase di restauro conservativo per partecipare all’evento Eroica Gaiole,appena sarà pronta farò il possibile per inserirla nel Registro Biciclette Eroiche e se vorrete che vi mandi qualche foto dei particolari ditemi come fare,per me sarà un piacere.
    La bici ha tutte le decalcomanie originali.

    GOOGLE Translated to:
    Hello everyone my name is Marco and I am writing from the province of Bergamo, I recently inherited my father’s original Colnago Saronni Criterium, the bicycle is currently undergoing a conservative restoration to participate in the Eroica Gaiole event, as soon as it is ready I will do my best to insert it in the Heroic Bicycles Register and if you want me to send you some photos of the details tell me how, it will be a pleasure for me.
    The bike has all the original decals.

    • Hi Marco, that sounds like a great project. Unfortunately, this website does not provide the ability to upload photos but there are many websites on the internet that allow you to create a free account and upload your pictures. Then you can post a link (URL) in the comments section of this website and people reading the comments will be able to view your images. Here is a list of some free image sharing websites.

  • Thank you for addressing the “Criterium” model. I believe the first picture is actually my frame. I have had trouble getting the last parts I wanted, fork repaired (needed machining), and my time has been prioritized for my hospital work due the the current situation worldwide. I will add that that frame is not lightweight compared to many of my other frames, and when scrutinizing the downtube I can discern a seam in the tubing. Top tube goes from OD of 1.025″ diameter at the lug down to .86″ in the middle. The weight of my frame alone (no fork) is approximately 5.5 lbs; I have full framesets of similar size which weigh about the same. My notes show a 26.0 mm seat post fit.

    • Thanks for your comments Jesper. I’m sure this information will be of interest to other people who read this article.

  • Hi I need help to identify year and model of my blue colnago Saronni S.
    How do I post images?

        • Hi Dave, yes definately a Saronni, looks like original paint and decals, but some minor differences to the ones listed in the article. Not sure exactly what year. The rear brake cable is a little short, it would typically run across the top of the seat tube.

          • Cheers-Is there any way to identify the year?
            The three main tubes are round, can’t get a thickness of the tube from the seat tube as it varies.
            The head tube is 143mm so it’s a 57 frame.
            Is it collectable?

          • Hi Dave, there is no close-up photo of the bottom bracket, but it looks like the rear derailleur cable is routed on top of the bottom bracket which was typically found on older bikes, so I suspect it may be an early 1980’s frame, but that’s just a guess.

            Whilst Colnago steel bikes are always popular and in demand, it’s typically frames that are produced in very limited numbers or ridden by famous riders that are really collectible. Originality, components and condition also affect the price. Just enjoy riding it and the market will determine the price when it’s time to sell. Cheers.

  • Hey all,
    Since I can see there are recent discussions about these Saronni bikes… I have one, that is a bit specific when it comes to the dropouts… (Dont look at the components, just the frame and fork. On the rear dropouts has Colnago written on it, what I didnt notice on other Saronni frames.
    Any info on this version?

    And here are the images (hope the links work):

    • Hi Aprad,
      Thanks for posting links to photos of your frame. Interesting to see different variations of these frames appearing. What I found most interesting is the cable stops under the bottom bracket, I haven’t see that setup before. Unfortunately everything I know about this model is currently included in the article, but hopefully some other visitor may be able to advise further. Very nice bike and frame appears to be in very good condition. Looks like original paint?

      • Hey,
        Thanks for the quck reply. Not sure abount the paint, got it like this, but at moments it does seems like it has been repainted (like the dropouts with the “colnago” engraving, looks flooded with paint), but then at other places it looks very precise.

  • Hi Aprad, (nice bike)
    My Blue Saronni is very similar to yours in many ways, the bottom bracket cable routing included, but with some differences.
    Mine, I bought the frame from E-bay built it up with full-Super record, it has the older Columbus Special tubing decal so its SL or SL with SP (62CM) what’s left of the sticker indicating it anyway. Fork is fully painted and Saronni stamped on the crown and front drop-outs, Campagnolo Brev. on the rear dropouts.
    No serial number no size on the BB shell
    When I received the frame the cutouts and embossed markings were in white, but turned to be yellow under the white paint.
    Inner fork shim has 3 circle cutouts also in painted in yellow.

  • Mike from aToronto, Canada here. I’ll add one more to the mix. Complete Frankenbike.

    Texted Modolo Sticker Above Shifter Bosses
    Columbus Aelle Sticker On Seat Tube
    Saronni Dropouts
    Vertical Saronni On Seat Stays
    Ishiwata Forks
    Campagnolo Record Downtube Shifters
    Campagnolo 3600/NT, Gran Sport Front D
    Campagnolo 980 Rear D
    Miche Headset, Fluted Cranks, Italian BB and Pedals w/ Christophe clips.
    Italmanubri Aereo 22.2 Seatpost with Shim
    G. Caimi Castano Everest Freewheel
    Ambrosio Extra Rims
    Ambrosio 13 Volte Campione del Mondo Handlebars
    Bianchi Hubs
    Ofmega Skewers
    Shimano 600AX BR-6300 Brakes
    San Marco Gi-Lux 312 Saddle

    Some unique differences as well… I cant find a frame size / date stamp anywhere. Repaired drive side dropout. The ‘Saronni Photo’ on headtube and downtube have a different cutout style and reads “Made In Italy”. I feel the font on the Vertically written name on the seatastays is larger than others I’ve seen. Only 2 cable guides on top tube.

    21.5 frame 21 top tube

    One other odd element… I thought I had read somewhere that the Italmanubri Aereo 22.2 Seatpost was usable on a Colnago “Aero Seat Tube” with a shim… Can’t find the link right now.

    I look forward to reading your insights.

    Cheers! Mike from Toronto.

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for posting images and details of your Saronni Tipo Sprint. Assuming the decals are original, this is clearly identified as a Tipo Sprint.
      Apparently built from Columbus Aelle tubing and features some seriously crimped chain stays.
      Are you happy for me to update the page with your images?

  • Hi,
    I find this discussion very interesting. I have a Saronni Colnago which is akin to the ones displayed in the late 70s Colnago catalogues. It has a Saronni panto on the fork and rear stay, and all the other Saronni panto parts, as well as the drilled downtube shifters and brake levers. It is yet somewhat different to the catalogue in that it has a Colnago club on the lower head tube lug instead of the Saronni ‚S’ and Colnago decals instead of the Saronni decals. I assume, it is an early version of the ones that came out after Beppe‘s Giro victory in 79.

    I have provided some pictures on this website

    • Hi Michael, bike looks to be in very good condition, I particularly like the Saronni engravings on the large chain ring.

  • I have a Saronni Criterium frameset, it has RDV (Vlaeminick) front and rear Dropouts,, I also have a RDV colnago with the same stampings in my collection , seems , the parts bin could be raided in the factory for all these specials being built in the 80s

  • Hello! Thank you for your blog, I love it. It’s full of important informations. However is there a way to chat with you in a direct way please? I need informations about a Saronni bike model. Thank you

  • Hi

    Congratulations on an awesome website.

    Wondering if you can help ID an old frame? The frame is stamped with 53 under the bottom bracket, EC 092 very faintly on the back of the seat tube, Columbus stamped on both front and rear wheel lugs, and a dove on the fork crowns. So pretty clearly Columbus.

    The forks, seat and chain stays are all chromed, pretty good all around. All tubes are circular. There are two sets of bidon cage mounts. There is the small Colnaglo-like cube shaped thing in between the two seat stays, but no club, and there are details at each of the tube joins similar to those pictured above.

    I am not sure if the chrome or (metallic green) paint is original but there are Saronni decals (for individual letters) on the down and seat tubes.

    A mix of old campagnolo and Suntour Superbe Pro gear on it.

    All told she seems be kind of between all of the descriptions on this page. Any thoughts on next steps to identify?

    Kind regards

    • Hi Nelson, it’s a nice looking bike, but I don’t believe it is a Saronni. Looking at the video, the frame appears to have (4 or more) distinct crimps on each of the top tube, down tube (and maybe seat tube?). As far as I am aware, none of the Saronni branded frames featured these crimps. Even the S marking on the fork doesn’t appear to match the Saronni logo shown in the photos.

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