How to identify a Colnago Sport

Colnago Sport bicycle
Colnago Sport (circa 1980’s)

The Colnago Sport was an entry level bicycle manufactured from the late 1970’s to the 1980’s. The lower price point made it more accessible to enthusiasts when compared with the top-tier Colnago racing bikes of the era like the Colnago Super.

Whilst the Colnago Sport was not listed in any of the official Colnago literature of that era, online research indicates that it was sold as a complete bicycle, specifically for the German and North American markets.

Interestingly, there is considerable evidence to suggest that Colnago did not actually manufacture this frame. If you look closely at the seat tube decal on this frame shown below, you will notice it says ‘Product of VeloSport’.

Apparently it was quite common in the 70’s and 80’s for Italian bicycle companies to outsource frame building to other manufacturers when demand was exceeding their own manufacturing capacity.

Colnago Sport seat tube decal
Colnago Sport seat tube decal

This frame was built using round tubes. Although there is no Columbus decal on this frame, I found information online that suggests the main triangle of these frames was constructed uisng Columbus Aelle tubing. As expected this tubing was a lower priced product designed for amateur and touring cyclists. It was built of cold-drawn, microalloyed-steel (CMn) with thin wall tubing which reduces weight. The tubes were straight gauge with no butting.

Whilst I don’t have any geometry information for this frame, I expect it probably shared a similar racing geometry to the Colnago Super frame.

There are 2 bikes featured in this identification guide, the first bike is from the 1980’s, the second is from the 1970’s.

Features of an Colnago Sport (Circa 1980’s).

The following images are based on a frame circa 1980’s and you will notice that there are no Colnago or Club stampings on the frame. So the only Colnago branding on this frame is found on the decals.

Images courtesy of www.steel-vintage.com

Features of a Colnago Sport (Circa 1970’s)

Images courtesy of www.steel-vintage.com

You will notice the shift cables are routed in guides mounted on top of the bottom bracket which is very common for 1970’s steel bikes. This model also has a nice chromed fork crown with a heart stamping on either side.

Article References.

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

www.steel-vintage.com
www.bikeforums.net
www.bikeforums.net
www.equusbicycle.com

Disclaimer!

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.

Comments.

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.

23 thoughts on “How to identify a Colnago Sport

  • I have a Colgnago sport and wondering how to determine the value. It’s was left to me from my father and I just pulled it down from the ceiling. Here is the info I have on it.

    Colour saronni red
    Columbus
    aelle

    Gears shimano 105

    Modolo sporting

    Handle bars cosmo

    Gears (Gipiemme)

    Suntour cycle

    High speed cycle 657 1070

    • To be honest Leo, I’m not really sure. Best way to find out is list it on eBay and let the buyers decide. All the best.

  • If this can help, i just saw a Colnago sport with a decal saying Riverniciato Colombus
    the seller was asking for 700 CAD

    Wheels: Mavic CXP 14
    Headset: Gipiemme
    Crankset: Gipiemme
    Seat: Rols San Marco
    Tires: Huthison Fusion 700 x 23c
    Hubs: Shimano 105
    Pedals: Shimano 600
    Handlebar: Cosmos Manubri

  • Hello,
    I found wonderfull master pieces on your sites as I am addicted for old Italian bikes especialy then for Colnago.
    Few years ago I purchased a Colnago but now a days I have no idea what it is for a model :(. The most simmilar one model is a SPORT but my frame is missing rear stay imprints, missing bottom bracket lug logos as well missing rear brake bridge logo on It and in addition there is internal rear brake cable routing…
    There is a few clear Colnago details present so I dont dout it is a Colnago but the painting is for sure not the original one. The front fork had renewed chroming.
    Here some puctures: https://galy77.rajce.idnes.cz/Colnago_unknown/

    Many thanks for help with identification.
    Roman

    • Hi Roman, yes I had a look at the photos and it is a tricky one. Probably early 80’s, but missing some of the details usually found on most Colnago frames. It looks like the tubes are all round so the Master Olympic decal is incorrect. However it is not uncommon for Colnago frames to have rear brake cable routed internally through top tube on many different frames.

  • Just picked up a Colnago Sport in good shape for a very fair price on eBay. I’ve restored a couple of these. A Galli headset and Gipiemme binder bolt were still hanging on. Chrome front and rear drop-outs and fork crown. No engravings. This one has spade-shaped bottom bracket shell cut-out. Medium metallic blue with yellow brand decals. It will be refinished in more interesting typical Colnago color with repro Colnago Sport decals.

    • Hi Ford, thanks for adding information regarding the cut-out under the bottom bracket. The model I showcased in this article didn’t have a photo of the underside of the BB.

    • Hi, just looking at your comments on your frame, I recycle reclaim resell bicycle frame sets from the 60s/70s/80s. Your bottom bracket shell has a cut out of a spade I bought a unusual frame set off E-Bay in 2008 and the frame set has spade cut outs in the lugs front fork crown and under bottom bracket and decaled Colnago. The seller told me it is a ‘Colnago Super’ for a team that registered for the Giro D’Italia in the mid seventies under ‘Colnago’ Ernesto went to registered his team and was told you have registered, he found the team and said you cannot use my name the team with drew, later in the 70s the team was reborn as a second team for Ernesto Colnago under ‘Colner’. Maybe you have a Colner and not a Colnago Sport. My Lap Top is having a moment right now so I am unable to put up a photo of my frame set.

  • I bought one in 1986 in Canada. It came with Gipiemme everything except for the brakes (Modolo Sporting), and the rims (Araya). I think I paid about $C600, but all I really remember is that I sold my motorbike to get it. It really should have come with a Campagnolo Victory groupset. The consensus is that it was made in Mexico but it isn’t stamped with a country of origin.

    The ’80s one you have here looks to be a more refined version of the frame. Mine was all painted with a chrome chain stay protector glued on. The rear dropouts were fully painted with no chroming. The paint was also not as nice as the one you have shown.

    Mine has been through a lot of changes but still sits in my bike shed and is ridden often.

    • Hi Edward, thanks for your comments. Always interesting to hear the story of a bike from original it’s original owner. If any of the parts wear-out you could replace them the used Victory parts I guess. Hopefully you don’t regret selling the motorbike and the fact that it still get’s used 37 years later is fantastic.

  • hi Rouleur
    I love the article really informative and helpful. Did Colnago ever build a fixed gear track frame? i picked one up the other day but after reading your article i am thinking it might not be the real thing. the paint looks right but there is no embossing of the lugs that i can see anywhere. thanks for your time

    Mathew Little

    • Hi Mathew, they may have, but I don’t see anything specifically mentioned as a PISTA (or track) frame in the catalogs I have. They did some TT bikes, but they were fitted with derailleurs).

  • Hi Rouleur. I have bike that I don’t know frame manufacturer. I’ve compare to many models and I think it could be colnago sport. I has shimano 600 tricolore rd, brakes, shifters, shimano 105 fd and dura ace krankset. A few gipiemme stickers, and headseat. San marco rolls seat. Can I send you some photos on email please?

  • Hi Rouleur,
    I have been struggling to identify a bike labelled as a Colnago I got from a friend of mine for next to nothing. I was intending on restoring it however I wanted to ensure that it was a true Colnago before I committed. By looking through all of the bikes on your site I came to the conclusion that a Sport is the best match since there are no Colnago or club stampings anywhere on the frame – the only thing that identifies it as a Colnago are the faded decals and a Colnago stamping behind the rear wheel nuts on the frame. A further point of confusion is that the rear brake cable is routed through the top of the frame, something that I haven’t seen on a Sport before. Along with this, there are no stampings on the lugs as there are here. It is two-tone purple and green and according to the stickers would have originally came with Campagnolo parts and a Columbus SLX frame. At some point, however, someone has stripped it of all of its parts to make it into a fixie. I can attach some photos if that would help.

    Thanks for your help,
    William

    • Hi William, based on those features, it is difficult to confirm that your frame is a genuine Colnago. If the rear drop-outs are stamped Colnago, it could be a cheaper model; like a Sport. Regards to restoring it, if the frame is in good condition (not bent, cracked or serious rust) and you enjoy restoring bikes, then go for it, but with the aim of riding it. I don’t believe it will be a collector’s item, so work on a budget keeping that in mind. Colnago frame or not, I’m sure it will be fun to ride. Depending on your knowledge and ability, it could be a good practice restoration before restoring a more expensive Colnago if you come across one.

  • Hi David, i’ve been looking all over your site and on many Facebook specialized groups, and there still a doubt if my Colnago is a real Colnago. It seems to be a Sport, but… Is there a chance i could send u pics (i have plenty) to help me ID the bike? Thanks in advance, Nicolas (Brussels Belgium)

    • Hi Nicholas, David posted a comment on this page, but is not affiliated with Cycling Obsession. Unfortunately, the Colnago Sport doesn’t feature the typical Colnago markings found on their other frames. All of my research regarding the Colnago Sport is presented on this page. Maybe contact Steel Vintage bikes in Germany, they work with an extremely large range of steel bikes and may be able to assist with your enquiry. Best of luck.

    • Hi,
      I don’t have a lot of information about the Colnago Sport as it wasn’t a premium Colnago model.
      Looking at the photos, the rear dropouts and seat tube lug are different than I would expect to find on a Colnago frame of that era.
      Also not sure about the ‘S’ marking on the top of the fork crown.
      Unfortunately, decals can easily be applied to any frame so that is not a clear indicator.

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