How to identify a Colnago Tecnos

Colnago Tecnos
Colnago Catalog 1996

The Colnago Tecnos bicycle frame first appeared in their 1996 catalogue and was still in production until the early 2000’s. This frame featured a new tube profile design and was manufactured from Nivacrom steel based on Colnago’s exclusive specification.

Originally I specified the date range of my ‘How to identify a Colnago Vintage bike’ series of articles as 1970’s to 1980’s. However I decided to include the Tecnos as it was sometimes being confused with other older Colnago frames. This page should help to identify this frame.

Special frame features of a Colnago Tecnos.

The Colnago Tecnos is easily identified by the tubing used in the top tube and down tube. The catalogue specifies the measurements of each as;

Down tube: biconical square tubing starting with 28.6mm diameter at the head tube increasing to 35mm diameter in the center, ending with 32mm diameter at the bottom bracket shell.

Top tube: biconical diameter of 25.4mm at either end, 28.6mm diameter in the centre.

This image clearly highlights the special profile of the steel tubing used for the Tecnos frame. It is described as having 5 external ribs to provide higher stiffness and stability under torsional flex stresses.

General frame features

The Colnago catalog also mentions the following features of the frame.

  • Inner rear brake cable guide on top tube.
  • Fittings for second water bottle cage on seat tube.
  • Fork crown and lugs from Colnago Master.
  • Investment cast bottom bracket shell, fork crown and drop-outs.
  • Chrome plated front fork, head lugs and rear seat stays.
  • Supplied with Precisa front fork (straight legs).

First Version of the Frame?

I was contacted by someone who had purchased an old Tecnos frame that had some different features to the frame pictured in the 1996 Colnago catalog. The seat tube lug on his frame was completely different.

After a quick search online, I discovered a similar frame for sale on eBay from Art-Bikes in Torino, Italy. I have included images of this frame below and suspect that it may be a very early version of the Tecnos as the rounded seat stay caps are more similar to bikes from the 1980’s than the 1990’s-2000’s which more commonly featured a completely different seat tube lug design which was marked with a club in a C (as shown at the top of the page). However this assumption is purely speculative at present.

The following images are courtesy of Art-Bikes

Columbus EL-OS tubing or Columbus Technos tubing?

According to this forum discussion, the early Colnago Technos frames were constructed from Columbus EL oversized (EL-OS) tubing which was designed for professional competition. EL-OS was built with Nivacrom steel designed to be light weight and oversized for greater rigidity. Colnago later changed to it’s own spec tube set called as Columbus Technos.

Colnago Literature.

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


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 Tecnos

  • I have a Tecnos, blue with purple trim, Record gear, Cinelli Ti stem and Aluminium 225 mm bars. Love, love, love this bike, which I found in NZ for $2300 NZD including two saddles, and two sets of wheels (race set and commuter set).

  • Ciao avrei bisogno di un consiglio, ho una colnago tecnos in acciaio del 1996,cambio Shimano ultegra. La comprò mio padre alla cifra di 4/ 4.5 milioni di lire(non ricorda con precisione). Sapreste dirmi piu o meno l attuale valore di mercato volendo rivenderla? Grazie.

    Google Translation:
    Hi I need some advice, I have a 1996 steel colnago tecnos, Shimano ultegra gearbox. My father bought it for 4 / 4.5 million lire (he doesn’t remember exactly). Could you tell me more or less the current market value if you want to resell it? Thank you.

    • Hi Claudio, unfortunately I do not know. Your options are to take it to a vintage bike shop for a valuation, search on eBay for similar bikes or list it on eBay and see how much you get. Obviously prices will vary based on it’s condition, components, frame size and colour.

  • Hey there. Great site, congrats. A real shrine to Colnago! I picked up a Tecnos a few years back, lightly restored it and greatly enjoy riding it (and looking at it 😉). Mine’s a AD10-SP10 “soft paint” version. Interestingly slightly different to your brochure image, without “Colnago” on the top tube. I’m guessing mine’s a 97, but who knows for sure.

    • Thanks Alex for your comments. Great to hear you have been enjoying riding your Colnago Tecnos. I checked out your photos. Love the classic blue Colnago paint work, but I would go with a black saddle..

      Interesting to see a triple chain ring on the front. Perfect for a big day out in the Dolomites!

  • Early Tecnos do indeed have the old style seat lug “cluster” when the Master changed to a different seat lug the Tecnos did too, around ‘97.

    Earlier Tecnos also have three point fork lug , no sure when this came in.

    Great bicycles for sure and a bit more rare than the delightful Master.

  • I have a 59cm Tecnos with a feature I have not seen on other Tecnos. The seat tube extends 43mm above the top tube and the Head tube 25mm. Is this a special version or was it done because of frame size?

    • Hi, I believe larger size frames had FREULER geometry which means the head tube and seat tube extend higher above the top tube than a regular sized frame to reduce stand-over clearance on large frames.

  • Hi Rouleur,

    Great website ! Very inspiring and exciting.
    I’m in the process of renovating a 1994 Colnago Tecnos and will
    set-up a blog about it..
    Will post the first article within a couple of weeks..
    Thanks for sharing all your Colnago knowledge..
    Best regards,
    The Netherlands..

  • Hello, What a wonderful site, so much useful Colnago information. I just picked up a frame and fork I cannot identify, the closest model I can find is the Techno. My frame has a number hanger, early style seat lug, the same head lugs and bottom bracket shell as the regular Tecno model as well as dropouts and internal brake cable routing with the cable entering the bottom of the top tube and exiting the top of top tube. All tubes are round with no creases! The paint appears to be original a maroon and blue fade and airbrush work. There is also a Columbus Genius decal. The fork is the second gen fork with the flourish at the bottom of the fork crown. Could it be a custom? The number hanger makes me wonder. There is a number on the bottom bracket 57C61 with 57 matching the size of the frame. There is also a C stamped on the drive side rear drop out right after the Colnago stamp. Any help appreciated, thanks!

    • Hi Mike, glad you find the content useful. As for you frame, it may be released later than the era of my research.

      I did a quick Google search and apparently Columbus Genius tubing commenced in the early 1990’s. There was also a Colnago bike built from this tubing called the Mega Rapid, but the tubes were welded together, not joined with lugs.

      Feel free to post a link to some photos of your frame on the website as someone may be able to help identify it. How to share images on Cycling Obsession

  • Thanks for getting back to me. The frame seems to be one of the earlier Tecnos frames as it has the earlier seat lug and the Precisa fork is the second version from 1995 or so. The number hanger does make me wonder if this might have been a team frame at some point. I am hoping I post the Flickr album correctly! Thanks. Bike Images

    • Hi Mike, when we click on the link, Flickr says we need to be logged in, so I think the images are set to a Private viewing setting.
      In order for everyone to see them, please change images to a Public viewing setting.

  • Hello Rouleur, I finally found the “public” setting. I hope the photos are now viewable from my original link. Thanks Mike.

    • Hi Mike, yes now able to view the images. It’s a very striking paint scheme and certainly appears to be frame from the 1990’s onward which is a bit beyond my period of research. I’ve done a quick Google and couldn’t find any mention of a Technos built from Columbus Genius tubing. Apparently some early models were built using Columbus EL-OS and then Colnago changed to Columbus Technos tubing later on. I have updated the article with a link to that information.

  • Thanks to a friend of mine who did a search for EL-OS Tecnos it appears that these frames were a special European production run and apparently not available in the USA which would explain the fact that mine does not have a serial number stamped on the drive side rear drop out. This information comes from an archived eBay auction on a site called Worthpoint which is supposed to help one put some sort of a valuation on an item. The seller of the Tecnos was in France and he says that his particular frame was a TT special edition made for a French customer. It does have a number hanger.

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