Colnago Master: stellar steel tubes for stellar performances
The Master frame was created in 1983 as a result of Ernesto Colnago's desire to create an innovative, high-quality product that would represent Colnago even symbolically.
The four-pointed star shape of the tube section is reminiscent of the clover, the brand's symbol.
This peculiar shape serves to respond to the violent stresses of the sprints.
It is achieved through a special machining process carried out on the tube in the foundry. The result: a frame that is 12% more rigid. And a breaking load of 105 Kg-mmq.
The need to create these tubes, which guarantee minimum energy dispersion and complete rigidity, came from the immediate response of the bike to the sprints of champion Saronni.
The other riders raced on Colnago Mexico, but only Saronni was given a Master. A Specialissima.
It had a star-shaped frame, which was stiffer, with better performance thanks to less energy dispersion, which was very useful in the sprints. And a narrower tubular, 18/19 instead of 21/22, which guaranteed better performance and less friction.
From the year of its introduction, the Master proved to be an unbeatable product, which immediately made Saronni win the Giro d'Italia. That was the first success of a frame that still proudly maintains its place among the best bicycle technologies in the world.
Ernesto Colnago invented and patented the innovative tube construction technique and was the only one to use it. He worked with Columbus, who supplied the material, to create a unique, high-quality product.
Columbus created, exclusively for the Master, a tube with a shaped section and differentiated thickness, which he called S4 (or star profile) called Gilco Design.
For the Master Pista (1985) he introduced an innovation concerning the steering: the articulation was enclosed in a "cartridge" that was mounted on the head tube from below, giving the whole assembly a particular aesthetic quality.
The tubes of the Master were already produced in the shape of a star, that is, drawn and profiled at the time of production in the foundry.
There was no further processing, as is the case with other tubes.
All other profiles on other frames are stamped with different types of machining on round tubes.
The risk, however, is that the metal, normally a delicate steel alloy, can undergo molecular alterations to the structure that can weaken it.
Initially, the Colnago Master had normal curved forks, while the newer ones have a new type of fork, the Precisa, which is straight.
In the production of this bike, there has always been special care in the choice of small parts as well.
Investment casting was chosen for the forkhead, bottom bracket shell, stays and dropouts.
The joints are made of steel, because the Master frame is very rigid, and the investment casting joints (made of pressed and melted metal powders) are very, very rigid, and therefore would not fit with a product that is already so rigid.
You have to give the frame the flexibility needed for the barrels to work properly.
And the talent and genius of Colnago have found, once again in his epic career, the perfect solution.
(1) Saronni and his Specialissima bike
(2) Our Colnago Master Olympic
(3) An old Colnago Master advertising
(4) Paccagnella, one of the Colnago mechanics