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ISSUE 19.3 - GIRO D'ITALIA SPECIAL NOW AVAILABLE

  • Desire: Colnago Arabesque

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    How a serendipitous stumbling across a box in a basement led to the revival of a classic: the sumptuous steel swirls of the Colnago Arabesque

    Photographs: Marshall Kappel

    At some point during the mid 1980s a box of lugs was deposited in the basement of the Colnago factory in Cambiago, near Milan.

     

    They had been sculpted for the Arabesque, a sumptuous display of the Italian firm’s master craftsmanship that was commissioned to celebrate its 30th birthday in 1984.

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    Paired with a special edition Campagnolo Super Record groupset, the resulting machine has since become one of the most sought after collector’s items on the vintage bike market.

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    Curiously, the basement was where the box remained. It gathered dust for over 30 years until one day in 2015, a Colnago employee stumbled across it by accident.

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    Quite how such a haul could escape notice for three decades is a question for another time.

     

    However, presented with this accidental time capsule, Colnago decided to make another run of bikes from them. Well of course you would, wouldn’t you?

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    Colnago kept on building until the lugs ran out.

     

    Using the star-shaped tubes of the current day signature steel frame, the Master, the new Arabesque has been built to similar specifications to the original 1980s model.

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    The new frames now number between 400 and 600, resurrecting the decorative, ornate flames of those classic lugs for the 21st Century.

     

    An instant classic.

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