Colnago has two very distinct streams of bikes these days. There is the ‘Model V’, currently confined to the Colnago V4Rs, and designed to be the brands pinnacle of performance; Aero, lightweight, the works. Colnago also has a handy mood board for the Model V, filled with sensors, data, Audis, bike races, turbo trainers and a lot of black kit.
Then you have the ‘C Series’, which covers the Colnago C68, the C68 Titanium, the C68 Allroad, and now the C68 Gravel. The mood board for this stream is very different. There’s dusty roads, sunsets, convertible Ferraris, wood, rich tans, pink suits, and above all, heritage.
The brand’s C Series models are still made in Italy using carbon tubes bonded into carbon (and occasionally titanium) lugs. If you want a flavour of what this looks like I spent time behind the scenes at the Colnago factory last year, so you can fill your boots. The new C68 Gravel extends the range to cover anything from pure road, to entirely off-road riding, whilst still, if the mood boards are to be believed, maintaining that intangible heritage factor that its customers so crave.
What’s new? Well, primarily that comes down to geometry.
The black sheep of the range
The geometrical differences between the C Series models are minimal for the most part. The C68 and C68 Titanium only differ in material terms, the latter using the occasional titanium lug. The C68 Allroad offers increased tyre clearances to allow you to deal with poor quality tarmac and ‘light gravel’, but keeps the angles effectively identical; it’s still a road bike at heart, even if Colnago’s geometry is a little longer and slacker than the norm.
The C68 Gravel though is shorter in the reach and higher in the stack than the rest of the range, so as to offer better control and comfort off road. It is also marginally longer than the brand’s current gravel offering, the G3-X, allowing a shorter stem to be fitted.
All the build options are, as is becoming increasingly commonplace, 1x only. You cannot put a front derailleur on the C68 Gravel, but you can fit tyres up to 45mm. The PR material we’ve received also shows a CAD drawing of a 64mm gap in the forks and a 55mm gap at the chainstays, and the actual tyre clearance will also depend on factors like internal…