Colnago is probably the most recognisable of all the Italian bike brands, and the mid-range CLX 2.0 is a very charismatic bike with a premium feel and enough details to ensure pride of ownership.
The Alfa carbon one-piece front triangle shares a lot of similarities with the £2400 CX-1 frameset, including the signature cloverleaf tubes. You get smoother-riding leaf-shaped rather than rectangular chainstays and external cable routing on brakes and gears. Seven sizes and three stock colour schemes (plus further options) mean anatomic and aesthetic tastes are very well catered for too.
From the off, the CLX 2.0 shows why Colnago has the premium reputation it does, with an immediately confident and surefooted feel. A resolute but not jarring connection through every contact point gives a sense of pedigree and purpose.
The carbon FSA cranks deliver your power directly through the deep section, multi-lobe chainstays to the tarmac. You can put down plenty of wattage without worrying about the bike jumping and kicking around, though, and it never shrank from the inevitable village sign sprints.
Its rock-solid response and a well-shaped bar meant we were happy to spend a lot of time in the drops, maximising speed gains from the bladed spokes and cutaway aero seat-tube and seatpost that Colnago has slipped into the mix.
Touches like the colour-coded and confidently powerful Colnago logo brakes and a top-quality Colnago/Prologo saddle all add to the desirability and ride quality of the CLX 2.0. The Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels are relatively light and certainly don’t dull the CFX’s responsiveness when the gradient or riding pace goes up.
Despite a narrow bar and long stem, it’s equally unfazed by wet, greasy corners. This confidence soon translates into tighter cornering, first-to-the-bottom racing and a general bully boy attitude whenever your ride dives into the ballistic zone.
This gung-ho feel does come at the expense of featherbed comfort, and while it’s never uncomfortably harsh, it’s definitely a more spartan, firm ride than the more cruisey options here. The naturally predatory position can become tiring on longer rides if you’re not used to it, although anyone looking for a charismatic competitor with real pedigree will love the CLX 2.0.
Highs: Good looking and great riding bike with superb high speed poise and purposeful power delivery. Reasonable kit for a cognoscenti-respected brand too.
Lows: Firmer ride feel makes it more Grand Prix than Gran Fondo and you’re paying a premium for the name.
Buy if: You want a bike that shows exactly the poise, purpose and collar and cuffs styling that makes Italian stallions so sought after.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.
Original: BikeRadar.com Road Bikes & Gear