There are very few names in the world of cycling that carry as much weight as Ernesto Colnago. His name is synonymous with quality and many of cycling's greatest PROs can be linked directly to him.
BKW recently sat down with Ernesto to talk about his impact on the bicycle industry and the changes he has seen over his 62 years in the bicycle industry. Ernesto is an incredibly approachable individual, his passion for the bicycle is infectious, and I found that despite his years of involvement at the pinnacle of our sport, he was open to speaking one-on-one, passionate cyclist to passionate cyclist about the subtleties that make our sport so amazing.
Colnago's passion is complemented by his humble nature, although his accomplishments in the bicycle industry are legendary, he remains dedicated to his craft, and despite less time with torch in hand, his involvement is undeniable. The time spent with Ernesto evolved quickly from interview to discussion. Colnago focused on "the heart", and how the sport is very special to us. When a cyclist's effort is driven by the heart, it yields the finest results.
The time spent with Ernesto was inspirational, his experience in the industry, and his influence on bicycles is undeniable and after all these years in the trenches, his passion remains strong. From the days of lugged steel to today's lugged carbon bikes, Colnago has left an indelible imprint on the fabric of cycling. Here are the highlights of our discussion:
BKW: What makes a Colnago ride so nicely?
Colnago: Nice bicycles are not made they are born. It is very easy for me to make great bicycles, it is the only thing I do. Every bicycle built by Colnago was built with heart.
BKW: Tell me about your time as a mechanic. Did it influence how you build bicycles?
Colnago: Of course, I have been in the bike industry for 62 years. I started at 13 years old. First I began as an apprentice, racer, then mechanic in the Tour De France, Giro d'Italia. I have worked with many of the biggest names, Merckx, Sarronni, Gimondi, Motta, Van Looy. My bikes are like children, to the mother, every child is special.
BKW: So the needs of the professional peloton changed?
Colnago: The world has changed. In the old days, the food was easier. Professionals would drink water and eat polenta. Later it was steak and rice following a race; today it is energy gel.
As a parting comment, while discussing the beauty of Colnago's pantagraph work, Colnago responded:
"God made the bicycle; Colnago perfected it."
Many would agree
Ernesto Celebrates 77 Years