Is there another marque in the history of bicycles that arouses the same level of passion as that of Colnago? The Arabesque is one model that has contributed to their mystique. Re-released this year, this one has been reinterpreted by Spain’s Vintage Luxury Bicycles.
Colnago’s Arabesque frameset was originally introduced to the market about thirty years ago and featured very Regal-looking lugs. To commemorate, and perhaps tap into the nostalgic section of their fanbase, it has been updated and revived.
According to legend, a large box of the Regal lugs was found in a dark corner of Ernesto’s archival warehouse — enough for 400-600 frames — which were married to the tubes used for the Master: Colnago’s proprietary, star-shaped, custom-drawn DT15V tubes.
Other updates include a 27.2mm seat tube and a front derailleur hanger. It also features an Italian bottom bracket thread, horizontal dropouts and downtube shifter bosses with micro-adjusters. Most frames have been snapped up by fans, like André Haak.
André first encountered both the Master and the Arabesque at the local bike shop in Rotterdam, and instantly fell in love with them, although he lacked the funds for the prohibitively expensive price tag.
From 1995 to 2007 he religiously visited Colnago dealers to ogle the new models and in 2007, finally bought his first: a C50. In 2014 he realised his childhood dream, purchasing a 55th Anno Master from Ullmann Radsport in Munchen, 800km away from home.
“Later that year,” André says, “I holidaying in Iseo, Italy, about 40km from Cambiago, and we went to the Colnago Museum. I met Alexander Colnago and told him that I was very impressed with the Colnago Forever and wanted to buy it from the museum.
“This was a joke, but Alexander says, “Seriously? Maybe we can make a deal — I’ll have to talk with Ernesto.” I thought he was kidding me, but three weeks later the Forever was in Holland, in my living room. The second dream came reality.”
André happened upon the work of Spain’s Javier Jubete and his Vintage Luxury Bicycles. Javier performs the most amazing restorations on vintage Italians, dressing them in gold-plated rare parts, resulting in some of the most popular bikes seen on Cycle EXIF.
When André requested Javier to apply his treatment to his Arabesque, no punches were pulled: it now sports a 24k Campagnolo C-Record gruppo with Strada rims and white Cinelli VIP upholstery.
If La Madonna del Ghisallo decides to go out for a traipse through the Bergamo Alps, this would be the machine she’d reach for.