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Old 10-01-2016, 11:41 AM
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wallymann wallymann is online now
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Smile compiled research for the steel-loving tifosi: colnago master/mxl family tree

in the beginning, there was the nuovo-mexico / esa-mexico -- arrived early/mid '80s:
  • basically, a super with “grooved” tubes.
  • nuovo-mexico had 2 light grooves, one on each side of the top- and down-tubes
  • esa-mexico had 6 deeply shaped grooves, initially on just the top- and down-tubes and later on all 3 main tubes.
  • there is evidence of transitional nuovo-mexico variants with 4 light-groove downtubes, as well.

then came the master / master-piu / master-equilateral -- arrived late '80s:
  • introduced the 4-sided “master-profile” gilco tubeset as standard-issue and alot more chrome!
  • master: external top-tube cable routing
  • master-piu: internal top-tube cable routing
  • master-equilateral: a modified seat-stay arrangement that bypasses the seat-lug.
  • early examples had curved forks and one set of bottle-bosses
  • later examples had two sets of bottle-bosses and the straight “precisa” fork was introduced (became standard-issue)

and then came the master-olympic / master-light -- arrived early '90s:
  • retain the 4-sided “master-profile” gilco tubeset
  • retain internal top-tube cable routing
  • integrated rear-mech cable-stop @ rear dropout
  • introduced the garishly-lovely "art decor" colorways
  • in the mid '90s rear dropouts were shortened (still horizontal), added a new integrated seat-lug w/ “plug-in” fastback style seat-stay attachment
  • some late examples went back to external top-tube cable routing
  • for a 1-2 year period, there was a version made with tange tubing (retaining the 4-sided "master profile")
  • eventually was re-christened the "master-light" probably due to trademark protection action by the IOC

which brings us to the well-known master-extra-light / master-x-light / master -- arrived mid/late '90s and continues to this day:
  • retain the 4-sided “master-profile” gilco tubeset, but introduced slightly oversize down-tube spec and larger profile chainstays
  • external top-tube cable routing across the board
  • return to “normal” rear-mech cable-stop on the chainstay
  • rear drop-outs now semi-vertical, yet still retain adjuster screw
  • some examples (sadly) fitted with a variety of colnago-branded cf forks
  • reconnected with its origins early in the new millenium with a return to the pure and simple "master" moniker
  • current production removes the down-tube shifter bosses, replaced with integrated adjuster-barrel bosses

lastly, there have been curiosities and offshoots of the master in the lugged-steel colnago lineage featuring variations on the geometrically enhanced tubing theme:
  • master-dual -- arrived in the late '80s, it is a "proper" master but was available for 1 year only and produced in such incredibly small numbers that was never really a mainline model. this model starts with the master-piu and splits the 4-sided master downtube into a wishbone structure that flares out to attach near the sides of the BB shell to increase lateral stiffness. colnago initiated this split-downtube with the "master-progress" concept bike before producing a series of related designs: the steel master-dual in 1987, the alumium "duall" in 1988, the carbon "carbi-tubo" in 1989, and finally the titanium "master-bititan" in the mid '90s. the steel master-dual is a true unicorn in the cycling world -- i have seen only 1 example ever "in the wild" which was listed for-sale in italy this year for over US$12,000!!!
  • arabesque / regal -- arrived early/mid '80s, there was a very small production run of these models that are basically nuovo-mexico / esa-mexico that featured very ornate/artistic lugs. produced in the '83 timeframe for 1-2 years only, the arabesque features lightly grooved tubes from the nuovo-mexico, the regal features heavily grooved tubes from the esa-mexico.
  • slx-conic-spiral -- arrived in the late '80s, the conic models featured a flared/conical downtube (the larger diameter making for a stiffer BB) with 8 deep grooves of the sort found on the esa-mexico. the balance of the tubeset was normal round stuff you'd find on a super. the flared downtube "conic" concept lives on today in the various lugged carbon colnagos -- starting with the c40-mk2 thru to the C60.
  • tecnos -- arrived in the mid '90s, available alongside both the master-olympic and master-x-light, featured lightly grooved tubing like the nuovo-mexico (5 grooves instead of just 2).
  • master-b-stay -- arrived in the mid/late '00s, it's another "proper" master but in reality it is a bit of a franken-bike that combines the master-x-light main triangle with a carbon rear end. some examples (early?) had only the carbon b-stays and steel chainstays, others (later?) had a full carbon rear end that added 4-lobed carbon chainstays.
  • arabesque (re-edition) -- arrived mid '10s, this is a very small production run of new-build master-olympic/light that feature the ornate/artistic lugs as found on the original arabesque/regal produced in the early '80s. apparently colnago found a box of original arabesque lugs gathering dust in a warehouse and decided to re-introduce this model to the delight of the tifosi!
  • others -- i should mention there were master TT, track, and even MTB variants, but this effort is focused entirely on the core road-variants.

disclaimer: keep in mind we're talking colnago here -- considering the vagaries of artisanal italian bicycle production control methods, there will always be outliers and exceptions! this effort represents the majority of cases. if anyone can ID errors or omissions, please comment!

of course, some bike-porn...my early '00s "freuler" master a-la rabobank and plenty of chrome, originally with a time club fork since retrofitted with a proper chrome precisa


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Last edited by wallymann; 10-15-2016 at 09:12 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-01-2016, 12:10 PM
aingeru aingeru is offline
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I own a 98 Master x light and it checks all this boxes:

retain the 4-sided “master-profile” gilco tubeset
external top-tube cable routing across the board
introduce slightly larger diameter down-tube and larger profile chainstays
return to “normal” rear-mech cable-stop on the chainstay
rear drop-outs now semi-vertical, yet still retain adjuster screw
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Old 10-01-2016, 12:14 PM
54ny77 54ny77 is offline
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master x-light candy apple/saronni theme with chrome precisa fork = bucket list bike.

like this:

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Old 10-01-2016, 12:28 PM
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Steve in SLO Steve in SLO is offline
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There was a Tange-tubed variant of the master olympic.
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Old 10-01-2016, 04:29 PM
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CampyorBust CampyorBust is offline
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This is super helpful thank you, I always wanted a Master with the precisa fork, actually pretty much like the one posted above, though I have a few niggles with that paint scheme. Its hard for me to find a Nag with a paint scheme I like, yet they are out there.

I never really had a handle on which Masters were the creme de la creme.
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Old 10-01-2016, 07:33 PM
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LJohnny LJohnny is offline
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I have an earlier master with one set of WB bosses, curved fork and external routing. Nice bike, not twitchy, super smooth. Every time I ride it I think why have anything else, then I hit the hills and I realize why it's great to have lighter rides. :-D
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Old 10-01-2016, 09:46 PM
beeatnik beeatnik is offline
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92 Master Piu Belgian National Colors
Gilco by Columbus
Internal brake routing
Precisa Fork
Horizontal 130mm spaced rear dropouts
Head tube dropout has cutout (unlike the Olympic, I sink)

Rides like a harsher C59. To quote Borat, I like!
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Old 10-02-2016, 11:24 AM
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wallymann wallymann is online now
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handsome master-piu -- love the belgian flag motif!

updates:
- added reference to tange tubed version of master-olympic
- added to "cousin" content -- conic and master-dual
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:27 PM
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wallymann wallymann is online now
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update -- added:
- master-b-stay
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Old 10-05-2016, 08:29 PM
Dana Kilalps Dana Kilalps is offline
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Happy to get this paint scheme.
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  #11  
Old 10-12-2016, 10:38 AM
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wallymann wallymann is online now
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update

added arabesque (original and re-edition) and regal
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Last edited by wallymann; 10-12-2016 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 10-12-2016, 10:53 AM
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Steve in SLO Steve in SLO is offline
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Great reference list. Thank you for doing this.
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:27 AM
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wallymann wallymann is online now
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update

+master-equilateral
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:34 AM
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fiamme red fiamme red is online now
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I appreciate your work on this. I was curious to know where my Master Piu fit in on the Colnago timeline.



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Last edited by fiamme red; 10-13-2016 at 11:50 AM.
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Old 10-13-2016, 11:39 AM
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wallymann wallymann is online now
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says right there on the top-tube: MASTER-PIU -- given the font and precisa and dual-bottles, i'd say it's around 1990 or shortly thereafter.

gorgeous bike, btw!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by fiamme red View Post
I appreciate your work on this. I was curious to know where my Master Piu fit in on the Colnago timeline.
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Last edited by wallymann; 10-13-2016 at 12:50 PM.
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