Colnago Classic series contain two iconic steel frames: the Master and the Arabesque. When these two classics were born in the 1980s, Colnago Master featured the star-shaped tubes that would become a signature of Colnago, and tame lug shaping. The Arabesque was like Master’s counter-thesis: it had more conventionally shaped tubes, but lugs with significantly more flourish. Today, the Master has barely changed from its roots, but the Arabesque has a different story.
Master frame is the fruit of Colnago’s extensive experience in steel tubing, welding, and lugged frame construction techniques. It is entirely designed, made and chromium plated in Italy with DT15V steel. The Master offers supreme comfort thanks to the ride quality offered by the custom drawn steel tubing. The star-shaped tubes and chromed lugs combined with a 1-inch chrome plated steel Precisa fork make it a classic and truly elegant bicycle that offers a ride unlike anything else. Available in 16 sizes and three color variations: red (AD11), blue (AD10) and black (AD4).
When it comes to classic bicycles, the Colnago Arabesque is undoubtedly the must-have for any collector. The original Arabesque, which is very hard to find today, might be the most well-finished bicycle that Colnago has ever manufactured.
It was produced around 1984 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the company: Ernesto Colnago wanted to create a bicycle which would be a milestone, both for himself and for the bicycle industry.
By looking at the lugs, it is simple to understand where the name “Arabesque” comes from. Those “arabesque shape” lugs actually remind of Gloria Garibaldina, a historic Italian bicycle manufacturer Ernesto Colnago worked for. As for the tubing, the Arabesque was built both with Columbus SL tubes and special profiled Colnago tubes (similar to the Columbus Gilco of the Master and Esamexico).
Somehow, Arabesque proved less popular than the Master, and was produced for only a year. This rarity, however, would eventually turn the Arabesque into one of the most sought-after Colnago bicycles by collectors and retro buffs. In the recent years, the frame became so popular and legendary that for 2016, Colnago started to produce a number of reproductions from a stash of leftover lugs. But, Unlike the original round-tube Arabesque models, this new run will use the Master’s star-shaped tube set. So, the new Arabesque is basically a Master with special lugs.
Where these leftover lugs coming from, it’s also a funny story. According to an article published on bicycling.com, Ernesto Colnago’s nephew, Alex Colnago told the story: an employee was walking in the basement of the company in Cambiago, Italy, where the headquarters and factory located in. Luckily, he found a forgotten stash of original Arabesque lugs. Those lugs are being used to build a limited run of “new” Arabesque frames.
The new Arabesque frame is compatible with modern groupsets or traditional gruppos that feature downtube shifters, for those chasing the authentic look. It is coming with four different color options: blue (RALB), black (RADK), white (RAWH) and red (RARD).