1995 Colnago Titanio
Check out this wonderful twin-downtube design from Colnago, the Bi-titan. The Bititan was sometimes labeled like this one here as the “Titanio”.
A big innovator throughout the decades, Ernesto Colnago really hit his stride in the early 1990′s. New materials meant designs that wouldn’t work in steel could be revisited. This titanium marvel features triangulated twin tubes running to the bottom bracket shell, and a diamond-shaped titanium top tube. With the straight-bladed fork legs and edgy component choices, this Titanio is quite a break from the 100 years of traditional steel frame design that preceded it, and definitely different from the organic carbon shapes we see today.
It’s too bad that we’ll probably never see racing bikes designed like this again. Wait, what? Why, if this bike is so cool, will we never see one like it again?
Because the UCI stinks.
The UCI, or Union Cycliste Internationale, is the governing body for the sport of bike racing. In the late 1990′s, in order to exert more control over cycling (while ignoring the rampant blood doping in the pro peloton), the UCI created rules that restricted how a racing bike could be made. Today, manufacturers like Colnago even have to submit their designs for inspection and an expensive UCI certification.
Innovative ideas like the twin downtubes on this Titanio run afoul of the UCI’s rules. Traditional front frame triangles were mandated . No solid panels or airfoil shapes. No split tubes. No suspension on road bikes. Wheels have to be the same size. Heck, even neat little aero bars like these Cinelli Spinaccis were outlawed for use in mass-start events (maybe that was a good idea).
The Spinergy Rev-X wheels on this bike have an unusual status in bicycle history. They were one of the earliest bicycle wheels (besides discs) made of carbon fiber.
They were a commercial success, and were followed into the marketplace by countless carbon-fiber wheel manufacturers. The unusual part is that while they were marketed as more aerodynamic and lighter weight than wire spoked wheels, they were actually neither. Few people bought these for their best attributes. While they looked flimsy and harsh riding, the Rev-X’s were actually pretty robust (as long as you didn’t crash) and rode with a great springy feel.
We hope you have enjoyed this tasty bit of eye-candy from Ernesto Colnago, the old UCI and the component companies of the 1990′s.