All-new Colnago TT1 time trial bike to debut at the the Giro d'Italia

UAE Emirates will use prototype versions of the radical new design at the ITT in Budapest

Colnago TT1
(Image credit: Colnago)

Colnago has unveiled a new TT1 time trial bike, which it has developed in collaboration with UAE Team Emirates and which the team will use this Saturday at the Giro d'Italia’s first individual time trial in Budapest.

Colnago says the frame was developed using experience gained from the previous Colnago time trial bike, the K.One, which Tadej Pogačar used to beat Primož Roglič and win the yellow jersey on the penultimate stage of the 2020 Tour de France.

According to Colnago, the new bike represents all of its knowledge in maximum aerodynamic performances.

Most notably the TT1 is the first Colnago time trial bike with disc brakes. While Colnago says this guarantees the best routing of the hydraulic hoses inside the frame with better braking performance and greater rigidity of the entire bicycle thanks to the use of thru-axles on the wheels, it admits that there’s a weight difference compared to the K.One, which it says is “minimal”. 

However, superior aerodynamics are always the priority with time trial bikes, low CdA saving much more time than low weight on all but very steep gradients… at which point pro riders change to their lighter road bikes, as Pogačar did in 2020 when the stage 20 time trial hit the Planche des Belles Filles climb.

Colnago TT1

(Image credit: Colnago)

At the front end of the TT1 Colnago has used what it calls a “bayonet fork”, a design that it claims drastically reduces the frontal impact of the frame in the air while maintaining excellent torsional rigidity. This type of hinged design that dispenses with a steerer tube has been used most memorably by Look TT and track bikes in the past: it allows a very narrow leading edge that a round or D-shaped steerer tube can’t.

The fork blades themselves maintain the same width down to the axle rather than tapering, like the K.One’s - no doubt designed to improve airflow by the disc rotor.

Colnago TT1

(Image credit: Colnago)

There’s a new carbon-fibre base bar that Colnago says is lighter, more rigid and more aerodynamic than the previous one. It is designed to be compatible with the Colnago aero cockpit (available from autumn 2022) and with the most popular aftermarket solutions, including the Deda Jet One extensions as used by UAE Team Emirates.

As is the way with modern TT frames, bottle shape and placement is crucial to optimum aerodynamic performance and the ones that the team will be using at the Giro are 3D-printed prototypes. We’ve seen Colnago use 3D-printed titanium lugs for the recently launched C68 and it’s clear the Italian brand is embracing the tech, but it says the final production versions will be developed in collaboration with Elite, again available to the public from autumn 2022.

Colnago TT1

(Image credit: Colnago)

The bottle itself fills in the lower section of the main triangle and is designed to line up exactly with the very low dropped seatstays, creating a continuous surface from the down tube to the rear triangle.

Colnago TT1

(Image credit: Colnago)

The seatstays use a very thin flat horizontal top section that will be invisible in zero degrees of yaw while the rear slanted section that meets the axle is teardrop profiled.

Parallel with the tops of the seatstays the top tube is horizontal - contrasting with the K.One's sloping top tube. Colnago found the bike was faster if it shortened the head tube, lowered the top tube and used more spacers under the elbow rest: a tower of spacers was more aerodynamically efficient than a larger frame.

Colnago says the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in creating the first 3D models and the findings obtained in the wind tunnel at the Politecnico di Milano University made it possible to obtain unprecedented results in terms of performance at high speeds, but no actual wind tunnel data is supplied.

The TT1 is electronic groupset compatible only and can run 1x or double chainring configurations.

The bike is still registered as a prototype with the UCI and Colnago says it will need to undergo a process of modifications before it goes on sale to the public from autumn this year - and there are no prices available yet.

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Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).

In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.

What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.

And the vital statistics:

Age: 53
Height: 178cm

Weight: 69kg