By Simon Smythe
Colnago has announced it is to integrate blockchain technology into its new bikes, claiming to be the first cycling manufacturer to link its physical products to a virtual ledger. This is, it says, to ensure the validity and proof of ownership of new Colnago frames.
The Italian premium road bike manufacturer will use blockchain technology across its frames starting in 2022, with the first bike to feature the tech being the one that Tadej Pogačar will race this Sunday at the World Championship road race in Belgium.
According to Manolo Bertocchi, head of marketing, Colnago has been looking at the security provided by blockchain technology to “give our customers the confidence to know that the frame they are buying is authentic and to demonstrate the chain of ownership forever. We will also announce other functions based on blockchain with the new year.”
For the project Colnago is partnering with Italian tech company MyLime, which will connect Colnago frames to the Automotive Blockchain, where records of any frame’s manufacture, transport and sale will be recorded. Because the data stored on the blockchain is distributed, it can not be faked or changed once registered, supposedly providing ultimate proof of ownership.
The Colnago V3Rs that Pogačar will ride on Sunday will feature a special ‘Ice & Fire’ livery that Colnago says the 23-year-old Slovenian designed himself, and will be auctioned off at the moment of the launch of the new Colnago website and app in 2022.
Pogačar said: “It’s the first time I have designed a bike and working with Colnago engineers and designers has been very exciting. The idea is that my head is cold like ice while racing, but my legs are always on fire and Colnago has delivered Frozen colours to represent this dichotomy.”
Colnago will move to add blockchain transactions to team and production bikes in 2022 and information around manufacture, sales and ownership will be stored on MyLime’s blockchain-based platform where it can be accessed by anyone. Additionally, Colnago will make a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) version of each bike available to the owner.
In May Colnago produced an NFT-only C64, with no physical bike made.
Colnago’s technical partner MyLime has developed and created an RFID tag that is inextricably linked to the bike frame and grants access to the information in the bike's digital passport through a smartphone app that is linked to the blockchain. When the frame is sold to a new owner, the transfer of ownership can be managed with MyLime’s certified process.
Colnago says the transparency offered by MyLime’s blockchain solution will lend absolute traceability and will ensure the bicycle's value over time. However, it has be said that the process will rely on ownership updates being kept up to date, it’s not clear how the tech can prevent theft of a bike and in the case of counterfeit frames - or stolen bikes - it assumes that their buyers are unknowingly receiving stolen or counterfeit bikes.
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:
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