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96/9/1-1 Bicycle, Colnago C35, carbon fibre / metal / rubber, Colnago, Italy, 1989. Click to enlarge.

Colnago C35 bicycle

The Colnago C35 is one of the first road bikes made with a carbon fibre frame. The C35 was launched in 1989 to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the company founded in 1954 by Ernesto Colnago at Cambiago near Milan.

Hence this limited-edition bike features monograms and lettering highlighted in gold leaf and some gold-plated parts. However its sculpted frame is its most striking feature. Unlike metal frames, carbon fibre frames are generally formed in one piece, known as a monocoque. The C35 …


Object No.


Object Statement

Bicycle, Colnago C35, carbon fibre / metal / rubber, Colnago, Italy, 1989

Physical Description

Bicycle, Colnago C35, carbon fibre / metal / rubber, Colnago, Italy, 1989


marked in gold on upper frame "Ernesto Colnago"
marked in gold on steering head "35"
sticker "Ferrari Engineering"



1070 mm


515 mm



Designed at Ernesto Colnago's company in association with Ferrari Engineering.

Ernesto Colnago (b.1932) became a racing cyclist during his teens until a broken leg suffered in 1952 aborted a promising career. Working first as a mechanic, Colnago began making custom racing frames in 1954, and quickly attracted the patronage of some of Italy's leading riders. Colnago was among the first to realise that a short wheelbase frame with a comparatively upright seat tube would be more responsive than existing frames.

In 1957 Gastone Nencini won the Giro d'Italia using a Colnago frame. This was the first of numerous successes achieved with leading cyclists, most notably Eddy Merckx. Colnago has sponsored and supplied numerous leading teams, most recently the Dutch team Rabobank, whose Denis Menchov took third place in the 2010 Tour de France. It is often claimed that more professional races have been won on Colnago bikes than those of any other manufacturer.

As well as frame and fork design, Colnago has also played a leading role in the development of frame materials including aluminium, titanium and the first carbon fibre frames produced during the 1980s. Despite this, Colnago continues to produce a range of steel alloy frames.

Colnago is still based at the village of Cambiago where Ernesto Colnago was born. However, since 2005 much of its frame production has been outsourced to a Taiwan manufacturing consortium led by Giant.



This bicycle was placed in a charity auction to benefit the Australian Opera by Clarence Street Cyclery. It was purchased by the donor for $11,000 with the intention of using it as a road bike. The donor considered the bicycle 'too good' to be used on the road and donated it to the museum in unused condition.
He advised that he had not removed the bicycle from its box.
Donated by Clarence Street Cyclery to charity auction. Purchased by donor and donated to the museum.

Cite this Object


Colnago C35 bicycle 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 27 October 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Colnago C35 bicycle |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=27 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}