If there was a book entitled “How to monetize your brand loyalists – what every bicycle brand should do”, surely one of the chapters would relate to issuing a ‘limited edition’ frameset. There’s almost no better way to break through the already-fragile consumer rationalization of a well-heeled road cyclist who may already have a spare room bursting with “project bikes”.
Colnago has always been especially active in the field of limited-edition frames. Any notable occasion, even a wedding anniversary (Ernesto Colnago married Vincenzina Ronchi on 05.09.1956 and made 50 ‘Forever’ bikes in 2006 to mark 50 years of marriage), potentially gives rise to a small production run of custom-painted frames. Most recently, Ernesto Colnago, born 9 February 1932 in Cambiago (a short distance from Milano), commissioned a C59 Ottanta to celebrate his 80th birthday. Prior to the Ottanta, a C59 ‘Italia 150th anniversary’ edition was launched in recognition of the 1861 unification of Italy.
Colnago’s Forever: celebrating Ernesto & Vicenzina Colnago’s 50 years of marriage
C59 Italia ‘Unification of Italy 150th anniversary’ edition
Closer to home, it was very interesting – though not altogether surprising, given Colnago’s close association with Taiwan and its bicycle industry ‘A-Team’ – to see the Italian marque launch a C59 ‘Republic Of China 100th Anniversary’ model at Taipei Cycle Show in March 2011.
The above image is from a related post on the enthusiast-run Colnago Con Brio (roughly translates as spirit of Colnago) blog. 100 pieces of the Republic of China (R.O.C) 100th Anniversary model were scheduled for production, though it doesn’t appear to have been embraced by the local market; when I spoke with a representative from Colnago’s Taiwanese distributor, SunStar, at Taipei Cycle show this year, 10 pieces had sold. Should this model pique the interest of any readers outside of Taiwan, SunStar made it clear they would service international order requests on a case-by-case basis.
During the same conversation, by which time a representative from Colnago S.r.l had joined us, it transpired that another R.O.C. limited edition prototype had been made but never offered for commercial sale – possibly after the dismal order activity of the C59 version. It’s here that Cycling iQ is pleased to reveal the Colnago M10 R.O.C 100th anniversary edition for (possibly) the first time. This is the only example in existence and is not for sale. It is also the answer to last night’s late-night Twitter quiz. (Special thanks to SunStar for the images.)
Reminds me of the Damien Hirst Trek Madone that Lance Armstrong rode in the Tour de France that fetched $500,000 for his charity. Colnago are certainly big on their special editions.