Desire: Colnago Arabesque

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How a serendipitous stumbling across a box in a basement led to the revival of a classic: the sumptuous steel swirls of the Colnago Arabesque

Photographs: Marshall Kappel

At some point during the mid 1980s a box of lugs was deposited in the basement of the Colnago factory in Cambiago, near Milan.

 

They had been sculpted for the Arabesque, a sumptuous display of the Italian firm’s master craftsmanship that was commissioned to celebrate its 30th birthday in 1984.

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Paired with a special edition Campagnolo Super Record groupset, the resulting machine has since become one of the most sought after collector’s items on the vintage bike market.

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Curiously, the basement was where the box remained. It gathered dust for over 30 years until one day in 2015, a Colnago employee stumbled across it by accident.

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Quite how such a haul could escape notice for three decades is a question for another time.

 

However, presented with this accidental time capsule, Colnago decided to make another run of bikes from them. Well of course you would, wouldn’t you?

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Colnago kept on building until the lugs ran out.

 

Using the star-shaped tubes of the current day signature steel frame, the Master, the new Arabesque has been built to similar specifications to the original 1980s model.

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The new frames now number between 400 and 600, resurrecting the decorative, ornate flames of those classic lugs for the 21st Century.

 

An instant classic.

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