Updated: June 4/2020
Brian Baylis' 1969 Colnago Super, which he bought from Peter Rich (owner of Velo-Sport, Berkeley. See letter from Brian below), and refinished. (Peter Rich started importing Colnago bikes after falling-out with Masi.) I purchased the bike from Brian in January 2015. The frameset was signed by Ernesto Colnago in 2009 at the San Diego Gran Fondo. For over 40 years, Brian Baylis has been a world class frame builder, painter and restorer. He began his career, in November of 1973, as a frame builder's apprentice at the Masi shop in Carlsbad (CA). Brian then went on to create Wizard bicycles with Mike Howard. After Wizard, be has been a one man show, building just over 350 very special bicycles. Even though Brian sold me a complete bike, I took it upon myself to bring it back to ca. 1969 specifications, including the 1968 first generation "no name" Campagnolo brake set, their first ever brake set - subsequent versions have "Campagnolo" engraved on the caliper arms. Below is the e-mail I received from Brian Baylis outlining the history of this special small Colnago, and why, in his opinion, smaller Supers ride better than similar size bikes from another well known maker. From: email@example.com Date: Wed, 1 Apr 2015 17:25:29 To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: RE: Colnago Super history John, Here is what I know about that 1969 Colnago that you recently purchased from me. But first, allow me to detail my personal association and experiences with early Colnagos; specifically the smaller sizes. My first personal experience with Colnago bicycles was in 1972. At that time in Orange County, CA, a Colnago racing bike was rather rare. At the time just about the only place one could purchase a new Colnago frame was from Peter Rich at the VeloSport bike shop in Berkeley, CA. That was a long ways away for a kind one year out of High School. I bought my first "good bike", a 1971 Peugeot PX-10. As I got into racing and more interested in bicycles, I began to seek a better bike. As luck would have it, I ran into a 50cm 1970 Colnago Super for sale local to me. So in 1972 I bought my first Colnago Super, and it was a real revelation as far as what a "good bike" was. I learned a lot from both bikes and several others I acquired before I began building my own frames. I raced my first season of racing in So Cal in 1973. During that season, the Colnago I loved was trashed in a crash in the City of Paramount Criterium that year. I had Albert Eisentraut repair it; but it never felt quite like the original. So I have always had a special fondness for the ride of the small sized Colnagos. Once I began to work at Masi, I discovered that the frame geometry of the smaller sizes (under 53cm) was really funky compared to the Colnago. The main reason the Masi suffered was on account that tghe Old Man (Faliero) insisted on toe clearance even on the smallest road frames. It produced very poor handling for the type of riding that I did (criteriums and road races) while I was racing. Also the climbing characteristics are far superior on the small Colnago. These are my opinions based on my experiences and how I ride. I have had about 10 different Masis my size; and even if I built it custom for myself; if factory jigs and geometry was used, the did not please me. I had a 53cm that rode great. I have had Colnagos from 49 to 54 cm (c-t) and have liked every one of them. The history of the Colnago you got from me goes like this. At some point I met Peter Rich (at an event in CA) and I told him of my pilgrimages to his shop in the early 70's and my fondness for Colnago bikes. One day, I got a phone call from Peter and a customer had walked into his shop looking to sell a very early 1969 51cm Colnago. It was a complete bike set up as a touring rig!! And the owner decided it was time to retire the rig. Peter thought of me and called to ask if I was interested in buying the bike. I said yes. When the bike arrived it had a crappy spray can paint job and had some braze ons added to it. I removed all of the non original braze ons, which leaves just the rear der. chainstay stop as original. I checked the entire frame over and made sure it was still in proper alignment, and then began to lay down an "original type" one color paint job. I chose a color that I liked and was plausible for the period; but isn't necessarily an "original factory color". I never saw the original paint on the bike, so I chose something that I thought looked awesome, and like it belonged on the bike. That Colnago was on display in the booth representing the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show in 2009. Ernesto was in town about a month before the show and was going around with a Sharpie pen and autographing Colnago bikes all over the place. The event was the Colnago sponsored "Gran Fondo" in San Diego. He was there in person for the inaugural event; he also celebrated his 77th birthday here. Anyway, he and I spoke for a bit through his grandson who spoke English. He put his autograph on two of my bikes. That 1969 Super is one of them. I also have a 1970 super my size now that I got in a trade a while back. I ride that one most of the time. the bike you have I believe I took it out on vintage rides maybe 2 or 3 times. It's in pristine condition as a restored bike. Enjoy the bike. She's fairly rare. I suspect that frame was in the very shipment of Colnago Frames that Peter Rich bought directly from the Colnago factory. He was the importer. I heard that there were about 150 frames in that first order. Not sure if that is a fact or not. Brian Baylis April 1, 2015 None of this is a joke. ;-) Brian Baylis died on Saturday, February 20, 2016, aged 63. UPDATE: November 2016 The person that walked into Peter Rich's shop that day with the early 69 Super was Jon Zalon. Below is an e-mail Jon sent to me describing the bike's history prior to Brian's purchase. Hi John, I ran across pictures of the Brian Baylis 69 Colnago restoration that you purchased and thought you might want more info on it. I loved that bike and it worked really well for me for at least 10 years even though it was a little small for me (I'm 5'8"). It was the best-handling bike I ever had. I was the guy who walked into VeloSport in 2005 and sold it to him (after talking to Peter Rich). Here is a little bit of information that was either a little off or missing from Brian's email to you: - I bought the bike used in 1986 in Oakland where I live. It was in original, though rough, shape then. The color was silver with black trim. There were some rust issues, mostly around or under clamp-ons. - I'm not sure why Brian would describe it as a "touring rig", unless having clincher tires instead of the original tubulars made it seem that way to him. After riding it for two years, I was concerned enough about rust under clamp-ons (shifters, cables, water bottles, etc) that I had Chris Kelly (he had just started making his own bikes) do some braze-ons and paint it Ferrari red in 1988. It was not exactly spray can paint. I think it was Dupont Imron and the paint still looked good in 2005. The bike as I sold it to Brian was still pretty much period-correct (or close to period-correct) with slightly newer Cinelli bars and stem and modern clincher (probably MA40) rims laced to NOS Campy hubs. I finally decided to sell it after it languished in my basement for 6 or 7 years while I rode bikes that were more my size. Looks like he made a real beauty for you. I miss it in spite of it being too small for me Best, Jon ERNESTO COLNAGO TIMELINE - 1933: Ernesto Colnago is born in Cambiago, Italy - 1944: Start working with Dante Fumagalli - 1945: Begins work at Gloria (viale Abruzzi, 42, Milano) on November 25, under the tutelage of Sozzi - 1951: Breaks leg in Milan-Busseto race. Alfredo Focesi, owner of Gloria, subcontracts Colnago to build wheels from his home - 1954: First Colnago-badged bikes produced in a 25 square meter workshop (10 Via Garibaldi) - 1955: Becomes second mechanic for Fiorenzo Magni's Nivea team. Head mechanic is Faliero Masi - 1960: Luigi Arienti, onboard a Colnago bike, wins the team pursuit Olympic gold medal (Rome, Italy) with teammates Vigna, Valotto and Testa - 1970: Colnago builds first bikes for Eddy Merckx - October of 1970. 20 bikes per year are built for Merckx - 1972: Builds Eddy Merckx's 5.5 kg hour record breaking bike - October 25th 1972 (Mexico City, Mexico). Pino Morroni (Detroit, MI) fabricates the titanium stem for the bike. - 1974: SCIC is the first team to use Colnago badged bikes - 2 bikes/rider - 1979: Start of the long term association between Colnago and Giuseppe Saronni - 1987: Collaboration between Colnago and Ferrari results in a prototype carbon fiber frameset THE BIKE Frame: Columbus SL. This is the first generation Super frameset with the following distinguishing features: - sand cast fork crown with two holes at each side. - short fork tangs with no cutouts. - equal-size club cutouts in all three lugs. - drilled our bottom bracket with eight holes on a circle and one in the middle. The frameset was refinished by Brian Baylis in a period appropriate color. Brakeset: 1st generation Campagnolo calipers and brake levers. The brake blades are the 2nd generation, which have a slightly larger hole (underside of blade) than the 1st generation blades. Handlebars: TTT Special Stem: TTT Grand Prix Headset: Campagnolo Record Shifters: Campagnolo Record Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Record front derailleur. Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Patent Nuovo Record rear derailleur. No date mark. Crankset: No date Campagnolo Nuovo Record crankset. Bottom Bracket: Campagnolo Record bottom bracket Italian thread (36 x 24 f) Campagnolo Record bottom bracket with thin cups. Pedals: Campagnolo Record Wheelset: 1970 dated 36 hole Campagnolo Record hubs laced to 36 hole Fiamme rims. Chain : Everest Freewheel: 5 speed Regina Seatpost: Campagnolo (27.2 mm) Saddle: Quilted, non-padded Cinelli Unicanitor saddle.