In 1885, Edoardo Bianchi started building bikes at his shop in Milan. This brand oozes class, style and performance. From the iconic Fausto Coppi and the tragic brilliance of Marco Pantani to the current Vacansoleil-DCM Team, Bianchi can claim 12 Giro d’Italia and three Tour de France wins. If you can’t ride quickly on this bike, you might as well hang up your helmet.
Let’s not mince words, the Bianchi is stunningly beautiful. Even though it has the obligatory oversized headtube and bottom bracket of a modern carbon frame, it maintains the aesthetics of a classic racer.
The stiletto-thin seatstays and delectably splayed chainstays give one of the most attractive rear ends we’ve seen on a bike for a long while. It doesn’t shout aero, but internal cabling, bladed fork and subtly profiled tubing suggest it shouldn’t be a slouch through the air. With our 57cm frame build tipping the scales at 6.82kg, you sense the Bianchi has been designed with gradients in mind.
The wheelset is the thoroughly decent Fulcrum Red Wind. At 1,755g, there are certainly lighter wheels but these come with a solid reputation for durability. The 50mm rims are a perfect compromise between aerodynamics and handling, and the alloy braking surface, although adding weight, means reliable stopping even in the wet.
The groupset is Campagnolo Super Record. Dripping with carbon and titanium, including
the bottle cage bolts, and along the ultra-light skeleton brakes, it’s a weight-weenies treasure trove. Its 11-speed cassette isn’t just a gimmick, either. It means less of a jump in the middle of the cassette and the gossamer-thin chain is another few grammes lost. FSA carbon bars and stem keep things light upfront and the Fizik Antares saddle, with braided carbon rails, is the final featherweight touch.
Heading off on the Bianchi, there’s an air of expectation of something special about to unfold. Instantly it feels lively and willing and, spinning out of the village just chatting, it’s already goading your legs to push harder and stop wasting its talents.
When you do yield to its impatience and put some power down, it leaps forwards with stiffness and responsiveness that are breathtaking. It rolls along on the flats with a lively efficiency
but there’s no time-trial sense of whistling through the air. Shifts are so silky smooth, you’re almost not aware of them.
The ride for such a stiff bike is impressively comfortable and those super- skinny seatstays obviously aren’t just there to look good. But it’s when you hit hills that the Bianchi really blows you away. Its earlier willingness to accelerate is transformed into an irresistible drive to propel you uphill.
On easier grades, in the saddle there’s a fizzing assistance from the bike with no grind or drag. Stand up when it steepens and describing the Bianchi as light just doesn’t do it justice. It almost feels as though it’s weightless, and you’re effortlessly running up the hill with springs on your feet.
On an especially nasty 30km loop with 1,000m of ascent, including 25% grades, our tester smashed his PB by almost 4mins. As well as its uphill prowess, the Bianchi is a downhill screamer that nimbly skips through tight twists and turns. There’s an on-the-edge rush when you corner it at speed, but that slight instability and ability to flick it with just a subtle shift in weight just adds to the fun.
Braking is surprisingly good and enhanced by the alloy rims. The best bit of scrubbing that speed is that you get to experience that neck-snapping acceleration again.
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