The Bianchi Infinito CV is the latest model across the threshold of RCUK Towers.
Launched before the 2013 Paris-Roubaix and ridden in the 111th Queen of the Classics the following day by self-confessed ‘cobbled Classics specialist’, Juan Antonio Flecha, the CV’s calling card is comfort. More recently deployed by Belkin Pro Cycling’s Sepp Vanmarcke, it clearly has a following among those who target the cobbled races.
Bianchi’s decision to showcase the Infinito CV in such demanding conditions cuts to the heart of its raison d’etre. While the venerable Italian brand has two race models in the range – the flagship Oltre and Sempre Pro – until the arrival of the Infinito CV it was without a machine to compete in the expanding market for ‘endurance’ bikes – the type of machine deployed in sportives, and for which their biggest rivals each have an offering (see Cannondale’s Synapse, Trek’s Domane, and more).
Bianchi has deployed two methods to achieve the aim of a comfortable ride. The first is an ‘endurance’ geometry, less aggressive than that deployed on the Oltre, the machine raced by Belkin Pro Cycling at all other fixtures on the WorldTour calendar. Bianchi call this geometry, Coast 2 Coast, and on our 53cm test bike this translates to a 74-degree seat angle, a 71.5-degree head angle, and a sloping top tube measuring 518mm – some 17mm shorter than its ‘virtual’ equivalent, had Bianchi deployed a conventional geometry, rather than the semi-compact design here.
The second weapon in the battle for comfort is what Bianchi describe as a Countervail lay-up, hence the CV. This translates to a carbon lay-up said to cancel vibration, thus reducing rider fatigue. Bianchi have deployed the technology in partnership with its creators, the Materials Sciences Corporation, an American firm that counts NASA among its clientele. Bianchi has negotiated its exclusive use in the field of bicycle manufacture. Interesting stuff, but how will it ride? We’ll let you know in our subsequent review.
A few observations on its vital statistics before we go further. While many ‘endurance’ bikes are the less desirable sibling of the flagship race bike (Scott’s Solace the notable exception), the Infinito CV is unmistakably Italian – a legitimate claim in this case. The top tube is broad and flat, the downtube rises from a flat base to an impressively bulky pyramid to withstand flex, and the headtube, which tapers from a 1.5″ lower bearing, is flanked on either side by cables to the front and rear mechs, which disappear discreetly into the downtube.
The Inifinito CV is offered in a range of builds with components from Campagnolo or Shimano. Our test bike is equipped with Shimano Ultegra 6800 mechanical components, of which we previous experience has given us a good opinion. It’s deployed in full: drivetrain (including cassette), shifters and brakes.
The wheelset is the new-for-2014 incarnation of the Fulcrum Racing 5 – the Campagnolo subsidiary’s one-above-entry-level hoop. It’s claimed weight of 1690g will place it in the training/everyday riding bracket for many. Fulcrum have deployed 20 spokes at the rear, laced in a two-cross pattern on the driveside and radially on the non-driveside. Up front, there’s 18 of the same aero-bladed spars, capped with red nipples, and this time laced radially on both sides. They’re shod with Hutchinson Fusion 3 tyres.
Finishing kit is from FSA and Fizik, with the latter providing an Aliante saddle, one intended for riders requiring stablity in the saddle.
We’ll be testing the Infinito CV in the weeks ahead. Check back soon for a full review.