What you do get is a fork bowed in the style of recent generation top-level TT bikes, and a slender headtube profile inspired by Bianchi’s Aquila CV time trial machine. Additionally there’s a tidy integrated wedge-style seatpost clamp that holds the profiled carbon seatpost in place as well, keeping this area of the bike as clean as possible as well. The brakes are direct mount units, too, which adds a little extra stopping power and improves aerodynamics just a little.
- Price: £6,800
- Frame weight: 980g (55cm)
- Sizes: 47, 49, 51, 53, 55, 57, 59, 61cm
- Website: Bianchi
Bianchi have also teamed up with Vision to create the Metron 5D integrated handlebar and stem specifically for the Oltre XR4. It forms an important part of the XR4’s aerodynamic design, with a flat profile to cut through the wind and super clean lines, complete with an internal space for a junction box should you opt for an electronic groupset with the bike. While there are still cables on show at the front of the bike (some top-end aero bikes look to hide anything which could create drag), the handlebar does a neat job at tucking them away before they enter the frame.
Key to the Oltre XR4 is the inclusion of Countervail technology. You may well be familiar with Countervail by now, having first been introduced on the Bianchi Infinito CV endurance bike in 2013, before making its way onto the Aquila CV time trial bike and featherweight Specialissima mountain goat. In a nutshell, Countervail is a viscoelastic material embedded into key areas in the frame, designed to reduce road buzz and vibration as it travels through the bike by up to 80 per cent.
Why does it matter on an aero bike? Well, anyone can appreciate a more comfortable ride, but Bianchi say that by reducing vibrations, the rider will be able to hold a more aggressive position on the bike for longer. DT Swiss have used a similar line of thinking with the new ERC 1100 Dicut wheels by looking to improve comfort and handling in blustery conditions.
What’s clear is that Bianchi are pitching the Oltre XR4 as an all-rounder, rather than an all-out aero machine. Aerodynamics are important, but so are comfort and handling.
Looking at cold, hard facts, Bianchi say the XR4’s aero update results in a 20-watt advantage over its predecessor, while those improvements and the introduction of Countervail add 40g to the frame weight, bringing it up to a claimed 980g – still below that magic 1kg mark. That should easily be offset by the improvements made elsewhere on the frame, while also being light enough to trouble the UCI weight limit in premium builds, like the one we have here.