Bianchi 2018 road bikes: which model is right for you?

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Bianchi 2018 road and cyclo-cross bikes: which bike is right for you?

From the aero Oltre to the Zurigo cyclo-cross machine, Bianchi's 2018 range is vast

There are few brands in the cycling industry as revered as Bianchi. It’s a truly historic Italian marque that can claim to be the oldest bike brand in the world, dating back to 1885. Fast forward to 2018 and Bianchi is still producing a wide range of bikes for all kinds of cyclists.

A quick look at the company palmares tells you it’s won practically everything there is to win multiple times, has supported legendary riders like Marco Pantani, and these days remains at the forefront edge of professional road racing with its partnership with WorldTour team, LottoNL-Jumbo. Bianchi bikes are also some of the most sought after thanks to the brand’s iconic celeste colour scheme.

The lightweight climber’s bike, the Specialissima, featured in the 2016 edition of the RCUK 100. Its carbon frame weighs in at a claimed 780g and incorporates Bianchi’s Countervail vibration-dampening technology. We’ve also tested the Oltre XR4 aero bike, and liked it so much it earned a spot in last year’s RCUK 100. A more affordable Oltre XR3 is also available, with a simpler frame design and carbon makeup.

Bianchi’s 2018 range includes something for everyone, from super-aero machines to a throwback to the Eroica age

The Aria is Bianchi’s even more accessible aero bike. While it doesn’t feature the Countervail tech of the Oltre bikes, it still has all the hallmarks of a speed machine.

Move onto Bianchi’s endurance range and Countervail is back in with the bike it was originally designed for, with the Infinito CV also serving as the cobbles machine of the LottoNL-Jumbo team.

The Sempre Pro is Bianchi’s entry-level carbon road bike with an aggressive geometry, while the Intenso has a similar focus at a comparable price point, except with a more relaxed endurance layout. Then, there are the Intrepida and Impulso bikes, both aimed at new cyclists.

If you want an alloy Bianchi, then the Via Nirone 7 could be the machine for you, and is built into a forgiving endurance-focused geometry. There’s also one bike, the Zurigo, designed for cyclo-cross, while the L’Eroica is a steel-framed bike that fittingly harks back to a retro era. And, finally, the Aquila TT bike is also available in one build too.

That’s a long list of bikes, so let’s get going with a closer look at Bianchi’s 2018 road and cyclo-cross range.

RCUK’s 2018 bike guides

  1. Genesis 2018 bikes
  2. Canyon 2018 bikes
  3. Giant 2018 bikes
  4. Cannondale 2018 bikes
  5. Specialized 2018 bikes
  6. Merida 2018 bikes
  7. Cube 2018 bikes
  8. Focus 2018 bikes
  9. Bianchi 2018 bikes
  10. Rose 2018 bikes
  11. Ridley 2018 bikes

Bianchi Specialissima

The Specialissima is a cutting-edge lightweight carbon road bike, ideally suited to racing. More than that, it manages to do it with a classical look that few modern bikes can match.

Appearances can be deceiving, though. Within the Specialissima frame is the inclusion of the Italian marque’s vibration-damping Countervail technology, alongside a pro-level race geometry and an entire frame weight claimed to be 780g.

The Bianchi Specialissima was an RCUK 100 inductee the year it was launched

The Specialissima is available only in premium builds, and with that comes a premium price tag – the cheapest fully-built bike costs £8,100. That’s with a mechanical Shimano Dura-Ace groupset and Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17 wheels.

Purists can also have it dressed in a full Italian suit (Campagnolo Super Record EPS and mechanical options), while Dura-Ace Di2 and SRAM Red eTap are also possible. A frameset on its own will set you back at least £3,800 depending on the colour options you choose.

Bianchi Specialissima 2018 bikes

Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS (Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 Dark Tubular) – £12,999
Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £12,750
Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £11,200
Bianchi Specialissima Super Record EPS (Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £11,200

Bianchi Specialissima Super Record Compact (Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 Dark Tubular) – £10,350
Bianchi Specialissima Super Record Compact (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £10,350
Bianchi Specialissima Super Record Compact (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £8,900
Bianchi Specialissima Super Record Compact (Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £8,900

Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace Di2 (Fulcrum Racing Speed 40T Tubular) – £12,000
Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace Di2 (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £12,000
Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace Di2 (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £10,100
Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace Di2 (Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £9,800

The Specialissima is a premium bike, and is only available in premium builds

Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace Compact (Fulcrum Racing Speed 40T Tubular) – £9,600
Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace Compact (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £9,600
Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace Compact (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £8,500
Bianchi Specialissima Dura-Ace Compact (Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £8,100

Bianchi Specialissima Red eTap Compact (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £11,500
Bianchi Specialissima Red eTap Compact (Zipp Firecrest 303 Tubular) – £10,600
Bianchi Specialissima Red eTap Compact (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £10,000
Bianchi Specialissima Red eTap Compact (Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite C17) – £9,700

Bianchi Specialissima frameset – from £3,800

Bianchi Oltre

Where the Specialissima is the mountain goat, the Oltre range of bikes represents Bianchi’s aero prowess. The flagship bike is the Oltre XR4, which you’ll see under sprinter and 2017 Tour de France Champs-Elysees stage winner Dylan Groenewegen.

The XR4 frame is race-bred, with a geometry to match. You’ll find aero-profiled carbon tubing complete with truncated Kammtail sections to help stabilise it in crosswinds. There’s also Aquila time trial bike-inspired hourglass headtube and bowed forks, as well as a sub-kilo frame weight.

It’s not a one-trick pony, however, with Countervail technology included in the seatstays to help smooth out the ride. When we reviewed the Oltre XR4 back in December 2016, we described it as “delivering a stunning combination of low weight, stiffness, razor-sharp handling and aerodynamic prowess.”

A lot like the Specialissima, the Oltre XR4 frame is reserved for the high-spec builds – the cheapest XR4 bike is a £5,000 Campagnolo Chorus-fitted machine, complete with Fulcrum Racing Quattro C17 hoops. Naturally, thereafter prices increase to include Super Record, Dura-Ace, Red eTap and Ultegra Di2, with varying finishing kits to suit your needs.

The Bianchi Oltre XR4 is the Italian marque’s speed machine

If you’re after an Oltre aero bike without the mega price tag, the XR3 is a more affordable option. Back when we got our hands on one at its launch in 2017, we tagged it as “aero lite”, borrowing aspects of the predecessor XR1 and XR2 Oltre frames while incorporating some of the aero design (see the hourglass headtube and bowed forks as key examples) of the newer XR4.

Fittingly, the builds start at the mid-range Shimano 105 level for £2,800, with prices rising from there to include Campagnolo’s Potenza and Chorus groupsets, as well as Shimano’s Ultegra, Ultegra Di2 and a mechanical Dura-Ace mix.

Like the Specialissima, the Oltre XR4 is reserved for high-spec builds

Bianchi Oltre 2018 bikes

Bianchi Oltre XR4 Super Record EPS (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £12,000
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Super Record EPS (Campagnolo Bora Ultra 50 Dark Tubular) – £11,850
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Super Record EPS (Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £10,500
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Super Record EPS (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £10,400

Bianchi Oltre XR4 Super Record Compact (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £10,500
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Super Record Compact (Campagnolo Bora One 50 Dark Clincher) – £9,800
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Super Record Compact (Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £8,250
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Super Record Compact (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £8,100

Bianchi Oltre XR4 Chorus Compact (Campagnolo Bora Ultra 50 Dark Tubular) – £7,800
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Chorus Compact (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £7,700
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Chorus Compact (Fulcrum Racing Quattro C17) – £5,000

Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Di2 (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £11,500
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Di2 (Zipp Firecrest 404 Tubular) – £10,700
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Di2 (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £10,000
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Di2 (Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £9,400

The Bianchi Oltre XR3 is a more affordable, lower-specced version of the XR4

Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Compact (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £9,200
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Compact (Zipp Firecrest 404 Tubular) – £8,700
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Compact (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £7,500
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Compact (Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £7,300
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Compact (Fulcrum Racing Quattro C17, Metron 5D) – £6,250
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Dura-Ace Compact (Fulcrum Racing Quattro C17) – £5,600

Bianchi Oltre XR4 Ultegra Di2 Compact (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £9,200
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Ultegra Di2 Compact (Zipp Firecrest 404 Tubular) – £8,700
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Ultegra Di2 Compact (Fulcrum Racing Quattro C17, Metron 5D) – £5,800
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Ultegra Di2 Compact (Fulcrum Racing Quattro C17) – £5,400

Bianchi Oltre XR4 Red eTap Compact (Fulcrum Racing Speed 55T Tubular) – £11,000
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Red eTap Compact (Zipp Firecrest 404 Tubular) – £10,200
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Red eTap Compact (Rotor 3D InPower, Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £9,500
Bianchi Oltre XR4 Red eTap Compact (Fulcrum Racing Zero C17) – £8,800

Bianchi Oltre XR3 Ultegra Di2 – £4,700
Bianchi Oltre XR3 Dura-Ace Mix Compact – £4,600
Bianchi Oltre XR3 Chorus – £4,200
Bianchi Oltre XR3 Ultegra – £3,400
Bianchi Oltre XR3 Potenza – £3,300
Bianchi Oltre XR3 105 – £2,800

Bianchi Oltre XR4 Triathlon Dura-Ace (Zipp 404 + 808 Clincher) – £9,000

Bianchi Oltre XR4 frameset – from £3,400

Bianchi Aria

Despite the availability of the Oltre XR3, the Aria actually represents the entry-level Bianchi bike with an aero focus. As a result, it incorporates design lessons learned from the Aquila time trial and Oltre road bikes, incorporated into a racy layout with a claimed frame weight of 1,150g. However, you don’t get Countervail technology.

The Bianchi Aria is the entry-level aero bike in the Bianchi range

Builds are scaled to a similar level to the XR3, but come in a more competitive price point thanks to the simplified design of the frame. The maximum you’ll spend for an Aria is a triathlon and road time trial-tweaked version for £2,900, with the road-specific Aria coming in at £2,650 with an Ultegra drivetrain.

You’ll also find a Campagnolo Centaur build for £2,250, while there are three disc-brake versions on offer too. Here, you can have a Potenza, Ultegra or 105-specced bike ranging from £3,350-£2,750.

There are also three disc-brake builds in the Aria line-up

Bianchi Aria 2018 bikes

Bianchi Aria Ultegra Compact – £2,650
Bianchi Aria Potenza Compact – £2,500
Bianchi Aria 105 Compact – £2,300
Bianchi Aria Centaur Compact – £2,250

Bianchi Aria Disc Potenza Compact – £3,350
Bianchi Aria Disc Ultegra Compact – £3,150
Bianchi Aria Disc 105 Compact – £2,750

Bianchi Aria Triathlon Ultegra – £2,900

Sempre Pro

It’s been around for a few years now, but the Sempre Pro is still the entry-level carbon road bike (with an aggressive geometry) that you can buy from Bianchi.

It’s not an aero-optimised bike, but it still boasts a carbon frame that can support both electronic and mechanical groupsets, and an oversized bottom bracket for stiffness.

The Bianchi Sempre Pro is the entry-level carbon race bike in the range

Prices peak at £2,100 for a Shimano Ultegra-equipped bike, with a 105 machine setting you back £1,800 and a Campagnolo Centaur build coming in £50 less than that.

Bianchi Sempre Pro 2018 bikes

Bianchi Sempre Pro Ultegra Compact – £2,100
Bianchi Sempre Pro 105 Compact – £1,800
Bianchi Sempre Pro Centaur Compact – £1,750

Infinito CV

Back to the premium bikes, and the Infinito CV enters the fray as the race-ready endurance bike. As a result, expect to see it at the cobbled Classics this season with LottoNL-Jumbo.

You get a more relaxed geometry compared to the more aggressive bikes we’ve covered so far, and a more liberal inclusion of Countervail ride-smoothing technology – perfect for long days in the saddle, or indeed for surfing the cobbles.

Bianchi’s cobble-busting Infinito CV can be seen under LottoNL-Jumbo during the Classics

The Infinito CV bikes peak at £6,000 for a Dura-Ace build, while you can also have electronic shifting with an Ultegra Di2 drivetrain for £4,700. There are also mechanical Shimano Ultegra and 105 specs, while Italian aficionados can look to Campagnolo Chorus and Potenza builds.

Testament to the moving tide in the bike industry, the Infinito CV can also be had in a tweaked disc brake format. Two bikes are available here – an Ultegra Di2 model for £5,400, and a mechanical Ultegra build for £4,300.

The Bianchi Infinito CV Disc ensures the historic Italian brand is on trend

Bianchi Infinito CV 2018 bikes

Bianchi Infinito CV Dura-Ace Compact – £6,000
Bianchi Infinito CV Ultegra Di2 Compact – £4,700
Bianchi Infinito CV Chorus Compact – £4,250
Bianchi Infinito CV Ultegra Compact – £3,500
Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza Compact – £3,350
Bianchi Infinito CV 105 Compact – £3,000

Bianchi Infinito CV Disc Ultegra Di2 Compact – £5,400
Bianchi Infinito CV Disc Ultegra Compact – £4,300

Bianchi Infinito CV frameset – £2,600
Bianchi Infinito CV Disc frameset – £2,800

Intenso

Where the Infinito CV is the flagship endurance bike, the Intenso is the pared-back bike that removes a little of the cutting-edge frame innovation – so no Countervail – but still features a relaxed-yet-sporty geometry for a pacy sportive ride.

With the dearth of Intrepida and Impulso bikes (below), this effectively assumes the mantle of entry-level carbon endurance bike.

The Bianchi Intenso is effectively the brand’s entry-level carbon endurance machine

Prices are reduced accordingly, with the most expensive bike an Ultegra-equipped machine at £2,350. You can also have a build with 105, and Campag Potenza and Centaur groups.

Also on offer are two disc models, just like its Infinito CV big brother: a £3,000 Ultegra bike, and a Shimano 105-shod £2,500 model.

Bianchi Intenso 2018 bikes

Bianchi Intenso Ultegra Compact – £2,350
Bianchi Intenso 105 Compact – £2,000
Bianchi Intenso Potenza Compact – £2,250
Bianchi Intenso Centaur Compact – £2,000

Bianchi Intenso Disc Ultegra Compact – £3,000
Bianchi Intenso Disc 105 Compact – £2,500

Intrepida and Impulso

The Intrepida and Impulso bikes feature one model each, indicating they’re not long for this world. So if you want a cheap entry-level carbon road bike from Bianchi that has a relaxed geometry, you may want to hurry.

There is only one Bianchi Intrepida model in the range – a ten-speed Shimano Tiagra-equipped ride

The Intrepida comes with a ten-speed Shimano Tiagra groupset for £1,500, while the Impulso comes specced with a Campagnolo Centaur drivetrain, priced at £1,300.

Likewise, the Bianchi Impulso has only one road build, dressed in Campagnolo Centaur

You also have a choice of a couple of gravel-specced Impulsos too. In this guise, your choice is between a Shimano 105 or Tiagra groupset, for £2,000 and £1,5000 respectively.

The Bianchi Impulso AllRoad is built for gravel riding and beyond

Bianchi Intrepida and Bianchi Impulso 2018 bikes

Bianchi Intrepida Tiagra Compact – £1,500

Bianchi Impulso Centaur Compact – £1,300

Bianchi Impulso Allroad 105 – £2,000
Bianchi Impulso Allroad Tiagra – £1,500

Via Nirone

The Via Nirone was the name given to the bike first produced by Bianchi, so it’s hardly surprising that it remains in the ranks for a company that’s as famous for its history as it is for its current bikes.

The Via Nirone 7 is an all-aluminium bike, complete with hydroformed tubing and tidy internal cable routing, and offers a competitive access point for first-time road bike buyers.

Bianchi’s alloy Via Nirone 7 has an historic heritage – the name derives from the first bike Bianchi ever produced

This means its specced accordingly, with the most expensive bike costing £1,250 with a Shimano 105 drivetrain. You can have several specifications thereafter, bottoming out with an eight-speed Shimano Claris bike for £750.

Gravel riders should also take note of the Via Nirone Allroad Sora bike for£1,000.

Bianchi Via Nirone 7 2018 bikes

Bianchi Via Nirone 7 105 Compact – £1,250
Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Tiagra Compact – £1,100
Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Xenon Compact – £1,000
Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Sora Compact – £850
Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Claris Compact – £750

Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Allroad Sora – £1,000

Zurigo

We’re getting specialist now, with one cyclo-cross bike available from Bianchi: the Zurigo. It features a specific geometry to cater for cyclo-cross racers, and it comes fitted with a Shimano Tiagra groupset, has post-mounted mechanical disc brakes and full external cable routing for easy servicing.

Bianchi have just one dedicated cyclo-cross bike: the Zurigo

Bianchi Zurigo 2018 bike

Bianchi Zurigo Tiagra Compact – £1,350

 

L’Eroica

The Eroica road bike is a nod to yesteryear, with a steel Columbus Zona tubed frame and steel lugged fork.

It comes fully-specced to take on events like the annual L’Eroica, with a ten-speed downstube-shifting Campagnolo Silver vintage groupset.

Bianchi is an historic brand, and the L’Eroica is a throwback to the classic ages

While not a performance road bike, it’s a thing of beauty and yours for £2,700, or £2,000 if you opt to buy a frameset and build it up yourself.

Bianchi L’Eroica 2018 bike/frameset

Bianchi L’Eroica Campagnolo 10sp Compact – £2,700

Bianchi L’Eroica frameset – £2,000

Aquila CV

Finally, time trial specialists can also buy the Aquila CV bike. This is a pure aero machine that has been a key inspiration for the design of the Oltre aero bikes, with some tech even making it through to features of the Specialissima and Infinito CV steeds.

That means the hourglass headtube and bowed forks are present, while full NACA-aero profiled tubing can be seen throughout along with an integrated time trial-specific cockpit.

The Aquila CV time trial machine has provided a testing ground for many of the features found on Bianchi’s aero road bikes

It also borrows Countervail technology in the stays from the Infinito CV bike, ensuring the ride shouldn’t be bone-shakingly hard, according to Bianchi.

A fully-built Aquila CV bike will cost £5,500 with a Shimano Ultegra groupset, or you can buy a frameset and spec your own equipment from £5,000.

Bianchi Aquila CV 2018 bike/frameset

Bianchi Aquila CV Ultegra – £5,500

Bianchi Aquila CV frameset – £5,000

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