Bianchi used stage 20 of the Tour de France to unveil the Aquila CV – a time trial bike which borrows the comfort-boosting Countervail technology first used on the Infinito CV ‘endurance’ bike.
The development of a time trial bike typically focuses on aerodynamics, and the ‘free speed’ that can be achieved by cheating the wind, but Bianchi have adopted a two-pronged approach with the Aquila by considering the gains that can be made by improving comfort.
The Aquila CV was ridden on Saturday by Belkin Pro Cycling duo Laurens Ten Dam and Bauka Mollema, who finished ninth and tenth overall at the Tour come the finish in Paris yesterday.
“Aquila CV with Countervail technology is perfectly suited to the kind of long distance stage the riders [found on Saturday]: a long time trial on a lumpy route, making muscle fatigue reduction and superior handling two key performance assets,” said Bianchi product manager Angelo Lecchi. “In addition, the super aerodynamic design is set to provide a real advantage on any kind of TT route.”
Bianchi have sought to keep the Aquila CV’s design as clean as possible on the CFD-designed frame in order to minimise drag, with aero-profiled NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) tube profiles, a front brake concealed within the fork, a rear brake hidden behind the bottom bracket, and very little in the way of exposed cables or wires.
The front brake is hidden by a carbon fibre cover which sits in front of the 1-1/8″ headtube. Bianchi have also designed a custom handlebar – again with NACA-derived tube profiles – while the rear dropouts are adjustable to tweak the position of the rear wheel in relation to the seattube and, Bianchi say, minimise air turbulence. The frame’s low-slung seatstays are also said to reduce drag.
The Aquila CV’s geometry is based around a steep 76.5 degree seattube angle, to allow the rider to adopt an aggressive position, and a 72 degree headtube angle. Bianchi’s proprietary aluminium seatpost clamp has two different positions with time trial and triathlon specific configurations and +/- 18mm setback. The integrated handlebar is available in 90mm, 110mm and 130mm stem lengths.
As for the Aquila CV’s comfort-boosting technology, Countervail is a ‘vibration cancelling’ material developed by Materials Sciences Corporation and used exclusively – on bikes, at least – by Bianchi. The Italian firm first used it on the Infinito CV, which we reviewed in May, placing it in unspecified areas of the frame to nullify vibrations kicked up by the road before they reach the rider.
While the application of Countervail technology in a Classics bike like the Infinito CV, as ridden in races like Paris-Roubaix, is obvious, Bianchi say its use in the Aquila CV will improve ride control and handling, allowing the rider to sustain an aero position in varied road conditions, as well as reduce muscle fatigue, particularly in the neck, shoulders and lower back.
The Aquila CV will be available in four sizes (S-XL) and the frame weighs a claimed 1.25kg. UK prices and specs are to be confirmed.