After 2005s Bianchi range celebrated the companies 120 year anniversary by consciously styling the range in an unashamedly retro fashion, '06 sees the Italian giants return to the race influenced livery. This reaches throughout their range of road machines from the £500 Via Nirone 7 Alu to the flagship FG Lite Al/Carbon (main picture), as ridden by Italian star Daniello Di Luca and Scandavian adopted Brit Magnus Backstedt.
The entry level road Iron this year is the Via Nirone 7 Alu (pic 1) that comes equipped with Bianchi Componenti branded Ambrosio wheels shod with Conti's Ultra Sport tyres, a mainly Shimano Sora groupset, ITM bars, an excellent pearl white/celeste colour scheme and complete with Look pedals.
At just £55 more than the Via Nirone 7 Alu Sora, the VN 7 Alu Xenon (pic 2) sees an upgrade to Xenon nine speed group and a Carbon fork and a Bianchi branded FSA chainset. It also includes Look pedals as standard - expect this one to be an extremely popular first timer's bike next year.
At the top of the Via Nirone range sits the Alu Carbon Ultegra (pic 3). It features a Carbon rear ended Aluminium frameset Bianchi Carbon fork, ten speed Ultegra groupset complemented with an FSA Gossamer Mega Exo chainset, Shimano R500 wheelset, Look pedals, ITM wing bars and again finished in Celeste Bianchi/pearl white finish.
Occupying the space between the Bianchi Carbon 928 range and the Via Nirone is the Ultegra and Centaur equipped 1885 Hydro bikes. Named Hydro because of the Hydroformed Aluminium tubing (as seen on C+ favourite frameset the Kinesis KIC) the radical tubing profiles are complemented by a shaped Carbon rear. Aside from the sport/performance orientated gruppos the Ultegra equipped version also gets an FSA CFM Carbon chainset -ÿwhereas the Centaur features Campags own compact chainset (albeit the Veloce level). Both bikes also see Fulcrum Racing 5 wheelsets and Carbon finishing kit from the likes of Selcof (seatpost) and ITM (wing bar and stem) plus colour coded Fizik Pave saddles and Look Keo pedals. The Ultegra version retails for £1400 and the Centaur mix £1250
Also occupying a space of its own is Bianchi's latest womens specific bike the Dama Bianchi 10 (pic 3). It shares the same Hydroformed tubing as the 1885 bike equipped with a Veloce triple gruppo, Bianchi wheelset, FiZik Vitesse womens saddle (celeste colour coded) and Look pedals. It's available in sizes 49 through to 53 and retails for £850.
The 928 Carbon range (pic 4) from Bianchi is so called to commemorate the years 1949, 1952, 1998 in which Bianchi riders won both the Tour and the Giro. The models start with the 928 Veloce 10 through to the 928 Dura Ace 10. The core of the range is the frameset and it's constructed with Ultra High Modulus Carbon fibre and has distinctively profiled tubing and a monostay rear end. The 928 costs from £1650 for the Veloce equipped bike with Fulcrum wheelset through to £3300 with Dura Ace, ITM Sword Carbon bar/stem combo, trick Italian exotica from PMPs Carbon post and range topping Fulcrum Racing One wheelset and colour coded FiZik Arione saddle.
Flagship of the range is the FG Lite AL/Carbon Record ten speed (pic 5) as ridden by the pro team for £3600. The bike is equipped with the new Campag Eurus G3 and Record groupset. Colour coded ITM Sword bar/stem combo and Uniko seatpost, FiZik Arione saddle and Carbon chainset.
D2 Pista Carbon/D2 Crono Carbon
This all new Monocoque UHM Carbon frameset, developed in conjunction with team sprint and track ace Magnus Backstedt, is available in two guises: one the Pista for the track or fixed TT'er and the Crono (pic 6), a geared version for TT specialists. The frames' organic lines have been developed to give maximum stiffness and has been wind tunnel developed for the best in aerodynamics. Both versions come at a £1750 price tag which includes the Oval Concepts A900 jetstream fork (with its unique blade shape) and an FSA Orbit headset. It's available in three sizes S(49-53) M(54-58) L(59-63).
For non racers:
Bianchi's Camaleonte range is a sporty flat barred bike aimed at the enthusiast and commuter. The range tops Camaleonte four features, Fulcrum wheels, Veloce triple groupset and the new Campag flat barred shifters and retails for £900. The range starts with the Camaleonte 2, which sells for £525 with a Shimano Sora triple groupset.
Not likely to be seen in the UK (except possibly in Harvey Nics or Harrods) is Bianchi's team up with uber-fashion brand Emporio Armani. It bears more than a passing resemblance to the entry level Camaleonte, but finished in oh so this year's matt black and is etched with the Emporio Armani livery and accessorised with bar bag and bottle cover. As this is a European mainland only bike there wasn't a quoted retail price - they expect it to be much more than the £525 Camaleonte 2, which shares much of the same spec.http://www.bianchi.com