Pro bike: Wauters' Vacansoleil-DCM Bianchi Oltre XR

Neo-pro debuts new lighter-weight Bianchi at the Tour Down Under

Just 23 years old, neo-pro Belgian Willem Wauters moved up after two years as an espoir to represent Vacansoleil-DCM at the Santos Tour Down Under. Wauters finished mid-pack in 81st position but his team nabbed the second spot in the teams classification, all with the help of Bianchi's revamped Oltre XR.

There's little to differentiate the new Oltre XR from the previous one visually, but updates in carbon fiber materials and lay-up schedules dropped 30g and boosted rigidity by 20 percent, according to Bianchi. Otherwise, the sleek shape carries over including its tapered 1 1/8-to-1 1/2in front end, BB30 bottom bracket, sleek deep-section telescoping carbon fiber seatpost, and the uniquely stepped seat stay profile that starts out spindly at the two-piece aluminum dropouts but morphs into a rather burly looking wishbone.

According to our friends at Competitive Cyclist, a bare 55cm frame (Wauters rides a 57cm) is just under 900g.

While many other teams seem to be switching to deeper and more comprehensive relationships with fewer sponsors (Shimano, notably, now seems to require teams to use its wheels and PRO cockpit components as an all-or-nothing deal), Wauters' Bianchi is built with a comparatively hodge-podge mix of bits.

Team bianchi oltre xr frames use dedicated electronic-only routing:
Note the electronic-only routing

Campagnolo supplies its Super Record EPS electronic transmission but the BB386 EVO crankset – adapted for use on the BB30 shell – comes from FSA as does the stem, handlebar and headset. KMC provides the X11SL chain, Selle San Marco supplies Wauters with its Zoncolan saddle, and the squishy (and grippy) bar tape comes courtesy of Lizard Skins.

FFWD provides Vacansoleil-DCM with a variety of carbon tubular wheels, all wrapped with Vredestein rubber. CycleOps gives Wauters a running stream of data with the new Joule GPS computer. And Look's KéO Blade pedals are fitted to the ends of the cranks. No power meter was installed.

Vacansoleil-DCM team bikes are fitted with campagnolo super record eps transmissions but fsa k-force light cranks and kmc chains:
The drivetrain trifecta: Campy EPS derailleur, FSA K-Force Light crank and KMC X11SL-TI chain (plus Look KéO Blade pedals)

Interestingly, team bikes at the Tour Down Under also had FSA brakes, but not the top-end K-Force model. Instead, Wauters' bike had modest Gossamer Pro calipers. According to Bianchi marketing and communications man Fred Morini, this was strictly an issue of supply timing as the K-Force units were set to arrive a couple of weeks after the race and the Gossamers were merely a stopgap.

In addition, team bikes are built around Bianchi's dedicated electronic-only version of the Oltre XR with clean internal routing but with batteries still mounted externally atop the down tube. Morini says the team will soon move to an internal layout in the coming months, though, so we expect Vacansoleil-DCM's rig to get both slightly lighter and cleaner looking later in the season.

Total weight as pictured is 7.40kg (16.31lb).

Neo-pro willem wauters (vacansoleil-dcm) raced at the tour down under on bianchi's new oltre xr:

Complete bike specifications
FrameBianchi Oltre XR, 57cm
ForkBianchi F.Carbon HoC
HeadsetFSA Orbit IS 1 1/8-to-1 1/2" tapered
StemFSA OS99, 120mm x -6°
HandlebarsFSA Energy T, 42cm (c-c)
Tape/gripsLizard Skins DSP
Front brakeFSA Gossamer w/ FFWD carbon-specific pads
Rear brakeFSA Gossamer w/ FFWD carbon-specific pads
Brake leversCampagnolo Ergopower Ultra-Shift Super Record EPS
Front derailleurCampagnolo Super Record EPS
Rear derailleurCampagnolo Super Record EPS
Shift leversCampagnolo Ergopower Ultra-Shift Super Record EPS
CassetteCampagnolo Super Record 11s, 11-25T
CranksetFSA K-Force Light BB386, 175mm, 53/39T
Bottom bracketFSA BB30-to-BB386 EVO adapter
PedalsLook KéO Blade
WheelsetFFWD F6R
Front tireVredestein Fortezza Pro TriComp tubular, 23mm 
Rear tireVredestein Fortezza Pro TriComp tubular, 23mm 
SaddleSelle San Marco Zoncolan
Seat postBianchi Oltre XR
Bottle cagesElite Sior Mio (2)
ComputerCycleOps Joule GPS
Other accessoriesBBB Aerofix number plate holder
Critical measurements
Saddle height, from BB (c-t)820mm
Saddle setback 73mm
Seat tube length, c-t515mm
Seat tube length, c-c507mm
Tip of saddle nose to C of bars (next to stem)597mm
Saddle-to-bar drop (vertical)158mm
Head tube length160mm
Top tube length560mm
Total bicycle weight7.40kg (16.31lb) with computer
James Huang

Technical Editor, US
James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
  • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
  • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA
Back to top