The 2014 season looks to set be incredibly busy for Bianchi, Italy's oldest bike manufacturers. Not only have they launched updates to their flagship Oltre road race and Infinito Classics bikes, they've also announced a new carbon platform with the Intenso, taken over sponsorship of the Belkin pro team and continued their partnership with Italy's vintage flavoured L'Eroica amateur event.
At Eurobike 2013 they had plenty on display, including a limited edition Oltre XR2, the more affordable Intenso, disc versions of the Oltre XR2 and Infinito CV and a range of designer watches.
Bianchi Oltre XR2 limited edition
The Oltre XR2 with an 80th anniversary Campag Record group
Seemingly not content with the stunning Oltre XR2, Bianchi have also prepared a limited edition version, complete with Campagnolo's 80th anniversary Record groupset. The finish has been co-ordinated with the flat black and deep red hues of the group, with custom components matched to the classy feel.
In its XR2 guise, the Oltre frame weighs 895g (55cm) and features full internal cable routing, a BB386 bottom bracket shell and a new carbon layup aimed to increase both drivetrain stiffness and comfort.
Bianchi Oltre XR2 and Infinito CV disc models
Shimano's new hydraulic/Di2 levers made their appearance on the disc-equipped Infinito CV
The over-riding themes for road bikes at Eurobike were aerodynamics and disc brakes. With the likes of Colnago, Pinarello, Storck, Merida, Stevens and Specialized all offering top-level machines with hydraulic disc options, it's good to see that Bianchi have kept up on this front.
They had disc-specific Oltre XR2 and Infinito CV models on show, both using SRAM's hydraulic calliper and lever combo. The Oltre XR2 we saw matches SRAM Red to a set of Zipp 303 disc-brake wheels. Already favourites with disc-riding cyclocross fans, we're intrigued to see whether the wheels will make a successful transition to the road.
The Bianchi Infinito CV made its debut at this year's Paris-Roubaix, and for 2014 it will be joined by two disc brake models. The frame features vibration reducing Countervail (CV) material sandwiched between carbon.
Oltre XR2 price details (€/US$ TBC)
- Standard frame: £3,350
- Disc frame: £3,500
- Campagnolo Super Record EPS: £9,950
- Campagnolo Super Record: £7,850
- Shimano Dura-Ace: £9,000
- Shimano Ultegra Di2: £5,550
- SRAM Red: £7,250
- SRAM Red Disc: £7,800
- Campagnolo Chorus: £5,000
Infinito CV price details (€/US$ TBC)
- SRAM Red Disc: £6,500 (approx)
- Campagnolo Super Record: £5,600
- Shimano Dura-Ace 9000: £5,300
- Shimano Ultegra Di2 6870: £4,700
- Shimano Ultegra 6800: £3,600
- Campagnolo Chorus: £4,200
- Campagnolo Athena: £3,500
More affordable Intenso range
Bianchi's more affordable Intenso specced with Campagnolo Veloce
We reported on the new Intenso range at the Bianchi launch in June. These bikes are based on the geometry and ride feel of the Infinito CV but will come with mid-range components (Campagnolo Veloce through to Shimano 105 and Ultegra). That means they'll be cheaper than the Infinito, with price details listed below.
Intenso price details (€/US$ TBC)
- Intenso Ultegra: £2,250
- Intenso 105: £2,000
- Intenso Veloce: £1,850
Bianchi designer watches
Bianchi designer watches in trademark celeste
As if all this wasn't enough, Bianchi have also launched three designer watches. These are available in classic Bianchi celeste, white with celeste highlights, and black with celeste.
The watch range consists of a mid-sized model with a 38mm watch face diameter (smaller and suitable for boys or ladies). It features a carbon fibre face, scratch-resistant sapphire glass and a silicone rubber strap. A Swiss-made quartz movement drives the watch, with a quick-set date function. The mid-size watch is matched to a full-size, 43mm diameter men's version. No US or UK prices have been set yet, but in Europe the watches will retail for €295.
The flagship of the watch range is a triple dial chronograph. Like the standard watch it's driven by a Swiss quartz movement, but with the added complications of a two button chronograph, tachymeter and date functions. The watch case is PVD-plated for the black model, satin finished on the celeste, and polished stainless for the white.
We love the attention to detail, with the chronograph's face featuring a woven carbon centre section, tricolour tachymeter scale and stainless details, with the Bianchi logo at 12 and a chainring encircling the chronograph dial at 6. The chrono watch will retail for €495.
All watches come presented in a laser-etched, stainless steel tube watch box that doubles as a water bottle. Bianchi were very keen to point out that the watch range has been designed from the ground up, and is not just a case of the company branding an existing design.