Bianchi’s standard Infinito CV bikes continue to develop the vibration-reducing comfort that the Italian company pioneered in its Kevlar-infused C2C frames in the early 2000s.
Its latest models feature Bianchi’s unique CV – ‘Countervail vibration-cancelling composite’ – technology it developed in collaboration with the USA’s Material Sciences Corporation. As this is integral to the carbon lay-up and results in some frame flexibility, we were concerned that the extra strengthening, stiffness and material required for disc brakes would hamper CV’s calming effect over coarser surfaces.
Well, we needn’t have worried – Bianchi has got it right. It has refined the carbon lay-up and design to cope with the stresses of disc brakes, adding a scant 40g to the standard Infinito frame weight but delivering a ride that is just as sublime.
The Bianchi has Shimano’s excellent hydraulic braking
Direct handling and snappy acceleration are one thing, but when you have to back off over rough surfaces your gains are limited. With the Infinito you can maintain greater speed over poor roads, and in appalling weather the hydraulic R785 brakes are invaluable.
A simple single-digit dab of the levers is enough to wrestle control back from greasy tarmac. But unlike on some disc-equipped bikes we’ve tested, these brakes never shouted, squealed or screeched when ultra-rapid stopping was required.
Although it's part of Bianchi’s C2C endurance range, the Inifinito rides like a race bike. The head tube is 20mm taller and the top tube 10mm longer than the Oltre XR2 ridden by the Belkin team, but the riding position is very similar (the Oltre is also getting a disc option).
Italian brands such as Bianchi and Colnago seem to only subtly alter their road bikes in creating their sportive bikes. Each has created a machine that you could easily race on, but both match this with impressive long-distance comfort.
The combination of CV and disc brakes provides supreme comfort and confidence on poor surfaces and in adverse weather
The range-topping disc model we tested features Shimano’s Ultegra Di2 kit with the Di2-specific (but neither Dura-Ace nor Ultegra) ST-R785 levers. The shifting is crisp, smooth and self-regulating. So even if you do manage to run a big sprocket/big chainring combination the front mech adjusts itself to avoid any unwanted noise.
The wheels, too, are very impressive. They feature Vision’s high-quality Metron 40 rims and Shimano’s ’cross-specific CX75 hubs. These have improved seals but are still based on Shimano’s easy to maintain cup-and-cone design. The deep rims handle superbly in crosswinds in spite of their depth. Hutchinson’s Fusion 3 tyres come in a comfortable and cobble-friendly 25mm width.
When we tested the TDF Infinito we found it hard to fault and it scored five. This betters it in spite of ‘only’ having Ultegra Di2 and FSA’s second-level finishing kit. It’s probably just as well our marking tops out at five…