The 2013 Sempre Pro Veloce is an improvement on an already great bike, with some weight-saving thrown into the deal.
Frame & equipment: Reworked frame paired with solid parts
The word ‘Sempre’ is Italian for ‘always’, and Bianchi’s designers claim the Pro Veloce is a bike that combines the best characteristics of its pro level Oltre and sportive-focused Infinito.
We were big fans of the original Sempre as it combined supple smoothness with remarkably direct handling; as a bike designed to be all things to all men, we thought it worked brilliantly.
The new Pro retains the original profile and geometry but the frame has been majorly overhauled. The down tube has grown in diameter, the fibre layup has changed to lose a few grams and improve the stiffness through the BB and chainstays (not that we had any issues with the previous version). The head tube has been switched for a new tapered version, and the bike now has full internal routing and dedicated drillings for electronic drivetrains.
Kit-wise, the Sempre Pro has a similar standard setup to Pinarello’s FPUno. Bianchi have combined Campag’s solid-performing 10-speed Veloce with an aluminium FSA Gossamer chainset. The drivetrain won’t impress anyone for value, but it’s performance that counts and Veloce’s snappy shifting and smoothness tick all the right boxes.
The colour coordinated, custom graphic Reparto Corsa brakes are actually FSA Gossamers underneath the gloss. They perform well, have decent-quality pads and certainly look great on the bike.
The Reparto Corsa cockpit is also from FSA – the quality stem is capped with a carbon faceplate and the shallow drop bar is one of our favourites. The deeply padded, angular San Marco Ponza saddle is comfortable and sits on top of a nicely finished Reparto Corsa post.
The wheelset is also branded Reparto Corsa, but comes from Maddux. With classy graphics and contrasting twin white spokes per wheel, they look great. They roll well on basic hubs and aren’t overly heavy; they’re perfectly competent and flattered by Hutchinson Equinox tyres, which offer both light weight and good dry weather grip, although they can feel slightly vague when the roads are damp.
Ride & handling: Performance that outstrips expectations
It’s out on the road where the real story of the Sempre is to be found. The frame improvements have created a bike that’s taut up front; the handling is direct and instant, with a real sense of rigidity running through the whole frame. The fork resists chatter and flex and makes for a great match to the Sempre’s smooth-running rear.
The seatstays are remarkably slimline and designed to flex – it works, too, giving the Sempre a duality that makes it stiff and responsive while being smooth over broken surfaces. It’s a very neat trick and one that should be applauded.
The Sempre Pro improves on what was already a great bike. It retains the same great ride, and has a fully featured, up-to-date frame that’s also shed a fair few grams. The Bianchi Sempre Pro is a bike that performs far, far better than its specification would suggest.
This bike was tested as part of Cycling Plus magazine’s 2013 Bike Of The Year feature – read the full results in issue 273, available now on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.