Off the back of a successful year for Bianchi, including the beautiful superlight Specialissima superbike, the Italian firm was turning attention at Eurobike to expanding its existing stable. This included adding a few more disc models and faithfully recreating a late-70s pro-level Bianchi as part of the L’Eroica range (Bianchi is one of the headline sponsors of the legendary Tuscan retro ride).
Looking back through celeste-tinted glasses
The Bianchi L’Eroica is built in Italy and from all-Italian tubing. As Bianchi wanted to keep the faithful chrome lugged look, it had to custom-spec the modern steel tubing with much longer, thicker sections to the butts (the tube ends). Standard tubesets’ short butts compromised the integrity of the weld sections far more than Bianchi’s engineers would like – remember this is a bike designed for the punishment of the Strada Bianca (the white chalk roads) of the L’Eroica event.
L'Eroica or 'the heroic' is an annual event in Tuscany (and now other countries) of which Bianchi is a key sponsor
Bianchi has also specified a Campagnolo Veloce alloy rear derailleur that’s custom finished for drivetrain specialists to just bear the iconic Campag logo. The Bianchi designed hubs are laced to classic Ambrosio box-section rims (available in either clincher or tubular). The hubs are high-chrome and high flange designs, and with their drilled out design look like the Campag Record units of 30 years ago.
Related reading: BikeRadar’s complete coverage of the Eurobike trade show
Dia Compe’s Gran Sport range provides the 610 centre-pull brakes (which have much of the look and design of original Mafac’s or Weinmann 610s) and the Dia Compe chainset with its three-arm spider stays equally faithful to the era. Finishing things off are a pair of Dia Compe levers, complete with natural rubber hoods, and a Bianchi quill stem and deep classic drop bars.
Italian-made Ambrosio box section rims finish the L'Eroica off nicely
At the back you’ll find a classic chromed layback seat post and of course a Brooks saddle (Brooks now own the L’Eroica series). We’d have expected a bike with such attention to detail, and you’d also imagine quite a niche market, to be a pricey proposition. So we were surprised to find that it will retail in the UK for £2500 (US and AUS pricing is TBC) – compare that with other retro Italian designs and that’s what you’ll pay for a frameset alone.
Dropper posts, budget newcomers and more discs
Looking to the other end of the road biking spectrum, Bianchi is introducing its take on the adventure road category. The new AllRoad combines an alloy frame with a carbon disc fork, both with clearances for tyres in excess of 35c.
The bike is running on Shimano’s RX31 disc wheels and Kenda semi-slicks driven by Shimano 105 and stopped with Shimano’s BR765 hydraulic brakes. The most intriguing component choice however is the inclusion of a dropper post – we've only seen one once before on a road bike – which will open up a whole new experience on steep slopes to the off-road-roadie. As with the L’Eroica only UK pricing was available at the show and this one’s set to cost £1800.
We've not seen many road bikes equipped with a dropper post
Bianchi’s lower end offering has been revamped with the all-new Intrepida. It’s a carbon monocoque frameset that comes combined with an all-carbon fork, with builds including a new full Tiagra-level bike with R500 Shimano wheels. We most like the look of the 105 option, which will retail for £1500.
Back when alloy ruled the peloton Bianchi was regarded as one of the great innovators of the lightweight metal with dream machines like the Grand Tour winning EV4. But while we’ve seen the likes of Specialized, Cannondale, Trek, and BMC all enter the high-end aloy arena recently we hadn’t seen anything from Bianchi – until now.
The new Freccia Celeste is built around a Bianchi designed A6 alloy and a full carbon fork. Bianchi claims an impressive 1050g frame weight (56cm) for the model on show. With a Dura-Ace mix drivetrain (the chainset is the impressive new FSA Gossamer Pro) and brakes, Fulcrum Racing 5 LG wheels and a carbon 27.2 diameter seatpost, it looks like it’ll give similarly priced carbon a serious run for its money at £2200.
Bianchi has entered the high-end alloy battleground with the new Freccia Celeste
Bianchi’s mid-range gran fondo offering, the Intenso, has a disc iteration for 2016 with the C2C endurance design frame featuring increased tyre clearances and thru-axles front and rear. The Shimano hydraulic disc equipped bike, running on DT Swiss Spline R24 wheels, is set to retail at £2500.
Bianchi also debuted a full-custom paint range for the Speciallisima (though why anyone would want anything but the gorgeous matt-celeste model is beyond us) and in the process of choosing and testing colours it inspired the designers to add a few flashes of brightness throughout the range. Our pick of the bunch is the electric orange and celeste Oltre XR1 which really stands out from the crowd and is very keenly priced at £3000.