Lining up behind the range-topping Specialissima and then the conventionally profiled, but heavily aero-shaped Oltre XR4 and Oltre XR3, the Bianchi Aria and Aria Disc sit firmly mid-range as proven by their components, which top out with Ultegra Di2 and Campagnolo Potenza.
The fork has an aero crown design. David Caudery/Immediate Media
My test model has an all-105 groupset, from its dual pivot rim brakes to the drivetrain, and the 52/36 chainrings plus 11-28 cassette are ideal for racers.
The Aria’s frameset is typically modern road aero with dropped seatstays, a near-horizontal triangulated top-tube with flat top, aero fork and broad aerodynamic profiles to every tube, including the seatpost.
The rear of the lower seat-tube has a small cutout for clearance, and the head tube has a subtle point that’s noticeable when crouched over the bars and gives the impression of cleaving the air. All cables are internally routed and the own-brand Reparto Corse aluminium bar has flattened tops.
A fun ride with the potential worthy of Bianchi’s name. Russell Burton
With chainstays this beefy and a sizeable bottom bracket area, it’s no surprise to find that the Aria transfers all of your effort directly to the rear wheel where Vision’s Team 35 Comp takes charge.
The paint scheme of the Aria seems to owe more to Cipollini bikes than Bianchi’s much-lauded heritage. Its shiny black and silver finish glints in the sun, and only has tiny flashes of Celeste to maintain the family ties. If that’s too bold for you, there is still a full Celeste option.
The aero-profiled 35mm tall aluminium rims have broad-bladed spokes and Vision hubs, and they react positively to power inputs. It’s not an electric response but willing and quite able, making good progress on short climbs and holding speed well on false flats. Vittoria’s Rubino 25mm tyres measure just over 26mm and provide reassuring grip and handling in all conditions too.
For a chunky-looking frameset without Bianchi’s vibration-killing Countervail addition, the Aria handles broken tarmac surfaces very well, sucking up impacts and remaining composed over corrugations.
The 160mm head tube on my 55cm frame is an overgenerous measurement due to the fork’s aero crown design and, in reality, the head tube is effectively shorter. While I found the reach good for a 178cm rider, my usual position left 40mm of spacers above the head tube, so I’d consider a 57cm.
As a race machine, the Aria has much to recommend it — its torsional stiffness and efficiency producing very healthy speed, and the bike’s surface compliance helping to maintain it for extended periods.
Selle Royal Seta saddle is well-shaped and comfortable. David Caudery/Immediate Media
The Selle Royal Seta saddle is well-shaped and comfortable, as are the 105 hoods, and multiple hours aboard weren’t a problem.
Excellent stability, whether on high-speed descents or in low-speed technical corners, is matched by reliably powerful braking from the 105 calipers on Vision’s aluminium rims, which alter little even in the wet.
Overall, this Aria offers a great package with a fine frameset at its heart and a dependable groupset with perfect race-ready gearing. The Vision wheelset is a good starter option that can be upgraded when budget allows, which is also true of the bar, stem and saddle, depending on preference – but as a whole, the Aria is a fun ride with the sort of potential worthy of Bianchi’s name.
Bianchi Aria 105 geometry (55cm)
Seat angle: 73.5 degrees
Head angle: 72.5 degrees
Seat tube: 52cm
Top tube: 55cm
Fork offset: 3.6cm
Bottom bracket height: 27.1cm