Bianchi Aria Disc 105 Two review

Is this classy Italian as fast as it looks?

Our rating 
3.5 out of 5 star rating 3.5
GBP £2,750.00 RRP

Our review

Bianchi has delivered a distinctively cultured and charismatic speed sustainer
Buy if, You want an assuredly aristocratic character with sustained aero speed and disc brake stopping advantages
Pros: Smoothly surefooted aero frame with big tyre clearances for easy sustainable speed
Cons: High stability handling won’t suit everyone
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Opinions on a bike’s looks are personal and subjective, but the Aria got more than its fair share of complimentary cosmetic comments.

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It manages to blend contemporary and classic really nicely. Subtly curved and tapered fork legs bow out around the wheel to reduce conflicting airflow, in a trick first used on the Aquila time trial bike. They then sync neatly with the teardrop base head-tube at the prow with a fork notch and curved wheel-tracking scoop in the oval-form down tube.

Separate brake and gear cable insertions behind the head tube keep control lines low and neat and the short head-tube has flat-back ride position potential.

There’s a flush-fit seat clamp for the teardrop seatpost and the upper part of the seat tube uses a smoothed diamond section before cutting away for wheel room above the broad, bulged bottom bracket.

Brake and gear cables run neatly and internally behind the head tube
Brake and gear cables run neatly and internally behind the head tube
David Caudrey / Immediate Media

Deep rear, rectangular chainstays end at 142x12mm dropouts with neat axle recesses for easy wheel location. Seriously muscular seatstays follow a fork-matching flared curve up to a low level junction with the seat tube. The big rear stays also hide the brake caliper sitting in the angle between them for a very clean look.

With the Ultegra bike (£3,150) unavailable when we were putting the test together, the Aria came with a Shimano 105 spec. Functionally there’s very little to tell between them, but 105 is around 300g heavier, and the 505 shifter levers have a different shape with an awkward lump under the palm.

Bianchi upgrades to brake-cooling RT81 IceTec rotors and the colour-coded Fulcrum aero wheels, which are wrapped in 28mm Vittoria tyres. The Selle San Marco saddle is colour coded too with a Bianchi logo cockpit supplied in size specific proportions.

Shimano 105 gearing worked as well as we have come to expect
Shimano 105 gearing worked as well as we have come to expect
David Caudrey / Immediate Media

While the reach and stem dimensions aren’t radically long on paper, the Aria feels stretched for speed. The longer shifter hoods naturally pull you further forward, which is good as the shallower hand angle makes the lumpy bits less noticeable. Add a 72.5-degree head angle and the large diameter tyres, and the Bianchi likes to take corners with grand sweeping gestures of confidence that feel fantastic at speed.

It’s stubborn and slow to correct if things go wrong or you need to tweak your line for traction or surface trauma reasons. There’s enough weight at the front to make it lurch from side to side if you come too far forwards out of the saddle too.

You’ll adjust to the handling quickly though and it suits the overall character of the bike really well. While it will get a spirited shift on if you dig the spurs in for a climb, the Aria’s natural character is a high-speed cruiser, where it performs beautifully.

The Aria will get a spirited shift on if you dig the spurs in for a climb
The Aria will get a spirited shift on if you dig the spurs in for a climb
Robert Smith

With none of Bianchi’s vibration damping Countervail technology deployed in this affordable frame, bigger hits and sharper edges can come through with a slap and a sting. Smaller chatter and buzz is muted well by the frame and bigger tyres though, and combined with the low drag tube profiling it carries speed over flat or rolling terrain with a real flywheel feel.

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Frame tubes and rims aren’t so deep that it gets sketchy when the wind turns gusty, and the Bianchi is a great, cultured feeling place to be when you’ve got a few hours to spend in the saddle and want to cover plenty of miles.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Aria Disc 105
Brand Bianchi

Available Sizes 44cm 47cm 50cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm
Rear Wheel Weight 1510
Frame size tested 55cm
Wheelbase (cm) 99
Top Tube (cm) 55
Seat Tube (cm) 55
Chainstays (cm) 41
Wheelset Fulcrum Racing 618 Disc
Weight (kg) 8.36
Trail 6.4
Stem Reparto Corse
Shifters Shimano 505 hydraulic
Seatpost Bianchi carbon, aero
Seat Angle 73.5
Saddle Selle San Marco Monza Startup
Rear Tyre Vittoria Zaffiro Pro, 28mm
Bottom Bracket Shimano BB72
Rear Derailleur Shimano 105 5800
Headset Type FSA Orbit C-33
Head Angle 72.5
Handlebar Reparto Corse Compact
Front Wheel Weight 1050
Front Tyre Vittoria Zaffiro Pro, 28mm
Front Derailleur Shimano 105
Frame Material Aria carbon disc
Fork Offset 4.25
Fork Aria full carbon disc 1.125-1.25in tapered
Cranks Shimano 510 50/34
Chain KMC X11-1
Cassette Shimano 105 5800 11-28
Brakes Shimano BR505, RT81 Centerlock 160mm rotors
All measurements for frame size tested 55cm