Bianchi’s original Sprint from the 1970s was renowned as the race machine of choice for the budding competitor. While the original was a slender-tubed, welded steel machine, its reinvention for the 21st century is a full-carbon speedster with aggressive racing geometry and a nod here and there to aerodynamics to keep it fully on trend for a modern race rig.
The new Sprint slots into Bianchi’s range below the glorious Specialissima and the WorldTour proven Oltre; so it’s sort of alongside the aero-optimised Aria, which we highly rate.
It’s designed as a racy all-rounder that won’t break the bank (like the premium priced Oltre and Specialissima). It’s the Boxster to the Oltre’s 911.
The solid, responsive feel and wide gearing means you can take on any climb. Robert Smith
Geometry-wise, my 57cm is pretty sharply aggressive with a 73.5-degree seat angle and a 73-degree head, a short (for a disc bike) 996mm wheelbase and a slammed 561mm stack and generous reach of 393mm. So far, so positive.
It has to be said as well that the Sprint is a good-looking machine. In a world seemingly obsessed with aero-styling, Kammtail profiles and drawing everything down to a minimum to hit the high notes of drag reduction, the Sprint stands out.
Yes, it does have some nods to aero with its lowered seatstays and integrated shaping on the front end, but it’s all sweetly embellished with some styling ridges and shapes that add a bit of character to the aesthetics, meaning this isn’t a bike that was designed by mathematics; it has a human touch to the design.
The finish is neatly done too, with the top tube embellished with a finely detailed graphic of the Bianchi logo repeated throughout that certainly adds an air of class to the Sprint’s finish.
All of these pleasing aesthetics, however, don’t count for much if the bike rides like a dog. Thankfully, the Sprint isn’t in any way canine. It is in fact a very accomplished bike.
The saddle’s deep padding makes for a comfortable ride Robert Smith
The aggressive low ride position encourages speedy behaviour when you get aboard, but it’s nicely tempered by the large volume 28c tyres; and the bike in its disc version has a very generous clearance for 32s.
The Selle Royal saddle looks like a good impression of a Fizik Aliante, and it has the same comfortable swoopy shape, but the hull is much more compliant than an Aliante and the padding is deeper too, which makes it very comfortable.
However, I found it a bit too squishy and less stable than a Fizik when pushing hard on the pedals.
It climbs well because the frame has a solid responsive feel, and that combined with the wide gearing (50/34, 11-32) means that you can take on pretty much any climb.
The Shimano RES wheels are well put together, but a bit basic and certainly heavy with it. The bike deserves better because there’s a tendency to feel a bit draggy on longer-length, sustained effort climbs.
Even with the modest wheels, the Sprint’s 9kg weight is pretty good, and certainly on the flat or on rolling terrain, the Sprint doesn’t feel in any way flabby. It’s a very fine-handling, smooth-rolling performance machine that, when compared to its stablemates, is good value for money.
Overall, the new Sprint reinforces what we’ve thought about Bianchi for a while now. It introduces a bike aimed at competitive riders but without the pro-bike price tag, like the original Sempre or the C2C.
Bianchi does a brilliant job because you get the handling and ride quality DNA of its superbikes at an affordable price. The Sprint certainly continues that theme.