Bianchi Via Nirone 7 Claris review

Italian heritage, Paris-Roubaix history and classic looks

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
£750.00 RRP

Our review

Lovely looking frame delivers a beautiful smooth ride that belies its modest price
Buy if, You want one of the best-quality fast-riding bikes available at the price. Oh, and Bianchi’s Celeste looks a dream!
Pros: An unbelievably smooth and comfortable ride for aluminium, and a great-looking frame
Cons: The usual average brakes and wheels, 31.6mm aluminium seatpost
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Do entry-level bikes need to look like they were built in your backyard by a local blacksmith who’d never wielded a welding torch? That’s a definite no when it comes to the Via Nirone 7 from Bianchi, the least expensive model in the historied Italian company’s road bike range.

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With a frame once raced at Paris-Roubaix, though that bike would have been decked out with Campagnolo Super Record, not the more modest Claris on my bike, it looks bellissimo in Bianchi’s Celeste. If you like a little Latin class, the Via Nirone is available with 10-speed Campagnolo Xenon/Veloce for a budget-busting £1,000 (approx $1,200 / AU$1,700).

While I can easily be swayed by appearances, I like to know there’s performance to back it up. The Via Nirone frame has been around for a while now, and Bianchi’s designers have had time to get it right. Over the last few years it has gained internal cable routing and looks all the better and modern for it, though there was a little rattling from the cables over the very worst bumps.

Vittoria Zaffiro tyres and Tec wheels are basic but do the job
Vittoria Zaffiro tyres and Tec wheels are basic but do the job
David Caudery/Immediate Media

And though the groupset may only be Claris compared with Sora on earlier models, the 2018’s 12-32 cassette is much more welcoming on the hills than the previous 12-27. The tyres are wider too.

Bianchi describes the Via Nirone 7’s geometry as ‘endurance racing’, which feels pretty accurate. With a 155mm head tube it’s pretty low at the front, but the slightly slack head-tube angle slows the handling down a fraction.

It also comes with 3.5cm of spacers, so you have a bit of leeway dialling-in your position, but if you want to hunker down low in the drops this lets you do so.

I'm a big fan of the Celeste colour scheme
I’m a big fan of the Celeste colour scheme
David Caudery/Immediate Media

The real sensation on first pedalling the Bianchi is one of smoothness. It may only have a hydroformed aluminium frame, and a stiff, triple-butted one at that, but this is superb at delivering a smooth, plush ride over rough roads, much more so than I expected.

Both the seatstays and the fork feature Bianchi’s K-Vid (‘Kevlar Vibration-Isolating Device’), which consists of Kevlar inserts. And while I’m naturally sceptical about comfort-boosting acronyms, the plushness and comfort the Via Nirone delivers are more than mere moonshine.

This is even more surprising when you consider the Bianchi’s 31.6mm diameter seatpost, presumably a hangover from the Via Nirone 7’s racing days. This race heritage is also evidenced in the absence of rack mounts and mudguard eyelets. If you do want ’guards for year-round training or commuting, there is room to squeeze in a pair of SKS Raceblades or similar.

For the ride quality alone I would happily recommend it
For the ride quality alone I would happily recommend it
Robert Smith / Immediate Media

The negatives are the usual ones on a bike at this price. The Tektro non-cartridge brakes are average and the wheel-tyre combination is basic but functional. But the frame, and the ride it delivers, are among the best I have experienced at this price.

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The Bianchi Via Nirone 7 may lack versatility, but for the ride quality alone I would happily recommend it. It would make a superb sportive machine, it’s fast, comfortable and ideal for tapping out the miles at a very decent rhythm.

Product Specifications

Product

Name Via Nirone 7 Claris
Brand Bianchi

Seat Angle 74
Chain KMC Z72
Rear Wheel Weight 2040
Rear Tyre Vittoria Zaffiro, 25mm
Rear Derailleur Shimano Claris
Headset Type FSA No.8B/ZS4D
Head Angle 73
Handlebar Tec Obvius flat top
Front Wheel Weight 1440
Front Tyre Vittoria Zaffiro, 25mm
Front Derailleur Shimano Claris
Frame Material Via Nirone 7 aluminium
Fork Offset 4.75
Fork Bianchi aluminium, carbon
Cranks Shimano FC-RS200 50x34
Cassette Shimano CSHG200- 8, 12-32
Seatpost Tec alloy
Brakes Alloy dual-pivot
Bottom Bracket Shimano BB-UN26
Available Sizes 44cm 46cm 50cm 53cm 55cm 57cm 59cm 61cm 63cm
All measurements for frame size tested 55cm
Frame size tested 55cm
Wheelbase (cm) 100
Top Tube (cm) 54.5
Seat Tube (cm) 48
Chainstays (cm) 42
Wheelset Tec TRRP220 R-500 rims, Formula hubs
Weight (kg) 10.25
Trail 4.8
Stem Tec Alloy 6061
Shifters Shimano Claris
Saddle Tec Unicus