Bianchi’s partnership with the USA’s Materials Sciences Corporation has seen it use their co-developed patented Countervail vibration-damping composite, most notably in its Infinito CV bikes. The Infinito is part of Bianchi’s endurance C2C range (sea-to-sea – see what it’s done there?).
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Countervail consists of a special lay-up of the carbon fibre and resin that allows for a degree of elasticity. The claim is that this reduces high-frequency vibrations from rough road surfaces by 75 percent compared with a standard carbon frame, all without adding any weight — this disc-specific frame weighing just 990g.
Frame geometry is based around Bianchi’s long-standing C2C numbers. The company has always erred to the racier — rather than the sportive — end of the spectrum, so even in its disc-braked guise the Infinito is a compelling race machine with sharp handling and a more aggressive riding position than most sportive-specific machines. The geometry makes for a bike that handles quickly without being twitchy.
Like Giant, Bianchi was an early adopter of discs and, as also with Giant, it has stuck with standard quick-release axles rather than going for thru-axles. It doesn’t seem to have hampered braking at all, as we suffered neither brake rub nor noisy braking.
That said, Bianchi produces another model with the same name minus ‘Mix’. It comes with full Ultegra, Fulcrum wheels and front and rear thru-axles and costs £4,200. Your choice.
On the road the Infinito CV performs superbly, with Countervail proving itself as far more than a high-tech gimmick or marketing buzzword. It masters great responses to pedalling inputs and reactive handling with a noise-smothering ride. It may have 25mm rubber but from the ride quality you’d swear it was running 35mm-plus balloon tyres such is the smoothness.
The downside of such a tech-laden and capable chassis is that for what is a pretty significant price tag we couldn’t help but feel somewhat short changed. The kit is predominantly Shimano 105, with a 105 front mech, chainset and RS685 levers, and an Ultegra rear mech. Performance is still impressive with smooth shifts and dependable, progressive braking but on a £3,500 bike it’s not quite on the same level as the competition.
The same goes for the wheels. Shimano’s RX31s live up to the company’s usual standards with their silk-smooth hubs and watchmaker standards of engineering, but these are lower-end models so carry a few extra grams, adding to the not-that-impressive 8.33kg/18.36lb all-up weight.
Get into a long climb and the Infinito CV is comfortable, but it does feel heavier than its similarly priced rivals. On the plus side, it shines on descents, the chassis nulls vibration and the spot-on geometry encourages on-the-limit speed, and knee-down cornering with lean angles that would grab the attention of a MotoGP rider.
We understand that Countervail knowhow costs, and an Infinito CV with a light set of hoops would kill the competition, but in this spec the wonder of that technology is dulled.