Continuing our love affair with Italian brands, we are very happy to introduce Bianchi bikes to Cycle Right. Besides the Oltre XR4 pictured above, we have plans to stock the XR1, the Infinito and the Intenso.
130 Years of history
Founded in 1885 by Edoardo Bianchi, F.I.V. Edoardo Bianchi S.p.A. is the oldest bicycle-making company still operating. Edoardo started out in Milan selling his “safety bicycles” from a little shop in via Nirone. He is credited with reducing the size of the front wheel to match the back. Bianchi then is credited with producing the first bicycle to use tyres, making use of the recent inventions by John Dunlop.
In 1939 Edoardo adopted Tullio Campagnolo’s new gearing system. This allowed cyclists to change gears while in motion, each innovation allowed the brand to prosper and bike sales soared for the Italian brand.
Many brilliant riders have ridden Bianchi. Stretching back to 1899 and Tomaselli winning the Grand Prix de la Ville de Paris, the company has backed many great names. More recently the disgraced doper Jan Ullrich and the troubled, but irrepressible Marco Pantani are both associated with the famous celeste colour scheme. Danilo Di Luca, Mario Cipollini, Laurent Fignon, the list goes on and on. But it is the close association with Fausto Coppi that still stands out for Bianchi. A mythical figure of cycling, Coppi won two Tours and four Giros riding a Bianchi.
Bianchi Oltre XR4
You can’t mistake this XR4 for anything but a Bianchi, the celeste colour is an immediate giveaway (Other colours are available). The XR4 is a complete rethinking of the existing Oltre XR2 and is the fourth design to join Bianchi’s Countervail bikes. Countervail is a viscoelastic material which is added to the carbon layup. This vibration-dampening technology is designed to improve comfort.
Stiff, oversize tubes herald a quick ride. The added bulk to the tubing certainly gives the bike an aggressive look. Details such as the shape of the fork, the aero headtube and the shaped seatpost all give this frame an aero advantage.
In their review of the XR4, road.cc noted:
- It’s agile and mega-stiff with pin-sharp handling, and it’s comfortable enough that you can thoroughly enjoy long rides
- There’s virtually no flex through the centre of the bike, even when you get out of the saddle and sprint
- Our complete 57cm model hit the Scales of Truth at 6.53kg (14.4lb)
roadcyclinguk.com on their first ride had this to say:
- first impressions in Italy suggest the XR4 offers an impressive level of comfort for a race bike
- the combination of the Oltre’s stiff chassis and its aero design makes for an extremely rapid machine which is not only quick to get up to speed, but holds it once there