Bianchi Specialissima CV Disc review

Presentation

Like the first version I was able to test, this Specialissima is tested here in its Celestial color, but you can also opt for black or blue/green.

Different brands succeed, with a simple iridescent multi-colored outline of the most beautiful effect in the sun.

To improve its aerodynamics, this Specialissima takes solutions from the Beyond, such as the internal passage of the cables, the integration of the narrowing of the seatpost or even the work on the shape of the tubes. But despite these more aerodynamic tubes, the Specialissima CV Disc retains a rather traditional line, far from the ultra-modern bikes that can quickly go out of style. Bianchi has kept lines here that will probably never go out of style.

Switching to discs requires, the Specialissima is no longer as light as before. For this model equipped with the SRAM Red eTap AXS groupset and carbon wheels, weighs 7.15 kg in size 55. It had weighed its predecessor at 6kg in the same size with a Super Record band.

At €10,500, of course, many will find them heavy, but you have to accept it, bikes weighing less than 7 kg are rare now, but discs have many advantages for all-weather mountain lovers.

Thanks to the adoption of disc brakes, this Specialissima can accept, for example, tires up to 28 mm in section. For the integration of the cables, Bianchi chose the FSA ACR system, a system that prevents the brand from having to develop a new product and that above all allows you to mount the handlebar you want to the power.

The seat clamp is made by a screw located at the front of the seat post. A round seatpost, which also allows you to be compatible with the seatpost of your choice.

As you can guess from this photo, the shapes of the horizontal tube are worked to provide excellent stiffness with the least possible material. This is also the case at the level of the diagonal tube.

Stays do not give in to fashion and remain set very high. The finish is really right and everything has been thought through to the smallest detail, like the Bianchi marked bottle cage screws which are also in Celeste colour. At this level, it is finally a shame that the covers located on top of the downtube, which allow the routing of the cables for the mechanical transmissions, are not the same color as the frame. It’s to dodge!

Until then, many might think that this Specialissima CV Disc is basically like many other frames, except for some aesthetic details.

But that’s without counting the CV mention placed at the level of the saddle clamp. CV by Countervail, a material that Bianchi introduces in the construction of the frame, in the middle of the carbon sheets, which reduces vibrations by 80%.

The Bianchi CV vibration cancellation system combines a viscoelastic material with a special carbon fiber architecture to dissipate vibrations.

This could allow you to avoid, as some brands do, mounting 28 mm section tires to have a bike that is not too uncomfortable. In addition, Bianchi offers its Specialissima CV with 26 mm section tires.

equipment

Offered in several versions (Campagnolo Super Record EPS, Shimano Dura-Ace Di2, Shimano Ultegra Di2 or even SRAM Red eTap AXS), I tested this bike in its SRAM Red version. The first wireless group that starts to date, but still works perfectly.

You just have to get used to their X-Range specific developments, here 46×33 chainrings paired with a 10×28 cassette. As you can see in the “road bike gear chart”, this corresponds to a 34×29 or 36×30 mini cog. In terms of maximum development, it is almost equivalent to a 55×12.

As for braking, Bianchi has chosen two 160mm rotors. Suffice it to say, there’s nothing to be afraid of next to the braking power, even for the heaviest riders. These rotors are mounted on wheels Vision SC40 DB 40mm tall advertised at 1590 grams per pair and fitted with 26mm Pirelli P ZERO Race tyres. Rims that can be mounted without a tube. Its 40mm tall profile is, in my opinion, an excellent choice for this bike which will often be chosen for its versatility.

But these wheels are still the “poor relative” next to the peripherals of this bike. Sold €1200 in public price, we hope, in a bike billed €11500, a commuter train a little more luxury. If they stay the same brand, the METRON 45 SL DISCS weighing 200 grams less would be much more in line with the stop and allow the bike to drop 7kg!

As for the peripherals, as mentioned above, Bianchi has opted for a relatively standard solution that will allow everyone, if they wish, to switch to their favorite handlebar or seat post.

But for all that, the handlebars were married to aluminum power FSA’s Reparto Corse should suit most people. An FSA Reparto Corse carbon handlebar with an ergonomic shape at the top without being too extreme. The central part is round, which allows you to attach any tabletop support.

The seatpost is also an FSA Reparto Corse carbon model, topped off with a Fi’zi:k Antares R1 saddle. For this last point, nothing concrete to say, everyone will find it pleasant… or not.

To the road

Despite only 26mm tires and an inner tube assembly, there’s no doubt that the Specialissima has retained top-quality comfort, thanks to the Countervail’s contribution.

And yet, despite this comfort, stiffness is on the rise. It’s not that the previous version was soft, but this new Specialissima has been stiffened at the level of the head tube and bottom bracket, so much so that even when you want to sprint or climb hard, you don’t feel the bike broken up

The Specialissima benefits from a very “racing” geometry. My “55” frame is square, with a 55cm long top tube and a 73.5° seat tube angle. Values ​​often found on bikes cut for competition.

As soon as the road climbs, the Specialissima is clearly in its element. It is true, a little less easy than its predecessor that weighed more than 1 kg, but despite its greater rigidity, it knows how to be docile, easy to carry. Frankly, it feels like a lighter bike than it is. It allows you to climb the great plateau, with torque, or by turning, with the same ease. In this aspect, the Specialissima does not disappoint.

On the descents, it stays perfectly stable and the filtration provided by the Countervail makes for a less pregnant, more handlebar-friendly bike, with far less vibration that will make any rider feel confident. The angles taken even with bad coatings are a delight. And yet, here it is fitted with Pirelli tires with inner tubes. With tubeless, comfort is further enhanced, so this bike is clearly one of the most comfortable I’ve been able to test lately.

Where the progress is most evident is on the plane at high speed and in sprints. It must be said that the previous Specialissima model I was able to test was equipped with low wheels. Here, the 40mm wheels, combined with improved aerodynamics, allow you to turn at over 40km/h without ever feeling like you’re clocking time, that you’re slowing down compared to a pure aero bike. And don’t worry about the “only” 40mm wheels, it goes just as fast and is less subject to gusts of wind. In the end, much more relaxing.

In sprints, the previous version was a bit on the limit, which is not the case here, at least at the level of a cyclist who will not develop more than 1200 watts. In this case, the bike is stiff enough, as are the wheels, that you don’t feel any flex.

Finally, all of this will only have been slightly marred by some vibration noise at the level of the SRAM Red eTap levers. A noise that stops when you have your hands on the pans, but returns as soon as you let them go. A recurring problem I had already seen on several test bikes. Too bad, because otherwise, the Specialissima is perfectly silent, with not the least bit of cover that you can’t hear.

The Specialissima is truly an exceptional bike. If its design is much more aerodynamic than the previous generation and may disappoint those who prefer a bike with a more basic design, it is still far from being a very aerodynamic bike. Bianchi, in my opinion, has managed to modernize this bike without going overboard.

balance sheet

A bike that has evolved to be even more dynamic and versatile, less limited to climbing steps. Exacerbated versatility with always great performance in the mountains. No, don’t stop at their weight!

Still, the Bianchi Specialissima CV is expensive. With €10,500, we cross a symbolic milestone – but unfortunately more and more common – and at this price, it deserves, in my opinion, a step above.

It’s not that those who equip this bike are bad, but it’s a matter of autonomy. With more high-end wheels, everything would be homogeneous with, in addition, the icing on the cake, a weight of less than 7 kg that would help the tablet pass a little better.

Photos: Céline and Guillaume for Matos Vélo – sonam.cc

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