First ride: Bianchi Infinito CV (2014)


Epic moments in cycling happened, most often, on epic bikes and a high rank in such a list would most definetly be held by Italian manufacturer Bianchi. Its name is almost synonymous with world class cycling, meaning that great athletes, of different generations, put their trust into these bicycles. Yet strong tradition isn’t a strong reason to ignore modern trends, therefore Bianchi’s decision to step onto the endurance road bike boat shouldn’t represent a surprise. The Infinito CV embodies the Italian company’s answer in terms of this new wave of road bikes and the expectations raised by the model led us to take it for a test ride, in order to see if it walks the talk.

I must admit that from the moment I saw the Bianchi mechanic set-up my test bike a rush of enthusiasm flooded my body and mind. As I had to keep my necessary amount of journalistic objectivity I simply hoped on the Infinito CV, and gave it a run for its money. I was particularly interested to find out whether it presents a significant improvement in terms of comfort or the manufacturer just stuck to the simple enlargement of the wheelbase.

The point is that given its specifications, it’s hard to get it wrong. The bike was equipped with the Campagnolo 11-speed Chorus groupset (compact crankset), Fulcrum Racing Speed XLR tubular wheelset, Fizik Aliante saddle, and a bunch of FSA components, but even so Bianchi’s frame managed to stand out. Stiffness proved optimal in the bottom bracket area, yet the comfort provided by the bike as a whole gave me the feeling I could ride for tens of kilometres before I would encounter any aches. Simply put, it’s a fine balance between the two poles that stiffness and comfort represent.

A great part in this equation is played by the CounterVail material, or the integrated vibration canceling system for cycling how Bianchi names it. It’s not the first technology to use rubber inserts and different isolators, but the patented solution relies on a new carbon fiber architecture, that combined with the viscoelastic material that is CounterVail leads to superior shock absorbtion.

But taking every piece of the Infinito CV separately and analizing it maybe isn’t the best approach to it. I dare state this as the overall road performance and the sheer experience of riding such a machinery are things that are reached thanks to all of the components. The remarkable part is, however, how well and harmoniously all these parts combine, and converge in a bicycle that gives the term road bike its true meaning. Ok, maybe the mechanic did a hell of a good job in setting-up the bike, but neither this fact, nor others, can diminish the perception that other bikes seem like mere welded together tubes compared to this one.

Coming back to comfort features, I must also give credit to the C2C technology, which implies a higher head tube and longer chain stays, the latter also contributing to an increased stability. Eventhough the Infinito CV was launched this year, only the professional riders of the Vacansoleil-DCM team got to use the bike so far, but the Reparto Corse (Racing Department) took advantage of this and snatched vital feedback from them in order to improve the bike.

Further achievements of the bike include the nice match that the cockpit area and the saddle represent, while the Chorus 11-speed, compact-drive groupset is nothing less than what the Italian manufacturer got us used to. Another key point of the bike is represented by the wheelset, Fulcrum’s Racing Speed XLR wheelset being the choice of many professional teams (you only have to ride them to understand why), while the Veloflex Arenberg tubular tires made my day. Plain and simple at first sight, the tubulars are designed to withstand harsh conditions, and the 25mm width and double casing seem to be good weapons of choice in order to complete this mission.

So, when you draw the line it’s impossible not to regard the Infinito CV as a success of the Bianchi development team, although it’s placed in the lower ranks of its range due to its specifications. I know this sounds ironic, but in the Bianchi list, this version is somewhere at the bottom, the top models including disc brakes and greater groupsets such as Shimano Dura-Ace 900, SRAM Red or Campagnolo Super Record. I’m still trying to find this model’s downsides, but other than the almost 5.000 euro pricetag I think my endeavour has failure written all over it.