Just in: Bianchi Infinito

Bianchi's endurance racer arrives for testing

by David Arthur   February 7, 2013  

This Celeste beauty is Bianchi’s Infinito. It comes from the Italian company’s Coast to Coast (C2C) range, reserved for those bikes designed for covering long distances in relative comfort.

With a slightly taller head tube and longer wheelbase than the racier Oltre XR we reviewed recently, it’s a bike that should be comfortable and stable on long rides and won’t leave you needing to visit a chiropractor. It’s not a sportive bike, it’s an  endurance race bike, designed for Gran Fondos, not Grand Tours.

The Infinito does have proper racing credentials, though. During the Giro d’Italia in 2009, the year the bike was launched, Robbie Hunter (then racing for Barloworld) chose the Infinito, and it didn’t hold him back. It’s clearly no slouch. It’s a UCI certified frame; there’s a sticker on the top tube saying as much.

Sportive bikes, since I touched on the subject, are generally defined by the height of the head tube (though there are other important factors). The head tube on this 55cm frame measures 17 cm, which sits between the 15cm head tubes of race bikes and the tall 19-20 cm head tubes we’ve seen on bikes clearly aimed at the sportive market. Much of the height of the head tube is the extension above the top tube, to avoid the necessity for lots of spacers. 

The frame is made using a monocoque construction method with high modulus carbon fibre. Bianchi add Kevlar material in the fork and seat stays, to help the frame absorb vibrations from the road. Claimed frame weight is 1,080g, and while it may be just over the magic 1kg marker, it's still light.

Compared to some of the recent arrivals into the office, the Bianchi is beautifully proportioned. The small diameter tubes lend the bike an elegant and classical look. There’s a regular non-tapered head tube up front and the top tube has a graceful curve that, helped by the paint finish, flows smoothly into the wishbone seatstays. The smooth lines are further enhanced by the use of internal cable routing.

The rear stays continue the undersized trend set by the front half of the frame, and almost seem puny in comparison to some recent test bikes. There’s a lot of profiling in the seatstays and chainstays though, the latter kinking in dramatically halfway along their length and flowing into the regular bottom bracket. An Italian threaded external bottom bracket does make for easy maintenance.

Bianchi offer several builds. We have the £2,850 Campagnolo Athena 11-speed model. Athena doesn’t have any of the carbon weight savings and decorative quality of the costlier groupsets, but from a functionality and performance standpoint it shifts and brakes with equal precision. There's a Chorus 12-25t block and matching chain.

We’re seeing a lot of Fulcrum’s Racing Quattro wheels on test bikes at the moment, and that’s no bad thing. They’re a fine set of wheels with low price tag. They’re fitted with Hutchinson tyres, an Equinox 2 on the front and a Fusion 3 on the rear.

FSA have supplied custom Celeste coloured finishing parts for the Infinito. An aluminium Wing Compact bar is wrapped with white bar tape. You get a carbon Team Issue stem and a carbon SL-K twin-bolt seatpost holds the custom Fizik Aliante Delta saddle. A nice touch. All that gives the bike on out scales a weight of 7.68kg (16.75lb).

Looking at the Infinitos places in the market and trying to draw some comparisons, bikes like the Wilier GranTurismo, Specialized Roubaix, Cannondale Synapse and even, possibly, Trek's Domane, spring to mind. How the Bianchi stacks up against such rivals will be interesting to assess.

Infinito, by the way, means 'never ending' or 'infinite', as you could probably guess.  All that remains is to fit some pedals, and go see if the ride matches the looks. We'll let you know.

www.bianchi.com

12 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

2nd paragraph: "It’s not a sportive bike, it’s an endurance race bike, designed for Gran Fondos, not Grand Tours."

What exactly is the difference between a sportive and a Gran Fondo, if they supposedly aren't the same?

posted by cadence [4 posts]
7th February 2013 - 17:32

38 Likes

A mate has the Ultegra 2011 version and it is lovely. Keen to see how this one reviews.

andyspaceman's picture

posted by andyspaceman [223 posts]
7th February 2013 - 17:42

32 Likes

cadence wrote:
2nd paragraph: "It’s not a sportive bike, it’s an endurance race bike, designed for Gran Fondos, not Grand Tours."

What exactly is the difference between a sportive and a Gran Fondo, if they supposedly aren't the same?

In my mind a Gran Fondo are competitive events and longer at up to 225km in distance, and they start riders off in waves with those at the front typically decent racers, ex-pros and in many cases, teams of riders who regularly compete in Gran Fondos and make money out of them. Which is why bikes like this Bianchi don't differ too much from the geometry of race bikers. A 17cm head tube is pretty racy

Sportives in this country are a far less serious affair, much as those who do them like to say they're racing

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1548 posts]
7th February 2013 - 17:52

34 Likes

OH...............MY..................GOD!!!! Big Grin

posted by Adey [98 posts]
7th February 2013 - 22:03

39 Likes

Looks lurvely.

Penultimate paragraph - did the sub editor have the afternoon off? "How the Wilier stacks up against such rivals will be interesting to assess."
surely "How the Bianchi stacks up against such rivals will be interesting to assess."

Bring me sunshine, and dry roads

MalcolmBinns's picture

posted by MalcolmBinns [107 posts]
7th February 2013 - 23:52

34 Likes

I've had this bike on my radar for a while, I thought it would be a great ride for sportives leaving my Via Nirone (Veloce) to be purely a commuter.

I'd be interested to know why people think it wouldn't make a good sportive bike. At Christmas you could pick up the 2012 model for just over 2 grand.

posted by qwerky [135 posts]
8th February 2013 - 10:40

38 Likes

Race v Gran Frodo v Sportive Nerd

Talk about splitting hairs, but...

For my money a race bike is something you would throw around a circuit or ride for a 3 or 4 hr race - tight turning, efficient as possible, faaaast. GF geometry would equate more with a racing 'Grand Tour' geometry that a pro might ride on a looooong road stage factoring in very fast descents down massive climbs - fast still but stable. Sportive is that geometry with a longer head tube and shorter top tube so that mere mortals can ride a bike for six to eight hours without destroying their backs (ie an invention for the MAMIL!)

alotronic's picture

posted by alotronic [267 posts]
8th February 2013 - 11:16

34 Likes

One of the grizzled old boys in my club put it well recently:

"As far as I can make out these 'sportives' [said with a note of disdain] are just mass-start time trials aren't they?"

And in many ways he is right. And he could probably complete most of them on his TT bike as well, having spent over half a century riding one.

But for the rest of us, something like the above will do very nicely thankyou very much. If your legs are a bit long like mine are, this kind of geometry is just 'normal'.

andyspaceman's picture

posted by andyspaceman [223 posts]
8th February 2013 - 15:45

31 Likes

Applause

jimmythecuckoo's picture

posted by jimmythecuckoo [1255 posts]
8th February 2013 - 17:19

38 Likes

Quite simple, the difference between a race bike and a sportive/gran frodo bike: A race bike is what people who race ride, a sportive bike is what people who like to think that they are racing ride.

posted by Welsh boy [114 posts]
9th February 2013 - 9:11

37 Likes

MalcolmBinns wrote:
Looks lurvely.

Penultimate paragraph - did the sub editor have the afternoon off? "How the Wilier stacks up against such rivals will be interesting to assess."
surely "How the Bianchi stacks up against such rivals will be interesting to assess."

a sub-wha?

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7381 posts]
9th February 2013 - 9:21

31 Likes

Surely one more bike that can be added to the comparative bike list would be the Scott CR1- similarly light, built with comfort in mind, similar head tube length, and also occasionally ridden by the pros.

posted by maldin [35 posts]
9th February 2013 - 11:13

40 Likes