Bianchi has dramatically updated its endurance road bike, the Infinito, with an all-new carbon fibre layup incorporating vibration-damping layers. We were at the grand unveiling of the Infinito CV earlier this year; we even got to have a ride on it over some Paris-Roubaix cobbles for a First Ride. And now we've got our hands on a bike to review fully.
The headline news here is the CounterVail Vibration Cancelling Composite Technology - from where the CV bit of the name derives. This is a viscoelastic material incorporated into the carbon fibre layup which, Bianchi claims, massively increases the bike's vibration-cancelling capacity compared to a regular carbon frame. The idea is to dampen the vibrations that pass through the frame to the contact points, such as when the wheel encounters a bump or hole. They claim it’s more effective than other designs that use “rubber inserts” or “isolators."
Bianchi only use this material in key places in the frame, but the exact locations are a closely guarded secret. We suspect it’s used at the junctions, such as the seat tube/top tube/seat stay area, the rear dropouts and head tube junction... but we could be wrong and we don't think they'd be too happy if we took a hacksaw to the frame in an attempt to find out. The frame doesn’t pay a weight penalty for the use of this material, with a claimed 950g for a size 55cm.
It’s a striking looking frame whichever angle you look at it from. It’s particularly pleasing from the front, with your eyes drawn to the curved down tube. The frame is packed with such modern details as a BB30 bottom bracket and a tapered head tube, and internal routing for mechanical and electronic groupsets. It's a muscular-looking frame with neat curves and it is particularly understated for the Italian company.
Where the Infinito CV is clearly differentiated from its Oltre XR stablemate is in the geometry. Falling into Bianchi’s C2C (Coast to Coast) range means it is designed with an emphasis on comfort. That means a slightly longer wheelbase (achieved with longer chainstays), taller head tube and shorter top tube, which should combine to provide a stable ride with handling that isn’t too nervous or twitchy. That's what you want if riding fast over long distances in comfort.
There’s room here for 28mm tyres. The capacity for fat tyres is a really important consideration for any bike wearing the ‘endurance’ label. Even the pros are cottoning on to the benefits of 25mm tyres and for the Classics they're all choosing 27/28mm tyres (and some even wider than that). In the past you would have seen a lot of 'cross bikes at such races, as regular race bikes won't take anything much wider than 25mm, and sometimes that's a squeeze. Manufacturers are responding, with road frames with extra clearance becoming increasingly available, satisfying both the pros' and mere mortals' desire to fit wider tyres. Wider tyres offer extra cushioning leading to a more comfortable ride and you can run lower pressures with little compromise of rolling resistance.
Bianchi is offering the Infinito CV in seven builds, with prices starting from £3,500. We have a bike equipped with a Campagnolo Chorus 11-speed compact mechanical groupset. The regular build comes with Campagnolo Racing 4 wheels and costs £4,200, but there are several wheel upgrades available. Choose these Racing Speed XLR carbon tubulars and the prices jumps to £7,100. And very nice they look too. Or you could choose Fulcrum Red Wind wheels for a complete bike cost of £5,600. If you have the cash, like!
The rest of the build consists of Veloflex Arenberg 25mm tubular tyres and FSA SL-K stem, handlebars and seatpost. A Fizik Aliante saddle completes the package. On the scales that never lie, the weight is 6.99kg (15.41lb).
It’s no mistake this bike was first spotted at the early season Classics, races like Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, with the Vacansoleil-DCM team. This is a bike designed to deal with rough roads, smoothing out the vibrations that lead to a jarring and uncomfortable ride. Now we need to find out how all that transfers onto the roads of Britain.
I tested the previous Infinito earlier this year and was left a little disappointed by the lack of smoothness the bike offered on anything but billiard table smooth roads, though its speed and handling did impress. Based on the substantial changes to the frame, I have high hopes for this latest incarnation. I'll soon find out how it stacks up. The endurance sector is hotting up with some strong contenders. The Bianchi needs to be really good to stand out.
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.