Bianchi Vertigo road bike  £1399.00

7/10

Beautiful handling thanks to stable geometry but on the harsh side for a carbon frame

Weight 8600g   Contact  www.bianchi.com

by Stuart Kerton   April 6, 2014  

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Bianchi's Vertigo is part of the Coast to Coast range of bikes designed more for long distance riding rather than an all-out speed. It was a new model for Bianchi in 2013 and while £1399 may seem expensive for a Campag Xenon equipped bike you are getting a lot of bike for the money, the frameset especially.

Frame & Fork

The carbon fibre frame has a flowing organic look to it as the varying tube profiles blend into one another. Full internal cable routing keeps everything uncluttered and the paint finish is superb. I like the splashes of celeste green rather than the whole frame being covered in it.

The Coast to Coast geometry puts the rider slightly higher at the front for comfort on longer rides while slackening the frame angles and increasing the wheelbase a touch to make the steering less twitchy and the whole bike a touch more stable than a race machine. The 54cm test bike has a 72/72.5° head/seat angle and a 999mm wheelbase. The headtube isn't massive at 165mm but it's 20mm taller than that found on the Fondriest TF4 of the same size.

Bianchi haven't gone with a tapered head tube on the Vertigo. Although going for a larger diameter at the bottom does tighten up the steering and gives a stiffer front end that's not really what this bike is about, so they've stuck with a 1 1/8in steerer. Same at the BB area, there is a fair amount of material there but Bianchi have shunned BB30, BB386 or whatever number we're on this week and stuck with standard outboard bearings. Those large section chainstays should keep things under control anyway once the power starts going down.

As is often the case the seatstays are pretty slender, the thinking behind this is that a small amount of flex adds some comfort to the ride as rough surface vibration doesn't get passed through to the rider. Its odd to see a mono-stay design and a brake bridge at the same time but I think it's a quirky touch.

Kit

Campagnolo's entry level Xenon 10-speed components only make up part of the groupset: the rear mech and shifters. Thankfully the 10-speed shift/brake units have an alloy brake lever as opposed to the flexible plastic 9-speed version. The hoods are the original Ergopower design which isn't quite as comfortable as the latest models but you soon get used to them. While the shifting isn't exactly the most refined out there I do find the Xenon shifters offer a more solid and confident shift than Tiagra or Sora.

The rest of the mix is a Veloce front mech, FSA Omega compact chainset and Bianchi's own Reparto Corse brake calipers. It all gels well together although the white calipers are bit of a love/hate kind of thing.

The Reparto Corse label appears on the finishing kit as well as the wheels. The alloy stem and bars are colour coded to suit the frame and add a certain look of quality. They're oversized as you'd expect with the bars offering a compact drop.

The seatpost has a 31.6mm diameter, an odd choice on a frame designed for comfort. Most designers tend to go for a smaller 27.2mm to allow some flex for the rider. The San Marco Era saddle was certainly comfortable with ample padding.

The rebaged Maddux RX 5.1 wheels are pretty weighty but are solid performers staying perfectly true and smooth rolling through the wet past few months. The twin spoke pattern looks cool (especially the two pairs of white ones on each wheel) and doesn't seem to highlight any stiffness issues between pairs although I wouldn't want to have to true them up at the side of the road. They are shod with 23mm Hutchinson Equinox tyres which are decent performers and have stood up well to poor road surfaces.

This all adds up to an all up weight of 8.6kg, just shy of 19lb in old money. About right for the price and kit level.

Ride

The first ride was a bit of a shock to the system. For a long distance machine I wasn't expecting the Vertigo to be so harsh, the carbon frame doing very little to counteract rough road surfaces. Its not uncomfortable by any stretch just not as forgiving a ride as I was expecting. It shows that while the geometry is relaxed, the pace isn't intended to be.

Geometry wise though Bianchi have pretty much nailed the Coast-to-Coast concept as the Vertigo just cruised along munching the miles. It feels very stable and easy to ride thanks to that longer wheelbase making it ideal for group riding or if the road surfaces are slippery.

The slacker head tube angle means the steering is neutral regardless of the speed and cutting through traffic on the commute was a joy. It's no slouch at speed though; if you do push the Vertigo hard into a bend the steering is responsive enough to get you out of trouble. Direction changes are precise and shifting your body weight around guides the Vertigo to the exact line you want. It is so easy to live with and really flatters your riding style.

The Bianchi brakes work well, better than the equivalent Campag Veloce models. There isn't much in the way of modulation though, they're kind of off, on a bit, on full. You have to be careful not to lock the wheels up especially in the wet.

As with all bikes sporting entry level wheels acceleration from a standing start takes its toll on the legs. Once they're rolling though the Reparto Corse wheels spin freely and maintaining speed doesn't take too much effort. When you're ascending you are best staying in the saddle making use of the 50/34 – 11/25 gearing. The geometry means the Vertigo doesn't react that amazingly to hard efforts on the pedals though tap out a rhythm and it climbs much easier than a bike of its weight normally does.

Overall

On the whole the Vertigo strikes a good balance between speed and distance. It does what its designed to do and does it well. The ride is stiff though and after 50 or so miles on it I certainly knew about it the next day. Saying all that though it is a beautiful bike to ride, you can feel the quality and to be honest the frame deserves much better finishing kit than is on offer here. It's definitely a bike you could upgrade.

Despite its little flaws though I do really like the Vertigo. As a package it all works well together and it does look beautiful in the sunshine. For the commute and rainy days I added a set of SKS Raceblade Longs before whipping them off for longer dry excursions making it a true all seasons machine.

Verdict

Beautiful handling thanks to stable geometry but on the harsh side for a carbon frame.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Bianchi Vertigo

Size tested: 54

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Frame: VERTIGO C2C carbon comfort geometry

Fork: Bianchi Full Carbon B4P 1.1/8

Front Derailleur: Campagnolo Veloce 10sp

Rear Derailleur: Campagnolo Xenon 10sp

Shifters: Campagnolo Xenon 10sp Ergopower

Chainset: FSA Omega MegaExo Compact

Chainrings: 50/34T

Cassette: Campagnolo Veloce UD 10sp

Chain: FSA

Brakes: Reparto Corse

Handlebars: Reparto Corse JD-RA37A.2 Compact alloy

Stem: Reparto Corse Alu

Headset: FSA Orbit CE Plus

Rims: Maddux RX 5.1 LITE

Tyres: Hutchinson Equinox 2 700 �– 23

Saddle: Selle San Marco

Seatpost: Reparto Corse SP-CTEC-2

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

Part of the C2C range the Vertigo is designed with geometry for a slightly more relaxed ride than a pure race bike. Its a stiff frame which can also carry some speed to.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
8/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Beautiful quality and finish, Bianchi don't keep their reputation for nothing.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

Monocoque carbon fibre frame with a full carbon fork. Details are limited as the Vertigo is yet to be listed on Bianchi's website.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

The geometry can be found here including reach and stack measurements

http://www.epic-cycles.co.uk/images/bianchi-vert-geometry.jpg

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

The 55cm top tube was a smidgen long for a 54cm frame but the geometry works and its a very comfortable bike to ride.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Position wise yes although the stiff frame can be a little harsh over long journeys.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

Oh yes, its very stiff. Getting the power down isn't a problem.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

It puts the power down fine though the geometry does dull the urgency a bit.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

No.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

Very easy to live with, the handling is planted and very precise without being twitchy.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The alloy componentry is stiff as is the seatpost. Combine this with the frame and it can be a rough ride.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

Those stiff components mentioned above do make for a bike that responds to your effort.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The heavy wheels take the sting out of the acceleration, swapping them for something lighter makes a lot of difference to the ride.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
6/10
Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
6/10
Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
9/10
Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
7/10
Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
7/10

The drivetrain

Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

The Xenon stuff works okay and from personal experience lasts pretty well and to be fair its cheap to replace. The FSA chainset looks smart though.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

They are okay, hardwearing and robust but do limit the Vertigo's performance.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
7/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
7/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

Good looking basic kit.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? No.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
7/10

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: Whatever needs testing or Genesis Flyer, fixed of course!  My best bike is: Kinesis T2 with full Centaur Red

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

 

6 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

Style over substance once again from Bianchi. I bet those wheels weigh a ton.

Shamblesuk's picture

posted by Shamblesuk [122 posts]
6th April 2014 - 17:39

16 Likes

I have one of the 2013 models, which was higher spec'd (Campag Veloce) but £100 more expensive. Upgraded the wheels to Mavic Aksium as well. Very happy with it, and a "bella figura" too!

posted by tomturcan [46 posts]
6th April 2014 - 17:39

11 Likes

Vertigo?

Scarey descending?!

All Campag

posted by Flying Scot [682 posts]
6th April 2014 - 18:36

10 Likes

Yeah, you're right, that Infinito CV that won BOTY on this site and had the road.cc editor purring about best road bike he'd ever ridden definitely sounds like style over substance... Wink

posted by Yennings [229 posts]
7th April 2014 - 5:52

4 Likes

Rather this:

http://tuttibringa.hu/kerekparok/orszaguti/orszaguti/wilier-zero-9-2014-...

basically new 11spd ultegra,though with entry level wheelset (and the BB386 bottom bracket would want something else for propelling the bike..) but this costs about 1750 british pounds, which means it's a bargain. too bad the size is only large..

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [39 posts]
7th April 2014 - 10:33

5 Likes

By the way the wheelset weighs in at 1980 grams, thereby, I would not call it heavy, it was pretty standard weight for an entry level wheelset few years ago (if you recall those 4-5 year old aksiums and khamsins)

The threaded traditional bottom bracket is also great, and the standard non-tapered headtube gives more choice when it comes to replacing the forks. The components are bigger problem. Omega cranks? Why not square taper..? : D Xenon shifters still retain the old design, which is not that comfy as the newer (post 2009).

All in all, I'd rather opt for a custom build with the frame, or change the shifters to at least Veloce (especially if you can get UltraShift veloces from 2010) and the crankset to some Campy UT one (or PT, fitting a crankset is about 5 bucks in the lbs.. )

2ryd

posted by Vejnecske [39 posts]
7th April 2014 - 16:22

1 Like

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