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Verdict: 
An exceptional bike if you want to go fast in plenty of comfort, but you have to pay for it
Weight: 
7,800g
Contact: 
Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza
8 10

The Infinito CV Potenza is Bianchi's take on the endurance genre of road bikes, being a little taller and a little longer than a typical race bike. Don't take that as being more sedate, though, because there is still plenty of racing pedigree hidden inside that frameset. The Infinito CV is a responsive, vibration-damping speed machine.

With more relaxed geometry than its Oltre and Specialissima race bikes, Bianchi has aimed the Infinito CV at those riders who like to get a move on but don't want to race or don't wish to be in a racer's low slung position. For the equivalent frame size, the Infinito has a 30mm longer head tube, which does make you feel a bit more upright, but not to the point where it affects you in terms of aerodynamics should you need to hunker down in the drops for a bit of speed work. I could certainly still achieve a decent saddle to handlebar drop.

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One thing that hasn't been relaxed is the responsiveness of the frameset; when you really stamp on the pedals there is very little difference to be felt in performance between this bike and the Specialissima I tested before.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - riding 2.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - riding 2.jpg

The Infinito CV is rock solid around the bottom bracket junction and up front, where you'll find the commonly themed tapered oversized head tube – a 1 1/2in lower race diameter in this case.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - head tube badge.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - head tube badge.jpg

All this makes for a very exciting ride if you find yourself having one of those 'feeling good' days or you just want to go out and have a bit of a smashfest. This bike just felt so much lighter than its 7.8kg (17.2lb) weight would have you believe, with acceleration and climbing becoming a joy.

Comfort is key

For this style of bike, comfort is a key consideration, especially if you want to start knocking out some serious long distance rides, and considering those high levels of stiffness, the Infinito CV doesn't disappoint.

Bianchi reckons it all comes down to that CV in its name, CounterVail technology, which is described as a viscoelastic material that's embedded within the layers of carbon fibre. It's designed to cancel out high frequency road vibration – you know, that buzzy stuff that makes your hands tingle.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - top tube decal.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - top tube decal.jpg

It certainly seems to work because the Infinito CV is one very comfortable bike to ride. You still feel everything that is going on beneath you from the road, and you're still going to notice big impacts from a pothole or washboard-like piece of tarmac, but the CV just seems to take the edge off everything, all of that chatter.

Well balanced

Handling-wise, Bianchi has got the balance pretty much spot on, which it makes it very easy to ride quickly downhill even if you aren't a very confident descender. The steering has been slowed down a little compared with Bianchi's race bikes, thanks to a slacker 72-degree head angle among other things and this means a lot of the twitchiness has been taken out of it.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - riding 4.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - riding 4.jpg

I pushed things a little on one of my local descents and going into a tight, off-camber right-hander I grabbed too much rear brake (the test bike had the brakes set up European style, the 'wrong' way round), which seriously unsettled the bike, and by the time I'd adjusted the power I was putting through the brake levers I was in too deep, so it was more of a case of looking for somewhere soft to put myself and the bike down rather than make the bend.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - rear brake.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - rear brake.jpg

In the end, though, the Infinito CV stayed well under control and gave full feedback of what it was doing, and while I still took to the grass verge for a couple of feet I didn't need to unclip or even stop the bike before rejoining the carriageway.

With the braking layout situation now planted firmly in my mind, on the rest of my testing descents the Bianchi responded well, and I even picked up a Strava top ten on a notoriously technical one in the wet. 

Frame and fork

The Infinto CV is a stunning bike to look at, with its various tube profiles showing plenty of oversizing for stiffness, and slender sections for promoting flex.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - frame detail 2.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - frame detail 2.jpg

Up front the head tube is less of a tube than a section with the flared ends of the top tube and down tube practically blending into each other. This is there to create front end stiffness for steering and braking loads, and certainly gives the bike a very tight, direct feel up front.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - head tube.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - head tube.jpg

Bianchi's own fork certainly doesn't let down on the stiffness front either. It has a large crown, accommodated by that oversized head tube, and the legs slim very little as they make their way down to the dropouts. It's a full carbon fibre construction, as you'd expect on a bike of this price.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - fork.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - fork.jpg

The bottom bracket junction is large, though not as chunky as you see on some carbon fibre machines. It still allows for a large-section down tube and chainstays to be joined together to deliver all of that stiffness and power transfer. Press-Fit BB30 bearing cups are used to help the chainset spin smoothly.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - bottom bracket.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - bottom bracket.jpg

The full carbon fibre frame is designed for use with both mechanical and electronic groupsets from all three of the major manufacturers thanks to full internal cable/wire routing and various battery attachment options.

It's good to see such a large range of sizes for a carbon fibre machine too, with the Infinto CV coming in eight from 47cm to 63cm – although that is effective seat tube length, as in if the frame didn't have a compact sloping top tube. A maximum top tube length of 595mm means if you are very tall you might struggle to get one to fit.

Potenza group

The Potenza groupset this Infinito CV is wearing is Campagnolo's newest and this is only the second bike we've tested that has it. There is a full review of the groupset coming, but I'll give you a quick run-down of what's on offer.

Potenza is the Italian company's fourth tier groupset and is pitched at around the same level as Shimano's Ultegra. It's an 11-speed setup and uses mainly aluminium in its construction rather than the carbon fibre found on Campagnolo Chorus and above, and is available in the black you see here or silver should you fancy a bit of a retro theme.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - front mech.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - front mech.jpg

Our test model came with a compact 50/34 chainset and 11-29 cassette, which certainly provided me with a large enough spread of gears for every eventuality.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - rear mech.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - rear mech.jpg

If you are a previous user of Campagnolo shifters you'll notice that on these newer mechanical levers the thumbshifter now mimics the sloping shape of the electronic EPS models rather than sitting horizontal. It's a welcome change as it makes your hand sit much more naturally when resting on the hoods; you can keep your thumb just resting against the button ready for a quick shift if you need it.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - bars.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - bars.jpg

Gear changes are snappy with a more defined clunk than that of the lighter feeling Shimano Ultegra 6800, but in terms of shifting there is very little to separate the two. The throw of the paddle on the Potenza is longer, which can become telling on a long ride until you get used to it.

I'm a big fan of the shape and feel of the hoods on Campag's levers, too.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - bars and shifter.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - bars and shifter.jpg

The chainset offers plenty of stiffness, and the chain just skips across the chainrings and cassette sprockets even when under load like on a steep climb.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - drive train.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - drive train.jpg

I've long been a fan of the Skeleton brake callipers, having used them right across Campag's range. They've always offered excellent power and modulation, and it's no different with the Potenza versions.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - front brake.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - front brake.jpg

It really is a very good groupset.

Finishing kit

The Reparto Corse finishing kit is Bianchi's in-house brand and offers cool looks and decent quality for a decent budget.

The seatpost is carbon fibre with an alloy clamp and, oddly in a frame of this kind, is 31.6mm in diameter. It's often thought that a narrow 27.2mm post promotes a little more flex for added comfort and that's something I'd like to have seen here. The larger diameter post is quite stiff, so even though the CV frame is damping the small vibrations you still get some fatigue from the bigger bumps. If it was my bike I'd probably use a shim to allow a 27.2mm seatpost to fit.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - saddle and post.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - saddle and post.jpg

Keeping things Italian, the Infinito CV comes fitted with a Fizik Aliante R7 saddle, which is one that I get on with very well, and with its matching Celeste detailing it looks like a saddle that befits a bike of this price. It is quite firm, but it seems to be that if the shape suits you then comfort will be fine.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - stem.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - stem.jpg

The handlebar and stem are both alloy and come in varying sizes depending on frame size. Stiffness at the front end is also high, with neither having very little in the way of give.

Wheels and tyres

The Fulcrum Racing 5 LG wheels may look a bit of a cheap setup for a three-grand-plus bike, but we've seen them specced on quite a few models around this price, especially where the majority of the rrp is being absorbed by such a high quality frameset.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - rim.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - rim.jpg

We tested a version here a while back and were suitably impressed by what is basically a set of training wheels. Obviously if you stick some more expensive hoops on with less weight you do notice the difference, and it makes the Bianchi feel a little more perky, but as an all-round package the Fulcrums don't really have a negative impact on the way the Infinito CV rides.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - riding 3.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - riding 3.jpg

The wheels stayed true throughout testing and the bearings have remained smooth and trouble-free too over the cold, wet months of December and January.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - rear hub.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza - rear hub.jpg

The Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ Isotech graphene tyres are great performers, offering loads of grip in both the wet and dry. They feel as though they roll quickly too and are quite supple, giving a smooth ride on the road. They seem hardwearing too. I have yet to see any damage to the tyres from cuts or punctures, so I'd happily run them through the winter and only change them in the summer if I wanted something super-lightweight.

Those fitted on the test bike are 25mm wide, but the Infinito CV will take up to 28mm tyres should you want to go bigger.

Value

On paper the Infinito CV Potenza might not look so appealing at its 2017 price of £3,300 (when it first arrived at road.cc HQ it was £3,000) when you take into account the finishing kit and especially those wheels, but you are getting an absolute stunner of a frameset which costs over two and a half grand on its own.

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza.jpg

Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza.jpg

One of its rivals we mentioned in the Just In piece was the NeilPryde Bura SL, a very similar machine with an Ultegra groupset and the same wheels, and now £300 cheaper than the Bianchi.

The Bianchi has a much more fun and exciting ride, just from the sheer amount of feedback and comfort that gets sent to you from that frame, and that is worth paying for – but I'm not sure how much more.

> Buyer's Guide: The best bikes for long days in the saddle

There is also the likes of Canyon's Endurace, with an Ultegra Di2 model being available for £2,469. The Endurace is a firm favourite of ours here at road.cc, mostly because of what it delivers as a package, but the Bianchi again offers the more superior frame and ride.

Overall, I have to say I reckon the Infinito CV Potenza was right on the money in terms of value at three grand, but that 10 per cent increase in RRP for 2017 – which Bianchi puts down to the value of the pound against the euro – just nudges it a little out of reach.

That said, if you're after a bike that is comfortable, very quick, easy to ride for miles and miles and you're prepared to pay for it, then you definitely need to give one of these a test ride.

Verdict

An exceptional bike if you want to go fast in plenty of comfort, but you have to pay for it

road.cc test report

Make and model: Bianchi Infinito CV Potenza

Size tested: 55cm

About the bike

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

Frame - Infinito CV Carbon w/Countervail, Mechanical/Electronic Di2/EPS shifting compatible, 28c tire compatible, BBset PF30, sizes 47-50-53-55-57-59-61-63cm

Fork - Bianchi Full Carbon w/Countervail, 1,5" head

Headset - Fsa Orbit C-40-ACB

Shifters - Campagnolo Potenza Power Shift 11sp Ergopower, black

Rear derailleur - Campagnolo Potenza short cage 11sp

Front derailleur - Campagnolo Potenza black 11sp

Crankset - Campagnolo Potenza Power-Torque System 50/34T

Bottom Bracket - Campagnolo Power-Torque System OS-Fit integrated cups BB30 68x46mm

Chain - Campagnolo 11sp

Sprocket - Campagnolo 11sp 11-29T

Brakes - Campagnolo Potenza dual pivot

Wheels - Fulcrum Racing 5 LG

Tire - Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ Isotech graphene, 700x25

Stem - Reparto Corse 3D Forged alloy 7050, rise +/-7°, 1.1/8"

Handlebar - Reparto Corse Compact Flat Top, alloy 2014 diam. 31,8mm, reach 126mm, drop 77,4mm,

Seatpost - Reparto Corse carbon UD, setback 15mm, diam. 31.6mm,

Saddle - Fi'zi:k Aliante R7, Manganese rail

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?

From Bianchi:

"Bianchi collaborated with Materials Sciences Corp. to develop our innovative and exclusive application of the patented Countervail® integrated vibration canceling system for cycling. The result is the new Bianchi Infinito CV, Infinito CV Dama Bianca and Infinito CV disc.

Scientific studies prove that long term exposure to vibration, typically absorbed by the rider, causes muscle fatigue and discomfort, resulting in reduced performance.

Traditional passive damping of the frame using superficial rubber inserts and isolators are only marginally effective compared to the integrated carbon Countervail® system developed by Bianchi and proven in the extreme conditions of NASA aerospace operations.

With its patented carbon fiber architecture and viscoelastic material, Countervail® carbon material, embedded within our unique Infinito CV carbon layup, immediately cancels vibration while increasing the stiffness and strength of the entire frame.

Infinito CV, Infinito CV Dama Bianca e Infinito CV disc follow key points of Endurance Race geometry like higher head tube, longer chain stays and longer wheelbase. Frame dimensions follow size progression to allow the optimal bike fitting ensuring same performance through different sizes."

I found the Infinito CV to be a very fast, comfortable road bike that felt much lighter to ride than its weight suggests.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

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

It looks lovely and feels lovely.

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

CounterVail Vibration Cancelling Composite Technology is used in the carbon fibre layup to help reduce high frequency vibrations.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

A taller head tube and longer wheelbase than a race bike promotes comfort and increased stability.

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

The Infinito sits somewhere in between a race bike and most other endurance bikes on the market in terms of height and reach. A stack to reach ratio of 1.48.

Riding the bike

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

Yes, the CounterVail does seem to reduce a lot of road buzz.

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

Yes, A solid BB area and head tube/fork junction makes for a tight feeling machine.

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

Very well, the frameset feels very light and it is very responsive.

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 with a lean towards the responsive side.

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

The Bianchi is a great handling bike in the way that everything is very balanced. It's not twitchy at all in the bends but should you want to push on at speed it's very direct for fast cornering.

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

The 31.6mm diameter seatpost keeps the rear end quite stiff, which can cause fatigue over long rides.

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

The whole package works brilliantly together.

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

The Potenza Skeleton dual pivot brakes have excellent power so you can really leave braking to the last second.

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

The drivetrain

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

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

Campagnolo Potenza is a very good groupset, in terms of performance and comfort in use.

Wheels and tyres

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

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

Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels are quite near the bottom of the range for a bike of this price, but they don't really seem to hamper the bike at all.

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

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

I was a big fan of the tyres, which roll well and offer excellent levels of grip in both the wet and dry.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
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?

The handlebar, stem and seatpost are all on the stiff side, but thankfully the frameset manages to offset that.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes

Would you consider buying the bike? Possibly, with careful consideration on price.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
6/10

Use this box to explain your score

What makes the Infinito CV such a great bike is that frameset, it's absolutely stunning in terms of performance and comfort against the competition. It is on the pricey side against its rivals, though, and maybe a touch more than I'd be happy to spend – which does cost it a point.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien

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

Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.

15 comments

Avatar
rjfrussell [362 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

what are the differences between the Infinito and Intenso ranges?

Avatar
unconstituted [2355 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes

Infinito has the Ultimate Unverifiable Marketing Trick. 

I have an Infinito CV frame to sell if anyone wants it. Black/Red colourway. 55cm.

Avatar
Nick T [1051 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

Handmade in Italy, is that right Bianchi?

Avatar
Vejnemojnen [240 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

i dont see, why they don't specifiy the bike with the old promax rc-471 reparto corse brake calipers

 

I have those, they measure 294 grams in pair, and, the stock pads are premium swiss stop ones. they have a respectable stopping power, with strong bite. 

 

I'd specifiy the bike with 30mm axle fsa chainset and those promax calipers. would save some grams and some bucks from the price. win-win..  1

Avatar
Prosper0 [92 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Nick T wrote:

Handmade in Italy, is that right Bianchi?

 

For a £2.5k frame I would expect so. 

Avatar
Nick T [1051 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes

You'd be disappointed then, because the frameset most definitely isn't. 

Avatar
unconstituted [2355 posts] 4 months ago
5 likes

Even the Oltre XR4 is made in Taiwan. Saw a guy complain about that recently after he bought one smiley

 

Seriously, who cares. If it's good it's good.

Avatar
SingleSpeed [311 posts] 4 months ago
2 likes
rjfrussell wrote:

what are the differences between the Infinito and Intenso ranges?

 

Flattering Geometries for the bloke that wants to ride a Bianchi but should probably have taken up Golf.  1

Avatar
Nick T [1051 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
unconstituted wrote:

Even the Oltre XR4 is made in Taiwan. Saw a guy complain about that recently after he bought one smiley

 

Seriously, who cares. If it's good it's good.

 

nothing at wrong with a Taiwanese frame, I wouldn't want a carbon monocoque frame from anywhere else. There's  problem with putting a false provenance sticker on one though, which misleads buyers such as the poster up there who would expect it to be for the price 

Avatar
Ben12345 [9 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Nick T wrote:

Handmade in Italy, is that right Bianchi?

 

Ive read elsewhere that the bikes are assemebled or packaged together in Italy. The cheaper framesets made in the Far East. But isn't this the case with every manufacturer ? 

Avatar
Ben12345 [9 posts] 4 months ago
1 like
rjfrussell wrote:

what are the differences between the Infinito and Intenso ranges?

 

I think the Intenso is basically the old Infinito that was on sale before the countervail  version was released. Basically the previous version renamed.

Avatar
sammutd88 [40 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Standard. Cycling is full of clever marketing, luring us all in to buy the latest and greatest, when effectively, there is no difference. Features like Countervail probably turn out to be more placebo than anything else. I daresay an Intenso with the same components will ride the exact same as an Infinito CV, unless of course they have altered actual aspects of the frame (ie slimmer seatstays, different seatpost......). A well designed frame from most manufacturers will be made in Taiwan. In the end, it's really all a matter of bragging rights and how much cash we are willing to spend on a brand/model. We are all guilty. All the Pinarello fan boys with their F8's better go to their local dealer and order the F10. Because 10 is greater than 8, must be better.........there'll be plenty of stiffness happening......

Bianchi's are beautiful bikes, but they are not handcrafted by Mario or Gino in Italy while he sips his espresso. 

Avatar
Nick T [1051 posts] 4 months ago
0 likes
Ben12345 wrote:
Nick T wrote:

Handmade in Italy, is that right Bianchi?

 

Ive read elsewhere that the bikes are assemebled or packaged together in Italy. The cheaper framesets made in the Far East. But isn't this the case with every manufacturer ? 

no, there's a few builders still making frames actually in Italy - Colnago, Tommasini, Sarto, Casati etc. Bianchi get their frames fabricated in Taiwan, possibly painted there too, then shipped to Italy where someone slots a headset in and slaps a made in Italy sticker on the seat tube

Avatar
unconstituted [2355 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

Think only Colnago's C60 is made in Italy now, rest Taiwan.

Avatar
Nick T [1051 posts] 4 months ago
1 like

there's Master and Arabesque steels frames made in Italy, but crucially they don't put a made in Italy sticker on a Concept