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Is this the new Bianchi Oltre XR4 CV aero bike?

New Bianchi XR4 CV breaks cover at the Tour de Suisse

Is this the new Bianchi Oltre XR4 CV? The photo was posted by the Bianchi sponsored Lotto NL Jumbo team on its Twitter page during the Tour de Suisse this week, and the UCI’s list of approved frames and forks shows that the Italian bike company registered a new bike, the Oltre XR4 CV, on 23rd March 2016. 

Of course, our speculation could be well off, but there’s every reason to suggest this is the new bike listed on the UCI’s approved list. The Oltre was first introduced in 2012, updated with the Oltre XR2 in 2014, and apart from the cheaper Oltre XR1 last year and the superlight Specialissima, there hasn’t been an update to Bianchi’s flagship race bike since, so you could say it’s due for an overhaul. 

If the XR4 really is the new bike, it would seem Bianchi has skipped the XR3. Maybe it’s saving that name for another new model, maybe it’s saving itself from embarrassing associations with Ford’s iconic Escort hot hatch from the 90s?

We know what the CV stands for, that’s CounterVail, a technology designed to dampen vibrations and first introduced on the Infinito CV endurance bike a number of years ago. 

Bianchi Infinito CV Disc - countervail decal

It would be no surprise if Bianchi has infused its flagship race bike with this CounterVail technology, which integrates a special material into the carbon fibre layup. It rolled out the same tech in its Specialissima after being well received on the Infinito CV and racers need comfort and smoothness as much as sportive riders. 

The photo doesn’t give us much to go on, but enough to suggest that Bianchi has refined the shape of the tubes presumably to increase its aerodynamic efficiency. The down tube has a different profile to the current XR2, the seatstays meet the seat tube well below the top tube, and the head tube area looks to have been tweaked. 

It’s also clear that Bianchi has sought to increase rear end stiffness, a likely request from the racers, with much chunkier profile seat stays and beefed up chain stays. We guess the extra vibration damping qualities of the CounterVail technology has allowed the designers to move away from the previously very skinny rear stays, presumably maintaining a similar level of compliance.

One other very clear change is the switch to Shimano’s Direct Mount brake calipers. No sign of disc brakes...

That's all we know for now, once we know more, we'll update this story.

David worked on the tech team from 2012-2020. Previously he was editor of 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, and you can now find him over on his own YouTube channel David Arthur - Just Ride Bikes

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