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Bianchi unveils radical new Oltre road bike with ‘Air Deflector’ aero tech

Italian brand says that new range represents the first overall frame/component platform designed entirely in-house. In terms of looks, it’s the most un-Bianchi Bianchi ever

Bianchi has unveiled a new Oltre aero road bike range that incorporates radical ‘Air Deflector’ technology that’s designed to channel airflow at the sides of the head tube, along with an innovative aero cockpit. With the top-end RC model starting from €13,800, the wheels, hubs, and saddles were designed in-house especially for the Oltre, making it “the first overall frame/component platform designed entirely by Bianchi”. There are three different platforms: Oltre RC (which Bianchi calls a ‘hyperbike’), Oltre Pro and Oltre.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC Air Deflector - 1

Although it still holds its own among the current best aero road bikes, the Oltre has been due an update for a while now, the outgoing Oltre XR4 having been around since 2018. We predicted we’d see a revamp sometime this year, and a revamp it certainly is... 

Okay, the Air Deflector tech, then. That’s the big talking point, so what’s the deal there?

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC Air Deflector - 1 (1)

Bianchi says that this approach has been “inspired by the world of motor racing at the highest level to optimise aerodynamic efficiency in every situation”. 

“[We] designed and integrated Air Deflectors (patent pending) into the sides of the head tube, thus channelling airflow and creating a low-pressure zone at the rear of the tube,” says Bianchi.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC Air Deflector - 2

“The action of the deflectors complements the performance of the new aero cockpit, which generates low-pressure air vortices directed towards the legs of the moving athlete through a centrally located hole.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC Air Deflector - 3

Check out the pictures and you’ll see the hole between the tops and the stem section of the one-piece cockpit.

While this year we’ve seen the all-new Trek Madone SLR with a gaping hole in the seat tube for purported aero gains, you might remember that the Ribble Ultra Aero launched last year featured bulges in the tops of the handlebar designed to act as wake generators to create a drag reduction zone for the rider to sit in. 

Bianchi says, “The result is a significant reduction in aerodynamic resistance by the athlete-bike system, as certified by wind tunnel testing. In short, results proved higher speed with less effort.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 3 (1).jpeg

“Compared to the previous Oltre XR4 model, the Oltre RC saves 17 watts at a speed of 50km/h (31mph) and gains 45 seconds over a distance of 40km (25 miles) with a power output of 250 watts/h. 

“In variable wind conditions, the advantage over the best aero bikes on the market increases by 30 percent, ensuring extreme performance even during sudden changes in wind direction.”

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 10 (1).jpeg

We’ve not ridden this bike never mind tested it in the wind tunnel, so we’re reporting Bianchi’s claims rather than endorsing them.

Bianchi doesn’t offer precise figures for the aero performance of the Oltre compared with key competitors but it does say that the top-level Oltre RC “is a revolution in terms of design and engineering with an aim to actively dominate and exploit airflow through engineering a perfectly integrated bike-athlete and frame-component system”. 

It also says the fact that the frame, handlebar, wheels, hubs and saddles have all been designed and manufactured by Bianchi’s Reparto Corse (Racing Department) “marks a turning point for the brand”. 

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 14 (1).jpeg

The Reparto Corse RC50 and RC65 tubeless-ready wheelset (50mm front profile and 65mm rear profile), for example, is said to be stiff and responsive with a weight of 1,540g. The wheels feature a 3K carbon finish and Super-Precision Bearings from SKF. 

2023 Bianchi RC139 Carbon Air saddle - 1 (1).jpeg

“The RC139 Carbon Air saddle features a pad developed with 3D technology, and a weight of just 168g, which allows the athlete to maintain an aerodynamic position even over long distances without sacrificing the best ergonomics,” says Bianchi.

There are three Oltre platforms: 

Oltre RC

This top-of-the-range model, “created for World Tour racing and professionals”, offers the new Air Deflector technology and aero handlebar (see above). It is equipped with the new RC50 and RC65 tubeless-ready wheels and features the RC139 Carbon Air saddle.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 6 (1).jpeg

The Oltre RC is available in six sizes and three different colours, all with “ultralight paint” and exposed carbon: anthracite with celeste inserts, anthracite with white inserts, and anthracite with iridescent purple inserts. Prices start at (yep, start at) €13,800. 

Bianchi claims a frame weight of 915g (size 55) and 420g for the fork. This compares with a claimed frame weight of 990g for the previous Bianchi Oltre XR4. In terms of weight, the XR4 was being put in the shade by newer aero bikes from other brands and Bianchi really needed to address this.

The Oltre RC is available in these builds:

Bianchi Oltre RC SRAM Red eTap AXS
Groupset SRAM Red eTap AXS (inc power meter)
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon SPB 

Bianchi Oltre RC Super Record EPS
Groupset Campagnolo Super Record EPS (Stages power meter)
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon SPB

Bianchi Oltre RC Dura-Ace Di2
Groupset Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (inc power meter)
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon SPB

Oltre Pro

The Oltre Pro “shares the same construction principles as the top-of-the-line RC model” and features Air Deflector technology and a new aero handlebar. 

2023 Bianchi_Oltre Pro

The frame incorporates the CV (CounterVail) tech (a structural carbon system with a viscoelastic resin from Materials Sciences Corp that’s embedded within the frame’s carbon layup) that Bianchi has been using for several years. It is designed to reduce vibration and improve rider comfort.

The Oltre Pro features the RC139 Carbon saddle (claimed weight: 145g) and RC50 tubeless-ready wheels (50mm profile front and rear) with a claimed weight of 1,590g. Again, it’s available in six sizes and three different colours (anthracite with Celeste inserts, anthracite with white inserts, and anthracite with black inserts). The Oltre Pro is available for a suggested retail price of €8,000. 

Bianchi claims a frame weight of 965g (size 55) and 430g for the fork.

Bianchi Oltre Pro SRAM Red eTap AXS
Groupset
SRAM Red eTap AXS
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon

Bianchi Oltre Pro SRAM Force eTap AXS
Groupset
SRAM Force eTap AXS
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon

Bianchi Oltre Pro Dura-Ace Di2
Groupset
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon

Bianchi Oltre Pro Ultegra Di2
Groupset
Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon

Oltre

The Oltre (with no suffix) is said to be “derived from the superior Pro and RC versions” but it’s “designed for a wider range of cyclists”. The full-carbon frame and fork doesn’t incorporate CV technology.

2023 Bianchi_Oltre

The Oltre is equipped with new Velomann components: aero handlebar and stem, V50R wheels (50mm profile front and rear, claimed weight of 1,640g), and Mitora saddle (claimed weight: 215g). 

 It’s available in six sizes and three colours (celeste, white, and dark metallic grey). Retail prices start at €5,400. 

Bianchi claims a frame weight of 995g (size 55) and 390g for the fork. These are the figures that Bianchi has given us; if correct, that would make a combined frame and fork weight for the Oltre of 1385g, compared with 1,395g for the Oltre Pro.

Bianchi Oltre Ultegra Di2
Groupset Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels Velomann Carbon 55mm

Bianchi Oltre 105 Di2
Groupset Shimano 105 Di2
Wheels Velomann Carbon 55mm

Bianchi Rival eTap AXS
Groupset SRAM Rival eTap AXS
Wheels Velomann Carbon 55mm

We don’t yet have UK prices or details of the various builds, although Bianchi does say the new Oltre, Oltre Pro, and Oltre RC will be available from November 2022. 

Bianchi also promises that it has developed “an advanced 3D digital communication space using virtual and augmented reality” to show off the new bikes. 

“A special filter will be available on all of Bianchi’s social channels (Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook),” it says. “Every enthusiast will be able to experience the sensation of seeing and almost ‘touching’ the new Oltre RC through a multichannel online experience that brings the user extremely close to reality.”

www.bianchi.com

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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33 comments

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BalladOfStruth | 1 year ago
1 like

From the side, it kind of looks like someone's put the Cervelo S5 handlebars on the previous generation Giant Propel.

I'm torn on it. It looks... different, and I really dont like the way the stem sticks up at 30 degrees. But like the Trek, I'll probably come around to it eventually. I will say that the paint jobs aren't doing it any favours - those stripes all over it sort of distort the lines of the frame even more. If you can suffer through the horrendous website they've made for it, to look at it with the pearlescent violet/green stripes (as close to solid black as you can get it), it does look a bit better. 

Avatar
mark1a | 1 year ago
1 like

Good grief...

Bianchi engineers: "Who says that Italian design has to be beautifil? Hold my birra..."

I hope this is not the direction of travel for the non-TT aero road bike. In my opinion the best looking aero road bike frame in recent years is the 3rd gen (19-20) Venge - kamm tailed tubing without looking too boxy, neat cockpit arrangement, not-too-dropped seatstays, and now it seems the pursuit of ever more "saves 0.01W over 40km at (a speed you'll never achieve)" statements is giving us what we see here.

Avatar
bobbinogs | 1 year ago
6 likes

My my, that's fugly

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