Bianchi Oltre (2012)
Race Ready Italian Beauty
Stiff Frame that climbs very well.
The colour Celeste isn’t every one’s cup of tea. I have noticed over the years in the bike shops that I worked in that sold Bianchi that it was a certain type of cyclist that bought Bianchi. That person was a little on the eccentric side, a bit pedantic and just a touch special. But there has been a change in the wind with Bianchi with a new breed of bikes has seen a new breed of cyclists wanting to ride one.
Bianchi Oltre is the latest edition to the Bianchi line-up. The Oltre is on the (Hors Category) which is Bianchi top level road bike. Oltre which in Italian simply means “Further” is aimed at the high end of the road bike market.
The Oltre is a monocoque design made from ultra-high density carbon composite (unidirectional UMS40, for all the materials boffins). Epoxy resin and nano-powder. What is Nano Powder I can hear you all ask? The description is as follows:
A nanopowder is a nanostructure material that conforms to the definition of being a powder. It may be a material made of a variety of constituents or it may be just one material.
A nanopowder could be a metal, a ceramic, or just about anything. The definition is that the grain size is typically sub 100 microns in diameter.
Nanopowder and nonmaterial’s are interesting because at the small scale, materials have fundamentally different properties than at the bulk due to increased surface area to volume ratios. Increased interaction and reactivity is one of the by products of materials that are nanoscale, which means potentially using less of the material or that even on the nanoscale the properties are so utterly different from that of the bulk scale.
There is much interest in nanopowders and they are finding their way into a variety of uses from drugs and processing to electronics. It’s a seriously large industry with a growing market.
So there you have it! Nano powder.Bianchi calls this their Carbon Nano Tube (CNT) technology and they say that it increases the fracture toughness by 49% over standard resin, and 20% higher than their existing nanotechnology.
Bianchi also features another new technology new X-TeX design inside the head tube area. Essentially, this is an internal moulding process that shapes the inner walls of the carbon into a grid-like structure with criss-crossing raised ridges. It is like a waffle… but made of carbon. The aim is to increase stiffness and impact resistance without increasing the weight of the frame.
The Oltre is a good looking bike with a bowed top tube that tapers en route to the seat tube, a solid diamond-section down tube and a huge over-sized bottom bracket. The seat stays are very thin which seems to be a big trend amongst bile manufacturers. It’s like one starts then they all follow. The seat tube is an airfoil profile, cut-away at the front of the rear wheel.
So how does all of this technology transfer to the ride of the Oltre?
The Oltre is very light and picks up speed easily. Almost too easily as it didn’t take much effort at all. The Oltre definitely will appeal to the mountain goats. As a cyclist I was built for speed on the flat and descending the mountains. I firmly believe there should be a KOM for the cyclist who is fastest down the hill not up it.
Having said that not many of you mountain goats are interested in how fast it goes down-hill so the Oltre headed up the hill. To my relief it had great responsiveness to my out–of-seat efforts. I found the Oltre easy to keep moving forward up the 1.5km climb and noticed my speed was a couple of km faster than normal. Now this could be a good day for me or it could be the bike but it did feel quite lively on the climb. The bike felt alive and kept its form to the top of the climb where I zipped up my jersey in readiness for the descent.
The Oltre handled the steep descent with ease making me feel confident that it wasn’t going to buck me off at any given moment. This was a truly beautiful bike to ride ticking all of my own personal boxes of a race bike that would proudly take place in my garage.
All though it is in the top price point it is one to save your pennies for as I will be doing the same. I have taken a stock-take at home to see what I can sell to put towards the Oltre.
Oltre bike is a magnificent road monster that you would want to take anywhere. The specifications will also take you far and fast, from less than perfect roads to paved tracks. It starts with the frame made of carbon materials processed through advanced methods in order to mold it into a shapely, thin and aerodyanamic road bike. It is followed by powerful FSA/SRAM components and polished by the artistic design. What you have is a fast, stiff and surprisingly comfortable bike that won't eat up too much of your energy as you spin along.
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