Author's note: I work in a bike shop which is a Bianchi dealer. We have been provided this bike to use as a demonstrator for the coming year. As a mechanic, I am at times skeptical of what the marketing people tell us, so I approached this test purely from a rider's perspective.
The all-new Infinito CV is Bianchi's premier "Coast to Coast" (C2C) endurance road bike. Featuring an exclusive new vibration-absorbing visco-elastic material known as Countervail incorporated in the carbon laminate, Bianchi claims that vibration through the frame is reduced by 75%. So I went for a spin around the Mornington Peninsula to put it to the test.
The first 10 or so km of the ride were on a pretty decent surface, so initially there wasn't a great deal of feedback to separate this bike from any other high-quality carbon frame. Accelerating from traffic lights and an off-the-saddle mash up Oliver's Hill prove the frame to have the right amount of stiffness in all the right places, as every pedal stroke goes straight through to the rear wheel. Pretty good so far.
As we leave the suburban fringe behind, the road surface begins to deteriorate, and it's here that it very quickly becomes apparent that this is no ordinary frame. Coarse-chip road buzz is virtually non-existent, and even broken chunks of asphalt result in only a dull "thud" that elicits just the slightest chatter from the GPS in its cradle. I don't have the scientific toys to quantify Bianchi's 75% vibration reduction claim, but the Seat-O-Meter undeniably reports that it is substantially smoother than my benchmark '05 vintage Giant TCR Composite, which isn't a bad frame in the smoothness stakes.
The last real test before turning back towards base is Arthur's Seat, with its 18 corners in 4km. I must have forgotten my climbing legs today (not that they're that brilliant anyway), because I wasn't really giving the bike what-for up the long grind. My lowly output certainly didn't give the bike anything to complain about.
After a short breather at the top, it was time to about-face and point downwards. This thing is a phenomenal descender! The longer wheelbase of the C2C geometry, the awesomely compliant ride that's not fazed by mid-corner bumps, offset with just the right amount of stiffness ensure the bike handles predictably with rock-solid stability, so even the toughest descent can be tackled with utmost confidence. The true testament to this is that despite its non-racing target market, the Infinito CV is no stranger to the racecourses of Paris-Roubaix and the mountain stages of the Grand Tours.
The one downside, and to be fair this is a reflection of the Endurance geometry as a whole, not this bike in particular, is the high front end does no favours to the aero when punching into a headwind. But that's a small price to pay for what is quite an incredible package.
As tested, the bike is fitted with Campagnolo's Athena groupset and Fulcrum wheels (edit to come with exact model ). The shifting is..... well, it's Campag, which speaks for itself. The brakes, while quite good don't quite have the sheer bite of Shimano's top grabbers even from a couple of generations ago, but it's pretty rare that you'll find them even a tiny bit scary. The wheels roll smoothly, and are stiff & true, so there's no brake drag at least under my modest power output. The frame is fully electronic-compatible, allowing for easy upgrades to these systems. It's also BB30-compatible; as tested it is fitted with step-down adaptors to accept a standard 24mm spindle. There is no discernible play in the bottom bracket area.
All in all, this is a seriously amazing pice of machinery.
Price: As tested, the Infinito CV Athena is listed at $5799 RRP. Contact Sola Sport to locate your nearest Bianchi dealer.