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Bianchi Specialissima unveiled

Jordan Gibbons
15 Jun 2015

Brand new 780g climbers bike launched with Countervail technology

In 1687 Sir Isaac Newton laid forth his theory of gravity and for as long as people have raced bikes it’s been amongst our chief competitors. Despite the advances in aerodynamics, and the obsession with 3:1, the majority of races are won in the hills, so the super light arms race rages on. Not wishing to forget it, Bianchi have unveiled their new lightweight climbers frame – the Specialissima.

Specialissima frame

The Specialissima name is nothing new, it was originally a lightweight steel frame in the ‘80s for Bianchi, but CEO Bob Ippolito told us that Bianchi have been waiting for the right frame to come along before they brought the name back: “We don’t just come up with these names by accident you know!”

Bianchi Specialissima frame

The Specialissima is an out and out climbers frame. The frame is high-modulus carbon fibre monocoque and weighs in at 780 gr for the 55cm black model. Opt for paint and there is a slight weight penalty but only about 20-30g depending on the size. The cabling is all internally routed, except for the the rear derailleur cable as running it down the chainstay introduces unnecessary friction.

The frame is compatible with both electronic and mechanical groupsets (including Campagnolo EPS), takes a standard 27.2mm seatpost and has an 86.5 x 41mm bottom bracket (BB86). There are other neat touches too such as the metal plates on the dropouts to prevent damage during wheel changes.

Aerodynamics haven’t been forgotten but they’re certainly not the main focus. The headtube is similar to the Aquila TT bike, as they used the same computational fluid dynamics model, and the fork is also slightly integrated into the downtube to ease airflow into that area.

Countervail Evolution

Bianchi Specialissima countervail

The other big headline on the Specialissima frame is the addition of Bianchi’s Countervail technology. Bianchi have long experimented with mixing other materials in with their carbon fibre to increase the comfort (they used Kevlar on their old C2C models). Countervail is a patented vibration reduction material produced by MSC, who provide it to NASA, but is exclusive to Bianchi for use on bicycles.

The Countervail is a viscoelastic polymer that is included in layers of carbon fibre to reduce the vibrations that come through the frame. In the Specialissima frame it reduces vibrations by up to 80% but it can be tuned in different ways. It’s important even on a climbers frame, as it only adds 10g at most to the whole frame.

Paint finish

Bianchi Specialissima paint

As standard the Specialissima is available in two colours: Black and Fluoro Celeste (also called CK16). The frame is hand painted in Italy and all of the logos are painted on – there are no decals to be found here. Bianchi will also be offering a custom paint option, called Tavolozza (meaning paint palette), where customers can choose from a variety of different colours and finishes.

‘What goes up, must come down’

Bianchi Specialissima chainstays

It’s often the case that climbers’ bikes have been made with the sole purpose of ascension but on the other side of every set of 10% switchbacks is another set of -10% switchbacks that are perhaps equally daunting. Super light bikes often have a nervous and flighty feel that saps all descending confidence and leaves you tiptoeing into corners like Bradley Wiggins.

Angelo Lecchi, the product leader, was keen for the Specialissima to be good descender and comfortable at high speed. That said it’s also clear that it’s a racing bike and the geometry reflects that. The chainstays in particular are very short (between 400 – 410mm) and for that reason Angelo told us they’re not currently exploring discs either (as they’d have to lengthen the chainstays for the chainline).

Specialissima fork

Bianchi Specialissima fork

The fork has been specially designed for Bianchi’s new frame with particular attention paid to the aerodynamics and how it meets the headtube. The full carbon steerer is tapered from 1 -1/8th to 1-1/4 inch and weighs 340g uncut. The fork legs also benefit from the Countervail technology.

Groupset

Bianchi Specialissima front derailleur

At the moment the Specialissima is only available as a complete bike with the top tier groupsets. The four available models are Dura Ace, Dura Ace Di2, Super Record and Super Record EPS. The complete bikes all ship with 52/36 cranksets and FSA finishing kit. The Specialissima is also available as a frameset although pricing is not confirmed.

Whilst at the launch in Italy we got the chance to take the Specialissima for a quick spin - our thoughts on which you can read in our first ride review.

Contact: Bianchi.com

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