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Bianchi Vertigo review

Bianchi Vertigo Review Full Frame
21 May 2015
Verdict:

Does the unusual geometry and the tall head tube prevent the Bianchi Vertigo reaching dizzying heights?

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£1,350
For 
Great Groupset
Against 
Odd Geometry

At £1,350, the Bianchi Vertigo is at the top of our price range, but the inclusion of a Campagnolo groupset swayed us to open our wallet a little wider – we’ve enjoyed our time on Campag-equipped bikes recently so it felt worth pushing the boat out. With Bianchi celebrating 130 years of bike building this year, the Vertigo lacks little in the way of heritage, but is heritage enough to compete with the new cycling nations like the USA, Taiwan or Germany?

Frame

Bianchi Vertigo Review Front Forks Ride

Bianchi has pitched the Vertigo at the sportive rider making their first foray into carbon fibre, or buying their first serious bike and bypassing other materials. With its distinctive looks and obvious heritage, it has proved to be one of Bianchi’s most popular bikes and a ‘Dama Bianca’ women-specific version is also available. Coming in at a keen price means fewer sizes are available than Bianchi’s other ‘endurance’ bikes, but the spread is still there, from 48 to 60cm in 3cm increments. Chainstays are slightly longer than a race-focused bike, adding a little comfort as well as making the bike feel more stable at speed. The chainstays themselves are massively oversized and we didn’t notice any delay in acceleration coming from the area despite the length. The endurance geometry had us scratching our heads a little – to make the top tubes on these bikes a little longer (necessary due to the reduced size range) the seat angles are slacker than normal, a measured 72.1 degrees compared to a more typical 73-73.5 degrees. With the taller head tube, this has the effect of rotating the rider backwards around the bottom bracket. While raising the bars will open up the hip angle and feel more relaxed, rotating the whole rider doesn’t do the same thing, and the position still felt quite racy to us. We’ve recently seen endurance bikes return to 27.2mm seatposts in search of increased flex and hence comfort, but Bianchi persists with an oversized 31.6mm unit here, in contrast with the front end, where a straight 1.125in fork steerer is used instead of a tapered unit. We’ve never worried about a lack of stiffness from the straight standard, and the potential for extra comfort is welcome.

It’s amazing how big a difference a degree can make. The slack seat angle combined with the layback post meant that we felt creased up on the Vertigo

Components

Bianchi Vertigo Review Chainset

Campagnolo Veloce may only be 10-speed but it’s a joy to use – the levers are a great shape, the hidden cable routing is neat and classier than Tiagra and Sora, and the shifting is fast and crisp. Bianchi uses its own-brand dual-pivot brake callipers, which are remarkably powerful, inspiring confidence on descents. The own-brand bars are a good shape but a 110mm stem feels excessive given the length of the top tube. Likewise, the slack seat tube angle means a layback seatpost is unnecessary and we had to run the saddle all the way forward to achieve a comfortable position. The saddle itself, a San Marco Era Startup Power, has zero redeeming features, being shiny, awkwardly shaped and uncomfortable – we had to run it pointing dramatically skywards to avoid sliding off the nose.

Wheels

Bianchi Vertigo Review Full Frame

Bianchi once again specs its own wheels on the Vertigo and they’re perfectly good – the spokes are a paired design, where the drive and non-drive side spokes counteract each other’s forces, but they’re not evenly spaced like a normal wheel. The hubs engage positively and use easily replaceable cartridge bearings, while the rims brake well. Another Italian brand, Vittoria, supplies the tyres in the shape of the Zaffiro Pro Slick, which are 25mm wide and proved plenty grippy enough during our test period.

The ride

Bianchi Vertigo Review Brakes

It’s amazing how big a difference a degree can make. The slack seat angle combined with the layback post meant that we felt creased up on the Vertigo. The intention behind the geometry is to place the rider in a more upright position to increase comfort, but because the whole bike is practically rotated backwards around the bottom bracket, that ambition is unfulfilled. Because we still needed to place weight over the front wheel to corner confidently, we were constantly sliding forwards on the saddle to place our centre of gravity more optimally between the wheels. The first thing we’d do if we owned the Vertigo would be to replace the saddle with a more supportive model, and the seatpost with an in-line version that allowed us to sit further forward. If, however, you have particularly long thighs, you may find the Vertigo the ideal shape for you. Pecularities of fit aside, the performance of the components was great – the Campagnolo groupset is superb, the brakes effective and the wheels roll fast and smooth. We’ve always loved Bianchi’s trademark celeste colour, but we’d prefer it if the frame lines were a little more subdued. For the right shaped rider, the Vertigo will be a great bike, but for our testers, the fit was a major barrier to enjoying the ride.

Geometry

Geometry chart
Claimed Measured
Top Tube (TT) 550mm 546mm
Seat Tube (ST) 510mm 514mm
Down Tube (DT) 592mm
Fork Length (FL) 371mm
Head Tube (HT) 165mm 165mm
Head Angle (HA) 72.5° 71.9°
Seat Angle (SA) 72.5° 72.1°
Wheelbase (WB) 991mm
BB drop (BB) 70mm 73mm

Spec

Bianchi Vertigo
Frame Bianchi C2C Carbon, comfort geometry, full carbon non tapered fork
Groupset Campagnolo Veloce 10-speed
Brakes Reparto Corse RC-471
Chainset FSA Omega MegaExo Compact, 50/34
Cassette Campagnolo Centaur UD 12-27
Bars Reparto Course JD-RA35A Compact, alloy
Stem Reparto Course AS007 Alloy
Seatpost Reparto Course SP-TEC-2 alloy
Wheels Reparto Course Road Runner
Tyres Vittoria Zafiro Pro Slick, 25c
Saddle San Marco Era Startup Power
Contact bianchi.com

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