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Bianchi Oltre XR1 Potenza review

16 Mar 2017
Verdict:

A fast and rewarding bike with impressive acceleration and good comfort

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£2,999
For 
Attractive carbon frame, impressively responsive, great descender
Against 
Wheels not the lightest or fastest, some components will prove a matter of opinion, limited seatpost adjustability

Bianchi is the oldest bicycle company still making bikes and throughout its history has been famous for making high-end racers, with the Oltre XR1 being just that.

The race-inspired design is readily apparent just from looking at the bike, with aerodynamic features such as the dramatic seatpost shape, narrow and fluid tubing and low, stretched out position with long stem.

From the first pedal stroke, the acceleration is impressive and it does not seem to waste any of the energy that you put into the pedals.

The responsive feel is addictive and you soon end up sprinting just for the fun of it.

The ride quality is well balanced throughout and while it can’t match either of the others on test for pure comfort, it is very balanced and still great on typically rough roads.

For some purists, Italian bikes must be fitted with a Campagnolo groupset, so the Potenza 11 will be a pleasing sight to them.

Love-hate

Groupsets can be a divisive issue, though. Our tester appreciated the shape of the hoods, with their more-rounded and comfortable feel, but found the shifting took a bit of getting used to.

Upshifts have a relatively long throw, while the thumb-activated shifters are easy to use from the hoods but can be more difficult to access when sprinting in the drops.

That said, having the two levers separate prevents accidental shifts, and besides, whether you find the Potenza's layout a help or hindrance will ultimately be a matter of personal choice.

Plus Bianchi offers the Oltre in alternative groupset builds, too.

On the climbs, the Oltre is effective, helped by the responsive frame and the long riding position that gives space to move around.

The Fulcrum Racing 7 wheels were a slight disappointment, being a little heavy but more noticeable when riding is the freehub that feels slow to engage.

The relatively narrow rim gives the 25mm tyres a tall, narrow profile which goes against the current trend.

Downhill the Oltre is impressive, helped by the long, low geometry which puts the rider’s weight over the front wheel, making it quick and easy to change direction.

Overall, it’s a well- balanced race-focused machine that provides a fast, lively and fun ride. 

Ratings

Frame 9/10; Components 8/10; Wheels 8/10; The ride 9/10

Verdict: Verdict: The Bianchi Oltre is a stunning frame with impressive acceleration, good comfort and available in a range of builds. In this guise a better set of wheels would transform it into something really special

Buy the Bianchi Oltre XR1 Potenza from £2999 at Evans Cycles

Spec

Frame Oltre XR1 Carbon, tapered full carbon fork
Groupset Campagnolo Potenza 11
Brakes Campagnolo Potenza
Chainset Campagnolo Potenza, 52/36
Cassette Campagnolo 11-speed, 11-29
Bars Reparto Corse Custom
Stem Reparto Corse alloy
Seatpost Oltre Full Carbon aero
Saddle Selle San Marco Condor
Wheels Fulcrum Racing 7 LG, Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ 25c
Weight 7.85kg (57cm)
Contact bianchi.com

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