the special one

New Bianchi Specialissima climbing bike uses Countervail technology

Recently I was lucky enough to go out to Italy for the launch of Bianchi’s new ultra light road frame, the Specialissima CV. After a short flight we arrived in beautiful Italy to sunshine and mountains that would flatter any picture you take, after a 30 minute drive into the mountains we sat down and went straight into the Specialissima presentation. It quickly became apparent that this was a completely new concept to this style of bike (Ultralight category range), it takes the concept of a comfort bike and tunes it to a performance bike. Strange as it sounds it is something that Bianchi have managed to pull off! However as the presentation went on I learned that the ‘countervail technology’, previously seen in the Infinito CV, had been used to advance the bikes performance to increase traction, control and reduce fatigue! Countervail technology is a vibrations cancelling component which is layered into the carbon fibre in the production process, it has been developed by NASA and tailored for bikes by Bianchi themselves. It is unique to Bianchi and has how been used in 3 models, Infinito CV, Specialissima CV and Aquila CV. 3 completely different bikes but all can use Countervail in different ways to make the bike more comfortable, transfer all of your power, reduce fatigue and allow you to maintain a position for longer.

It all sounded incredible and with hand painted graphics, a new brighter celeste colour and a weight of just 780g for a size 55 it looked and felt like it could be a game changing bike! Next up was dinner and a chance to speak to other Bianchi dealers and employees from around Europe. It’s a part I always enjoy about the trip and it’s amazing how different bike shops work in different countries and the little ideas you can pick up from them then apply it to your own stores.

So to the fun part, getting to ride it. Bianchi had planned a 60km route on winding roads through the vineyards including a 7km climb. It had rough roads, smooth roads, rolling roads and of course a mountains! This gave us a chance to try the Specialissima on every sort of surface that we’d encounter on a normal ride.

The rough roads, that we have plenty of them here in the UK and it would be interesting to see how a 780g frame would cope with it! The conclusion was incredible, you feel the road and the bumps but you don’t get the vibration coming through you hands it was perfectly in the middle and gave you so much control.

Next was the rolling roads which had some little kicking hills and a chance to test the bikes acceleration, which quite simply it takes off like it’s fallen off a cliff there is now floppiness from the frame as the CV technology makes sure that all of the power you put down goes to the road a propels you forward.

Then came the climb, my entire bike size 59 equipped with Campagnolo super record groupset and Bora 35mm wheels weighed in at 6kg, the bike performed incredibly well climbing comfortably and when I got out of the saddle ushering it to go faster! Having not ridden in the heat for a little while and not being as fit as I’d like to be my legs let me down long before the bike did!

What goes up must come down! Normally when you are descending a mountain at more than 75kph the bike can get very unstable being so light. This was a concern of mine, however Bianchi had told us that the CV technology really came into it’s own on the descents, cancelling the vibrations you get from the road that can destabilize the bike and allowing you to go high speed whilst still being 100% in control. WOW, they were not wrong! I deliberately left a gap to some of the group to test the bike on the descent and see how good it really was. I have never ridden a bike that feels so stable and precise on a descent. It gave me the confidence instantly to really stick it into the bends, I didn’t experience any speed wobbles or braking judders that can upset the balance of the bike and cause you to lose confidence. I caught the group easily being able to maintain a high speed, whilst braking later and sticking it into the bends, as well as using the bikes great acceleration out of the hairpins!

At £4000 for the frame set it is at the very top end of what a bike can cost but it’s a bike at the very top end of technology and what can be physically done with a bicycle. In my eyes in justifies the price, it is truly is a game changing bike!

Andrew Hargroves

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