Over 120 years after it was founded in Milan in 1885, Bianchi has developed into one of the most highly respected bike brands on the planet.
Recognised by its unique ‘celeste green’ models, it is widely considered to be the oldest of all bicycle manufacturers. Speculation continues as to where the colour originally came from, ranging from the colour of the Queen of Italy’s eyes to an excess of military paint at the time the company was formed. But wherever it originated, it has always clearly distinguished the Bianchi's models from the crowd, and is a symbol of pride for all who ride a Bianchi bike.
The models come in various different forms, but it is the racing bikes, made by the famous Reparto Corse factory in Treviglio, which have made the name one of the biggest in the sport. This has been helped by a number of famous riders being associated with the brand, including Fausto Coppi and Felice Gimondi, as well as the more recent Danilo Di Luca, Mario Cipollini and Jan Ullrich.
Bianchi has expanded to include the brands Legnano, Gitane, Puch and Chiorda, but in May 1997 it was itself bought out to become part of the Swedish Cycleurope Group. However, its name has remained unchanged to ensure that it carries on its reputation as one of the most prestigious brands on the market.
The main body of Bianchi’s work comes under the Reparto Corse name, its prestigious racing factory. However, this is a huge department which comprises numerous model ranges. At a glance, the four categories within the Reparto Corse brand are Corsa, MTB, Sport and City. Out of these, it is the Corsa brand which is the most important, consisting of the highest quality racing frames under the Bianchi name.
Corsa models are divided into three main categories: HoC (Hors Categorie), B4P (Born for Performance) and C2C (Coast to Coast). As well as these, the range also includes the Dama Bianca models made exclusively for women, and the Special models which are made to specification and are aimed at dedicated professionals.
This is the mountain bike division, and is divided into four different model types: Racing, Performance, Leisure and Dirt. The models attempt to cover every speciality that could be wanted for a mountain bike, from the light Racing model designed for the professional, to the all round Performance model and the Leisure and Dirt models for general fun and tricks.
Bianchi’s Sport models are aimed for those who not only want to ride their bikes to work, but also want a model that they can take to the track for a real workout. Made of double-butted aluminium alloy, the light yet stiff frames are complemented by an aluminium fork and flat handlebars to increase performance, whilst not affecting comfort levels.
The City range is designed to provide the rider with practicality, comfort and agility whilst riding in a city environment that presents its own unique hazards.
The range is divided into the T-Road, which is designed for practicality and elegance with a focus on distance and agility, the Cross Terrain, designed with the more fashion conscious in mind, and the S-Road, designed specifically for a more comfortable journey whilst manoeuvering through the streets.
New Range 2008
Bianchi has been criticised in the past for not developing its range as much as some of the bigger brands, and the new 2008 range has sought to address this issue.
Of the new HoC range, it is the previously mentioned 928 Carbon SL UD that takes the prize for the best frame on offer. The light carbon is constructed using nanotechnology, and the frame consists of an oversized bottom-bracket shell for improved stiffness.
At only 860 grams for a 55cm frame, and with the whole bike weighing in at about 7kg, it represents a fantastic weight for this type of model. Free of stresses and with a good forward motion, the comfort level is also a pleasant surprise for a performance bike.
The B4P frames consist of a new bonded carbon frame, compared to the monocoque HoC range. Because of this frame the use of lugs has become redundant, and so the weight has also gone down drastically. At 55cm, the frame now weighs in at 1kg, making it a good overall performer in the weight department. The stiffness of the bike has also been increased from the previous model as a direct result of the oversized bottom-bracket shell design.
Within the new range it is the S9 Matta model that takes the top spot. Comprising a sandblast finish, a titanium construction and a foam-injected core in the tubing for safety, the overall model represents a highly desirable and functional frame.
The 1885 model is not to be sniffed at, however, including a hydro-formed aluminium frame, carbon fibre seat stays and a smooth weld finish throughout to create an attractive frame that is built for performance.
In the C2C range, the 928 Carbon stands out as the best of the new models. This frame is all about providing a smooth and comfortable ride, and the Kevlar composite fork and seat stays allow it to maximise this potential. It also encorporates a monocoque design like the HoC frames.
For what it does, this is one of the best models on the market, and is already proving incredibly popular with a large number of cyclists.
After coming out on the market in 2005, the Oetzi has been completely upgraded for 2008.
Again it uses nanotechnology just like the HoC model, and it has also incorporated a redesigned seat stay and bottom-bracket shell. However, these have not been at the expense of the weight, which still manages a highly respectable 1.2kg.
The frame now includes high-impact carbon where the bike is likely to receive knocks, and as such this is a truly powerful and rigid frame.
The Camos is completely new to the Bianchi range, and looks set to take off as an incredibly popular model in the months to come.
It comprises a carbon front end and an aluminium dual pivot rear, as well as carbon dual-spring chainstays, which can also be removed and flipped over to make it more resistant.
Weighing in at 2.4kg for the frame, and 13kg for the whole bike, it is not the lightest of models. However, its solid build and high performance specifications make up for this.