We tested out the Bianchi Pista Sei Giorni track bike. A velodrome ready machine by name - but it feels like something has been lost in translation...
The Bianchi Pista Sei Giorni sits within the Italian brand’s singlespeed line up of two. The Pista Steel (which means track, steel) is its singlespeed town bike, whilst the Pista Sei Gioroni (track, six day) is designed to offer the real deal – a race ready bike for the boards.
Somewhere along the way, however, it seems like the differentiation between the two might have become a little lost.
Bringing with it the bombproof chassis that you’d expect from a bike for city streets, it’s a bike that’s got plenty going for it – but we’re not sure we’d add track credentials to that list.
The Pista Sei Giorni is built around an aluminium body, with an alloy steerer accompanied by a straight carbon aero blade fork.
The fork itself, along with most other tubing, is pretty bulky – and the overall weight of the built bike is 8.1kg – which is more than others in its class.
The geometry is not hugely aggressive. Our size 51 comes with a reach of 398 with a stack of 502. The reach being significantly shorter than track bikes I’ve tried elsewhere did make for a somewhat welcome relaxation, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing over winter.
However, a ‘winter track bike’ is a requirement for a very small minority of riders.
The seat angle (76) is identical across the Pista and Pista Sei Giorni whilst the head angle is steeper (73 as opposed to 71) – creating a more quick footed ride, which is exactly what you’d want.
The junction between the top tube and seat tube is notably simple, with no real efforts to create bridges or dampen out any vibration – but you’d not expect to need to squash out road buzz on a track bike.
The Pista Sei Giorni comes with a 48T chainring paired with a 16T rear sprocket. I had to change the set up before I could ride on the track – the 82” gave me a mighty 10” less than my tried and tested gear selection.
Swapping the chainring and cassette ceased to be the simple, routine job it should be when it transpired that the chainring speeced used a 130BCD pattern, so my usually sufficient collection of 144BCD rings had to be bolstered with a new chainring. I also chose a 1/8″ chainring as opposed to the 3/32″ specced – meaning a new rear cog and chain were required.
The crankset itself is SRAM Touro, which is relatively budget. The wheels are Alex Rims ATD 550’s with Joytech hubs and very uncharacteristically for a track bike these came fitted with Vittoria Zaffiro 25c tyres.
The bars are long and low and of a steel construction – they’re also 42cm across all size ranges which seems an rather wide choice. The provided saddle was a steel railed Bianchi creation with a felty sort of fabric overlayed. The saddle and bars were swapped for my own favourites, but that’s personal preference.
All in – if you’re looking for a singlespeed to ride on the road, it’s probably right up there with some of the best options on the market. The spec seems to imply that this bike isn’t wholly designed with track riders at front of mind.
Having spent some time adding to my collection of chainrings, swapping handlebars and setting the bike up with a new saddle, I was hopeful that the frame itself would really sing.
The first test was passed with flying colours: every rider who saw the bike commented on its simple, understated, Italian style. Like black beauty, this pony was wildly admired.
The actual ride was very solid.
The geometry was more compact that I’m accustomed to. Once up to speed, there was a comfort in the shorter reach and it did mean that I was finally able to drop the bars down much lower – something I’ve been unable to do on my own bike for fear of incurable neck ache.
Sitting out of the wind I was happily able to maintain speed and keep the bike ticking along. However, when it came to accelerations, there was a little bit of magic missing.
Keen to determine if the issue was the bike or the wheels, I swapped the AlexRims for my own Mavic OpenPros. The ride was significantly better. However, by this point there was little of the original bike left – and what was remaining felt like a fairly bombproof chassis fitted out with a great set of hoops.
Having tested some absolutely stunning bikes from Bianchi – such as the Oltre XR4 – I was a tad disappointed. If safety, security and reliability is what you’re after, this bike has it in spades but it’s not got the jump on other bikes out there when it comes to speed.
The bike comes in at £950. Considering the fact you can get a perfectly adequate aluminium track bike for half this price, and it’s not a ringing endorsement.
The Bianchi Pista Sei Giorni is a stunner. She brought a lot of loving looks from ride buddies, and I don’t doubt that about town she’d continue to do the same whilst providing a solid commuter – with a brake fitted of course. If the bike had been advertised as a fixed gear crit bike or singlespeed commuter, it would have scored more highly. On the track, the touch of speed that makes the velodrome such a joy isn’t quite there.