By Nick Busca
It was first spotted at the last Tour de Suisse, but now the new Bianchi Oltre XR4 CV has been officially launched. The Italian manufacturer presented the new model yesterday on the same day of the Mont Ventoux stage at the Tour de France.
The new Bianchi Oltre XR4 is the successor of the Oltre XR1 and XR2 bikes which were first released back in 2012. The XR2 was the bike that was previously used by the LottoNL-Jumbo pro team before the XR4. Like the former aero model produced by Bianchi, the XR4 has been designed and produced both to go faster and to be more stable at high speeds. And as Bianchi state, "your body contributes about 80% of aerodynamic drag on the bike so staying in your most aero position as long as possible is vital for fast times."
The Bianchi Oltre XR4 CV features the Countervail Carbon Vibration-Cancelling Technology, a system that is claimed to reduce vibrations and turbulence on both the rider and the frame in order to guarantee a smoother and better performing ride. The Countervail is a particular kind of carbon-fibre that combines a viscoelastic carbon material within the same carbon-fibre, and it is claimed that by increasing comfort and reducing fatigue in the aero position, it enhances the overall performance of the ride.
The Countervail has been developed for NASA by the Material Science Corporation, an American firm based in Illinois. Bianchi already used it in the Bianchi Infinito endurance bike, the Bianchi Specialissima climbing bike, and the Aquila CV time trial bike. Bianchi also claims that the high modulus Countervail carbon-fibre increases the vibration's cancellation of 80% compared to a standard carbon fibre frame.
In term of geometry, the Bianchi Oltre XR4 CV will retain many of the same features as the XR1 and XR2, with a race geometry, lightweight, and aerodynamic features. Bianchi says that the new aerodynamic will save 20 watts more compared to the XR2. The bike has been developed in a wind tunnel, on the track and with pro riders, using also F1 technology and analyses such as advanced flow visualisation.
Aside from this, the differences compared to the old Oltre appear are subtle. The seatstays join the seat tube slightly further down and the fork has been bladed.
Surprisingly for an aero bike, the model spotted at the Tour de Suisse did not feature an internal cable routing system, but the new launched version does both for mechanical and electronic shifting.
The Oltre XR4 will come in five colours (celeste, celeste and black, black and celeste, grey and red, and black and yellow) and seven different sizes: 47, 50, 53, 55, 57, 59 and 61 cm (the 55 will weigh 980g). The head tube is integrated with the handlebar and headset and the company will feature two different handlebar tops for the Vision Metron 5D and the conventional stems.
The rear stays are straight and wide for more stiffness and an internal cable routing system is provided for mechanical and electronic shifting (a feature that did not appear on the model spotted at the Tour de Suisse). There will be no disc brakes, though, as the brakes mounted on the XR4 are direct-mount rim brakes. The seatpost clamp is hidden in the front of the seatpost, which is also aero and has an adjustable head clamp offset (25mm or -10mm).
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