Bianchi (opens in new tab) has unveiled a new version of its Specialissima race bike. Following the trend set by several key brands this year, the climbing specialist has taken on more of an 'all-rounder' appeal, gaining aero tubing from its wind-cheating sibling the Oltre as well as a disc only frame.
The new Specialissma disc frameset weighs in at 750g (in a painted size 55) with a 370g fork. The previous rim brake model was 780g with a 340g fork - so using claimed weights, the new system weighs in total the same as the outgoing rim model, but with rotor stoppers.
The frame weight measures up extremely well against the likes of the Tarmac SL7, which comes in at 800g in a size 56 (in the S-Works Fact 12R carbon), and the Giant TCR at a claimed 765g - both of which also gained an aero lick this year.
The tubing, previously traditionally round (opens in new tab), has been manipulated to offer some of the aero savings of the Oltre XR4 (opens in new tab) - though Bianchi doesn't give any specific numbers or report any windtunnel test results, so we can only take the statements at face value.
The tubes certainly look to follow trends seen elsewhere, though the seatstays remain stubbornly high - sticking to the traditional shape as opposed to following the example of the Tarmac, Emonda and SuperSix which all adopted dropped stays with brands claiming that windtunnel testing shows this to be optimal.
The bike has also gained internal cable routing, an integrated seatpost and cockpit - though this is still a two piece system making bar changes easier.
You'd expect the new tubing to create a stiffer ride quality and Bianchi says the new model "is designed for UCI WorldTour professionals to be a complete racing bike."
The Specialissima still comes with the famous 'Countervail Technology' which offers vibration dampening, to provide some compliance into the mix. This tech sounds space age - because it is (having been developed for NASA) - and has proved hugely effective on outgoing models. There's also space for 28mm tyres for those that want that extra cushioning and handling confidence.
The geometry looks similar to the existing Specialissma, though the stack appears to be a few mm's higher on the smaller sizes and a few mm's lower on larger sizes, with the reach remaining identical. As always with Bianchi, there's seven size skews, ranging from 47 to a 61.
Whilst this year, Jumbo-Visma riders have competed aboard the aero Oltre model, selecting the rim brake model in most cases (perhaps as a weight saving measure), in 2021 the Bianchi sponsored GreenEDGE men's and women's WorldTour teams will ride the Specialissima.
Team riders will be aboard the black model of the bike, which might not carry the age old Celeste heritage, but saves 80g in paint.
Celeste will of course remain an option, alongside a new 'greenish blue' option. For those who want something different, it will be possible to use the Bianchi Colour Configurator to choose your own style.
And how much does it cost? Afraid we can't tell you. There are five models on Bianchi's website - with Super Record EPS, Dura Ace Di2, Ultegra Di2, Ultegra and SRAM Red eTap all on offer as well as a frameset only option - but no prices as yet. However, our last test model came in at £8,750 - which should give you an idea what to expect.
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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