- Great looking
- Really comfortable – Bianchi's technology works
- Shimano Sora is a reliable performer
- Lack of confidence-inspiring tyres
- Lacklustre brakes
Price as reviewed:
Bianchi is known for its bespoke beauties, whether that’s the Bianchi Specialissima, the Bianchi Oltre XR4 or its new Bianchi Aria. In this review, though, I take its entry-level bike, the Bianchi Via Nirone 7, for a whirl.
You might think that for £829 the Bianchi Via Nirone 7 would be just a normal entry-level bike, but you’d be wrong.
In fact, Bianchi has gifted its ‘entry-level’ bike some pretty top tech, the same stuff that Bianchi specs across all of its endurance bikes, including its top end models, including the Infinito CV.
The frame is hydroformed and triple butted, plus it comes with a carbon fork with special kevlar inserts – Bianchi’s BAT technology – to take the sting out of the ride. The inserts are also found in the chainstays and and at the bottom of the seatstays.
Aesthetically Bianchi hasn’t cut any corners with the bike, and the Via Nirone 7 looks as sporty and fast as ever. The slightly curving top tube really adds a level of dynamism to the look, despite its entry level price tag.
Even better is the fact it’s genuinely comfortable to ride, and clearly all of Bianchi’s top technology has worked, with the ride quality feeling top notch.
The Bianchi Via Nirone 7 is a fast and comfortable frame, but one that’s specced with slightly lacklustre components.
Although, in Bianchi’s defence, it has more thoroughbred Shimano parts than most other entry-level bikes do.
For the drivetrain it’s Shimano Sora across the board, which is as reliable as it is heavy, but it never skipped a beat when hammering hard and shifting under force.
Somewhat less reliable are the Reparto Corse brakes, which don’t do the best job of slowing you down – and that’s in the dry. But the issue is more than just stopping power, it’s also feel, and with the brakes feeling numbed it’s hard to tell when you’re about to lock up the rear wheel.
Our model came equipped with a pair of Alex Rims, which felt bombproof but also heavy and didn’t exactly zip along.
These are mounted with some Vittoria Zaffiro Slicks, which aren’t bank-breakers in terms of their retail price, aren’t the lightest, and probably aren’t the grippiest rubber that ever rolled.
Watch: buyer’s guide to sub £500 road bikes
Bianchi Via Nirone 7: Ride
For an entry-level bike, the ride quality is butter smooth, even over continuously bumpy terrain.
Despite the best efforts of the less-than-glamorous components, the frame still maintains a little zip in its step, but sadly it’s mostly written off by the bike’s heft – the Bianchi Via Nirone 7 tips the scales at 9.84kg.
That’s a big number, and it does come into play on longer rides or when the road starts heading uphill.
Happily, it’s mild mannered when the road starts heading downhill, though. Well, all except the slick tyres which had me glancing dubiously at the darkening sky on one test ride. Inevitably, it rained and then it poured.
While I never came off the bike in the deluge, the tyres didn’t fill me with confidence, and they definitely had me easing off the gas when going round damp corners.
Looking to Trek here for a direct comparison, there’s the Trek 1.2, another aluminium frame partnered with a carbon fork, with a very similar weight. The 1.2 also has Shimano Sora across the board.
Of course, Canyon’s Endurace Aluminium line is formidable, and comes in for £50 less with Shimano Tiagra. So the only real thing separating the Bianchi from its direct competitors is its frame, but this is traded off with the less than inspiring componentry.
The basics are all present with the Bianchi Via Nirone 7. The ride quality of the exceptional frame is ace, but the slightly lacklustre components like the wheels, tyres and brakes not only bring the weight up but hurt its handling a little bit.
Frame: Hydroformed alloy
Group Set: Shimano Sora
Tyres: Vittoria Zaffiro Slicks
Wheels: Alex Rims
Brakes: Reparto Corse