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Model: Infinito CV
Group set: Ultegra 6800
Wheels: Ultegra 6800
The Bianchi Infinito CV is a new model for the 2013/2014 model year. It is part of their Coast to Coast (C2C) line of bikes that offer more comfort for long distances, while maintaining a fun, responsive ride. This is a rapidly growing category that was, arguably, created by the short lived Cervelo RS, and now includes bikes such as the Roubaix, Domane, and 675 to name a few.
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This is Bianchi’s second Infinito (the original was introduced in 2009), and it now has an added suffix: CV. This stands for CounterVail, a viscoelastic material that is intertwined with the carbon layup, which is said to near-instantly cancel vibration. According to Bianchi, the addition of this “vibration canceling composite technology” material to the frame material itself is far more effective than ‘using superficial rubber inserts’ (I think we all know who that shot was aimed at…).
CounterVail was developed by Materials Sciences Corporation (MSC) and is currently found in products from other industries, such as skis and aerospace. The latter is one that Bianchi is especially quick to point out. Something about space that gives instant street cred (grin). Bianchi and MSC reached an exclusive license and trademark agreement, and the two worked together on how to incorporate the material into the layup of the frame.
So far, nothing all that new. Every new bike seems to have all the latest and greatest technology and design, a significant improvement over the competition/previous generation/every-bike-ever-made. Standard marketing stuff, really. Personally, I am always excited to try a new bike, but I try not to drink the cool-aid leading up to the ride. I always try to let the bike do the talking.
The bike was equipped with our value favorite, Ultegra 6800, including Ultegra wheels. At the time of our test, the North American builds had not been finalized yet, but we have been told that there will be only minor changes, but the most obvious will be the wheels. The frame is internally routed and compatible with both mechanical and electronic group sets, and should have clearance for most 28c wide tires.
As keeping with the theme of a more endurance oriented bike, the geometry features a slightly taller head tube, relative to traditional dimensions. Bianchi varies chain stay length along with the sizes in order to maintain constant ride quality throughout the size range. While this should seem obvious to most, it is a feature that many manufacturers forgo. It is available in 7 sizes (Four in women’s colours from 47 to 55, and six in mens from 50 to 61)
When it came time to talk, the Infinito CV got our full attention. From the first pedal stroke, there was a noticeable difference in the level of ‘noise’ coming through from the road. Basically, there wasn’t any. The Infinito CV took away imperfections that we didn’t even know were there. While we have ridden other bikes that have provided this level of dampening, the Infinito CV is unique in that it didn't isolate you completely from the road. I would liken it to noise canceling headphones: all of the information you want, and none that you don't.
While we can’t attest to ‘big hit’ dampening of this bike, (cobbles are hard to find in our neck of the woods, and purposely hitting potholes just seems cruel) it was used by the Vacansoleil-DCM race team for the Paris-Roubaix.
Given the cushy ride, one would expect acceleration to be a weakness. Simply put, the Infinito CV was impressively responsive to hard riding. Even under my 205 pound frame, it felt light and snappy out of the saddle. On the climbs, the PF30 bottom bracket was solid. This bike could definitely stand in as an occasional racer. There is very little trade off with the Infinito CV. It is by far the best bike in it's class.
It would almost be a shame to have this for your first bike, as you wouldn’t know how good it really is! Overall, we were really impressed with this bike. This bike is perfect for the type of riding that I usually do: long and fast group rides. While our vanity tells us that we need to ride race bikes all the time (I include myself in this), most of us would probably all be better served with a bike from this category, and the Infinito CV is a shining example.
4/4 - As smooth as we can expect without feeling like a couch
3/4 - Longer wheelbase means a more stable ride. Pure racers may find it a little relaxed, while the rest of us will find it easier to push harder.
3/4 - Not up to superbike standards, but the quickest sportive bike we have ridden.
Total = 16/20
: +0.5 - Bianchi has as good a name as any when it comes to Euro-cool. Don’t even get me started on the Celeste.