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The Bianchi Specialissima has been completely redesigned to be disc-only

26 Oct 2020
Verdict:

The classic bike has been given an aero overhaul for 2021 and goes disc-only

The iconic Bianchi Specialissima has undergone a major redesign. Previously, it was just as much a work of art as it was a road bike: it was elegant, light, clean, the tubes were round, it was celeste, the seat stays were not dropped and it was rim-brake only.

For 2021, it is a completely different bike. The new Bianchi Specialissma will still be light, stiff and, if you want it to be, celeste. However, the tubes will have changed shape to become aero-optimised, the lines altered to make you faster while remaining light and, most notably, the bike will be disc-only.

Bianchi has turned away from producing a traditional high-end lightweight racing machine and decided to follow the likes of Specialized, Trek, Scott and Wilier down the avenue of lightweight, aero-optimised all-rounder race bikes.

So why has this brand heralded for its beauty and prestige redesigned its newest Specialissima to join the crowd?

Out with the old and in with the new

While the former Specialissima was an outstanding bike that we here at Cyclist held in incredibly high regard, it was rarely ever seen being used in cycling’s biggest races.

Its recent update likely seeks to remedy this. With Bianchi now supplying its wares to both the men's and women's BikeExchange teams, Simon Yates put the Specialissima to good use in the mountains at both the Tour of the Alps and the 2021 Giro.

In fact, Italian fans got to see an Italian bike in contention for longer than they did an Italian rider.

Buy now from Rutland Cycles for £5,515

The brand’s engineers have moved away from the traditional round tubing towards a bulkier, more aerodynamic shape, similar to that of the Oltre XR4, while also integrating the cables and seatpost clamp to help save as many watts as possible.

How many watts you are saving exactly Bianchi does not reveal, a rare example of a brand deciding against the publication of realistically unprovable aero savings being made from its new frame.

What it did tell us was the frame weight. Bianchi has still managed to retain a highly respectable frame weight for the bike despite the addition of disc brakes and reshaping of the tubes.

In a size 55cm, the Italian brand claims a painted frame will weigh 750g with the fork coming in a 370g. Opt for the unpainted black option and you will be skimming a further 80g off that total.

To add to that, Bianchi promises this new iteration of the Specialissima is just as laterally stiff and comfortable as before. Carried over to this new design is also Bianchi’s CounterVail technology, a material woven into the carbon composite frame that helps to nullify vibrations through the bike.

While the specifics of the new Specialissma have been largely kept under wraps, we do know that the bike will come with a BB86 press-fit bottom bracket, have a fairly aggressive geometry, be able to run mechanical and electronic shifting on the frame and have clearance for 28mm tyres, almost archaic compared to some of Bianchi’s main competitors.

Specs and paint choices

While a lot of the changes to the latest Bianchi Specialissima will be considered sacrilege by the purists, we are glad to report that some of the really important stuff has been retained.

Firstly, this bike will be available in celeste. Like Ferraris being red, Bianchis should only ever be celeste in our opinion and a sigh of relief was let out when we saw the iconic colourway would be available.

Alongside will be an all-black option – which saves 80g as previously mentioned – and a colour Bianchi settled on calling ‘greenish-blue’ which is certainly fetching and would look good if it not for the fact Bianchis should be celeste.

Buy now from Rutland Cycles for £5,515

Beyond these options, there will also be a ‘Signature Collection’ of limited-edition hand-painted iridescent frames available.

Another good thing about the new Bianchi Specialissima is that it will be available to buy fitted out with full Campagnolo Super Record EPS. This top-of-the-pile bike will also be available with Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 and Sram Red AXS eTap while the most ‘entry-level’ option will come built with a mechanical Shimano Ultegra groupset.

Pricing has yet to be announced for the new Specilissma but I think we are all safe to assume it will be at the premium end of the scale. After all, the former Bianchi Specialissma was an £8,000 bike.

For more information, you can visit Bianchi’s website here.

Price: 
£5,515 - Ultegra spec

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