Review: 2017 Bianchi Infinito CV Ultegra Disc
May 26, 2017
Thanks to Proteus Bicycles, I had the opportunity today to take a 12-mile spin on the new Bianchi Infinito CV with the Shimano Ultegra 2 x11 gear set and hydraulic disc brakes; 57 cm frame size.
The Infinito CV has what Bianchi calls their proprietary “Countervail technology” – that’s what the “CV” stands for. According to Bianchi, “Countervail was developed by a US aerospace company to incorporate viscoelastic, vibration cancelling properties into the carbon fiber layup process.” Bianchi claims that their proprietary use of this material dramatically reduces road vibration – maximizing ride control, increasing rigidity and peak power output, and diminishing rider fatigue over long distances. Sounds impressive, but does it work?
Here’s my take on this $4,299 Italian 2-wheel hot rod:
Styling/Appearance: This bike has the look! This particular example is in matte black with charcoal lettering, black bar tape and saddle, and just enough striping in the Bianchi Celeste color to mark it unmistakably as a Bianchi. The frame has a speedy-looking rake and the color accents make it look as fast as it is. The thru-axles mean no protruding quick-release handles, which makes it look even more sleek. The brake discs are big and very high-tech looking. This bike makes its statement by being very understated, and it looks very serious. I think the bike is all of 19 lbs. ready to ride.
The frame geometry is relaxed enough to be comfortable, with easy stand-over. It is easy to handle. I like to test the handling by trying to do a figure eight in the length and width of a standard car-parking space; on most bikes, it’s a pretty good thing if I can execute the eight within the width of 1.5 spaces. On the Infinito I could almost stay inside the lines of a single space. I was able to make tight turns at slow speed without clipping out.
I won’t spend much time talking about the Ultegra gear set, because it is simply excellent; quiet, smooth, almost-second – nature shifting, even if you get a little sloppy on the uphill downshifts.
I always thought that the whole Bianchi Countervail vibration-dampening technology features were just a marketing thing; after riding this bike I can tell you ‘they’re real, and they’re fabulous”. It is the most tranquil bike I have ever ridden. What impressed me most is that this bike does everything so well that it just doesn’t demand much attention. It’s quiet. It’s smooth. It accelerates and brakes like a sports car. It’s so easy to control. That lets you focus on the ride.
I tried to upset it with very hard downhill braking over broken pavement at serious speed (considering that it isn’t my bike!), riding too fast over rough pavement, and a few other deliberately dopey moves, but the bike always remained stable. On the rough stuff, it never tried to yank the bars from my hands. In some stiff crosswinds, the aero of the bike worked well, again remaining calm and stable. The only thing I didn’t try was how it performs in the wet (because I promised to not get it too dirty), but I am confident that it would be equally impressive on wet pavement. The standard Vittoria Rubino Pro tires are not a complete slick, so they would afford some grip for cornering on wet roads.
The power delivery is also impressive, making the bike feel as light as it is, which is not true for all carbon bikes. Long climbs are a breeze on this bike, and it’s a good feeling when the bike makes you feel as if you could actually accelerate going uphill.
And then there are the brakes. Really smooth, easy to modulate, and they feel like there’s enough stopping power to stop more than twice the combined weight of the bike and me (about 175 lbs.).
Bottom line: This is a great road bike, and with the disk brakes, there is room to install a much larger tire if you wanted it to be better suited for gravel trails. That CV technology will make trail rides a lot smoother and less-fatiguing as well. If you are thinking about buying one bike and trying to use it for everything (except cargo hauling), this might be the one for you.
If I were in the market for a new carbon road bike, would I buy one? Absolutely! Maybe I’ll start making hints about Christmas gift ideas…and making more room in the garage!
Michael Iati is a Proteus customer and recently retired architect. His bike harem includes a Bianchi Intenso, a Kona Roadhouse, and a Jamis Allegro Elite
More information and specs on the Infinito CV from Bianchi
Proteus has a 57 Infinito CV disc ultegra and a 53 Infinito CV ultegra (non-disc) in stock and ready to test ride