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From the pages of Velo: Stiff & Stones

  • By Nick Legan and Caley Fretz
  • Published Jun. 27, 2012
  • Updated Jul. 22, 2013 at 10:21 AM EST
VeloNews June 2011. Photos by Brad Kaminski and Casey B. Gibson

Bianchi Infinito Ultegra

By Caley Fretz

Bianchi’s aesthetic attention to detail is phenomenal. The celeste theme trickles from the frame to the stem and seatpost all the way down to the housing’s rubber paint protectors. It’s the prettiest bike in our group, and I figured it would be all show, no substance. I was quite wrong.

Scientific Testing: 20 of 30 Points
The Infinito did well in the lateral stiffness test, pulling numbers akin to those seen by the top frames in our April aero frame review. In the vibration test, though, it was unduly hurt by poor tire choice.

The 23mm Vittoria Rubino Pros are not bad tires, but this is the wrong application for them. We tested and rated each bike with its stock tires and wheels, but we also tested the bikes with a normalized set-up of 25mm Specialized Roubaix Pro II tires and Fulcrum Racing 4 wheels.

In the normalized configuration, the Bianchi rated second best, just a tick behind the Specialized. But the stock tires are small and not particularly plush, which helped send the Infinito straight to the back of the pack in our vibration test. Bianchi should know that this bike is more Bentley than Lotus, and should send it out the door with tires that match its personality.

Subjective Ride Quality: 21 of 30 Points
Traditionally, a “neutral” front end uses around 56mm of trail. Bianchi engineers went with a quite large 61mm trail, slowing the handling significantly and adding an “auto-correct” feel to the front end, particularly when out of the saddle. Throw the bike around and it seems to spring back into a straight line, almost disconcertingly. That stability is fantastic on rough roads, when just cruising along and for high-speed sweeping bends. But try to get the Infinito around a hairpin at any sort of speed and you can feel the bike tugging itself back into a straight line — not exactly confidence inspiring.

Acceleration isn’t quite up to the par set by the Roubaix. In an all-out sprint the frame feels stiff and lurches forward nicely, but dance on the pedals uphill and the Infinito feels a bit sluggish.

Comfort, when I put a good pair of 25c tires on, was fantastic. But the stock 23c Vitoria Rubino Pros don’t offer a very supple ride, and larger bumps like those found on our local dirt roads were quickly and effectively transferred straight into my hands and back end. Regardless of tire choice, the Infinito seemed to excel on smaller bumps, soaking up poorly chipsealed roads with aplomb. Whether that’s Bianchi’s K-Vid Kevlar inserts doing their job, it’s hard to say. But the result is good regardless.

User Friendliness: 11 of 15 Points
There’s nothing unique about the Infinito’s build, but that makes it very easy to work on and live with. It loses a few points for internal cable routing, and because the brake cable in the toptube would occasionally ping on rough roads, but that problem is easily solved with a cable liner. The Jagwire mid-cable micro adjusters also cracked in my hands while trying to turn them.

Like most of the bikes in this test, Bianchi went with a standard bottom bracket, avoiding the urge to jump on one of the dozen bogus BB bandwagons now currently circling the industry. For that, we thank them.

Value: 15 of 20 Points
The Bianchi is the second-most expensive endurance bike in our test. The ride is good but not the best. But, aesthetics are wildly important when purchasing a bike, and if the Infinito’s celeste livery appeals to you, it could justify the cost.

Weight: 4 of 5 Points
The Infinito was the second lightest in our test.

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