The days of choosing between low weight and a stiff, aerodynamic bike are gone I’m afraid. Designed with the aim of being the fastest package over the greatest range of terrain possible, the new Bianchi Specialissima RC combines a cutting edge aero package with a system weight of 6.6kg to be faster uphill than its predecessor, and faster on the flat too.
Shedding grams is a tried and tested way to improve your power to weight ratio, which really matters when the road points uphill. In order to reach such a diminutive weight figure the engineers at Bianchi has pared the rear of the frame back to the absolute minimum. Here, the dirty air trailing the rider means aero benefits from deeper tube shapes are marginal, but beyond the frame the crash diet has extended throughout the system as a whole.
The 33mm deep in-house Reparto Corse 33R wheels weigh in at only 1380g the pair, complete with ceramic bearings within the hubs for a faster rolling machine. The saddle, RC139 Carbon, also a Bianchi designed Reparto Corse model with a carbon shell and padding only where you need it, weighs in at only 145g, and even excess material from the seat wedge and the derailleur hanger has been milled away; no stone has been left unturned.
Any trimming of excess fat at the rear hasn’t come at the expense of stiffness; the chainstays especially have been left wider to maintain the most efficient pedalling platform possible so no time is lost.
Why can’t light be aero?
Weight is only one part of the equation though, and no race bike worth its salt can compete without a full aero package. The system wide approach to design on the Specialissima RC sees deeper tube profiles at the front of the bike, where they make the most difference. Sure, the bike could be lighter, but at the sacrifice of speed and stiffness.
The one piece cockpit free from cables and hoses, and a head tube designed to sculpt the air downwards and under the D-shaped down tube create a package that, when taken in conjunction with the low weight, makes the Specialissima RC the more efficient choice over the all-out-aero Oltre on gradients as shallow as 4% for amateur riders. Even the pros, blessed with legs and lungs that can push 6W/kg, would find the Specialissima RC the faster choice for anything over 6%. On a 10km climb at 6% riding at 200w you’ll be saving a full 8 seconds.
No part of the bike has been designed in a vacuum. Even the new…