Bianch's updated Infinito CV Disc endurance bike is a little more relaxed than a traditional race machine and it offers a notably smooth ride, but it's still responsive enough to snap into action as soon as you put the power down.
- Pros: Very good frameset and groupset, smooth ride, responsive
- Cons: You can get more for your money elsewhere
Jump from a full-on race bike like Bianchi's Oltre XR4 onto the Infinito CV Disc and the first thing you'll notice is that the ride is a touch more relaxed. Although the geometry of the new version of the Infinito CV Disc is slightly altered, the stack and reach measurements are virtually the same as before.
The riding position is a little more upright than that of a traditional race bike, although we're not talking about chalk and cheese here. Far from it. It feels like, in typical Italian style, Bianchi has grudgingly accepted that these days not all bikes can be built to an old school geometry and that concessions have had to be made to newfangled endurance. It's relaxed, but not too relaxed – like undoing your top button and loosening your tie, but a long way short of going full T-shirt and jeans.
The handling is a little more relaxed and easier to live with too. The Infinito CV Disc isn't quite as eager to change line as a highly strung bike like the Oltre. The flip side is that the Infinito feels more stable and composed and is easier to keep in check. The longer the ride, the more of an asset this becomes.
Don't, though, make the mistake of thinking that means the Infinito CV Disc is in any way sedate or boring. This is still a bike that's primed for action. The bottom bracket area, for example, is really stiff with no wafting around when you get out of the saddle and stamp on the pedals. The bike jumps to it when you demand a bit of extra speed.
Weighing in at 8.01kg (17.7lb), our complete 59cm test bike is light (for a bike with disc brakes) but not mega-light. As we're fond of pointing out, though, you really don't need to get obsessed with weight because other factors are of equal if not greater importance. Comfort, for example, is a major consideration on a bike like this and the Infinito has plenty of it.
As you might know, the 'CV' in the Infinito CV Disc's name is short for Countervail, a technology that was introduced to the rim brake Infinito back in 2013. Bianchi has since extended the use of Countervail to several other models since then.
To give you the patter, Countervail, which is exclusive to Bianchi in the cycle industry, is a structural carbon system with a viscoelastic resin from Materials Sciences Corp that's embedded within the frame's carbon layup. The idea is that it cancels out road vibration to reduce muscle fatigue and save energy while improving handling and control.
I'm reluctant to ascribe any particular characteristic to any particular technology unless we can prove it beyond doubt, but the Infinito's ride is certainly smooth. Hit a pothole in the road and you'll feel it just as you would on any other road bike, but there's not a huge amount of chitter chatter here.
Of course, that's not just down to frame technology. Bianchi specs 28mm tyres – they're Vittoria Rubino G+ – and quite a well padded Fizik Aliante R7 saddle, each of which helps to stop vibration getting through. If you want even greater isolation from the irregularities of the road surface there's now clearance for tyres up to 32mm wide. The rim brake Infinito CV will only take tyres up to 28mm because that's the maximum the brake callipers can handle.
I've already told you about the frame's geometry in broad terms, let's put some figures on it.
We have the 59cm model here (beware of Bianchi's sizing, it's not the same as anyone else's!), with a 575mm effective top tube (the length the top tube would be if it was horizontal rather than sloping), a 590mm effective seat tube (the length it would be if the top tube was horizontal), and a 195mm head tube. The head angle is 72.5° and the seat angle is 73°.
The stack height on this model is 599mm and the reach is 392mm, giving a stack/reach ratio of 1.53.
For comparison, Bianchi's Oltre XR3 Disc race bike in the same size has a stack height of 580mm and a reach of 396mm (giving a stack/reach of 1.46), putting you into a lower and slightly more stretched out riding position.
That's not to say that you're going to find yourself sitting bolt upright on the Infinito; not even close. A Specialized Roubaix Comp, for instance, will put you into a far more upright position, the 58cm model coming with a 392mm reach – the same as you get on the Infinito – and a 630mm stack – a whopping 31mm higher.
The Infinito CV Disc is designed with a PressFit bottom bracket and a head tube that's home to a 1 1/2-inch lower bearing. Like most new disc road bikes, it uses flat mount brakes and 12mm thru-axles front and rear. The cables are routed internally through the frame and the left fork leg. It's all very neatly done.
The latest version of the Infinito CV Disc has been engineered to be more aero by using a new integrated-look carbon seatpost. It uses a saddle rail clamp that is adjustable for fore/aft position from +25 to -10mm (from the centre of the post). I found the new wedge-style hidden seatpost clamp a bit of a faff in that it's quite difficult to micro-adjust the saddle height once everything is in place, but it's secure enough without any slipping, which can be an issue for some non-round posts.
The frame is also compatible with the Metron 5D combined aero handlebar and stem, although our review bike was fitted with Bianchi's own aluminium components.
The Infinito CV Disc is available in six different builds ranging from Shimano 105 up to Campagnolo Super Record. Of course, a lot of people will tell you that you have to go with Campag on a bike from an Italian brand, but a lot of people say a lot of things and not all of it makes sense.
Our review bike was fitted with a Shimano Ultegra mechanical (as opposed to Di2 electronic) groupset right down to the cassette and chain; Bianchi hasn't sneakily swapped in any non-Ultegra components to save cash.
I won't go into a full critique of Shimano's second tier road groupset here – check out Stu's recent review for that – but I will say that it performs superbly. It's a touch heavier than much more expensive Dura-Ace but... pfft! It's definitely the smarter choice if you want value for money.
Bianchi specs compact chainsets (with 50/34-tooth chainrings) across all of its endurance bikes, the Intenso and Via Nirone 7 models as well as the Intensos. I guess that makes sense although, as mentioned, the Intenso is still a performance-minded bike and I reckon a semi-compact (with 52/36-tooth chainrings) would suit its character equally well and allow you to keep the pressure on that little bit longer on quick descents. That said, some people are going to be glad of the 34 x 30 lowest combo that you get here when hauling up the last climb of the day.
I'm not going to try to tell you whether or not you should opt for disc brakes – you're big enough to decide that for yourself – but if you do have discs on your mind Shimano's BR-R8070s work beautifully here on 160mm rotors. You get loads of power and consistency, no squealing, and the levers are almost the same shape as their cable brake cousins with just a slight bulge where the hydraulic hose exits (which, because of its position, you'll probably never touch). If you don't want disc brakes, Bianchi offers the rim brake Infinito CV in the same Shimano 105 build.
The Fulcrum Racing 518 wheels have disc-specific rims without a brake track and they're 2-Way Fit which means they can be converted to tubeless relatively easily (although the Vittoria tyres aren't tubeless).
These are good wheels, solidly built, reasonably stiff, and as true and round after several weeks of use as they were at the start. These certainly aren't the highest performing wheels you'll find on a four grand bike, but Bianchi figures that a lot of people buying this bike will already have their favourites. The Infinito CV Disc could certainly handle far higher end wheels, although these are unlikely to let you down for everyday use.
If you're wondering how the thru-axle works, by the way, the lever tucks away inside when not in use. You pull it outwards with your finger and thumb, pivot it to the side and use it like any other lever. It looks like the sort of thing that'll either rattle or be a pain to operate, but it's actually a really neat design.
The money bit
Bianchi increased the price of the Infinito CV Disc in this build from £4,300 to £4,475 back in January. You can of course get much cheaper disc brake endurance bikes that combine carbon framesets with Shimano Ultegra groupsets. The BMC Roadmachine 02 Two that David Arthur reviewed recently, for example, is £3,300.
On the other hand, the rim brake Pinarello Prince FX that Stu reviewed is £5,000. That bike was built up with a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Fulcrum Racing 500 wheels.
You couldn't argue that the Bianchi Infinito CV Disc is a bargain, but you are getting a really good frameset at the heart of things here. Organise a test ride and judge for yourself. The combination of comfort and responsiveness might win you over.
For some brands 'endurance' is pretty much synonymous with 'staid' but that's not the case here. The Infinito CV Disc offers the responsive ride of a performance bike, it's just that a couple of the dials have been turned down a touch and a little more comfort and stability has been added in. This is a bike for going the distance that's also a lot of fun.
Smooth endurance bike that's responsive enough to put in a race performance
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Bianchi Infinito CV Disc Ultegra
Size tested: 59cm
About the bike
List the components used to build up the bike.
Frame Infinito CV Disc Carbon w/Countervail, Mechanical/Electronic Di2/EPS shifting compatible, compatible with 32in tyre, PressFit 86.5x41mm, thru axle 12x142mm, sizes 47-50-53-55-57-59-61cm
Fork Bianchi Full carbon w/Countervail Disc, 1.5in, flat mount, thru axle 12x100mm, compatible with 32in tyre
Headset FSA Orbit C-40-ACB
Shifters Shimano Ultegra ST-R8020 2x11sp hydraulic disc brake
Rear derailleur Shimano Ultegra RD-R8000 SS 11sp
Front derailleur Shimano Ultegra FD-R8000
Crankset Shimano Ultegra FC-R8000 50x34T, Hollowtech II, Crank Length: 170mm-47/53cm, 172.5mm-55/59cm, 175mm-61cm
BB Shimano SM-BB72-41B
Chain Shimano Ultegra CN-HG701-11, 11sp
Sprocket Shimano Ultegra CS-R8000, 11-12-13-14-15-17-19-21-24-27-30T
Brakes Shimano BR-R8070
Wheels Fulcrum Racing 518 disc brake
Tyres Vittoria Rubino Pro G+ Isotech graphene 700x28
Stem Reparto Corse 3D Forged alloy 7050, rise +/-7°, 1.1/8", Ext: 70mm-47, 90mm-50cm, 100mm-53cm, 110mm-55cm, 120mm-57/59cm, 130mm-61cm
Handlebar Reparto Corse Compact Flat Top, alloy 2014 diam. 31,8mm, reach 80mm, drop 130mm, Size: 400mm-47/50cm , 420mm-53/57cm, 440mm-59/61cm
Grips Black soft microfibre tapes w/shockproof Eva-139
Seatpost Infinito Full Carbon, clamp with alloy head adjustable and reversible +/- 35mm, length: 350mm-47/57cm, 380mm-59/61cm, Setback 25mm/-10mm
Saddle Fi'zi:k Aliante R7
Disc brake rotors Shimano SM-RT800 Center Lock, diam. 160mm
Water bottle Bianchi Loli 600ml
Water bottle cage Elite Paron Race composite
Tell us what the bike is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?
Bianchi says, "Long distances must be covered in the optimal riding position. Endurance frames guarantee maximum performance with minimum stress for the riders, thanks to Bianchi's special frame design/geometry and different material combination."
It's not as relaxed as many endurance frames out there from other brands.
Where does this model sit in the range? Tell us briefly about the cheaper options and the more expensive options
The Infinito CV bikes sit at the top of Bianchi's Endurance sector. The Infinito CV Disc is available in six different builds with groupsets ranging from Shimano 105 to Dura-Ace and Campagnolo Super Record.
Frame and fork
Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?
The build quality is high throughout.
Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?
The frame and fork are both full carbon and feature Countervail (CV) technology that's designed to reduce vibration. Check out the main body of the review for more details on Countervail.
Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?
It's an endurance geometry, but it's not nearly as relaxed as you'll find on some frames.
How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?
Bianchi's sizing is unusual. The 59cm model that I've been riding has a 575mm top tube, so it's not nearly as large as a 59cm bike from most other brands.
Riding the bike
Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.
Yes, it's a comfortable bike. You don't get rattled around at all here, although some people looking for an endurance bike might want a more relaxed geometry.
Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?
It's certainly stiff around the bottom bracket, a little less stiff up front.
How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?
Yes, it's as efficient as most race bikes.
Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so was it a problem?
How would you describe the steering? Was it lively neutral or unresponsive? It's not quite as lively as that of the Bianchi Oltre XR3 Disc that we reviewed recently; it's a little more stable.
Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?
It's a well-balanced bike that's easy to ride - stable without the need for constant corrections.
Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?
I don't really think you'll be short of comfort but you could always fit wider tyres (up to 32mm) if you wanted.
Wheels and tyres
Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes
Would you consider buying the bike? I would.
Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Yes
How does the price compare to that of similar bikes in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can get Shimano Ultegra equipped disc brake bikes much cheaper than this. The BMC Roadmachine 02 Two that we reviewed recently is £3,300, for example.
The rim brake Pinarello Prince FX that we reviewed, on the other hand, is £5,000. That bike has a Shimano Ultegra groupset and Fulcrum Racing 500 wheels.
You couldn't say that the Bianchi Infinito CV Disc is a bargain, but it is built around a really good frameset.
Use this box to explain your overall score
The frameset is very good, as is the groupset. Although the other components aren't of the same level, the overall performance is still very high.
The value isn't as impressive but the Infinito still does enough to warrant an 8 overall.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.