Bianchi has revealed a brand new aero bike called the Aria that, as well as being suitable for road racing, is said to be easily set-up for triathlon.
The Italian brand already has the Oltre aero road bikes in its range and has only recently launched the Oltre XR3, but the Aria represents a trickle down of Aquila time trial/ triathlon design in a much more affordable, and broader, application.
“Aria delivers ultimate aerodynamic performance with expertly balanced combination of race-focused geometry and wind tunnel proven design,” says Bianchi.
“To overcome wind resistance, the Aria has a precision-engineered frame and integrated fork with advanced aerodynamic shape and racing geometry.”
Bianchi says that the Aria’s design has been “heavily inspired” by its wind tunnel testing and co-operation with pro riders.
The tapered head tube has an aero profile, for example, as does the seatpost which comes with a wedge-type clamp that’s recessed into the top tube and a 20mm offset (the distance the saddle clamp is set back from the centre of the post).
The seat tube is cutaway around the leading edge of the rear wheel in time honoured aero road bike fashion, and the deeply profiled down tube is cutaway around the front wheel. The seatstays are slim to reduce drag – inspired by the Aquila’s design, according to Bianchi – and the same goes for the fork legs.
The fork crown is integrated into the head tube/ down tube junction, which is something that we’re seeing on ever more aero road bikes. That fork is full carbon, by the way.
The carbon-fibre frame comes with internal cable routing and is compatible with both mechanical and electronic groupsets. The rear dropouts are carbon with metal inserts to increase durability. The bottom bracket is press fit 86.5 x 41.
Bianchi claims a frame weight of 1,100g (+/-5%) for a 55cm model. That’s not ultralight compared to the brand’s Specialissima, for example, but it’s certainly not heavy for a deep-tubed aero road bike. The fork has a claimed weight of 370g.
The Aria will be available in eight different sizes spanning 44cm right up to 61cm. The geometry is performance orientated, naturally enough. There wouldn’t be much point going to the trouble of developing aero tube shapes and then having the rider sit bolt upright in the saddle.
The 55cm model, for example, comes with a 550mm effective seat tube, a 550mm effective top tube and a 140mm head tube. The stack height is 541mm and the reach is 390mm. Those figures are all exactly the same as those of the Oltre XR4
As mentioned above, Bianchi is keen to push the Aria as a bike that can be adapted easily for triathlon.
“Getting the required horizontal-back aerodynamic tuck position for fast tri bike leg is easy to achieve with Aria’s triathlon configuration,” says Bianchi. “Just clip-on aero bars, set the bars’ stack height if required and adjust saddle height and angle.”
The seat angle isn’t as steep as that of a dedicated triathlon/ time trial bike (73.5° on the 55cm model) so you’ll have to flex more to get into a flat-backed position, but the Aria will doubtless prove to be much more versatile.
The first Arias will be in a Campagnolo Centaur build at £2,249.99. Some should be available this month, far more in July.
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.