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Bianchi unveils radical new Oltre road bike with ‘Air Deflector’ aero tech

Italian brand says that new range represents the first overall frame/component platform designed entirely in-house. In terms of looks, it’s the most un-Bianchi Bianchi ever

Bianchi has unveiled a new Oltre aero road bike range that incorporates radical ‘Air Deflector’ technology that’s designed to channel airflow at the sides of the head tube, along with an innovative aero cockpit. With the top-end RC model starting from €13,800, the wheels, hubs, and saddles were designed in-house especially for the Oltre, making it “the first overall frame/component platform designed entirely by Bianchi”. There are three different platforms: Oltre RC (which Bianchi calls a ‘hyperbike’), Oltre Pro and Oltre.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC Air Deflector - 1

Although it still holds its own among the current best aero road bikes, the Oltre has been due an update for a while now, the outgoing Oltre XR4 having been around since 2018. We predicted we’d see a revamp sometime this year, and a revamp it certainly is... 

Okay, the Air Deflector tech, then. That’s the big talking point, so what’s the deal there?

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC Air Deflector - 1 (1)

Bianchi says that this approach has been “inspired by the world of motor racing at the highest level to optimise aerodynamic efficiency in every situation”. 

“[We] designed and integrated Air Deflectors (patent pending) into the sides of the head tube, thus channelling airflow and creating a low-pressure zone at the rear of the tube,” says Bianchi.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC Air Deflector - 2

“The action of the deflectors complements the performance of the new aero cockpit, which generates low-pressure air vortices directed towards the legs of the moving athlete through a centrally located hole.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC Air Deflector - 3

Check out the pictures and you’ll see the hole between the tops and the stem section of the one-piece cockpit.

While this year we’ve seen the all-new Trek Madone SLR with a gaping hole in the seat tube for purported aero gains, you might remember that the Ribble Ultra Aero launched last year featured bulges in the tops of the handlebar designed to act as wake generators to create a drag reduction zone for the rider to sit in. 

Bianchi says, “The result is a significant reduction in aerodynamic resistance by the athlete-bike system, as certified by wind tunnel testing. In short, results proved higher speed with less effort.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 3 (1).jpeg

“Compared to the previous Oltre XR4 model, the Oltre RC saves 17 watts at a speed of 50km/h (31mph) and gains 45 seconds over a distance of 40km (25 miles) with a power output of 250 watts/h. 

“In variable wind conditions, the advantage over the best aero bikes on the market increases by 30 percent, ensuring extreme performance even during sudden changes in wind direction.”

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 10 (1).jpeg

We’ve not ridden this bike never mind tested it in the wind tunnel, so we’re reporting Bianchi’s claims rather than endorsing them.

Bianchi doesn’t offer precise figures for the aero performance of the Oltre compared with key competitors but it does say that the top-level Oltre RC “is a revolution in terms of design and engineering with an aim to actively dominate and exploit airflow through engineering a perfectly integrated bike-athlete and frame-component system”. 

It also says the fact that the frame, handlebar, wheels, hubs and saddles have all been designed and manufactured by Bianchi’s Reparto Corse (Racing Department) “marks a turning point for the brand”. 

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 14 (1).jpeg

The Reparto Corse RC50 and RC65 tubeless-ready wheelset (50mm front profile and 65mm rear profile), for example, is said to be stiff and responsive with a weight of 1,540g. The wheels feature a 3K carbon finish and Super-Precision Bearings from SKF. 

2023 Bianchi RC139 Carbon Air saddle - 1 (1).jpeg

“The RC139 Carbon Air saddle features a pad developed with 3D technology, and a weight of just 168g, which allows the athlete to maintain an aerodynamic position even over long distances without sacrificing the best ergonomics,” says Bianchi.

There are three Oltre platforms: 

Oltre RC

This top-of-the-range model, “created for World Tour racing and professionals”, offers the new Air Deflector technology and aero handlebar (see above). It is equipped with the new RC50 and RC65 tubeless-ready wheels and features the RC139 Carbon Air saddle.

2023 Bianchi Oltre RC  - 6 (1).jpeg

The Oltre RC is available in six sizes and three different colours, all with “ultralight paint” and exposed carbon: anthracite with celeste inserts, anthracite with white inserts, and anthracite with iridescent purple inserts. Prices start at (yep, start at) €13,800. 

Bianchi claims a frame weight of 915g (size 55) and 420g for the fork. This compares with a claimed frame weight of 990g for the previous Bianchi Oltre XR4. In terms of weight, the XR4 was being put in the shade by newer aero bikes from other brands and Bianchi really needed to address this.

The Oltre RC is available in these builds:

Bianchi Oltre RC SRAM Red eTap AXS
Groupset SRAM Red eTap AXS (inc power meter)
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon SPB 

Bianchi Oltre RC Super Record EPS
Groupset Campagnolo Super Record EPS (Stages power meter)
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon SPB

Bianchi Oltre RC Dura-Ace Di2
Groupset Shimano Dura-Ace Di2 (inc power meter)
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon SPB

Oltre Pro

The Oltre Pro “shares the same construction principles as the top-of-the-line RC model” and features Air Deflector technology and a new aero handlebar. 

2023 Bianchi_Oltre Pro

The frame incorporates the CV (CounterVail) tech (a structural carbon system with a viscoelastic resin from Materials Sciences Corp that’s embedded within the frame’s carbon layup) that Bianchi has been using for several years. It is designed to reduce vibration and improve rider comfort.

The Oltre Pro features the RC139 Carbon saddle (claimed weight: 145g) and RC50 tubeless-ready wheels (50mm profile front and rear) with a claimed weight of 1,590g. Again, it’s available in six sizes and three different colours (anthracite with Celeste inserts, anthracite with white inserts, and anthracite with black inserts). The Oltre Pro is available for a suggested retail price of €8,000. 

Bianchi claims a frame weight of 965g (size 55) and 430g for the fork.

Bianchi Oltre Pro SRAM Red eTap AXS
Groupset
SRAM Red eTap AXS
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon

Bianchi Oltre Pro SRAM Force eTap AXS
Groupset
SRAM Force eTap AXS
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon

Bianchi Oltre Pro Dura-Ace Di2
Groupset
Shimano Dura-Ace Di2
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon

Bianchi Oltre Pro Ultegra Di2
Groupset
Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels Reparto Corse Carbon

Oltre

The Oltre (with no suffix) is said to be “derived from the superior Pro and RC versions” but it’s “designed for a wider range of cyclists”. The full-carbon frame and fork doesn’t incorporate CV technology.

2023 Bianchi_Oltre

The Oltre is equipped with new Velomann components: aero handlebar and stem, V50R wheels (50mm profile front and rear, claimed weight of 1,640g), and Mitora saddle (claimed weight: 215g). 

 It’s available in six sizes and three colours (celeste, white, and dark metallic grey). Retail prices start at €5,400. 

Bianchi claims a frame weight of 995g (size 55) and 390g for the fork. These are the figures that Bianchi has given us; if correct, that would make a combined frame and fork weight for the Oltre of 1385g, compared with 1,395g for the Oltre Pro.

Bianchi Oltre Ultegra Di2
Groupset Shimano Ultegra Di2
Wheels Velomann Carbon 55mm

Bianchi Oltre 105 Di2
Groupset Shimano 105 Di2
Wheels Velomann Carbon 55mm

Bianchi Rival eTap AXS
Groupset SRAM Rival eTap AXS
Wheels Velomann Carbon 55mm

We don’t yet have UK prices or details of the various builds, although Bianchi does say the new Oltre, Oltre Pro, and Oltre RC will be available from November 2022. 

Bianchi also promises that it has developed “an advanced 3D digital communication space using virtual and augmented reality” to show off the new bikes. 

“A special filter will be available on all of Bianchi’s social channels (Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook),” it says. “Every enthusiast will be able to experience the sensation of seeing and almost ‘touching’ the new Oltre RC through a multichannel online experience that brings the user extremely close to reality.”

www.bianchi.com

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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33 comments

Avatar
bobrayner | 1 year ago
0 likes

I think the styling is a bit overdone, like the Arcadex - too many visual details trying hard to look functional. Is Bianchi's new design lead a boy racer who glues scoops and spoilers onto his Audi A3...?

If those air deflectors really worked, you would have seen triathlon bikes with them for the last 20 years (because triathletes were suckers for strange bikes and marginal gains at a time when most road cycling was in a "Two triangles, circular tubes" mindset) 

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mrdoofer | 1 year ago
0 likes

I will have to try gluing squashed toilet rolls to my headtube this weekend for some marginal gains

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jaysa | 1 year ago
4 likes

Anyone else fed up with the 'saves yada yada watts at 30mph' we get with each new model?

If I had one of these, it seems it would need to be chained down to stop it riding off on its own...

Avatar
Dhill replied to jaysa | 1 year ago
0 likes

jaysa wrote:

Anyone else fed up with the 'saves yada yada watts at 30mph' we get with each new model?

If I had one of these, it seems it would need to be chained down to stop it riding off on its own...

Yep.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to jaysa | 1 year ago
2 likes

jaysa wrote:

Anyone else fed up with the 'saves yada yada watts at 30mph' we get with each new model?

If I had one of these, it seems it would need to be chained down to stop it riding off on its own...

Quite, I don't know why everyone moans about the unfair advantage of ebikes, they're limited by law to 250W, most of the major manufacturers' flagship aero bikes seem to have saved at least twice that over the last decade or so, allegedly.

Avatar
Off the back | 1 year ago
2 likes

Ive owned a few Bianchis down the years. My first being a humble Via Nirone 7 then a Sempre Pro and then an Oltre XR which was amazing until it got totalled in a hit and run. So I have always had a bit of a soft spot for them. But this is more of a hiddeous experiment gone wrong. The look of it seems to be copied from so many other aero bikes. Dropped seat stays, intersecting seat tube into the wheel arch, weird as hell intergrated bars - all look like the worst bits of every bike in the past 5 years combined into one machine. And all at an eye watering price. Its like the designer was in the middle of a TT bike and got told to quickly change it for an aero bike instead. Never mind the looks we can bodge it later. 

I really do not see the market for this. Bearing in mind they currently don't even sponsor a UCI world tour team their market visability as at an all time low. I see Bianchi as kind of the Grand old Lady of Italian branding, but if I am going to spaff away well over £10K on a bike with 'heritage' Its probably going to be a Colnago with its simple but elegant lugged frame designs and an instantly endearing look.

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IanMSpencer replied to Off the back | 1 year ago
0 likes

There are plenty of bikes who have similar styling tricks where it works (thinking of a mate's Ridley Kanzo Fast which is gravel but I think looks really elegant). The overly heavy seat stays with odd kink at the top stand out as form over function. but the headset solution looks wrong, even if it is because we are used to a different form, other makers have been more successful at styling a solution that moves away from tube and spacers look.

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IanMSpencer | 1 year ago
0 likes

Hi, is that Pro Bike Fit? Ah, good. I've just bought a Bianchi Oltre and I would like to book a fitting.

Why are you laughing? How rude.

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XYZ_axis | 1 year ago
2 likes

This just in... Bianchi recalls all new Oltre's due to a propensity for cracks to develop in the head tube.

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horrovac replied to XYZ_axis | 1 year ago
0 likes

Are you pulling my leg? This just after I wrote just now saying that it's risky to drill 4 holes in one line in one of the most stressed parts of a bike? If you're trolling me, it's a good one  1

Avatar
horrovac | 1 year ago
7 likes

Not a word on the UCI here? Any kind of aerodynamic fairing is banned AFAIK. The only way they could pull it off is if they successfuly argued that this is a structural part. Good luck with that, seeing how it's just two plates riveted to the frame in the centre.

That said... Rivets. I do  hope that they took proper measures, but given the level of engineering skills in the current bike industry, I'm not betting on it. So you drill 4 holes in a line, on one of the most stressed parts of a frame, for these two thingies of questionable utility? Sure, they drill holes to attach bottle cages, but that's on a very low-stress part of the frame, and also for cable stays, which I don't like either because they're in a higher stressed area, but it's not critical. Time will tell, but I wouldn't buy that.

I'm also at a loss about the point of this thing. If I'm right about the UCI, you can't race on this. If you want to buy this just so you can keep up with mates or beat your own record, well, it's your money, but I would still like to remind you of #5. Only triathletes might be interested in this, but for them it won't look enough like a mix of a transformer and and space marine plasma laser deathray rifle. For the life of me I can't see why would you want this. Drop €14k on a bike on which you can't choose the handlebar height, reach, or handlebar width? It's becoming more and more difficult to find just plain honest-to-god bicycles, all that's on offer is marketing wank. I'm afraid I see myself ending up as a bitter old curmudgeon riding an ancient bike because "they don't make them as they should any more".

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kinderje replied to horrovac | 1 year ago
4 likes

Does it feel good to get that off your chest? 

By the way, I totally agree with you.

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jaymack replied to horrovac | 1 year ago
1 like

It's not about the bike it's about the publicity it generates, in that regard Bianchi have been remarkably successful.

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marmotte27 replied to horrovac | 1 year ago
0 likes

"ending up as a bitter old curmudgeon riding an ancient bike"
Or you could just be very happy riding your "ancient" bike, having realised that no one needs those carbon bombers, and certainly not at 14000 or whatever €.

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ManicDrummer | 1 year ago
1 like

Would all Ivestment Bankers please form and orderly que.

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Dhill | 1 year ago
0 likes

So what happens if you need new wheels or want to change the seat. Will all the aero gains be lost if this is a fully integrated design?  Now as a fan of Celeste green I like the cheap one best.

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Cycloid | 1 year ago
0 likes

ENC

Emporer's ??????

 

 

 

Avatar
Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
1 like

Bianchi: "The action of the deflectors complements the performance of the new aero cockpit, which generates low-pressure air vortices directed towards the legs of the moving athlete through a centrally located hole."

Me: "I've never been that big a fan of the Bianchi green but using it as a highlight on a black frame really works."

I may not be in their prime target demographic...

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marmotte27 replied to Rendel Harris | 1 year ago
2 likes

"which generates low-pressure air vortices directed towards the legs of the moving athlete through a centrally located hole."

I'm calling BS...

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alexuk | 1 year ago
2 likes

Just like every hit TV show. They'll ruin it eventually.

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billymansell | 1 year ago
1 like

You only have to look at MotoGP to see how quickly aero elements have evolved to direct airflow and improve cornering to see where bikes could go, and didn't Factor's original bike have split fork blades to direct air outboard of the rider's legs?

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Awavey replied to billymansell | 1 year ago
1 like

but also see how well they are incorporated into the fairings into MotoGP, whilst these just look like theyve stuck some spare bits of plastic on with double sided sticky tape.

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Secret_squirrel | 1 year ago
0 likes

Kawasaki have just called Bianchi to discuss their patent on Ram Air intakes.

 

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Spangly Shiny | 1 year ago
0 likes

The deflectors look to use the Coanda effect to hold the airflow around the head tube. What happens when the (now) two airstreams meet up at the rear of the head tube? Chaos I'm guessing.

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Welsh boy replied to Spangly Shiny | 1 year ago
1 like

Spangly Shiny wrote:

What happens when the (now) two airstreams meet up at the rear of the head tube? Chaos I'm guessing.

Keep guessing but also keep an open mind and accept that just maybe the designers actually checked this out and that they didn't guess. 

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Joe Totale | 1 year ago
0 likes

With this new Oltre and the recent Arcadex it's clear that Binachi's designers have been hitting the grappa hard.

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kinderje | 1 year ago
4 likes

For some reason I've always wanted a Bianchi but no, no, no and no! What have they done to the Oltre?

Good job I can't afford it (in this or any lifetime)

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the infamous grouse replied to kinderje | 1 year ago
0 likes

kinderje wrote:

For some reason I've always wanted a Bianchi but no, no, no and no! What have they done to the Oltre?

Good job I can't afford it (in this or any lifetime)

i said this when the arcadex was released, and it's worth repeating; carbon Bianchi design peaked with the Oltre XR4.

i was hoping this next one would be just as much of a looker, but .. well, no. it isn't.

Avatar
bob zmyuncle | 1 year ago
3 likes

‘Air Deflector’??? Looks like a cheap and ugly piece of plastic. How long until it breaks?

Avatar
Bobonabike | 1 year ago
1 like

Nope

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