Bianchi’s OLTRE signaled a rebirth of sorts for the venerable Italian brand. They once again focused their century of experience and formidable technical resources on making the best race bike in the world. They spared no expense in developing the Oltre, which literally, means beyond in Italian.
They lavished impressive technology on the bike, from the X-Tex cross weave pattern featured on critical areas of the frames interior, to their WMP (Wrinkleless Molding Process) which ensures a perfectly smooth tube wall without relying on increased tube thickness. The result was the best race bike Bianchi had ever made, by quite a distance, and one of the best bikes in the world.
Check out our review of the original Oltre here
As a now mature platform Bianchi has continued to push the envelope with the Oltre, dubbed the Oltre XR2 for 2014. Some changes are subtle, like the new available 30mm offset seat post to increase fit options, while others should have a bigger impact. The new fork is lighter and integrates more cleanly with the down tube for improved aerodynamics. It retains the 1 and 1/8th to 1 and 1/2 steer tube for a stiff and reactive front end. The rear of the bike, and its UTSS (Ultra Thin Seat Stays), has also been redesigned to deliver more rigidity under big power output yet keep it a bit more controlled by compliance in the seat stays. The result should be slightly improved all-day comfort as well.
The Oltre XR2 relies on the BB386EVO BB standard, popularized by BH and Wilier, for a platform that allows maximum tube diameters for stiffness while keeping weight at a minimum. Speaking of weight, Bianchi has a target of under 900grams for an Oltre XR2 frame set, impressive considering it is an all-rounder, as at home on the climbs when you want liveliness and lightweight as it is off the front when you prize aerodynamics and brute force.
For 2014 all of this is coming a package utilizing SRAMs new RED True 22 group with hydraulic disc brakes. Bianchi clearly feels disc brakes have a place in racing, not just endurance riding. We tend to agree with them, but only time will tell if the UCI agrees as well. If they do, Bianchi is ready. Well be getting our hands on a new Oltre XR2 as soon as we can. Stay tuned
To see our report on the SRAM True 22 Red launch click here