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Perfect race foundation.
Bianchi's Oltre XR4 Road Bike Frameset is the go-to frame for LottoNL-Jumbo. Even on the big mountains where we would expect riders on the uber-lightweight Specialissima, the team calls on this frameset to get results on the sport's biggest stages under riders like Kruijswijk, who we're certain is due for a grand tour win in the coming years. We're not sure if the team prefers this frame because of its all-around package of comfort, lightweight, and aerodynamics or the fact that building up the Specialissima to be UCI compliant would require a boatload of added static weight; regardless, this frameset is a fixture at cycling's highest levels.
Before we get into the frame's specifics, we owe a shout-out to Bianchi for shipping bikes like the Oltre XR4 as framesets. The industry is replete with box bikes that feature downgraded components at wheels and cranksets, but we still appreciate the age-old art of building a bike exactly how you want it. Bianchi rewards that DIY approach, and building the Oltre XR4 up yourself means that you'll get everything you want, exactly how you want it—at least as far as the build goes. As mentioned above, though, the geometry and construction of the frame itself is all up to the likes of the guys on LottoNL-Jumbo.
Since the development and feedback on the XR.4 come from the world's most accomplished, knowledgeable, and discerning experts on how a bike should feel, we think this frame is pretty refined. And while we'd like to think that we can exploit the bike's potential like these pros, the fact is we never will; however, the upshot is we know we don't have an excuse in our equipment. Something about riding a pro-level bike and knowing that our equipment is the same as theirs makes us want to ride harder and longer.
The ride of the XR.4 is very, very fast. This Oltre is responsive enough to challenge every sprint thanks to its oversized tubeset, pressfit bottom bracket, and high-modulus carbon fiber. Those traits that would typically make a frame harsh, but the Countervail technology is designed to muffle high-frequency road vibrations in order to counter the bike's stiff efficiency. The frame loves the open road and crushes the flats, and even on punchy hills or long, grueling mountain passes, the Oltre XR.4 never leaves us feeling like we would want a lighter bike—again, reference Kruijswijk's ultimately ill-fated heroics at the 2016 Giro on the XR.2, which was the XR.4's predecessor. No matter the terrain, the bike inspires us to ride aggressively and step on the gas, much like a high-end sports car.
While the Oltre XR.4 does carry a few extra grams than your typical climbing frame (the Specialissima weighs ~200g less), it inspires more confidence at high speeds and while diving into turns in crits. The muscular tubeset channels every watt into forward propulsion, sans any turbo lag, encouraging attacks and contesting every prime. The only time we see Lotto-Jumbo riders deviate from this rig is when opting for the Infinito on the northern classics where running wider tires is almost mandatory.
Compared to previous versions of the Oltre, the XR.4's different tube shapes produce a claimed increase of 20 free watts by simply reducing drag. The tools Bianchi used to achieve this range from the usual (Computational Fluid Dynamics software and wind tunnel testing borrowed heavily from the Aquila TT frame) to the decidedly unusual (fluorescent paint applied in the wind tunnel that mapped the flow of air across the frameset's body).
Bianchi says the paint trick—borrowed from the aero-obsessed motorsport industry—represents the first time that this technique has been used in developing a bicycle frame. We say that it's borderline criminal to spoil a Bianchi paint job with glow-in-the-dark slop. Those drag savings do go some way toward assuaging our umbrage, though, and even to the naked eye the frame presents a noticeably reduced leading edge to the wind, with the head tube in particular bearing a remarkable resemblance to Bianchi's contre-la-montre bike, the Aquila CV. And anyway, when unspoiled by wind-tunnel test paint, the paint job does provide the perfect modern homage to what may be the most beautiful color in cycling, celeste.
As mentioned above, the XR.4 incorporates Bianchi's much-lauded Countervail vibration damping technology. Countervail is a proprietary viscoelastic carbon layer in the frame that soaks up vibrations and road noise without compromising stiffness. Countervail was developed for NASA by Material Sciences Corporation, a US-based firm. The tech has also proven itself as an important laminate in tennis rackets, helping to quell vibrations while returning serves that often reach north of 130mph.
Bianchi's been using Countervail in its endurance frames for some time to reduce the harshness of long rides over rough terrain. It quickly learned that it's actually a perfect addition to all of its frames including the aerodynamic line. Remember not too long ago when a sub-1,000g road frame was the holy grail? Well, the Oltre hits that, is one of the most aerodynamic in the peloton and has the comfort for 5-hour stages and 3-week long tours. How's that for a holy grail?
Countervail also improves rider aerodynamics by increasing comfort, letting you stay in a more aero position for longer. By limiting the punishment of road vibrations and taking some of the sting out of getting low into an aerodynamic position, you can ride faster and for longer. Its common knowledge that the majority of drag comes from the rider's position, so we're on board with this train of thought. We also appreciate that the tires won't chatter across the pavement when pushed hard, contributing to instability and speed wobbles that force us to slow down and cost control and confidence. Countervail lets you descend with authority so you can maintain the gaps you work so hard for on the climbs.
- An all-around road racing frameset proven by top pros
- Racing geometry suitable for every spirited ride
- Carbon lay-up with Countervail damps road noise
- Aerodynamics informed by motorsport technology
- Oversized tubes for responsive handling and efficiency
- Direct-mount brakes provide superior stopping power
- Few colors are as synonymous with cycling as Bianchi's celeste
- Item #BIA000T
- Frame Material
- carbon fiber with Countervail
- Wheel Size
- Bianchi carbon with Countervail
- Head Tube Diameter
- 1-1/8 - 1-1/4in
- Headset Included
- Bottom Bracket Type
- Cable Routing
- Front Derailleur Mount
- Brake Type
- Oltre Full Carbon Aero
- Seat Collar
- Front Axle
- 9mm quick-release
- Rear Axle
- 130mm quick-release
- Claimed Weight
- [frame only 55cm] 980g
- Recommended Use
- road cycling
- Manufacturer Warranty
- 5 years
What do you think about this product?
September 19, 2020
Thanks, Todd and others!
I'm trying to decide now on a new build. There are so many nice machines out there. I've always admired the Oltre XR4's. So your review(s) helped me to confirm my admiration. Coincidentally, I'm 5'11 1/2 (182cm) so you helped me narrow it down of what size to look for. I wish I could try your bike or at least see you on it.
July 5, 2019
- I've put it through the wringer
Bianchi has done a fantastic job with the Oltre XR4. I have had the bike for a little over a year now. I have ridden most of what people would consider "super bikes". The Bianchi does everything very well, and in a good way. Could you build up a lighter climbing bike.....sure, you could even get a slightly more aero bike, but the overall package the Oltre XR4 delivers is very tough to beat in one bike. Climbs very well out of the saddle, super responsive when digging in the saddle, or sprinting out of the saddle. Overall my favorite single bike I have ridden so far from the Competitive Cyclist stable. I am 5'11" and ride a 57cm Oltre XR4. For context this is the same fit I ride on a 56cm Specialized, or a 55cm Pinarello Dogma F8/F10.
October 8, 2019
I concur the XR4 is great ride. I have a little over 5k miles on my black XR4 with Di2 and rim brakes. Long rides, short fast rides, climbing, descending the XR4 does it all really well. I am 67, 6’1”, and the 59 is a great fit for me. I am continually amazed at how comfortable this bike is for a Tour level bike.
June 19, 2020
Hey Todd, Beautiful bike...I see you're running Vittoria Corsa G+ tires with your Enve ( 4.5 ? )wheels....Any problems with the sidewall cuts per the Enve web site ? Also, are you running 25mm tires ?...Again, velo bellissimo...Thanks !
March 28, 2019
I even bought one of my own
- I've put it through the wringer
As an employee here at CC I have access to a lot of bikes. I don't buy for myself just any bike, it has to be special. The Oltre XR4 is that good. As a racer in my late (very late) 40's I have to be careful. I want a bike that is fast, stiff, race geometry, but my back, shoulders and whole body don't take 4 or 5 hours in the saddle like the did when I was 25, at least as far as I can remember anyway. The XR4 is stiff and efficient, it's an aero frame bit it can climb, you can stand up and rock that bike all over. You can ride it all day, the carbon layup technique really does make a difference, I can feel it, that's a major reason I went and bought one. Those are the important things, the not important things, but really are actually important, Bianchi's are gorgeous. Thumbs up on the the Oltre XR4. If you're looking for an overall fantastic bike and ready to treat yourself give it a good look.
July 8, 2019
Hey Kyle, It looks like your running Conti tires. What size are you running? I'm hoping that 28 GP4000's will fit. Thanks, Max
January 3, 2019
I have only ridden this around the block a few times and on the trainer but so far what I can tell is this bike is stiff, responsive and fits like a glove in a very aero way. When I pedal, this bike lunges forward. I usually am a 56 cm and I went with the 55cm. It fits perfect. I can't wait to take this up and down the mountains once the weather turns!
February 12, 2019
What is your personal height and saddle height ?...
October 22, 2020
what's the max tire size that'll fit in this frame?
August 1, 2020
Would this fit the vision handlebar that comes with the complete disc version Bianchi Oltre XR4?
October 22, 2020
i believe it should as that's what we see setup for the pros.
September 8, 2018
I’m 5’9 and was wondering what size bike I would need for this frame ?
November 7, 2018
I think 53
March 6, 2019
Hi Miguel, I think you could run a 55cm or a 57 cm. A component of this that would help me decide between the two is the sizing of your body proportions and the geometry of the current bike you are riding. I am 5ft 10in and went with a 55cm but I have short legs and a long torso. On the other hand, I have a coworker who is the same height and went with a 57cm. Both of us are very happy with the fit of this and the difference is slight adjustments of spacer height under the stem. For the record, my measurement of top of saddle to center of bottom bracket is about 73cm. If you are reading this and need help figuring out anything related to this bike please email me at email@example.com and I would be happy to talk!