I don’t do rim brakes. I also don’t do 25c tires, QR skewers, or climbing wheels. Sure, I know all those things have their place, but that place isn’t usually between the pavement and Aaron Raines. No, you’re more likely going to find thru-axles, 32c tires on mountain wheels, and The Devil’s own disc brakes underneath me. It’s always been my thought that these things lead to a smoother, more predictive ride that I can rely on day in and day out, regardless of road conditions. For the most part, this has remained true. How, then, did I feel so at home on the first ride out on the Bianchi Specialissima?
I attribute the majority of that at-home feeling to Bianchi’s Countervail technology. Unlike other vibration damping techniques—from elastomers to slabs of rubber bolted to the fork and seatstays—Countervail is a “viscoelastic carbon material with a unique fiber architecture.” This means that the very material and construction of the frame is designed with your smooth, efficient ride in mind. I don’t really know anything about fluid mechanics, but I do know that this technology contributed to a ride that seemed to soak up any pavement inconsistencies and absolutely stayed glued to the road. Don’t think that these supple traits take anything away from fact that this is a race bike born and bred to rip and shred. Countervail also increases the strength and stiffness of the bikes in which it’s used, delivering one of those it-shouldn’t-do-this-but-it-does experiences. The Specialissima will react to every watt of power with a spritely virility you’ve likely not encountered thus far.
As for the little things I don’t like to think about, mainly gears and stoppers, this build pulls out all the right stops in those departments. The consistently powerful braking performance we’ve come to expect from Shimano’s past Dura-Ace groups is carried over into the 9100 generation. Combined with the latest brake track from Enve on the svelte 2.2 wheelset, I never wanted for more power or modulation—even at my winter weight. Shifting? Again…Dura-Ace. Not much more to say there.
While not a “quiver killer,” by any means, the 2017 Bianchi Specialissima turns most roads into fresh, buttered blacktop. It’s the perfect rig for every fast ride, even outside of race day. Check my Instagram (@aaron_raines) for more photos and call or email to chat more about the bike!