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The Bianchi Oltre RC certainly turned a few heads when it was released in late 2022. The Oltre range has ‘F1 inspired’ design features across all three frames, the Comp, Pro and RC and features some of the latest components from Bianchi’s inhouse brand, Reparto Corse.

In launching the Oltre range, Bianchi reasserted themselves in the aero bike scene, with the Oltre showcasing Bianchi’s new ‘air deflector’ technology which Bianchi claims channels airflow around the head tube, creating a low-pressure zone behind to reduce drag. The Oltre also benefits from the new Reparto Corse aero cockpit, featuring a central air channel that creates a low-pressure airflow zone, this time around the rides legs which also improves aerodynamics. The Oltre RC is said to save a whopping 17 watts at 50kph/30mph when compared to the older Bianchi Oltre XR4. The Bianchi Oltre Pro, Bianchi’s second-tier Oltre model features the addition of Bianchi’s Countervail (CV) vibration reduction in the carbon layup itself, whilst the Oltre Comp, the Oltre family’s ‘entry level’ bike opt for a cleaner look, without Air Deflector Technology or integrated one-piece Reparto Corse handlebars but still boasts F1 inspired frame design.

Let’s take a closer look…

Much like the front wing of an F1 car, as one of the first surfaces to interact with the airflow, the Air Deflectors found on the Oltre RC and Pro models play a pivotal role in dictating how the bike frame is shaped, according to Bianchi. They take the form of two vertical, vent-like cutouts – one placed either side of the head tube – which serve to stall and channel airflow. This is said to allow the rider’s legs, and the bike’s tubes behind the head tube, to slip through the air more easily. The Air Deflectors appear as appendages to the head tube with two visible hex bolts, but are integrated into the head tube and extend beyond the frontal area of the fork crown to a point. Much like the front wing of an F1 car, as one of the first surfaces to interact with the airflow, the Air Deflectors play a pivotal role in dictating how the bike frame is shaped, according to Bianchi. The top tube sees a cross-like silhouette, which aligns to the top ridge of the Air Deflectors, with the tubes broadening out at the head tube and seat tube junctions. The down tube has a visible strafe that curves in a smooth line from the front point of the Air Deflector, over the fork crown, and along the down tube.

The Oltre models offer plenty of clearance between the down tube and front tyre has also been built in, thanks to the cutout profiling of the upper down tube. Despite this, all three Oltre frames have official clearance for 700 x 30c tyres. Generous tyre clearance is now becoming a common sight on the best aero road bikes. Lower turbulence and tidier airflow, compared to a tighter design, are recognised as benefits (in addition to being able to run wider tyres). Meanwhile, the dropped seat stays feature a broad-shouldered design, with close shrouding around the rear wheel from the seat tube.

The chainstays are also notably chunky – likely to provide efficient power transfer along the drivetrain – with a neatly shrouded thru-axle dropout on the drive side. The Bianchi Oltre RC frame is claimed to weigh 915g in a size 55cm (roughly equivalent to a size medium), with the fork adding a further 420g. The Oltre Pro frame, incorporating Countervail tech, is said to tip the scales at 965g in a size 55cm, plus 430g for the fork. The regular Oltre’s frame weighs in at a claimed 995g in the same size, plus a 390g fork which does not feature Countervail.

The new Oltre RC marks a departure from the previous range-topping XR4, by using a newly-developed aero cockpit by in-house components brand Reparto Corse. The new handlebar unit replaces the externally sourced Vision Metron 5D integrated bar. Like Cervélo’s unconventional V-Stem (as seen on the S5), the new Reparto Corse handlebar features a steep rise and splits off into two, but here the stem section stays as one piece until much closer to the handlebar intersection. The split rises sharply to the handlebar tops, with a small carbon bridge adjoining the shoulders. This forms an air channel, which Bianchi says creates low-pressure vortices directed down the stem section towards the rider’s legs. Much like the Air Deflectors, this is said to reduce drag with rider aboard, all-in totalling a 17-watt saving at 50km/h. Put another way, Bianchi says the Oltre RC will save you 45 seconds over 40km, holding a constant power output of 250 watts for an hour which is impressive!

Bianchi says “the advantage over the best aero bikes on the market increases by 30 per cent” in “variable wind conditions” – although it does not specify at what yaw angles or wind speeds.

The new launch also sees the introduction of new Reparto Corse wheelsets to complement the Oltre. The Oltre RC is specced with RC50 SPB Tech and RC65 SPBTech tubeless-ready carbon wheels at the front and rear respectively. These feature 50mm (front) and 65mm (rear) depths, and have a 21mm internal rim width. The hubs incorporate what Bianchi calls “super precision bearing technology”, with SKF ceramic bearings included. In total, the wheels weigh 1,540g per set (claimed). Meanwhile, the Oltre Pro features the RC139 Carbon saddle and a set of RC50 tubeless-ready wheels (50mm profile front and rear, with a 21mm internal rim width). These tip the scales at a claimed 1,590g per set. The Oltre RC comes fitted with a Reparto Corse-branded, RC139 ‘carbon air’ saddle, which Bianchi says takes advantage of 3D-printing technology to provide a comfortable perch when riding in a typical aerodynamic position for long periods. The Oltre Pro gets a non-3D printed version of the RC139 saddle, while the Oltre gets its wheels and finishing kit from third-party supplier Velomann.

The Bianchi Oltre Range starts from £2999 with the Bianchi Oltre Race and can be viewed here: Bianchi Oltre 2024.