It's no sofa but it does filter out much of the unnecessary
feedback from the road surface, whilst still ensuring a sense of
connection to what is passing underneath the tyres so you can gauge
the grip levels on various road surfaces. It doesn't isolate you,
it feels firm without being overly stiff. Perhaps it's not as
hardcore as some other high-end race bikes, but I finished every
ride feeling relatively fresh.
There are good roads on Mallorca for really stretching the
Oltre's legs and putting its aerodynamics to use. And boy is it
fast. This is no scientific test but there's no denying the Oltre
XR4 offers genuine high pace and it's relatively easy to tap into
this pace, thanks to the smoothness the CounterVail gifts the
Get out of the narrow lanes that weave through orange groves and
out onto faster roads and you can push the Bianchi hard. And it
responds willingly. The speed rockets up, the aero frame and fork
smoothing airflow to reduce drag and produce impressive momentum at
higher speeds. Hold onto the speed as the lactic acid builds and
unleash a sprint and the Oltre XR4 rises to the demands. This is a
bike that likes to be ridden quickly.
It does everything you could ask of it supremely well. Dynamic
handling, instinctive responses, controlled, stable and planted at
all speeds. It might have all the race credentials to cut it at the
sharp end of a race, but it's an approachable and manageable bike
at more modest speeds, thanks to the well honed geometry and
CounterVail smoothness. There's great steering feel, it's
responsive and nicely weighted without being too lively. And
because the handling feels so intuitive and natural you're more
inclined to unleash its performance whenever you feel like it. The
Oltre XR4 is a bike to be enjoyed.
For years the measure of a good performance road race bike was
how stiff and light it was. While stiffness is desirable in a
testing laboratory, the real world serves up a multitude of road
surfaces where an overly stiff bike can be taxing and hard work.
The latest push has been for aero bikes that also offer a compliant
ride. Trek has done the same with its Madone and Bianchi has been
similarly inspired with its Oltre XR4.
By injecting the Oltre XR4 with its CounterVail technology it
has managed to produce a bike that lacks nothing in the speed
department, but manages to remove much of the harshness that can
lead to a hard and fatiguing ride. It offers a compliant ride that
cushions you from the most severe vibrations without removing the
responsive and direct handling that is key to a race bike, and
leaves you feeling fresher for longer.
The challenge for Bianchi is to ply its heritage whilst also
harnessing the latest technologies and combing these two elements
into a cohesive package that can excite discerning cyclists and
newcomers to the sport alike. The new Oltre XR4 manages this
balance well, fusing the latest aerodynamic design and its
CounterVail technology without ruining the aesthetics and providing
outstanding performance and ride quality. It's a thrilling and
Bianchi's new flagship is as desirable and rewarding as any
other high-end road bike puts it right alongside other premium bike
Buy it at Bespoke Cycling
The Bianchi Oltre XR4 demo bike was equipped with Shimano
Ultegra Di2 with Fulcrum Racing Zero wheels and Rotor INpower
crank-based power meter. Thanks to Bianchi for the loan of the
The Oltre XR4 frameset costs £3,399 and custom colour options an
extra £450, available from Bespoke Cycling now.