Bianchi has expanded its air road bike lineup with the introduction of a new Oltre Race, and has also updated the versatile Sprint based on the top-of-the-line Specialissima. In doing so, Bianchi mistakenly suggested that the launch of a 12-speed Shimano 105 groupset was imminent. We’ll explain why in a moment, but let’s take a look at the bikes first.
Bianchi Oltre Race
Bianchi updated its Oltre air road bike lineup last October with the introduction of three different platforms: Oltre RC, Oltre Pro and Oltre. The Oltre RC is the model with Air Deflector technology on the sides of the main pipe; the idea is to direct the airflow, create a low pressure zone behind the pipe and reduce friction.
> Bianchi unveils the radical new Oltre road bike with ‘Air Deflector’ aero technology
Despite the lack of Air Deflectors, Bianchi says the new Oltre Race is inspired by the Oltre RC.
“Oltre Race offers a suitably tailored setup to make it accessible to a wider audience,” says Bianchi. “Aero tube shapes and integrated cable routing proclaim its racing pedigree.”
Oltre Race is definitely not as extreme as the Oltre RC. For example, the head tube, bottom tube and seat post are not that deep and are not equally protected by the rear wheel seat post. The Oltre Race also uses a standard stem and handlebars instead of an integrated cockpit.
The frame and fork are both carbon and the bike is only offered with disc brakes.
Bianchi Oltre Race is available in Shimano 105 mechanical (€3.399) and Shimano 105 Di2 (€4.349) builds and in both Celeste and Graphite finishes.
As mentioned above, Sprint is a road bike that Bianchi says is modeled on Specialissima, and it has been given an update.
“The new Sprint is the result of meticulous engineering and an aesthetic redesign of the popular model in the versatile series,” says Bianchi. “The lightweight carbon monocoque frame is solid for adequate power delivery and now includes integrated cable routing and an updated setup.”
Two versions are available. As with the Oltre Race, you can build the Bianchi Sprint with the Shimano 105 Di2 (€3.849) or the Shimano 105 mechanical (€2,549) groupset.
Two color options with purple/green iridescent highlights are Celeste and Pearl White.
Did Bianchi just confirm the Shimano 105 12-speed mechanic?
We pretty much all know that Shimano will add a mechanical shifting option to the R7100 groupset it launched as the Di2 last year – we’ve seen the pictures and everything – and Bianchi’s new launch almost confirms that. How come?
> Shimano 105 12-speed mechanical groupset breaks cover
First, if you go to Bianchi’s website and tap on ‘Oltre Race’ you will get:
Bianchi lists “105 Di2 12sp” but does not give a speed number for the mechanical version. It is notable for its absence.
Go to the spec list for this bike and it just says “Rear Derailleur: Shimano 105”. Bianchi usually lists an exact part number like “Shimano 105 RD-R7000 SS 11sp”. Again, this is notable for the lack of information.
Also see the URL for the Oltre Race 105 mechanic: www.bianchi.com/store/int_EN/ytb8d-oltrerace-10512sp-5.html
There’s a 105 12-speed reference hidden there.
Go to the Sprint section of Bianchi’s website, click on the 105 mechanical models and there’s more proof:
REAR CHANGER: Shimano 105 12sp, direct connection, max. 36T
FRONT DERAILLEUR: for Shimano 105 12sp, top gear 50-54T, 16T capacity, rear 12 gear
mechanical 105 AND 12 speed? This is a combination that does not currently exist.
Again see speed reference 105 12 in URL: www.bianchi.com/store/int_EN/ytbr5-sprint-10512sp-9.html
Could all this be due to admin errors? This compels him. It looks to us like someone omitted the part numbers while making a spec list for public consumption, but accidentally left the fact that this is a 12-speed setup. If you put this thing online, people will notice.
By the way, website pictures don’t help us here. The new Sprint Racing is shown with a Shimano Ultegra groupset, and it’s not even an option you can buy.
We couldn’t tell you for sure that the Shimano 105 12-speed mechanical groupset is on the way, but all the evidence points in that direction. When will he come? What we don’t know.
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