There are a number of claims to be the manufacturer of the first modern bicycle but Bianchi was there right at the beginning and is the only company from that time that’s still trading. Edoado Bianchi started manufacturing bicycles at his shop in Milan in 1885 when he was 21 years old. In the days of what we now know at “Penny Farthings” he was at least one of the first to shrink the front wheel and install a chain drive to create the ‘safety’ - the first modern bike. In 1888 he was an early adopter of Dunlop’s new pneumatic tyres and the company’s first international sport success was in 1899, when one of his bikes wont the Grand Prix de la Ville.
Bianchi was there at the start of cycle racing and has never left. The first rider ever to win the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia in the same year - the legendary Fausto Coppi - was astride a Bianchi in 1949. Marco Pantani achieved the same feat in 1998 riding the brand. They continue at highest level of cycling even today with Team LottoNL-Jumbo riding Bianchi bikes at World-Tour level.
The original Specialissima was the bike that Coppi was riding through the 1950’s while the latest incarnation is the company’s flagship climbing bike. The colour, of course, has to be Celeste - the company’s signature shade of minty blue-green (officially Pantone 333 but they have to vary the colour to match appearance on different materials). As you’d expect for a climbing bike, it’s light - just 780g frame weight and the full carbon fork adding 340g. Despite being that light the frame gets the same NASA developed ‘countervail’ vibration dampening carbon that goes into the company’s cobble munching endurance frame. Countervail is a visco-elastic material that’s inserted into the carbon layers of the bike’s frame and is claimed to cancel up to 80% of vibrations coming through the frame from the road without requiring any moving parts or affecting the rigidity of the frame.
The tube shapes are predominantly round but beautifully detailed and subtly tweaked with the headtube based on their Aquila time trial bike . The seat and chainstays taper dramatically towards the dropouts to enhance the ride. And the ride? Fantastic. RoadCyclingUK said It’s not good going downhill for a super light bike, it’s good going downhill full stop.” Appropriately for a classic Italian bike ours comes fully furnished with Campagnolo Super Record, in mechanical to keep it really pure.
There’s no doubting that this is an expensive bike - full retail price for this model is £8900 - but, as always, Road Cycle Exchange makes owning the bike of your dreams a lot more affordable. We’ve cut £1900 from our immaculate ex-demo 2017 57cm bike.