The first step…
In a relatively short space of time the ARIA has proven itself a cutting-edge aero optimised road bike. Equiped with Shimano Ultegra, hydraulic disc brakes and a colour-coded wheelset, the Bianchi ARIA is available in Celeste with Black highlights and Black with Celeste highlights. Not only a flat country aero or TT specific build, the ARIA is a fast, capable and well mannered allrounder. Feel the need for a highly efficient speed machine? Take a look and run your fingers over the frame of a new ARIA at your nearest Bianchi Australia dealer.
All the info….
The Bianchi Aria aims to bring the wind-cheating attributes of its top-end Oltre bikes to a market.
That isn’t to say it’s an entry-level machine: it’s a race bike that’s loaded with tech and spec designed to ensure the bike slices through the air in a race environment. The frame features some of the most angular shapes we’ve seen in an aero bike, perhaps emphasised by the smaller than typical size of our 50cm machine on test.
There’s an aero seatpost which sits at a 20mm offset and comes with an integrated clamp. The clamp, like many aero designs, uses an expander bolt and we did encounter issues with the mechanism falling into the frame when adjusting saddle height – though this can be avoided if you take it slow and try not to reduce the tension in the bolt by too much. We have to trust the wind tunnel claims, but the combination of angular shapes certainly adds up to a bike that looks fast.
It’s not just about the bike, though – Bianchi worked with its pro riders to design a ‘reactive geometry‘ that allows riders to get into the very best aero tuck that they can. As they note, ‘aero frame plus aero rider position equals [the holy grail of] Full Aero’.
A size 50 Bianchi Aria comes with a stack of 499mm and reach of 387mm – that’s identical in stack to the Oltre XR4 and 3mm longer, though this could be accounted for in the long-reach aero bars of the more expensive bike. To put that into perspective, a comparable 52 in a Specialized Tarmac offers 527mm and 380mm whilst a Cannondale SuperSix Evo 536mm and 381mm.
At the front, there’s around 40mm worth of spacers, which can by used to adjust the bike from anywhere between a fairly comfortable position (as long as you’re OK with a big ol’ stack of spacers), to a super aggressive position. Riding semi-slammed, I was more than low enough to call this a race position – indeed I was almost kneeing myself in the chest [to put it politely] when on the drops.
Much of the Aria’s price drop in comparison with the Oltre range is that it lacks the Countervail technology found at the more expensive end of the stable. Countervail, which was specced on the top end Oltre XR4 I awarded 10/10, involves the embedding of a layer of viscoelastic material across the frame to create spring and compliance.
The Bianchi Aria uses thin tubes at the rear end, so buzz can be filtered over a larger area, and disc brakes allow for wider tyres in an attempt to offer comfort. Despite these attributes, at slow speeds I didn’t feel particularly protected from the roads. To complement the long and low set-up, Bianchi has gone hard on the handling, with a super steep 74.5º head angle and pretty standard 58mm trail.
A Euro brake set-up meant I didn’t truly let go enough to smash it down any descents, but pushing into corners the handling was notably sharp. Indeed, initially it took a little getting used to as the front end seemed to drop into bends quicker than most.
Anyone with a need for speed who doesn’t want to ever amble through the countryside (or has a dedicated bike for that) would probably love this machine. It’s also advertised as a bike ideal for triathlons, and with clip on bars you could get into a good flat-back position for swim/bike/run events or time trials alone.