Bianchi’s all-new Arcadex carbon gravel bike lets the Italian bike maker fully embrace unlimited, quick gravel riding & off-road adventures once again. While Bianchi has long made gravel bikes, including steel gravel touring bikes I remember selling in a bike shop even twenty years ago, a fast-moving modern carbon gravel & adventure bike had been missing from the celeste lineup.
2021 Bianchi Arcadex carbon gravel bike (& e-bike?)
Now stepping out beyond all-road, the new Arcadex looks to be a fully capable, high-performance carbon gravel bike. The new carbon bike features oversized and dramatically shaped tube profiles that Bianchi says pulls aerodynamic optimization techniques from their aero road family. That includes little fork flap extensions and dropped seatstays, plus a hidden seatpost binder and mixed internal routing.
Interestingly, the Arcadex is NOT an e-bike, but you’d be excused for thinking it might be. Usually we see e-bikes that look almost like a regular bike. But this might actually be a regular bike, built up from a new e-bike frame -without the battery or motor… It has the characteristic oversized downtube we’ve seen of many recent rear hub-powered e-bikes, and even the oversized BB junction with a rubber plug that I can only assume could fit a charging port.
Gravel Tech Details
One of the big aero additions is fully internal cable routing compatibility with an FSA ACR headset that allows all cables to be hidden. But not everyone wants to mess with complicated routing setups, so the new bike also includes more conventional modular cable routing ports on the downtube.
Large tire clearance was a priority for the new gravel bike, but Bianchi opted for fast gravel standards rather than pushing into MTB territory, sticking with up to 700x42mm or 650x47mm tires.
Many off-road dropbar bikes have gone 1x in recent years, but gravel doubles aren’t going away anytime soon, so the Arcadex gets a removable front derailleur mount too.
Just as important though was versatility, so the full carbon frame & fork get full coverage fender compatibility, plus mounts for a rear rack. There are also your standard suite of adventure mounts on the frame – two standard bottle cage mounts inside the main triangle, plus a set of bosses under the downtube and on top of the toptube.
The carbon Arcadex frame has a claimed weight of 1100g (size L, 55cm), plus 480g for the full carbon fork. The gravel frameset uses a PressFit BB86 bottom bracket, straight 1.5″ headset with a tapered 1.5-1.25″ steerer tube, and 31.6mm seatpost. It gets 12mm thru-axles & flat mount disc brakes, plus adaptable internal cable routing for mechanical or electronic and 1x or 2x groupsets.
Gravel bike geometry
The Arcadex is available in five sizes (XS-XL). Quick handling geometry is a bit inspired by Bianchi’s cross bike geo with a 71° head angle, 73.5° seat angle & short 425mm chainstays. But the gravel bike gets deeper 75mm bottom bracket drop for stability, and much more relaxed upright geometry – about 1cm shorter Reach across all sizes and almost 5cm higher Stack with the long 416mm a-c fork.
2021 Bianchi Arcadex gravel bike – Options & pricing
The new Arcadex is available in two color schemes – Celeste blue or Gold Storm tan, both sharing the same shiny navy blue front end. Two standard complete bikes are now offered, both with Shimano GRX 1×11.
The $3400 Bianchi Arcadex GRX 600 gets mechanical 11 speed GRX with the lower spec RX600 levers & crank paired with the top RX812 rear derailleur, and a wide 11-42 SLX cassette. Plus, it gets an alloy cockpit, tubeless-ready alloy wheels, and 700x37mm WTB Riddler Race tires.
The $3800 Bianchi Arcadex GRX 810 upgrades to the higher 800 series 11 speed GRX mechanical shifter, crankset & brakes, again with a 40T ring and 11-42 cassette, and the same alloy finishing kit & rolling stock. Both complete bikes come with compact 16° flared gravel bars.